thuum.org/learn/

Thuum.org > Learn > Showing Possession

Key Points

  • Compound words are formed with se.
  • The dragon equivalent to "-'s" is -ro, but rarely used.
  • The suffixes -i, -ii, and -u can replace the pronouns "my", "his/her/its", and "our".

About Possession

Possession is showing ownership between two nouns. We've already seen how pronouns can be used to illustrate this: "my sword", "her horse", etc. Other English examples of possession include "the spoon of Ysgramor" and "the king's army". English most commonly uses the –'s suffix to show possession. The dragon language tends to show possession in a different way.

Compound Words & se

A compound word is a single word made up of two or more joined words. English examples include butterfly, quicksand, and underground. Here we will talk about compound words in the dragon language and how they can be used to show possession.

One way you can show possession is by using do (pronounced "doe"), the dragon word for "of". For example, you might express "the king's army" as "lahvu do jun" ("the army of the king"). Compound words, using the word se, give us a more elegant way of saying the same thing. Se is a word that means "of" just like do, but can be used as a connector or bridge in compound words. The example "lahvu do jun", could be compounded into one word: lahvu + se + jun, or lahvusejun. Other examples include qethsegol ("bone of the earth"), junnesejer ("kings of the east"), and Ahrolsedovah ("hill of the dragon", the dragon name for Whiterun).

"Se" can be used in sentences like "do" but it is extremely rare. "Lahvu se jun" would be uncommon but not incorrect. On the other hand, "do" cannot be used in compound words. "Lahvudojun" would be incorrect.

You might have noticed that these compound words cut out articles like "the" and "a". As we learned in Nouns & Articles, this is true in most places, and it especially true for compound words. Lahvusefinjul and Ahrolsefindovah are examples of incorrect compound words. What do we do with faal if we are making a compound word with a proper noun? In this situation you have two options. Take for example "The Sword of the King". If you want to keep the formality, you can express this as "faal Zahkriisejun" or decide to keep it split up as "faal Zahkrii do faal Jun".

Sometimes using compound words is not always the way to go. You may have a phrase that would be unwieldy as a compound. If you want to say "the Axe of Whiterun", it might be best to leave it as "faal Hahkun do Ahrolsedovah" rather than compound it as "faal Hahkunseahrolsedovah"!

A note on spelling and pronunciation with "se": keep the "e" separate from other vowels. "Rotsein" ("words of the master") is spelled Rotsein instead of Rots2n. Likewise this should be pronounced like "Rote-seh-een", not like "Rote-sign". This way the components of the compound word, esepcially "se" and "in", aren't lost.

The Suffix -ro/-dro

A suffix is a part added to the end of a word to change its meaning (the opposite being a prefix, added at the beginning of a word). In the dragon language, -ro/-dro is used just like English's -'s. If "triumph" is zind, then "triumph's" is zindro. If "dragon" is dovah, then "dragon's" is dovahro.

–dro is used if a noun ends with a vowel or the letter "r". Thus, zii becomes ziidro, and aar becomes aardro.

The only occurrence of "-ro/-dro" being used is in the Song of the Dragonborn. Using "do" and compound words with "se" are much more common ways of showing possession. You can also imply it through context ("dovah yol" = "a dragon's fire"). Use -ro/-dro very rarely.

Possessive Suffixes

The dragon language has a set of possessive suffixes that can be used to indicate possession in place of the pronouns my, his, her, etc. Following is a table of suffixes organized according to pronoun. Some pronouns don't have an equivalent possessive suffix:

My -i
Your -iil
His/Her/Its -ii
Our -u

This suffix replaces my, his, our, or any other possessive determiner used with a noun. For example, "my lord" could be translated as "dii thur" or "thuri"; "our father" could be translated as "un bormah" or "bormahu".

When to use the pronoun or the suffix comes down to personal preference. Possessive suffixes shouldn't be used with nouns that end in a vowel, such as Deyra or plural nouns like dovahhe. An exception to this is the possessive suffix -iil, which can be used with nouns that end in ii. For example, zii "spirit" could become ziil "your spirit."

Possessive suffixes cannot be used in conjunction with the suffix -ro. "My father's sword" is best translated as "bormahi zahkrii", "zahkrii do bormahi", or "zahkriisebormahi". "Bormahiro zahkrii" would be incorrect.

Exercises

1. The word for "queen" is jud, and the word for "sword" is zahkrii. How would you translate "the queen's sword" into the dragon language?

See answer

Here are some possible answers:
  • Zahkrii do jud
  • Zahkriisejud
  • Judro zahkrii

2. The word for "voice" is zul. Express each of the following using possessive suffixes:

  1. My voice
  2. Your voice
  3. His voice
  4. Our voice
  5. Its voice

See answer

  1. Zuli
  2. Zuliil
  3. Zulii
  4. Zulu
  5. Zulii

3. If zeymah is "brother," what is the best way to say "my brothers?"

See answer

"Dii zeymahhe." Possessive suffixes shouldn't be used with plural nouns.

4. Make compound words of the following phrases:

  1. "The doom of the world". "Doom" is daan and "world" is lein.
  2. "The bane of kings". "Bane" is feyn and "king" is jun.
  3. "A storm of swords". "Storm" is strun and "sword" is zahkrii.
  4. "The fall of a hero". "Fall" is mah and "hero" is hun.
  5. "Atmora of old". "Old" is wuth.
  6. "The tales of my friend". "Tale" is tey and "friend" is fahdon.

See answer

  1. Daanselein
  2. Feynsejun or feynsejunne
  3. Strunsezahkrii
  4. Mahsehun
  5. Atmorasewuth
  6. Teysefahdoni or teyyesefahdoni
This is an independent site and is not affiliated with Bethesda Softworks, LLC.