This post is based on Practical Marshallese by Peter Rudiak-Gould, a freely distributed, full-length textbook for learning the native language of the Marshall Islands. It has been used since 2004 as the official language manual for all volunteers in the WorldTeach Marshall Islands program, and it has formed the basis of language classes for Americans at Kwajalein Atoll. The 102 short lessons describe the grammar of the language in practical and familiar terms, and a glossary presents 1500 useful words.

I have a pencil with me, You have a book with you

In the last lesson you learned how to say ‘I have,’ ‘you have’ etc.  There is another way to say these kinds of sentences.  If you mean ‘I have a ___ with me’ or ‘I am carrying a ____’ (as opposed to ‘I own a ___’ or ‘There is a ___ that belongs to me’), then you use the word for ‘with me,’ ‘with you,’ etc. instead of the word for ‘my,’ ‘your,’ etc.  Instead of saying ‘there is my pencil’ you would say ‘there is pencil with me’:

‘Have’

Ewōr __ ippa    or Elōñ __ ippa      = there is/__/with me/              = I have a __
Ewōr __ ippaṃ or Elōñ __ ippaṃ   = there is/__/with you(sing.)  = You (sing.) have a __
Ewōr __ ippān  or Elōñ __ ippān    = there is/__/with him,her,it    = He, She, or It has a __
Ewōr __ ippān Marcy                     = or Elōñ __ ippān Marcy there is/__/with/Marcy   = Marcy has a __
Ewōr __ ippād   or Elōñ __ ippād   = there is/__/with us(incl.)    = We (incl.) have a __
Ewōr __ ippām  or Elōñ __ ippām  = there is/__/with us(excl.)     = We (excl.) have a __
Ewōr __ ippāmi or Elōñ __ ippāmi  = there is/__/with you(plur.)   = You (plur.) have a __
Ewōr __ ippāer  or Elōñ __ ippāer  = there is/__/with/them              = They have a __

‘Don’t Have’

Ejjeḷọk __ ippa      = there is no/__/with me/              = I don’t have a __
Ejjeḷọk __ ippaṃ   =   there is no/__/with you(sing.)  = You (singular) don’t have a __
Ejjeḷọk __ ippān    = there is no/__/with him,her,it    = He, She, or It doesn’t have a__
Ejjeḷọk __              = ippān Marcy there is no/__/with/Marcy   = Marcy doesn’t have a __
Ejjeḷọk __ ippād    = there is no/___/with us(incl.)    = We (inclusive) don’t have a __
Ejjeḷọk __ ippām   = there is no/__/with us(excl.)     = We (exclusive) don’t have a __
Ejjeḷọk __ ippāmi  = there is no/__/with you(plur.)   = You (plural) don’t have a __
Ejjeḷọk __ ippāer   = there is no/__/with/them              = They don’t have a __

– If you are talking about who has a specific thing at the moment (like when someone asks you ‘Who has the book?’ and you answer ‘I have the book’ or ‘You have it’) then you say ‘The book is with me,’ or ‘It is with you’:

Bok eo epād ippān = wōn? book/the/it-located/with/who = Who is the book with? = Who has the book?
Bok eo epād ippa   = book/the/it-located/with me   = The book is with me = I have the book
Epād ippaṃ            = it-located/with you                 = It is with you = You have it

Dialogue

A: Kwōj ta? A: What are you doing?
B: Ña ij pukot ki ko aō.  Rejako. B: I’m looking for my keys.  They’re gone.
A: Rejab pād ippaṃ? A: You don’t have them with you?
B: Aet, rejab pād ippa. B: That’s right, I don’t have them with me.
A: Erri? A: Where are they?
B: Iñak.  Bōlen repād ippān Peter. B: I don’t know.  Maybe Peter has them.
A: Etke repād ippān? A: Why does he have them?
B: Kōnke aolep iien ej kọọt men ko aō. B: Because he’s always stealing my things.

Vocabulary

kāḷọk to fly, to jump, to jump out of a boat into the water
eo here you go (said when giving something to someone)
baankek pancake
jinoe start, start it
jinoin beginning, beginning of
kakkije rest, relax, take a break, recess, go to recess
keemem traditional party held on an infant’s first birthday, to attend or put on such a party, birthday party
menninmour animal
kōto wind
ekkōtoto (E: sometimes kōkōtoto) windy

Practical Marshallese

Published by Marco Mora-Huizar

I am a Spanish and Marshallese translator. Iaar katak Kajin Majol ilo Enid, Oklahoma. marcomh.com

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