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 eaten, you have eaten

– In Marshallese the following are expressed in the same way:

            I am finished eating

            I have eaten

            I already ate

            I have already eaten

To make sentences like this, say ‘It is finished my eat,’ ‘It is finished your eat,’ etc.:

Eṃōj aō ṃōñā               = it-finished/my/eat = I am finished eating or I have eaten or I already ate
Eṃōj aṃ ṃōñā              = it-finished/your(sing.)/eat = You(sing.) are finished eating or You(sing.) have eaten or You(sing.) already ate
Eṃōj an ṃōñā               = it-finished/his,her,its/eat = He, She, or It has finished eating or He, She, or It has eaten or He, She, or It already ate
Eṃōj an Colleen ṃōñā = it-finished/her/Colleen/eat = Colleen is finished eating or Colleen has eaten or Colleen already ate
Eṃōj ad ṃōñā               = it-finished/our(incl.)/eat = We(incl.) are finished eating or We(incl.) have eaten or We(incl.) already ate
Eṃōj am ṃōñā              = it-finished/our(excl.)/eat = We(excl.) are finished eating or We(excl.) have eaten or We(excl.) already ate
Eṃōj ami ṃōñā             = it-finished/your(plur.)/eat = You(plur.) are finished eating or You(plur.) have eaten or You(plur.) already ate
Eṃōj aer ṃōñā             = it-finished/their/eat = They are finished eating or They have eaten or They already ate

– If you want to emphasize that the thing has already happened, then you can add ‘kadede’ (‘beforehand, already,’) to a sentence like ‘Eṃōj aō ṃōñā’:

Eṃōj aō ṃōñā kadede = it-finished/my/eat/already = I already ate or I have already eaten

Vocabulary

uwaak answer (noun or verb), reply
wōd coral, coral reef, coral head
iakiu or baseball (from English) baseball
volleyball volleyball
basket basketball
outer island (from English) or aelōñ ko ilikin outer islands
bōd wrong, error, mistake, make a mistake, fault Ex. Ebōd = It is wrong Ex. Kwaar bōd = You were wrong/You made a mistake Ex. Aṃ bōd = It’s your fault
joḷọk bōd I’m sorry, to apologize
jiṃwe correct, right, straight
kōjām door, gate

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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