Possessives in Ateso

Possessive adjectives:

Ka — my                                           Kosi or wok —- our

Kon — your (singular)                   Kus — your (plural)

Ke — his, her, its                              Kec — their

Kosi is the possessive form of isio (see paragraph 24 (v))

Wok is the possessive form of oni.

  1. Iteso say to a stranger:

Akoto alosit obukosi — I want to go to our place (which is not your place).

But to his brother he will say:

Akoto alosit obuwok — I want to go to our place (which is your home too).

The possessive adjectives do not change with gender of the

possession or possessor.

Possessive adjectives:

The possessive adjective is put in the following forms:

(a) Immediately after the noun and joined to it.

(b) Immediately after the noun prefix and before the noun itself.

  1. Akan (akanin) — hand(s)

Akanika — my hand (“shadow” vowel -i- inserted for euphony)

Akaninka — my hands (“shadow” vowel -i- inserted for euphony)

Akakan — my hand

Akakanin — my hands

Both forms are equally common but wok usually follow the noun.

Note the use of the possessive adjective with the preposition kanuka (for, on behalf of):

  1. Kanuke —- on her/his behalf

kanuwok —- for us

In speech the last syllable is slightly stressed.

Possessive Adjectives:

Possessive pronouns are formed by adding the possessive adjective forms to the relative pronoun:

  1. Loka — mine (masculine)                                               nukec — theirs (feminine plural)

Mam erai etogo kosi. — It is not our house. Erai lokec. — it is theirs.

In speech the last syllable is slightly stressed. (“shadow” vowel -i-inserted for euphony)

Possessive article:

This is formed by the relative pronoun with the ending -ka meaning “with”:

Masculine    Feminine     Neuter

Singular:       loka                naka              yenika

Plural:            luka                nuka              luka

  1. etogo loka aberu — the woman’s house

akituk nuka Oselle — Oselle’s cows

ikoku yenika aberu — the woman’s child

This word must always agree in gender with the thing possessed.

The word ka by itself can be used instead of the full form, but the full form is better. Ka means “with” and ambiguity can result when it is used as a possessive.

For example: ikoku ka aberu means “child and a woman” and not “child of a woman


Akimait (akima) — millet (used collectively in the plural –millet)

Eropit (iropito) — a wage / price

Ibarasit (ibaren) — cow (cattle)

Aujo (aujoi) – cattle kraal (kraals)

Apak (apakio) — time(s), day(s), space

Bobo — again

Kere — all


Exercise(please translate these sentences to Ateso):

  • He cannot carry their food this time.
  • That dog has eaten my hens again.
  • Whose are those cows which ate our millet? Theirs.
  • How many beds have the soldiers?
  • This is the child of the woman who beat her husband badly.
  • We all want our pay now.
  • Peter’s cattle were in our kraal.
  • Whose books did he keep? Mine.
  • Where is the boy? He went to your home yesterday and has not appeared today.
  • Our beds are in the woman’s house.