Onmaqish Grammar Spotlight: Prepositions and Possession
The language of the OnKitabie, Onmaqish, has several features that are very different from how English operates. Most (read: all) of these features are inspired or lifted whole-sale from Arabic and, to a lesser extent, Irish. These updates and extensions will also be added to previous posts about Onmaqish in order to maintain consistency.
Prepositions are often inflected (modified) based on what they are describing, and verbs will often require prepositions. The preposition sa means “from”. To say “He left me,” one has to include a preposition to connect the verb to the object (which is me in this case), meaning it would literally translate as “He left from me”. It would be said as ”yambie sa-bin”, where the -bin suffix describes me, the verb’s object.
In other simpler situations, the suffixes can be applied to the verb itself. “She gives to me” would be “timatnie-bin”, where the me suffix -bin becomes part of the word itself.
- Construct State
Possession in Onmaqish is usually portrayed by something called a “construct state,” where the two relevant nouns are placed one after each other, with the second one being the “dependent”, or the one modifying the first, almost like an adjective. This “dependent” noun is marked with the suffix -it and, if the phrase is defined, only that noun takes the definite marker.
So if I were to say “The house of the person” I would say “bakal mi minzab-it”. Bakal is person, but didn’t take the definite article it normally would, because that was handled by mi minzab-it.
This doesn’t just apply to possession in the way that we think of it, but more generally describes a level of relationship between the two nouns where one is dependent on the other for context. For example, “master of the library”, “kjalit miktab-it”, doesn’t mean that the library is literally possessed by the master, but it shows what the master has mastery over: the library.
When pronouns are involved in possession (such as “my hat” or “their friend”), rather than using the construct state, pronoun suffixes are simply attached to the ends of the possessed noun to show who possesses it. For example, “my farm” would be “nishnab-bin”, and “your story” would be “zanam-ja”. These suffixes define the noun, so the definite article is never applied.
- Prepositional Possession
Finally, possession can be determined with the “to” preposition (“lie”) to describe possession. So while “nishnab-bin” would be “my farm”, “I have a farm” would be written “lie-bin nishnab”. lie here gets the pronoun suffix, and this literally translates to: “to me a farm”.