"Де моя школа?"

Translation:Where is my school?

November 14, 2015

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How do you decide which "my" to use? Is there like an ownership one then a like relational one? Or is it based on the other words in context

[deactivated user]

    It's based on other words.

    Each Ukrainian noun has a gender assigned: feminine (e.g. шко́ла 'school', мо́ва 'language', люди́на 'person'), masculine (e.g. ліс 'forest', вік 'age', ві́тер 'wind') or neuter (e.g. життя́ 'life', мі́сце 'place').

    For nouns denoting people, this assignment is usually based on their real gender. For inanimate nouns, this assignment is partly arbitrary and partly based on the ending of the word (for example, most nouns ending in a consonant are masculine).

    When in doubt, you can look up the gender of the noun in a dictionary. For example, in e2u.org.ua you could search in «Українсько-англійській словник» (second to last). You'll see the word is written like this: «шко́ла (-ли) f school, college». Here, 'f' tells the noun is feminine. Some other dictionaries, like sum.in.ua, mark feminine nouns with «жін.», masculine with «чол.» and neuter with «сер.». (Some bilingual dictionaries, aimed at Ukrainian readers, don't mark gender at all.)

    The possessive pronouns and adjectives choose the form depending on the gender of the noun:

    • моя́ шко́ла 'my school',
    • мій вік 'my age',
    • моє́ життя́ 'my life',
    • твоя́ мо́ва 'your language (informal)',
    • твій ба́тько 'your father (informal)',
    • твоє мі́сто 'your city, the city you live in (informal)',
    • на́ша краї́на 'our country',
    • наш дім 'our home',
    • на́ше майбу́тнє 'our future',
    • Ва́ша ма́ти 'your mother (formal or when addressing several people)',
    • Ва́ш університе́т 'your university (formal or when addressing several people)',
    • Ва́ше здоро́вʼя 'your health (formal or when addressing several people)',

    However, third-person possessives don't behave this way, they are always її 'her', його́ 'his' or 'its'. They always use the same form. In fact, they're not behaving like adjectives, but instead like nouns in Genitive case. (If this doesn't make sense to you now, don't worry.) For example:

    • її шко́ла 'her school',
    • її вік 'her age',
    • її життя 'her life',
    • його́ мо́ва 'his language',
    • його́ ба́тько 'his father',
    • його́ мі́сто 'his city'.

    'Their' has two options: їх behaves like її and його́ (i.e., like a noun), while ї́хня/ї́хній/ї́хнє behaves like моя́/мій/моє (i.e. like an adjective):

    • їх шко́ла = ї́хня шко́ла 'their school',
    • їх вік = ї́хній вік 'their age',
    • їх життя́ = ї́хнє життя 'their life'.

    Hope that helps!

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