Understanding the 'his/her' mystery better

 

Here's an example to walk through slowly.

Whenever we say 'her father', we must be thinking of whoever 'she/her' is first, in order to talk about the father. If we say 'his mother', we must be thinking of whoever "he/his" is first, in order to talk about the mother.

(This is why we will always hear the -l on person words if they have a 'his/her', since that always means we're not going directly to the person, but instead starting from/through whoever that 'his/her' is talking about.)

Since there is nothing like this in English, this may take some getting used to. But as you go along, you will find that it is actually a very simple idea (and in the end, you may wonder why English doesn't have it).

For now, it will be enough to recognize that the -l on a person word tells you that we are viewing them by way of someone else who is, for the moment, first in our minds.

Another way to learn it is just to memorize simple patterns like the ones below just by ear. Then the -l will come in naturally when it is needed without having to think through why it's there: it will just sound right.

Vocabulary Section 1
 

n-ujj

my father

 
 

g-ujj

your father

 
 

( )-ujj-l

his/her father

 
 

'n-gij

my mother

 
 

'g-gij

your mother

 
 

ug-gwij-l

his/her mother