The possessive in Khanty (Ostyak)

1. Preface

This article describes some of the features of possessive constructions in Khanty (formerly known as Ostyak), namely Northern Khanty. Basis is primarily the grammatical sketch ‚Ostyak‘ by Irina Nikolaeva with additions from the ‚Ostjakische Grammatik‘ by W. Steinitz (for the dialect of Sherkal).

2. Suffixes and paradigma

The form is as following:

(1) noun-number.of.noun-POSS

where POSS is number and person of the possessor.

(2) noun number for possive






Steinitz is saying that DU is -ŋə- and PL is -l-, rest is the same

(3) POSS-suffixes




SG 1







-(ə)t / -l

-at / -al

DU 1






PL 1


-uw / -əw





-(e:)t, -e:l

-at / -al

3. Extras

For emphatizising the corresponding personal pronoun can be added:

(4) (luw) xo:t-ə-l

he house-EP-3SG

‚his house‘

For lexical subjects there is no agreement:

(5) juwan xo:t

John house

‚John’s house‘

There are no reflexive POSS. Khanty uses regular POSS for relexive meanings.

4. Semantics

The default of the POSS is possession or ownership. But there are more possibilities:

(6) a) lexical possessives (with relational nouns)

b) extrinsic possessives (without relational nouns)

i. Ownership possessives (meaning: ‚owning‘)

ii. Non-ownership possessives (meaning: assossiative)

The last group is the most frequent, because in Khanty it’s the only way to express relationship between two nouns.

(7) a) ńa:n laraś

bread chest

‚a chest for bread‘

b) kalaŋ sox sax

reindeer skin coat

‚a coat made of reindeer skin‘

c) ku:rt jo:x

village people

d) jux ke:si

tree knife

‚wooden knife‘

The Poss also emphasizes the relationship between nouns.

(8) ma iśi taxa:j-e:m-na il ko:r-s-ə-m

me same place-1SG-LOC down fall-PST-EP-1SG

‚I fell down in the same place (lit.: ‚at the same my place‘)

5. Literature

  • Nikolaeva, Irina A.: Ostyak. München, Newcastle: LINCOM Europa. 1999
  • Steinitz, Wolfgang: Ostjakische Grammatik. Leipzig: Harrassowitz. 1950

6. PDF

als always, here’s the pdf.

One Response to The possessive in Khanty (Ostyak)

  1. […] possessive in Khanty (Ostyak) There’s a new article which describes some of the features of possessive constructions in Khanty (formerly known as […]

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