Crystallising Mongolian Grammar

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"Genitive + х" meaning "because" in Mongolian

21 April 2017

In spoken Mongolian, the concept of 'because' can be expressed by adding the possessive suffix + х to the past tense of the verb. It is used as an explanation for a situation.

For example, it might be used to explain why a person is sleepy in the afternoon:

Одоо түний нойр нь хүрч байна. Ягаад гэвэл шөнөжингөө кино үзсэнийх.
That person is sleepy now. That's because he watched movies all night.

This can be condensed into a single sentence. The first part is followed by нь (the situation). The second part, ending in "past tense + genitive + х", explains (the explanation):

Одоо түний нойр нь хүрч байгаа нь шөнөжингөө кино үзсэнийх.
That person is sleepy now because he watched movies all night.

The genitive + х can also be added to the negative -аагүй:

Одоо тэр хүний нойр хүрч байгаа нь шөнө сайн унтаагүйнх.
That person is sleepy now because he didn't sleep well at night.

A few more examples:

Тэр хүн баян болсон нь их хөдөлмөрлсөнийх.
That person became wealthy because he worked hard.
Тэр хүн ажилтай болсон нь их сургуулиа сайн төгсөнийх.
That person got a good job because he graduated from university with a good result.

Using a non-verbal + байна (азтай байна):

Тэр хүн баян болсон нь их азтай байснийх.
That person became wealthy because he was lucky.

The form can be used in answering questions:

-Тэр хүн яагаад баян болсон бэ?
- Их хөдөлмөрлсөнийх.
- How did that person become wealthy?
- Because he worked hard.

It can be quoted:

Нүдэн дээр нь өвдөг гарсан чинь багш нар энэ нь ядарсных гэнээ.
When she got the sore above her eye the teachers said it was because she was tired.

In the following sentence it is followed by юм байна, meaning that the content of the sentence is something suddenly realised by the speaker:

Даанч би ерөөсөө хоол хийж амжихгүй байсан нь төрд зүггээд түмэн завгүй байсаных юм байна.
I realised that I always had no time to cook meals because I was so horribly busy working for the government.

The following examples come from a story about two counsellors advising the khan. Both are nonsensical answers by a counsellor attempting to ingratiate himself with his sovereign:

- ᠮᠠᠨ ᠦ ᠬᠠᠲᠤᠨ ᠦ ᠨᠢᠳᠦ ᠶᠠᠭᠠᠬᠢᠭᠠᠳ ᠡᠢᠮᠦ ᠶᠡᠬᠡ ᠡᠪᠡᠳᠳᠡᠭ ᠪᠣᠯᠣᠭ᠎ᠠ ᠪᠦᠢ?
- ᠠ ᠬᠦᠭᠡᠷᠦᠬᠦᠢ ᠣᠯᠠᠨ ᠬᠡᠦᠬᠡᠳ ᠲᠥᠷᠦᠭᠦᠯᠦᠭᠰᠡᠨ ᠦ ᠬᠢ᠃
- Манай хатны нүд яагаад ийм их өвддөг болоо вэ?
- А хөөрхий олон хүүхэд төрүүлснийх.
-Why have the queen's eyes become so bad?
- Because she bore so many children.
- ᠮᠢᠨᠤ ᠡᠨᠡ ᠰᠠᠬᠠᠯ ᠶᠠᠭᠠᠬᠢᠭᠠᠳ ᠡᠢᠮᠦ ᠶᠡᠬᠡ ᠤᠷᠭᠤᠭ᠎ᠠ ᠪᠣᠢ?
- ᠬᠠᠭᠠᠨ ᠲᠠ ᠪᠣᠣᠪᠤ ᠶᠡᠬᠡ ᠵᠣᠭᠣᠭᠯᠠᠭᠰᠠᠨ ᠦ ᠬᠢ᠃
- Миний энэ сахал яагаад ийм их ургаа вэ?
- Хаан та боов их зооглосоных.
- Why does my beard grow so much?
- Khan, because you ate a lot of cakes.