I think I saw this in another post, but I can't find it now...

Can you use adjectives to denote possession? I was reading this cute Christmas story and saw this usage:

En la patrina koro

and this:

en la patraj okuloj

The only way I can understand this is as "in the mother's heart..." and "in the father's eyes". Is this correct? Is this common, or just a very poetic turn of phrase?

2 Answers 2


En la patrina koro means in the motherly heart. The heart has a motherly quality. However, we don't know who owns the heart. Even though I am a man, I could have a motherly heart.

En la koro de patrino means in the heart of a mother.

La koro de la ŝtono batas

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(source: splicedwire.com)

La ŝtona koro ne batas

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Generally, no you don't use adjectives to denote possession. Words like mia, lia, ilia etc. look like adjectives, but they're not.

Patrina brusto clearly means mother's chest in the same way that patrina lakto is a mother's milk - a kind of milk, not necessarily milk belonging to the mother (although in this case it's clear that we're talking about the boy's mother's chest.)

You'll occasionally see someone turn a proper name into an adjective to the same effect. It's not very common, though.

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