1) DECLARATIVE MOOD (An introduction to Nitinaht Language and Culture, by Tom Hess and John Thomas, page 4 and Appendix)
-s (first-person singular)
-ʔas (second-person singular)
-ʔa (third-person singular)
-id (first-person plural)
-ʔasu (second-person plural)
If I want to declare "that is an arrow" (hadɫiy̓k means "arrow", yaa means "that") I have to attach the third-person singular to the word hadɫiy̓k
hadɫiy̓k̓a yaa -- (arrow-be-3sg that). The final letter -k absorbs the glottal stop in -ʔa . The suffix -ʔa conveys the meaning of "third-person singular declarative mood". So hadɫiy̓k̓a means "it-is-arrow".
2) INFORMATIONAL INTERROGATIVE MOOD (used with words that are inherently interrogative, like ʔač- "who" or baq "what") - page 12:
-qiks (first-person singular)
-qik (second-person singular)
-qii (third-person singular)
-qikid (first person plural)
-qiksu (second person plural)
If I need the new information about someone's name (that is, if I want to ask "What are you called?") I have to take the interrogative root ʔač- "who" and the suffix -kʷaqɫ that means "call" or "name", then I have to choose the "second-person singular suffix of the informational interrogative mood", which is -qik, and put all together:
ʔač + kʷaqɫ + qik = ʔačkʷaqɫqik (What-to.be.cal-you?) = What are you called?/What is your name?
But there is a problem. There must be a change in the last suffix -qik. The letter q "is lost when immediately preceded by a consonant that is in the same syllable" (page 13). Since -q- comes after ɫ, which is in the same syllable of the letter -q-, this one has to be deleted. So, the resulting question is: ʔačkʷaqɫik -- "What are you called?". There is no rising intonation in Ditidaht, even when we ask questions. There is no use of the interrogation mark.
3) CONFIRMATIONAL INTERROGATIVE MOOD (used to form questions with words that are not inherently interrogative, like "Are you going to school?") -- page 12:
-qaks (first-person singular)
-qak (second-person singular)
-qaa (third-person singular)
-qakid (first person plural)
-qaksu (second person plural)
If I want to get a confirmation about someone's name, I have to say "Are you called John?". In Ditidaht, I have to take the "non interrogative root" ʔu-, that "serves primarily as a stem for the addition of content suffixes" (page 106) such as -kʷaqɫ ("name"); then I have to take the suffix -kʷaqɫ that means "call" or "name", then I have to choose the "second-person singular suffix of the confirmational interrogative mood", which is -qak, and put all together:
ʔu + kʷaqɫ +qak = ʔukʷaqɫak. The question is: ʔukʷaqɫak John. (Are you caled John?) (note that the letter q of the last suffix "is lost when immediately preceded by a consonant that is in the same syllable")
?u- + suffix is often used in contexts where the information is not new. In the above example, it seems to me that the name of the person is John, but I am not sure of it. So I ask him for a confirmation.
s = as in "sun"
Taaqa wari. (The) man ran. (wari marks the notion of completeness of the action)
Taaqa warikiwta. "(the) man is-running". ("durative form")
Sometimes the two forms can be totally different:
Kawayo nöösa. (The) horse ran (I think kawayo is a borrowing from Spanish)
Kawayo tuumoyta. (The) horse is-running.
nu' -- "I", um -- "you", pam -- "he/she/it", actually "that" (it can be omitted), itam -- "we", uma - "you (plural)", puma -- "they", actually "those" (it can be omitted)
The singular of nouns can differ quite a lot from their plural:
taawa "man" - taataqt "men", tiyo "boy" - tootim "boys", kawayo "horse" - kawayom "horses", wuuti "woman" - momoyam "women"
This happens also with verbs:
pitu "arrive" - öki "arrive (with plural subjects)", qatu "sit" - yeese "sit (plural)"
Taawa qatu. The man sits (subject anc verb are singular)
Taataqt yeese. The men sit (subject and verb are plural)
Eastern Aleut (Unangam Tunuu)
ng = like ng in "sing"
Object personal pronouns:
ting ("me"), txin ("you", but also "himself", "herself", "itself"), tuman ("us"), txichin ("you all"), txidin ("themselves")
Ayagaadax̂ lakaayax̂ sismikux̂. (literally: Girl boy helps) - The girl is helping the boy.
Ayagaadax̂ ting sismikux̂. (literally: Girl me helps) - The girl is helping me.
Lakaayax̂ txin sismikux̂. (literally: Boy you helps) - The boy helps you.
Txin sismikuqing. (You.object help-I.person) - I'm helping you. This structure is not at all alien to me, since in Italian (my mother language) it is the same: "Ti aiuto" (ti = txin, aiuto = sismikuqing)
These pronouns can be used also for the reflexive conjugation:
Ting achixkuqing. (me help.I.person) I am teaching me (myself)
Lakaayan txidin sismikun. (Boys them help.III.person) The boys are helping themselves (=each other).
The previous sentence is translatable word by word into Italian (apart from the articles, which are absent in Aleut): "I ragazzi si aiutano" (ragazzi = lakaayan, si = txidin, aiutano = sismikun).
I find Aleut very easy...But on page 13 (as I wrote, the book I use is Kawalangim tunugan kaduuǧingin - Eastern Aleut Grammar and Lexicon, by Knut Bergsland and Moses Dirks) there are problems. How can we say: "I'm helping him/them"? In the above list, there are no forms of the third person singular and plural object pronoun...
When the object is "him", "her", "it", or "them", we have to use a different set of suffixes. I think this is an ergative construction. Here is the paradigm (not complete) of the subject-object conjugation, when the object is the third-person singular and plural (with some examples) (if the object is expressed by a full noun, we cannot use them, but we use the subject endings):
-kung = I (subject) - him/her/ it (object)
-kuning = I (subject) - them (object)
Sismikuning = I'm helping them.
But: Lakaayan sismikuqing (lit. Boys help.I.pers) I'm helping the boys (we use here the subject ending, and not the subject-object ending, because the object is a noun)
-kuun = you (subject) - him/her/ it (object)
-kutxin = you (subject) - them (object)
Sismikuun = You are helping him/her/it .
But: Ayagaadax̂ sismikux̂txin. (Lit. girl help.II.person) You are helping the girl.
-m (attached to the subject) / -kuu = he/she (subject) - him/her/ it (object)
-m (attached to the subject) / -kungin = he/she (subject) - them (object)
Lakaayam sukuu. The boy took it.
-kungin = we (subject) - him/her/it or them (object)
Sismikungin = We are helping him/her/it or them (depending on the context)
-kuchin = you all (subject) - him/her/it or them (object)
Sismikuchin = You all are helping him/her/it or them (depending on the context)
Last edited by Massimiliano B
on 2017-12-11, 15:13, edited 1 time in total.