Absolutive Descriptives

Absolutive Descriptives

Author: Étienne Ljóni Poisson

MS Date: 05-12-2016

FL Date: 06-01-2016

FL Number: FL-000039-00

Citation: Poisson, Étienne Ljóni. 2016. «Absolutive

Descriptives.» FL-000039-00, Fiat Lingua,
. Web. 01 June 2016.

Copyright: © 2016 Étienne Ljóni Poisson. This work is
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

Fiat Lingua is produced and maintained by the Language Creation Society (LCS). For more information
about the LCS, visit http://www.conlang.org/

Absolutive Descriptives

A Description of a Novel Verbal Component in Siwa

Étienne Ljóni Poisson

Abstract: Siwa is an apriori conlang set in pre-Columbian Quebec whose

protolanguage emerged at the end of the last glacial maximum in Europe and

subsequently migrated to North America. In this essay, a component of verbal

morphology is described which has not been indentified in natural languages, though

it may be likened to Japanese counter words. Absolutive descriptives are

monosyllabic infixes that add directly to verb stems and add information about the

absolutive argument. Interestingly, Siwa is an active-stative language and does not

display ergative-absolutive alignment. The article is part of the language’s complete

grammatical description, A Descriptive Grammar of Siwa.

Absolutive descriptives are infixes which can be added directly to the root of verbs and the copula. They are
housed in the slot 1 of verbs (directly onto the root)1. They are called absolutive descriptives because their
main function is to describe the shape, state, form or nature of absolutive arguments, that is to say the
subjects of intransitive verbs and the objects of transitive verbs. There are nine such markers and each
describes a category of characteristics, usually descriptive of the shape or form of the arguments. Absolutive
descriptives have four main functions.

They describe the shape/state/form/nature of:

1.

2.

3.

The subject of an intransitive verb

The object of a transitive verb

The change of state of the subject of translative or passive intransitive verbs or the object of causal
transitive verbs

They can also act as adverbs, generally describing the way in which the action is performed. Some
descriptives may combine to form a more specific derivative and some extra descriptives exist but are very
restricted in use (dialectally or in certain fixed expressions).
!
Absolutive descriptives are attached directly to the verb stem. Verb stems ending in a consonant see
no change, whereas verb stems ending in a vowel have vowel coalescence. The absolutive descriptive
markers lose their initial vowel if they precede an identical vowel.
!
final verbs use regular postverbal vowels:

For the formation of the past, the stem vowel is re-used after the absolutive descriptive. Consonant-

!
!
#
!
!

sokli·a ! !
[ˈsɔkl:ia]
sokl=i-a-Ø-Ø
hoist-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X will hoist Y’

1 Siwa verbs can be preceded by three preverbal slots and followed by nine postverbal slots.

!
!
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!
!

!
!
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!
!

!
!
#
!
!

!
!
#
!
!
!
!
!
#
!
!

sokl·u·a !
[ˈsɔkl:ua]
sokl-u-a-Ø-Ø
hoist-past-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X hoisted Y’

sokl·ohk·u·a !
[ˈsɔkl:ɔhkua]
sokl-ohk-u-a-Ø-Ø
hoist-ohk-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X hoisted (a heavy thing/container)’

!

ked·a !
[ˈcʰeda]
ked-a-Ø-Ø
carry-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X will carry Y’

kedd·a! !
[ˈcʰet:a]
ke

-a-Ø-Ø
carry.PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X carried Y’

kedd·ohk·a !
[ˈcʰet:ɔhka]
ke

-ohk-a-Ø-Ø
carry.PAST-ohk-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X carried (something heavy)’

Siwa allows its speaker to state where or what something is by referring to it indirectly, only giving

Absolutive Descriptives are not required for any verb, but are common in story telling and more vivid or
expressive speech. They may also be found with the copula of there-existential sentences (or other there-
existential verbs). In this case, the absolutive descriptives refer to the argument of the copula.
!
information about the shape or nature of the argument.
!
Syntactically, absolutive descriptives often occur once the object of the verb has already been
mentioned, in which case they function as a descriptive of the argument. New objects however can be
introduced with a descriptive whose function is then adverbial. And as stated above, the descriptives may
also give information about the state of the argument as induced by the verb:

!
#
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!
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#
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nubm·aht·a elepri !
[ˈnʊʔpmahta ˈelɛpxi]
nu-aht-a-Ø eleba-ri
catch.PAST-aht-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG flower-PAT
‘X gathered flowers (into a bouquet)’

!

sarkk·ahp·i·a !
[ˈsark:ahpia]
sarkk-ahp-i-a-Ø-Ø
break-ahp-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X broke Y into a point or a flake’

Compare the basic verb form iruita ‘X bit into Y’ when used with absolutive descriptive:

!
!
#
!
!
or!

!

iribuita! !
[iˈribuida]
i-r-ib-u-i-ta-Ø
DIT-bite-ib-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR-into-3P.AG.SG
‘X bit into (something small)’
‘a child/boy/girl bit into it’

!
!
#
!
!

!
!
#
!
!

!
!
#
!
!

!

iriuluita! !
[iˈriuluida]
i-r-iul-u-i-ta-Ø
DIT-bite-iul-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR-into-3P.AG.SG
‘X bit into (something ripe)’

irebuita~irįubuita!
[iˈrebuida ~ iˈrjubuida]
i-r-eb/įub-u-i-ta-Ø
DIT-bite-eb/įub-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR-into-3P.AG.SG
‘X bit into (something fresh/new)’

!

irohnuita!
[iˈrohnuida]
i-r-ohn-u-i-ta-Ø
DIT-bite-ohn-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR-into-3P.AG.SG
‘X bit into (something dry)’

!
!
#
!
!
or!

!

irohkuita!
[iˈrohkuida]
i-r-ohk-u-i-ta-Ø
DIT-bite-ohk-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR-into-3P.AG.SG
‘X bit into (something big)’
‘X took a big bite of X’

Compare these examples to the same verb but lacking a patientive argument (changing the verb from
locative ditransitive to intransitive). The absolutive descriptive then describes the subject of the verb (the
active agent).

!

!

ribui!
[ˈribui]
r-ib-u-i-Ø
bite-ib-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.SG
‘a child/small animal bit’

!
!
#
!
!

-AHP-

This absolutive descriptive is generally associated with long, flat, pointy or sharp objects, although large open
spaces (skies, rivers, fields) may also be found with -ahp- then accentuating the openness, flatness or
emptiness of the space. Below are examples of words which may trigger the use of absolutive descriptive –
ahp- or may be referred to implicitly by it.

pointy / sharp / horned / hoofed / hard

#
!

ỉhpi#
usġas!

#
!

‘arrow head, point’
‘flake’

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
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!
!
!

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#
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#
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eteri !
!
ennįu ! !
ỉrri !
!
tapaki ! !
!
nůįů !
!
sira!
aihha ! !
!
okęhi !
rỉdni !
!
!
rỉ !
salama!!
!
goi !
nyly!
!
!
tảs !
mokkuo#!

‘spear’
‘pole’
‘arrow’
‘knife’
‘knife’
‘fish’
‘needle, thorn’ (and by extension all thorny plants)
‘pine needle’ (and by extension all trees with needles)
‘itch’ (and by extension most pains)
‘tooth’
‘antler/caribou’ (and by extension all livestock)
‘point, edge’
‘nose, snout’
‘nose’
‘beak’

!

!

!

gỉkkahpuma!
[ˈɟi:ʔkahpuma]
gỉkk-ahp-um-a-Ø-Ø
sharpen-ahp-OBLI-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X must sharpen (a knife/spear)’

!

!

!

!

usarkkahpui#
[uˈsark:ahpui]
u-sarkk-ahp-u-i-Ø
PASS-break-ahp-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.SG
‘X was broken into an arrow/point’

!

tsuoknahpua to hemi!
[ˈtsʊɔʔŋahpua tʰɔ ˈhemi]
tsuokn-ahp-u-a-Ø to hemi-Ø
snatch-ahp-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT 3P.ACT.SG.ANI bird-ACT
‘the bird snatched (a fish/bone)’

!

įahrahpa tṡeddįet!
[ˈjahrahpa ˈʨeʥ:ɛʔe]
<įahr>-ahp-a-Ø tṡeddįet-Ø
kill.PAST-ahp-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT old.man-ACT
‘the old man killed (a caribou/fish)’

!

nantahpu ritṡa# !
[ˈnantahpu ˈriʨa]
na-ahp-u ri-tṡa
break.PAST-ahp-ASS.CONCL.TRANSL tooth-PAT
‘a (sharp/pointy) tooth broke’

knirahpippen ma benho!!
[ˈkʰnirahpɪʔpɛn ma ˈbɛnhɔ]
knir-ahp-i-ppen m-a benho-Ø
smell-ahp-ASS.INCONCL.ITR-FREQU COP.PAST.INCONCL-ASS.TR dog-ACT
‘the dog was sniffing around with its (long) snout’

long / flat / open / straight

#
#
!
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!
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#
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#
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#
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!

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gįaukama #
kven#
#
alahra! !
!
birgo!
!
kili!
!
tini!
givo!
!
ehrana! !
nomono!
deumu! !
#
demo#
!
nỉdla!
!
sẻu!
!
dỉn!
!
eulhi!
!
atsio !

‘down, feathers’
‘feather’
‘floating log’
‘beam, log’
‘wood’
‘fire wood’ (by extension also fires)
‘nail’
‘stick to hunt fish’
‘fang’
‘bone (tissue)’
‘(single) bone’
‘face, surface’
‘river’
‘barren field’
‘grassy field’
‘glade’ (and by extension other landscape features)

!

buikkahpuma tsi hemi#
[ˈbʊɪʔkahpuma tsi ˈhemi]
buikk-ahp-um-a-Ø tsi hemi-Ø
pluck-ahp-OBLI-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG 3P.DAT.SG bird-DAT
‘one needs to pluck the bird (of its feathers)’

#

tileḍḍahpini ůvvita#
[tʰiˈleð:ahpini ˈøw:ida]
t-i-le<ḍḍ>-ahp-i-ni ůvv-ita
3P.UNAG-float-ahp-ASS.CONCL.ITR-CISLOC here-ILLAT
‘a log/beam floated over here’

!

setġahpan ůaddįa!
[ˈsɛt:xahpan ˈøæʥ:a]
setġ-ahp-a-Ø-n ůa-ddįa
put-ahp-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-2P.IMP right.here
‘put it (wood, logs) right here’

!

so solukkahpui-a?#
[ˈs:ɔlʊʔkahpuja]
so s-o-lukk-ahp-u-i–a
INTERR 2P.UNAG.SG-SUBJ-prick-ahp-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR-INTERR
‘did you prick yourself (with something sharp)?’

!

suḍḍahpi sůbů# #
[ˈsuð:ahpi ˈsøbø]
su<ḍḍ>-ahp-i s<ůbů>
flow-ahp-ASS.CONCL.ITR river-PAT
‘the river (narrowly, flatly) flowed’

!

idedlahpabi (nomono)#
[iˈdetɬahpɑbi (ˈnɔmɔnɔ)]
i-de

-ahp-a-bi-Ø (nomono-Ø)
DIT-show-ahp-ASS.CONCL.TR-1P.PL.RECI-3P.AG.SG (fangs-DAT)
‘X showed us its (pointy fangs)’

!
!
#
!
!

!
!
#
!
#

!

tatṡilahpippen!
!
[tʰaˈʨilahpɪʔpɛn]
ta-tṡil-ahp-i-ppen-Ø
3P.PAT-hang-ahp-ASS.CONCL.TR-FREQU
‘(bone, knife) hangs’

neynůrahpi ġųenneįa eutṡagi#
[ˈneønørahpi ˈxwen:eja ˈeuʨɑji]
neynůr-ahp-i ġųe-įa eu-tṡa-gi
billow-ahp-ASS.CONCL.ITR wind-INESS grassy.field-PAT-PL
‘the (flat, long) grassy fields are billowing in the wind’

#
!
#
!
!
or !

!

rekkahpaįu rekkes!
[ˈrɛʔkahpɑju ˈrɛʔcɛs]
rekk-ahp-aį-u rekke-s
open-ahp-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR sky-PAT
‘the sky opened (widely) up’
‘the sky opened up (in a narrow band)’

!
!
#
!
!

#
#
#
!
!

!
#
#
!
!

!

!

nenahpin!!
[ˈnenahpɪn]
nen-ahp-i-n
sit-ahp-ASS.CONCL.ITR-2P.SG.IMP!
‘sit straight’

oġa on misas, sarkkahpia įu
[ˈɔxãɔ̃ ˈmisas ˈsark:ahpiaju]
-a-Ø on misas-Ø, sarkk-ahp-i-a-Ø-Ø įu
take.PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG ON rock-DAT, break-ahp-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG ĮU
‘X took the rock and broke it (into a point or flake)’

tṡanda on demo, dįiḍgahpia įu
[ˈʨandãɔ̃ ˈdemɔ, ˈʥɪðgahpiaju]
tṡa-a-Ø on demo-Ø, dįi<ḍg>-ahp-i-a-Ø-Ø įu
find.PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG ON bone-DAT, carve-ahp-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.SG ĮU
‘X found a bone and carved it (into something long and sharp)’

-ATST- or -ADDĮ-

This absolutive descriptive is similar to -ahp- but usually also entails some sort of fragility, breakability or
flexibility which -ahp- lacks. In opposition to -aht-, -atst- can also imply loose, not bound. -atst- is also
sometimes used when talking about women and children to underline their fragility. The difference between –
ahp- and -atst- is that the former refers to long, solid or hard things (like a spear, large branch, pole, big stick)
while the latter refers to long, fragile or thin things (like a branch, blade, a stick).

thin / long / narrow / fragile
#
#
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

!
hide#
hiri!
!
kẻppa! !
!
miebi!
naųi!
!
tsġiame#!
nidagan!
!
aihha!

‘hair’ (when loose)
‘hair’ (on body)
‘arm’ (of women or children)
‘leg’
‘waist’
‘cedar strip’
‘stripe’
‘needle’ (for sewing)

!
!
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#
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!

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#
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!

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#
!
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aihhabi! !
!
baįa!
letse!
!
kaibmu!!
!
tvela!
!
holi!
įeigge! !
!
moni!
!
mykyt!
!
rodlot!

‘coniferous branch’
‘branch’
‘stick/pole’
‘stick, walking stick, support’
‘blade’
‘stem’
‘path’ (in snow)
‘path, way’
‘way along a river’
‘wrinkle’ (and by extension old faces)

!

suḍḍatsti hiedi# !
[ˈsuð:atst:i ˈhieʥi]
su<ḍḍ>-atst-i hi<Ø>e-di
flow.PAST-atst-ASS.CONCL.ITR hair-PAT!
‘X’s hair flowed (unbound)’

!

isyvvatstakin tieka#
[iˈsyw:atst:ɑɟɪn ˈtiega]
i-syvv-atst-a-ki-n tie-ka
DIT-show-atst-ASS.CONCL.TR-1P.RECI.SG-2P.SG.IMP hand-GEN!
‘show me your hand (to a child/woman)’

!

de įu sopratstaįagįen#
[deju ˈsɔpxatst:ɑjɑj:ɛn]
de įu sopr-atst-a-įa-gįen
so then split-atst-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT.PL-4P.AG!
‘then we split them (into long thin strips)’

!

nantatstu aihka#!
[ˈnantatst:u ˈaɪhka]
na-atst-u aihha-ka
break.PAST-atst-ASS.CONCL.TRANSL needle-PAT!
‘the (thin) sewing needle broke’

!

aḍgatstami letsġeita!
[ˈaðgatst:ɑmi ˈlɛtsxeida]
a<ḍg>-atst-a-Ø-mi le-ita
cut-atst-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-1P.AG.SG stick-ILLAT!
‘I cut X into sticks’

!

katamakatsti rỉhta!
[kʰɑtɑˈmɑkatst:i ˈri:hta]
kata-mak-atst-i rỉ=h-ta
from-goes-atst-ASS.CONCL.ITR skin-PAT!
‘the skin is peeling off in flakes’

!

!

oahkurtatsti#
[ˈɔahkʊrtatst:i]
oahkur-t-atst-i-Ø
test-PAST-atst-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.SG!
‘X tested the snow’s depth (with a blade, stick)’

!

!

oahkurrahpi!
[ˈɔahkur:ahp:i]
oahkurr-ahp-i-Ø
test-ahp-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.SG!
‘X tested the snow’s depth (with a long branch, spear)

!

!

konatsti nata!
[ˈkɔnatst:i ˈnɑta]
kon-atst-i n-a-ta
walk-atst-ASS.ITR COP.INCONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG!
‘X is walking (with a walking stick/cane)’

!

!

kataḍgatsta!
[kʰɑtˈaðgatst:a]
kat-a<ḍg>-atst-a-Ø-Ø
from-cut.PAST-atst-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG!
‘X cut (a branch/stem/strip) off’

!

!

gakodatstiri!
[gɑˈkɔdatst:iri]
ga-ko-atst-i-ri
along-walk.PAST-atst-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.PL!
‘they walked in a queue/path’

!

nẻuntaddįia kiḍba!
[ˈnø:ntɑʥ:ia ˈcʰɪðba]
nẻunt-addį-i-a-Ø ki=ḍba
close-atst-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG eyes-DAT!
‘X closed its (wrinkly/thin) eyes’

!

!

mahhaddįoḥa!
[ˈmɑ:hɑʥ:ɔʔa]
mahh-addį-oḥa
follow-atst-1P.PL.IMP!
‘let’s follow (the river, path)’

akatstake omi deiko oġami tsġiauhdi
[ˈɑkatst:ɑɟe ˈɔmi deigɔ ˈɔxɑmi ˈtsxɪaʊhʥi]
ak-atst-a-ke omi d-e-iko -a-mi tsġiaug-di
cut-atst-TR-LINK.GOAL for COP-INFER-ELAT.REL take.PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-1P.AG.SG cedar.wood-GEN
‘I took cedar wood in order to cut out of it (tsġiame ‘cedar stripes)’

tetatsta sviladi nogįita
[ˈtʰetatst:a ˈsvilɑʥi ˈnɔj:ida]
-a-atst-a-Ø-Ø svia-di nogį-ita
place.PAST-atst-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG braid-GEN at.end.ILLAT
‘X placed Y (a hair needle) at the end of X’s braid’

cf.!
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!
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!

-AHT-

This absolutive descriptive is used for things bound, packed or contained but also for things that are
scattered around or large and/or formless (skins, things that have to be spread out). The words below are
likely to trigger or be found with the absolutive descriptive -aht-. It may also confer an idea of ‘tight’ or ‘full’ to

verbs such as utṡua ‘pack’, seta/setġa ‘put’, nůria ‘load, stuff’ and hiddįuįa ‘stack’ and ha ‘to eat’ (especially
o·h·aht·i ‘to eat oneself full’).

large / formless / scattered / stuffed / packed
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#
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
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!

‘bag, pouch’
‘pouch, leather pouch’
‘stuffed stomach, belly’
‘baby, foetus’
‘roof, skins’
‘skin with fur’
‘animal skin’
‘skin, bark’
‘(human) skin’
‘(human) skin’
‘stretched skin, window’
‘deer skin’ (and by extension living deer)
‘seal skin’ (and by extension living seals)

noṡmo# !
bename!
pęles!
!
keggas!!
bengomu!
damu!
!
įasuma!!
iri!
!
kehma! !
rỉhko!
!
nuobmo!
!
puna!
pỷbme! !

#

#

!

isetġahtaitan#
[iˈsɛt:xahtɑidan]
i-setġ-aht-a-ita-Ø-n
DIT-put-aht-ASS.CONCL.TR-into-3p.pat-2P.SG.IMP!
‘put X into y (by stuffing it, pushing it, packing it)’

tymutṡuahtan õkki!
[tymˈuʨʊahtan ˈɔ̃ʔci]
tym-utṡu-aht-a-n omi-ki
down-press-aht-ASS.CONCL.TR-2P.SG.IMP snow-GEN
‘compress the snow (tightly together)’

!

omahtimi!
[ɔˈmahʨimi]
o--aht-i-mi
subj-eat.PAST-aht-ASS.CONCL.ITR-1P.AG.SG
‘I ate too much/until I was full’

!

kedahti na!
[ˈcʰedahʨina]
ked-aht-i n-a-Ø
carry-aht-ASS.TR COP.INCONCL-3P.AG.SG
‘she is with child’

iųavvahtumagga!
[iˈwɑw:ahtumɑk:a]
i-ųavv-aht-um-a-Ø-gga
DIT-spread-aht-OBLI-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-1P.AG.PL.INCL
‘we have to spread (the skin, something that was packed) out’

vanahta nuomoma!
[ˈvɑnahta ˈnuɔmɔma]
van-aht-a-Ø nuoo-ma
stretch-aht-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG skin-GEN
‘X will stretch the skin out (after having been packed)’

!
!
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!

The absolutive descriptive -aht- is also used with things after falling to the ground and scattering or to
allude to complex/complicated objects/tasks.

enclosed / contained / bound / dead

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nęnnu# !
!
ohkis!
!
saiųu!
!
kolra!
!
korủ!
!
ailme!
!
tulmu!
amoi!
!
!
horet!
amora! !
tảhma! !
!
bỉlin!
tṡoadįun!
sảhpa! !
mahhįi! !
!
helba!
!
ipro!
!
rohtot!
!
įata!
!
tsġůli!
!
nįẻut!
!
hide!
!
vebo!

‘box, container’
‘birch bark box’
‘pot, safe place’
‘large container/pot/tub’
‘pot’
‘tanned skin’
‘clothing’ (and by extention all clothes)
‘blood’ (inside the body)
‘body, torso’
‘vein’
‘heart’
‘liver’
‘intestines, guts’
‘lungs’
‘fallen bear’
‘[pregnant] female moose’ (and by extension liota ‘female bear’)
‘carcass’
‘hollow tree’ (by extension, old/abandoned/long dead structures/animals)
‘bowl’
‘skull’ (and by extension, all animal heads)
‘package, parcel, bundle’
‘hair’ (when tied)
‘knot’

!

!

utṡodahti#
[uˈʨɔdahʨi]
u-tṡod-aht-i-Ø
PASS-hold-aht-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.PAT
‘X is held (in a box)’

!

!

luhhahti# nata#
[ˈluh:ahʨi ˈnɑta]
luhh-aht-i na-ta
boil-aht-ASS.ITR COP.INCONCL-3P.PAT
‘(a pot) is boiling’

iruollahtaki tulmuma tobika#
[iˈruɔl:ahtɑɟi ˈtʰʊlmuma ˈtʰɔbiga]
i-ruo-aht-a-ki tulmu-ma tobi-Ø-ka
DIT-roll.PAST-aht-ASS.CONCL..TR-1P.RECI.SG clothes-GEN sister-ACT-1P.PAT.SG
‘my older sister folded me clothes (into a container)’

!
bủbmuahti tảhma!
[ˈbu:ʔpmʊahʨi ˈtʰæ:hma]
bủbmo-aht-i tảhma-Ø
beat-aht-ASS.CONCL.ITR heart-ACT
‘the heart beats (in the chest)’

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!
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!
!

#
!
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!
!

!

!

nįerterahtaka!
[ˈnjɛrterahtɑga]
nįerter-aht-a-ka
smart-aht-ASS.CONCL.TR-1P.PAT.SG
‘I have chest pains’

!

konahti ma helba!
[ˈkʰɔnahʨi ma ˈhɛlba]
kon-aht-i m-a helba-Ø
walk-aht-ASS.ITR COP.INCONCL-ASS.TR pregnant.female.moose-ACT
‘the female moose was walking (heavily due to pregnancy)’

!

ṡoṡia rihnahtui iprua!
[ˈɕɔɕia ˈrɪhnahtui ˈɪpxua]
ṡoṡ-ia rihn-aht-u-i ipro-a-Ø
every-INESS is.scattered-aht-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR carcass-PL-ACT
‘there were carcasses scattered on the ground everywhere’

#

medġahta tsġůldi#
[ˈmɛðxahta ˈtsxœlʥi]
me-aht-a-Ø tsġůli-di
shake.PAST-aht-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG skull-GEN
‘X shook the (empty) skull’

!

omauḍgahtas hide!
[ɔˈmaʊðgahtas ˈhide]
om-auḍg-aht-a-Ø-s hide-Ø
SUBJ-tie-aht-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG-HABT hair-DAT
‘X usually ties her hair into a bun’

kiggahtaįa on, tůtatiellia de suvo
[ˈcʰik:ahtɑjãɔ̃ tʰøtɑˈtiel:ia de ˈsuvɔ]
ki-aht-a-įa-Ø on tů-ta-tiell-i-a-Ø de suvo-Ø
pick.up.PAST-ahta-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT.PL-3P.AG.SG ON down-3P.ACT.UNAG-miss-PAST-ASS.COCNL.TR DE berry-DAT
‘X missed the berries down and picked them up (from being scattered/into a container/gathered
together)’

įasuma kedahta kepsi-ho gaįo
[ˈjɑsuma ˈcʰedahta ˈcʰɛps:ihɔ ˈgɑjɔ]
įasuma-Ø ked-aht-a kepsi-Ø–ho g-a-io-Ø
tanned.skin-AGT carry-aht-TR mushroom-DAT-3P.ANI.POSS COP.PAST-ASS-INESS.REL-3P.AG.SG
‘the skin in which X carried mushrooms (as a bag)’

-IB- or -IḌB-

This absolutive descriptive is generally descriptive is small and young things and can carry a diminutive
conotation as well. It is commonly used in speech with children. The form -iḍb- is especially common for round
things or things that roll. Unlike other absolutive descriptives, it is often used to describe the subject of verbs
whether they are transitive or intransitive, especially if the subject is a child.

round / fat / little / small / fine / young / ripe
#

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!
hogi!
!
bieli!
!
tṡibi!
!
ẻno!
!
hylys!
!
kydly!
!
kori!
dida!
!
tṡegma!!
!
kỉgįini!
!
nįunni!
!
suvo!
pivi!
!
!

‘ball, pearl’
‘fat’!
‘baby, toddler’
‘little bay’
‘little/thin person’
‘bell, little girl’
‘boy’
‘girl’
‘child’
‘youngest child’
‘little child’
‘berry’ (and by extension all berries and fruits)
‘cheek’ (and by extension young/healthy faces)

!

manibin!!
[ˈmɑnibɪn]
man-ib-i-n
come-ib-ASS.CONCL.ITR-2P.SG.IMP!
‘come here (to a child)’

mairibi! !
[ˈmɑiribi]
mair-ib-
laugh-ib-PAST.ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.SG!
‘X giggled, X laughed (of something small, cutely)’

!

tṡitṡibi!
!
[ˈʨiʨibi]
tṡitṡ-ib-i-Ø
crawl-ib-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.SG!
‘X crawls around (of a child)’

!

tiddiḍbi! !
[ˈtid:ɪðbi]
t-i

-iḍb-i
3P.PAT-fall-iḍb-ASS.CONCL.ITR!
‘X fell (and rolled around)’

!

biaiḍbakin!
[ˈbɪaɪðbɑɟɪn]
bia-iḍb-a-Ø-ki-n
throw-iḍb-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-1P.RECI.SG-2P.SG.IMP!
‘throw X at me (by rolling it on the ground)’

!

!

edġibi!
[ˈɛðxibi]
e-ib-i-Ø
sit.down.PAST-ib-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.SG!
‘the boy/girl/child sat down’

!
!
#
!
!
or!

!

hiḍbaundan!
[ˈhɪḍbaʊndan]
h-iḍb-a-unda-n
eat-iḍb-ASS.CONCL.TR-DIM-2P.SG.IMP
‘eat a few (berries)’
‘eat a few (to a child)’

!

nẻuntiban!
[ˈnø:nʨiban]
nẻunt-ib-a-Ø-n
close-ib-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-2P.SG.IMP!
‘close (your eyes)’

kediba nata
[ˈcʰediba ˈnɑta]
ked-ib-a n-a-Ø-ta
carry-ib-TR COP.INCONCL-ASS-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X is carrying a baby/is pregnant’

sġittiba ṡoṡia nįunnie
[ˈsxɪʔtiba ˈɕɔɕia ˈɲun:ie]
ṡgi-ib-a ṡoṡ=ia nįunni-Ø-e
there.is.little.PAST-ib-ASS every.INESS child-AGT-PL
‘there were little children everywhere’

!
!
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!
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!

-IKS-

This absolutived descriptive is often used in pair with the pejorative or things perceived to be old, broken, no
good or bad. It can also be found to refer to tools and stones. In combination with the pejorative, the preverb
aiḥ- ‘wrongly’, -iks- can be added to verbs to confer a sense of performing the action in a completely wrong
way:

!
!
#
!
!

!
!
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!
!

!

gỉkka nůįůma nana!
[ˈɟi:ʔka ˈnøjøma ˈnɑna]
gỉkk-a nůįů-ma n-a-na
sharpen-ASS.TR knife-GEN COP.INCONCL-TR-2P.AG.SG!
‘you are sharpening your knife’

aiḥeggỉkkiksa nůįůma nana !
[ɑiʔeˈɟi:ʔka ˈnøjøma ˈnɑna]
aiḥe-gỉkk-a nůįů-ma n-a-na
wrong-sharpen-ASS.TR knife-GEN COP.INCONCL-TR-2P.AG.SG!
‘you are sharpening your knife all wrong’.

crooked / broken / cold / old / tools / pieces / arrows / projectiles
#
!
!
!
!
!

‘deciduous branch’
‘old woman’
‘old man’
‘older relative’
‘past, old times’

!
boġi!
!
nįuhhi!
tṡeddįet!!
!
iu!
!
davva!

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

!
!
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!
ṡeṡo!
!
kene!
!
kvispi!
!
eiḍbi!
eirpi!
!
soroko! !
!
kidįut!
!
ỉrri!
!
tỏ!

‘old tree’
‘broken/dead tree’
‘scraper’
‘cutter, carving tool’
‘tool’
‘piece’
‘part, room’ (and by extension most rooms)
‘arrow’
‘stone’

!

mansiksi tṡeddįet!
[ˈmansɪks:i ˈʨeʥ:ɛʔɛ]
ma-iks-i tṡeddįet-Ø
come.PAST-iks-ASS.CONCL.ITR old.man-ACT!
‘the old man came’

!

!

kodiksiḥḥen!
[ˈkɔdɪks:iʔɛn]
ko-iks-i-ḥḥen-Ø
walk.PAST-iks-ASS.CONCL.ITR-FREQU-3P.AG.SG!
‘(an old person) kept on talking’

!

!

iddiksi ṡeṡue#
[ˈi:t:ɪks:i ˈɕeɕue]
i

-iks-i ṡeṡo-e
fall.PAST-iks-ASS.CONCL.ITR old.tree-PAT!
‘an old tree fell’

!

delpiksumagga kene!
[ˈdɛlpɪks:umɑk:a ˈcʰene]
delp-iks-um-a-gga kene-Ø
flip.over-iks-OBL-ASS.CONCL.TR-1P.AG.PL dead.tree-DAT
‘we must flip the (old) dead tree over’

!

gỉkkiksa nami#
!
[ˈɟi:ʔcɪks:a ˈnɑmi]
gỉkk-iks-a n-a-Ø-mi
sharpen-iks-ASS.TR COP.INCONCL-TR-3P.PAT-1P.AG.SG
‘I am sharpening (the tool)’

!

aniksia! !
[aˈnɪks:ia]
a=n-isk-i-a-Ø-Ø
PAST.throw-iks-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG!
‘X threw (a stone)’

rostiksa oddįobmua-ho
[ˈrɔstɪk:sa ˈɔˈʥ:ɔʔpmuahɔ]
ro-iks-a odį=tṡobmu-Ø-a–ho
lies.there.PAST-iks-TR PEJ-finger-AGT-PL–3P.POSS.ANI
‘X’s old (crooked) fingers were lying there’

katakostiksa hõttamo
[kʰɑtɑkɔstɪk:sa ˈhɔ̃ʔtɑmɔ]
kata-ko-iks-a-Ø hõtta-mo
from-rip.PAST-iks-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT gust.of.wind-PAT
‘the gust of wind ripped it away (branch/arrow/piece of wood)’

-IPR-/-IBĠ- or -IUL-

These absolutive descriptives refer to things that are alive, moving, wet and may confer vigor to an absolutive
argument or the verb. The -iul- is especially common with liquids and wet things. Certain speakers add -ibġ- to
underline the animacy of the absolutive argument. The verb ṡiv·ibġ·i or ṡiv·ipr·i is often used with bad weather
(patientive).

lively / living / fresh / pretty / vivid / spry / plants / happy / bright / colored / intense / warm / clear
#

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ỏlma!
!
eleba!
!
ẻ#
#
!
kepsi!
homot! !
tsammi! !
!
tasko!
!
elet!
!
miuki!
!
nįelsi!
!
pỉhba!
!
ỉdlu!
!
gilra!
!
igmo!
!
butta!
!
rõtta!
uįo!
!
omġautṡaka!

‘leaf’ (and by extension all leaves or vegetation)
‘flower’ (and by extension all flowers)
‘plant’ (and by extension all plants)
‘mushroom’ (and by extension all fungi)
‘insect’ (and by extension all insects)
‘forest’
‘woods’
‘meadow’
‘bog’
‘sprig’
‘sapling’
‘sprout’
‘drizzly weather’
‘rapidly changing/unpredictable weather’
‘bad weather’
‘foggy weather’
‘(fresh/clear) water’ (and by extension all fresh water bodies)
‘fall colors’

!

ṡabṡibġui ġųenneįa ỏlkagi!
[ˈɕabɕɪbxui ˈxwen:eja ˈʊ:ɬkɑji]
ṡabṡ-ibġ-u-i ġųe-įa ỏl-ka-gi
sway-ibġ-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR wind-INESS leaf-PAT-PL!
‘the leaves swayed spryly in the !wind’

!

!

!

edlibġi ỉludi#
[ˈetɬɪbxi ˈi:luʥi]
e

-ibġ-i ỉu-di
grow.PAST-ibġ-ASS.CONCL.ITR sprout-PAT!
‘a sprout grew’

!

!

negipra tṡekṡigi# !
[ˈneɟɪpxa ˈʨɛkɕ:iji]
n-ipr-a-Ø tṡek-ṡi-gi
see.PAST-ipr-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG child-GEN-PL!
‘X saw children (moving, playing)’

!

homottibġuima tsamṡia# !
[ˈhɔmɔʔtɪbxuima ˈtsamɕia]
homott-ibġ-u-i-ma tsa-ia
is.quiet-ibġ-PAST-ASS.TR-INCONCL forest-INESS!
‘it was quiet (but teeming with life) in the forest’

!
!
#
!
!

#
!
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#
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!

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#
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!
!

!

!

!

kodiuligga irta#
[ˈkʰɔdiulik:a ˈɪrta]
ko-iul-i-gga irta
walk.PAST-iul-ASS.CONCL.ITR-1P.AG.PL.INCL through!
‘we walked through (a bog, a wet place)’

!

!

ṡivvibġi gilradi#
!
[ˈɕiw:ɪbxi ˈɟɪlrɑʥi]
ṡi-ibġ-i gilra-di
stay-ibġ-ASS.CONCL.ITR wet.weather-PAT
‘there was (lit. stayed) wet weather’

!

!

!

amġibġi!!
[amˈxɪbxi]
a=mġ-ibġ-i-Ø
drink.PAST-ib-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.SG!
‘X drank (fresh water)’

nubmipra sủ
[ˈnʊʔpmɪpxa ˈsu:]
nu-ipr-a-Ø suo
pick.PAST-ipr-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG ON berry-GEN
‘X picked (brightly colored/ripe) berries’

rekkiulu nata
[ˈrɛʔciulu ˈnɑta]
rekk-iul-u n-a-ta
open.up-iul-ASS.CONCL.TRANSL COP.INCONCL-ASS-3P.AG.SG
‘(a flower) is opening up’

iriuliaita
[iˈriuliɑida]
i-r-iul-i-a-ita-Ø
DIT-bite-iul-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-ILLAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X bit into (something ripe)’

-ĮUP/-YP-/-EB-

Similar to -ipr-/-ibġ-/-iul-, this absolutive descriptive is used to infer a sense of something wet, humid or fresh.
However, -įup- is also used heavily with smells. While the previous descriptive denoted a certain vitality, this
descriptive also invokes freshness or the idea of something ephemeral. Thicker liquids also usually appear
with -įup-, such as honey, resin, sap. The descriptive can be found as -įup- or -įub-, -yp- or -yb- or -ůb- after
rounded vowels, and -eb- in other cases.

Compare the two examples contrasting the idea of ‘wet’ or ‘living’ with -ibġ- and the idea of ‘fresh’ (previously
unexposed) or ‘wet (but not alive)’ with -įup-.

#
!
#
!
!

rekkįubia giandid!
[ˈrɛʔcjubia ˈɟɪanʥɪʥ]
rekk-įub-i-a-Ø giandi-d
open-įup-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG rotten.fallen.tree-GEN
‘X opened up the rotten fallen tree (which had not been exposed before)’

#
!
#
!
!

!
!
#
!
!

#
!
#
!
!

rekkibġia giandid!
[ˈrɛʔcɪbxia ˈɟɪanʥɪʥ]
rekk-įub-i-a-Ø giandi-d
open-ibġ-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG rotten.fallen.tree-GEN
‘X opened up the rotten fallen tree (which was wet or teeming with life)’

!

iddibġi ỏlkagi#
[ˈit:ɪbxi ˈʊ:ɬkɑji]
i

-ibġ-i ỏl-ka-gi
fall.PAST-ibġ-ASS.CONCL.ITR leaf-PAT-PL
‘the (wet/living) leaves fell off’ (animate)

iddįupi ỏlmamo# !
[ˈiʥ:ubi ʊ:lmɑmɔ]
i

-įup-i ỏlma-mo
fall.PAST-įup-ASS.CONCL.ITR leaf-PAT
‘the (wet) leaves fell off’ (inanimate)

wet / humid / fresh / new(ly born) / smells
#

!
!
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!

!
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#
!
!

#
!
#
!
!

!
siġva!
!
nieugi!
!
õut!
!
sira!
!
sitru!
!
kikin!
!
sivi!
!
lįỏ!
iįuri!
!
maudli! !
!
paġlis!
tṡemmi! !
!
akna!
!
ẻmṡi!
!
mieri!
!
kįori!
kelta!
!
seuma! !
!
ůmů!

‘rain’
‘mist’
‘newly fallen snow’
‘fish’ (and by extension all fish)
‘soup’ !
‘soup, meal’
‘honey’
‘resin’
‘pitch’ (and by extension glues and sticky things)
‘maple sap’
‘urine’
‘animal tracks’
‘traces’
‘smell’ (and by extension all smells)
‘moss’
‘rotten wood’
‘ground’
‘soil’
‘earth’

!

sasleba meihhie ma mảhra!
[ˈsastɬeba ˈmeih:iema ˈmæ:hra]
sasl-eb-a meihhi-e m-a mảhra-Ø
lick-eb-ASS.TR honeycomb-GEN COP.INCONCL-TR bear-ACT
‘the bear was licking (the honey out of) the honeycomb’

!

!

ykįůbis nįuhhi-go#
[ˈycjøbɪs ˈɲuh:igɔ]
ykį-ůb-i-s nįuhhi-Ø–go
collect-ůb-ASS.CONCL.ITR-HABT old.woman-ACT-1P.SG.POSS
‘my grandma usually goes around collecting (resin/honey/pitch)’

!

katabiebuma (paġlihi)#
!
[kʰɑtɑˈbiebuma (ˈpʰaxlihi)]
kata-b=i-eb-um-a-Ø (paġli-hi)
from-throw-eb-OBL-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG urine-GEN
‘X must go (urinate)’

!

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tṡandįupagga tṡemme#
[ˈʨanʥubɑk:a ˈʨem:e]
tṡa-įup-a-gga tṡemmi-e
find.PAST-įup-ASS.CONCL.TR-1P.AG.PL.INCL animal.tracks-GEN
‘we found (fresh) animal tracks’

!

!

hętṡadnįupeba# !
[hæˈʨaʔtɲubeba]
hę-tṡadn-įup-e-ba-Ø
up-find-įup-INF.CONCL.TR-1P.PAT.PL.INCL-3P.AG.SG
‘X will find us out (by our smell)’

!

hękeųebi keltariska ma niůbid#
[hæˈcʰewebi ˈcʰɛɬtɑrɪskama ˈniøbɪʥ]
hę-keų-eb-i kea-ri=ska m-a nieugi-d
up-rise-eb-ASS.ITR ground-ABLA COP.INCONCL.PAST-TR ground.mist-PAT
‘ground mist was rising up from the (fresh/wet) ground’

!

įekkįupi õuttaita bidįiska! !
[ˈjɛʔcjubi ˈɔ̃:ʔtɑida ˈbiʥɪska]
įe-įup-i õutta-ita bidįis-Ø-ka
run.PAST-įup-ASS.CONCL.ITR new.snow-ILLAT puppy-ACT-PL
‘the puppies ran into the newly fallen snow’

!

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knirreba ůmůma!!
[ˈkʰnir:eba ˈømøma]
kni-eb-a-Ø ůmů-ma
smell.PAST-eb-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG earth-GEN
‘X smelled (the fresh) earth’

sinda on retro, miaddįupa įu
[ˈsɪndãɔ̃ ˈrɛtxɔ ˈmɪaʥ:ubaju]
si-a-Ø on retro-Ø mia-įub-a-Ø įu
catch.PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG ON northern.pike-DAT, gut.PAST-įub-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X caught a northern pike and then gutted it (still fresh)’

kvỉgįupake on kimi atseba oskon, keidigga ka
[ˈkʰvi:j:ubɑɟeɔ̃ ˈcʰimi ɑˈtseba ˈɔskɔn ˈcʰeiʥik:aka]
kvỉ-įup-a-ke on kimi at=s-e-ba oskon-Ø keid-i-gga ka
feel-įup-TR-LINK.ADV ON for NEG=COP-INFER-1P.PAT.PL male.moose-AGT, light.fire-ASS.CONCL.ITR-1P.AG.PL.INCL KA
‘so the moose does not feel us (our smell), we will light a fire’

iddįupi ỏlmamo
[ˈiʥ:ubi ˈʊ:lmɑmɔ]
i

-įub-i ỏlma-mo
fall.PAST-įub-ASS.CONCL.ITR leaf-PAT
‘the (wet) leaves fell’

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-OHN/-ÕHN-

This absolutive descriptive is opposite to -ibġ- and -įup- in that it invokes something dry, powdery and also
refers to dry smells and fire.

powder / dirt / sand smells (dry/fire/wood)
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neyri!
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vihi!
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lůri!
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lagįas!
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rento!
!
!
kelho!
siehhumi!
sỷkęhi! !
!
oni!
!
tinin!
!
sogįỉ!

‘powder, dust’
‘dust, dirt’
‘dirt, scum’
‘flour’
‘grain, seed’
‘hung meat’
‘dried meat’
‘dried needle bed’
‘dried moss, tinder’ (and by extension inflammable things)
‘fire wood’
‘drought’

!

ġỉllohni noimmika!
[ˈxi:l:ɔhni ˈnɔim:iga]
ġỉ-ohn-i nobem-m=ika
crackle-ohn-ASS.CONCL.ITR fire-ELAT
‘the fire was cracking (dryly)’

!

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isỉdlohniki!
[iˈsi:tɬɔhniɟi]
i-sỉ

-ohn-i-ki
DIT-blow.PAST-ohn-ASS.CONCL.ITR-1P.RECI.SG
‘I got dirt/sand/smoke (in my eyes)’

!

sarkkohnia tinis! !
[ˈsark:ɔhnia ˈtinɪs]
sarkk-ohn-i-a-Ø tini-s
break-ohn-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG firewood-GEN
‘X broke (dry) firewood’

!

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tamaduohni!
[tʰɑmɑˈdʊɔhni]
tama-d=u-ohn-i-Ø
on-step.PAST-ohn-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.SG
‘X stepped (on something dry)’

!

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irohnuita!
[iˈrɔhnuida]
i-r-ohn-u-i-ta-Ø
DIT-bite-ohn-PAST-ASS.CONCL.ITR-into-3P.AG.SG
‘X bit into (something dry)’

!

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tsaundohni!
[ˈtsaʊndɔhni]
t-sau-ohn-i
3p.unag-catch.on.fire.PAST-ohn-ASS.CONCL.ITR
‘X caught on fire (from being too dry)’

myrrohna pỉni
[ˈmyr:ɔhna ˈpʰi:ni]
m-ohn-a-Ø pỉni-Ø
grind.PAST-ohn-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG corn-DAT
‘X ground the corn (into a flour)’

tsahhõhni
[ˈtsɑh:ɔ̃hni]
t-sahh-õhn-i
3P.UNAG-burn-õhn-ASS.CONCL.ITR
‘(dry wood/tinder) will burn’

hepohni na nůnamo
[ˈhepɔhni na ˈnønɑmɔ]
hep-ohn-i n-a nůa-mo
break-ohn-ITR COP.INCONCL-ass wave-PAT
‘the waves are breaking (on the sand)’

luhhõhna
[ˈluh:ɔ̃hna]
luhh-õhn-a-Ø-Ø
boil-õhn-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X will boil (a tea/treatment/grounded leaves)’

iųavvohnaibma
[iˈwɑw:ɔhnaɪʔpma]
i-ųavv-ohn-a-ibma-Ø
DIT-spread-ohn-ASS.CONCL.TR-ALLAT-3P.AG.SG
‘X spread/add (flour/sand/dirt/dried ingredients) on it’

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-OHK-

The absolutive descriptive -ohk- generally refers to large, heavy, male or difficult things. It is also used with the
verbs seįa ‘listen’, odena ‘look’, kyṡa ‘try’, pitta ‘pay attention to’ in the imperative to make a more emphatic
demand:

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seįohkan!
[ˈsejɔhkan]
seį-ohk-a-Ø-n
listen-ohk-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-2P.SG.IMP
‘listen well!’

‘look well!’

odnohkan~oinohkan!
[ˈɔʔtnɔhkan~ˈɔinɔhkan]
odn~oin-ohk-a-Ø-n
look-ohk-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-2P.SG.IMP

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kyṡohkan!
[ˈcʰyɕɔhkan]
kyṡ-ohk-a-Ø-n
try-ohk-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-2P.SG.IMP
‘try (your best)’

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pittohkan!
[ˈpʰɪʔtɔhkan]
seį-ohk-a-Ø-n
pay.attention-ohk-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-2P.SG.IMP
‘pay all your attention to X’

In addition, it also refers to long things such as neck/throat/tongue, heads, geese and swans and even
canoes.

large / round / cylindrical / long / heavy / male / big / difficult

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tahha!
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sukno!
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půdů!
sikvut!
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tůmkki ! !
hokon! !
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oskon!
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okon!
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toron!
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peilini!
nįelli!
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sappiska!
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selo!
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sinin!
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ata!
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gegin!
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kvoga!
oadi!
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niman! !
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totami!
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giga!
gůme!
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tonkua! !
kehkįo! !
mavvu! !

‘tree’ (and by extension all large trees)
‘large conifer’
‘log’
‘bonfire’
‘boulder’
‘big rock’
‘male moose’ (and by extension all [large] male animals)
‘big man’
‘big bear/guy’
‘eldest’
‘chief’
‘paw, big hand’
‘large river’
‘big fish’
‘(open) mouth’
‘(animal) mouth’
‘throat’
‘tongue’
‘neck’
‘head’
‘goose’ (and by extension all long-necked birds)
‘rope’
‘sinew’
‘canoe’
‘meat’

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iddohki ṡeṡue!
[ˈi:tɔhci ˈɕeɕue]
i

-ohk-i ṡeṡo-e
fall.PAST-ohk-ASS.CONCL.ITR old.tree-PAT
‘the big old tree fell (heavily)’

!

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kedohkan ůat!
[ˈcʰedɔhkan ˈœæʔæ]
ked-ohk-a-n ůat-Ø
carr-ohk-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-2P.SG.IMP this-DAT
‘carry this (heavy thing)’

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mairiohki!
[ˈmɑirɪɔhci]
mair=i-ohk-i-Ø
laugh.PAST-ohk-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.SG
‘X laughed (loudly)
‘(a large man) laughed’

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maiḍḍohki!
[ˈmɑið:ɔhci]
mai<ḍḍ>-ohk-i-Ø
smile.PAST-ohk-ASS.CONCL.ITR-3P.AG.SG
‘X smiled from ear to ear’

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nỷh sindohkami keppi!
[ˈny:h ˈsɪndɔhkɑmi ˈcʰɛʔpi]
nỷh si-ohk-a-mi keppi-Ø
wow catch.PAST-ohk-ASS.CONCL.TR-1P.AG.SG head-DAT
‘wow, I caught a big one’

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rekkohkin!
[ˈrɛʔkɔhcɪn]
rekk-ohk-i-n
open-ohk-ASS.CONCL.TR-2P.SG.IMP
‘open wide (your mouth)’

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sarkkohkia mekvi!
[ˈsark:ɔhcia ˈmɛk:vi]
sarkk-ohk-i-a-Ø mekvi
break-ohk-PAST-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG swan-DAT
‘X broke the swan(‘s neck)’

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katagiohka kohdaika!
[kʰɑtɑˈɟɪɔhka ˈkʰɔhdɑiga]
kata-g=i-ohk-a-Ø koh=da-ika
from-push.PAST-ohk-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.AG.SG anchorage.on.beach-ELAT
‘X pushed (the canoe) from the its anchor on the shore’

tamokevvohki toron
[tʰɑmɔˈcew:ɔhci ˈtɔrɔn]
tam-o-kevv-ohk-i toron-Ø
on-SUBJ-rise-ohk-ASS.CONCL.ITR big.bear-AGT
‘the big bear (heavily) stood up (on its two legs)’

tatsġatskohki
[tʰaˈtsxatsk:ɔhci]
ta-tsġa-ohk-i
3P.UNAG.SG-tear.PAST-OHK-ASS.CONCL.ITR
‘(the rope/leather) tore’

katṡaḍgohkaika soroko
[kʰɑʨˈaðgɔhkɑiga ˈsɔrɔgɔ]
kat-i-a<ḍg>-ohk-a-ika-Ø soroko-Ø
from-DIT-cut.PAST-ohk-ASS.CONCL.TR-ELAT-3P.AG.SG piece-DAT
‘X cut (a large) piece from it’

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hohkas
[ˈhɔhkas]
h-ohk-a-Ø-Ø-s
eat-ohk-ASS.CONCL.TR-3P.PAT-3P.AG.SG-HAB
‘X eats (meat/a lot)’

Absolutive descriptives in Siwa are a useful way of implying something about the subject of intransitive
verbs or the object of transitive verbs. Each descriptive covers a certain number of qualities, often shapes
(long, sharp, straight, large, etc.), qualities (hard, bundled, dead, fragile, fat, young, odorant, etc.) or allude
to the doer’s gender, age or physical status. This allows speakers of Siwa to use contextual information in
order to avoid directly naming participants. Because Siwa’s third person has no overt form, either as a
subject (agentive) or an object, it is possible that absolutive descriptives emerged as a disambiguative
device, similar to the distinction between the proximate and obviative third person and the fourth person
found in Siwa pronouns.
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use of a split-stem copula, so-called link constructions and double agentivity, all of which are described
thoroughly in the book from which this essay was adapted, A Descriptive Grammar of Siwa.

Siwa certainly has other novel grammatical constructions that are worth exploring, for example its

Étienne Ljóni Poisson
Reykjavík
March 2016Absolutive Descriptives image

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