Grammar and Lexicon of Okuna

Grammar and Lexicon of Okuna

Author: Matt Pearson

MS Date: 11-19-2013

FL Date: 12-01-2013

FL Number: FL-00001B-00

Citation: Pearson, Matt. 2013. «Grammar and Lexicon of
Okuna.» FL-00001B-00, Fiat Lingua, . Web. 01 Dec. 2013.

Copyright: © 2013 Matt Pearson. This work is licensed

under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Contents

1 Introduction

2 An Overview of Okuna

2.1 The language and its speakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2 Phonology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3 Word classes
2.4 Morphology and inflectional categories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5 Constituent order and clause structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3 Phonology

3.1
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2 Phoneme inventory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.1 Consonants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.2 Vowels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3 Syllable structure and phonotactics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4 Stress assignment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5 Common phonological processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5.1 Consonant cluster simplification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5.2 Place and continuancy assimilation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5.3 Vowel hiatus resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4 Case and Argument Structure

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.1
4.2 Noun case morphology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3 The core cases
4.3.1 Nominative and ergative case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.2 Dative case and the delimiter role
4.4 Verb classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.1 Class I verbs
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.2 Class II verbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.3 Class III verbs
4.5 The oblique cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.5.1 Locative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.5.2 Allative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.5.3 Ablative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.5.4
4.6 The unmarked form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.6.1 Unmarked nouns within the noun phrase
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.6.2 Unmarked noun phrases as non-arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.6.3 Pseudo-incorporated arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Instrumental

1

2

4
4
4
5
5
8

11
11
11
11
13
14
14
16
16
16
17

19
19
19
21
22
24
28
30
33
39
46
47
49
52
54
58
58
59
61

2

CONTENTS

4.6.4 Other unmarked noun phrases with Class III verbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.6.5 Unmarked noun phrases with Class I verbs
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.6.6 Fixed expressions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

5 Pronouns

5.1
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2 The personal pronouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3 Full pronouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.1 Case marking on full pronouns
5.3.2 Demonstrative constructions and spatial deixis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.3 Realis versus irrealis dative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4 Clitic pronouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4.1 Clitic clusters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4.2 Clitic versus non-clitic pronouns
5.5 Omission of pronouns
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.6 Universal quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

65
66
69

71
71
72
73
74
74
79
82
84
88
91
93

6 The Noun Phrase

96
96
6.1
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
96
6.2 Expressing number features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.3 Expressing definiteness and specificity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
99
6.4 Compounding and modification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
6.5 Relational nouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
6.6 Possessive constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
6.6.1 Case marking the possessor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
6.6.2 Expressing possession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
6.7 Correlatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Indefinite/interrogative correlatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
6.7.1
6.7.2 Demonstrative correlatives
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
6.7.3 Remarks on the functions of correlatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
6.8.1 Mass noun quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
6.8.2 Count noun quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
6.8.3 Remarks on the functions of certain quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
6.8.4 Numerals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
6.8.5 Other postnominal modifiers
6.9 Word order within the noun phrase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135

6.8 Quantifiers and related elements

7 Verb Morphology

138
7.1
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
7.2 Number agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
7.3 Negation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
7.4 Tense, aspect, and mood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Sample conjugations and irregular forms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
7.4.1
7.4.2
Imperfect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
7.4.3 Progressive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
7.4.4 Perfect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
7.4.5 Perfective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
7.4.6 Conditional
7.5 Aspectual derivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
7.5.1 Resultative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164

CONTENTS

3

7.5.2 Active . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
7.5.3 Telic and atelic inchoative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
7.5.4 Durative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
7.5.5 Completive and incompletive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
7.6 Relative marking and the comparative construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
7.7 Expressing modality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
7.7.1 Modal suxes
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
7.7.2 Modal verbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188

8 Minor Word Classes

191
8.1
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
8.2 Sentence particles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
8.2.1 Focus particles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
8.2.2 Force and evidential particles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
8.3 Coordination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
8.3.1 Coordinators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
8.3.2 Discourse markers
8.4 Adverbial elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
8.4.1 Manner adverbs
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
8.4.2 Aspectual adverbials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
8.4.3 Adverbials formed from quantifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
8.4.4 Other temporal adverbials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216
8.4.5 Other degree adverbials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220

9 Clause Structure

9.3 Special clause types

222
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
9.1
9.2 Word order within the clause . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
9.2.1 Word order and topicality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
9.2.2 Preposed constituents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
9.2.3 Postposed constituents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
9.3.1 Copular sentences
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
9.3.2 Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
Imperatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240
9.3.3
9.3.4 Direct quotation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
9.4.1 Decreasing valence: Equivalents of the passive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
9.4.2
Increasing valence: Causative constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
9.4.3 The reflexive construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
9.4.4 Reciprocal clauses

9.4 Valence

10 Nominalization and Complex Clauses

259
10.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
10.2 The dependent form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260
10.2.1 Dependent clauses as arguments
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263
10.2.2 Dependent clauses as complements of relational nouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
10.2.3 Dependent clauses as complements of aun and alh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
10.2.4 Restructuring: Bare dependent complements of verbs
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
10.3.1 Indicative participles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
10.3.2 Subjunctive participles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 286

10.3 Participial clauses

4

CONTENTS

10.4 The converb construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287
10.5 Gerunds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
10.6 Participant nominals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294
10.6.1 Participant nominal inflection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
10.6.2 Actor nominals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299
10.6.3 Theme nominals
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301
10.6.4 Delimiter nominals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304
10.6.5 Circumstantial nominals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305

11 Derivation and the Lexicon

311
11.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
11.2 Noun derivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
11.2.1 Diminutive and augmentative marking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
11.2.2 Collective nouns
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
11.2.3 Other noun derivational morphology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313
11.3 Verb derivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 316
11.3.1 Deriving verbs from nouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 316
11.3.2 Deriving verbs from verbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317
11.4 Special lexical classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
11.4.1 Kinship terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
11.4.2 Colour terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
11.4.3 Motion verbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327
11.5 Common expressions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 332

12 Sample Texts

334
12.1 The North Wind and the Sun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 334

13 Okuna-to-English Dictionary

336

Chapter 1

Introduction

This book provides a detailed grammatical description of an invented language called Okuna (formerly
known as Tokana). This language was constructed for personal amusement and edification. It is intended as
a purely personal artistic and intellectual exercise, though my hope is that others—those few who appreciate
the Secret Vice—will find the results interesting and entertaining. My goal is to construct the outlines of a
naturalistic grammar, one which is linguistically plausible, internally consistent, and original in its details.
Though not based on any single existing language, Okuna is meant to look and feel ‘realistic’, with all the
complexities and (seemingly) arbitrary features which naturally-evolving human languages have. Note that
Okuna is an ongoing project, with no fixed endpoint. It has changed substantially over the seventeen or
more years that I have worked on it, and will no doubt continue to change as long as I remain interested in
it. The description given here is thus not the final word on Okuna, but merely represents the state of the
language as it exists now.

It is important to note that this grammar is not intended as a textbook or teach-yourself guide, but as
an attempt to lay out the structure of Okuna (for posterity, as it were) in as comprehensive a fashion as
possible. Hence the material is organized thematically rather than as a series of lessons. Likewise, I have
not shied away from using technical terms in cases where I felt this would make the description more precise
(to those unfamiliar with these terms, I apologise in advance). That said, I do not present a formal analysis
of the language, but have tried to keep my treatment as descriptive as possible.

The discussion is divided into eleven chapters. Chapter 1 gives a very brief typological overview of the
language. Chapter 2 deals with phonology. Chapter 3 covers the basics of argument structure, focusing on
the rather complex case system. Chapter 4 discusses pronouns and morphologically related elements, while
chapter 5 gives additional information on noun phrase structure. Chapters 6 deals with verb morphology.
Chapter 7 discusses minor word classes not covered in the previous chapters, including sentential particles,
conjunctions, and adverbs. Chapter 8 deals with word order in basic clauses, along with the formation of
questions, commands, and other ‘marked’ sentence types. Chapter 9 discusses subordination, nominalization,
and complex sentence structures. Finally, chapter 10 covers miscellaneous topics pertaining to vocabulary,
and chapter 11 gives sample texts. An extensive glossary is appended to the grammar.

Okuna words and morphemes appear in italics, with glosses set o↵ by single quotes, e.g., kotu ‘house’.

Example sentences are normally presented in the following three-line format:

(1.1) Lakiak`a

sihkunoi
river.dat

elohka
yesterday

estyit
reach.pv.pl

hunter.nom
‘The hunters reached the river yesterday’

The first line of the example gives the Okuna phrase or sentence, while the second line gives word-by-word
glosses. If a word is morphologically complex, each morpheme is glossed separately (grammatical morphemes
are labelled with abbreviations in small caps, morpheme breaks are indicated using periods, and a colon

5

6

CHAPTER 1.

INTRODUCTION

is used to link two or more units of meaning expressed by a single morpheme). Finally, the third line gives
a free English translation of the phrase or sentence set o↵ by single quotes.

To make the example sentences as readable as possible, I have opted not to divide the Okuna words
into their component morphemes. Where necessary, I include remarks on the internal structure of certain
words in the text accompanying the example. Where the notation X > Y is used in discussions of morpho-
phonology, X represents the underlying form of a word (with the morphemes separated by periods), while Y
gives the form of the word as it is pronounced following any phonological transformations—e.g., m.siehp.o
> ntsiehpo ‘doesn’t write’ illustrates the change whereby, when the negative prefix m- attaches to a verb
stem beginning with s, the resulting consonant sequence becomes nts through a process of assimilation.

References to example numbers appear in parentheses, while cross-references to sections and subsections

are marked with the symbol

§

. Below is a list of the abbreviations used in the examples:

1s
12/13
2(s/p)
3a(s/p)
3i(s/p)
abl
act
ainc
all
anzr
cnzr
comp
cond
cpl
cv
dat
dep
dist
dnzr
dpl
dur
emph
epl
erg
foc
ger
icpl

1st person singular
1st person plural inclusive/exclusive
2nd person (singular/plural)
3rd person animate (singular/plural)
3rd person inanimate (singular/plural)
ablative case
active aspect
atelic inchoative
allative case
actor nominalizer
circumstantial nominalizer
comparative
conditional mood
completive aspect
converb
(irrealis) dative case
dependent form
distal
delimiter nominalizer
dative plural
durative aspect
emphatic particle
ergative plural
ergative case
focus particle
gerund
incompletive aspect

imp
inst
int
ipv
loc
med
neg
nom
npl
pf
pl
pot
prox
prg
pst
pt
pv
qu
quot
rdat
recip
rel
res
sbj
sg
tinc
tnzr

imperative
instrumental case
interrogative (mood)
imperfective aspect
locative case
medial
negative particle/inflection
nominative case
nominative plural
perfect aspect
plural (topic)
potential aspect
proximal
progressive aspect
past tense
participle
perfective aspect
question particle
quotative particle
realis dative case
reciprocal
relative marker
resultative aspect
subjunctive mood
singular
telic inchoative
theme nominalizer

Chapter 2

An Overview of Okuna

2.1 The language and its speakers

Okuna belongs to the Northern branch of the Kman-Tok family of languages. It is spoken as a first language
by approximately five thousand people inhabiting two dozen settlements in the Okuna Watershed, including
the towns of Tenmotlai, Uiluma, and Kemotlasi. There are three distinct dialects of Okuna: an Interior
dialect spoken in and around the three towns, plus Northern and Southern coastal dialects. However, the
di↵erences among these dialects are quite small, mostly confined to details of pronunciation and vocabulary.
Here I focus on the Interior dialect, which has the largest number of speakers.

Speakers of Okuna generally refer to themselves as Ehkantlukampa ‘People of the First Raven’, or as
Mohkiampa ‘People of the Five Hearths’. However, in dealings with outsiders they tend to identify themselves
as Okuna, using the name of the region they inhabit as a tribal designation, and also adding it before their
clan names as a kind of surname. They have no name for their language, referring to it simply as isane sul
‘our language’. Here I use Okuna both for the language and for those who speak it.

The Okuna live primarily by fishing, hunting, and gathering wild plants, berries, and shellfish. They also
grow maize, beans, and other crops in small garden plots, and raise goats for milk and wool, and kauen (an
introduced turkeyfowl domesticate) for meat and eggs. Okuna towns and villages consist of between half a
dozen and three dozen widely spaced houses built of cedar. Political structure is based on clan membership.
The Okuna are matrilocal, and reckon kinship bilineally, with each individual belonging to two exogamous
clans, one matrilineal and the other patrilineal. The patrilineal clans, or otana, have a largely ceremonial
function; while the matrilineal clans, or mok ‘hearths’, are responsible for allocating economic resources
and duties, and for hosting potlaches (see
11.4.1 for more on Okuna kinship). Each of the five mok elects
representatives to a council of elders, responsible for settling disputes between clans, as well as negotiating
trade relations with other peoples. The Okuna are active members of the Coastal Exchange, a vast trade
network extending from Marngalaks in the north all the way to Tibu´e in the south. Their major exports are
wool, timber, and wood products.

§

The remainder of this chapter gives a selective overview of Okuna grammar, focussing on the typologically

distinctive features of the language.

2.2 Phonology

Okuna has a fairly simple phonology. The phoneme inventory consists of eighteen basic sounds, twelve
consonants and six vowels. Syllables are maximally CVC (or CCVC word-initially, with strict limits on
permissible CC clusters). Stress assignment is based on moraic trochees. Major phonological processes
include vowel hiatus resolution (with vowel sequences converted to diphthongs), as well as nasal assimilation,
continuancy assimilation, and degemination to resolve illicit consonant clusters.

7

8

CHAPTER 2. AN OVERVIEW OF OKUNA

2.3 Word classes

The major lexical classes in Okuna are noun and verb. These categories are easily distinguished on morpho-
syntactic grounds, and there are very few stems in the language which can function either as a noun or as
a verb (though there are a number of productive means for deriving noun stems from verb stems). Okuna
does not have a distinct class of adjectives. States and properties are instead expressed by verbs, or in a few
cases (such as colour terms) by nouns. When used attributively, a stative verb is nominalized (e.g., pata ‘be
tall’ > pate ‘tall one, person/thing which is tall’) and then concatenated with the noun it modifies to form
a compound-like structure (pate palahta ‘tall tree’).

Nouns belong to one of two genders, animate and inanimate. Without exception, gender is semantically
determined: nouns denoting people and (living) animals are treated as animate, while all other nouns are
inanimate. Animacy is reflected primarily in the choice of third person pronouns (e.g., ne pata ‘he/she is
tall’ versus hi pata ‘it is tall’). In addition, demonstratives and certain quantifiers, which follow the noun,
agree with the noun in gender. Compare animate pyi ‘child’ with inanimate palahta ‘tree’:

pyi nan
pyi mi`o
pyi nket

‘that child’
‘which child?’
‘every child’

palahta tan
palahta m`a
palahta eket

‘that tree’
‘which tree?’
‘every tree’

The Okuna pronoun system distinguishes three persons and two numbers, with an inclusive/exclusive dis-
tinction in the first person plural (kim ‘we [includes addressee]’ versus sat ‘we [excludes addressee]’). Oblique
pronouns each have a single form, while non-oblique pronouns (those used to express subject and object re-
lations) have both clitic forms and full forms, where the full forms are used mostly for emphasis, and as
demonstratives. Clitic pronouns express person but not number, except in the first person, while full and
oblique pronouns have singular and plural forms for all persons.

There is no class of adpositions in Okuna. Spatio-temporal and other relations, which in other languages
are expressed using adpositions, are generally expressed in Okuna by means of case endings: e.g., kotu
‘house’ + locative -na > kotuna ‘in the house’. To express certain relations the case ending will attach to
an abstract relational noun (such as kuma ‘front’) which in turn heads a compound-like structure: e.g., kotu
kumana ‘in front of the house’ (lit. ‘at the house front’). In addition, Okuna has a large number of motion
verbs which encode the path or direction of motion: e.g., lhyua ‘enter, go into’, tlisa ‘go across/over’, kloha
‘go through’. These can combine with verbs expressing manner of motion to form more complex predicates:
e.g., iante lhyua ‘jump into’ (lit. ‘enter by jumping’).

Closed classes in Okuna include conjunctions, quantifiers, aspectual and temporal adverbs, preverbal
particles functioning as focus/predicate operators (with meanings like ‘also’, ‘only’, and ‘not’), and postverbal
particles for expressing clause-type, emphasis, and evidentiality.

2.4 Morphology and inflectional categories

Okuna has a good deal of inflectional morphology, especially on verbs. Prefixes, suxes, and clitics all occur,
with some suxes having infixed allomorphs (e.g., totsat ‘table’ plus the dative case marker -i > totsait ‘to
the table’). Some clitics precede their hosts while others follow their hosts. Compounding is also extremely
common. Ablaut occurs on a handful of verb stems to express the resultative aspect (e.g., lima ‘open’ >
luma ‘be open’). Noun incorporation also occurs residually as a derivational strategy (e.g., him ‘interior’ +
eka ‘be empty’ > himeka ‘be hollow’; ksas ‘salt’ + patla ‘cover’ > ksapatla ‘cover with salt’).

Noun inflection is rather simple, being confined to the marking of case roles (see below). Nouns do not
for example, palahta may mean ‘tree’ or ‘trees’, depending on the context.
inflect for number in Okuna:
However, non-clitic pronouns do distinguish singular from plural (e.g., tan ‘it/that’ versus tin ‘they/those’).
These pronouns also function as demonstratives, in which case they follow the noun and express the number
of the noun phrase as a whole (palahta tan ‘that tree’, palahta tin ‘those trees’).

Okuna expresses grammatical relations with a combination of head marking and dependent marking.
Noun phrases inflect for case, which is indicated by a sux (or infix) on the rightmost element in the noun

2.4. MORPHOLOGY AND INFLECTIONAL CATEGORIES

9

phrase (typically, but not always, the noun itself). In addition, verbs are marked for the number (singular
versus plural) of their subjects and objects.

There are seven case roles: nominative (nom), dative (dat), ergative (erg), locative (loc), ablative
(abl), allative (all), and instrumental (inst). Their distribution follows a complex pattern, where the
choice of case marking is determined largely by the semantic role of the argument. For example, noun
phrases expressing the initiator of the action (agents, actors) normally appear in the ergative case, while
noun phrases denoting participants associated with the endpoint or culmination of the action (patients,
goals, and experiencers) take the dative case, and other ‘core’ arguments of the verb take the nominative.
The following sentences illustrate the system, showing that the cases do not align in a straightforward way
with categories like ‘subject’ and ‘object’ in English:

(2.1) Pyie

etskanyi
arrive.pv

child.nom
‘The child arrived’

(2.2) Pyima

muelhyi
sleep.pv

child.erg
‘The child slept’

(2.3) Ihama

kahoi
fish.dat

iasyi
eat.pv

woman.erg
‘The woman ate the fish’

(2.4) Ihama

moihai
girl.dat

kihune
letter.nom

lastyi
send.pv

woman.erg
‘The woman sent the letter to the girl’

(2.5) Moihai
girl.dat
‘The girl received the letter’

kihune
letter.nom

moityi
receive.pv

(2.6) Moihai
girl.dat
‘The girl saw the boy’

mikale
boy.nom

kilyi
see.pv

In addition to semantic roles, case marking can be a↵ected by the aspect and modality of the verb. For
example, the eventive verb toka ‘fix’ normally assigns dative case to its patient argument, as shown in the
first example below. However, when the verb is inflected for resultative aspect (toika ‘be fixed, be in a fixed
state’) that argument instead appears in the locative case, as shown in the second example:

(2.7) Sakialma

mutoi
Sakial.erg
fence.dat
‘Sakial fixed the fence’

tokyi
fix.pv

(2.8) Mutuna

takan
now

itoika
prg.fix:res.ipv

fence.loc
‘The fence is now fixed’

Likewise when the verb tala ‘read’ inflects for desiderative modality (taluha ‘want to read’), the actor, which
normally takes ergative marking, instead appears in the locative case:

(2.9) Pyima

halma
book

atai
that:dat

itala
prg.read.ipv

child.erg
‘The child is reading that book’

10

(2.10) Pyina

halma
book

atai
that:dat

taluha
read.want.ipv

child.loc
‘The child wants to read that book’

CHAPTER 2. AN OVERVIEW OF OKUNA

An unusual property of Okuna is that dative case marking on pronouns and demonstratives comes in two
variants: irrealis dative and realis dative (the latter abbreviated rdat). As noted above, dative case is
typically used to mark the patient or goal of a telic event—that is, an event which has an inherent endpoint.
Realis dative forms are used when the goal has been reached or realized, or when the patient has been fully
a↵ected by the action, at the time when the sentence is uttered; while irrealis dative forms occur elsewhere.
The choice between realis and irrealis is influenced by various factors, such as the tense and aspect of the
verb. For instance, irrealis dative is required in imperfective sentences, while realis dative tends to be used
in perfective sentences. Compare:

(2.11) Pyima

halma
book

atai
that:dat

itala
prg.read.ipv

child.erg
‘The child is reading that book’

(2.12) Pyima

halma
child.erg
book
‘The child read that book’

utai
that:rdat

talyi
read.pv

Verb inflection in Okuna is quite complex. Verbs take various combinations of prefixes and suxes to mark
tense, aspect, mood, and negation, and to form various kinds of dependent clauses. The following examples,
featuring the verb stem host- ‘dance’, give a sense of what this morphology looks like:

hosta
hostanka
ihosta
ihostike
uhostanka
uhost`a
ihoste
uhostai
hostyi

nkosto
nkostunka
mehosto
mehostoike
mohostunka

‘dances, will dance’
‘used to dance’
‘is dancing’
‘would be dancing’
‘had danced’
‘that (one) has danced’ mohost`o
mehostu
‘while dancing’
mohostau
‘if (one) had danced’
nkostou
‘danced’

‘doesn’t dance, won’t dance’
‘didn’t used to dance’
‘is not dancing’
‘would not be dancing’
‘hadn’t danced’
‘that (one) has not danced’
‘without dancing’
‘unless (one) had danced’
‘didn’t dance’

Verbs also take suxes to mark the number (singular versus plural) of their nominative, dative, and ergative
arguments. This is illustrated by the examples below, featuring the ergative subject kalma and the dative
object kauein. The verb carries the sux -t when the ergative argument is plural, and -ma when the
dative argument is plural. These suxes co-occur when both arguments are plural. Notice that plurality is
indicated solely by the morphology on the verb, while the nouns themselves remain unchanged.

(2.13) Kalma

kauein
turkey:dat

itaha
prg.kill.ipv

man.erg
‘The man is killing the turkey’

(2.14) Kalma

kauein
man.erg
turkey:dat
‘The men are killing the turkey’

itahat
prg.kill.ipv.pl

(2.15) Kalma

kauein
man.erg
turkey:dat
‘The man is killing the turkeys’

itahama
prg.kill.ipv.dpl

2.5. CONSTITUENT ORDER AND CLAUSE STRUCTURE

11

(2.16) Kalma

kauein
man.erg
turkey:dat
‘The men are killing the turkeys’

itahamat
prg.kill.ipv.dpl.pl

In addition to the inflectional categories mentioned above, verbs also take suxes to derive reciprocal
forms (e.g., etsampa ‘talk’, etsampauot ‘talk with each other’), and can include suxes expressing modal-
ity/intensionality, causation, and event type (e.g., kila ‘see’, kiluha ‘want to see’, kilihpa ‘intend to see’,
kiluhka ‘manage to see’, kilota ‘see repeatedly’). Finally, verbs denoting scalar properties take prefixes and
suxes to express equative, comparative, and superlative degrees (e.g., pata ‘be tall’, apata ‘be so/as tall’,
apatohta ‘be taller/tallest’, apatima ‘grow, get taller’).

With all of these inflectional categories, verbs in Okuna can be quite complex. An extreme example is
the verb in (2.17). Here the stem tal- ‘read’ carries the negative prefix m-, the perfect aspect prefix o-, the
incompletive sux -ilm ‘try/attempt to’, the inchoative sux -et ‘begin to’, the negative past imperfective
sux -unka, and the agreement suxes -ma and -t, indicating that the dative and ergative arguments are
both plural.

(2.17) Sa

halma
book

atat
those:dat

eima
still

motalilmetunkamat
neg.pf.read.try.begin.ipv:pst:neg.dpl.pl

1exerg
‘We had not yet begun to try reading those books’

2.5 Constituent order and clause structure

Noun phrases in Okuna are head-final. Possessors and modifiers precede the head noun: e.g., kotu ‘house’,
im`e kotu ‘my house’, im`e sane kotu ‘my red house’. Relative clauses, which take the form of nominalizations,
also precede the noun they modify. In the example below, kauein utahaka iha ‘woman who had killed the
turkey’ consists of the head noun iha ‘woman’ combined with the agentive nominal modifier kauein utahaka,
literally ‘one who has/had killed the turkey’:

(2.18) Mo

kauein
turkey.dat

utahaka
pf.kill.dep.anzr

1srdat
‘I saw the woman who had killed the turkey’

ih`a
woman.nom

kilyi
see.pv

Only a handful of elements, such as quantifiers and demonstratives, follow the head noun: e.g., kotu hen
‘two houses’, kotu emot ‘all the houses’, kotu tan ‘that house’.

In relation-denoting expressions, the element expressing the relation follows its complement. In this sense,
Okuna patterns as a ‘postpositional’ rather than ‘prepositional’ language. However, relational elements in
Okuna do not belong to a separate category of postpositions, but are instead a type of noun. Notice that in
the example below, the relational element epam ‘top’ takes the locative case ending -na, with totsat epam
being a type of noun-noun compound (‘top of table’ or ‘table top’).

(2.19) totsat
table
‘on top of the table’

epamna
top.loc

Relational nouns also follow their complement when the complement is a clause, as in (2.20). Here talhkou
‘because’ (consisting of the noun talhko ‘cause/reason’ plus the ablative case ending -u) combines with a
preceding embedded clause.
Inasmuch as the subordinator follows the subordinate clause, Okuna again
patterns as a typical head-final language.

(2.20) ma

elohka
yesterday

halmai
book.dat

atala
pv.read.dep

1serg
‘because I read the book yesterday’
more lit. ‘from the cause of me having read the book yesterday’

talhkou
cause.abl

12

CHAPTER 2. AN OVERVIEW OF OKUNA

At the clause level, constituent order is somewhat freer than within noun phrases, although there is a
definite preference for verb-final (‘SOV’) order. The prototypical clause consists of a verb preceded by one
or more case-marked pronouns or noun phrases. The order of these noun phrases is determined primarily
by the discourse context in which the clause is uttered (see below). In this respect, Okuna behaves as a
scrambling language similar to Japanese. This is illustrated by the examples below, showing that when a
verb takes an agent noun phrase (marked with ergative case) and a patient noun phrase (marked with dative
case), the two arguments may occur in either order:

(2.21) Sakialma

mutoi
fence.dat

itoka
prg.repair.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial is repairing the fence’

(2.22) Mutoi

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

itoka
prg.repair.ipv

fence.dat
‘Sakial is repairing the fence’
or ‘The fence is being repaired by Sakial’

In sentences with more than one noun phrase, the order of the noun phrases depends largely on their discourse
prominence, with the most topical noun phrase occurring at the left edge of the clause. The topic is the
noun phrase which identifies the individual that the clause is about, and is normally interpreted as definite or
specific. Of the sentences above, (2.21) might be used to attribute some action to Sakial, while (2.22) would
be used to assert a property of the fence. For instance, the former sentence might be given in response to
the question ‘What is Sakial doing?’, while the latter would be more appropriate in answer to the question
‘What is happening to the fence?’. (Notice that I give a passive construction as a possible translation for
the latter sentence. This is merely a way of indicating that the patient is more topical than the agent; (2.22)
does not actually have the structure of a passive.)

In addition to the most topical noun phrase coming at the beginning of the clause, there is a tendency for
the most focal noun phrase to immediately precede the verb, where a noun phrase is focal if it expresses
foregrounded (new or contrastive) information. Consider the examples below, which di↵er in the order of
the dative-marked indirect object and the nominative-marked direct object. In (2.23) the direct object is
In
more focal; the sentence might be used in answer to the question ‘What did you put in the chest?’.
(2.24), by contrast, the indirect object is more focal; this sentence might be used in answer to the question
‘Where did you put the book?’. In the former context, the existence and relevance of the chest has already
been established, while the book represents salient new information; in the latter context, it is the chest
which represents new information while the book is presupposed. (If both the book and the chest are new
information, either order is acceptable.)

(2.23) Ma

kohoit
chest.dat

halm`a
1serg
book.nom
‘I put the book in the chest’

(2.24) Ma

halm`a
book.nom

kohoit
1serg
chest.dat
‘I put the book in the chest’

elhyi
put:in.pv

elhyi
put:in.pv

Pronouns tend to pick out highly topical referents. Hence, if a clause contains one or more pronominal
arguments and one or more full noun phrase arguments, the pronoun(s) will almost always precede the full
noun phrase(s). This is illustrated in (2.23) and (2.24) above, where the first person singular ergative pronoun
ma comes at the beginning of the sentence. Nominative, dative, and ergative pronouns all have special clitic
forms, which must be clause-initial, and ma is an example of such a clitic. Additional examples of clitic
pronouns are given below: na is the clitic form of the third person animate ergative pronoun (non-clitic form
in`a), while ti is the clitic form of the third person inanimate dative pronoun (non-clitic form atai ). These
sentences show the pronominal argument preceding the non-pronominal argument regardless of which one is
the subject and which is the object.

2.5. CONSTITUENT ORDER AND CLAUSE STRUCTURE

13

(2.25) Na

3aerg

mutoi
fence.dat

itoka
prg.repair.ipv

‘S/he is repairing the fence’

(2.26) Ti

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

3idat
‘Sakial is repairing it’

itoka
prg.repair.ipv

When a clause includes two pronominal arguments, both can take the form of clitics in certain cases. When
two clitics co-occur as arguments of the same verb, they combine to form a single phonological word, or
clitic cluster, which appears at the left edge of the clause. The sentences below each begin with a clitic
cluster:

(2.27) Ima

3inom.1serg

kohoit
chest.dat

elhyi
insert.pv.epl

‘I put it in the chest’ (lit. ‘It+I in:chest inserted’)

(2.28) Uma

3irdat.1serg

halm`a
book.nom

elhyi
insert.pv.epl

‘I put the book there / in it’ (lit. ‘To:it+I book inserted’)

(2.29) Intso

3aerg.13rdat

sliahte
story

ukiyima
tell.pv.dpl

‘S/he told us a story’ (lit. ‘S/he+us story told’)

Many clitics change their form when occurring as the first element in a cluster. In (2.27) above, for example,
the third person inanimate nominative clitic hi becomes i- when it combines with the first person exclusive
ergative clitic ma to give ima. Likewise, in (2.29) the third person animate ergative clitic na becomes in-
when combining with the first person realis dative clitic so to give intso. The order of the clitics in a cluster
is fixed by a person hierarchy, which requires that third person clitics precede first and second person clitics.
Although verb-final (SOV) order is normal in Okuna, various elements optionally follow the verb. In
particular, embedded clauses, which are formed from main clauses by nominalizing the verb, normally
occur to the right of the verb that selects them. This is illustrated below, where pyie elohfoi nioktat`a ‘the
children(’s) returning tomorrow’ is a nominalized clause (marked for nominative case) which functions as
the direct object of etsa ‘say/tell’:

(2.30) Ma

ihai
woman.dat

etsyi
tell.pv

pyie
child.nom

elohfoi
tomorrow

nioktat`a
return.dep.pl.nom

1serg
‘I told the woman that the children were returning tomorrow’

Chapter 3

Phonology

3.1 Introduction

3.3 and
3.4
This chapter gives an overview of Okuna phonology. In
deal with syllable structure, phonotactic constraints, and stress assignment. Finally in
3.5 I summarize
the major morpho-phonological processes in the language, which include vowel hiatus resolution, nasal
assimilation, and continuancy assimilation.

3.2 I present the phoneme inventory.

§

§

§

§

Okuna is normally written in a syllabary called ilo. In this grammar it will be represented in the Latin
alphabet using the following letters: a, e, f, h, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, s, t, u, y. Three digraphs are used: lh, tl,
and ts. The letter y represents a central or back unrounded vowel, pronounced [@] in unstressed syllables,
and ranging from [1] to [7] to [2] in stressed syllables, depending on dialect. The digraphs lh and tl represent
voiceless postalveolar lateral sounds, and may be roughly transcribed [ìfl] and [t
ìfl] in IPA (see below for
¯
description). All other letters have essentially their IPA values, subject to the allophony discussed below.

3.2 Phoneme inventory

Okuna distinguishes the following eighteen sounds.

3.2.1 Consonants

There are twelve consonant phonemes, with the following places and manners of articulation. Notice that
voicing is not contrastive in Okuna.

bilabial

palatal
labio-
dental alveolar (lateral)

dental/

velar glottal

plosive
affricate
fricative
nasal
approximant

p

m

f

t
ts
s
n
l

tl
lh

k

h

A condensed chart, which groups consonants into phonologically salient categories, is given below. A basic
division of consonants into obstruents and sonorants is justified on both phonetic and phonotactic grounds.
Sonorants are always voiced while obstruents are usually voiceless.
In addition, sonorants are the only
consonants which may occur as geminates (konomme ‘with a hammer’, sanna ‘in the blood’, nalla ‘greet’);
whereas when two identical obstruents come together at a morpheme boundary, the first one becomes h, as
3.5.1. The division of obstruents into a non-continuant and a continuant series is also justified
discussed in

§

14

3.2. PHONEME INVENTORY

15

on phonotactic grounds. Non-continuants are the only obstruents that are allowed to follow a nasal: any
continuant obstruent that comes to follow a nasal changes into the closest corresponding non-continuant (m
+ f becomes mp, n + lh becomes ntl, etc.), as discussed in

3.5.2.

§

labial

velar/
plain grooved lateral glottal

coronal

obstruent non-continuant
continuant

sonorant

p
f
m

t

n

release
ts
s

release
tl
lh
l

k
h

Obstruents

The obstruent series consists of three plosives (bilabial p, dental t, and velar k ), two a↵ricates (alveolar ts and
postalveolar tl ), and four fricatives (labiodental f, alveolar s, postalveolar lh, and glottal h). The a↵ricates
ts and tl are counted as single segments on distributional grounds, in that they occur freely at the end of a
word (mots ‘frog’, hetl ‘piece’) or adjacent to another consonant (etskana ‘arrive’, luhtsa ‘smell’, atlpa ‘play
music’, hentla ‘half’). Okuna does not permit consonant clusters word-finally, and allows sequences of at
most two consonants word-medially.

By far the most exotic sounds in Okuna are the lateral fricative lh and the corresponding lateral a↵ricate
tl, which may be transcribed roughly as [ìfl] and [t
ìfl], respectively. Note that lh is made without any contact
¯
between the tongue body/tip and the roof of the mouth (in this respect it di↵ers from the voiceless lateral
sound of Welsh). The primary articulatory di↵erence between lh and the alveolar fricative s is that s is
made with the central portion of the tongue depressed (or ‘grooved’), as in English, while lh is made with
the central portion of the tongue raised and the sides of the tongue lowered. Also, the narrowest point of
constriction in the mouth is somewhat further back for lh than for s. The a↵ricate tl has the same place
of articulation as lh, but starts with a period of complete closure before opening into a fricative. (For some
speakers, there is almost no frication when tl is released, making it closer to a plosive sound than an a↵ricate.)
Fricatives and a↵ricates are always voiceless. The plosives are always unaspirated, and are generally
voiceless as well. However, in the Southern and Interior dialects, the non-coronal plosives p and k become
voiced after a word-initial sonorant consonant, between a sonorant consonant and an unstressed vowel, or
between two vowels where the second vowel is unstressed:

malka
nketu
mpehkai
kiotampa
lhonko
naka
otupa

[«malga]
[«NgEtu]
]
[mbEh»kai

[ki
O»tamba]

[«ìflONgO]
[«naga]
[O»tuba]

‘wolf’
‘crab’
‘first’
‘hurry’
‘loud noise’
‘stone’
‘decide’

The coronal obstruents are noticeably palatalized when followed by an i -glide, though not when followed by
a non-glide i vowel. Compare:

tiku
sila

[«tigu]
[«sila]

‘spear, harpoon’
‘be clear’

tiame
siem

amE]
[«ci

Em]
[«Ci

‘grandmother’
‘sky’

In the Northern dialect, the glottal fricative h is optionally deleted word-internally before an unstressed
vowel: e.g., teha ‘stay’, which most speakers pronounce [«tEha], is pronounced [«tEa] by many Northern
speakers.

Sonorants

The sonorant consonants consist of two nasals (m, n) and one lateral liquid (l ). The sonorants are always
voiced, and this voicing often carries over to a following p or k, as discussed above. The sonorant m is

16

CHAPTER 3. PHONOLOGY

bilabial, while n and l are generally dental or alveolar. However, n assimilates in place of articulation to a
following obstruent. In addition, n is optionally realized as velar word-finally, especially after a non-front
vowel or before a word beginning with a velar consonant.

ntlyuo
ntioko
tunku
kian

O]
[«n
ìfl7u
t
¯
¯

[«ñci
OgO]

[«tuNgu]
aN]
[«ki
an] or [«ki

‘not enter’
‘not die’
‘pain’
‘five’

As with the coronal obstruents, the coronal sonorants n and l are palatalized before an i -glide, though not
before a non-glide i :

nilu
lima

[«nilu]
[«lima]

‘net’
‘open’

nial
lioke

[«ñi
al]

OgE]
[«Li

‘blade’
‘mark, symbol’

3.2.2 Vowels

Okuna has six vowel phonemes:

front

non-front
unround round

high

low

i
e

u
o

y
a

In all positions, the high vowels i and u, and the low vowel a, are pronounced as in the IPA (except that i
and u are realized as glides when adjacent to another vowel, as discussed below). The mid vowels e and o
may be tense or lax: e is tense before an i glide and lax in all other positions, while o is tense before an u
glide and lax in other positions. Compare:

tene
tenei
teneu
teneia

[«tEnE]
[tE»nei
]

]
[tE»nEu

a]
[tE»nei

‘hill’
‘hill.dat’
‘hill.abl’
‘hill.all’

kopo
kopoi
kopou
kopoua

[«kObO]
[kO»pOi
]

]
[kO»pou

a]
[kO»pou

‘pot’
‘pot.dat’
‘pot.abl’
‘pot.all’

In stressed syllables, y is pronounced as a high central unrounded vowel, or as a mid back unrounded vowel
(tense or lax), depending on the dialect. For example, hyna ‘move’ is pronounced [«h7na] by Inland speakers,
[«h1na] by Northern coastal speakers, and either [«h7na] or [«h2na] by Southern coastal speakers.
In all
varieties, y centralizes to schwa in unstressed syllables (e.g., tynan [t@»naN] ‘dew’).

Vowel length is not contrastive in Okuna. There are pairs of monosyllabic stems which appear to show a
length contrast—e.g., the vowel in s`u ‘rain’ is longer than the vowel in su ‘or’. However, the contrast here
is primarily one of stress rather than length: s`u is always stressed, whereas su never is (cf.

3.4 below).

] and [u
The high vowels i and u are non-syllabic, pronounced as [i

] (phonetically: [j] and [w], respectively),
when adjacent to a non-high vowel. In sequences of two high vowels (iu, ui ), the first vowel is non-syllabic.
This results in seven falling diphthongs (ai, ei, oi, yi ; au, eu, ou), ten rising diphthongs (ia, ie, io, iu, iy;
ua, ue, ui, uo, uy), and fourteen triphthongs (iai, iei, ioi, iyi, iau, ieu, iou; uai, uei, uoi, uyi, uau, ueu, uou).
Note that even when i and u are pronounced as glides, they are treated as vowels by the morphology. For
example, when the negative marker is prefixed to a verb, it takes the form ma- before a sonorant consonant
(e.g., mutla ‘understand’, mamutlo ‘doesn’t understand’), and m- before a vowel (e.g., eta ‘go’, meto ‘doesn’t
go’). When the negative marker attaches to a verb beginning with a glide, the m- form is used (uihta ‘sit
down’, muihto ‘doesn’t sit down’).

Note finally that a glottal stop is never inserted before a word-initial vowel; when two vowels occur
adjacent to one another at a word boundary, they are pronounced with a smooth transition: e.g., me ita
‘I am going’ is pronounced [mE»ita] (not *[mE»Pita]). When a word ending in a vowel comes before a word
beginning with the same vowel, and the latter is unstressed, there is a tendency for the two vowels to coalesce
phonetically into a single long vowel: e.g., me etskana ‘I arrive’ is normally pronounced [mE:ts»kana].

§

3.3. SYLLABLE STRUCTURE AND PHONOTACTICS

17

3.3 Syllable structure and phonotactics

Except word-initially, the following syllable types are possible: V, CV, VC, CVC, where C represents a
single consonant and V represents a simple vowel, diphthong, or triphthong. Division of words into syllables
is straightforward: A single intervocalic consonant is always syllabified with the following vowel (kila ‘see’
is syllabified as ki.la). When two consonants occur together word-internally, the syllable boundary goes
between them (mokta ‘go home’ is mok.ta, atlpa ‘make music’ is atl.pa). When a high vowel occurs between
two non-high vowels, it is syllabified with the following vowel, producing a rising diphthong in the second
syllable rather than a falling diphthong in the first syllable (e.g., paua ‘wash’ is pa.ua, not *pau.a).

Word-initially, a syllable may begin with a consonant cluster. By far the most common initial clusters
consist of a non-continuant obstruent preceded by a homorganic nasal: mp, nt, nts, ntl, nk. A handful of
uninflected stems begin with a nasal-obstruent cluster (e.g., mpyka ‘bump against’, nketu ‘crab’). In most
cases, however, these clusters result from adding the negative prefix m- to an obstruent-initial stem, with
place and continuancy assimilation (e.g., m- ‘neg’ + pat- ‘be tall’ + -o ‘neg’ > mpato ‘not be tall’; m-
‘neg’ + lhyu- ‘enter’ + -o ‘neg’ > ntlyuo ‘not enter’).

Besides the nasal-obstruent clusters, six other initial clusters are found in a handful of words: kl (kloha
‘go through’), ks (ksohe ‘darkness’), sk (skoha ‘steal’), st (stoka ‘destroy’), sl (sliahte ‘story’), and ps
(occurs only in the onomatopoetic psyta ‘spit out’).

Beyond these general constraints on syllable structure, the following phonotactic patterns may be noted:

1. Geminate sonorant consonants are possible word-internally (ikimme ‘with us’, inna ‘eye’, nalla
‘greet’), but geminate obstruents are disallowed, due to a historical and synchronic change whereby
the first of a pair of identical obstruents becomes h (e.g., t + t > ht).

2. The fricatives h and f have restricted distributions. The latter never occurs in the coda of a syllable,
due to a historical change where f merged with h in this position. In addition, although syllable-final h
is allowed word-internally, it never occurs at the end of a word. This is also due to a historical change,
following f > h merger, whereby h was lost word-finally (e.g., *ipalah > ipal`a ‘herb’). In addition, h
never occurs after a consonant (recall that the sequence lh represents a single sound), or before l, lh,
or itself. All other h + C combinations are permitted, and some are common.

3. The vowel y is less common than the other five vowels. It occurs most often as part of the diphthong
yi (generally pronounced [7i
]), and never appears at the end of a word. Note that there is no
] or [2i


diphthong yu, due to a historical change whereby *yu merged with ou. Synchronically, the sequence
yu only appears when y and u are separated by a syllable boundary, as in lhyua ‘enter’.

4. The rising diphthongs iu and ui are found in noun and verb roots, but never occur across a morpheme

boundary due to the vowel hiatus rules discussed in

3.5.3 below.

§

5. The a↵ricate tl rarely occurs syllable-finally. When tl is syllable final but stem-internal, the following
syllable always begins with a non-coronal plosive or nasal (e.g., atlpa ‘make music’, nitlka ‘sting’).

6. Consonant clusters consisting of two fricatives are limited. The combinations hf and hs are not
uncommon (e.g., muohfa ‘be heavy/dense’, tuhsa ‘winter’). But other fricative clusters are rare or
non-existent. Moreover, fricatives never occur after a sonorant, due to a rule which changes the
fricative into the corresponding a↵ricate or stop (n + f > mp, n + s > nts, n + lh > ntl, etc.).

3.4 Stress assignment

Okuna words are parsed into moraic trochees, where coda consonants and glides count as moraic. Primary
and secondary stress are assigned from the right edge of the word, and stress clashes within a word are not
permitted. This translates into the following rules:

18

CHAPTER 3. PHONOLOGY

1. For words of more than one syllable, the final syllable receives primary stress if it ends in a consonant
(kamal ‘knife’) or a falling diphthong (huiloi ‘window’); otherwise the penultimate syllable receives
primary stress. Monosyllabic words are stressed if they end in a consonant (nalh ‘arm’) or falling
diphthong (lai ‘light’); otherwise they are unstressed and form a prosodic unit with an adjacent stress-
bearing word, generally the following one.1

2. For words of four or more syllables, and for three-syllable words ending in a stressed syllable, secondary

stress is assigned right-to-left to every other syllable preceding the one with primary stress.

Examples of primary and secondary stress assignment are given below:

tene
mosie
hakui
minap
totsat
ulau
elohka
etskana
elohfoi
ksohnomats
ihtaupatam
teiektakunme

[«tE.nE]
E]
[«mO.Ci

[«ha.gu
i]

[mi.»nap]
[tO.»tsat]
[u.»lau
]

[E.»lOh.ka]
[Ets.»ka.na]
[E.lOh.»fOi
]

[ksOh.nO.»mats]
[ih.tau
.ba.»tam]

Ek.ta.»kun.mE]
[te.i

‘hill’
‘shoulders’
‘bristle’
‘marrow’
‘table’
‘scrotum’
‘yesterday’
‘arrive’
‘tomorrow’
‘dusk, twilight’
‘sixteen’
‘forty-nine.inst’

The only apparent exceptions to the above rules consist of a handful of stems and common inflectional forms
which end in a non-glide vowel but nevertheless have primary stress on the final syllable. In the orthography
used here, these are marked by placing a diacritic over the final vowel:

nap`e
ipal`a

[na.»pE]
[i.ba.»la]

‘daughter’
‘herb, medicinal plant’

The use of this diacritic is crucial, since a change in how a word is stressed often signals the di↵erence
between one inflectional form and another. For example, ‘woman’ is iha in the unmarked form (with stress
on the first syllable) and ih`a in the nominative case (with stress on the last syllable). Note that the same
diacritic is also placed over monosyllabic stress-bearing words ending in a non-glide vowel, such as n`a ‘water’.
These words are pronounced with a slightly longer vowel than their unstressed counterparts (e.g., s`u ‘rain’
has a longer vowel than su ‘or’).

Final stressed vowels have two sources in the phonology:

1. In some inflected forms, two adjacent vowels fuse to become a single stressed vowel. For example, when
the nominative ending -e is added to the stem iha ‘woman’, the ending fuses with the final stem vowel
to give ih`a (see

3.5.3).

§

2. Although syllables in Okuna may normally end in the glottal fricative h (e.g., the first syllable in ahte
‘father’), there is a rule which deletes h word-finally (cf.
3.3). However, words with a deleted final h
behave as if they still ended in a consonant, insofar as primary stress falls on the final syllable. This is
the case with s`u ‘rain’ and nap`e ‘daughter’, for instance, whose stems are suh- and napeh-, respectively.
(Because h only deletes in word-final position, it is preserved when a case ending attaches to the stem:
e.g., suhna ‘rain.loc’, napehme ‘daughter.inst’).

§

For the most part, word-level stress is insensitive to morphological structure: primary and secondary stress
are assigned to fully inflected stems, after all axes have been added to the stem. Note the stress shift in
the following forms (and its e↵ect on the pronunciation of k, which is routinely voiced before an unstressed
vowel, as noted above):

1Unstressed particles for marking force and evidentiality, discussed in

immediately follow the verb and form a prosodic unit with the verb.

§

8.2.2, are an exception to this: these particles

3.5. COMMON PHONOLOGICAL PROCESSES

19

muka
mukat
mukanka
mukankat

[«mu.ga]
[mu.»kat]
[mu.»kaN.ga]
[mu.gaN.»kat]

‘close’
‘close.pl’
‘close.ipv:pst’
‘close.ipv:pst.pl’

There is one important exceptions to this, however. The question marker -n, which is the contracted form
of ne used after a vowel, does not a↵ect the stress of the verb to which it attaches. Instead, the verb is
stressed as though the -n were not present (I assume that -n is actually an enclitic rather than a true sux).
Compare the stress placement in the following examples:

na hosta
na hostat
na h`ostan
na hostat ne

[na.»hOs.ta]
[na.hOs.»tat]
[na.»hOs.taN]
[na.hOs.»tat.nE]

‘s/he dances’
‘they dance’
‘does s/he dance?’
‘do they dance?’

Notice that when -n attaches to a verb with penultimate stress, penultimate stress is retained even though
the verb now ends in a consonant. In such cases the penultimate vowel is marked with a diacritic to show
that stress is falling on a syllable other than the expected one, in the same way that idiosyncratic final stress
is marked by a diacritic in words like nap`e.

3.5 Common phonological processes

The following are some commonly attested phonological rules. The application of these rules in particular
cases is discussed in the sections dealing with noun and verb morphology.

3.5.1 Consonant cluster simplification

Although geminate sonorant consonants (mm, nn, ll ) are permitted, geminate obstruents are disallowed.
When two identical obstruents come together at a word-internal morpheme boundary, the first one loses
its closure and becomes h, creating an hC cluster. This rule is attested in compounds (e.g., mok ‘hearth,
maternal lineage’ + kilu ‘grandchild’ > mohkilu ‘maternal grandchild’). It also applies productively when
a verb stem ending in t takes the inchoative sux -t (e.g., pat.t.a > pahta ‘make/become tall’); and when
the ordinal sux -ka attaches to a number term ending in k (teiek.ka > teiehka ‘ninth’, tolok.ka > tolohka
‘ten-thousandth’).

Similarly, sequences consisting of f followed by a consonant, or p followed by a plosive consonant, are
disallowed. When such sequences are created, the labial consonant loses its place features and becomes h,
again creating an hC cluster. This rule applies in compounds (e.g., minap ‘bone marrow’ + kan ‘worth’ >
minahkan ‘esteem, high regard’); and when the inchoative sux -t is added to a verb stem ending in p or f
(elif.t.a > elihta ‘become beautiful, beautify’; koip.t.a > koihta ‘get to know’).

When the sux -t is added to a stem ending in the a↵ricate tl, the tl becomes the corresponding fricative

lh (mutl.t.a > mulhta ‘realize, come to understand’).

Lastly, word-final lh is optionally pronounced as h when followed by a word beginning with l, tl, s, or ts,
especially in rapid speech (this change is not indicated in the spelling). For example, the phrase olh tlotsaka
ìflOtsaga].
‘that kind’ is normally pronounced [Oh t
¯

3.5.2 Place and continuancy assimilation

When a morpheme ending in a nasal N (either m or n) is followed by a morpheme beginning with an
obstruent, the nasal assimilates to the place of articulation of the obstruent. In addition, if the obstruent is
a continuant it will change into the closest corresponding non-continuant. The outputs of this rule are listed
below:

20

CHAPTER 3. PHONOLOGY

N + p > mp
N + t
> nt
N + ts > nts
N + tl > ntl
> nk
N + k

N + f

> mp

N + s
> nts
N + lh > ntl
N + h > nk

This rule applies when the negative prefix m- attaches to a stem beginning with an obstruent: e.g., m.pat.o
> mpato ‘isn’t tall’; m.fon.o > mpono ‘doesn’t praise’; m.sas.o > ntsaso ‘doesn’t meet’; m.lhil.o > ntlilo
‘doesn’t pull’; m.hakatl.o > nkakatlo ‘doesn’t laugh’. The rule also applies when a verb stem ending in a
nasal combines with the causative/inchoative sux -t, or when a numeral word ending in a nasal combines
with the sux -ka (which forms ordinal numbers) or -tla (which forms fractions): e.g., lhum.t.a > lhunta
‘become/make dim’; tam.ka > tanka ‘tenth’, tam.tla > tantla ‘one tenth’.

Nasals fail to assimilate before another sonorant: e.g., kalon.me > kalonme ‘with the young man’.

3.5.3 Vowel hiatus resolution

Sequences of two syllabic (non-glide) vowels are not permitted. Moreover, the sequences ii and uu are not
permitted, and the sequences iu and ui are allowed only within a stem. When one of these impermissible
vowel sequences is created through axation, regular rules apply to produce an acceptable sequence of
non-high vowels and glides.

The following rules apply when a prefix ending a vowel attaches to a stem beginning with a vowel:

1. When a prefix ending in a attaches to a stem beginning with a, the two vowels fuse into a single vowel.

Example: a.ati.a > atia ‘when (it) got closer’.

2. When a prefix ending in a high vowel (i or u) attaches to a stem beginning with a non-glide vowel, the
prefix vowel is pronounced as a glide. Examples: i.alh.a > ialha ‘is allowed’, i.yt.a > iyta ‘is true’,
u.euolht.a > ueuolhta ‘has gone there’. If the stem-initial vowel is also high, then that vowel lowers
to become the corresponding mid vowel (i becomes e, and u becomes o). Examples: i.ikl.a > iekla
‘is scratching’, i.usl.a > iosla ‘is about to end’; u.ipam.a > uepama ‘has prepared’, u.ukti.i > uoktie
‘having given’.

3. When a prefix ending in a high vowel attaches to a stem beginning with a glide, the prefix vowel itself
lowers to become the corresponding mid vowel. Examples: i.ias.a > eiasa ‘is eating’, i.uoht.a > euohta
‘is sitting’; u.iahkip.a > oiahkipa ‘has struck’, u.uant.a > ouanta ‘has thrown’.

4. When a prefix ending in a non-high vowel (a, e, o, y) is attached to a stem beginning with a non-glide
vowel, a glide is inserted between the two vowels. If at least one of the vowels is rounded, then an u-glide
is inserted; otherwise an i -glide is inserted. Examples: a.elif.oht.a > aielifohta ‘be more beautiful’,
a.ynt.im.a > aiyntima ‘get narrower’; e.otl.i > euotli ‘to come apart’, a.oit.oht.a > auoitohta ‘be more
important’. If the initial vowel of the stem is high, then the inserted glide causes it to lower. Examples:
a.ikl.a > aiekla ‘when (s/he) scratched’, a.ipam.a > aiepama ‘when (s/he) prepared’, ta.iht`a > taieht`a
‘sixty’; e.ukti.i > euoktie ‘to give’, a.uti.oht.a > auotiohta ‘be closer’.

The following rules apply when a sux beginning with a vowel attaches to a stem ending in a vowel, or
when the infix -i- (which marks dative case on nouns and resultative aspect on verbs: see
7.5.1,
respectively) is inserted immediately after the final vowel in a stem:

4.2 and

§

§

1. When the nominative sux -e attaches to a stem ending in a non-high vowel, the two vowels fuse into
a single vowel. This vowel attracts word-level stress, and has the quality of the original stem vowel.
Examples: malka.e > malk`a ‘wolf.nom’, ike.e > ik`e ‘dog.nom’, talo.e > tal`o ‘chieftain.nom’. In all
other cases of vowel hiatus, the following rules of vowel lowering and glide formation apply.

3.5. COMMON PHONOLOGICAL PROCESSES

21

2. When a sux beginning with a high vowel attaches to a stem ending in a glide, the sux vowel lowers.
Examples: pyi.i > pyie ‘to the child’, m.taki.unka > ntakionka ‘has not broken’, u.pau.i.ma > upauema
‘having washed (pl)’, piau.u > piauo ‘from the top’, m.o.tsoku.u > motsokuo ‘without having met
before’. Likewise, the infix -i- undergoes lowering when it is inserted after a glide. Examples: kaiha
‘kill, murder’ + -i- > kaieha ‘be killed, murdered’; euta ‘clean’ + -i- > eueta ‘be clean(ed)’.

3. If a sux beginning with a high vowel attaches to a stem ending in a vowel, the sux vowel is
pronounced as a glide; if the stem-final vowel is also high, that vowel changes into the corresponding
mid vowel. Examples: tomla.i > tomlai ‘to the mountain’, lhati.i > lhatei ‘to the children’, kilu.i
> kiloi ‘to the grandchild’; tlasi.u > tlaseu ‘from the bend in the river’, kotu.u > kotou ‘from the
house’. These same rules also apply when the infix -i- is inserted after a non-glide vowel. Examples:
uhin + -i- > uhein ‘to a song’; muk.a ‘close’ + -i- > moika ‘be closed’.

4. When a sux beginning with a non-high vowel is added to a vowel-final stem, a glide is inserted in
between them (except in cases where the vowel fusion rule in (1) above takes precedence). An u-glide
is inserted if at least one of the vowels is rounded; otherwise an i -glide is inserted. If the stem-final
vowel is high, glide insertion causes it to lower. Examples: iase.a > iaseia ‘for food’, lhati.a > lhateia
‘for the children’; talo.a > taloua ‘for the chieftain’, sihkunu.a > sihkunoua ‘towards the river’.

Chapter 4

Case and Argument Structure

4.1 Introduction

Okuna is a case-marking language, where grammatical roles (subject, object, etc.) are encoded primarily by
morphology on pronouns and noun phrases. In this chapter I discuss the Okuna case system in detail. This
system is complicated by the existence of di↵erent verb classes which show distinct case marking patterns,
and by the ways in which case marking interacts with aspect, negation, and other factors.

Noun phrases may appear in their unmarked form, or inflected for one of the following seven case roles:
nominative (nom), dative (dat), ergative (erg), locative (loc), allative (all), ablative (abl), or instru-
mental (inst). The nominative, dative, and ergative may be classified as the core cases, while the locative,
allative, ablative, and instrumental are the oblique cases. This division into core and oblique cases is
justified on distributional grounds. In particular, noun phrases in the core cases agree in number with the
verb (see
7.2), whereas oblique noun phrases do not. Moreover, pronouns have special clitic forms for the
core cases, but not for the oblique cases (see chapter 5).

§

I begin by reviewing the morphology for marking case on nouns in

dealt with in the next chapter).
the functions of the core cases, while
with the functions of the oblique cases. Finally, in
unmarked for case.

§

§

I then turn to the functions of the various case roles.

§
4.4 gives examples of the various verb classes in Okuna.

4.2 (case marking on pronouns is
4.3 I review
4.5 deals
4.6 I discuss the distribution of noun phrases which are

In

§

§

4.2 Noun case morphology

A noun phrase may occur in its bare form, or in combination with one of seven case markers. The basic
forms of the case markers are given in the following table:

nominative (nom)
dative (dat)
ergative (erg)
locative (loc)
allative (all)
ablative (abl)
instrumental (inst)

-e
-i
-ma
-na
-a
-u
-me

The case marker attaches to the final word in the noun phrase. Since Okuna is a head-final language,
the final word in the noun phrase will usually be the noun itself. However, demonstratives and quantifiers
(including numerals) follow the noun, so when a noun phrase contains one of these, it is the quantifier or
demonstrative which carries the case marker while the noun itself remains unmarked. When the noun phrase

22

4.2. NOUN CASE MORPHOLOGY

23

includes both a quantifier and a demonstrative, the demonstrative follows the quantifier and takes the case
marker. Compare the following noun phrases, illustrating the position of the locative case marker -na:

kotuna
kulhe kotuna
kulhe kotu henna
kulhe kotu itena
kulhe kotu hen itena

(house.loc)
(green house.loc)
(green house two.loc)
(green house these:loc)
(green house two these:loc)

‘in the house’
‘in the green house’
‘in (the) two green houses’
‘in these green houses’
‘in these two green houses’

In addition, when two or more noun phrases are combined into a larger noun phrase using a conjunction such
as ka ‘and’ (see
8.3.1), only the rightmost conjunct is marked for case. Consider the following example, in
which the instrumental case marker -me attaches to no ame ‘his mother’, while Sakial is unmarked:

§

(4.1) Sakial
Sakial
‘with Sakial and his mother’

no
3ardat

ka
and

ameme
mother.inst

There is an added complication involving the nominative case ending -e: this ending attaches to the noun
phrase only when the noun itself is the final element. If a noun phrase in the nominative case role ends in a
numeral, quantifier, or related element, the -e ending is not used (making the nominative form homophonous
with the unmarked form). For example, kamal ‘knife’ is kamalme in the instrumental and kamale in the
nominative; by contrast, kamal hen ‘two knives’ takes the form kamal henme in the instrumental, but simply
kamal hen (with no ending) in the nominative.

The fact that they attach to the noun phrase as a whole suggests that the case markers are clitics.
Phonologically, however, they behave in a way that is more characteristic of true suxes than of clitics. For
example, they can cause stress to shift rightward (e.g., k´otu ‘house’ versus kot´una ‘in the house’), and, in the
case of the dative, the ending can actually be infixed within the word it attaches to. In order to side-step
the question of whether they should be treated as axes or clitics, I will refer to these morphemes simply
as case endings.

All nouns inflect using the same set of case endings. However, there is a good deal of phonologically-
conditioned allomorphy: the vowel-initial case endings all vary in form depending on the final sound(s) of the
stem they attach to, and adding these endings to a noun can also cause changes to the stem. The attested
patterns are explained and illustrated below.

Consonant-final stems

1. When the stem ends in a consonant preceded by a glide, the case endings given in the table above are
added without any changes. This is illustrated in the table below with the declension for the noun
koin ‘person’.

2. When the stem ends in a consonant other than h, and that consonant is preceded by a syllabic (non-
glide) vowel, the dative case is marked by infixing an i -glide before the final consonant. All other case
endings are as expected. This is illustrated below for tlukan ‘raven’. When the vowel preceding the
3.5.3
infixed glide is high, that vowel lowers in accordance with the vowel lowering rule discussed in
(i > e, u > o). This pattern is illustrated for his ‘star’ and kihul ‘islet’.

§

3. Stems whose final consonant is h inflect the same way as above, except that the h disappears in the
unmarked form and after the infixed -i of the dative. This is due to a regular phonological rule which
3.3). Because the h is dropped, the noun ends in a stressed vowel in the
deletes word-final h (see
unmarked form and a diphthong in the dative. This is illustrated below for napeh- (nap`e) ‘daughter’
and suh- (s`u) ‘rain’.

§

24

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

koin
nom koine
dat
koini
erg koinma
koinna
loc
koina
all
koinu
abl
koinme
inst

tlukan
tlukane
tlukain
tlukanma
tlukanna
tlukana
tlukanu
tlukanme

his
hise
heis
hisma
hisna
hisa
hisu
hisme

kihul
kihule
kihoil
kihulma
kihulna
kihula
kihulu
kihulme

nap`e
napehe
napei
napehma
napehna
napeha
napehu
napehme

s`u
suhe
soi
suhma
suhna
suha
suhu
suhme

Vowel-final stems

1. When the stem ends in a glide vowel, the dative ending -i lowers to become -e (making the dative
and nominative forms homophonous). Likewise, the ablative ending -u lowers to become -o. All other
endings remain unchanged. This is illustrated in the table below for pyi ‘child’.

2. When the stem ends in the vowel a, that vowel merges with the nominative ending -e to form a single
stressed a vowel, while a u-glide is inserted before the allative ending -a. These changes are illustrated
below in the declension for malka ‘wolf’.

3. When the noun stem ends in e, the stem-final vowel fuses with the nominative ending -e to form a
single stressed e vowel, and an i -glide is inserted before the allative ending -a. This is shown for
ilme ‘moon’. These same changes happen when the noun stem ends in (non-glide) i, and in addition,
stem-final i lowers to e before a glide and in the nominative. This is illustrated for lhati ‘children’.

4. Finally, when the noun stem ends in o, that vowel fuses with the nominative ending -e to form a
stressed o vowel, while an u-glide is inserted before allative -a, as shown for talo ‘chieftain’. These
same changes occur for nouns ending in (non-glide) u, such as uosu ‘smooth round stone’, but in
addition the stem-final u lowers to become o before a glide and in the nominative.

malka
malk`a
malkai

pyi
nom pyie
pyie
dat
erg pyima malkama
pyina malkana
loc
malkaua
pyia
all
malkau
pyio
abl
pyime malkame
inst

ilme
ilm`e
ilmei
ilmema
ilmena
ilmeia
ilmeu
ilmeme

lhati
lhat`e
lhatei
lhatima
lhatina
lhateia
lhateu
lhatime

talo
tal`o
taloi
taloma
talona
taloua
talou
talome

uosu
uos`o
uosoi
uosuma
uosuna
uosoua
uosou
uosume

Pronouns and certain other elements (such as the quantifiers -mot ‘all’ and -ket ‘every’) inflect for case
according to a di↵erent pattern, as discussed in chapter 5. The functions of the cases are reviewed below in
4.3 and

4.5.

§

§

4.3 The core cases

The three core cases are nominative, ergative, and dative. (Pronouns distinguish two forms for the dative,
realis and irrealis; however, I postpone discussion of this distinction until
5.3.3.) The distribution of these
cases is somewhat complex. Okuna exhibits a typologically unusual active case marking system, where core
case roles do not map in a straightforward way onto familiar grammatical relations like subject and object.
Instead, case is determined in large part by the event structure of the predicate. From the perspective of an
English speaker, Okuna case marking can seem idiosyncratic, which is why the glossary accompanying this
grammar lists case assignment information for many verbs.

§

Most verbs in Okuna can be assigned to one of three classes according to the maximum number and kind
of core arguments they take. For simplicity I refer to these simply as Class I, Class II, and Class III. A

4.3. THE CORE CASES

25

detailed discussion of these classes, with examples of each, is given in
overview of the core case roles.
in

4.3.2 I consider the functions of the dative case in some detail.

4.4 below. I begin with a preliminary
§
4.3.1 summarizes the functions of the nominative and ergative cases, while

§

§

4.3.1 Nominative and ergative case

Ergative (erg) case is marked by adding the ending -ma to the final word in the noun phrase. To mark the
nominative (nom), the ending -e is typically attached to the noun if it is the final element in the noun phrase;
otherwise the nominative is unmarked (e.g., quantifiers and correlatives are unmarked in the nominative; see
6.7 and
6.8). Note that nominative marking is subject to a high degree of allomorphy, as summarized in
§
4.2 above. This section gives an overview of the functions of the nominative and ergative cases. For more
§
extensive discussion and illustration of nominative and ergative case assignment with respect to the di↵erent
verb classes, see

4.4.

§

Ergative case is used to mark noun phrases that denote actors. The actor is that participant in the
event (if any) who initiates or carries out the action denoted by the verb, often causing a change in some
other participant. When a clause denotes an open-ended activity, the individual(s) engaged in that activity
may be referred to by a noun phrase in the ergative case, as in (4.2) and (4.3). When a clause denotes an
activity resulting in a change of state or location, an ergative noun phrase is used to indicate the individual
(if any) who is responsible for bringing about the change, as in (4.4) and (4.5).

§

(4.2) Lhatima

yhmana
outside.loc

ilaliat
prg.play.ipv.pl

children.erg
‘The children are playing outside’

(4.3) Sakialma

halma
book

itala
prg.read.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial is reading a book’

(4.4) Ihama

woman.erg

hut`a
basket.nom

kotoi
house.dat

lhyuyiat
enter.pv.npl.pl

‘The women took/brought the baskets into the house’

(4.5) Ikei

sisliankama
dog.dat
rattlesnake.erg
‘The dog was bitten by a rattlesnake’

kilhtyi
bite.pv

The actor is typically an animate participant who acts consciously and deliberately to bring about the event
denoted by the verb. However, this is not a necessary property of actors. In the examples below, ergative
case marks an inanimate noun as the initiator of the action:

(4.6) Kas

ahoma
sun.erg

is`e
snow.nom

ikista
prg.melt.ipv

already
‘The sun is already melting the snow’

(4.7) Sukuma

emot
wind.erg
all.nom
‘The wind blew all those trees over’

palahta
tree

olh
dist

lhope
blow.cv

tiausyia
fall.pv.npl

(4.8) Mo

1srdat

somoityi
hear:news.pv

ne
3anom

hintsypalma
pneumonia.erg

atiok`a
pv.die.dep.nom

‘I heard that he died of pneumonia’ (more lit. ‘that pneumonia caused him to die’)

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CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

Nominative case is assigned to noun phrases which bear the theme role. Such noun phrases typically denote
a participant that occupies a location or position, or undergoes a change of location or position, whether
spontaneously or as the result of being manipulated by an actor. Examples of nominative marking on themes
are given below:

(4.9) Kamale

totsatna
knife.nom
table.loc
‘The knife is lying on the table’

itima
prg.lie.ipv

(4.10) Kamale

epamu
totsat
knife.nom
top.abl
table
‘The knife fell o↵ the table’

tiausyi
fall.pv

(4.11) Ma

kihune
letter.nom

kohoit
1serg
chest.dat
‘I put the letters in the chest’

elhyia
put:in.pv.npl

(4.12) Ikema

sekite
rat.nom

kiompyi
chase.pv

dog.erg
‘The dog chased the rat’

(4.13) Ihama

woman.erg

kamale
knife.nom

ikpa
prg.hold/carry.ipv

‘The woman is holding/carrying a knife’

(4.14) Hitole

door.nom

mukyi
close.pv

‘The door (was) closed’

(4.15) Sakialma

hitole
door.nom
Sakial.erg
‘Sakial closed the door’

mukyi
close.pv

When the clause expresses a state or property, the nominative-marked theme argument denotes the entity to
which that state or property is attributed, as in (4.16) and (4.17). In addition, with certain verbs expressing
entry into a state, the noun phrase which names the individual that enters into that state is marked with
nominative case, as in (4.18)–(4.20).

(4.16) Sakiale

teusu
very

pata
tall.pv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is very tall’

(4.17) Mule

ihalhka
prg.dry.ipv

cloth.nom
‘The cloth is dry’

(4.18) Mule

cloth.nom

halhketyi
dry.tinc.pv

‘The cloth dried (out)’

(4.19) Ma

1serg

mule
cloth.nom

halhketyi
dry.tinc.pv

‘I dried (out) the cloth’

4.3. THE CORE CASES

kale
(4.20) Luhme
old:one
man.nom
‘The old man died’

tiokyi
die.pv

27

Nominative case also marks the subject of a non-verbal predicate, as in the examples below (as discussed
in
9.3.1, Okuna predicates need not include an overt copular verb). In (4.21) and (4.22), the nominative-
marked noun phrase is the subject of a predicate nominal, unmarked for case. In (4.23), the nominative
noun phrase is the subject of a relational predicate in the locative case (cf.

6.5):

§

§

(4.21) Mule

sane
red:one

cloth.nom
‘The cloth is red’

(4.22) Sakiale

no
Sakial.nom
3ardat
‘Sakial is her father’

ahte
father

(4.23) Tenmotlai
Tenmotlai
‘The town of Tenmotlai is north of here’

tiesate
town.nom

ekau
here:abl

heutna
north.loc

4.3.2 Dative case and the delimiter role

On regular noun phrases, dative case is typically marked by adding the ending -i to the final element in the
noun phrase. As discussed in
4.2, this ending often infixes before the final consonant in the noun stem:
e.g., totsat ‘table’ + -i > totsait. Pronouns and related elements distinguish two forms of the dative, called
realis and irrealis. The di↵erence between realis dative and irrealis dative is discussed in

5.3.3.

§

Dative case is typically assigned to a noun phrase which denotes the delimiter of a telic event. A
telic event is any event which reaches a natural (non-arbitrary) culmination point, beyond which it cannot
continue. For example, the sentence ‘The girl ate the fish’ denotes a telic event, since the action described
by this sentence necessarily ends once the fish has been completely consumed. Compare this with ‘The girl
ate fish’, which denotes an atelic or open-ended event: since no particular quantity of fish is specified, the
action of eating does not culminate and can go on indefinitely. Likewise, ‘The boy pushed the cart’ is atelic,
since the event lacks a natural endpoint: in principle the boy could go on pushing the cart indefinitely. By
contrast, ‘The boy pushed the cart into the ditch’ is telic, since the event necessarily ends once the cart is
in the ditch.1

§

In clauses denoting telic events, the dative-marked delimiter argument is that noun phrase in the sentence
(if any) which identifies or is associated with the culmination point of the event. The exact role which the
delimiter noun phrase plays depends on the type of event. For example, with events of motion, where
an object undergoes a change of location from one place to another, the verb can take a dative argument
expressing the goal to which the object moves—provided the event necessarily ends once that goal is
reached. Examples are given below. In (4.26), for instance, the dropping event ends as soon as the stone is
in the hole; hence the hole can be thought of as delimiting the event.

(4.24) Sa

tiesait
town.dat

etyit
go.pv.pl

13nom
‘We went to the town’

(4.25) Ma

kamale
knife.nom

totsait
1serg
table.dat
‘I put the knife on the table’

teunyi
put.pv

1The boy might continue to push the cart after that point, but he can no longer be described as pushing the cart into the

ditch once it is actually in the ditch.

28

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

tiausyi
(4.26) Mikalma
boy.erg
drop.pv
‘The boy dropped the stone into the hole’

nak`a
stone.nom

otoi
hole.dat

Like the goal in a motion event, the recipient functions as the delimiter in an event of transmission. The
recipient is that individual who, as a result of the transmission event, comes to possess an object or (as in
the case of verbs like etsa ‘tell’) a piece of information.

(4.27) Motlai

kytu
present

moityi
receive.pv

Motla.dat
‘Motla received a present’

(4.28) Ma

halm`a
book.nom
1serg
‘I gave the books to Sakial’

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

uktiyia
give.pv.npl

(4.29) Ko

2erg

suhpai
brother.dat

etsyin
tell.pv.qu

sati
dinner

ituos`a?
prg.ready.dep.nom

‘Have you told (your) brother that it’s time for dinner?’

With certain perception verbs such as kila ‘see/show’ and ola ‘hear’, the experiencer participant counts as
the delimiter. To account for this, we might conceive of perception events as involving the transmission of
a sensation, which ends/culminates once the sensation has ‘reached’ the perceiver.

(4.30) Eleim

lhonko
loud:noise

olyi
hear.pv

Elim.dat
‘Elim heard a loud noise’

(4.31) Motlai

kietame
picture.nom

kilyi
see.pv

Motla.dat
‘Motla saw the picture’

(4.32) Elimma

Elim.erg

Motlai
Motla.dat

kietame
picture.nom

kilyi
see.pv

‘Elim showed Motla the picture’ (more lit. ‘caused Motla to see the picture’)

Verbs like kahta ‘hit’, patla ‘cover’, and peha ‘kiss’ describe events where an actor manipulates an object or
a part of his/her body, bringing it into physical contact with some other entity. The latter entity is typically
expressed by a noun phrase in the dative case:

(4.33) Ma

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

kahtyi
hit.pv

1serg
‘I hit Sakial’

(4.34) Ma

totsait
table.dat

mul
cloth

patlyi
cover.pv

1serg
‘I covered the table with a cloth’

(4.35) Elimma

Elim.erg

kohmei
romantic:partner.dat

ipeha
prg.kiss.ipv

‘Elim is kissing (his) partner’

4.3. THE CORE CASES

29

In all of the above examples, the dative-marked delimiter can be said to indicate the endpoint of a (literal
or figurative) motion event. With other verbs expressing telic events, the delimiter argument denotes an
entity whose condition is thought of as ‘measuring out’ (i.e., identifying the degree of completion of) the
event. Consider, for example, events where one of the participants, the patient, undergoes a gradual change
culminating in an end state. Verbs expressing events of this sort include iasa ‘eat’, siehpa ‘write’, and tiespa
‘build’. With such verbs, the delimiter is the noun phrase which names the patient of the action, since the
event necessarily ends once the patient has been completely a↵ected (i.e., completely created, destroyed,
consumed, or otherwise altered) by the action:

(4.36) Ounama
bear.erg
‘The bear ate the fish’

kahoi
fish.dat

iasyi
eat.pv

(4.37) Kalma

kihoin
letter.dat

siehpyi
write.pv

man.erg
‘The man wrote the letter’

(4.38) Sukakama

kotoi
house.dat

tiespyit
build.pv.pl

worker.erg
‘The workers built a house’

In the examples above, the eating event ends as soon as the fish has been thoroughly consumed, the writing
event ends once the letter is finished, and the building event ends when the house is complete. It is in this
sense that the patient argument identifies the culmination point of the event. In each case, the progress of
the event may be tracked by observing incremental changes in the state of the patient.

A clause denoting an atelic activity (containing a Class II verb) may be coverted into one denoting a
telic activity by adding a delimiting measure phrase in the dative case. This measure phrase expresses the
duration of the action, the distance traversed by an object in motion, or some other quantity which can be
used to assign an endpoint or ‘upper limit’ to the event. When used in this sense, the dative phrase is often
followed by the particle sik`a, meaning roughly ‘all the way’ or ‘until’:

(4.39) Na

luom
hour

hein
3aerg
two.dat
‘She slept for two hours’

muelhyi
sleep.pv

(4.40) Sukakama

nak`a
stone.nom

katlam
cubit

kiain
five.dat

tlynkyit
push.pv.pl

worker.erg
‘The workers pushed the stone five cubits’ (and then stopped)

(4.41) Sa

huta
basket

huoie
13erg
twelve.dat
‘We gathered twelve baskets of blackberries’

ipoi
blackberry

sik`a
until

titiyit
gather.pv.pl

Consider example (4.39). Although sleeping is an open-ended activity, sleeping for two hours is not: once
the two-hour mark is reached, it is no longer possible to continue sleeping for two hours. It is in this sense
that the measure phrase luom hen ‘two hours’ delimits the event, and thus appears in the dative case. To
make sense of (4.41), we might translate this sentence more literally as ‘We gathered blackberries until (we
reached a total of) twelve baskets’.

Notice, incidentally, that even though these measure phrases are plural and appear in one of the core
cases, they do not trigger plural marking on the verb (see
7.2 on number agreement). Although absence of
agreement is the usual rule, it is possible for a measure phrase to optionally trigger dative plural agreement
when it is interpreted as definite. Compare (4.41) with (4.42) below, where huta huoie ‘twelve baskets’ is
replaced with the definite noun phrase olh huta huoi utat ‘those twelve baskets’, and the verb carries the
dative plural sux -ma in agreement with this argument.

§

30

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

(4.42) Sa

olh
dist

huta
basket

huoi
13erg
twelve
‘We gathered those twelve baskets of blackberries’
or ‘We gathered blackberries until we filled those twelve baskets’

utat
those:rdat

ipoi
blackberry

titiyimat
gather.pv.dpl.pl

A noun phrase or dependent clause may also function as a dative-marked delimiter if it indicates an event
which marks the temporal ‘cut-o↵ point’ for the event denoted by the clause, or the state resulting from an
activity denoted by the clause. Here, dative case is equivalent to ‘up to’ or ‘until’ in English. As above, the
dative phrase is often followed by the particle sik`a.

(4.43) Na

kahpahoi
3aerg
sunset.dat
‘They hunted until sunset’

lakiyit
hunt.pv.pl

(4.44) Kim

kauotat
be:here.dur.ipv.pl

lhat`e
12nom
children.nom
‘We will stay here until the children return’

nioktatai
return.dep.pl.dat

sik`a
until

(4.45) Inan

3aloc

ekonampyi
hungry.act.pv

atiokai
pv.die.dep.dat

‘He was starved to death’ (lit. ‘He was made hungry until [he] died’)

Note that when a resultative expression of this sort occurs in the same clause as a patient argument,
the resultative ‘usurps’ the role of delimiter from the patient, forcing the latter into the nominative case.
Consider the examples below. In (4.46) the patient tsike ‘fly’ takes dative marking; whereas in (4.47) this
ending appears on the dependent verb atioka ‘that [it] died’, and tsike is marked for nominative case instead.
This illustrates a general principle of case assignment in Okuna, namely that a telic clause can have no more
than one delimiter, and hence no more than one dative-marked noun phrase.

(4.46) Usoitma

tsikei
fly.dat

nitlkyi
sting.pv

spider.erg
‘The spider stung the fly’

(4.47) Usoitma

nan
3anom
spider.erg
‘The spider stung the fly until it died’

nitlkyi
sting.pv

tsik`e
fly.nom

atiokai
pv.die.dep.dat

Compare also the following examples.
In (4.48) and (4.49), the event of writing ends once the letter is
finished; hence kihun ‘letter’ is the delimiter, and takes the dative case. Example (4.49) also includes a
non-case-marked noun phrase, es luom ‘an hour’, which measures the amount of time from the beginning
of the event to the endpoint. In (4.50), the temporal measure phrase itself delimits the event: that is, the
event is over once one hour has elapsed, not once the letter is finished. Since the measure phrase identifies
the endpoint, it appears in the dative case, while kihun, no longer construed as a delimiter, is treated as the
theme argument and takes the nominative instead.

(4.48) Sakialma

kihoin
Sakial.erg
letter.dat
‘Sakial wrote the letter’

siehpyi
write.pv

(4.49) Sakialma

luom
kihoin
Sakial.erg
hour
letter.dat
‘Sakial wrote the letter in an hour’

es
one

siehpyi
write.pv

4.4. VERB CLASSES

31

(4.50) Sakialma

luoim
Sakial.erg
hour.dat
‘Sakial worked on the letter for an hour’

kihune
letter.nom

es
one

siehpyi
write.pv

A minor exception to the restriction against multiple delimiters comes from iterative clauses, which are formed
by suxing the durative aspectual marker -ot to an eventive verb stem (e.g., tlynka ‘push’ > tlynkota ‘push
repeatedly’; see
7.5.4). As the following examples show, iterative clauses are able to take two dative phrases,
typically a goal or patient plus a measure phrase. This is because iteratives have a complex event structure:
they consist of a ‘macro-event’ composed of more-or-less identical ‘micro-events’, where the macro-event and
micro-events may each be delimited separately.
In (4.54), the goal lahi ‘ditch’ delimits the micro-events
(each individual pushing event ends once the stone is in the ditch), while the measure phrase luom hen ‘two
hours’ delimits the macro-event (the activity of repeatedly pushing concludes once two hours have elapsed).

§

(4.51) Mikalma
boy.erg
‘The boy pushed the stone’

nak`a
stone.nom

tlynkyi
push.pv

tlynkyi
(4.52) Mikalma
boy.erg
push.pv
‘The boy pushed the stone into the ditch’

nak`a
stone.nom

lahei
ditch.dat

(4.53) Mikalma
boy.erg
‘The boy pushed the stone repeatedly into the ditch’

tlynkotyi
push.dur.pv

nak`a
stone.nom

lahei
ditch.dat

(4.54) Mikalma
boy.erg
‘The boy pushed the stone repeatedly into the ditch for two hours’

tlynkotyi
push.dur.pv

nak`a
stone.nom

lahei
ditch.dat

hein
two.dat

luom
hour

4.4 Verb classes

All verbs in Okuna may be assigned to one of three classes according to the number of core arguments which
they take and how those arguments are marked for case. I will refer to these simply as Class I, Class II,
and Class III:

1. Class I verbs take a single core argument (the theme) marked with nominative case. Verbs in this

class tend to express states and relations.

2. Class II verbs take up to two core arguments: a nominative noun phrase (the theme) and an ergative
noun phrase (the actor). Verbs in this class tend to express atelic (open-ended) events carried out by
the actor, or telic events involving the (near-)instantaneous entry of the theme into a state.

3. Class III verbs take up to three core arguments: a nominative noun phrase (the theme), an ergative
noun phrase (the actor), and a dative noun phrase (the delimiter). Verbs in this class express telic
events which culminate in a non-arbitrary endpoint, where that endpoint is identified by, or associated
with, the delimiter argument.

Crucially, class membership is based on the maximum number of core arguments which a verb can take. A
verb may appear with fewer than the maximum number of core arguments, since (as discussed in
9.4.1)
arguments are freely omitted from the clause if they lack a referent, or if the referent is unknown or unim-
portant. For example, a large number of Class II and Class III verbs may occur either with or without
an ergative-marked actor. When the actor is not expressed, the sentence may denote a spontaneous event,
which comes about without being initiated by an external participant; or it may denote an event initiated

§

32

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

by a participant whose identity is unknown or unimportant to the context. In the latter case, the sentence
may usually be translated using a passive construction. Consider the following examples, featuring the Class
II verb muka ‘close’ and the Class III verb uihta ‘sit/set down’:

(4.55) Ihama

hitole
door.nom

mukyi
close.pv

woman.erg
‘The woman closed the door’

(4.56) Hitole

mukyi
close.pv

door.nom
‘The door (was) closed’

(4.57) Ihama

uihtyi
sit:down.pv
woman.erg
‘The woman set/sat the child down in the chair’

pyie
child.nom

keuli
chair.dat

(4.58) Pyie

keuli
chair.dat

uihtyi
sit:down.pv

child.nom
‘The child sat down in the chair’ or ‘The child was set down on the chair’

A small number of verbs commonly appear without any core arguments at all. These include verbs which
express emotions or physical sensations internal to one’s body—e.g., kesta ‘be happy’, ekona ‘be hungry’,
muelhona ‘be drowsy, feel like sleeping’. Verbs of this type typically occur with a single noun phrase in the
locative case, denoting the individual who experiences the emotion or sensation:

(4.59) Iman
1sloc
‘I was happy’

kestanka
happy.ipv:pst

(4.60) Sakialna

teusu
very

iekona
prg.hungry.ipv

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial is very hungry’

However, these verbs can nevertheless be assigned to Class I, since they occasionally take a nominative-
marked theme argument denoting the object or occasion which inspires the emotion in question. Notice that
in (4.63), the nominative argument is the postposed dependent clause ku uket`a (lit. ‘you having come here’).

iekona
(4.61) Iman
1sloc
prg.hungry.ipv
‘I’m hungry for your food’ (i.e., your food is the source of my hunger)

sat`e
food.nom

ikou
2abl

(4.62) Mehkanen

nkestunka
occasion
neg.happy.ipv:pst:neg
‘That occasion was not a happy one’ (i.e., not a source of happiness)

tan
that:nom

iahok
at:all

(4.63) Iman
1sloc
‘I’m happy that you came’ (more lit. ‘You having come is a source of happiness in me’)

uket`a
pf.come:here.dep.nom

kesta
happy.ipv

ku
2nom

Likewise, verbs denoting the emission of bodily substances (e.g., salhka ‘bleed’, hiunuka ‘cry, weep, shed
tears’) typically appear with just a noun phrase in the ablative case, denoting the individual from whose
body the substance is emitted, as in (4.64). However, these verbs occasionally take a core argument in the
ergative case, denoting an individual who intentionally initiates the action, as in (4.65), showing that they
belong to Class II:

4.4. VERB CLASSES

(4.64) Sakialu

Sakial.abl

isalhka
prg.bleed.ipv

‘Sakial is bleeding’ (i.e., shedding blood)

(4.65) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

tsan
self

isalhka
prg.bleed.ipv

‘Sakial is bleeding himself’ (i.e., releasing his blood)

33

In the following subsections I consider the three verb classes in detail, providing examples of each and
illustrating their argument structures. I focus my discussion on how the core case roles (nominative, dative,
ergative) are mapped to participant roles according to the kind of event that the verb denotes. However, I
also comment on the oblique roles (see

4.5) which certain types of verbs routinely occur with.

§

4.4.1 Class I verbs

A large number of verbs in Okuna take at most a single core argument, always in the nominative case. This
argument may be identified with the semantic role theme. For expository purposes, Class I verbs may be
divided into various semantic subclasses.

Stative verbs

Class I includes the majority of verbs denoting states or properties. With verbs of this type, the nominative
argument indicates the individual to which the state or property is attributed. Stative Class I verbs include:

fiha
hakta
kiha
kiota
laina
liuna
mila
muha
ohtla
oita
pata
toha

‘be young’
‘be tired’
‘be small’
‘be fast, be quick’
‘shine, be bright’
‘be old’
‘be beautiful, be pretty’
‘suce, be enough’
‘resemble, be similar’
‘be important, matter’
‘be tall’
‘be big’

Examples of sentences featuring Class I stative verbs:

(4.66) Pyie

fiha
young.ipv

child.nom
‘The child is young’

(4.67) Olh
dist
‘Those mountains are very tall’

tin
those:nom

tomla
mountain

teusu
very

patat
tall.ipv.pl

(4.68) Elime

ihaktanka
Elim.nom
prg.tired.ipv:pst
‘Elim seems to have been tired this morning’

kotsimna
morning.loc

le
it:seems

Some stative verbs may occur without an overt nominative argument when predicated of general conditions,
as when expressing the state of the weather:

34

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

(4.69) Teusu

inuha
very
prg.cold.ipv
‘It’s very cold today’

hial`o
today

Positional and experiencer verbs

Class I also includes a number of verbs which, in addition to a nominative core argument, routinely take an
argument in one of the oblique cases (locative, allative, ablative, instrumental). Verbs denoting the position,
posture/stance, or orientation of an object belong to this class, for instance. These include:

kanta
kumuta
sailha
suna
teha
tima
toilha
uohta

‘stand, be vertical/upright’
‘face, be oriented (towards)’
‘lie, be lying/horizontal’
‘hang’
‘stay, remain (behind)’
‘lie (on the ground); be located/situated’
‘stand’
‘sit, be seated’

With verbs of this type, nominative case is assigned to the argument whose position/posture/orientation is
being specified. The place where the nominative argument is located may be specified by a noun phrase in
the locative case. With verbs such as kumuta, an object, location, or direction towards which the nominative
argument is oriented is indicated by a noun phrase in the allative case. Examples:

(4.70) Sakiale

keulna
chair.loc

euohta
prg.sit:res.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is sitting on a chair’

(4.71) Ntse
neg
‘There isn’t much ice (lying) on the ground outside’

itimo
prg.lie.ipv:neg

mian
much:nom

yhmana
outside.loc

kise
ice

(4.72) Pal`o

sihkunu
river

utena
near.loc

tima
lie.ipv

village.nom
‘The village lies near a river’

kumutat
(4.73) Kotu
house
face.ipv.pl
‘The houses all face (towards) the river’

sihkunoua
river.all

emot
all:nom

A number of Class I verbs, such as those listed below, denote mental states or processes. For verbs of this
type, the nominative argument indicates the theme or subject matter of the mental state/process, while the
experiencer argument appears in the locative or allative case. Of the verbs listed below, henka, huata, and
ohka take allative case-marked experiencers, while the remainder all take locative case-marked experiencers.

ampa
falha
henka
huata
iona
koipa
ksafa
mutla
niokona
ohka

‘think, have the opinion that’
‘wish (for), hope (for)’
‘like, enjoy’
‘like, appreciate’
‘know [a fact]’
‘know [a person or thing], be acquainted with’
‘hope (for), want’
‘understand’
‘remember, recall’
‘love; be dear, cherished’

4.4. VERB CLASSES

35

okfa
opa

‘want, desire, wish (for)’
‘think, believe, speculate’

Examples:

(4.74) Me

Sakiala
Sakial.all

huata
like.ipv

1snom
‘Sakial likes me’

(4.75) Isena
13loc
‘We know Sakial’

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

koipa
know.ipv

(4.76) Nesap

tan
that:nom

mamutlo
neg.understand.ipv:neg

iman
1sloc

question
‘I don’t understand that question’

Verbs of possession

Finally, verbs that express relations of possession or inclusion belong to Class I. The principal verbs in this
sub-class are efa ‘have, own, possess’, iala ‘have, be responsible for’, and yla ‘have, contain, include, be
equipped with’. These verbs express distinct types of relations. Efa expresses alienable possession—that is,
ownership of personal property which may be transferred from one individual to another. With this verb
the nominative argument denotes the thing being possessed, while the possessor noun phrase appears in the
instrumental case:

(4.77) Motlame

halma
book
Motla.inst
‘Motla has/owns many books’

ante
many:nom

efa
have.ipv

Iala denotes possession by virtue of familial relationship, birthright, custom, or stewardship. It is generally
used when the possessee is a person, domestic animal, cultivatable land, hunting or fishing rights, or other
entity or property to which the possessor can be said to have a social obligation or responsibility. Iala can
also be used for possession of physical features or abstract attributes such as age, wisdom, etc. With iala,
the possessor appears in the ablative case, while the possessee is again in the nominative.

(4.78) Sakialu

lihpa
sister

hen
two:nom

iala
have.ipv

Sakial.abl
‘Sakial has two sisters’

(4.79) In`o

ulhmo
year

takun
forty:nom

iala
have.ipv

3aabl
‘He is forty years old’ (lit. ‘He has forty years’)

Finally, yla expresses a part-whole relation, and is commonly used when the possessee is a part of the body.
With this verb, the noun phrase expressing the whole takes the nominative case while the noun phrase
expressing the part appears in the instrumental:

(4.80) Kotu
house
‘This house has three rooms’

tan
this:nom

halu
room

ehteme
three.inst

yla
have.ipv

(4.81) Ik`e

atak
limb

kunme
four.inst

yla
have.ipv

dog.nom
‘Dogs have four legs’

36

(4.82) Ne

lohne
brown

inieme
eyes.inst

3anom
‘She has brown eyes’

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

yla
have.ipv

7.2 on plural agree-
Verbs of possession do not usually agree with their plural nominative arguments (see
ment). The possessee triggers agreement only if it is definite and functions as the topic of the clause.
Compare the following examples. In (4.84), the nominative argument ke halma emot ‘all these books’ is
the topic, and the verb carries the plural sux -t; whereas in (4.83), the nominative argument halma ante
‘many books’ is an indefinite non-topic (expressing new information), and the plural sux is absent. As
these examples show, efa is translated as ‘have’ when the possessor is the topic, and as ‘belong to’ when the
possessee is the topic.

§

(4.83) Motlame

halma
book

ante
many:nom

efa
have.ipv

Motla.inst
‘Motla has many books’

(4.84) Ke

halma
book

emot
all:nom

Motlame
Motla.inst

efat
have.ipv.pl

med
‘These books all belong to Motla’

4.4.2 Class II verbs

Verbs belonging to Class II take a maximum of two core arguments, an actor marked with ergative case and
a theme marked with nominative case. Dative-marked delimiter arguments do not occur with verbs of this
class, except under the special circumstances discussed in
4.3.2. Class II verbs are typically atelic—that is,
they denote open-ended events, which lack an inherent endpoint and can in principle continue indefinitely.
However, a handful of Class II verbs denote telic events (usually involving a change of state or location) for
which no delimiter can be specified.

§

Atelic activity verbs

Most Class II verbs denote atelic activities or processes. Informally, atelic Class II verbs may be further
divided into two subclasses: those which are generally used ‘transitively’, taking both an actor and a theme,
and those which are generally used ‘intransitively’, taking just an actor argument. This transitive-intransitive
distinction is largely a matter of semantics, depending on whether the verb names an activity that is normally
understood to involve two participants or just a single participant. An example of an ‘intransitive’ Class II
verb is hosta ‘dance’, illustrated in (4.85) below; while ksona ‘look at’ in (4.86) is an example of a ‘transitive’
Class II verb.

(4.85) Lhatima

ihostat
prg.dance.ipv.pl

children.erg
‘The children are dancing’

(4.86) Ikema

pil`a
bird.nom

iksonaua
prg.look:at.ipv.npl

dog.erg
‘The dog is looking at the/some birds’

The distinction between verbs like hosta and verbs like ksona is not absolute, however. In principle, any Class
II verb may be used either transitively or intransitively. Compare the following pairs of examples, illustrating
the Class II verbs uhna ‘sing’, kiompa ‘run, chase, move quickly’, and atlpa ‘play, perform music’. In the
first sentence of each pair, the verb takes just an actor argument, while in the second sentence it takes both
an actor and a theme argument. When the theme argument is absent, the actor is understood to be acting
upon him/herself, and/or upon some unspecified object, depending on the meaning of the verb.

4.4. VERB CLASSES

37

(4.87) Sakialma

iohna
prg.sing.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial is singing’

(4.88) Sakialma

elife
beautiful.tnzr

uhine
song.nom

iohna
prg.sing.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial is singing a beautiful song’

(4.89) Lakiakama
hunter.erg
‘The hunters ran’

kiompyit
run.pv.pl

(4.90) Lakiakama
hunter.erg

hastine
deer.nom

kiompyit
run.pv.pl

‘The hunters chased the deer’ (i.e., made the deer run)

(4.91) Na

3aerg

lempekme
lempek.inst

iatlpanka
prg.play.ipv:pst

‘He was playing the lempek’ [a stringed instrument]

(4.92) Na

huiome
music.nom

lempekme
lempek.inst

iatlpanka
prg.play.ipv:pst

3aerg
‘He was playing the music on the lempek’

Examples of Class II activity verbs which routinely take a nominative argument are listed below:

ekpa
heulhta
ksona
kuola
loita
mina
nakpa
nyipa
teula
titia
tiyisa
tlynka
tsula
uila
untsapa

‘carry, hold, bring/take, wear’
‘pull, drag’
‘look at’
‘meet [by arrangement], rendezvous with’
‘watch, observe, look at’
‘think [a thought]’
‘carry/hold in one’s hands’
‘use, make use of’
‘listen to’
‘collect, gather’
‘lift, pick up’
‘push’
‘see, visit, spend time with’
‘love, cherish’
‘wonder (about), ask oneself’

For Class II verbs used transitively, the ergative argument denotes the participant who carries out the action,
while the nominative argument denotes the participant being manipulated, or towards which the action is
directed. Examples:

(4.93) Ihama

woman.erg

kop`o
pot.nom

ikpa
prg.carry/hold.ipv

‘The woman is carrying/holding a pot’

(4.94) Sakialma

lhat`e
children.nom

iloitanka
prg.watch.ipv:pst

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial was watching the children’

38

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

(4.95) Sa

Motl`a
13erg
Motla.nom
‘We visited Motla’

tsulyit
visit.pv.pl

(4.96) Motlama

Motla.erg

otanaimite
children.nom

uilaua
love.ipv.npl

‘Motla loves (his) children’

In (4.97), the
In some cases the nominative-marked argument will take the form of a dependent clause.
theme role is filled by the dependent clause lhatima ilaliata ‘(that) the children (are/were) playing’ ; while
in (4.98) the aun clause acts as the theme argument of untsapa:

(4.97) Sakialma

iloitanka
prg.watch.ipv:pst

lhatima
children.erg

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial was watching the children playing’

ilaliat`a
prg.play.dep.pl.nom

(4.98) Ma

untsapa
wonder.ipv

Elimma
uta
already
Elim.erg
1serg
‘I wonder if Elim has finished reading the book yet’

halmai
book.dat

tale
read.cv

uosla
pf.finish.dep

aun
if

The following Class II activity verbs regularly appear with just an ergative-marked actor argument:

atlpa
ekpiha
hosta
koma
muelha
peuta
tsuhpa
uhna

‘play, perform [music]’
‘search, look around’
‘dance’
‘speak, understand, know [a language]’
‘sleep’
‘wait’
‘live, dwell, reside’
‘sing’

Sample sentences containing these verbs are given below. Notice that in addition to an actor core argument,
many of these verbs regularly take an oblique noun phrase denoting some other conventional participant in
the event. For example, tsuhpa ‘live, reside’ takes a locative noun phrase to express the location where the
actor resides; koma ‘speak, understand, know’ takes an instrumental phrase denoting the language or means
of communication; while ekpiha ‘search, look around’ and peuta ‘wait’ may take an allative noun phrase to
denote the objective or goal (in which case they are translated ‘look for’ and ‘wait for’, respectively).

(4.99) Kimima

imuelha
prg.sleep.ipv

baby.erg
‘The baby is sleeping’

(4.100) Elimma

Tenmotlaina
Tenmotlai.loc

Elim.erg
‘Elim lives in Tenmotlai’

tsuhpa
live.ipv

(4.101) Na

Okuna
Okuna

sulme
language.inst
3aerg
‘She doesn’t speak any Okuna’

nkomo
neg.speak.ipv:neg

iahok
at:all

(4.102) Ma

im`e
1sall

kamala
knife.all

ikpihanka
prg.search.ipv:pst

1serg
‘I was looking for my knife’

4.4. VERB CLASSES

39

nem
(4.103) Kima
12erg
imp
‘Let’s wait for Motla before we go’

Motlaua
Motla.all

peutat
wait.pl

nkilhata
leave.dep.pl

kamna
before.loc

Verbs denoting the production of sound (many of them onomatopoetic) typically belong to the single-
argument subclass of Class II. Examples include:

aila
hakatla
laka
miauha
myhuna
niuka
syma
tsana
tseuika
ytypa

‘cry, bawl, wail’
‘laugh’
‘bark, bay’
‘mew, meow’
‘purr’
‘grunt, snort’
‘mutter, mumble, murmur’
‘make a noise, make a sound’
‘stir, make a soft sound’
‘rumble, rattle’

With verbs of this type, the entity that produces the sound is expressed by an argument in the ergative case:

(4.104) Ikema

laka
dog.erg
bark.ipv
‘Dogs bark and cats meow’

le
but

miuama
cat.erg

miauha
meow.ipv

Class II also includes a large number of verbs denoting bodily functions and the emission of bodily substances,
along with other activities usually performed on or with a part of one’s body. These verbs include:

ahinka
haukia
hehta
hektuta
hisa
hiunuka
imla
ksiama
misalhka
salhka
siehka
tsinuka
uahka
utsaska

‘breathe out, exhale, sigh’
‘cough’
‘move, stir, change position’
‘hiccough’
‘cry, weep’
‘cry, weep, shed tears’
‘smile’
‘sneeze’
‘menstruate’
‘bleed, shed blood’
‘shit, defecate’
‘ejaculate; release seeds’
‘piss, urinate’
‘sweat, perspire’

Note that with verbs denoting bodily emissions, the participant from whose body the substance is emitted
can be expressed by a noun phrase in the ablative case rather than the ergative case. The choice depends
largely on whether the event is viewed as being under the control of the individual or not. Compare the
sentences below, for example: (4.105) would be used if the child acted deliberately or by exerting him/herself,
while (4.106) would be used if the event is thought of as being beyond the child’s control:

(4.105) Pyima

hiunukyi
weep.pv

child.erg
‘The child cried/wept’

(4.106) Pyio

hiunukyi
weep.pv

child.abl
‘The child shed tears (involuntarily)’

40

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

Note that verbs formed by adding the active aspectual sux -amp to a stative stem all belong to Class II.
Compare the following sentences, where the Class I verb sita ‘be quiet’ denotes a property or propensity,
while its Class II counterpart sitampa ‘act quietly’ denotes an activity (see

7.5.2 for more on -amp):

§

(4.107) Sakiale

isita
prg.quiet.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is quiet (now)’

(4.108) Sakialma

isitampa
prg.quiet.act.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial is being quiet’ or ‘Sakial is doing things quietly’

Manner-of-motion verbs

An important group of atelic Class II verbs are those which express manner of motion (see
include:

§

11.4.3). These

hiela
ianta
kaklala
kiompa
lhopa
mimilha
paka
piyla
puita
salia
sihpa
talha
tupa
uasta
yisa

‘take, travel in, ride in (a vehicle)’
‘jump, leap’
‘scurry, scamper, move quickly on small legs’
‘run, chase, move quickly’
‘flow; blow’ [fluid, wind]
‘move in a serpentine fashion’
‘step, take a step’
‘slither, crawl on one’s belly’
‘ride’
‘wave, flap, flutter; gesticulate’
‘swim’
‘climb’ [a sloping surface]
‘walk, go on foot’
‘fly’
‘climb’ [a sheer/vertical surface]

For example:

(4.109) Kahuma
fish.erg
‘Fish swim, and birds fly’

sihpa,
swim.ipv

le
while

pilama
bird.erg

uasta
fly.ipv

(4.110) Ikema

palahtame
tree.inst

myiso
neg.climb.ipv:neg

dog.erg
‘Dogs don’t climb trees’

With manner of motion verbs, the ergative argument denotes the individual who brings about the motion
event. When that individual also undergoes the motion event, typically there is no nominative argument
present. However, when the actor induces motion in a particular part of his/her body, or in some separate
object, the latter may be expressed as a noun phrase in the nominative or unmarked form. Compare:

(4.111) Na

saliyi
wave.pv
3aerg
‘He waved/gesticulated’

(4.112) Na

temie
hands

saliyi
wave.pv

3aerg
‘He waved his hands (around)’

4.4. VERB CLASSES

41

(4.113) Na

kiompyi
run.pv

3aerg
‘She ran’

(4.114) Na

kihunme
letter.inst

inie
eyes

kiompyi
run.pv

3aerg
‘She ran her eyes quickly over the letter’

(4.115) Na

sihafauta
downstream.all

hielyit
go:by:vehicle.pv.pl

3aerg
‘They paddled/boated downstream’

(4.116) Na

puole
canoe.nom

sihafauta
downstream.all

3aerg
‘They paddled/propelled the canoe downstream’

hielyit
go:by:vehicle.pv.pl

Manner-of-motion verbs often occur as converbs modifying another motion verb (see
11.4.3). In
such cases, the modified verb determines the verb class (usually Class III) for the construction as a whole.
Compare the examples below. The verb ianta ‘jump’ belongs to Class II; whereas iante lhyua ‘jump into’
(lit. ‘enter jumping’) patterns with Class III, since lhyua ‘enter’ is a Class III verb. Hence, Sakial takes the
ergative case in (4.117), but the nominative case in (4.118). Notice also that ot`u ‘hole’ denotes a location
in the first sentence, and is marked with locative case; whereas in the second sentence it functions as a goal
(delimiter), and is thus marked with dative case. (Compare the latter sentence with Sakiale otoi lhyuyi
‘Sakial went into the hole’, where the manner of motion is left unspecified.)

10.4 and

§

§

(4.117) Sakialma

otuhna
hole.loc

iantyi
jump.pv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial jumped (around) in the hole’

(4.118) Sakiale

otoi
hole.dat

iante
jump.cv

lhyuyi
enter.pv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial jumped into the hole’ (lit. ‘entered the hole [by] jumping’)

Compare also the sentences below. These show that whereas uasta ‘fly’ is a Class II verb, and encodes the
participant in motion as an actor argument; uaste suha ‘fly out of, exit by flying’ is assigned to Class III,
and encodes the participant in motion as a theme. This is why pila ‘bird’ is marked with ergative case in
the first example and nominative case in the second example:

(4.119) Mo

kilyi
see.pv

pilama
bird.erg

euast`a
prg.fly.dep.nom

1srdat
‘I saw a bird flying (around)’

(4.120) Mo

kilyi
see.pv

pil`a
bird.nom

palahtau
tree.abl

uaste
fly.cv

suh`a
go:out.dep.nom

1srdat
‘I saw a bird flying out of the tree’

Change of state verbs

A handful of Class II verbs are telic, and denote an event whereby the theme (marked with nominative case)
comes to be in a new state or location. These verbs include:

atia
lima
lyua
muka

‘approach, get closer; bring/take closer’
‘open; begin, start; ignite’
‘wake up; awaken’
‘close, shut; finish; extinguish’

42

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

otla
peta
tioka
uata
usla

‘come/take apart, separate’
‘take, get, grasp/grab’
‘die; kill, cause to die’
‘stop, break o↵, interrupt’
‘end, conclude’

Examples of these verbs are given below. Notice that they can occur either with or without an overt ergative
argument. When the ergative argument is present, the clause denotes an event whereby an actor brings
about a change in the theme. The ergative argument is left out when the identity of the actor is unknown
or unimportant to the context, or when the clause denotes a spontaneous change in the state or location of
the theme.

(4.121) Huiloie

limyia
open.pv.npl

window.nom
‘The windows (were) opened’

(4.122) Motlama

huiloie
window.nom

limyia
open.pv.npl

Motla.erg
‘Motla opened the windows’

(4.123) Sakiale

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial died’

tiokyi
die.pv

(4.124) Sakiale

hintsypalma
pneumonia.erg

tiokyi
die.pv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial died of pneumonia’ or ‘Sakial was killed by pneumonia’

Stative Class I verbs may be converted into telic Class II verbs by adding the inchoative aspectual sux
-(e)t (discussed in

7.5.3). Compare:

§

(4.125) Mule

itasla
prg.wet.ipv

cloth.nom
‘The cloth is wet’

(4.126) Mule

tasletyi
wet.tinc.pv

cloth.nom
‘The cloth got wet’

(4.127) Sakialma

mule
cloth.nom

tasletyi
wet.tinc.pv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial wetted the cloth’ or ‘Sakial got the cloth wet’

4.4.3 Class III verbs

4.3
The majority of telic verbs in Okuna (that is, verbs denoting events which have an inherent endpoint; cf.
above) are capable in principle of taking up to three core arguments, an actor, a theme, and a delimiter, and
thus belong to Class III. The actor is marked with ergative case, the delimiter (typically a goal, recipient,
or patient) is marked with dative case, and the theme is marked with nominative case:

§

(4.128) Motlama

ias`e
ikei
Motla.erg
food.nom
dog.dat
‘Motla gave the food to the dog’

uktiyi
give.pv

In order to explain how the core arguments of Class III verbs are interpreted, it is useful to divide these
verbs into particular subgroups based on their semantics.

4.4. VERB CLASSES

Change-of-location verbs

43

Class III includes a large number of verbs expressing a change of location, or the transference of an object
from one person or place to another. These include:

elha
esta
eta
etskana
hista
lasta
lhyua
milhta
nata
niokta
nkilha
nufa
suha
teuna
tifa
uktia

‘put in, insert’
‘reach, get to; manage to’
‘go, come, move; bring, take’
‘arrive, appear; bring’
‘lead, take, escort’
‘send’
‘enter, go in; bring/take in’
‘turn; become’
‘hand, pass’
‘return, go/come back; bring/take back’
‘leave, go away, disappear; take away, remove’
‘take out, remove (from inside), extract’
‘go/come out, exit, leave; bring/take out’
‘put, place, lay’
‘remove, take o↵’
‘give’

For verbs of this type, the ergative argument encodes the agent of transmission (if any), while the dative
argument encodes the goal or endpoint of transmission, and the nominative argument encodes the object
undergoing motion or being transmitted. Examples:

(4.129) Ne

Elima
Elim.all

kotoi
3anom
house.dat
‘She is going to Elim’s house’

ita
prg.go.ipv

(4.130) Ih`a

sihkunoi
river.dat

estyit
reach.pv.pl

woman.nom
‘The women reached the river’

(4.131) Na

tsokoimpai
stranger.dat

kyt`o
gift.nom
3aerg
‘They will give a gift to the strangers’

es
one

(4.132) Sakialma

kop`o
pot.nom
Sakial.erg
‘Sakial placed the pots on the table’

totsat
table

epaim
top.dat

uktiamat
give.ipv.dpl.pl

teunyia
put.pv.npl

Most change-of-location verbs can be used to describe either an event of spontaneous motion, where the
moving object propels itself, or an event of directed motion, where the moving object is propelled or conveyed
by an external agent or force. For example, lhyua can be used to mean ‘enter, go in’, where the motion is
self-directed, or ‘move/bring/take in’, where the motion is caused by an external agent. In the latter case,
an ergative argument is added to the clause to express the causer of the motion event. (Change-of-location
verbs are discussed further in

11.4.3.)

§

(4.133) Sakiale

kotoi
house.dat

lhyuyi
enter.pv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial went into the house’

44

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

(4.134) Elimma

Elim.erg

keule
chair.nom

kotoi
house.dat

lhyuyi
enter.pv

‘Elim took/brought the chair into the house’

With the verbs nufa ‘take out, extract, remove [from inside something]’ and tifa ‘take o↵, strip, remove [from
the outside of something]’, the dative argument expresses the source from which something is removed, rather
than the goal:

(4.135) Na

kahoi
fish.dat

nek
3aerg
scale
‘They removed all the scales from the fish’

emot
all:nom

tifyimat
remove.pv.dpl.pl

(4.136) Ma

kopoi
pot.dat

nahe
water.nom

tiause
pour.cv

1serg
‘I will pour the water out of the pot’

nufa
take:out.ipv

Many change-of-location verbs can also be used metaphorically to describe non-motion events. For example,
like its English counterpart, uktia ‘give’ can denote a change of possession, without implying any actual
change of location. Another example is milhta ‘turn’: in addition to its literal meaning, milhta can be used
in the sense of ‘become’ or ‘be transformed (into)’, where the dative noun phrase expresses the end state of
the transformation, as shown below. Milhta also occurs in a handful of expressions with a dependent verb in
10.2.1), where it means ‘begin to’ or ‘enter into [a state]’: e.g., muelha ‘sleep’ > muelhai
the dative case (cf.
milhta ‘go to sleep’; isuta ‘be alive’ > isutai milhta ‘come to life’; okla ‘hide’ > oklai milhta ‘go into hiding’.

§

(4.137) Lyihpiylak`a

caterpillar.nom

sileip
butterfly.dat

umilhta
pf.turn.ipv

‘The caterpillar (has) turned into a butterfly’

(4.138) Me

sati
dinner

kihisna
right:after.loc

1snom
‘I went to sleep right after dinner’

muelhai
sleep.dep.dat

milhtyi
turn.pv

The verb esta ‘reach, make it (to)’ can also be used with a dative dependent clause, in which case it means
‘succeed, manage to’:

(4.139) Me

1snom

niloi
net.dat

namuohtai
repair.dep.dat

estyi
reach.pv

‘I succeeded in fixing the net’ (lit. ‘I reached [the] fixing [of] the net’)

Verbs of communication—e.g., etsa ‘say, tell’; nesapa ‘ask’; tafa ‘show, demonstrate, teach’; ukia ‘tell, recite,
perform’—might also be regarded as metaphorical change-of-location verbs. Here the nominative argument,
which may be a noun phrase or a dependent clause, expresses the information being transmitted, while the
dative argument identifies the recipient of the information:

(4.140) Luhme
old:one
‘The old man told the children the story’

lhatei
children.dat

kalma
man.erg

sliaht`e
story.nom

ukiyi
tell.pv

(4.141) Inmo

3aerg.1srdat

etsyi
tell.pv

na
3aerg

ahtei
father.dat

kihune
letter.nom

ulast`a
pf.send.dep.nom

‘He told me that he had sent the letter to (his) father’

4.4. VERB CLASSES

Change-of-state verbs

45

Another large group of Class III verbs are those which denote an agentive change-of-state event—that is,
an event involving an agent and a patient, where the agent creates, destroys, consumes, or otherwise brings
about a (typically incremental) change of state in the patient, and where the event necessarily ends once the
patient has been completely created, destroyed/consumed, or otherwise changed. Examples of verbs of this
type include:

hana
iasa
kahta
kaiha
lihka
lohka
mupatla
patla
pusuka
sepa
siehpa
stoka
taha
takia
tieka
tiespa
toka
tsitspa
uosta

‘cut (into), make an incision in’
‘eat’
‘hit, strike’
‘kill, murder’
‘cut [into pieces], sever’
‘bring about, cause to happen’
‘clothe, drape, dress’
‘cover’
‘make, create’
‘drink; inhale’
‘write’
‘destroy’
‘kill [an animal for food]’
‘break, snap (in half)’ [something long and thin]
‘chop, cut up’
‘build, construct, put together’
‘fix, repair, mend’
‘break, shatter, smash’ [something brittle]
‘shape, give shape to, create, make’

With change-of-state verbs, the ergative argument denotes the agent of the event (if any) and the dative
argument denotes the patient, where the latter ‘measures out’ (or identifies the endpoint for) the event:

(4.142) Ounama
bear.erg
‘The bear is eating the/some fish’

eiasama
prg.eat.ipv.dpl

kahoi
fish.dat

(4.143) Mikalma
boy.erg
‘The boy broke a/the pot’

kopoi
pot.dat

tsitspyi
break.pv

The ergative and dative noun phrases are both optional, in keeping with the general optionality of arguments
in Okuna. The dative argument may be omitted if the clause describes a general activity and the patient is
either unknown or unimportant. Likewise, the ergative argument may be omitted if the agent is unknown
or unimportant. Compare the sentences below with (4.142) above.

eiasa
(4.144) Ounama
bear.erg
prg.eat.ipv
‘The bear is eating (something)’

(4.145) Kahoi

eiasat
fish.dat
prg.eat.ipv.pl
‘The fish are being eaten’

The actor argument is also omitted when the clause describes a spontaneous event, one where the change of
state in the patient is not (conceived of as being) initiated by any agent:

46

(4.146) Kopoi

tsitspyi
break.pv

pot.dat
‘The pot broke’ or ‘The pot got broken’

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

In addition to an actor and a delimiter, change-of-state verbs sometimes take a nominative-marked theme
argument as well, which is why they are assigned to Class III. The theme argument has a number of
semantic functions. Most commonly it indicates an instrument—that is, an object which is manipulated by
the agent in order to bring about a change of state in the patient, as illustrated below. Note that instruments
4.6.3,
typically appear in the instrumental case, or as unmarked noun phrases (as discussed in
respectively). Nominative marking typically implies that the instrument undergoes a change of location,
literally or figuratively transferring force from the agent to the patient, and may itself be a↵ected by the
action as a result of coming into contact with the patient.

4.5.4 and

§

§

(4.147) Ihama

woman.erg

lotsain
wood.dat

kamale
knife.nom

hanyi
cut.pv

‘The woman cut (into) the wood with the knife’
or ‘The woman used the knife to make an incision in the wood’

(4.148) Na

palahtai
tree.dat

nak`a
rock.nom

kahtyi
hit.pv

3aerg
‘He hit the tree with the rock’

(4.149) Elimma

totsait
table.dat

es
one

sane
red

Elim.erg
‘Elim covered the table with a red cloth’

mule
cloth.nom

patlyi
cover.pv

The examples below also include a nominative-marked theme, but here the ergative-marked actor is omitted:

(4.150) Nak`a

rock.nom

palahtai
tree.dat

kahtyi
hit.pv

‘The rock hit the tree’ (e.g., after being thrown)

(4.151) Totsait

es
one

sane
red

mule
cloth.nom

patlyi
cover.pv

table.dat
‘The table was covered with a red cloth’

In some cases, the performer of the action may be expressed either as an actor or as a theme. The choice
between these options is determined by whether that participant is acting volitionally or not, and by whether
that participant is directly a↵ected by the action. Compare the examples below, both corresponding to ‘The
man hit the tree’ in English. In (4.152), where kal ‘man’ is an ergative-marked actor, the sentence describes
an event where the man brings some instrument or part of his body into forceful contact with the tree; in
(4.153), where kal in a nominative-marked theme, the sentence describes an event where the man’s body
comes into forceful contact with the tree.

(4.152) Kalma

man.erg

palahtai
tree.dat

kahtyi
hit.pv

‘The man hit the tree’ (i.e., used something to strike the tree)

(4.153) Kale

man.nom

palahtai
tree.dat

kahtyi
hit.pv

‘The man hit the tree’ (i.e., collided with the tree)

4.4. VERB CLASSES

47

With verbs of creation or material transformation, the nominative argument may express the substance
being transformed, while the dative argument denotes the object or material being created, as illustrated
below (the ablative case can also be used to mark the substance from which something is made, as discussed
in

4.5.3):

§

(4.154) Kalma

sut`e
clay.nom

kopoi
pot.dat

euosta
prg.shape.ipv

man.erg
‘The man is shaping the clay into a pot’

(4.155) Kalma

man.erg

kopoi
pot.dat

sut`e
clay.nom

euosta
prg.shape.ipv

‘The man is making/fashioning the pot out of (the) clay’

(4.156) Motlama

sofoi
tsimoke
Motla.erg
flour.dat
corn.nom
‘Motla ground the corn into flour’

tlulyi
grind.pv

Experiencer/recipient verbs

The last major subclass of the Class III verbs consists of verbs of perception, along with other verbs which
express events whereby an individual receives an object, sensation, experience, or idea from some external
source. These verbs include:

etskopa
kila
luhtsa
mahtla
mehka
moita
naklana
ola
sasa
sefa
tlelha
tsokua
tsuhka
uota

‘realize, come to understand’
‘see, notice; show’
‘smell’
‘taste’
‘happen, transpire, come/bring about; happen to, a↵ect; cause’
‘get, receive, acquire, attain’
‘happen/a↵ect inadvertently, be unexpected’
‘hear’
‘find, run across, happen upon, meet (by accident)’
‘feel [with one’s fingers/skin]’
‘find, locate’
‘meet [for the first time], encounter, become acquainted with’
‘happen badly, go wrong; befall, a↵ect negatively; cause [something bad]’
‘feel, perceive, sense’

With these verbs, the nominative argument denotes the object/idea/sensation/etc. being received, while the
dative expresses the receiver or experiencer:

(4.157) Mo

utsape
1srdat
pf.become:lost.tnzr
‘I’ve found the book that had been lost’

halm`a
book.nom

tlelhyi
find.pv

(4.158) Kaloin

es
one

lhonk`o
loud:noise.nom

olyi
hear.pv

boy.dat
‘The boy heard a loud noise’

(4.159) Sakiail

efose
problem.nom

etskopyi
realize.pv

Sakial.dat
‘Sakial realized the problem’

48

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

(4.160) Kuo

m`a
2rdat
what:nom
‘What happened to you?’

um`ehkan?
pf.happen.ipv.qu

Like ‘get’ in English, moita can mean either ‘acquire, receive [an object or property]’ or ‘have the opportunity
to’. In the latter case the theme argument is a clause headed by a verb in the dependent form (e.g., halmai
talut`a ‘reading the book’; cf.

10.2):

(4.161) Moihai
girl.dat
‘The girl got a pair of shoes’

tlok
shoe

moityi
get.pv

§
tsani`e
pair.nom

(4.162) Si

mamoitout
neg.get.pv:neg.pl

13dat
‘We didn’t get to read the book’

halmai
book.dat

talit`a
read.dep:sbj.pl.nom

Other experiencer/recipient verbs can also take dependent clauses as their nominative arguments, including
mehka ‘happen’, naklana ‘happen unexpectedly’, and tsuhka ‘befall, happen/a↵ect badly’, as well as percep-
tion verbs such as kila ‘see’. Examples are given below. Notice that in this construction, mehka and tsuhka
can be translated using ‘have’ in English, while naklana corresponds roughly to ‘come to be’ or ‘find oneself
[in a given situation]’.

(4.163) Motlai

utsuhka
pf.befall.ipv

kotoi
house.dat

kiosp`a
burn.dep.nom

Motla.dat
‘Motla had his house burn down’
more lit. ‘(It) happened to Motla that (his) house burned down’

(4.164) Elime

ulyue,
pf.wake:up.pt

naklanyi
Elim.nom
unexpected.pv
‘When Elim woke up, he found himself lying in bed’
more lit. ‘Elim having woken up, (it) happened to him unexpectedly that (he) was lying in bed’

isailh`a
prg.lie.dep.nom

tsulna
bed.loc

no
3ardat

(4.165) Mo

kilyi
see.pv

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

halma
book

1srdat
‘I saw (that) Sakial (was) reading a book’

ital`a
prg.read.dep.nom

As the examples above illustrate, experiencer/recipient verbs typically denote spontaneous actions, and
appear without an ergative-marked actor argument. When an actor is present it denotes an agent or stimulus
that causes the dative participant to receive the object/idea/sensation/etc. Compare the following examples.
These show that kila, normally translated as ‘see’, corresponds to ‘show’ (i.e., cause to see) when it selects
an ergative argument.

(4.166) Pyie

kyuaitanene
child.dat
carving.nom
‘The child saw/noticed the carving’

kilyi
see.pv

(4.167) Elimma

kyuaitanene
Elim.erg
carving.nom
‘Elim showed the child the carving’

pyie
child.dat

kilyi
see.pv

Additional examples are given below. Here tsuhka means either ‘happen to [someone]’ or ‘cause [something]
to happen to [someone]’, depending on the presence or absence of an actor; while etskopa means either ‘occur
to [someone]’ or ‘cause [something] to occur to [someone]’. (Note that in the second pair, the nominative role
10.2.3 for discussion
is filled by the free relative construction kima m`a esukita aun ‘what we should do’; see
of this construction.)

§

4.5. THE OBLIQUE CASES

49

(4.168) Mo

tiaumilhe
accident.nom

tsuhkyi
happen.pv

1srdat
‘I had an accident’ (lit. ‘An accident happened to me’)

(4.169) Mo

Elimma
Elim.erg

tiaumilhe
accident.nom

tsuhkyi
happen.pv

1srdat
‘Elim caused me to have an accident’

(4.170) Mo

etskopyi
realize.pv

kima
12erg

m`a
what

sukita
do.dep:sbj.pl

aun
if

1srdat
‘It occurred to me what we should do’ or ‘I realized what we should do’

(4.171) Mehkanen
umai
1srdat
experience
‘That experience made me realize what we should do’

etskopyi
realize.pv

it`a
that:erg

kima
12erg

m`a
what

sukita
do.dep:sbj.pl

aun
if

Note that not all verbs of perception belong to Class III. Consider the following pairs, where the verb on the
left belongs to Class III while its counterpart on the right belongs to Class II:

kila
ola
luhtsa
mahtla
sefa

‘see’
‘hear’
‘smell’
‘taste’
‘feel’

ksona
teula
teluhtsa
temahtla
lala

‘look at’
‘listen to’
‘smell, sni↵’
‘taste, try, sample’
‘feel, touch’

As noted above, the Class III perception verbs assign dative case to the noun phrase denoting the perceiver.
By contrast, Class II perception verbs take an ergative noun phrase to denote the perceiver. Both types
assign nominative case to the object or event being perceived. Compare:

(4.172) Motlai

mo
1srdat

lohane
voice.nom

Motla.dat
‘Motla heard my voice’

(4.173) Motlama

mo
1srdat

lohane
voice.nom

Motla.erg
‘Motla listened to my voice’

olyi
hear.pv

teulyi
listen:to.pv

As the glosses in the above table indicate, the Class III perception verbs denote spontaneous (non-agentive)
events, while their Class II counterparts denote directed (agentive) events. This distinction is not always
easy to render in English. For example, both mahtla and temahtla translate English ‘taste’, but mahtla is
used to mean ‘detect the flavour of’ while temahtla means ‘take a taste of’ or ‘sample the flavour of’. The
following example illustrates the contrast between these two verbs (note the dative versus ergative case forms
of the first person clitic in the two clauses):

(4.174) Ma

mase
soup.erg

ksas
salt
1serg
‘I tasted the soup, but I didn’t/couldn’t taste (the) salt in it’

temahtlyi
taste.pv

itan
3isloc

mi
1sdat

ntse
neg

le
but

mahtlou
taste.pv:neg

4.5 The oblique cases

There are four oblique cases in Okuna: locative, allative, ablative, and instrumental. Each case has a number
of di↵erent functions, as discussed in the following subsections. (Here I focus on how the oblique cases are
used at the sentence level to mark dependents of the verb; for their use in marking the possessor in a noun
phrase, see the discussion in

6.6.1.)

§

50

4.5.1 Locative

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

The locative (loc) case is marked by attaching the sux -na to the final word in the noun phrase. As the
name of this case indicates, noun phrases in the locative typically indicate the spatial or temporal location
of an object or event. Noun phrases in the locative case often correspond to prepositional phrases with ‘at’,
‘in’, ‘on’, etc., in English:

(4.175) Sakialma

Tenmotlaina
Tenmotlai.loc

tsuhpa
live.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial lives in Tenmotlai’

(4.176) Mikalma
boy.erg
‘The boy is carrying a pot in his hands’

temiena
hands.loc

ikpa
prg.carry.ipv

kopo
pot

(4.177) Se

tuhsana
13nom
winter.loc
‘We will return in the winter’

nioktat
return.ipv.pl

(4.178) Puniakakai

sihkununa
river.loc

sasyit
meet.pv.pl

traveller.dat
‘The travellers met at the river’

To express finer spatio-temporal distinctions—e.g., to distinguish ‘at’ from ‘in’ from ‘on’ in cases of potential
ambiguity—the locative case may be used in combination with a relational noun such as him ‘interior’ or
epam ‘top, horizontal surface’ (see

6.5). Compare the following sets of sentences:

(4.179) Moih`a

totsatna
girl.nom
table.loc
‘The girl is sitting at the table’

§
euohta
prg.sit.ipv

(4.180) Moih`a

girl.nom

totsat
table

epamna
top.loc

euohta
prg.sit.ipv

‘The girl is sitting on (top of) the table’

(4.181) Halm`a

book.nom

kohotna
chest.loc

hit
be:ipv.pl

‘The books are in/at/by the chest’

(4.182) Halm`a

book.nom

kohot
chest

himna
interior.loc

hit
be:ipv.pl

‘The books are in(side) the chest’

(4.183) Halm`a

book.nom

kohot
chest

utena
near.loc

hit
be:ipv.pl

‘The books are by/beside/near the chest’

With verbs of motion, locative case may be used for noun phrases denoting the means of transportation:

(4.184) Kim

puolna
13nom
boat.loc
‘We will go there by boat’

euolhtat
go:there.ipv.pl

4.5. THE OBLIQUE CASES

51

Animate noun phrases in the locative case frequently occur with verbs denoting an emotional state, or a
sensation internal to one’s body. Such verbs include kesta ‘be happy’, ohiyna ‘be sad’, hotsma ‘be angry’,
muelhona ‘be drowsy, feel like sleeping’, and tunkona ‘hurt, ache, be in pain’. With verbs of this type, the
locative noun phrase indicates the individual who experiences the feeling or sensation. Similarly, verbs of
cognition—e.g., iona ‘know (a fact)’, koipa ‘know (a person/thing), be familiar with’, mutla ‘understand’,
and niokona ‘remember’, and verbs formed with the modal sux -ihp ‘intend to’—take a locative noun
phrase to denote the individual possessing the knowledge, memory, intention, etc. Examples:

(4.185) Ihana

ihotsma
prg.angry.ipv

woman.loc
‘The woman is angry’

(4.186) Ik`o

utsaie
pf.say.tnzr.nom

mamutlo
neg.understand.ipv:neg

iman
1sloc

2serg
‘I don’t understand what you were saying’

(4.187) Ne

Sakialna
Sakial.loc

k`oipin?
know.ipv:int.qu

3anom
‘Does Sakial know her?’

(4.188) Elimna

Elim.loc
‘Elim knows that the travellers will return to the village tomorrow’

puniakak`a
traveller.nom

paloi
village.dat

elohfoi
tomorrow

iona
know.ipv

nioktat`a
return.dep.pl.nom

(4.189) Inena
3aploc
‘They intend to paint the house tomorrow’

kotoi
house.dat

elohfoi
tomorrow

nepatlihpa
paint.intend.ipv

In a somewhat related function, when a verb is marked with the modal sux -yip ‘can, able (to)’, the noun
phrase denoting the individual who possesses the ability is marked with locative case. Likewise, when the
verb carries the modal sux -uh ‘want to’, the individual possessing the desire is expressed by a noun phrase
in the locative case. When the locative noun phrase is coreferential with one of the core arguments in the
clause, especially the ergative argument, the latter is normally omitted. (For more on modal suxes, see
7.7.1.) Compare:

§
(4.190) Motlama

halmai
book.dat

itala
prg.read.ipv

Motla.erg
‘Motla is reading the book’

(4.191) Motlana

halmai
book.dat

talyipa
read.able.ipv

Motla.loc
‘Motla can read the book’
more lit. ‘In Motla is the ability to read the book’

(4.192) Motlana

halmai
book.dat

taluha
read.want.ipv

Motla.loc
‘Motla wants to read the book’
more lit. ‘In Motla is the desire to read the book’

(4.193) Motlana

Elimma
Motla.loc
Elim.erg
‘Motla wants Elim to read the book’

halmai
book.dat

taluha
read.want.ipv

52

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

When a stative Class I verb is derived from a telic Class III verb using infixal resultative aspect morphology
(e.g., siehpa ‘write’ > sieihpa ‘be written/complete’; takia ‘break’ > takeia ‘be broken’), the argument which
was the delimiter of the Class III verb (marked with dative case) appears instead in the locative. Compare
these pairs of sentences:

(4.194) Motlama

kihoin
Motla.erg
letter.dat
‘Motla wrote the letter’

siehpyi
write.pv

(4.195) Kihunna
letter.loc
‘The letter is (already) written’

isieihpa
prg.write:res.ipv

(4.196) Pyie

takiyi
nalh
child.dat
break.pv
arm
‘The child broke her arm’

(4.197) Pyina

nalh
child.loc
arm
‘The child has a broken arm’

itakeia
prg.break:res.ipv

To make sense of the case marking in (4.196) and (4.197) above, we might render the former more literally
as ‘The child received an arm-breaking’, or ‘An event of arm-breaking came to the child’, while the latter
could be paraphrased as ‘A state of being arm-broken is in the child’.

Finally, locative case marking may be added to a clause headed by a verb in the dependent form (cf.
10.2). The interpretation of a locative-marked clause depends on whether the clause is in the indicative
§
or subjunctive mood. An indicative dependent clause in the locative expresses the time at which the event
denoted by the main clause takes place, and is equivalent to an English subordinate clause with ‘when’,
‘while’, ‘as’. A subjunctive dependent clause in the locative expresses a condition, and is equivalent to an
10.3.2.)
‘if/when(ever)’ clause. (For other ways of forming temporal and conditional clauses, see

10.2.3 and

§

§

(4.198) Ne

ma
1serg

imuelhana
3anom
prg.sleep.dep.loc
‘They left while I was sleeping’ (lit. ‘at my sleeping’)

nkilhyit
leave.pv.pl

(4.199) Sa

akut
2pdat

aleut
help

uktiamat
give.ipv.dpl.pl

lyihpina
possible.dep:sbj.loc

13erg
‘We will help you (pl) if possible’

4.5.2 Allative

Allative case (glossed all in the examples) is usually expressed by attaching the ending -a to the final word
in the noun phrase. In its spatial function, the allative case marks noun phrases which indicate the direction
in which an individual is headed, or the object or location towards which something is oriented or aimed. In
this usage allative case is roughly equivalent to English ‘to’ or ‘towards’:

(4.200) Ne

heuta
north.all

etyit
go.pv.pl

3anom
‘They went (towards the) north’

(4.201) Ne

ekliona
left.all
3anom
‘She turned (to the) left’

milhtyi
turn.pv

4.5. THE OBLIQUE CASES

53

(4.202) Palu

village

itan
this:loc

kotu
house

emot
3i:all:nom

sihkunoua
river.all

kumutat
face.ipv.pl

‘All the houses in this village face (towards) the river’

The function of the allative is similar to that of the dative, in that both cases can indicate a goal of motion.
However, the two cases are not synonymous. Compare the following sentences: In (4.203), where kotu ‘house’
is marked with the dative case, it is understood that the children reached the house. In (4.204), where kotu is
in the allative case, the house identifies the direction in which the children went; they may not have actually
reached the house, or even intended to do so.

(4.203) Lhat`e

kotoi
house.dat

etyit
go.pv.pl

children.nom
‘The children went to the house’

(4.204) Lhat`e

kotoua
children.nom
house.all
‘The children went towards the house’

etyit
go.pv.pl

The allative case also expresses various abstract relations. For example, it is used to indicate the beneficiary,
purpose, or objective of an event. In this function, the allative corresponds closely to English ‘for’, as shown
below:

(4.205) Amema

pyia
child.all

homai
bread.dat

ipusuka
prg.make.ipv

mother.erg
‘The mother is making bread for the child’

(4.206) Amema

esimoitatsa
naming:ceremony.all

homai
bread.dat

ipusuka
prg.make.ipv

mother.erg
‘The mother is making bread for the naming ceremony’

(4.207) Kale

man.nom

kahoua
fish.all

sihityit
go:to:river.pv.pl

‘The men went to the river for fish’ (i.e., to get fish)

(4.208) Houna
owl.all
‘Eyes for the owl, legs for the rabbit’2

hesa
rabbit.all

inie,
eyes

atak
leg

In a clause which attributes a state or property to some entity, an allative noun phrase can indicate the
individual who is the source of the attribution, or with respect to whom the state or property holds:

(4.209) Mase

tsuo
too

iakaila
prg.rel.hot.ipv

Sakiala
Sakial.all

soup.nom
‘The soup is too hot for Sakial’ or ‘Sakial finds the soup too hot’

(4.210) Pyi

in`a
that:erg

lhinta
clever.ipv

im`e
1sall

child
‘I consider that child clever’ or ‘In my opinion, that child is clever’
lit. ‘For me, that child is clever’

2An Okuna proverb, meaning roughly ‘Each according to his abilities’ or ‘Everyone has his/her own talents’.

54

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

Note that this is how ‘like’ or ‘love’ are expressed in Okuna: an allative-marked noun phrase combines with
a verb such as ohka ‘be dear, beloved’, huata ‘be appreciated, agreeable’, or henka ‘be enjoyable’, with the
object of a↵ection expressed by a noun phrase in the nominative:3

(4.211) Im`e

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

ohka
dear.ipv

1sall
‘I love Sakial’ (lit. ‘Sakial is dear to me’)

(4.212) Me

Sakiala
Sakial.all

huata
agreeable.ipv

1snom
‘Sakial likes me’ (lit. ‘I am agreeable to/for Sakial’)

(4.213) Sakiala

nkenko
neg.enjoyable.ipv:neg
Sakial.all
‘Sakial doesn’t like fish’ (lit. ‘For Sakial, fish is not enjoyable at all’)

kah`o
fish.nom

iahok
at:all

Similarly, perceptual states like ‘see’ and ‘hear’ may be expressed by adding an allative-marked noun phrase
to a clause containing the stative verbs kula ‘be visible, be in sight’, ula ‘be audible’, etc.; here the allative
noun phrase encodes the experiencer (see

7.5.1 for more discussion of perception verbs):

(4.214) Im`e

palaht`a
tree.nom

kulat
visible.ipv.pl

1sall
‘I (can) see the trees from here’ (lit. ‘To/for me, the trees are visible from here’)

§
ekau
here.abl

(4.215) Isane
13all
‘We heard a loud noise’ or ‘We could hear a loud noise’

iolanka
prg.audible.ipv:pst

lhonko
loud:noise

With verbs of thinking, saying, writing, etc., allative case indicates the subject matter, and corresponds to
‘about, concerning’ in English. Note also the verb ohtla ‘resemble, be like’, which takes an allative-marked
noun phrase to express the object with which a comparison is being made. This verb can combine with
‘resemble in appearance’),
various unmarked nouns expressing properties: e.g., akiel ohtla ‘look like’ (lit.
amahtle ohtla ‘taste like’ (lit. ‘resemble in flavour’). With ohtla, the individual bearing the resemblance is
expressed by a noun phrase in the nominative case.

(4.216) Luihama

Ehkaiona
Ehkaion.all

sliahte
story

iokianka
prg.tell.ipv:pst

old:woman.erg
‘An old woman was telling a story about Ehkaion’

(4.217) Ma

lyihpe
possible.tnzr

iosok
solution

tosepyia
several.all

umikyitsa
pf.think:about.ipv

1serg
‘I’ve thought of several possible solutions’

(4.218) Sakiale

ameia
mother.all

ohtla
resemble.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial resembles his mother’ or ‘Sakial is like his mother’

(4.219) Sakiale

ameia
mother.all

akiel
appearance

ohtla
resemble.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial looks like his mother’

Finally, in noun phrases, alienable possessors (which precede the possessed noun) are usually marked with
allative case: e.g., Sakiala halma ‘Sakial’s book’, mo ameia kotu ‘my mother’s house’.

3The Class II verb uila ‘love, cherish’ patterns di↵erently, in that the individual who experiences the emotion is encoded by

a noun phrase in the ergative case: e.g., Ma Sakiale uila ‘I love Sakial’.

4.5. THE OBLIQUE CASES

4.5.3 Ablative

55

Ablative case (glossed abl) is usually marked by adding the ending -u to the right edge of the noun phrase.
The ablative case is typically used with verbs of motion to indicate the source or starting point of movement.
In this function, ablative noun phrases correspond to English prepositional phrases with ‘from’, ‘out of’, ‘o↵
of’, etc. Ablative case is also used with noun phrases denoting time periods to indicate the beginning point
of some event or state of a↵airs, in which case it corresponds to English ‘since’.

(4.220) Se

laisne
just

Uilumau
Uiluma.abl

uketat
pf.come:here.ipv.pl

13nom
‘We have just arrived here from Uiluma’

(4.221) Moih`a

girl.nom

halou
room.abl

suhyi
go:out.pv

‘The girl came/went out of the room’

(4.222) Me

tuhsau
winter.abl

ikauota
prg.be:here.dur.ipv
1snom
‘I have been staying here since the winter’

When used to express a source or beginning point, the ablative noun phrase is sometimes followed by the
emphatic element su (glossed ‘even’). Ablative case combined with su corresponds roughly to English ‘ever
since’ or ‘all the way from’: e.g., sihkunou su ‘all the way from the river’, tuhsau su ‘ever since the winter’.
This element is especially common in the construction X su Y sik`a, meaning ‘from X (all the way) to Y’ or
‘between X and Y’, with X a noun phrase in the ablative and Y a noun phrase in the dative:

(4.223) Sihkunu

river

tan
this:nom

tomlau
mountain.abl

su
even

moini
ocean.dat

sik`a
until

lhopa
flow.ipv

‘This river flows from the mountains (all the way) to the ocean’

(4.224) Hostakama
paluna,
kotoi
house.dat
village.loc
dancer.erg
‘The dancers wandered around the village, going from house to house’

tatanyit
wander.pv.pl

kotou
house.abl

su
even

sik`a
until

itit
prg.go.pt.pl

Besides expressing a source or beginning point with verbs of motion, ablative noun phrases are used with
verbs of creation to indicate the material from which something is made:

(4.225) Okuna
Okuna

koinma
person.erg

lotsanu
wood.abl

kotu
house

tiespat
build.ipv.pl

‘The Okuna build (their) houses out of wood’

In quantified noun phrases, the ablative case marks the superset in a partitive relation. Likewise, in noun
phrases containing a measure noun, the substance being measured out is usually marked as ablative. In
these uses, ablative case corresponds to the preposition ‘of’ in English. Similarly, verbs like tsatsa ‘be full’,
eka ‘be empty’, paitla ‘be covered (with)’, and tsihfa ‘be bare, lack’ can take partitive complements in the
ablative.

(4.226) mikalu

ehte
three

boy.abl
‘three of the boys’

(4.227) meunu

es
one
milk.abl
‘a cup of milk’

nauot
cup

56

(4.228) Kop`o

meunu
milk.abl

itsatsa
prg.full.ipv

jug.nom
‘The jug is full of milk’

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

(4.229) Kop`o

jug.nom

meunu
milk.abl

ieka
prg.empty.ipv

‘The jug has no milk in it’ (lit. ‘The jug is empty of milk’)

(4.230) Kim`e

baby.nom

eima
still

luanu
hair.abl

tsihfa
bare.ipv

‘The baby doesn’t have any hair yet’ (lit. ‘The baby is still bare of hair’)

Ablative case is also used in various constructions to indicate a reference point or object of comparison. For
instance, ablative case can be used to mark the possessor in a kinship or other social relationship—i.e., the
individual with respect to whom the relationship holds: e.g., Sakialu ame ‘Sakial’s mother’, im`o es kuna
‘a friend of mine’. In addition, ablative case can be used to mark a spatial reference—that is, an object or
location with respect to which a positional or directional relationship is established. Here, as in partitive
constructions, ablative case typically corresponds to English ‘of’:

(4.231) Na

lokau
forest.abl

heutna
3aerg
north.loc
‘They live north of the forest’

tsuhpat
live.ipv.pl

In equative and comparative constructions, ablative case is used to marked the standard of comparison
(expressed in English with ‘as’ or ‘than’). The verb sukuma ‘be di↵erent’ also takes an ablative noun phrase
to indicate the standard of comparison.

(4.232) Kot`o

palahtau
house.nom
tree.abl
‘The house is as tall as the tree’

apata
rel.tall.ipv

(4.233) Kot`o

palahtau
house.nom
tree.abl
‘The house is taller than the tree’

apatohta
rel.tall.comp.ipv

(4.234) Sakiale

Sakial.nom

ahteu
father.abl

akiel
appearance

sukuma
di↵erent.ipv

‘Sakial doesn’t look like his father’ (lit. ‘di↵ers [in] appearance from [his] father’)

The ablative case is also used with the verb iala ‘have’. When iala takes a noun phrase complement
(in the nominative case or the unmarked form), as in (4.235), it expresses non-transferable possession or
responsibility (e.g., possession of kin, land, animals, hunting and fishing rights, personal attributes, and
other people or resources for which one has a social obligation). When iala takes a dependent subjunctive
clause complement, as in (4.236), it means ‘know how to’. In sentences with iala, an ablative noun phrase
expresses the individual possessing knowledge or responsibility.

(4.235) Elimu

lihpa
sister

hen
two:nom

iala
have.ipv

Elim.abl
‘Elim has two sisters’

(4.236) Elimu

sihpi
swim.dep:sbj

Elim.abl
‘Elim knows how to swim’

iala
have.ipv

4.5. THE OBLIQUE CASES

57

Finally, nominalized clauses headed by a verb in the dependent form can take ablative case marking, as
illustrated below. Like ‘since’ clauses in English, dependent clauses in the ablative can express either the
reason or the beginning point of an event, according to context.

(4.237) Olh
dist
‘Those mountains have been standing since the world began’

kantat
stand.ipv.pl

iome
world.nom

tin
those:nom

tomla
mountain

alimau
pv.begin.dep.abl

(4.238) Elimma

pyie
child.dat

meun
milk

uktiyi
give.pv

inan
3asloc

halhkonau
thirsty.dep.abl

Elim.erg
‘Elim gave the child some milk because she was thirsty’

4.5.4 Instrumental

Instrumental (inst) case is marked by adding the ending -me to the rightmost element in the noun phrase.
As its name indicates, the instrumental case is used when the noun phrase expresses the instrument or means
by which an action is carried out:

(4.239) Mikalma
boy.erg

kopoi
pot.dat

konomme
hammer.inst

tsitspyi
smash.pv

‘The boy smashed the pot with a/the hammer’

(4.240) Ma

kahu
fish

mais
1snom
soup:dat
‘I am eating the fish soup with a spoon’

tausme
spoon.inst

eiasa
prg.eat.ipv

4.4.3, the instrument can also be expressed by a noun phrase in the nominative (if the clause
As discussed in
does not already contain a nominative case-marked theme argument), or by an unmarked noun phrase if the
instrument is non-referential. Hence, (4.239) can be paraphrased as below, with ‘hammer’ in the nominative
or unmarked form:

§

(4.241) Mikalma
boy.erg

kopoi
pot.dat

konome
hammer.nom

tsitspyi
smash.pv

‘The boy smashed the pot with a/the hammer’

(4.242) Mikalma
boy.erg

kopoi
pot.dat

konom
hammer

tsitspyi
smash.pv

‘The boy smashed the pot with a hammer’ (more lit. ‘hammer-smashed the pot’)

However, in order for these alternative constructions to be available, the instrument must be construed as the
immediate causer of the event. In example (4.239) the boy manipulates the hammer, and it is the hammer
which actually brings about the change of state (the sentence thus entails ‘The hammer smashed the pot’).
Compare this with (4.240), where the spoon plays a more peripheral role (the spoon is not eating the soup,
but merely enabling the boy to eat the soup). Since the spoon does not cause the eating event, (4.240)
cannot be paraphrased with taus ‘spoon’ in the nominative or unmarked form: the instrumental is the only
option here.

A noun phrase in the instrumental can also express the manner in which an action is carried out, as
illustrated below. Notice that in (4.244) and (4.245) the instrumental ending attaches to a dependent verb
or clause. In (4.244) instrumental case is added to the dependent form of the stative verb usuta ‘be slow’:
usutame (lit. ‘by/with being slow’) is functionally equivalent to a manner adverb in English. In (4.245) the
instrumental-marked clause expresses an event, and corresponds roughly to a participial clause with ‘by’ or
‘by means of’.

58

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

(4.243) Na

tan
3isnom

muoheme
3aerg
whole.inst
‘He pushed on it with all (his) might’

hostats
power

tlynkyi
push:on.pv

(4.244) Na

usutame
slow.dep.inst

inie
3aerg
eyes
‘She slowly opened her eyes’

limyi
open.pv

(4.245) Elimma

tafyi
Elim.nom
show.pv
‘Elim demonstrated his strength by lifting that rock’

nasats
strength

tan
that:nom

naka
rock

olh
dist

tiyisame
lift.dep.inst

With verbs of communication such as koma ‘speak/understand/know’, siehpa ‘write’, etc., a noun phrase
which denotes the language or other means of communication being used appears in the instrumental case:

(4.246) Okuna
Okuna
‘Do (you) speak Okuna?’

sulme
language.inst

k`omin?
speak.ipv:int.qu

Like English ‘with’, the instrumental case can also be used to express a comitative (accompaniment) relation:

(4.247) Sakial
Sakial
‘Do (you) want to come with Sakial and me?’

af`uhin?
come:along.want.ipv:int.qu

imem
1sinst

ka
and

(4.248) Me

lihpame
sister.inst

sihityi
1snom
go:to:river.pv
‘I went down to the river with (my) sister to catch fish’

kahunieia
catch:fish.dep:sbj.all

The instrumental case is also used with the copula he to indicate immediate possession—that is, possession
of something in one’s immediate control. The possessive verbs efa ‘have, own’ and yla ‘have, include, be
In clauses with efa, which expresses transferable
endowed with’ also take an instrumental noun phrase.
possession (e.g., ownership of personal property), the instrumental case marks the possessor, while the
In clauses with yla, which expresses possession of a body part or
possessee is in the nominative case.
physical attribute, the case roles are reversed:
instrumental case marks the possessee while the possessor
appears in the nominative.

(4.249) Sakialme

es
one

halma
book

he
be:ipv

Sakial.inst
‘Sakial has a book (with him)’ (lit. ‘There is a book with Sakial’)

(4.250) Sakialme

ante
Sakial.inst
many
‘Sakial owns many books’

halma
book

(4.251) Elime

kulhe
green

inieme
eyes.inst

Elim.nom
‘Elim has green eyes’

efa
possess.ipv

yla
have.ipv

The instrumental case can also encode a spatial or temporal relation. In combination with motion verbs
such as hepa ‘go along’, hyla ‘pass by’, kloha ‘go through’, tlisa ‘cross, go over’, etc., a noun phrase in the
instrumental indicates the path traversed by the entity in motion, or some object which lies along or near
that path. When used in this way, instrumental noun phrases correspond to English prepositional phrases
with ‘by (way of)’, ‘across’, ‘through’, ‘along’, ‘over’, ‘via’, etc., depending on the noun and the type of
motion involved.

4.5. THE OBLIQUE CASES

59

(4.252) Me

1snom

kuma
front

hitolme
door.inst

lhyuyi
enter.pv

‘I came in (through) the front door’

(4.253) Kalma

losake
wood.nom

sihilalme
riverbank.inst

paloi
village.dat

man.erg
‘The men are taking the firewood back to the village along the riverbank’

ekpe
carry.cv

inioktat
prg.return.ipv.pl

(4.254) Pyie

child.nom

siyhume
field.inst

kiompe
run.cv

itlise,
prg.cross.pt

ne
3anom

tiausyi
fall:down.pv

‘As the child was running across the field, s/he fell down’

(4.255) Es
one

hastine
deer.nom

mutume
fence.inst

iante
jump.cv

tlisyi
go:over.pv

‘A deer jumped (over) the fence’

(4.256) Pil`a

palahta
tree
bird.nom
‘The bird flew over the tree’

ypiahme
above.inst

uaste
fly.cv

tlisyi
go:over.pv

In example (4.256), the noun phrase palahta ypi`a means ‘area above the tree’. The fact that this noun phrase
is marked with instrumental case indicates that the flight path of the bird included this area, but neither
began nor ended there.

When added to a noun phrase denoting a temporal measurement, instrumental case indicates a span of
time, and corresponds roughly to ‘during’, ‘for’, or ‘over the course of’ in English, as in (4.257). Dative case
4.3.2). The di↵erence between these
can also be used to form temporal ‘for’ expressions, as in (4.258) (see
sentences is quite subtle: (4.258) implies that we slept at Sakial’s house for exactly three nights—i.e., only
three nights passed between the beginning of the event and the end. (4.257), by contrast, does not have
this implication: it is possible that the event began earlier or ended later, but for some reason the speaker
is choosing to focus on three particular nights.

§

(4.257) Sa

Sakiala
Sakial.all

13erg
‘We slept at Sakial’s house over the course of three nights’

kotuna
house.loc

hun
night

ehteme
three.inst

muelhyit
sleep.pv.pl

(4.258) Sa

Sakiala
Sakial.all

kotuna
house.loc

hun
night

ehtei
three.dat

muelhyit
sleep.pv.pl

13erg
‘We slept at Sakial’s house for three nights’

An instrumental noun phrase can also be used to indicate a measure of distance or other dimension, or to
express the degree/extent to which an entity possesses a scalar property. In comparative constructions, such
as (4.261), the instrumental case is used with measure phrases to indicate the degree of di↵erence between
the objects being compared.

(4.259) Kot`o

huoime
katlam
house.nom
twelve.inst
cubit
‘The house is twelve cubits tall’

apata
rel.tall.ipv

(4.260) Sa

l`o
day

puniakatsme
13erg
journey.inst
‘We live a day’s journey from here’

ehtsan
one

ekau
here.abl

tsuhpat
live.ipv.pl

60

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

(4.261) Mo

1srdat

suhp`a
brother.nom

ulhmo
year

henme
two.inst

afihohta
rel.young.comp.ipv

im`o
1sabl

‘My brother is two years younger than me’ (lit. ‘younger than me by/with two years’)

Note the following constructions, where the adverbials ihka ‘before now, earlier, ago’, efoi ‘after now, later’,
tahka ‘before then, earlier, previously’, and tahoi ‘after then, later, subsequently’ select a temporal measure
phrase in the instrumental case. In (4.262) below, a temporal measure phrase in the instrumental modifies
a ‘before’ clause.

ulhmo henme ihka
ulhmo henme efoi

‘two years ago’
‘in two years, two years from now’

l`o tosepyime tahka
l`o tosepyime tahoi

‘several days earlier, several days before (that)’
‘several days later, several days after (that)’

(4.262) Hi

mehkyi
happen.pv

mo
1srdat

am`e
mother.nom

tiokau
die.dep.abl

l`o
day

henme
two.inst

kamna
before.nom

3inom
‘It happened two days before my mother died’

A number of adverbial expressions are formed using the instrumental case, including:

ela henme
haklame
kaiehteme
kunahatsme
lohanme
nakapme
pakotame
tupuatsme

(each:time two.inst)
(go:straight.dep.inst)
(threesome.inst)
(friendship.inst)
(voice.inst)
(accident.inst)
(take:steps.dep.inst)
(pulse.inst)

‘two by two, two at a time’
‘straight, directly, as the crow flies’
‘three times, threefold, by a factor of three’
‘as a friend, in friendship’
‘aloud, out loud’
‘by accident’
‘step by step, incrementally’
‘momentarily, for just a moment’

Finally, one way of forming a conditional clause in Okuna—equivalent to an ‘if’ clause or ‘unless’ clause in
English—is to attach the instrumental case ending to a clause headed by a verb in the dependent subjunctive
form (see

10.2). (Other ways of forming conditional clauses are discussed in

10.2.3 and

10.3.2.)

§

§

§
(4.263) Ma

aleut
help

uktia
give.ipv

tiuhime
needed.dep:sbj.inst

1serg

‘I’ll lend a hand if needed/necessary’

(4.264) Pyie

ntse
neg

tehefoi
soon

child.nom
‘If the children don’t get here soon, I’ll have to go look for them’
or ‘Unless the children get here soon…’

ketoitame,
come.dep:sbj:neg.pl.inst

ma
1serg

inane
3apall

ekpihi
seek.dep:sbj

tiuha
must.ipv

While the comitative relation (‘with’) is consistently expressed using instrumental case, Okuna has various
ways to express a privative relation (‘without’). First, instrumental case may be added to a negated noun
phrase of the form ntse X m`a or ntse X mi`o ‘no X, not any X’: e.g., ntse kamal mahme ‘without a knife’ (lit.
‘not with any knife’ or ‘with no knife’). Alternatively, ‘without’ may be expressed using a negated participial
clause, or a negated dependent clause marked for instrumental case. Finally, the verb eka ‘be empty’ or
tsihfa ‘be bare’ may be used, together with a noun phrase in the unmarked or ablative form, to convey the
sense of English ‘lack, be without’. Examples:

(4.265) Pyie

child.nom

ketyi
come.pv

am`e
mother.nom

miafu
neg.prg.accompany.neg:pt

‘The child came without her mother’ (lit. ‘[her] mother not accompanying [her]’)

4.6. THE UNMARKED FORM

61

(4.266) Na

3aerg

itatananka
prg.go:around.ipv:pst

ntse
neg

tlok
shoe

ikpu
prg.wear.neg:pt

‘He was walking around without shoes (on)’ (lit. ‘not wearing shoes’)

(4.267) Im`e

1sall

ntse
neg

taus
spoon

nyipume
use.dep:neg.inst

iasoksanka
eat.must.ipv:pst

‘I had to eat without a spoon’ (lit. ‘by not using a spoon’)

(4.268) ntse
neg
‘a house without children’ or ‘a house where there aren’t any children’

hunen
be:neg.cnzr

kotu
house

pyi
child

(4.269) luan
hair

tsihfe
bare.tnzr

kimi
baby

‘a baby without hair’ (lit. ‘a baby bare [of] hair’)

4.6 The unmarked form

Having reviewed the functions of the various cases in previous sections, I now turn to those situations where
a noun or noun phrase fails to take any case marking and occurs instead in its unsuxed or ‘bare’ form. I
refer to this as the unmarked form.

4.6.1 Unmarked nouns within the noun phrase

§

4.2, case endings attach to the final element in a noun phrase; hence the noun itself
As mentioned in
will be unmarked for case if some other element within the noun phrase follows it. Such elements include
demonstratives and quantifiers, along with a handful of other modifiers discussed in
6.9 (e.g.,
mpehkai ‘the first one’, ufatl ‘the wrong one’). Consider the placement of the locative case ending -na in the
following noun phrases:

6.8.5 and

§

§

halmana
es halmana
halma ehtsanna
ke halma itena
halma ikina
halma mpehkaina
halma ufatlna

‘in a/the book’
‘in a book’
‘in (just) one book’
‘in these books’
‘in every book’
‘in the first book’
‘in the wrong book’

Likewise, in noun compounds, discussed in
§
right edge of the noun phrase), while the modifying noun appears in the unmarked form:

6.4, the head noun is marked for case (provided it comes at the

(4.270) ilme

laina
light.loc

moon
‘in the moonlight’

When a noun phrase consists of two or more smaller noun phrases conjoined with ka ‘and’, husu ‘and also’,
8.3.1), it is the rightmost conjunct which carries the case ending, while previous
or ohkina ‘as well as’ (see
conjuncts are unmarked for case:

§

Elimme
(4.271) Sakial
Sakial
Elim.inst
‘with Sakial and Elim’

ka
and

62

(4.272) mo

nap`e
daughter

husu
and:also

1srdat
‘for my daughter and her friends’

no
3ardat

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

kunaua
friend.all

In certain contexts, a noun phrase will lack case marking altogether. For instance, noun phrases are unmarked
for case when they function as (part of) the predicate of a clause. In addition, a noun phrase may be unmarked
for case when it is non-referential—i.e., when it does not pick out a particular entity or set of entities, but
functions more like a modifier or pseudo-argument. I review the distribution of unmarked noun phrases in
the following subsections.

4.6.2 Unmarked noun phrases as non-arguments

If a noun phrase does not function as an argument or other dependent of a verb, and thus is not assigned a
case role, it will appear in the unmarked form. For example, noun phrases occur without case marking when
they act as predicates. This is illustrated in (4.273) below, where mo ahte ‘my father’ is a predicate nominal
rather than an argument (note the absence of a copula here; see
9.3.1 for more on copular sentences). The
unmarked form also occurs in existential and possessive constructions, where the verb he ‘be, exist’ takes
an unmarked noun phrase as its complement. This is illustrated in (4.274) and (4.275), where es kamal ‘a
knife’ is in the unmarked form.

§

(4.273) Sakiale

mo
1srdat
Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is my father’

ahte
father

(4.274) Totsatna
table.loc
‘There is a knife on the table’

kamal
knife

es
one

he
exist:ipv

(4.275) Sakialme

Sakial.inst

es
one

kamal
knife

he
be:ipv

‘Sakial has a knife’ (lit. ‘There is a knife with Sakial’)

Likewise the noun phrase is typically unmarked in presentational sentences, where it denotes an entity
whose existence or presence is being asserted or denied. Compare the examples below, where im`e kamal ‘my
knife’ is in the nominative case in the first sentence and in the unmarked form in the second sentence. (4.276)
is a normal predicational sentence, with a nominative argument bearing the theme role. This sentence would
be used if the knife were already a topic of discussion and the speaker were reporting on its location. Example
(4.277), by contrast, is a presentational sentence, used to draw the listener’s attention to the presence of the
knife.

(4.276) Im`e

kamale
1sall
knife.nom
‘My knife is here’

its`a
prg.be:here.ipv

(4.277) Im`e

kamal
knife

its`a
prg.be:here.ipv

1sall
‘Here’s my knife’ or ‘This is my knife’

The examples below show the same contrast, this time with the locational verb euolha ‘be (over) there’
and the motion verb keta ‘come here’. Note that in (4.279) the fact that the sentence is presentational is
further indicated by the focus particle te. In (4.281), the particle iam marks the sentence as expressing new
information which the speaker has just become aware of.

4.6. THE UNMARKED FORM

63

(4.278) Hastine

ieuolha
prg.be:there.ipv

deer.nom
‘The deer is over there’

(4.279) Te

es
one

hastin
deer

ieuolha
prg.be:there.ipv

foc
‘Over there is a deer’ or ‘There’s a deer over there’

(4.280) Sakiale

iketa
prg.come:here.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is coming here’

(4.281) Sakial
Sakial
‘Look, here comes Sakial’

iketa
prg.come:here.ipv

iam
it:turns:out

Finally, compare the examples below, showing two di↵erent ways of asking a ‘where’ question. The first
construction, where im`e kamal is marked for nominative case, would be used if the speaker’s knife were
already the topic of discussion (‘Speaking of my knife, where is it?’). The second construction, with im`e
kamal unmarked for case and immediately preceding the copula, would be used if this speaker is mentioning
his/her knife for the first time.

(4.282) Im`e

kamale
knife.nom

1sall
‘Where is my knife?’

miena
where.loc

hin?
be:ipv.qu

(4.283) Miena

im`e
1sall

kamal
knife

hin?
be:ipv.qu

where.loc
‘Where’s my knife?’

A noun phrase will also appear in the unmarked form when it functions as a contrastive or switch-reference
topic, followed by the element aunme (see
In the example below the unmarked noun
§
kahu ‘fish’ establishes the general domain of objects under consideration, while kono ‘salmon’, marked for
nominative case, functions as the argument of predication in the sentence.

10.2.3).

9.2.2,

§

(4.284) Kahu

aunme,
if.inst

kon`o
salmon.nom

ahenkohta
rel.enjoyable.comp.ipv

im`e
1sall

fish
‘As for fish, I like salmon best’ (lit. ‘If fish, [then] salmon is most enjoyable to me’)

Finally, proper names, kinship terms, and other noun phrases are unmarked for case when used in addressing
an individual—that is, as vocatives. Such noun phrases are optionally preceded by the quotative particle ia
(glossed quot), especially when used to attract the attention of the person being addressed:

(4.285) Ia

Sakial,
Sakial

aktape
help.cv

eskuke
please

quot
‘Sakial, please help (me)’

Proper names are also unmarked for case when they precede another noun phrase to which they stand in
apposition. For instance, Tenmotlai, Okuna, and Sakial are all unmarked in the following examples:

tima
(4.286) Tenmotlai
lie.ipv
Tenmotlai
‘The town of Tenmotlai lies on the shore of the Okuna river’

tiesate
town.nom

ilalna
shore.loc

sihkunu
river

Okuna
Okuna

kasuhp`a
(4.287) Sakial
Sakial
cousin.nom
‘My cousin Sakial is coming to visit tomorrow’

itskana
prg.arrive.ipv

mo
1srdat

tsuleia
visit.dep:sbj.all

elohfoi
tomorrow

64

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

4.6.3 Pseudo-incorporated arguments

We say that a noun phrase is non-referential (or non-individuated) if its function is to identify some
general class of entities rather than any specific entity or group of entities. In Okuna, if a core argument of
a verb is non-referential, it will often be unmarked for case.

Compare the examples below. In (4.288) and (4.289), the patient argument halma ‘book’ delimits the
event denoted by the verb, and is expressed by a noun phrase in the dative case. This noun phrase is
interpreted as indefinite in (4.289) due to the presence of es ‘one’, while in (4.288) it can be construed as
either definite or indefinite, depending on the context in which the sentence occurs. In both sentences, the
speaker has a particular book in mind. Contrast these sentences with (4.290), where halma appears without
any case marking: here, its function is to represent a type of object, and not to pick out any specific book
(see below for more discussion of this).

(4.288) Na

3aerg

halmai
book.dat

itala
prg.read.ipv

‘He is reading a/the book’

(4.289) Na

3aerg

es
one

halmai
book.dat

itala
prg.read.ipv

‘He is reading a (certain) book’

(4.290) Na

halma
book

itala
3aerg
prg.read.ipv
‘He is reading a book’ or ‘He is reading books’

Unlike case-marked arguments, which can occupy various positions in the clause, unmarked arguments
must immediately precede the verb which selects them, suggesting that they have undergone pseudo-
incorporation into the verb. In (4.290) above, for example, halma itala behaves as a kind of syntactic
unit, suggesting a literal translation along the lines of ‘He is book-reading’. As evidence for this adjacency
requirement, note that adverbials like eima ‘still’ can come between the verb and its object if the latter is
case-marked, but must precede the object if it is unmarked for case:

(4.291) Na

halmai
3aerg
book.dat
‘He is still reading the book’

eima
still

itala
prg.read.ipv

(4.292) Na

3aerg

eima
still

halma
book

itala
prg.read.ipv

‘He is still reading a book’ (‘He is still book-reading’)

Note also the examples below, where the clause has been negated. As discussed in
7.3, the negative scope
marker tends to attach to the right edge of the verb as a prefix: m(a)-. However, when the verb is preceded
by an unmarked noun phrase, which must be adjacent to the verb, the negative scope marker is blocked
from attaching to the verb and instead surfaces in its free form, ntse, preceding the unmarked noun phrase.

§

(4.293) Na

halmai
3aerg
book.dat
‘He isn’t reading the book’

metalo
neg.prg.read.ipv:neg

(4.294) Na

3aerg

ntse
neg

halma
book

italo
prg.read.ipv:neg

‘He isn’t reading (any) books’

4.6. THE UNMARKED FORM

65

§

4.3.2, dative case marks the delimiter of a telic action—e.g., the patient in a cumulative
As discussed in
change-of-state event. Non-referential patients, however, fail to act as delimiters, and so dative case marking
is unavailable. Consider the following examples. (4.295) denotes a particular event of eating: a specific
portion of meat is being referred to, and the eating event culminates once it has been completely consumed.
Hence, maka ‘meat’ delimits the eating event and appears in the dative case (whether makai is definite or
indefinite, whether it means ‘the meat’ or ‘some meat’, must be determined from the context). (4.296), by
contrast, refers to the general activity of meat-eating; while (4.297) expresses the characteristic of being a
meat-eater, the propensity of a particular dog (or dogs in general) to eat meat. In neither of these sentences
does the speaker have a particular portion of meat in mind. Generic activities and properties are inherently
open-ended: they have no natural endpoint, and hence cannot be delimited by the patient. This is why in
these sentences maka appears in the unmarked form rather than the dative.

(4.295) Ikema

makai
meat.dat

eiasanka
prg.eat.ipv:pst

dog.erg
‘The dog was eating the/some meat’

(4.296) Ikema

maka
meat

eiasanka
prg.eat.ipv:pst

dog.erg
‘The dog was eating meat’ (i.e., was engaged in meat-eating)

(4.297) Ikema

maka
meat

iasa
eat.ipv

dog.erg
‘The dog eats meat’ or ‘Dogs eat meat’

The examples below show a similar contrast. The sentence in (4.298) denotes a telic event, and kahu ‘fish’
(marked for dative case) is understood to be referential. The speaker implies the existence of some finite
(though not necessarily identifiable) quantity of fish, such that the event necessarily ends once all of the fish
have been caught. By contrast, (4.299) denotes an atelic activity. Here, kahu, unmarked for case, indicates
the type of thing being caught: no particular quantity of fish is implied, meaning that the activity can go on
indefinitely. Finally, (4.300) attributes a general property to Sakial, and is likewise atelic, with kahu again
in its bare form.

(4.298) Sakialma

kahoi
fish.dat

palyima
catch.pv.dpl

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial caught the/some fish’

(4.299) Sakialma

kahu
fish

palyi
catch.pv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial caught fish’ or ‘Sakial went fishing’

(4.300) Sakialma

kahu
fish

pala
catch.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial catches fish’ (‘Sakial is a fisherman’)

Notice that kahoi triggers the dative plural agreement sux -ma on the verb in the first sentence, whereas
its unmarked counterpart in the other two sentences does not trigger plural agreement, even though the
context makes it clear that more than one fish is likely being caught. Unmarked noun phrases never trigger
number agreement.

When a non-referential patient argument appears in the unmarked form, this ‘frees up’ the dative case,
which can then appear on another constituent to delimit the event. For instance, a dative phrase expressing
a measure can be added to a clause containing an unmarked patient, as illustrated below. In (4.301), where
ueho ‘wine’ takes dative marking, the event is delimited by the wine: some specific quantity of wine is
implied, which defines the endpoint for the drinking event. In (4.302) the patient appears in the unmarked

66

CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

form and hence does not delimit: the sentence refers to wine-drinking as a general activity. In (4.303) the
patient is again unmarked, but this time the event is delimited by the measure phrase es nauot ‘one cup’:
the wine-drinking activity ends once one cup worth of wine has been consumed.

(4.301) Ma

uehoi
wine.dat

sepyi
drink.pv

1serg
‘I drank (up) the/some wine’

(4.302) Ma

ueho
wine

sepyi
drink.pv

1serg
‘I drank wine’

(4.303) Ma

es
one

nauoit
cup.dat

ueho
wine

sepyi
drink.pv

1serg
‘I drank a cup of wine’ (lit. ‘I wine-drank [to] one cup’)

Unmarked noun phrases appear in many weather predicates. These generally take the form of a motion verb
(belonging to Class II or Class III) used in combination with the unmarked theme argument denoting the
relevant meteorological phenomenon. Examples:

aho ilaina
esie ikahpa
ilme ilaina
ise ikahpa
ise itima
kise itima
mohi ikahpa
mohisiem ilaina
muohfe s`u ikahpa
pahiem ilaina
s`u ikahpa
suku ilhopa

‘it’s sunny’
‘it’s misty/sprinkling’
‘the moon is out’
‘it’s snowing’
‘there’s snow on the ground’
‘it’s icy, there’s ice on the ground’
‘it’s foggy’
‘it’s (partly) cloudy’
‘it’s raining hard, it’s pouring’
‘it’s overcast’
‘it’s raining’
‘it’s windy’

(lit. ‘sun is shining’)
(lit. ‘mist is falling’)
(lit. ‘moon is shining’)
(lit. ‘snow is falling’)
(lit. ‘snow is lying’)
(lit. ‘ice is lying’)
(lit. ‘cloud is falling’)
(lit. ‘cloudy sky is shining’)
(lit. ‘thick rain is falling’)
(lit. ‘overcast sky is shining’)
(lit. ‘rain is falling’)
(lit. ‘wind is flowing’)

Other examples:

(4.304) Elohka

ise
snow

ukahpoksa
pf.descend.must.ipv

yesterday
‘It must have snowed yesterday’

(4.305) Tehefoi

ikelha
mohi
prg.lift.ipv
cloud
presently
‘The fog is going to lift soon’

(4.306) Tosuku

ha
in:fact
great:wind
‘It’s very windy outside’ (lit. ‘A great wind is blowing outside’)

ilhopa
prg.blow.ipv

yhmana
outside.loc

In the examples above, the unmarked (pseudo-incorporated) noun phrase expresses the patient or theme of
an action, and as such, replaces a noun phrase in the dative or nominative case. This is the most common
role for unmarked arguments. However, it is also possible for the unmarked noun phrase to express a non-
referential actor. Consider the examples below. In (4.307) Elima ike ‘Elim’s dog’ functions as the delimiter,
marked with dative case, while in (4.308) it functions as an experiencer argument marked with locative
case. In both sentences, the unmarked noun phrase lianka ‘snake’ is interpreted as a non-referential actor,
indicating the type of entity which initiates or triggers the event (if the speaker had a particular snake in
mind, lianka would have been marked with ergative case):

4.6. THE UNMARKED FORM

67

(4.307) Elima

ikei
dog.dat

lianka
snake

unitlka
pf.bite.ipv

Elim.all
‘Elim’s dog was bitten by a snake’ (‘Elim’s dog was snake-bitten’)

(4.308) Elima

ikena
dog.loc

lianka
snake

huetlampa
afraid.act.ipv

Elim.all
‘Elim’s dog is frightened of snakes’ (lit. ‘made afraid by snakes’)

Additional examples are given below, in which the unmarked nouns (ipaimanen ‘medicine’, suku ‘wind’,
tohauat ‘fire’) specify the kinds of substance responsible for bringing about the event. Here it is perhaps
unclear whether the unmarked noun should be characterized as an actor or an instrument.

(4.309) Sakiale

hualtyi
healthy.tinc.pv
Sakial.nom
‘Sakial was cured by/with medicine’ (‘Sakial was medicine-cured’)

ipaimanen
medicine

(4.310) Palaht`a

suku
wind

tiausyi
fall.pv

tree.nom
‘The tree fell over in the wind’ (‘The tree was wind-felled’)

ustoka
(4.311) Kotu
house
pf.destroy.ipv
‘That house was destroyed in/by a fire’ (‘That house was fire-destroyed’)

utai
that:rdat

tohauat
fire

Note finally that a core argument will sometimes appear without any case marking when it refers to an
entity that is incidental to the discourse, even if the speaker has a specific referent in mind. In the sentence
below, for example, the unmarked argument hitol may be referring to a particular door, identifiable by both
the speaker and the addressee. However, this door plays only a peripheral role in the events being narrated:
it is the act of door-opening, rather than the identity of the door being opened, which is important here.

(4.312) Ihama

umupatle
pf.dress.pt

hitol
door

limyi
open.pv

yhmai
outside.dat

suhyi
go:out.pv

woman.erg
‘The woman having dressed, (she) opened the door (and) went outside’

Similarly, in the following example, aho ‘sun’ is semantically definite, and would thus (as the theme argument
of kahpa ‘go down’) be expected to appear in the nominative case. However, it appears in the unmarked
form instead. This is because the sun is only acting as an incidental ‘character’ in the narrative: the setting
of the sun is a background event, serving merely to establish the time of the hunters’ return.

(4.313) Uta

aho
sun

ukahpanka
pf.descend.ipv:pst

lakiakamite
hunting:party.nom

already
‘The sun had already set when the hunting party returned to the village’

paloi
village.dat

anioktit
pv.return.pt.pl

When the clause denotes an event where an agent manipulates a part of his/her own body, the body part
term normally occurs in the unmarked form. This is illustrated below. Notice also that, unlike in English,
the body part term does not take a possessive pronoun; sentence (4.314), for example, is literally ‘Elim closed
eyes’ (or ‘Elim eye-closed’).

(4.314) Elimma

inie
eyes

mukyi
close.pv

Elim.erg
‘Elim closed his eyes’

(4.315) Ma

nalh
arm

kelhyi
raise.pv

1serg
‘I raised my arm’

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CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

In the following examples, the case-marked noun takes the dative rather than the ergative, and denotes
an individual undergoing a change of state. The unmarked noun here denotes the particular part of the
individual’s body a↵ected by the event.

(4.316) Sakiail

nalh
arm

takiyi
break.pv

Sakial.dat
‘Sakial broke his arm’ or ‘Sakial got his arm broken’

(4.317) Sakiail

tem
hand

hanyi
cut.pv

Sakial.dat
‘Sakial cut his hand’ or ‘Sakial got a cut on his hand’

The absence of case marking in these constructions suggests that the body part is not treated as an individual
‘participant’ in the event, but is instead conceptualized as a component of the action (arm-lifting, hand-
cutting, etc.). Normally the body part term will appear in the dative or nominative case only if the agent
is manipulating a part of somebody else’s body. Compare Elimma inie mukyi ‘Elim closed (his own) eyes’
with the following example, where inie ‘eyes’ receives nominative marking:

(4.318) Elimma

kalna
tioike
Elim.erg
man.loc
dead.tnzr
‘Elim closed the dead man’s eyes’

ini`e
eyes.nom

mukyi
close.pv

4.6.4 Other unmarked noun phrases with Class III verbs

In the examples discussed in the previous section, the unmarked noun phrase replaces a case-marked subject
or object. It is also possible for an unmarked noun phrase to co-occur with an overt subject and object,
especially with Class III verbs expressing a change of state (see
4.4.3). This extra noun phrase has a number
of functions. Most commonly, it indicates the kind of instrument—a tool, body part, or other object—used
by the agent to bring about a change of state in the patient:

§

(4.319) Mikalma
boy.erg
‘The boy smashed the pot with a hammer’

tsitspyi
smash.pv

konom
hammer

kopoi
pot.dat

(4.320) Ihama

tahyima
woman.erg
kill.pv.dpl
‘The woman killed the fish with a harpoon’ or ‘The woman harpooned the fish’

tiku
harpoon

kahoi
fish.dat

(4.321) Elimma

totsait
table.dat

sane
red

mul
cloth

patlyi
cover.pv

Elim.erg
‘Elim covered the table with a red cloth’

(4.322) Inmo

3aerg.1srdat

moikenaua
fist

kahtotyi
hit.dur.pv

‘He punched me’ or ‘He hit me with (his) fists’

Like other unmarked arguments, unmarked instruments are inherently non-specific or lacking in discourse
salience. For instance, (4.319), featuring the unmarked instrument konom ‘hammer’, would be used only if
the speaker doesn’t know (or considers it irrelevant) which particular hammer was used to smash the pot, and
wishes merely to convey that a hammer is the type of object used. If the instrument were definite/specific, and
of continuing relevance to the conversation, konom would instead appear in the instrumental or nominative
case (see

4.5.4).

4.4.3,

§

§

4.6. THE UNMARKED FORM

69

With Class III verbs of creation or physical transformation, an unmarked noun phrase may be added to
express the material being transformed, while the delimiter argument (if present) represents the object or
substance being created, as illustrated below (the ablative case can also be used to mark the material from
which something is made, as discussed in

4.5.3):

(4.323) Ihama

kopoi
pot.dat

sute
clay

woman.erg
‘The woman is shaping a pot out of clay’

§
euosta
prg.shape.ipv

(4.324) Na

kotoi
house.dat

lotsan
wood

3aerg
‘They built the house out of wood’

utiespat
pf.build.ipv.pl

Finally, Class III verbs can take an unmarked noun phrase denoting the amount of time required for the
endpoint to be reached—that is, the amount of time necessary to completely create, destroy, or change the
state of the patient (this construction is somewhat rare; normally the temporal measure phrase will appear
in the instrumental case):

(4.325) Na

kotoi
house.dat

utiespat
3aerg
pf.build.ipv.pl
‘They built the house in four months’ or ‘They took four months to build the house’

ilme
month

kun
four

4.6.5 Unmarked noun phrases with Class I verbs

§

As discussed in
4.4.1, stative verbs belonging to Class I take a nominative (theme) argument referring to
the individual who possesses the property or attribute denoted by the verb. Sometimes these verbs also
take an unmarked noun phrase, which names a component or aspect of the theme with respect to which
the property or attribute holds. To illustrate this, consider first the sentences below, containing the Class
I verb henka ‘be enjoyable’, predicated of the nominative-marked theme iase ‘the food’, with an optional
experiencer argument in the allative case (see

4.5.2):

4.4.1,

§

§

(4.326) Ias`e

henka
enjoyable.ipv

food.nom
‘The food is enjoyable’

(4.327) Ias`e

food.nom

henka
enjoyable.ipv

im`e
1sall

‘I like the food’ (lit. ‘The food is enjoyable to me’)

If one wishes to specify the particular aspect of the food which is enjoyable, an unmarked noun phrase
denoting an abstract property may be added to the sentence:

(4.328) Ias`e

food.nom

amahtle
flavor

henka
enjoyable.ipv

‘The food is delicious’ (lit. ‘The food is enjoyable [in] flavour’)

(4.329) Ias`e

food.nom

aluhtse
aroma

henka
enjoyable.ipv

‘The food smells good’ (lit. ‘The food is enjoyable [in] aroma’)

(4.330) Ias`e

food.nom

akiel
appearance

henka
enjoyable.ipv

‘The food looks good’ (lit. ‘The food is enjoyable [in] appearance’)

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CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

Adding an experiencer to these sentences, we get the following: (4.331) is literally ‘the food is enjoyable [in]
flavour to me’, and likewise for the other examples.

(4.331) Ias`e

amahtle
flavour

henka
enjoyable.ipv

im`e
1sall

food.nom
‘I like the taste of the food’

(4.332) Ias`e

aluhtse
aroma

henka
enjoyable.ipv

im`e
1sall

food.nom
‘The food smells good to me’ or ‘I like the smell of the food’

(4.333) Ias`e

akiel
appearance

henka
enjoyable.ipv

im`e
1sall

food.nom
‘The food looks good to me’ or ‘I like the look of the food’

Note also the following examples, which show the same structure but with di↵erent stative verbs:

(4.334) Ohu`e

fruit.nom

amahtle
flavour

seima
sweet.ipv

‘The fruit tastes sweet’ (lit. ‘is sweet [in] flavour’)

(4.335) Elime

Elim.nom

akiel
appearance

ihakta
prg.tired.ipv

hial`o
today

‘Elim is looking tired today’ (lit. ‘Elim is tired [in] appearance today’)

(4.336) Sakialna

Sakial.loc

aule
sound

ikesta
prg.happy.ipv

‘Sakial sounds happy’ (lit. ‘Sakial is happy [in] sound’)

The verbs ohtla ‘resemble, be similar’ and sukuma ‘di↵er, be di↵erent’ commonly take an unmarked noun
phrase denoting the quality with respect to which the resemblance holds or fails to hold: e.g., akiel ohtla
‘look like’ (lit.
‘resemble [in] appearance’), amahtle ohtla ‘taste like’ (‘resemble [in] flavour’), aule sukuma
‘sound di↵erent’ (‘di↵er [in] sound’) and so on. The individual who bears the resemblance or di↵erence is
expressed by a noun phrase in the nominative, while the standard of comparison is expressed by a noun
phrase in the allative (for ohtla) or the ablative (for sukuma):

(4.337) Sakiale

ahteia
father.all

akiel
appearance

ohtla
resemble.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial looks like his father’

(4.338) Sakiale

ahteia
father.all

aule
sound

ohtla
resemble.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial sounds like his father’

(4.339) Sakiale

akiel
ahteu
Sakial.nom
appearance
father.abl
‘Sakial looks di↵erent from his father’

sukuma
di↵erent.ipv

The verbs eka ‘be empty’, tsatsa ‘be full’, paitla ‘be covered’, and tsihfa ‘be bare, free’ may combine with an
unmarked noun phrase expressing the type of entity or substance (e.g., n`a ‘water’, aki ‘flea’) with respect
to which the property holds:

4.6. THE UNMARKED FORM

71

Nauote n`a itsatsa
Nauote n`a ieka

‘The cup is full of water’
‘The cup is empty of water / has no water in it’

Ik`e aki ipaitla
Ik`e aki itsihfa

‘The dog is covered with fleas’
‘The dog is free of fleas / has no fleas’

Consider also the construction illustrated below. Here the unmarked noun denotes a body part while the
nominative argument identifies the possessor of the body part (we may think of the first sentence as meaning
something like ‘Elim is long with respect to [his] legs’). The third example includes the resultative Class I
7.5.1). The fourth example shows
verb takeia ‘be broken’, which takes a locative case-marked patient (see
the Class I verb nuha ‘be cold’, which here takes a locative case-marked experiencer, denoting the individual
who feels cold, and an unmarked body part noun denoting the locus of the cold feeling.

§

(4.340) Elime

kalial
legs

liakna
long.ipv

Elim.nom
‘Elim has long legs’ or ‘Elim is long-legged’

(4.341) No

aht`e
father.nom

nalhal
arms
3ardat
‘His father has strong arms’

nasa
strong.ipv

(4.342) Sakialna

kus
foot

itakeia
prg.break:res.ipv

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial has a broken foot’

(4.343) Iman
1sloc
‘My hands are/feel cold’ or ‘I have cold hands’

inuha
prg.cold.ipv

temie
hands

Finally, when the stative verb carries the relative prefix a- (see
7.6), the class of objects denoted by the
unmarked noun phrase provides a standard against which the theme is compared: e.g., toha ‘be big’; atoha
‘be so/as big, have a certain size’; kotu atoha ‘be as big as a house, be the size of a house’; atohohta ‘be
bigger (than)’; kotu atohohta ‘be bigger than a house’. Additional examples are given below. Note that in
the third and fourth examples, the unmarked noun phrase combines with a predicate formed by attaching
the relative prefix a- to a perception verb in the resultative aspect (
7.5.1). Predicates formed in this way
(equivalent to English ‘look/appear’, ‘sound’, ‘taste’, ‘smell’, etc.) denote the possession of a property which
can be perceived through the senses, with the unmarked noun phrase expresses the substance or entity which
is the source of that property.

§

§

(4.344) Ne

hani
fox

alhinta
rel.clever.ipv

3anom
‘She’s as clever as a fox’

(4.345) Tonaka

tan
that:nom

koin
person

apatohta
rel.tall.comp.ipv

rock
‘That rock is taller than a person’

(4.346) Mase

ksas
salt

amaihtla
rel.taste:res.ipv

soup.nom
‘The soup tastes of salt’ or ‘The soup tastes salty’

(4.347) Hal`o

ialoihtsanka
prg.rel.smell:res.ipv:pst
room.nom
‘The room smelled of flowers’ or ‘The room had the smell of flowers’

esip
flower

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CHAPTER 4. CASE AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

As in other cases, the unmarked noun phrase in this construction is interpreted as non-referential. When a
particular entity is being presented as the standard of comparison, the noun phrase referring to that entity
must be marked with ablative case: e.g., kotou atohohta ‘bigger than the house’.

4.6.6 Fixed expressions

A large number of idioms and other fixed expressions in Okuna take the form of a verb preceded by a pseudo-
incorporated unmarked noun. Some of these are listed below. English equivalents for these expressions are
given first, followed by a literal translation in parentheses.

ahim tsimuka
aleut uktia
ampe alhta
efos ekpa
efos suka
eihte etsa
eske untsuka
euti tika
fasoun ekpa
hauk elha
iase tsatsta
itlas kyitsa
inie kelha
inie kloha
inie lhinta
inie peuta
kan ekpa
kanu etsa
kaume suka
kefis etsa
kihaule hehta
ksetli uanta
kuhinie eta
kuma kahpa
lai iahkipa
lhan ekpa
lhan laha
lhes uktia
lhonko hana
lohan tunka
luan tsihfa
masi`o ekpa
mehu ekpa
mehu skala
muohsot etsa
nalei muohfa
naua taula
niokaule hana
nolal peuta
ope alhta
pahti muohfeta
silh teuna

‘gasp’
‘help, assist’
‘change one’s mind/opinion’
‘have a problem’
‘make trouble, cause problems’
‘be right, say the correct thing’
‘be well-behaved, obedient’
‘lay an egg’
‘be proud’
‘smoke [meat/fish]’
‘eat one’s fill’
‘take note of, remark/comment on’
‘look up at’
‘look through’
‘be alert, watchful, on guard’
‘watch for, keep an eye out for’
‘have worth, be worthy’
‘lie, tell lies’
‘make war’
‘threaten’
‘make a quiet noise’
‘gamble’
‘scowl, grimace’
‘face down’
‘blind (temporarily)’
‘be resolved, determined’
‘give up’
‘sharpen, hone’
‘be loud, make a lot of noise’
‘speak on behalf of, represent’
‘be bald’
‘be sad, sorrowful’
‘be ashamed’
‘forgive’
‘apologize’
‘be brightly coloured’
‘cup one’s hands’
‘echo, resound’
‘listen for’
‘change one’s mind’
‘blush’
‘touch, put one’s finger(s) on’

(‘quickly close breath’)
(‘give help’)
(‘invert opinion’)
(‘hold/carry problem’)
(‘do problem’)
(‘say right’)
(‘enact request’)
(‘release/emit egg’)
(‘hold/carry pride’)
(‘put smoke in’)
(‘fill [with] food’)
(‘say observation about’)
(‘raise eyes’)
(‘put eyes through’)
(‘be clever-eyed’)
(‘wait [with] eyes’)
(‘hold/carry worth’)
(‘say lie(s)’)
(‘do war’)
(‘say threat’)
(‘move small noise’)
(‘cast dice’)
(‘put dirty look’)
(‘descend face’)
(‘strike [with] light’)
(‘hold/carry will’)
(‘release will’)
(‘give blade’)
(‘cut noise’)
(‘act [with] voice’)
(‘be bare [of] head hair’)
(‘hold/carry sorrow’)
(‘hold/carry shame’)
(‘remove shame’)
(‘say apology’)
(‘be dense-coloured’)
(‘bend up palm’)
(‘cut echo’)
(‘wait [with] ears’)
(‘invert belief’)
(‘thicken [in] complexion’)
(‘put finger’)

4.6. THE UNMARKED FORM

73

s`o hota
sot esta
sot teuna
statl teuna
suk imla
tsimu ekpa
ufatl opa
ufatl suka
ulhmo moita
uske etsa
yte etsa

‘tie (up)’
‘get through to, make understand’
‘claim, make a claim on’
‘set a trap’
‘grin’
‘be compassionate’
‘be wrong, get it wrong’
‘make a mistake, do the wrong thing’
‘get a year older’
‘deceive, lie, mislead’
‘tell the truth’

(‘attach rope’)
(‘reach [with] words’)
(‘put word(s)’)
(‘put trap’)
(‘smile [with] teeth’)
(‘hold/carry compassion’)
(‘believe wrong’)
(‘do wrong’)
(‘acquire year’)
(‘say deception’)
(‘say truth’)

Chapter 5

Pronouns

5.1 Introduction

In this chapter I discuss pronouns and morphologically related elements. As in English, a pronoun may be
used in place of a full noun phrase when the referent of that noun phrase is known or can be determined
from context. Compare the examples below, where the third person singular inanimate pronoun it`e ‘towards
it/that’ in (5.2) plays the same grammatical role as the full noun phrase kulhe kotoua ‘towards the green
house’ in (5.1). Like full noun phrases, pronouns inflect for case: e.g., it`e in the example below is the allative
case form of the pronoun.

(5.1) Elime

kulhe
green

kotoua
house.all

ita
prg.go.ipv

Elim.nom
‘Elim is going towards the green house’

(5.2) Elime

ita
it`e
prg.go.ipv
3isall
Elim.nom
‘Elim is going towards it/that’

Pronouns in Okuna have both full forms and clitic forms. For example, in the nominative case, the second
person pronoun ‘you’ has the clitic form ku and the full form koi (in the singular). The clitic forms are
normally used when the pronoun identifies the topic of the clause, while the full forms are used elsewhere,
such as when the pronoun is being contrastively focussed. Compare:

(5.3) Ku

ohka
love.ipv

2nom
‘Sakial loves you’

Sakiala
Sakial.all

(5.4) Koi

ohka
love.ipv

Sakiala
Sakial.all

2snom
‘Sakial loves you’ or ‘You’re the one that Sakial loves’

§

5.2 by introducing the featural distinctions marked on pronouns in Okuna, including
I begin the discussion in
person, number, animacy, and inclusive versus exclusive. In
5.3 I present the case declensions for the full
pronouns, and discuss their use as demonstratives. I also discuss the two forms of the dative case, realis
and irrealis, which are distinguished only on pronouns and related elements. Then in
5.4 I turn to
§
5.5 deals with
clitics and clitic clusters, and compare the distribution of clitics with that of full pronouns.
§
situations in which a pronominal argument may be omitted from the clause. Finally, in
5.6 I discuss the
universal quantifiers, equivalent to ‘every’ and ‘all’, which pattern with the full pronouns both in terms of
their distribution and in terms of how they inflect for case.

§

§

74

5.2. THE PERSONAL PRONOUNS

5.2 The personal pronouns

75

§

Pronouns in Okuna encode the person and animacy of their referents. In addition, full pronouns (as opposed
to clitics, see
5.4) make a number distinction between singular and plural. There are a total of nine personal
pronouns, given in the table below. The abbreviations used in this grammar for the personal pronouns are
shown in parentheses after their glosses. Note that, like noun phrases, pronouns inflect for case. Here I list
the nominative pronouns, which may be regarded as the default forms (the full case paradigms are given in
5.3.1 below).

§

1st person (exclusive) man
1st person inclusive
2nd person
3rd person animate
3rd person inanimate

koi
nan
tan

singular

‘I/me’

‘you’
‘he/him, she/her’
‘it, that’

plural

(1s)

(2s)
(3as)
(3is)

sat
‘we/us’
kim ‘we/us’
kut
nin
tin

‘you’
‘they/them’
‘they/them, those’

(13)
(12)
(2p)
(3ap)
(3ip)

Notice that there are two first person plural pronouns: the first person exclusive pronoun sat refers to a
group which includes the speaker but not the addressee, while the first person inclusive pronoun kim picks
out to a group which includes both the speaker and the addressee.

Sat itat
Kim itat

‘We are going’
‘We are going’

(I and others, but not you)
(you and I, and possibly others)

Unlike in English, no gender distinction is made in the third person: nan may be translated by ‘he/him’ or
‘she/her’, according to context. However, Okuna does have separate third person pronouns (both singular and
plural) for animate and inanimate referents. Animacy in Okuna is semantically based rather than lexically
based, meaning that the choice of pronoun is determined straightforwardly by the perceived animacy of
the referent. The third person animate (3a) pronouns are used to refer to people and animals, as well as
spirits and personified objects or forces; while the third person inanimate (3i) pronouns are used for all
other referents, including plants, non-living entities, tools and other artifacts, places, events, and abstract
concepts or ideas.

Some entities can be referenced by either an animate or an inanimate pronoun, depending on the context.
For example, kahu ‘fish’ is treated as animate when referring to a living animal, and as inanimate when
in (5.5) kahu combines with the
referring to an item of food. This is illustrated in the examples below:
animate pronoun nin (used here as a demonstrative, equivalent to ‘those’: see
5.3.2) while in (5.6) it
combines with the inanimate pronoun tin. (Note that humans and animals not considered as food are always
classified as animate, even when the referent is not currently alive.)

§

(5.5) Kahu

nin
3apnom

iante
fish
jump.cv
‘Those fish are jumping out of the water’

ifuiat
prg.emerge:from:water.ipv.pl

(5.6) Kahu

tin
3ipnom

halhkahainna
drying:rack.loc

fish
‘Those fish are hanging on the drying rack’

isunat
prg.hang:res.ipv.pl

The animate-inanimate distinction manifests itself in other ways in Okuna grammar besides the choice of
pronoun. For example, certain quantifiers have separate animate and inanimate forms: e.g., iha nemot ‘all
the women’ versus kotu emot ‘all the houses’. These are discussed in

5.6 below.

In addition, there are certain pairs of stative verbs which express essentially the same meaning, but di↵er
in that one of the verbs usually takes an animate argument while its counterpart requires an inanimate
argument. Some of these are listed below:1

§

1Fiha and liuna can actually be used with either animate or inanimate referents. However, hafa and nakluha are used
exclusively with inanimate referents. Hafa means ‘new’ in the sense of ‘fresh, newly created’, while nakluha means ‘old’ in the
sense of ‘used, worn (out)’.

76

CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

animate

inanimate

fiha
liuna
mila
sailha
titoilha
toilha
uohta

hafa
nakluha
elifa
tima
tikanta
kanta
tima

‘be new, young’
‘be old’
‘be beautiful, handsome’
‘lie, be prone/horizontal’
‘be short’ (opposite of tall)
‘stand, be upright/vertical’
‘sit, be sitting/seated’

Examples:

Iha nan mila
Palahta tan elifa

‘That woman is beautiful’
‘That tree is beautiful’

Iha nan titoilha
Palahta tan tikanta

‘That woman is short’
‘That tree is short’

(5.7) Yhkun`a

tsulna
guest.nom
bed.loc
‘The guest was lying on the bed’

isailhanka
prg.lie:res.ipv.pst

(5.8) Halm`a

tsulna
book.nom
bed.loc
‘The book was lying on the bed’

itimanka
prg.lie.ipv.pst

As mentioned above, pronouns have both full forms and clitic forms. I begin by discussing full pronouns in
5.3 before turning to clitic pronouns in

5.4.

§

§

5.3 Full pronouns

Full pronouns are so called because they tend to be phonologically ‘heavier’ than clitic pronouns. For
example, full pronouns may receive independent stress and are treated as separate prosodic words, rather
than combining into clitic clusters or forming part of a stress group with the following word. Also, full
pronouns have essentially the same distribution as non-pronominal noun phrases, whereas clitics have a
5.4.
much more restricted distribution, as discussed in

In addition to functioning as noun phrase arguments by themselves, full pronouns in the third person
can combine with a preceding noun (and its modifiers, if any) to form a complex noun phrase. Here the
pronoun functions much like a demonstrative determiner, equivalent to English ‘this/that’ or ‘these/those’.
Note that when the pronoun is used as a demonstrative, it must agree in animacy with the noun: nan and
nin are used with nouns denoting human beings, (living) animals, and personified forces; while tan and tin
are used with inanimate and abstract nouns. In addition to marking the animacy of the noun phrase, the
pronoun indicates whether the noun phrase is singular or plural (the noun itself does not inflect for number).

§

moiha nan
moiha nin

‘this/that girl’
‘these/those girls’

kotu tan
kotu tin

‘this/that house’
‘these/those houses’

ike nan
ike nin

‘this/that dog’
‘these/those dogs’

uhin tan
uhin tin

‘this/that song’
‘these/those songs’

The use of pronouns as demonstratives is discussed further in
on full pronouns, which is morphologically quite di↵erent from case inflection on nouns.

5.3.2. First, however, I discuss case inflection

§

5.3. FULL PRONOUNS

77

5.3.1 Case marking on full pronouns

The declensions for the full pronouns are given in the following table (the columns are labeled with the
abbreviations given in the table in
5.2 above). Notice that dative pronouns make a morphological distinction
not found on nouns, between irrealis dative (dat) and realis dative (rdat) forms. This distinction
is discussed in
5.3.3 below. Notice also that the case morphology on pronouns is quite di↵erent from that
found on nouns: the ergative and oblique pronouns all incorporate the prefix i-, while the dative pronouns
include the prefix a- in the irrealis and u- in the realis. In addition, the case endings tend to fuse with the
pronominal root, and many of the endings are di↵erent from those found on nouns.

§

§

1s

nom man
amai
dat
umai
rdat
im`a
erg
iman
loc
im`e
all
im`o
abl
imem
inst
13
nom sat
dat
rdat
erg
loc
all
abl
inst

asat
usat
isat
isena
isane
iseu
isime

2s
koi
akoi
ukoi
ik`o
ikun
ikoi
ikou
ikom
2p
kut
akut
ukut
ikut
ikuna
ikune
ikunu
ikume

12
kim
akime
ukime
ikima
ikimna
ikime
ikimu
ikimme

3is
tan
atai
utai
it`a
itan
it`e
it`o

3as
nan
anai
unai
in`a
inan
in`e
in`o
inem item
3ap
nin
anat
unat
inat
inena
inane
ineu
inime

3ip
tin
atat
utat
itat
itena
itane
iteu
itime

The functions of the di↵erent case forms are the same for pronouns as for nouns (see
4.5 for discussion).
The only significant di↵erence is that pronouns lack a bare (non-case-marked) form. In contexts where a
noun phrase would appear without any case marking (see
4.6), the nominative form of the pronoun is used.
For example, pronouns take the nominative form when the are preposed in the contrastive topic construction
(discussed in

9.2.2). Compare:

4.3–

§

§

§

§
aunme,
if.inst

(5.9) Elim
Elim
‘As for Elim, I’ve never met him’

nami
3anom.1sdat

ntsemi
never

utsokuo
pf.meet.ipv:neg

(5.10) Nan

aunme,
if.inst

3asnom
‘As for him, I’ve never met him’ or ‘As for that one…’

nami
3anom.1sdat

ntsemi
never

utsokuo
pf.meet.ipv:neg

5.4.2 below, where their distribution is compared with that of clitic pronouns.
For more on full pronouns, see
In the following section, I discuss the use of full pronouns as demonstrative-like elements, and introduce the
related issue of spatial deixis (i.e., the expression of spatial relations with reference to the discourse context).

§

5.3.2 Demonstrative constructions and spatial deixis

As mentioned above, full pronouns can combine with a preceding noun (and its modifiers) to form a noun
phrase. When used in this way, the pronouns are roughly equivalent to the English demonstratives ‘this/that’
and ‘these/those’. I will thus refer to them as demonstratives when they carry this function, and gloss

78

CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

them using English demonstratives in the example sentences, even though they are formally indistinguishable
from full pronouns used without a preceding noun.

The demonstrative comes at the right edge of the noun phrase, following the noun itself as well as any
postnominal dependents (e.g., quantifiers such as ehte ‘three’). As shown below, the demonstrative agrees
with the noun in animacy, and expresses the number (singular versus plural) of the noun phrase as a whole.
Notice that the noun itself is not marked for number.

nan
tan

nin
tin

‘she/he; this/that one’
‘it; this/that one’

mikal nan
naka tan

‘this/that boy’
‘this/that rock’

‘they; these/those’
‘they; these/those’

mikal ehte nin
naka ehte tin

‘these/those three boys’
‘these/those three rocks’

Although third person pronouns are the ones most commonly used as demonstratives, first and second person
pronouns also combine with a preceding noun or quantifier in certain cases:

lhati kut
‘you children’
ispaka kim ‘we students’
ehte kim

‘we three, the three of us’

Because it comes at the end of the noun phrase, the demonstrative carries the case marking for the noun
phrase as a whole, while the preceding noun occurs in the unmarked form—e.g., ‘this/that dog’ is ike nan in
the nominative, ike anai in the irrealis dative, ike inem in the instrumental, and so on, with the form of the
noun being invariant. The following examples show ‘that dog’ and ‘those dogs’ in the ergative and allative
case roles, respectively:

(5.11) No

ike
dog

in`a
that:erg

ehenna
twice

3ardat
‘He’s been bitten twice by that dog’

ukilhta
pf.bite

(5.12) Ma

ike
dog

inane
those:all

1serg
‘I’m looking for those dogs’

ikpiha
prg.look:for.ipv

Noun phrases containing demonstratives may be used anaphorically, to refer back to a referent introduced
earlier in the discourse. For instance, ike nan may mean ‘that dog’ in sense of ‘the dog which we were just
talking about’. Noun phrases with demonstratives can also be used presentationally, to identify or call
attention to a particular entity. When used presentationally, the noun phrase normally occurs adjacent to
the verb, with contrastive stress on the demonstrative, and may be preceded by the identificational focus
particle te:

(5.13) Ma

1serg

te
foc

itan
that:loc

tsuhpa
live.ipv

‘That’s where I live’ (lit. ‘I live in that’)

(5.14) Ma

1serg

te
foc

kotu
house

itan
that:loc

tsuhpa
live.ipv

‘That’s the house that I live in’ (lit. ‘I live in that house’)

Finally, noun phrases containing a demonstrative can have deictic force. That is, a demonstrative can be
used when the noun phrase picks out a referent which had not been previously mentioned in the discourse,
but which is identifiable to the speaker and hearer based on the context in which the sentence is uttered.
The following sentence, for example, might be used when pointing to a flock of birds flying overhead, in a
situation where the birds had not been discussed earlier:

5.3. FULL PRONOUNS

79

nin
(5.15) Pila
bird
those:nom
‘Look at those birds!’

ksonaua
look:at.ipv.npl

na!
imp

Unlike their English counterparts, demonstratives in Okuna do not distinguish relative distance from the
speaker. For instance, palahta tin can be translated either ‘these trees’ or ‘those trees’, depending on context.
If one wishes to specify relative distance, one of three spatial deictic particles, tsi, ke, or olh, may be added
to the noun phrase containing the demonstrative:

1. The proximal particle tsi (glossed prox in the examples) is used for objects which are perceived to be

close to the speaker, but not the addressee.

2. The medial particle ke (med) is used for objects perceived to be close to the addressee but not the

speaker, and for objects which are in the immediate domain of both speaker and addressee.

3. The distal particle olh (dist) is used for objects which are distant from both speaker and addressee.

The proximal, medial, and distal particles combine with a demonstrative, and can be used whether the
demonstrative appears by itself or is part of a larger noun phrase:

tsi nan
ke nan
olh nan

‘this one’
‘this/that one’
‘that one (over there)’

(near me but not you)
(near us, or near you)
(not near us)

tsi palahta tin
ke palahta tin
olh palahta tin

‘these trees (over here)’
‘these/those trees’
‘those trees (over there)’

(near me but not you)
(near us, or near you)
(not near us)

These particles can also combine with other demonstrative elements capable of being used deictically, such
as tlante ‘this/that many’ and tlotsaka ‘this/that kind (of)’, discussed in
6.7.2—e.g., tsi halma tlante ‘this
many books’ (pointing to a stack of books close to the speaker); olh tlotsaka kotu ‘that kind of house’
(pointing to a house far from speaker and addressee). In addition, the deictic particles can combine with
the universal quantifiers discussed in
5.6, which are mutually exclusive with the demonstratives—e.g., ke
halma emot ‘all these books’, olh halma emot ‘all those books’; ke pyi nket ‘each of these children’, olh pyi
nket ‘each of those children’.

§

§

As the examples above illustrate, the deictic particle comes before the demonstrative and the preceding
noun, if any. More precisely, the particle precedes the noun and any simple non-case-marked modifiers (such
as luhme ‘old one’), and follows oblique case-marked modifiers and relative clauses:

(5.16) tenena

olh
dist

kotu
house
hill.loc
‘in that old house on the hill’

luhme
old

itan
that:loc

(5.17) isat

pyimitme
children.inst

tsuhpaninen
live.epl.cnzr

13erg
‘in this house where we live with our children’

ke
med

kotu
house

itan
that:loc

Although the primary function of the deictic particles is to locate an object in space relative to the speaker
and hearer, they can also be used metaphorically to identify points in the discourse. For instance, the distal
particle is occasionally used when referring back to something mentioned earlier in the discourse: e.g., olh
ike nan ‘that dog’ (like ike nan, with no deictic particle) can refer to a previously-mentioned dog, as well as
to a dog visible in the distance at the moment of speaking. Likewise, the proximal particle can be used when
introducing a new entity or topic of discussion (cf. ‘this’ or ‘the following’ in English), and the medial particle
can be used to refer to something just mentioned by the addressee, or to a current topic of discussion:

80

CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

(5.18) Mo

1srdat

tsi
prox

sliahte
story

tan
this:nom

laisne
just

olyi
hear.pv

‘I just heard this story/the following story’ or ‘Here’s a story I just heard’

(5.19) Ke

med

nesap
question

tan
that:nom

soniokti
answer.dep:sbj

teusu
very

koluma
dicult.ipv

‘That question (of yours) is very dicult to answer’
or ‘That’s a very dicult question to answer’ (e.g., in response to a question just asked)

This three-way spatial distinction is also found with other elements. For instance, Okuna has three spatial
deictic adverbials which are clearly related to the particles discussed above: proximal etsi ‘here, over here’
(near me), medial eka ‘here/there’ (near you/us), and distal euolh ‘there, over there, yonder’ (not near us).
These adverbials pattern morphologically as nouns, inflecting for case (somewhat irregularly in the case of
etsi and eka):

nom etsi
etsei
dat
etsin
loc
etseia
all
etseu
abl
etsim ekam euolhme
inst

euolh
euoilh
euolhna
euolha
euolhu

eka
ekai
ekan
ekaua
ekau

Spatial deictic adverbials occur most often in one of the four oblique cases. They have no ergative forms,
and the dative forms are rarely used (see below). The nominative forms are only used in combination with
a relational noun, which carries the dative or oblique case ending (see
6.5): e.g., eka himna ‘in here’, euolh
ihfona ‘back/behind there’, eka ka euolh kufuna ‘between here and there’. Examples of sentences with deictic
adverbials:

§

(5.20) Ma

ekan
here:loc

1serg
‘I used to live here’

tsuhpanka
live.ipv:pst

(5.21) Ne

euolhu
over:there.abl

3anom
‘They came from over there’

etskanyit
arrive.pv.pl

(5.22) Kotu
house
‘The houses all face this way’

etseia
here.all

emot
all:nom

kumutat
face.pv.pl

When inflected for ablative case, the deictic adverbials may indicate a location which lies at a specified
distance from some other location relative to the speaker and/or addressee. In this function they are always
accompanied by a measure phrase in the instrumental case, indicating the degree of distance:

(5.23) Sa

l`o
day

puniakatsme
13erg
journey.inst
‘We live a day’s journey from here’

ehtsan
one

ekau
here.abl

tsuhpat
live.ipv.pl

In addition to the deictic adverbials, Okuna also has four sets of deictic verbs expressing motion and position,
listed below. Like the adverbials, these verbs are derived from the deictic particles, and express the same
three-way spatial distinction. (Note that ts`a and k`a have irregular conjugations, given in
7.4.1 for main
clauses,

10.2 for dependent clauses, and

10.3 for participial clauses.)

§

§

§

5.3. FULL PRONOUNS

81

ts`a
k`a
euolha

tsita
keta
euolhta

tseuta
kauta
olhuta

‘be over here; here is…’ [near me]
‘be (t)here; (t)here is…’ [near you/us]
‘be over there; there is…’ [away from us]

‘come over here (to where I am)’
‘come here (to where we are); go there (to where you are)’
‘go over there (away from us), go away’

‘go away from here/me’
‘go away from here/us, go away from there/you’
‘go/come away from over there (not near us)’

tsimpa
kampa
olhempa

‘go this way, pass by here’ [near me]
‘go this/that way, pass by (t)here’ [near you/us]
‘go that way, pass by there’ [away from us]

The verbs in the first set belong to Class I (cf.
4.4.1). They may be used either to specify the location of some
already-mentioned entity, or to introduce a new entity into the discourse in a presentational construction. In
the former function they take a noun phrase argument in the nominative, while in the latter function they
combine with an unmarked noun phrase:

§

(5.24) Tiesate

euolha
be:there.ipv
town.nom
‘The town is over there’

(5.25) Kietam
picture

its`a
prg.be:here.ipv

‘Here/this is a picture’

(5.26) Halma

sepyi
some

ik`a
prg.be:here.ipv

book
‘Here are some books’ or ‘There are some books here’

The remaining verbs all belong to Class III (see
4.4.3). The verbs in the second set convey motion ter-
minating at a deictically determined point, and are used much more frequently to express this notion than
a deictic adverbial in the dative. Often the deictic motion verbs are modified by a converb expressing the
manner of motion (see

11.4.3 for discussion):

10.4 and

§

§

§

(5.27) Ne

ketyit
come:here.pv.pl

3anom
‘They came here’

(5.28) Ne

3anom

tupe
walk.cv

ketyit
come:here.pv.pl

‘They walked here’ (lit. ‘They came here by walking’)

(5.29) Na

3aerg

halm`a
book.nom

laste
send.cv

ketyiat
come:here.pv.npl.pl

‘They sent the books here’ (lit. ‘made the books come here by sending’)

(5.30) Ne

3anom

kiompe
run.cv

olhempyit
go:that:way.pv.pl

‘They ran that way’ (lit. ‘They went via there by running’)

82

CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

5.3.3 Realis versus irrealis dative

When a pronoun is marked for dative case, it may appear in one of two forms, called the realis dative and
irrealis dative. For instance, the first person singular dative pronoun is amai in the irrealis and umai in
the realis, as illustrated below. Throughout this grammar, the realis dative forms are glossed rdat in the
examples, while the irrealis dative forms are glossed simply dat (the latter abbreviation is also used for the
dative case ending on nouns, which fail to make a realis/irrealis distinction).

(5.31) Ku

amai
1sdat

kila
see.ipv

2nom
‘I (will) see you’

(5.32) Ku

umai
1srdat

kilyi
see.pv

2nom
‘I saw you’

§

Both full and clitic pronouns make a distinction between realis and irrealis dative, as do other elements which
pattern morphologically with pronouns. In this section, I will illustrate the distinction using full pronouns
functioning as demonstratives (cf.

5.3.2).

§

As discussed in

4.3.2, dative case marks the delimiter of a telic event—that is, the noun phrase which
identifies the goal of a motion event, or the patient of a change-of-state event when that patient ‘measures
out’ the progress towards the endpoint of the event. When the delimiter is a pronoun, the realis dative is
used when the event is viewed as complete(d), meaning that the endpoint is fully realized or attained at the
point in time when the sentence is uttered. When the event is not viewed as complete(d), the irrealis dative
is used. If the delimiter denotes a patient, using the realis dative indicates that that patient is viewed as
having been completely a↵ected by the action. If the delimiter denotes a goal or measurement, using the
realis dative indicates that the goal/measurement is viewed as having been reached.

7.3–

The choice between realis and irrealis dative marking is sensitive to the aspect and polarity of the clause
(see
7.5). For instance, a dative pronoun will always appear in the irrealis form when the verb is in
the imperfect or progressive aspect (regardless of tense), or in the conditional mood. The following examples
illustrate this:

§

§

atai
(5.33) Nilu
net
that:dat
‘Fix that net!’

toka
fix.ipv

na
imp

(5.34) Ma

nilu
1serg
net
‘I (will) fix that net’

atai
that:dat

(5.35) Ma

nilu
1serg
net
‘I am fixing that net’

atai
that:dat

toka
fix.ipv

itoka
prg.fix.ipv

(5.36) Ma

atai
nilu
1serg
that:dat
net
‘I was fixing that net’

itokanka
prg.fix.ipv:pst

(5.37) Ma

nilu
1serg
net
‘I would fix that net’

atai
that:dat

tokike
fix.cond

Note also the examples below, where the verb takes one of the modal suxes (see
is again in the irrealis dative:

§

7.7.1) and the delimiter

5.3. FULL PRONOUNS

nilu
(5.38) Iman
1sloc
net
‘I can fix that net’

atai
that:dat

tokyipa
fix.able.ipv

83

(5.39) Iman
1sloc
‘I intended to fix that net’

atai
that:dat

nilu
net

tokihpanka
fix.intend.ipv:pst

On the other hand, when the verb appears in the perfect (indicative) aspect, or the perfective aspect, the
realis dative form is generally required. In the examples below, realis dative utai is used in place of irrealis
dative atai :

(5.40) Ma

nilu
net

utai
that:rdat

1serg
‘I have fixed that net’

(5.41) Ma

nilu
net

utai
that:rdat

1serg
‘I fixed that net’

utoka
pf.fix.ipv

tokyi
fix.pv

Although this is the basic pattern, there are certain conditions under which a dative pronoun will take the
irrealis form even when the verb is in the perfect or perfective aspect. For example, the irrealis dative is
required when the verb takes the incompletive sux -ilm (
7.5.3),
§
regardless of the aspect of the verb. This is because incompletive and telic inchoative verbs focus attention
on the beginning point of the event, and a clause containing such a verb does not entail that the delimiter
is completely a↵ected.

7.5.5) or the telic inchoative sux -(e)t (
§

(5.42) Ma

nilu
net

atai
that:dat

tokilmyi
fix.icpl.pv

1serg
‘I attempted to fix that net’ or ‘I set out to fix that net’

(5.43) Ma

nilu
net

atai
that:dat

toktyi
fix.tinc.pv

1serg
‘I started fixing that net’

In addition, the irrealis form is usually required if the clause is negated—again, regardless of the aspect of
the verb. The one exception to this is when the negative marker ntse takes narrow scope over a contrastively
focused constituent and the dative pronoun is outside that scopal domain (see
7.3 on scope of negation).
Consider the examples below. The sentence in (5.44), with ordinary sentential negation, entails that the nets
did not get repaired—i.e., the endpoint of the event was not reached—and so nilu ‘net’ combines with the
irrealis dative pronoun even though the verb is in the perfective. The same applies to (5.45), where negation
takes narrow scope over the noun phrase containing the dative pronoun. Compare these with (5.46). In
this example, negation scopes over the ergative noun phrase: the sentence entails that the nets were indeed
repaired, just not by the women. Here it is understood that the endpoint of the event has been reached, and
so a realis dative pronoun is used.

§

(5.44) Ihama

nilu
net

atat
those:dat

ntokoumat
neg.fix.pv:neg.dpl.pl

woman.erg
‘The women didn’t fix those nets’

(5.45) Ihama

woman.erg

ntse
neg

nilu
net

atat
those:dat

tokoumat
fix.pv:neg.dpl.pl

‘It isn’t those nets that the women fixed (but something else)’

84

CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

ihama
(5.46) Nilu
net
woman.erg
‘It wasn’t (the) women who fixed those nets (but someone else)’

tokounit
fix.pv:neg.epl.pl

utat
those:rdat

ntse
neg

Moreover, there are many Class III change-of-state verbs for which realis and irrealis dative can both occur in
perfect and perfective clauses, depending on whether or not the patient is viewed as having been completely
a↵ected by the action. Consider the sentences below, where the verb kiospa ‘burn’ occurs in the perfective.
When the verb is used in the sense of ‘burn up’, the patient ‘that cloth’ appears in the realis dative, since
the burning event necessarily ends once the cloth has been completely consumed. On the other hand, when
kiospa is used in the sense of ‘make/receive a burn’, ‘that cloth’ appears in the irrealis dative: here the cloth
is merely damaged by the fire, not destroyed by it.

(5.47) Mul
utai
that:rdat
cloth
‘That cloth burned up’

kiospyi
burn.pv

kiospyi
(5.48) Mul
burn.pv
cloth
‘That cloth (got) burned’

atai
that:dat

Similarly, there are two ways to express ‘The girl read that book’, depending on the aspectual interpretation
of the clause. The patient ‘that book’ appears in the realis dative if the girl read the book through from
beginning to end, such that the reading event culminated once the book had been completely ‘consumed’.
By contrast, ‘that book’ appears in the irrealis dative if the girl merely read a portion of the book, with no
intention of finishing it.

(5.49) Moihama

halma
book

utai
that:rdat

talyi
read.pv

girl.erg
‘The girl read that book (through)’

(5.50) Moihama

halma
book

atai
that:dat

talyi
read.pv

girl.erg
‘The girl read (some of) that book’

Outside of main clauses, irrealis dative marking occurs in subjunctive dependent and participial clauses
10.3.2), embedded yes/no questions
(
§
(
10.2.4). Irrealis dative is required even when the subjunctive verb
§
is marked for perfect aspect.

10.2,
9.3.2), and restructuring complements (
§

10.3). These include counterfactual conditionals (
§

10.2.3,

§

§

(5.51) Itiuha

prg.necessary.ipv
‘It is necessary for Sakial to fix that net’

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

nilu
net

atai
that:dat

tok`e
fix.dep:sbj.nom

(5.52) Sakialma

Sakial.nom
‘If Sakial had fixed that net, we would have been able to go fishing’

atai
that:dat

utokai,
pf.fix.pt:sbj

kima
12erg

ukahuniyipikit
pf.fish.able.cond.pl

nilu
net

(5.53) Ma

untsapa
wonder.ipv

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

nilu
net

1serg
‘I wonder if Sakial has fixed that net yet’

atai
that:dat

uta
already

utoki
pf.fix.dep:sbj

aun
if

(5.54) Sakiala

atai
nilu
that:dat
net
Sakial.all
‘Sakial should fix that net’

toki
fix.dep:sbj

lehua
should.ipv

5.4. CLITIC PRONOUNS

85

(5.55) Sakialma

nilu
net

atai
that:dat

kas
by:now

utoki
pf.fix.dep:sbj

toupa
must.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial must have fixed that net by now’

In order for realis
Realis dative, by contrast, may occur in indicative dependent and participial clauses.
dative to be possible here, the event denoted by the nominalized clause must have already been completed,
with the endpoint having been reached during, or prior to, the time frame established by the main clause.
Examples are given below:

nilu
(5.56) Iman
1sloc
net
‘I know that Sakial fixed that net’

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

iona
know.ipv

utai
that:rdat

utok`a
pf.fix.dep.nom

(5.57) Mo

1srdat

kilyi
see.pv

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

nilu
net

utai
that:rdat

utok`a
pf.fix.dep.nom

‘I saw that Sakial (had) fixed that net’

(5.58) Mo

kilyi
1srdat
see.pv
‘I saw Sakial fix that net’

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

nilu
net

utai
that:rdat

tok`a
fix.dep.nom

Note that in (5.58), the speaker must have witnessed the entire fixing event from beginning to end. To
express a situation where the speaker saw some subpart of the fixing event, not necessarily including the
endpoint, the dependent verb takes progressive aspect inflection, with ‘that net’ in the irrealis dative (Mo
kilyi Sakialma nilu atai itok`a ‘I saw Sakial fixing that net’).

5.4 Clitic pronouns

Nominative, irrealis dative, realis dative, and ergative pronouns each have two distinct forms, a full form
and a clitic form. The clitic forms are so called because they occupy a fixed position in the clause, and
are phonologically ‘lighter’ than their full counterparts (for instance, monosyllabic clitics lack inherent stress
and generally form a prosodic unit with the following word). The clitic forms are listed in the table below:

nom dat

mi
si

1s me
se
13
kim kime
12
ku
2
ne
3a
hi
3i

kue
ni
ti

rdat
mo
so
kimo
kuo
no
to

erg
ma
sa
kima
ko
na
ta

As this table shows, clitics, unlike full pronouns, do not make a number distinction, but only a person
distinction. The third person animate nominative clitic ne, for example, is used regardless of whether the
referent is singular (‘he/she’) or plural (‘they’). To determine if ne has a singular or plural referent, one
must look at the form of the verb: when ne has a plural referent, the verb carries the appropriate plural
agreement sux, and when ne has a singular referent, the plural agreement sux is absent. Likewise for
7.2 for more on plural agreement.2
the second person clitic ku and the third person inanimate clitic hi. See

§

2Notice that in the first person there are separate singular, exclusive, and inclusive clitics. Here the presence or absence
of plural agreement on the verb redundantly marks the number of the first person referent. However, I regard the distinction
between these clitics as being fundamentally one of person rather than number: the first person exclusive is basically a combi-
nation of first and third person (speaker plus others), while the first person inclusive is a combination of first and second person
(speaker plus addressee, and possibly others).

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CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

The following paradigms illustrate the clitic pronouns. The first paradigm shows the nominative clitics in
combination with the verb toha ‘be big’, while the second paradigm shows the ergative clitics in combination
with the verb muelha ‘sleep’:

me toha

‘I am big’

ku toha
ne toha
hi toha

‘you (sg) are big’
‘s/he is big’
‘it is big’

se tohat
kim tohat
ku tohat
ne tohat
hi tohat

‘we are big’ [exclusive]
‘we are big’ [inclusive]
‘you (pl) are big’
‘they are big’ [animate]
‘they are big’ [inanimate]

ma muelha

‘I sleep’

ko muelha
na muelha
ta muelha

‘you sleep’
‘s/he sleeps’
‘it sleeps’

sa muelhat
kima muelhat
ko muelhat
na muelhat
ta muelhat

‘we sleep’ [exclusive]
‘we sleep’ [inclusive]
‘you (pl) sleep’
‘they sleep’ [animate]
‘they sleep’ [inanimate]

The clitic form is typically used when the pronoun functions as the topic of a clause. Clitic pronouns occur
9.2.2
in a fixed position, at the left edge of the clausal nucleus, following any preposed constituents (see
for discussion). In the first example below, the first person singular realis dative clitic mo is sentence-initial.
In the second example, a preposed temporal adverbial, elohka ‘yesterday’, precedes the clitic.

§

(5.59) Mo

Sakialma
Sakial.erg
1srdat
‘Sakial showed me the picture’

kietame
picture.nom

tafyi
show.pv

(5.60) Elohka

mo
1srdat

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

kietame
picture.nom

tafyi
show.pv

yesterday
‘Yesterday, Sakial showed me the picture’

For certain pronoun combinations, a clause may contain two clitics, which merge to form a single phonological
unit called a clitic cluster. Clitic clusters occur in the same position as single clitics, at the left edge of
the clausal nucleus. In the example below, the third person animate ergative clitic combines with the first
person singular realis dative clitic. Notice that the ergative clitic takes a di↵erent form when it occurs as
the first element in a cluster: in- instead of na. The full set of clitic clusters is given in

5.4.1.

§

(5.61) Inmo

3aerg.1srdat

kietame
picture.nom

tafyi
show.pv

‘He showed me the picture’ (lit. ‘he+me picture showed’)

Within the clausal nucleus, full noun phrases and other dependents always occur in between the clitic (cluster)
and the verb. Hence, when a verb takes two arguments, one of which is a clitic and the other a non-clitic,
the clitic will always precede the non-clitic, regardless of the semantic roles they play in the clause. Compare
the examples below:

(5.62) Ma

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

kahtyi
hit.pv

1serg
‘I hit Sakial’

(5.63) Mo

1srdat

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

kahtyi
hit.pv

‘Sakial hit me’ (or ‘I was hit by Sakial’)

In these sentences, the order of the clitic and the non-clitic arguments is fixed. To determine who hit whom,
one must look at the case marking. In (5.62), the clitic denotes the agent and takes the ergative form, while

5.4. CLITIC PRONOUNS

87

the non-clitic denotes the patient and appears in the dative. In (5.63) the semantic roles are reversed, and
so the realis dative clitic is used while the non-clitic appears in the ergative.

Since pronouns tend to be highly topical, and since topic pronouns generally take the form of clitics, it is
usual for pronominal arguments to precede full noun phrases. Within a clause, a pronoun can follow a noun
phrase only if the pronoun is a non-topic, typically a contrastively focussed element. In that case, however,
the full form of the pronoun must be used rather than the clitic form (e.g., ergative im`a instead of ma, and
realis dative umai instead of mo):

(5.64) Sakiail

kahtyi
Sakial.dat
hit.pv
‘I’m the one who hit Sakial’

im`a
1serg

(5.65) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

umai
1srdat

kahtyi
hit.pv

‘Sakial hit me’ (not somebody else)

A clitic pronoun may follow a full noun phrase only if the latter is preposed out of the clausal nucleus
9.2.2). But in that case the noun phrase itself will generally be
and functions as a contrastive topic (see
coindexed by a resumptive clitic, with the two clitics forming a cluster. Compare the following sentences:
In (5.66) the subject Sakial is inside the clausal nucleus (and takes the ergative case ending -ma), and so
it must follow the first person clitic.
In (5.67) Sakial (unmarked for case) is a preposed topic, and thus
precedes the first person clitic. But in the latter case, Sakial licenses the resumptive clitic in-, which forms
a cluster with the first person clitic.

§

(5.66) Mo

1srdat

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

kahtyi
hit.pv

‘Sakial hit me’ (or ‘I was hit by Sakial’)

(5.67) Sakial
Sakial
‘As for Sakial, he hit me’

aunme,
if.inst

inmo
3aerg.1srdat

kahtyi
hit.pv

Note finally that, besides marking topicalized arguments of clauses, realis dative clitics can occur within a
noun phrase to mark the possessor relation. Examples are given below. A pronominal possessor can take the
6.6 for more discussion).
form of a realis dative clitic only in cases of body part and kinship possession (see

§

mo temie
so temie
kimo temie
kuo temie
no temie

‘my hands’
‘our hands’
‘our hands’
‘your hands’
‘his/her/their hands’

mo ahte
so ahte
kimo ahte
kuo ahte
no ahte

‘my father’
‘our father(s)’
‘our father(s)’
‘your father(s)’
‘his/her father, their father(s)’

5.4.1 Clitic clusters

Certain combinations of pronominal arguments can take the form of a pair of clitics, which combine together
into a single phonological word called a clitic cluster. Like single clitics, clitic clusters always occur at the left
edge of the clausal nucleus, preceding all elements in the sentence except preposed constituents. Examples
of clitic clusters are given in the sentences below. As these examples show, the first clitic has a distinct form
when it occurs in a cluster. For instance, the third person inanimate nominative clitic is hi in isolation but
i- in clusters: e.g., ima and ikue in the examples below. (In certain cases the second clitic also changes its
form; for instance, the first person inclusive dative clitic kime takes the form -kme when combined with i-.)

88

CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

(5.68) Ima

3inom.1serg

ikpa
prg.carry.ipv

‘I’m carrying it’ (lit. ‘it+I am.carrying’)

(5.69) Use

3irdat.13nom

elohka
yesterday

etyia
go.pv.npl

‘We went there yesterday’ or ‘We went to it yesterday’ (lit. ‘to.it+we yesterday went’)

(5.70) Ikue

3inom.2sdat

totsat
table

lulna
under.loc

tlelha
find.ipv

‘You’ll find it under the table’ (lit. ‘it+you table under find’)

(5.71) Inkimo

3aerg.12rdat

halm`a
book.nom

uktiyimat
give.pv.dpl.pl

‘They gave us the book(s)’ (lit. ‘they+us book gave’)

Only a subset of logically possible pronoun combinations can be expressed as a clitic cluster. Clusters are
subject to the following constraints: (1) at most two clitics may combine to form a cluster; (2) the first clitic
in the cluster must express a third person argument; and (3) the second clitic in the cluster must express a
first or second person argument. Hence, only the person/animacy combinations listed below are permissible
in clitic clusters. In all other cases where a clause contains two or more pronominal arguments, at most one
of those arguments may take the form of a clitic while the remaining pronouns must be in their full forms
(see below for examples and discussion).

3a+1s
3a+13
3a+12
3a+2

3i+1s
3i+13
3i+12
3i+2

The following table gives the full inventory of clitic clusters. These are grouped into columns according to
the person/animacy of the clitics, and into rows according to their respective case roles (e.g., the cluster
nami consists of the third person animate nominative clitic combined with the first person singular dative
clitic, and thus appears in the column marked ‘3a+1s’ and the row marked ‘nom-dat’).

3a+1s
nami
nom-dat
namo
nom-rdat
nima
nom-erg
anme
dat-nom
dat-erg
anma
rdat-nom unme
unma
rdat-erg
inme
erg-nom
inmi
erg-dat
inmo
erg-rdat

3a+13
ntsi
ntso
ntsa
antse
antsa
untse
untsa
intse
intsi
intso

3a+12
nkime
nkimo
nkima
ankim
ankima
unkim
unkima
inkim
inkime
inkimo

3a+2
nkue
nkuo
nko
anu
ano
unu
uno
inu
inue
inuo

3i+1s
imi
imo
ima
ame
ama
ume
uma
eme
emi
emo

3i+13
isi
iso
isa
ase
asa
use
usa
ese
esi
eso

3i+12
ikme
ikmo
ikma
akme
akma
ukme
ukma
ekme
ekme
ekmo

3i+2
ikue
ikuo
iko
aku
ako
uku
uko
eku
ekue
ekuo

By way of illustration, the clusters from the nom-dat and dat-nom series are shown in the following
paradigm, in combination with the Class III verb kila ‘see’, in the imperfective. Here the nominative clitic
denotes the theme of the event, while the dative clitic denotes the experiencer. Recall that plurality is
marked by axes on the verb (see
7.2 for discussion): when the first clitic in the cluster denotes a plural
referent, the sux -t is added to the verb; when the second clitic denotes a dative plural referent, the sux
-ma is added; and when the second clitic denotes a nominative plural referent, the sux -ua is added.

§

5.4. CLITIC PRONOUNS

89

nami kila
ntsi kilama
nkime kilama
nkue kila
nkue kilama

‘I see him/her’
‘we (excl) see him/her’
‘we (incl) see him/her’
‘you (sg) see him/her’
‘you (pl) see him/her’

nami kilat
ntsi kilamat
nkime kilamat
nkue kilat
nkue kilamat

‘I see them’
‘we (excl) see them’
‘we (incl) see them’
‘you (sg) see them’
‘you (pl) see them’

imi kila
isi kilama
ikme kilama

‘I see it’
‘we (excl) see it’
‘we (incl) see it’

imi kilat
isi kilamat
ikme kilamat

‘I see them’
‘we (excl) see them’
‘we (incl) see them’

ikue kila
ikue kilama

‘you (sg) see it’
‘you (pl) see it’

ikue kilat
ikue kilamat

‘you (sg) see them’
‘you (pl) see them’

anme kila
antse kilaua
ankim kilaua
anu kila
anu kilaua

ame kila
ase kilaua
akme kilaua
aku kila
aku kilaua

‘s/he sees me’
‘s/he sees us (excl)’
‘s/he sees us (incl)’
‘s/he sees you (sg)’
‘s/he sees you (pl)’

‘it sees me’
‘it sees us (excl)’
‘it sees us (incl)’
‘it sees you (sg)’
‘it sees you (pl)’

anme kilat
antse kilauat
ankim kilauat
anu kilat
anu kilauat

ame kilat
ase kilauat
akme kilauat
aku kilat
aku kilauat

‘they see me’
‘they see us (excl)’
‘they see us (incl)’
‘they see you (sg)’
‘they see you (pl)’

‘they see me’
‘they see us (excl)’
‘they see us (incl)’
‘they see you (sg)’
‘they see you (pl)’

As further illustration, the clusters from the erg-rdat and rdat-erg series are given below in combination
with the Class III verb kahta ‘hit’ (in the perfective aspect). When a erg-rdat cluster is used, the first
clitic represents the actor while the second clitic represents the patient; and when a rdat-erg cluster is
used, the first clitic represents the patient and the second clitic represents the actor. As above, plurality is
marked on the verb: when the first clitic denotes a plural referent, the sux -t is added; when the second
clitic denotes a plural referent, the sux -ma is added if the second clitic is dative, while -ne/-ni is added
if the second clitic is ergative.

inmo kahtyi
intso kahtyima
inkimo kahtyima
inuo kahtyi
inuo kahtyima

‘s/he hit me’
‘s/he hit us (excl)’
‘s/he hit us (incl)’
‘s/he hit you (sg)’
‘s/he hit you (pl)’

emo kahtyi
eso kahtyima
ekmo kahtyima
ekuo kahtyi
ekuo kahtyima

‘it hit me’
‘it hit us (excl)’
‘it hit us (incl)’
‘it hit you (sg)’
‘it hit you (pl)’

inmo kahtyit
intso kahtyimat
inkimo kahtyimat
inuo kahtyit
inuo kahtyimat

emo kahtyit
eso kahtyimat
ekmo kahtyimat
ekuo kahtyit
ekuo kahtyimat

unma kahtyi
untsa kahtyine
unkima kahtyine
uno kahtyi
uno kahtyine

‘I hit him/her’
‘we (excl) hit him/her’
‘we (incl) hit him/her’
‘you (sg) hit him/her’
‘you (pl) hit him/her’

unma kahtyit
untsa kahtyinit
unkima kahtyinit
uno kahtyit
uno kahtyinit

uma kahtyi
usa kahtyine
ukma kahtyine

‘I hit it’
‘we (excl) hit it’
‘we (incl) hit it’

uma kahtyit
use kahtyinit
ukma kahtyinit

‘they hit me’
‘they hit us (excl)’
‘they hit us (incl)’
‘they hit you (sg)’
‘they hit you (pl)’

‘they hit me’
‘they hit us (excl)’
‘they hit us (incl)’
‘they hit you (sg)’
‘they hit you (pl)’

‘I hit them’
‘we (excl) hit them’
‘we (incl) hit them’
‘you (sg) hit them’
‘you (pl) hit them’

‘I hit them’
‘we (excl) hit them’
‘we (incl) hit them’

90

CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

uko kahtyi
uko kahtyine

‘you (sg) hit it’
‘you (pl) hit it’

uko kahtyit
uko kahtyinit

‘you (sg) hit them’
‘you (pl) hit them’

What about pronoun combinations for which there is no clitic cluster? To begin with, certain clusters are
ruled out simply because the relevant pronouns are prohibited from co-occurring as arguments of the same
verb. For example, a verb cannot take two pronominal arguments if they are both first person, or both
second person (‘I hit me’, ‘I hit us’, ‘you hit you’, etc.). Moreover, a first person inclusive argument may
not co-occur with a second person argument (‘you hit us [including you]’). Instead, these meanings must be
expressed in other ways. To express reflexive relations, for example, a single pronoun is used in combination
9.4.3):
with the reflexive nominal element tsan ‘self’ (see

§

ma tsan kahtyi
ko tsan kahtyi
na tsan kahtyi

‘I hit myself’
‘you hit yourself’
‘s/he hit him/herself’

sa tsan kahtyit
ko tsan kahtyit
na tsan kahtyit

‘we hit ourselves’
‘you hit yourselves’
‘they hit themselves’

In other cases where no clitic cluster exists, the relevant pronoun combination may be expressed, but only
by using full pronouns instead of (or in combination with) clitic pronouns. For example, consider the verb
tiyisa ‘pick up’, which selects an actor argument and a theme argument. ‘I picked it up’ may be expressed
using a clitic cluster, because one of the verb’s arguments is first person while the other is third person.
This is shown in (5.72) below, where the cluster ima consists of the 3inom clitic i- (hi outside of clusters)
combined with the 1serg clitic ma. However, a clitic cluster may be used to express ‘I picked it up’ only if
the third person argument ‘it’ is the topic of the clause. If instead the first person argument is the topic,
then the third person argument must take the form of a full pronoun, as in (5.73).

(5.72) Ima

3inom.1serg

tiyisyi
pick:up.pv

‘I picked it up’ (or ‘It was picked up by me’)

(5.73) Ma

1serg

tan
3isnom

tiyisyi
pick:up.pv

‘I picked it/that up’

If we wish to express ‘she picked it up’, we cannot use a clitic cluster at all, regardless of which argument
is the topic, since in this case the actor and theme are both third person. In order to convey this meaning,
either the theme (‘it’) or the actor (‘she’) must take the form a full pronoun:

(5.74) Na

3aerg

tan
3isnom

tiyisyi
pick:up.pv

‘She picked it/that up’

(5.75) Hi

3inom

in`a
3aserg

tiyisyi
pick:up.pv

‘She picked it up’ or ‘It was picked up by her / by that one’

The choice between these two ways of saying ‘she picked it up’ depends on which of the arguments is construed
as the topic of the clause. The clitic pronoun functions as the topic while the full pronoun functions as a
non-topic (or less-topical) argument. In practice, full pronouns tend to be used to refer back to participants
recently introduced by a noun phrase, while clitics tend to be used for participants introduced earlier in the
discourse. Compare the following examples:

(5.76) Moih`a

lhyuyi;
enter.pv

no
3ardat

halm`a
book.nom

laisne
just

girl.nom
‘The girl came in; as soon as she saw the book, she picked it up’

ukile,
pf.see.pt

na
3aerg

tan
3isnom

tiyisyi
pick:up.pv

5.4. CLITIC PRONOUNS

(5.77) Halm`a

temai
book.nom
then
‘The book had been lost, but then the girl found it and she picked it up’

utsupanka,
pf.lost.ipv:pst

moihai
girl.dat

tlelhyi
find.pv

hi
3inom

le
but

hi
3inom

91

in`a
3aserg

tiyisyi
pick:up.pv

In these examples two participants are being discussed, the girl and the book. In (5.76), the girl is introduced
in the first clause, and subsequent clauses provide additional information about the girl by describing her
actions. Here the girl is a more topical participant than the book, and so na tan tiyisyi (with the clitic
na referring to the girl) is used to translate ‘she picked it up’. In (5.77), on the other hand, the book is
introduced first, and subsequent clauses describe what happened to it. Here the book is the more topical
participant, so in this case hi in`a tiyisyi (with the clitic hi referring to the book) is the preferred way of
saying ‘she picked it up’. Notice that in each example, the full pronoun refers back to the newly introduced
participant, while the clitic pronoun refers to the same participant as the topic of the previous clause.

Another situation in which a full pronoun is required is illustrated below. Recall that at most two clitic
pronouns can combine to form a cluster. Thus, if a verb has three pronominal core arguments, at least
one of those arguments must take the form of a full pronoun. In the following examples, two of the verb’s
arguments take the form of clitics, which combine to form a cluster, while the third argument is expressed
using a full pronoun:

(5.78) Iko

3inom.2erg

umai
1srdat

uta
already

uktiyine
give.pv.epl

‘You (pl) already gave it to me’ (lit. ‘It+you to.me already gave’)

(5.79) Intso

3aerg.13rdat

tan
3isnom

uta
already

uktiyimat
give.pv.dpl.pl

‘They already gave it/that to us’ (lit. ‘They+us it/that already gave’)

(5.80) Me

1snom

ihka
before

sihkunoi
river.dat

ute,
pf.go.pt

ama
3idat.1serg

kut
2pnom

histaua
lead.ipv.npl

‘(Since) I’ve been to the river before, I will lead you there’ (lit. ‘… to.it+I you will.lead’)

5.4.2 Clitic versus non-clitic pronouns

In the oblique cases the pronouns have only full forms, whereas in the core cases (nominative, realis and
irrealis dative, ergative) the full forms alternate with clitic forms, as discussed above. All else being equal,
the clitic forms are generally preferred for core arguments. However, in
5.4.1 I noted that full pronouns are
used when a sentence contains two or more pronouns as core arguments but a clitic cluster is disallowed.
Other situations where a full pronoun is required in place of (or in combination with) a clitic pronoun are
summarized below.

§

As in other languages, clitics and clitic clusters in Okuna cannot receive sentence-level stress. Hence the
full forms must be used when the pronoun is being emphasized. Compare the examples below. In (5.81)
the first person pronoun functions as the topic of the clause, and appears in the clitic form. In (5.82), by
contrast, the pronominal argument is being focused in a contrastive construction. Since focused noun phrases
represent new information, they cannot be topics; hence the full form of the pronoun is required.

(5.81) Me

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

uila
love.ipv

1snom
‘Sakial loves me’

(5.82) Sakialma

tiefu
Sakial.erg
only
‘Sakial only loves me, not Elim’

man
1snom

uila,
love.ipv

ntse
neg

Elime
Elim.nom

92

CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

The full form is also required when the pronoun is dislocated from the main clause and functions as a
‘switch-reference’ topic—that is, a topic which is being newly (re)introduced into the discourse. Compare
the sentences below. Note that the switch-reference topic pronoun appears in the nominative case (the
default form for pronouns), and is ‘doubled’ by a resumptive clitic which agrees with it in person/animacy.

(5.83) Ma

imuelhanka
prg.sleep.ipv:pst

pyie
child.nom

1serg
‘I was asleep when the children got home’

amoktit
pv.come:home.pt.pl

(5.84) Man

aunme,
if.inst

ma
1serg

imuelhanka
prg.sleep.ipv:pst

pyie
child.nom

amoktit
pv.come:home.pt.npl

1snom
‘As for me, I was asleep when the children got home’

Similarly, full pronouns are used in place of clitics in clauses where the verb has been deleted by virtue of
being recoverable from context, as in the contrastive constructions below (notice that the case of the pronoun
matches the case of the noun phrase in the earlier clause that it is being contrasted with). Likewise, the
full form is used when the pronoun appears as an utterance by itself—e.g., in answer to the question Kopoi
miohma tsitspyin? ‘Who broke the pot?’, one can answer simply Im`a ‘I (did)’.

(5.85) Na

Motlei
Motla.dat

kytu
present

uktiyit,
give.pv

3aerg
‘They gave presents to Motla, not to me’

ntse
neg

amai
1sdat

(5.86) Kopoi

Motlama
pot.dat
Motla.erg
‘It wasn’t Motla who broke the pot, but me’

tsitspou,
break.pv:neg

ntse
neg

le
but

tluosna
instead

im`a
1serg

In addition, clitic pronouns cannot be coordinated, so full pronouns are required in coordinated noun phrases,
as in the following examples. In (5.87) and (5.88), ‘Sakial and I’ functions as the ergative argument of the
clause; while in (5.89), ‘you and me’ carries instrumental case marking. As these examples show, when a
pronoun is coordinated with a non-pronominal noun phrase, the pronoun occurs second and carries the case
marking for the expression as a whole, while the non-pronominal appears in its unmarked form. When two
pronouns are coordinated, the second one again carries the case marking, while the first one appears in
the nominative (e.g., koi in (5.89)), which is the default form for pronouns. Notice that coordinated noun
phrases trigger plural agreement on the verb.

im`a
(5.87) Sakial
Sakial
1serg
‘Sakial and I visited our daughter’

so
13rdat

ka
and

napehe
daughter.nom

tsulyit
visit.pv.pl

(5.88) Ne

Sakial
3anom
Sakial
‘Sakial and I visited her’

ka
and

im`a
1serg

tsulyine
visit.pv.epl

(5.89) Sakialna

ka
Sakial.loc
and
‘Sakial would like to speak with you and me’

koi
2snom

imem
1sinst

etsampuhike
speak.want.cond

In the examples below, a coordinated noun phrase is dislocated: it functions as a preposed switch-reference
topic in the first sentence and as a postposed argument (added as an afterthought) in the second sentence.
Here, all conjoined pronouns take the nominative form, while full noun phrases again occur in their unmarked
form. Notice how the coordinated noun phrase is doubled by a first person exclusive resumptive clitic in the
first example, and by a first person inclusive resumptive clitic in the second example.

5.4. CLITIC PRONOUNS

93

aunme,
(5.90) Sakial
Sakial
if.inst
‘(As for) Sakial and I, we will visit our daughter’

man
1snom

sa
13erg

napehe
daughter.nom

ka
and

tsulat
visit.ipv.pl

(5.91) Nkima

tsuli
3anom.12erg
visit.dep:sbj
‘We should visit her tomorrow morning, you and I’

elohfoi
tomorrow

kotsim
morning

lehuane,
should.ipv.epl

koi
2snom

ka
and

man
1snom

In complex sentences, the full form of a third person pronoun is sometimes used to emphasize that its referent
is distinct from the topic of the preceding clause. Compare the examples below. Like its English counterpart,
(5.92) is ambiguous: the embedded clitic na could refer to Sakial, or it could refer to some other individual
not mentioned in the sentence (the first reading being the preferred one). By contrast, (5.93), where na has
been replaced by the full form in`a, strongly favours the reading where Sakial believes that somebody other
than himself will succeed.

(5.92) Sakialna

opa
Sakial.loc
believe.ipv
‘Sakial believes that he will succeed’

na
3aerg

oke
going:to

est`a
succeed.dep.nom

(5.93) Sakialna

oke
Sakial.loc
going:to
‘Sakial believes that he/she will succeed’ or ‘… that that person will succeed’

est`a
succeed.dep.nom

opa
believe.ipv

in`a
3aserg

The examples below show a similar contrast, but with the pronouns appearing inside a larger noun phrase
to mark the possessor. In the first sentence, where the possessive pronoun takes the form of a (realis dative)
clitic, it is understood that Sakial believes that his own father will kill the goat; while in the second sentence,
where the possessor is a full pronoun (in the ablative case), it is understood that Sakial believes that the
father of some other individual, not mentioned in the sentence, will kill the goat.

(5.94) Sakialna

opa
believe.ipv

no
3ardat

ahtema
father.erg

tiakoi
goat.dat

oke
going:to

tah`a
kill.dep.nom

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial believes that his (own) father will kill the goat’

(5.95) Sakialna

opa
believe.ipv

in`o
3asabl

ahtema
father.erg

tiakoi
goat.dat

oke
going:to

tah`a
kill.dep.nom

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial believes that his/her father will kill the goat’
or ‘Sakial believes that that person’s father will kill the goat’

Finally, note that clitic pronouns may not occur as arguments of a participant nominal (see
10.6 for dis-
cussion). This is because clitics and clitic clusters must appear in the topic position of the clause, and
participant nominal phrases lack such a position. Compare the examples below. The first example is a main
clause in which the first person singular actor is expressed by the ergative clitic ma. The second is a noun
phrase consisting of the participant nominal phrase im`a aiasal ‘(thing) which I ate; (thing) eaten by me’,
which modifies the head noun homa ‘bread’. In the latter case the actor must take the form of the non-clitic
pronoun form im`a, even when it is not interpreted as contrastively focused.

§

(5.96) Ma

homai
bread.dat

iasyi
eat.pv

1serg
‘I ate the bread’

(5.97) im`a

aiasal
pv.eat.dep.dnzr

homa
bread

1serg
‘the bread that I ate’ or ‘the bread eaten by me’

94

CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

5.5 Omission of pronouns

Pronouns in Okuna always have specific referents: there are no pronoun forms corresponding to English
‘one’ or impersonal ‘you’. To express an indeterminate or generic referent, the pronoun is simply omitted.
Compare the following pairs of sentences:

(5.98) Me

Tenmotlaie
Tenmotlai.dat

1snom
‘How do I get to Tenmotlai?’

mieme
where.inst

et`ıkin?
go.cond.qu

(5.99) Tenmotlaie

mieme
where.inst

et`ıkin?
go.cond.qu

Tenmotlai.dat
‘How does one get to Tenmotlai?’

lianka
iona
(5.100) Isena
13loc
snake
know.ipv
‘We know very well that Sakial is afraid of snakes’

Sakialna
Sakial.loc

teusu
very:much

huetl`a
fear.dep.nom

(5.101) Teusu

iona
know.ipv

Sakialna
Sakial.loc

lianka
snake

huetl`a
fear.dep.nom

very:much
‘One knows very well that Sakial is afraid of snakes’ or ‘It is well known that…’

In complex sentences, it is also possible to omit a third person clitic pronoun if it refers back to the topic of
the immediately preceding clause. For example, the sentences below are both grammatical under a reading
where Sakial said that he himself would fix the roof.

(5.102) Sakialma

satlai
Sakial.erg
roof.dat
‘Sakial said that he would fix the roof’

na
3aerg

etsyi
say.pv

tok`a
fix.dep.nom

(5.103) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

etsyi
say.pv

satlai
roof.dat

tok`a
fix.dep.nom

‘Sakial said that (he) would fix the roof’

Sentence (5.103), where ne has been omitted, can also construed to mean ‘Sakial said that someone would
fix the roof’ or ‘Sakial said that the roof would be fixed’, where the identity of the one doing the fixing is
simply left unspecified. The correct interpretation must be inferred from the context. To make the latter
meaning explicit, however, an indefinite actor may be added to the embedded clause:

(5.104) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

etsyi
say.pv

satlai
roof.dat

miohma
someone.erg

tok`a
fix.dep.nom

‘Sakial said that someone (or other) would fix the roof’

Note that although a clitic pronoun may be left out under coreference with the topic of a preceding clause,
the number agreement on the verb may not be omitted. Consider the sentences below.
In (5.105), the
embedded verb toka ‘fix’ carries plural inflection, in agreement with the clitic na, which bears the actor role
and refers back to the plural noun phrase Sakial ka Elimma in the previous clause. In (5.105), the verb
retains its plural inflection even though na has been omitted:

(5.105) Sakial
Sakial
‘Sakial and Elim said that they would fix the roof’

Elimma
Elim.erg

etsyit
say.pv.pl

na
3aerg

satlai
roof.dat

ka
and

tokat`a
fix.dep.pl.nom

5.5. OMISSION OF PRONOUNS

95

(5.106) Sakial
Sakial

ka
and

Elimma
Elim.erg

etsyit
say.pv.pl

satlai
roof.dat

tokat`a
fix.dep.pl.nom

‘Sakial and Elim said that (they) would fix the roof’

First and second person pronouns (both clitic and non-clitic) can also be left out when the fact that the
speaker or addressee is being referred to can be inferred from context. For example, whereas English speakers
would say ‘I don’t know’ in answer to a question, Okuna speakers will normally just say Miono (lit.
‘not
know’), rather than including the first person pronoun: Iman miono. Likewise, when asked Kuo m`a tsuhkyin?
‘What happened to you?’, an Okuna speaker might answer Sakialma kahtyi (lit. ‘was hit by Sakial’), rather
than Mo Sakialma kahtyi (‘I was hit by Sakial’). The first person topic can be omitted here since the context
provided by the question makes it clear that the speaker is talking about him/herself being hit.

One particularly common pattern is for second person clitics to be omitted in questions and commands:

(5.107) Huiloie

muke
close.cv

eskukeua
please.npl

window.nom
‘Please close the windows’

(5.108) M`a

what

is`ukan?
prg.do.ipv.qu

‘What are you doing?’ (lit. ‘What doing?’)

As in other situations where a pronominal topic is dropped, the verb retains its plural agreement. As the
examples below show, a second person plural topic will trigger the plural agreement sux -t on the verb
even when the pronoun itself is omitted:

(5.109) Huiloie

window.nom

muke
close.cv

eskukeuat
please.npl.pl

‘Please close the windows’ (said to more than one person)

(5.110) M`a

what

isukat
prg.do.ipv.pl

ne?
qu

‘What are you (pl) doing?’

Omitting first and second person pronouns is always optional. The following sentences with overt pronouns
are also grammatical:

(5.111) Ko

huiloie
2erg
window.nom
‘Please close the windows’

muke
close.cv

eskukeua
please.npl

(5.112) Ko

2erg

m`a
what

isukat
prg.do.ipv.pl

ne?
qu

‘What are you (pl) doing?’

Finally, in cases of inalienable possession (e.g., body part possession or kinship relations), the noun phrase
headed by the body part or kin term may include a pronoun denoting the possessor (which typically takes
the form of a realis dative clitic). However, this pronoun is typically omitted when it corefers with the topic
of the clause. Compare the following pairs of sentences:

mo
(5.113) Mikalma
boy.erg
1srdat
‘The boy spoke to my mother’

ameme
mother.inst

etsampyi
speak.act.pv

96

CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

(5.114) Mikalma
boy.erg

ameme
mother.inst

etsampyi
speak.act.pv

‘The boy spoke to his (own) mother’ (lit. ‘The boy spoke to the mother’)

mo
(5.115) Mikalma
boy.erg
1srdat
‘The boy touched my arm’

nalhe
arm.nom

lalyi
touch.pv

(5.116) Mikalma
boy.erg

nalh
arm

lalyi
touch.pv

‘The boy touched his (own) arm’

5.6 Universal quantifiers

In this section I discuss the universal quantifiers, which resemble (non-clitic) personal pronouns with regard
to how they inflect for case. Universal quantifiers are used to form noun phrases expressing the totality of
some contextually determined set of entities. There are two sets of universal quantifiers: the collective
quantifiers, built from the root -mot, are usually translated ‘all’; while the distributive quantifiers, built
from the root -ket, correspond to ‘each’ or ‘every’.

The universal quantifiers do not inflect for case like regular nouns (or other quantifiers), but are instead
morphologically related to the plural pronouns. Also like pronouns, they express the person and animacy
features of the noun phrase. The di↵erent person/animacy forms are given below (in the nominative case):

13
12
2
3a
3i

samot
kimot
kumot
nemot
emot

‘all of us’
‘all of us’
‘all of you’
‘all of them; all of the…’
‘all of them; all of the…’

saket
kiket
kuket
nket
eket

‘each of us’
‘each of us’
‘each of you’
‘each of them; each of the…’
‘each of them; each of the…’

[exclusive]
[inclusive]

[animate]
[inanimate]

These elements can occur as quantifier phrases by themselves, or they may be preceded by a quantified noun
or noun phrase in the unmarked form. When a third person quantifier takes a quantified noun, the two must
agree in animacy. Examples:

emot
nket
ispaka nket
mo suhpa nket
ispaka samot
palahta eket
sane kotu emot

‘all, everything; all of them/those’
‘everyone; each person; each of them’
‘each/every student, each of the students’
‘each of my brothers’
‘all of us students’
‘each/every tree, each of the trees’
‘all (of) the red houses’

The universal quantifiers are always the final element in the noun phrase. They occupy the same position as
5.3.2, and are in fact mutually exclusive with them. Like the demonstratives,
the demonstratives discussed in
the universal quantifiers can co-occur with the deictic particles mentioned in
5.3.2. These particles precede
the quantified noun, if any: e.g., tsi emot ‘all of these (things)’, ke halma eket ‘each of these books’, olh
palahta emot ‘all of those trees (over there)’.

§

§

As the rightmost element in the noun phrase, it is the universal quantifier which carries the case marking
for that phrase (cf.
4.2). The following tables give the case declensions for the collective and distributive
quantifiers. Notice that, like pronouns, the universal quantifiers distinguish two forms of the dative, realis
and irrealis (see

5.3.3).

§

§

5.6. UNIVERSAL QUANTIFIERS

97

13

nom samot
asmot
dat
usmot
rdat
erg ismot
loc
all
abl
inst

ismuna
ismone
ismou
ismume

13

nom saket
asket
dat
usket
rdat
erg isket
loc
all
abl
inst

iskina
iskene
iskeu
iskyime

12
kimot
akimot
ukimot
ikimot
ikimuna
ikimone
ikimou
ikimume

12
kiket
akiket
ukiket
ikiket
ikikina
ikikene
ikikeu
ikikyime

2
kumot
akumot
ukumot
ikumot
ikumuna
ikumone
ikumou
ikumume

2
kuket
akuket
ukuket
ikuket
ikukina
ikukene
ikukeu
ikukyime

3a
nemot
anmot
unmot
inmot
inmuna
inmone
inmou
inmume

3a
nket
anket
unket
inket
inkina
inkene
inkeu
inkyime

3i
emot
amot
umot
imot
imuna
imone
imou
imume

3i
eket
aket
uket
iket
ikina
ikene
ikeu
ikyime

Phrases headed by the universal quantifiers are grammatically plural. As the following examples show, they
trigger plural agreement on the verb when functioning as core arguments (nominative, dative, or ergative):

(5.117) Nemot

etskanyit
arrive.pv.pl

3a:all:nom
‘They all arrived’ or ‘All of them arrived’

(5.118) Na

olh
dist

halma
3aerg
book
‘She has read each of those books’

uket
3i:each:rdat

utalama
pf.read.ipv.dpl

The collective quantifiers (with -mot) tend to be used when the noun phrase refers to a group of individuals
taken together as a unit; otherwise, the distributive quantifiers (with -ket) are used. For example, Iha
nemot etskanyit ‘All the women arrived’ strongly implies that the women arrived together, at the same
time, whereas Iha nket etskanyit ‘Each woman arrived’ tends to imply that the women arrived separately.
Consider also the following examples: (5.119) entails that Sakial saw the houses all at once, that they all
came into view at more or less the same time; whereas (5.120) could be used if Sakial saw the houses one
by one, each in a di↵erent place and at a di↵erent time.

(5.119) Sakiail

kotu
house

emot
3i:all:nom

kilyia
see.pv.npl

Sakial.dat
‘Sakial saw all the houses’

(5.120) Sakiail

kotu
house

eket
3i:each:nom

kilyia
see.pv.npl

Sakial.dat
‘Sakial saw each house’ or ‘Sakial saw each of the houses’

The di↵erence between the distributive and collective forms is brought out when the universal quantifier
scopes over another quantified noun phrase. Compare:

(5.121) Olh
dist

kotu
house

ikina
3i:each:loc

koin
person

ihtahma
six.erg

tsuhpane
live.ipv.epl

‘Each of those houses has six people living in it’ (i.e., there are six people in each house)

98

CHAPTER 5. PRONOUNS

(5.122) Olh
dist

kotu
house

imuna
3i:each:loc

koin
person

ihtahma
six.erg

tsuhpane
live.ipv.epl

‘In all those houses there are six people living’ (i.e., there are a total of six people)

The distributive quantifiers are sometimes accompanied by the particle la ‘in turn, apiece, separately, in-
dividually’. This particle precedes the verb, or a numeral within the scope of the quantifier, and further
emphasizes the distributivity of the event. Likewise, the collective quantifiers may co-occur with the particle
kele ‘together, a total of’.

(5.123) Pyi

nket
3a:each:nom

la
in:turn

etskanyit
arrive.pv.pl

child
‘The children each arrived in turn’

(5.124) Pyi

nemot
3a:all:nom

kele
together

etskanyit
arrive.pv.pl

child
‘The children all arrived together’

(5.125) Pyi

child

inket
3a:each:erg

halma
book

la
apiece

kiain
five.dat

utalamat
pf.read.dpl.pl

‘The children each read five books’ or ‘The children read five books each/apiece’

(5.126) Pyi

child

inmot
3a:all:erg

halma
book

kele
all:together

kiain
five.dat

utalamat
pf.read.dpl.pl

‘The children read five books all together’ or ‘The children (together) read a total of five books’

Note that Okuna does not have a dual quantifier equivalent to English ‘both’. Instead, a universal quantifier is
used in combination with hen ‘two’ (e.g., hen kimot ‘both of us, the two of us together’). Alternatively, ‘both’
may be expressed with the emphatic word tsanie (lit. ‘couple, pair’), but only for objects which naturally go
together as a pair, such as body parts (e.g., kus tsanie ‘both feet, both of one’s feet’). Additional examples:

(5.127) Iha

woman

hen
two

nemot
3a:all:nom

afyit
take:part.pv.pl

‘Both (of the) women took part’ (lit. ‘All two women…’)

(5.128) Na

kop`o
pot.nom

tem
3aerg
hand
‘He had to use both hands to lift the pot’
more lit. ‘For him to lift the pot, a pair of hands needed to be used’

nyipoksanka
use.must.ipv:pst

tiyiseia
lift.dep:sbj.all

tsanie
pair

Besides the forms listed above, the element -mot occurs in the modifier tsakamot ‘all kinds (of)’ (e.g.,
tsakamot iase ‘all kinds of food’). The -ket and -mot elements also form the basis for the adverbials listed
below: those formed with e- quantify over separate events or situations, while those formed with ka- quantify
over iterations of a single event.

ekina
emuna

‘each time, in every case, on every occasion’
‘always, in all cases, on all occasions’

kakyime
kamume

‘each time, at each repetition’
‘invariably, consistently, with every repetition’

Adverbials formed with e- can combine with a noun denoting the period of time being quantified over: e.g.,
kotsim ekina ‘every morning’, kotsim emuna ‘always in the morning’.

Chapter 6

The Noun Phrase

6.1 Introduction

In chapter 4 I discussed the structure and distribution of noun phrases with regard to case marking and
argument structure, while in chapter 5 I considered a particular subclass of noun phrases, namely pronouns.
In this chapter, turn to other aspects of the structure of noun phrases.

§

§

6.2 and

I begin in

these features are associated with noun phrases in many languages. Then in
noun compounds.
which correspond in certain respects to prepositions and postpositions in other languages. In
possession is marked in noun phrases.
elements called correlatives. Quantification is discussed further in
of word order within noun phrases.

6.3 by considering how number and definiteness are expressed in Okuna, since
6.4 I discuss the formation of
6.5 deals with a special class of compounds, headed by so-called relational nouns,
6.6 I show how
6.7 deals with a particular class of quantificational and demonstrative
6.9 I give an overview

6.8. Finally, in

§

§

§

§

§

§

6.2 Expressing number features

As noted elsewhere, nouns in Okuna do not inflect for singular or plural: pyi means either ‘child’ or ‘children’,
and kotu means either ‘house’ or ‘houses’, depending on the situation in which it is used. Nevertheless, there
are various grammatical means whereby the number features of a noun are expressed indirectly. I review
some of these below.

In some cases the noun will co-occur with some other element in the noun phrase which specifies its
number, such as a quantifier: e.g., es kotu ‘a house, one house’, kotu ehte ‘three houses’, kotu emot ‘all the
houses’. Also, as discussed in
5.3.2, a noun may be followed by a third person pronoun which agrees with
it in gender (animate vs. inanimate) and functions much like a demonstrative determiner. Since (non-clitic)
pronouns have distinct singular and plural forms, the choice of pronoun will specify whether the noun phrase
as a whole is singular or plural, even though the noun itself is not marked for number. Number marking also
appears on a handful of other modifiers, discussed in
6.8.5, when they occur at the right edge of the noun
§
phrase; these include the words for ‘other’ or ‘else’ (singular iap, plural iahte) and ‘specific’ or ‘particular’
(singular koipe, plural koihte):

§

ike nan
ike nin

‘that dog’
‘those dogs’

kotu itan
kotu itena

‘in that house’
‘in those houses’

kotu iap
es kotu iap
es kotu koipe

‘the other house’
‘another house’
‘a particular house’

kotu iahte
kotu mian iahte
kotu koihte

‘(the) other houses’
‘some other houses’
‘particular houses’

99

100

CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE

When the noun phrase does not contain one of these number-specifying elements, and appears in one of the
oblique cases (locative, allative, ablative, instrumental) or is unmarked for case, its number must usually be
inferred from context. Consider the nouns halma and kamala in the following examples:

(6.1) Ma

halma
book

itala
1serg
prg.read.ipv
‘I am reading a book’ or ‘I am reading books’

(6.2) Ma

1serg

kamala
knife.all

ikpiha
prg.look:for.ipv

‘I am looking for a knife’ or ‘I am looking for (some) knives’

If it is necessary to disambiguate number in these contexts, a quantifier such as es ‘one’, miante ‘a number
of’, ante ‘many’, or sepyi ‘some, a few’ may be added to an oblique noun phrase, as shown below (this
cannot be done with unmarked noun phrases, which express non-referential or unquantified arguments):

(6.3) Ma

es
one

kamala
knife.all

ikpiha
prg.look:for.ipv

1serg
‘I am looking for a knife’

(6.4) Ma

kamal
knife

sepyia
some.all

ikpiha
prg.look:for.ipv

1serg
‘I am looking for some knives’

When a noun phrase functions as a core argument of a verb (nominative, dative, or ergative), whether it is
singular or plural can usually be determined by looking at the form of the verb. If the argument is singular
the verb is unmarked, and if it is plural the verb carries the appropriate plural agreement sux. This is
illustrated below, where the nominative plural sux -a in (6.6) indicates that kot`o has a plural referent,
while the absence of an agreement sux indicates that kot`o is singular. Plural agreement is discussed in
detail in

7.2.

§
(6.5) Mo

1srdat

kot`o
house.nom

kilyi
see.pv

‘I saw a/the house’

(6.6) Mo

1srdat

kot`o
house.nom

kilyia
see.pv.npl

‘I saw (the) houses’

Although plurality is not marked on nouns in Okuna, there is morphology for forming collective nouns,
used to refer to a collection of similar individuals taken together. Most collective nouns are formed by
adding the sux -mit, discussed in
11.2.2 (e.g., iha ‘woman’ > ihamit ‘group of women’). There are
also two underived collective nouns: ten`u ‘group of people’ and lhati ‘group of children’ (notice these are
morphologically unrelated to the corresponding non-collective nouns, koin ‘person, human being’ and pyi
‘child’, which can be interpreted as either singular or plural). Note that, although collective nouns are not
genuine plurals, collective nouns referring to people, such as ten`u and lhati, take the plural form of the
demonstrative: e.g., koin nan ‘that person’ versus ten`u nin ‘those people, that group of people’. Human-
denoting collective nouns also trigger plural agreement on verbs. Compare:

§

(6.7) Pyie

etskanyi
arrive.pv

child.nom
‘The child arrived’

6.2. EXPRESSING NUMBER FEATURES

101

(6.8) Pyie

etskanyit
arrive.pv.pl

child.nom
‘The children arrived’

(6.9) Lhat`e

children.nom

etskanyit
arrive.pv.pl

‘The children arrived (together)’ or ‘The group of children arrived’

A limited number of nouns (mostly denoting body parts) also have dual collective forms, used to indicate
a pair of objects taken together. These dual forms, listed below, are characterized by the endings -(i)al and
-ie. The latter ending also occurs on the nouns mosie ‘shoulders, upper back’ and kamie ‘parents, mother
and father’, which lack a corresponding non-dual form.

ahkame
hunka
inna
kala
kus
monen
nalh
nol
sial
tem
tsan

‘sibling’
‘lung’
‘eye’
‘leg’
‘foot’
‘wing; fin’
‘arm’
‘ear’
‘breast’
‘hand’
‘body, object’

ahkamie
hunkie
inie
kalial
kustial
monie
nalhal
nolal
sialie
temie
tsanie

‘pair of twins’
‘pair of lungs’
‘pair of eyes’
‘pair of legs’
‘pair of feet’
‘pair of wings/fins’
‘pair of arms’
‘pair of ears’
‘pair of breasts’
‘pair of hands’
‘pair, couple, twosome’

Dual collective nouns trigger singular agreement when referring to a single pair of objects, and plural agree-
ment when referring to more than one pair: e.g., tlok tsanie tan ‘that pair of shoes’ versus tlok tsanie tin
‘those pairs of shoes’. (The exceptions to this rule are the animate nouns ahkamie and kamie, which trigger
plural agreement whether they refer to one set of twins/parents, or more than one.) Compare the examples
below, showing that no inie triggers singular agreement on the verb when it refers to the eyes of a single
individual (‘his/her eyes’), and plural agreement when it refers to the eyes of two or more individuals (‘their
eyes’).

(6.10) Ma

1serg

no
3ardat

ini`e
eyes.nom

ksonyi
look:at.pv

‘I looked into his/her eyes’

(6.11) Ma

no
3ardat
1serg
‘I looked into their eyes’

ini`e
eyes.nom

ksonyia
look:at.pv.npl

The dual collective form tsanie is generally used in combination with a preceding noun. Normally it cor-
responds to English ‘pair’ or ‘couple’, as in tlok tsanie ‘a pair of shoes’. However, when it is used with a
non-dual noun which has a dual collective counterpart (i.e., one of the nouns from the first column in the
table above), it has the sense of English ‘both’: e.g., tem tsanie ‘both hands’, kus tsanie ‘both feet’.

A final note on number: In English, generic expressions typically take the form of a bare plural.
In
Okuna, by contrast, generics are grammatically singular. This is shown in the example below by the fact
that the generic noun phrase ike ‘dog’ fails to trigger agreement on the verb (the singular form iasa is used
instead of the plural form iasat).

(6.12) Ikema

maka
dog.erg
meat
‘Dogs eat meat’

iasa
eat.ipv

102

CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE

6.3 Expressing definiteness and specificity

There are no definite or indefinite articles in Okuna, or any other obligatory means for marking the definite-
ness or specificity of a noun phrase: tohmi kotu may mean ‘a big house’ or ‘the big house’ (or ‘big houses’,
or ‘the big houses’), depending on context. Nevertheless, as with singular versus plural, the definiteness of
the noun phrase is often indicated in other ways. For example, certain elements may occur within the noun
phrase which force a definite or indefinite interpretation—e.g., a noun phrase ending in a demonstrative (cf.
5.6) will always be definite, while a noun phrase containing the numeral
5.3.2) or a universal quantifier (
§
§
es ‘one’ is necessarily indefinite. Compare:

kotu
es kotu
kotu tan
kotu eket

‘a house, houses, the house(s)’
‘a house, one house’
‘this/that house’
‘every house’

[definite or indefinite]
[indefinite only]
[definite only]
[definite only]

In addition, the definiteness/specificity of a noun phrase is often reflected through word order and case
marking. Noun phrases interpreted as indefinite tend to be adjacent to the verb, while those interpreted
4.6, a noun phrase denoting the
as definite can scramble away from the verb. Moreover, as discussed in
patient or theme of an event is normally marked for case only if it is referential; otherwise it appears in the
unmarked form.

§

For instance, compare the examples below with regard to the interpretation of the noun iase ‘food’.
In (6.13) iase is marked for nominative case and is not adjacent to the verb. Here it is likely to refer to
some previously-mentioned quantity of food, identifiable by the addressee.
In (6.14) iase is again case-
marked, but occurs in immediate preverbal position. The most likely interpretation here is that it refers to
a specific quantity of food which has not been mentioned previously, but likely to be salient in the following
discourse. Finally, in (6.15) iase appears without any case marking. Here, either the speaker does not have
any particular food in mind, or the identity of the food is not important in the given context.

(6.13) Na

3aerg

ias`e
food.nom

ikei
dog.dat

uktiyi
give.pv

‘She gave the food to a/the dog’

(6.14) Na

ikei
dog.dat

ias`e
3aerg
food.nom
‘She gave the dog some food’

uktiyi
give.pv

(6.15) Na

ikei
dog.dat

iase
food

uktiyi
give.pv

3aerg
‘She gave the dog food’ or ‘She fed the dog’

Finally, note that even if an argument refers to a specific, known or identifiable entity, it will sometimes be
coded as non-specific—i.e., it will fail to trigger agreement or take case marking when functioning as a core
argument. For example, when an agent acts on a part of his/her own body, the body part term will normally
4.6 for
appear as an unmarked noun phrase, even though a particular body part is being referred to (see
discussion):

§

(6.16) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

inie
eyes

mukyi
close.pv

‘Sakial closed his eyes’ (lit. ‘Sakial closed eyes’)

In addition, a participant which is incidental to the discourse will often be encoded by an unmarked noun
phrase even if that participant is readily identifiable.
In the example below, aho ‘sun’ is semantically
definite/specific (the sun is a unique entity, known to both the speaker and the addressee) but nevertheless

6.4. COMPOUNDING AND MODIFICATION

103

grammatically non-specific (it functions as a core argument but does not take case marking). This is because
the entity named by the noun plays only a peripheral role in the event being described: the setting of the
sun provides a reference time for the action, but the sun, as an entity, is not otherwise important to the
narrative.

(6.17) Uta

aho
sun

ikahpanka
prg.go:down.ipv:pst

se
13nom

paloi
village.dat

already
‘The sun was already setting by the time we returned to the village’

anioktit
pv.return.pt.pl

6.4 Compounding and modification

Okuna has productive noun compounding. Subject to semantic appropriateness, any two or more nouns may
be concatenated to form a single complex noun. As in English, compounds in Okuna are head-final: the
modifying noun precedes the noun it modifies. Examples: ilme lai ‘moonlight’ (< ilme ‘moon’ + lai ‘light’); tilas huiloi ‘glass window’, huiloi tilas ‘window glass, windowpane’ (< tilas ‘glass’ + huiloi ‘window’). Notice that the elements of the compound are written as separate words, indicating that they behave independently 3.4). Compounds can contain more than two nouns as of one another with regard to stress assignment ( § well: (6.18) tuhsa winter ‘winter hearth song’ mohkauat hearth:fire uhin song When a noun compound is inflected for case, the case ending appears on the head, while the modifying noun occurs in the unmarked form: (6.19) ilme laina light.loc moon ‘in the moonlight’ Compounding is one of the principal means of modifying a noun in Okuna, which lacks a morpho-syntactically distinct class of adjectives. States and properties are instead expressed using verbs (e.g., pata ‘be tall’, eka ‘be empty’). Such verbs may be converted into nouns, which can then enter into compounds as modifiers of other nouns. For example, the verb pata ‘be tall’ can be converted into the noun pate, meaning ‘tall one’ or ‘thing which is tall’. This nominal can then be placed in front of another noun to modify it: e.g., pate kotu ‘tall house’. For more discussion on the formation of nouns from verbs, and the use of deverbal nouns to modify other nouns, see 10.6 on participant nominalization. A handful of elements routinely occur as the modifier in a noun compound. These include colour terms such as sane ‘red, red thing’ (sane esip ‘red flower’); as well as modifiers formed with tsaka ‘kind, type, sort’—e.g., mitsaka ‘what kind of, some kind of’, tlotsaka ‘that kind of, such a’, antsaka ‘many kinds of, various’, and tsakamot ‘all kinds of’: § mitsaka tlama tlotsaka tlama antsaka tlama tsakamot tlama ‘what kind of animal?’, ‘some kind of animal’ ‘that kind of animal, such an animal, an animal like that’ ‘various animals, many kinds of animals’ ‘all kinds of animals, animals of every sort’ Compounds involving relational nouns are discussed in the following section. 6.5 Relational nouns In English, spatial and temporal relationships between objects or events are generally encoded by preposi- 11.4.3), or by tions. In Okuna, these same relationships are expressed by case endings, by motion verbs ( § 104 CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE one or both of these in combination with a class of elements called relational nouns. Relational nouns indicate a location, direction, or position, and combine with a preceding noun or noun phrase (the comple- ment) to form a kind of compound. Relational nouns normally inflect for dative case or one of the oblique cases. For example, equivalents of English ‘in(to) the room’, ‘out of the room’, and ‘through the room’ may all be conveyed by the expression halu him, literally ‘room interior’, with the relational noun him ‘interior’ carrying the appropriate case ending: halu heim halu himna halu himu halu himme (room interior.dat) (room interior.loc) (room interior.abl) (room interior.inst) ‘into the room’ ‘in the room’ ‘out of the room, from inside the room’ ‘through the room’ Concerning the last form: as discussed in 4.5.4, instrumental case is used to mark noun phrases denoting an object or location which lies along a path. Hence halu himme might be translated more literally as ‘via the inside of the room’ or ‘by way of the room’s interior’. § Compare also the following four sentences, featuring the relational expression im`e kotu lul ‘under my house’ in various case forms. Here the relational noun is lul ‘underside, space beneath’, which takes im`e kotu ‘my house’ as its complement. (6.20) Ikema im`e 1sall kotu house lulna under.loc imuelha prg.sleep.ipv dog.erg ‘The dog is sleeping under my house’ (lit. ‘at my house underside’) (6.21) Ik`e etyi dog.nom go.pv ‘The dog went under my house’ [and stayed there] (lit. ‘to my house underside’) loil under.dat im`e 1sall kotu house (6.22) Ik`e im`e 1sall kotu house lulme under.inst klohyi go:through.pv dog.nom ‘The dog went under my house’ [and came out the other side] (lit. ‘through my house underside’) (6.23) Ik`e im`e 1sall kotu house lulu under.abl sehtyi emerge.pv dog.nom ‘The dog came out from under my house’ (lit. ‘from my house underside’) In the examples above, the complement (e.g., halu, im`e kotu) appears in the unmarked form. This is the usual pattern, although it is also possible for the complement to be marked for ablative case. Ablative case marking is required when the complement does not have an unmarked case form—i.e., when it is a pronoun, a noun phrase ending in a pronoun used as a demonstrative (see 5.3.2), or a noun phrase ending in a universal quantifier ( § 5.6). § halou himna halu imou himna halu it`o himna it`o himna (room.abl interior.loc) (room all.abl interior.loc) (room that:abl interior.loc) (it:abl interior.loc) ‘inside (of) the room’ ‘inside all the rooms’ ‘inside that room’ ‘inside it/that, in there’ Some common relational nouns are listed below: ampio elhko epam heku hilul him himpi`a ihfo ‘area around/surrounding, perimeter’ ‘purpose, benefit’ ‘horizontal surface, top’ [non-permeable] ‘cause, account’ ‘bottom [of an enclosed space], floor, bed’ ‘inside, interior; indoors’ ‘top [of an enclosed space], ceiling, roof’ ‘other side, area behind/obscured by’ 6.5. RELATIONAL NOUNS 105 iontsu is kam kasu kufu kuma kumuten kus kutsmu lama lul minap mok nyhui ohpe pahai palul piau talhko tiumen us uslaut ute yhma ynal ypi`a ‘centre, middle, midst’ ‘time/place after, time/place following’ ‘time/place before, time/place preceding’ ‘side, vertical or sloping surface; area beside’ ‘area between/among, midst’ ‘front, area in front’ ‘opposite side, area facing, area across (from)’ ‘foot, base, bottom’ ‘back, area behind’ ‘area far away, (at a) distance’ ‘area below/under’ ‘deep interior, centre, midst [of an enclosed space]’ ‘middle, centre, heart’ ‘horizontal surface’ [permeable, as of a body of water] ‘cause, reason’ ‘area beyond’ ‘underside, bottom [exterior]’ ‘top, summit, pinnacle, zenith, highest point’ ‘cause, reason’ ‘bottom, depths, nadir, lowest point’ ‘place, seat, stead’ ‘edge, boundary, horizon, starting or ending point’ ‘area nearby/close, vicinity, immediate environs’ ‘outside, exterior; outdoors’ ‘area in front of, this side of’ ‘area above/over’ Some relational nouns also have non-relational meanings. For instance, mok means ‘hearth’ (or ‘family’), while other nouns denote parts of the body: e.g., kuma ‘face’, kus ‘foot’, kutsmu ‘back, spine’, minap ‘bone marrow’. Whether these nouns are being used literally or as relational terms can usually be inferred from the form of the complement. When a body part noun takes a pronominal possessor, the latter normally takes the form of a realis dative clitic; by contrast, the pronominal complement of a relational noun must be in the ablative case (cf. mo kumana ‘on my face’ versus im`o kumana ‘in front of me’). When a body part noun takes a non-pronominal possessor, the possessor appears in the locative case, whereas non-pronominal complements of relational nouns are normally unmarked for case (Sakialna kutsmuna ‘on Sakial’s back/spine’ versus Sakial kutsmuna ‘behind Sakial’). Additional examples of noun phrases containing relational nouns are given below (note also the expression nyhui lulna ‘under water, under the surface’, where the relational noun lul ‘area underneath’ takes another relational noun nyhui ‘surface [of a body of water]’ as its complement): ikimu kumana im`o kasuna kotu kutsmou kotu yhmau loka minapa mo huan himpiahna moin tiumenna mok lamana olh tonaka it`o utena palu iontsuna tokunu nyhuina tokunu nyhueia ‘in front of us’ ‘next to me, at my side’ ‘from behind the house’ ‘from outside the house’ ‘towards the heart of the forest’ ‘on the roof of my mouth’ ‘in the depths of the ocean’ ‘far from home’ ‘near that boulder’ ‘in the middle of the village’ ‘on the surface of the lake’ ‘towards the surface of the lake’ 106 CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE Relational nouns are further illustrated in the following sentences: (6.24) Halma book tin those:nom totsat table epamna top.loc itimat prg.lie.ipv.pl ‘Those books are lying on (top of) the table’ (6.25) Mo kilyi see.pv es one hanima fox.erg palahta tree 1srdat ‘I saw a fox sleeping at the foot of the tree’ kusna foot.loc imuelh`a prg.sleep.dep.nom (6.26) Palu ampiona around.loc siyhu village field ‘There are many fields surrounding the village’ he be:ipv ante many tene (6.27) Isane 13all hill ‘Our village lies between the hills and the river’ pal`o village.nom sihkunu river ka and kufuna between.loc tima lie.ipv (6.28) Ne loka forest pahaie beyond.dat 3anom ‘They rode beyond the forest’ puite ride.cv etyit go.pv.pl (6.29) Pil`a bird.nom palahta tree ypiahme above.inst uaste fly.cv tlisyi traverse.pv ‘The bird flew over the tree’ (lit. ‘via the area above the tree’) Note that in addition to expressing a relation of spatial inclusion, him ‘interior’ can take a complement denoting a period of time to express a relation of temporal inclusion (‘while, during’): e.g., tuhsa himna ‘during the winter’. When denoting a temporal relation, him can also take as its complement a dependent clause denoting an event (see 10.2 on dependent verbs): § (6.30) Sakialma Sakial.erg imuelha prg.sleep.dep himna inside.loc ‘while Sakial is/was sleeping’ Although most relational nouns express spatial or temporal relations, a few express more abstract relations. The noun elhko ‘purpose, benefit’ can take allative case marking to express ‘for the benefit/purpose of’. Both ohpe and talhko, meaning ‘cause’ or ‘reason’, take ablative case inflection to express ‘because of, on account of’. Heku takes locative case to express ‘given’ or ‘on account of’. Finally, us ‘place, seat, stead’ inflects for locative case to express ‘instead of’. (6.31) Na 3aerg tiefu only im`o 1sabl elhkoua benefit.all sukyi do.pv ‘He did (it) just for me’ (lit. ‘only for my benefit’) (6.32) Me mokna home.loc muohfe heavy.tnzr 1snom ‘I stayed home on account of the heavy rain’ s`u rain hekuna account.loc tehyi stay.pv (6.33) Ikimme 12inst ‘Sakial will be coming with us instead of Elim’ iafa prg.come:along.ipv Sakiale Sakial.nom Elim Elim usna stead.loc 6.5. RELATIONAL NOUNS 107 Note also pahai ‘area beyond’, which, when inflected for locative case, can either express a spatial relation (e.g., tomla pahaina ‘beyond the mountains’) or be used in a more abstract sense, equivalent to ‘besides, apart from, other than, except for’: ntsemi`o (6.34) Sakial Sakial nobody:nom ‘Nobody except Sakial came along’ pahaina beyond.loc afou come:along.pv:neg (6.35) Sakial Sakial pahaina beyond.loc las only hen two:nom afyia come:along.pv.npl ‘Besides Sakial, only two (people) came along’ Elhkoua, ohpeu, talhkou, hekuna, usna, and pahaina can also take dependent clause complements ( 10.2). Elhkoua and usna take subjunctive dependent clauses as their complements, while ohpeu, talhkou, and hekuna normally take indicative complements. Pahaina can take either an indicative or a subjunctive complement. Note that in combination with a dependent clause complement, hekuna expresses a presupposed event: this event can provide a temporal reference point for some other event, in which case hekuna is equivalent to ‘when’. Alternatively, a hekuna clause can express the cause or rationale for another event, in which case hekuna corresponds to ‘since, given that, inasmuch as, on account of the fact that’. § (6.36) imi tlelhi find.dep:sbj elhkoua purpose.all 3inom.1sdat ‘in order for me to find it’ (6.37) me hial`o today suke work.cv tsuo too 1snom ‘because I’m too sick to work today’ amouta rel.sick.dep talhkou cause.abl (6.38) s`u ikahpa prg.fall.dep hekuna account.loc rain ‘on account of the fact that it’s raining’ or ‘when it’s raining’ (6.39) satlai toki fix.dep:sbj usna stead.loc roof.dat ‘instead of fixing the roof’ (6.40) Sakialma satlai roof.dat toki fix.dep:sbj usna, stead.loc na 3aerg lakiyi hunt.pv Sakial.erg ‘Instead of fixing the roof, Sakial went hunting’ more lit. ‘Instead of Sakial fixing the roof, he went hunting’ (6.41) Sakialma pahaina, Sakial.erg beyond.loc ‘Besides fixing the roof, Sakial went hunting’ satlai roof.dat toka fix.dep na 3aerg lakiyi hunt.pv Also included among the relational nouns are the terms for the cardinal directions, and sets of terms denoting directions relative to some deictic reference point (viz., the speaker, or some prominent topographical feature near the speaker):1 1Notice that the Okuna recognize six cardinal directions, rather than the four familiar from our compass. The English equivalents given for iseut, kotsimot, kosetot, and sukuot are only approximate. 108 CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE heut iseut kotsimot ahopiaut kosetot sukuot sihafaut sihkasout sihitaut usihot ilalot uelalot ‘north’ ‘northeast’ ‘east / southeast’ ‘south’ ‘west / southwest’ ‘northwest’ (lit. ‘snow direction’) (lit. ‘morning direction’) (lit. ‘sun zenith direction’) (lit. ‘evening direction’) (lit. ‘wind direction’) eklion etlen ‘left’ ‘right’ ‘upstream’ ‘downstream’ ‘towards the river’ ‘away from the river’ ‘towards the shore’ ‘away from shore’ Examples: (6.42) Sa tiesatu town.abl heuta north.all 13erg ‘We travelled north from the village’ puniakyit travel.pv.pl (6.43) Na tene hill ekau 3aerg here.abl ‘They live to the west of the hills (and) upstream from here’ sihkasoutna upstream.loc kosetotna west.loc tsuhpat live.ipv.pl To indicate spatio-temporal proximity or immediacy (corresponding to English ‘right, just, directly, imme- diately’), the diminutive prefix ki- (or kih- before a vowel) may be added to the relational noun: iseu kihypiahna kotu kikasuna hitol kiheklionna tuhsa kikamna na uslata kihisna ‘right above us’ ‘right next to the house’ ‘just to the left of the door’ ‘immediately before winter’ ‘just after they finish(ed)’ Likewise, to indicate spatio-temporal distance, the relational noun may carry the augmentative prefix to- (toh- before a vowel): iseu tohypiahna ekau tolamana tuhsa tokamna ne nkilha tohisna ‘far above us’ ‘very far away from here’ ‘long before winter’ ‘long after she left’ Note finally that relational nouns sometimes occur alone, without a noun phrase complement. For instance, himna and yhmana may be used by themselves to mean ‘inside, indoors’ and ‘outside, outdoors’, respectively. Without a complement, kufuna ‘between/among’ has the sense of ‘all over the place’ or ‘here and there’: (6.44) Kufuna toilhe stand:res.tnzr koin person ante many ikanka prg.be:here.ipv:pst among.loc ‘There were a lot of people here standing all around’ The following fixed expressions feature repetition of a relational noun, with the second copy marked for case: heku hekuna kasu kasoua kasu kasume kufu kufuna kuma kumana ‘from time to time, now and then’ ‘from side to side’ ‘side by side, abreast, in tandem, next to one another’ ‘all around, here and there’ ‘face to face, facing one another’ 6.5. RELATIONAL NOUNS 109 (6.45) Ne kasu side kasume side.inst itoilhankat prg.stand:res.ipv:pst.pl 3anom ‘They were standing side by side’ Notes on certain relational noun contrasts In order to express physical contact with a surface, di↵erent relational nouns are used depending on the nature of the surface: kasu is used for vertical and sloping surfaces, while epam is used for (solid) horizontal surfaces, and nyhui for the surface of a body of water. These nouns appear in the locative case to denote a location (‘on’), dative case to denote an endpoint (‘onto’), and ablative case to denote a source or starting point (‘o↵ of’). Compare: totsat epamna totsat epaim totsat epamu ‘on (top of) the table’ ‘onto the table’ ‘o↵ (of) the table’ malo kasuna malo kasoi malo kasou satla kasuna satla kasoi satla kasou ‘on the wall’ ‘onto the wall’ ‘o↵ (of) the wall’ ‘on the roof’ ‘onto the roof’ ‘o↵ (of) the roof’ tokunu nyhuina tokunu nyhuei tokunu nyhueu ‘on (the surface of) the lake’ ‘onto (the surface of) the lake’ ‘o↵ of (the surface of) the lake’ Kasu can also have the sense of English ‘beside’ or ‘next to’, especially when used with a complement noun that does not denote a vertical or sloping surface. Alternatively, ‘beside’ or ‘next to’ can be expressed with the relational noun ute (literally ‘near(by)’). moiha kasuna moiha utena palahta kasuna ‘beside the girl, next to the girl’ ‘next to the girl’ or ‘near the girl’ ‘on (the side of) the tree’ or ‘beside the tree’ There are two pairs of relational nouns which correspond to English ‘top’ and ‘bottom’. The nouns epam ‘top’ and palul ‘bottom, underside’ are used to refer to the exterior surfaces of an object, while himpi`a ‘top, ceiling’ and hilul ‘bottom, floor’ refer to the inside surfaces of an object or areas of an enclosed space (such as a room or cave). Note the following contrast: akot lulna akot palulna akot hilulna ‘under the box’ ‘on the bottom/underside of the box’ ‘in/at the bottom of the box’ The noun piau ‘tip, summit’ can also used for ‘top’ when the complement refers to a vertically-oriented object that ends in a point, such as a tree or mountain: e.g., palahta piauna ‘at the top of the tree’. In addition, there are three pairs of relational nouns which correspond to English ‘before’ and ‘after’, or ‘in front (of)’ and ‘behind’, each with a slightly di↵erent sense. First, the terms kuma and kutsmu are used when the complement is an object with an inherent front and back, such as a person or a house: kumana indicates a position facing towards the front of the object, and kutsmuna indicates a position at the back of the object: e.g., talo kumana ‘in front of the chief, before the chief, in the chief’s presence’, versus talo kutsmuna ‘behind the chief, in back of the chief’. The terms kam and is may also be used of an object that has an identifiable front and back: kamna indicates a position in front of and facing away from the object, while isna indicates a position behind (and usually facing in the same direction as) the object, as when two or more objects are arranged in a 110 CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE line, all facing the same direction: e.g., iha kamna ‘in front of [and facing away from] the woman’, iha isna ‘behind/after the woman’. More often, kamna and isna are used of objects, time periods, or events occurring in a sequence to indicate relative positions in that sequence: e.g., halai kamna ‘before the summer’, halai isna ‘after the summer’. Additional examples are given below (note the use of kamna and isna with dependent clauses denoting events; cf. 10.2): § (6.46) Kale im`o man.nom 1sabl ‘The man arrived before me’ kamna before.loc (6.47) Kale etskanyi man.nom arrive.pv ‘The man arrived before I left’ me 1snom etskanyi arrive.pv ankilha pv.leave.dep kamna before.loc (6.48) Kale etskanyi arrive.pv me 1snom laisne just man.nom ‘The man arrived just after I had left’ unkilha pf.leave.dep isna after.loc Lastly, the terms ynal and ihfo are used of objects, such as trees and rocks, which do not have an identifiable front and back: ynalna means ‘before, in front of’ in the sense of ‘on the same side as’ (occluding), while ihfona means ‘behind’ in the sense of ‘on the other side of’ (occluded by): e.g., tonaka ynalna ‘in front of the boulder’, tonaka ihfona ‘behind the boulder’. (6.49) Ne olh dist palahta tree iteu those:abl ihfou behind.abl sehtyi emerge.pv 3anom ‘She came out from behind those trees’ 6.6 Possessive constructions A noun phrase denoting some entity can contain within it a smaller noun phrase which identifies the possessor of that entity. I will refer to this smaller noun phrase as a possessive noun phrase. As in most head-final languages, the possessive noun phrase precedes the possessed noun: e.g., suhpa ‘brother’, mo suhpa ‘my brother’, Sakialu suhpa ‘Sakial’s brother’. In 6.6.1 I discuss how the possessive noun phrase is case-marked, while 6.6.2 includes some remarks on the distribution of possessive pronouns. § § 6.6.1 Case marking the possessor In certain situations, a possessive pronoun may take the form of a realis dative clitic (see 5.4). Elsewhere, possessive noun phrases are marked with one of the oblique cases (locative, allative, ablative, or instrumental), according to the type of possession relation involved. § Realis dative clitics are used to express inalienable possession. In particular, they are used when the possessed noun denotes a part of the body (kuma ‘face’, kala ‘leg’, tsanmok ‘heart’, etc.), an inherent aspect or characteristic of the possessor (esian ‘name’, hasu ‘life’, alioin ‘age’, etc.), or a kinship or other a personal relationship (ahte ‘father’, pyi ‘child’, lihpa ‘sister’, kuna ‘friend’, ahkunan ‘companion, comrade’, etc.). Sample paradigms are given below. As discussed in 5.4, clitic pronouns distinguish person but not number; hence the second and third person clitic possessors may be interpreted as singular (e.g., ‘his/her’) or plural (e.g., ‘their’), depending on context. § mo inie so inie kimo inie kuo inie no inie ‘my eyes’ ‘our (excl) eyes’ ‘our (incl) eyes’ ‘your eyes’ ‘his/her/their eyes’ mo ame so ame kimo ame kuo ame no ame ‘my mother’ ‘our (excl) mother(s)’ ‘our (incl) mother(s)’ ‘your mother(s)’ ‘his/her mother; their mothers’ 6.6. POSSESSIVE CONSTRUCTIONS 111 When the possessor takes the form of a stressed (non-clitic) pronoun or a non-pronominal noun phrase, it appears in one of the oblique cases, where the choice of case depends on the nature of the relationship between the possessor and the possessed noun. When the possessed noun is a kinship term or other term denoting a personal relationship, the possessive noun phrase appears in the ablative case: im`o ame iseu es ahkunan Sakialu hotu (1sabl mother) (12abl one companion) (Sakial.abl maternal:uncle) ‘my mother’ (as opposed to someone else’s) ‘a companion of ours’ ‘Sakial’s maternal uncle’ Ablative case is also used when the possessee is a depictive noun like kietam ‘picture’ and the possessive noun phrase denotes the individual or object being depicted. In addition, ablative case is used when the possessed noun names a scalar property (e.g., atoihe ‘size’, alhoit ‘weight’, akuiset ‘length of time, duration’, etc.) and the possessive noun phrase denotes the object possessing that property. talou kietam kotou atoihe hynukialu akuiset (chief.abl picture) (house.abl size) (play.abl duration) ‘the picture of the chief’ ‘the size of the house’ ‘the duration of the play’ Ablative case may also be used when the possessive noun phrase denotes the creator of the object expressed by the possessed noun, or the initiator of the action expressed by the possessed noun, as illustrated below. Note that Sakialu sliahte specifically denotes a story invented or told by Sakial; to refer to a story about Sakial or otherwise associated with him, the allative case would be used in place of the ablative (Sakiala sliahte). Likewise, ihau kytu refers to a gift given by the woman; allative case would be used if the woman was the (intended) recipient of the gift (ihaua kytu). Elimu suklut lhateu aleut Sakialu sliahte ihau kytu (Elim.abl work) (children.abl help) (Sakial.abl story) (woman.abl gift) ‘Elim’s work’ ‘the help of/from the children’ ‘Sakial’s story’ ‘the woman’s gift’ Finally, the possessor takes the ablative case in partitive constructions—that is, when the ‘possessed’ noun is a quantifier or an expression denoting a subpart of an individual, a subset of a set of individuals, or a portion or measurement of some substance: it`o (6.50) Amai that:abl 1sdat ‘Please bring me a cup of that wine’ nauot cup ueho wine es one hite bring:here.cv eskuke please (6.51) Mo 1srdat kunau friend.abl ante many afyia come:along.pv.npl ‘Many of my friends joined (me)’ In the case of body part possession, as well as for other instances where the possessed noun represents an inseparable subpart or an inherent property or characteristic, a stressed pronoun or noun phrase possessor appears in the locative case. Sakialna inie Sakialna es kala Motlana hasou muohe ihana esian (Sakial.loc eyes) (Sakial.loc one leg) (Motla.loc life.abl whole) (woman.loc name) ‘Sakial’s eyes’ ‘one of Sakial’s legs’ ‘Motla’s entire life’ ‘the woman’s name’ Similarly, locative case is used to express part-whole relations with an inanimate possessor. The possessive noun phrase also takes the locative when it denotes an experiencer and the possessed noun expresses an emotion or mental state: 112 CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE paluna kotu kotuna satla Sakialna hotsem (Sakial.loc anger) (village.loc house) (house.loc roof) ‘the houses of/in the village’ ‘the roof of the house’ ‘Sakial’s anger’ When the possessed noun denotes an object being carried by the possessor, or otherwise accompanying the possessor or in his/her immediate control, the instrumental case may be used, e.g., ihame halma (woman.inst book) ‘the woman’s book’. This may be used to refer to the book which the woman has with her, whether or not it belongs to her. For all types of possession not covered above, the possessive noun phrase appears in the allative case. This is the case typically used when the possessed noun denotes (transferable) personal property, a domestic animal, or some other entity with which the possessor is associated. Examples: in`e iase mikala ike Elima palu (3asall food) (boy.all dog) (Elim.all village) ‘his/her food’ ‘the boy’s dog’ ‘Elim’s village’ (6.52) Se Sakiala Sakial.all 13nom ‘We went to Sakial’s house’ kotoi house.dat etyit go.pv.pl 6.6.2 Expressing possession The overt marking of inalienable possession is not as pervasive in Okuna as it is in English. In particular, a realis dative clitic possessor is often omitted from the noun phrase in situations where the corresponding English sentence would require an overt possessor. Examples of this are given below. Recall that a realis dative clitic may be used to mark the possessor in a kinship relation. However, the possessor may be left out when its referent can be inferred from context, especially when it corefers with the topic of the clause in which the kinship term occurs. Consider the sentences in (6.53) and (6.54) below: In (6.53), where ahte ‘father’ takes the ablative pronominal possessor in`o, it is understood that Elim is visiting the father of some individual not mentioned in the sentence; whereas in (6.54), where the possessor is expressed by a realis dative clitic, it is understood that Elim is visiting his own father. In the latter case, it is more common to simply leave out the pronoun, yielding the sentence in (6.55) (literally ‘Elim is visiting the father’). (6.53) Elimma Elim.erg in`o 3aabl aht`e father.nom itsula prg.visit.ipv ‘Elim is visiting his/her father’ (6.54) Elimma Elim.erg no 3ardat aht`e father.nom itsula prg.visit.ipv ‘Elim is visiting his (own) father’ (6.55) Elimma Elim.erg aht`e father.nom itsula prg.visit.ipv ‘Elim is visiting his (own) father’ Overt clitic possessors are even less common when the possessed noun is a body part. Okuna seems to favour constructions in which the possessor of the body part is implicit, or realized externally to the noun phrase that contains the body part term. For example, to express an event whereby an agent manipulates a part of his or her own body, the body part term will generally appear as an unmarked argument of the verb, interpreted either as a patient or as an instrument (see 4.6.4). As shown below, this unmarked argument does not include a possessor, it being understood that the body part belongs to the participant carrying out the action: (6.56) might be more literally translated ‘Motla opened eyes’ (or ‘Motla eye-opened’); likewise § 6.7. CORRELATIVES 113 (6.57) is literally ‘The children touched fingers to the tree bark’ (or ‘The children finger-touched the tree bark’). (6.56) Motlama inie eyes limyi open.pv Motla.erg ‘Motla opened his eyes’ (6.57) Lhatima palahta tree sem`o skin.nom silh finger lalyit touch.pv.pl children.erg ‘The children touched the bark of the tree with their fingers’ If an overt possessive pronoun is included with the body part term, it is normally understood that the actor is manipulating someone else’s body, not his/her own. Compare the following sentences: in the first example it is understood that Sakial lifted his own arm, while in the second example he lifted the arm of someone else not mentioned in the sentence.2 (6.58) Sakialma nalh arm kelhyi lift.pv Sakial.erg ‘Sakial lifted his arm’ (6.59) Sakialma Sakial.erg inan 3asloc nalhe arm.nom tiyisyi lift.pv ‘Sakial lifted his/her arm’ A similar construction is used when attributing a property to a part of someone’s body. In the examples below, a stative verb takes an unmarked noun phrase denoting the body part and a nominative, dative, or locative noun phrase denoting the possessor of the body part. (6.60) Sakiale kalial legs liakna long.ipv Sakial.nom ‘Sakial has long legs’ or ‘Sakial is long-legged’ (6.61) Sakiail nalh arm takiyi break.pv Sakial.dat ‘Sakial’s arm got broken’ or ‘Sakial broke his arm’ (6.62) Sakialna nalh arm itakeia prg.break:res.ipv Sakial.loc ‘Sakial’s arm is broken’ or ‘Sakial has a broken arm’ (6.63) Iman 1sloc temie hands inuha prg.cold.ipv ‘My hands are cold’ (more lit. ‘I feel hands-cold’) 6.7 Correlatives Okuna has two parallel sets of pronominal and adverbial elements which I refer to as correlatives. The first set of correlatives function either as interrogative operators (equivalent to ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘how much’, etc.) or as indefinite quantifiers (‘someone’, ‘something’, ‘somewhere’, ‘some amount of’, etc.). They can also combine with the negative marker ntse to function as negative quantifiers (‘no-one’, ‘nothing’, 2Note also that a di↵erent verb is used for ‘lift’ in the two examples: kelha (lit. ‘go up, ascend’) is generally used when an entity raises all or part of itself under its own power, while tiyisa is used otherwise. 114 CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE ‘nowhere’, ‘no amount of’, etc.). The second set of correlatives act as demonstratives (‘there’, ‘then’, ‘that amount of’, etc.), and are also used in forming exclamatives (‘such a’, ‘so much’, etc.). The correlatives are so called because they occur in corresponding pairs in correlative constructions 10.2.3 for discussion). In the example below, for instance, the indefinite/interrogative correlative mi`e (see ‘where, somewhere’ is paired with the demonstrative correlative ti`e ‘there’: § (6.64) Ku miei where.dat eti go.dep:sbj aunme, if.inst tiei there.dat husu also man 1snom eta go.ipv 2nom ‘Wherever you go, I will go too’ or ‘If you go somewhere, I will go there too’ I present the correlatives and discuss their basic distribution in remarks on the functions of particular correlative elements. § 6.7.1 and § 6.7.2, while § 6.7.3 includes some 6.7.1 Indefinite/interrogative correlatives The indefinite/interrogative correlatives are listed below, along with their closest English equivalents. Notice that these elements all contain the formative mi- (or ma-). m`a mi`o mi`e mitsaka emalh mian miante interrogative ‘what, which’ ‘who, which’ ‘where’ ‘what kind of’ ‘when, what time’ ‘how much’ ‘how many’ indefinite ‘some, something’ [inanimate] ‘some, someone’ [animate] ‘somewhere’ ‘some kind of’ ‘sometime, some point’ ‘some, a certain amount (of)’ ‘some, a certain number (of)’ emi emihka emifoi ymiohpa milhkoua mitunke emiantena kamianteme miai, miampi emiampi lau miampi ‘when, at what time’ ‘when’ [in the past] ‘when’ [in the future] ‘why, how come, for what reason’ ‘why, what for, for what purpose’ ‘how, in what way’ ‘how often’ ‘how many times’ ‘how, to what degree’ ‘(for) how long’ ‘how far, to what extent’ ‘sometime, at some point, ever’ ‘at some point, ever’ [in the past] ‘at some point, ever’ [in the future] ‘for some reason’ ‘for some purpose’ ‘somehow, in some way’ ‘in certain cases/situations’ ‘a certain number of times’ [in succession] ‘somehow; somewhat, to some degree’ ‘for a certain length of time’ ‘a certain amount, some way, to some extent’ I have presented the correlatives in two sets. Those in the first set are nouns which inflect for case, while those in the second set (some of them derived from nouns in the first group through the addition of case endings and other axes) are adverbials, and thus do not carry (additional) case inflection. The declensions for m`a, mi`o, and mi`e, which are slightly irregular, are given below. As this table shows, the stems for these nouns are mah-, mioh- and mie-, respectively. They inflect like regular nouns, except that they do not take the ending -e in the nominative (mi`e, since it refers to a place, never occurs in the ergative, and rarely appears in the nominative): mi`e miei mi`o mioi nom m`a dat mai erg mahma miohma — loc mahna miohna miena mieia all maha mieu abl mahu inst mahme miohme mieme mioha miohu 6.7. CORRELATIVES 115 The correlatives listed above have two major functions: as indefinite quantifiers in statements and commands, and as interrogative operators in questions. I discuss these functions in turn. Correlatives as indefinites In statements and commands, the correlatives listed above act as indefinite quantifiers and quantificational adverbs. They can usually be translated using English expressions containing ‘some’ or ‘(a) certain’. To emphasize a singular indefinite reading, the correlative is sometimes preceded by the numeral es ‘one’: e.g., es mi`o ‘someone’, es halma m`a ‘some book, a certain book’. Example sentences: (6.65) Sakiail m`a something:nom tlelhyi find.pv Sakial.dat ‘Sakial found something’ (6.66) Na es one mai halma 3aerg some.dat book ‘She is reading a certain book’ (6.67) Im`e talake 1sall coin.nom ‘Someone stole my money’ miohma someone.erg itala prg.read.ipv uskohat pf.steal.ipv.pl (6.68) Iha nin those:nom miei woman somewhere.dat ‘Those women are going somewhere’ itat prg.go.ipv.pl (6.69) Ne emifoi sometime:fut nkilha leave.ipv 3anom ‘She will leave at some point’ Indefinite correlatives can also occur in negated clauses, appearing between the negative marker ntse and the verb. The combination of ntse plus an indefinite correlative often corresponds to English ‘no’ or ‘not much (many, etc.)’: e.g., ntse halma m`a ‘no book(s)’, ntse pyi mi`o ‘no child(ren)’, ntse kuna miante ‘not many friends’, ntse ueho mian ‘not much wine’. In other cases, an indefinite correlative in the scope of negation is most naturally translated using an expression with ‘any’ or ‘(very) much (many, etc.)’: (6.70) Im`e ntse neg pyi child mi`o some:nom ikulo prg.see:res.ipv:neg 1sall ‘I don’t see any children’ (6.71) Im`o 1sabl ntse neg kuna friend miante many:nom ialo have.ipv:neg ‘I don’t have (very) many friends’ (6.72) Me Tenmotlaie Tenmotlai.dat ntse neg emiantena often eto go.ipv:neg iahok at:all 1snom ‘I don’t often go to Tenmotlai’ or ‘It’s not often that I go to Tenmotlai’ When ntse immediately precedes certain indefinite correlatives, the two fuse into a single word, equivalent to a negative or other downwardly entailing quantifier in English. These negated correlatives are listed below: 116 CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE ntsam`a ntsemi`o ntsemi`e ntsamalh ntsemi ntsemihka ntsemifoi ntsymiohpa ntsemilhkoua ntsemitunke ntsemiai ‘none, not any, nothing’ [inanimate] ‘none, not any, no-one’ [animate] ‘nowhere’ ‘no time, no point, never’ ‘never, at no time’ ‘never (before)’ [in the past] ‘never (again)’ [in the future] ‘for no reason’ (‘there’s no reason why...’) ‘for no purpose, to no avail’ (‘there’s no purpose for...’) ‘nohow, in no way’ (‘there’s no way to...’) ‘not so, not very; nohow’ Negated correlatives tend to occupy the focus position in the clause, immediately preceding the verb (and any unmarked noun phrases in the clause). Like ntse, a negated correlative triggers negative inflection on the verb (see 7.4). Examples: 7.3, § (6.73) Ntsemi`o § etskanou arrive.pv:neg no-one:nom ‘No-one showed up’ (6.74) Na ntsam`a nothing:nom etsou say.pv:neg 3aerg ‘She didn’t say anything’ or ‘She said nothing’ (6.75) Im`e halm`a book.nom ntsemiena nowhere.loc itleilho prg.find:res.ipv:neg 1sall ‘My book is nowhere to be found’ (lit. ‘My book is found nowhere’) (6.76) Na ntsemi 3aerg never ‘He never eats meat’ maka meat iaso eat.ipv:neg (6.77) Ti ntsemitunke in:no:way tokyipo fix.able.ipv:neg 3idat ‘There’s no way to fix it’ (lit. ‘It is in no way fixable’) (6.78) Ti ntsemilhkoua for:no:purpose tokoike fix.cond:neg 3idat ‘There’s no point in fixing it’ (lit. ‘For no purpose would it be fixed’) To express ‘little or no’, ‘few if any’, etc., a negated correlative is preceded by tiuse (literally ‘maybe’): (6.79) Ikimme 12inst ‘There’s little or nothing for us to eat’ ntsam`a nothing:nom tiuse maybe iasoike eat.cond:neg (6.80) Ne tiuse maybe tuohisne 3anom late ‘She rarely if ever arrives late’ ntsemi never etskano arrive.ipv:neg When a negated correlative takes another indefinite correlative in its scope, the latter is usually translated using ‘any’ rather than ‘some’. When the indefinite correlative occurs in a yes/no question, both translations are possible. Compare how m`a is translated in the following examples ((6.84) can also be interpreted to mean ‘What did Sakial say?’, depending on the context in which the question is uttered; see below for discussion): 6.7. CORRELATIVES 117 (6.81) Sakialma m`a something:nom etsyi say.pv Sakial.erg ‘Sakial said something’ (6.82) Sakialma ntsemi never m`a something:nom utso pf.say.ipv:neg Sakial.erg ‘Sakial never said anything’ (6.83) Ntsemiohma nobody.erg ‘Nobody said anything’ m`a something:nom etsou say.pv:neg (6.84) Sakialma Sakial.erg m`a something:nom etsyin? say.pv.qu ‘Did Sakial say something/anything?’ To express so-called free choice ‘any’—i.e., ‘any’ in the sense of ‘it doesn’t matter what’—the indefinite correlative is preceded by the adverbial ela ‘in each/any case, anyhow, anyway’. The verb is typically in the conditional mood. (6.85) Ma ela anyhow m`a something:nom sukike do.cond ikoi 2sall 1serg ‘I would do anything for you’ (6.86) Efos tan that:nom ela anyhow problem ‘Anyone could solve that problem’ miohna someone.loc lahyipike solve.able.cond Correlatives as interrogatives In questions, indefinite correlatives normally function as interrogative operators, corresponding to wh- expressions in English (‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, etc.). As discussed in 9.3.2, main clause questions are formed by placing the particle ne immediately after the verb (ne contracts to -n and attaches to the verb when the latter ends in a vowel; however, attaching -n does not a↵ect stress placement on the verb). Unlike wh-expressions in English, the interrogative correlatives do not move to the front of the clause, but instead appear in the same positions as the corresponding indefinite phrases. Consider the following examples: § (6.87) Sakiail m`a what:nom Sakial.dat ‘What did Sakial find?’ tlelhyin? find.pv.qu (6.88) Na 3aerg halma book mai what.dat it`alan? prg.read.ipv.qu ‘Which book(s) is she reading?’ (6.89) Im`e talake 1sall coin.nom ‘Who stole my money?’ miohma who.erg uskohat pf.steal.ipv.pl ne? qu (6.90) Iha nin those:nom miei woman where.dat ‘Where are those women going?’ itat prg.go.ipv.pl ne? qu 118 (6.91) Ne emifoi when:fut nk`ılhan? leave.ipv.qu 3anom ‘When will she leave?’ CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE When interpreted as interrogative operators, correlatives almost always appear in the focus position in the clause, preceding the verb but following any definite (non-contrastive) noun phrases (see 8.2.1 for more on constituent focus). Usually the interrogative comes immediately before the verb, unless the verb is preceded by a non-case-marked noun phrase, in which case the interrogative precedes that noun phrase. Compare the word order in the following examples. In (6.92) the theme argument kytu ‘present’ is marked for nominative case and interpreted as definite, and the interrogative delimiter mioi ‘to whom?’ follows it. In (6.93) kytu is indefinite and non-referential, occurring in the bare form, and mioi precedes it. 9.2.1 and § § (6.92) Na kyt`o present.nom mioi who.dat 3aerg ‘Who did she give the present to?’ uktiyin? give.pv.qu (6.93) Na mioi who.dat kytu present uktiyin? give.pv.qu 3aerg ‘Who did she give presents to?’ Note that questions containing correlatives are potentially ambiguous, at least in writing. A sentence like (6.89) could be construed as a constituent question with the correlative functioning as a wh-element (‘Who stole my money?’), or as a yes/no question with the correlative interpreted as an indefinite quantifier (‘Did someone steal my money?’). Note that the postverbal particle does not distinguish these interpretations: the presence of ne merely indicates that the sentence is a question, without specifying whether it is a yes/no question or a constituent question. However, in speech these two interpretations are distinguished through intonation, with regard to the pitch following the final stressed syllable in the sentence: yes/no questions end with a level or slightly rising pitch, while constituent questions end in a falling pitch. Moreover, the correct interpretation can usually be inferred from context: ‘Who stole my money?’ presupposes that the speaker’s money was stolen, while ‘Did someone steal my money?’ does not. Hence, if (6.89) is uttered in a context where it is already known (or can reasonably be inferred) that the speaker’s money was definitely stolen, then the addressee will know that the speaker is asking for the identity of the thief, and will interpret the sentence as a constituent question. The indefinite/interrogative correlatives also occur in indirect (i.e, embedded) questions. As discussed in 9.3.2, indirect questions are formed using the clause-final particle aun (usually glossed ‘if’), preceded by a § verb in the dependent form ( § im`e 1sall uskohata pf.steal.dep.pl untsapa wonder.ipv talake coin.nom miohma who.erg (6.94) Ma aun if 10.2): 1serg ‘I wonder who stole my money’ Consider also the following pairs of examples, where the second example in each pair contains an indirect question corresponding to the direct question in the first example: (6.95) Elime mieu where.abl ehk`anan? originate.ipv.qu Elim.nom ‘Where does Elim come from?’ (6.96) Unma Elime 3ardat.1serg Elim.nom ‘I asked them where Elim comes from’ nesapyit ask.pv.pl mieu where.abl ehkana originate.dep aun if 6.7. CORRELATIVES 119 (6.97) Na im`o 1sabl ymiohpa 3aerg why ‘Why has he refused my help?’ aleute help.nom ukys`ulhtan? pf.refuse.ipv.qu (6.98) Iman 1sloc ‘I don’t know why he refused my help’ miono neg.know.ipv:neg na 3aerg im`o 1sabl aleute help.nom ymiohpa why ukysulhta pf.refuse.dep aun if Unlike direct questions, indirect questions are never ambiguous between a constituent question reading and a yes/no question reading. In indirect constituent questions, the verb appears in the dependent indicative form, while in indirect yes/no questions, it appears in the dependent subjunctive. (Dependent indicative clauses presuppose the event that they refer to, while dependent subjunctive clauses do not.) This contrast is illustrated by the following pair of examples: (6.99) Ma untsapa wonder.ipv im`e 1sall talake coin.nom miohma who.erg uskohata pf.steal.dep.pl aun if 1serg ‘I wonder who stole my money’ (6.100) Ma 1serg untsapa wonder.ipv im`e 1sall talake coin.nom miohma who.erg uskohita pf.steal.dep:sbj.pl aun if ‘I wonder if/whether someone stole my money’ 6.7.2 Demonstrative correlatives Many of the indefinite/interrogative correlatives discussed above have a demonstrative counterpart. These are listed in the table below, and glossed with their closest English equivalents. The correlatives in the first group are nouns, which inflect for case, while those in the second group are non-inflecting adverbial elements. Notice that most of the demonstrative correlatives begin with the formative ta- or tl(o)-. ti`e (tie-) tlotsaka talh tlan tlante tlohpa tlotunke etlantena katlanteme tlai, tlampi etlampi lau tlampi demonstrative exclamative ‘there, that place’ (‘that’s where...’) ‘that kind of, of that sort; like that’ ‘then, at that time’ (‘that’s when...’) ‘that much’ (‘that’s how much...’) ‘that many’ (‘that’s how many...’) ‘so/how much’ ‘so/how many’ ‘therefore, for that reason’ (‘that’s why...’) ‘thus, in that way’ (‘that’s how...’) ‘that often’ (‘that’s how often...’) ‘that many times’ ‘thus, that much, to that degree’ (‘that’s how...’) ‘(for) that long’ (‘that’s how long...’) ‘that far, to that extent’ (‘that’s how far...’) ‘so/how often’ ‘so many times’ [in succession] ‘so, such; how’ ‘for so long’ ‘so/how far, such a long way’ These elements can function either deictically or anaphorically. That is, they indicate a place, time, reason, manner, etc., which was either referred to earlier in the discourse, or which is identifiable from the discourse context. Consider the following sample dialogue: (6.101) Ku 2nom Tenmotlaie Tenmotlai.dat `utin? pf.go.ipv:int.qu ‘Have you (ever) been to Tenmotlai?’ 120 (6.102) Hi`o, ma 1serg tiena there.loc yes ‘Yes, in fact I used to live there’ tsuhpanka live.ipv:pst CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE ha in:fact In the second sentence, ti`e ‘there’ refers back to the place mentioned in the previous sentence. Additional examples are given below. Note that when the demonstrative correlative is (part of) a focused phrase, it serves to draw attention to a particular referent. Sentences with focused demonstrative correlatives are usually translated as ‘That’s where...’, ‘That’s when...’, ‘That’s how...’, etc. (6.103) Iase food ‘Do you really want to eat that much food?’ iasuhi eat.want.ipv:int tlain that:much.dat kalh? emph:qu (6.104) Sakiale tlai that:much apata rel.tall.ipv Sakial.nom ‘Sakial is that tall’ or ‘That’s how tall Sakial is’ (6.105) Ku tlohpa 2nom for:that:reason ‘That’s why I love you so much’ tlampi to:that:extent auohka rel.loved.ipv im`e 1sall When used deictically, the demonstrative correlatives can combine with the particles tsi, ke and olh, as appropriate, in order to indicate discourse status and/or relative distance from the speaker and addressee (see 5.3.2 for discussion of these particles): § tsi tlotsaka koin ke tlotsaka koin olh tlotsaka koin ‘this kind of person, a person like this’ ‘this/that kind of person, a person like this/that’ ‘that kind of person, a person like that’ [near me] [near you/us] [away from us] tsi iase tlan ke iase tlan olh iase tlan ‘this much food’ ‘this/that much food’ ‘that much food’ [newly mentioned] [under discussion] [mentioned earlier] Demonstrative correlatives can also be preceded by the emphatic reflexive element tsan. The resulting expressions are variously translated ‘that very...’, ‘the/that same...’, or ‘just that...’. E.g.: tsan tlai tsan tlotunke tsan tlohpa tsan tlotsaka koin ‘just so, just as’ ‘in just that way, in that very way’ ‘for that very reason, for just that reason’ ‘just that kind of person, the same kind of person’. Demonstrative correlatives commonly occur in appositive relatives. Appositive relatives take the form of a participial clause ( 10.3) introduced by the coordinator ka, and are used to provide additional information about a previously mentioned referent or event: § (6.106) Me Uilumai Uiluma.dat etyi, go.pv ka and tiena there.loc ahtema father.erg kas so:far ulhmo year 1snom ‘I went to Uiluma, where my father have been living for many years’ more lit. ‘I went to Uiluma, and there (my) father (have been) living for many years’ antei many.dat tsuhpe live.pt (6.107) Sakiale Sakial.nom lamuta finally uhualta, pf.well.tinc.ipv ka and tlohpa for:that:reason tulats kindness han much uoite feel.pt iman 1sloc ‘Sakial has finally recovered, for which (reason) I’m very grateful’ 6.7. CORRELATIVES 121 Finally, demonstrative correlatives can have exclamatory force, in which case they are often translated using ‘so’ or ‘how’. Exclamatory clauses typically include the particle hok, which immediately follows the verb: (6.108) Tomla mountain tin those:nom tlai that:much apatat rel.tall.ipv.pl hok! excl ‘Those mountains are so tall!’ or ‘(Look) how tall those mountains are!’ (6.109) Koin tlante that:many ik`a prg.be:here.ipv hok! excl person ‘There are so many people here!’ or ‘Look how many people are here!’ 6.7.3 Remarks on the functions of correlatives The correlatives m`a ‘what’ and mi`o ‘who’ function as indefinite/interrogative counterparts to the third person pronouns. Like the personal pronouns, they can occur as noun phrases by themselves, or as determiners within a larger noun phrase, in which case they follow the head noun. When combined with a noun, m`a and mi`o are equivalent to English ‘which’ or ‘some’ (or, in combination with the negative particle ntse, ‘no’ or ‘not any’). M`a is used with inanimate nouns: e.g., halma m`a ‘which book(s)?’, ntse halma m`a ‘no book(s)’. Mi`o is used with animate nouns: e.g., pyi mi`o ‘which child(ren)?’, ntse pyi mi`o ‘no child(ren)’; ike mi`o ‘which dog(s)?’, ntse ike mi`o ‘no dog(s)’. Correlative time adverbials (equivalent to ‘when/sometime’, ‘never’, and ‘then’) make a threefold tense distinction: Emihka, ntsemihka, and tahka indicate times in the past; and emifoi, ntsemifoi, and tahoi indicate times in the future; while emi, ntsemi, and tai are neutral as to tense. Compare the sentences below. Note that the use of the tense-marked forms is optional: it is always grammatical to substitute the neutral forms, e.g., using emi in place of emihka or emifoi. (6.110) Emi when i`asan? eat.ipv.qu ‘When do/will you eat?’ (6.111) Emifoi i`asan? eat.ipv.qu when:fut ‘When will you eat?’ (6.112) Emihka iasyin? when:pst eat.pv.qu ‘When did you eat?’ Besides emi, there is another word for ‘when/sometime’, namely emalh. Note that emalh patterns as a noun, and thus inflects for case, while emi is an adverbial and has an invariant form. Normally emalh will appear with the locative case ending -na: e.g., Emalhna iasyin? ‘When did you eat?’. However, it can also inflect for dative, ablative, or instrumental case, or appear in the unmarked form in combination with a case-marked relational noun such as kamna ‘before’, as shown below. The same holds for the negative correlative ntsemalh ‘never’ and the demonstrative correlative talh ‘then’. emailh sik`a emalhu su emalh kamna ‘until when?, for how long?’ ‘since when?, for how long?’ ‘before when?’ The correlatives mitsaka ‘what kind, some kind’ (ntse mitsaka ‘no kind’) and tlotsaka ‘that kind’ almost always occur in combination with a noun denoting the kind in question. The correlative precedes the noun: e.g., tlotsaka palahta ‘that kind of tree, a tree like that, such a tree’. Additional examples: 122 (6.113) Mitsaka iase food h`enkan? enjoyable.ipv.qu what:kind ‘What kind of food do you like?’ CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE (6.114) Im`e tlotsaka that:kind iase food henka enjoyable.ipv 1sall ‘I like that kind of food’ or ‘That’s the kind of food I like’ The indefinite correlatives mitunke, miai, and miampi, when used as interrogatives, all translate English ‘how’. Mitunke means ‘how’ in the sense of ‘in what way, in what manner, by what means’. By contrast, miai and miampi (which can be used more or less interchangeably) mean ‘how’ in the sense of ‘how much’ or ‘to what degree/extent’. (6.115) Efos tan that:nom mitunke how problem ‘How did (you) solve that problem?’ ul`ahan? pf.solve.ipv.qu (6.116) Kot`o miai how ap`atan? rel.tall.ipv.qu house.nom ‘How tall is the house?’ When ‘how’ has the sense of ‘by what route’, it is translated using mi`e ‘where’ in the instrumental case, as in (6.117). In addition, emalh ‘when’ inflected for instrumental case can denote ‘how’ in the sense of ‘under what circumstances’, as in (6.118). The latter can also be used to mean ‘for how long’ (referring to an approximate duration) or ‘during what period of time’, as in (6.119). (6.117) Tiesat auotiohtaie town rel.near.comp.tnzr.dat ‘How would one get to the nearest town?’ mieme where.inst et`ıkin? go.cond.qu (6.118) Hen two ‘How did you two meet for the first time?’ tsokuyiot first:meet.recip.pv.pl emalhme when.inst kuo 2rdat ne? qu (6.119) Ne emalhme when.inst Tenmotlaina Tenmotlai.loc 3anom ‘How long did she stay in Tenmotlai?’ tehyin? stay.pv.qu Paralleling the distinction between mitunke and miai/miampi, the negative correlative ntsemitunke means ‘there’s no way’, while ntsemiai and ntse miampi mean ‘not so’ or ‘not at all’. Likewise, demonstrative tlotunke mean ‘that’s how’ in the sense of ‘thus, in that way’, while tlai and tlampi mean ‘that much’, ‘so’, or ‘to that degree/extent’: (6.120) Efos tan that:nom ntsemitunke in:no:way problem ‘There’s no way to solve that problem’ lahyipo solve.able.ipv:neg (6.121) Ma efos problem tan that:nom tlotunke in:that:way lahyi solve.pv 1serg ‘That’s how I solved that problem’ (6.122) Kot`o ntsemiai not:so apato rel.tall.ipv:neg house.nom ‘The house isn’t so tall’ 6.8. QUANTIFIERS AND RELATED ELEMENTS 123 (6.123) Kot`o house.nom tlai that/so apata rel.tall.ipv ‘The house is that/so tall’ or ‘That’s how tall the house is’ Miai, ntsemiai, and tlai are also be used with the verb taksa ‘be called’ to ask about or refer to a name: (6.124) Miai how ‘What is your name?’ or ‘What are you called?’ t`aksan? be:called.ipv.qu (6.125) Me tlai that/so ntakso neg.be:called.ipv:neg iahok at:all 1snom ‘That’s not what I’m called’ or ‘That’s not my name’ Tlai can also be used to mean ‘like, as’, when it appears in a participial clause introduced by ka (see 8.3.1, 10.3). If the verb in the participial clause is the same as the verb in the main clause, the latter is sometimes § omitted, as in the second example below. § (6.126) Sakiale im`e 1sall ohka beloved.ipv ka and tlai thus tsan own im`o 1sabl tiene son.nom ohke beloved.pt Sakial.nom ‘I love Sakial as I love my own son’ more lit. ‘Sakial is beloved to me, and my own son being beloved to that degree’ (6.127) Sakiale im`e Sakial.nom 1sall ‘I love Sakial like my own son’ ohka beloved.ipv ka and tlai thus tsan own im`o 1sabl tiene son.nom Finally, there are two correlatives equivalent to English ‘why’: ymiohpa and milhkoua. The di↵erence between them is subtle, and they can often be used interchangeably. Roughly, ymiohpa focuses on the cause of an event, and has the sense of ‘for what reason’ (or ‘how come’); whereas milhkoua focuses on the intended e↵ect of an event, and has the sense of ‘for what purpose’ (or ‘what for’, or ‘to what end’). Compare the sentences below, both of which can be used to translate the sentence ‘Why did Elim smash the pot?’. The first asks what may have led Elim to smash the pot, while the latter asks what motivation Elim may have had for carrying out the action or what he hoped to accomplish. (6.128) Elimma ymiohpa for:what:reason kopoi pot.dat Elim.erg ‘How come Elim smashed the pot?’ (6.129) Elimma milhkoua for:what:purpose kopoi pot.dat Elim.erg ‘What did Elim smash the pot for?’ tsitspyin? smash.pv.qu tsitspyin? smash.pv.qu 6.8 Quantifiers and related elements In this section I discuss quantifiers and formally related elements. A quantificational phrase consists of a quantifier, usually preceded by a noun or noun phrase which expresses the domain of quantification. This is illustrated in (6.130), where the quantificational phrase luhme iha tosepyi ‘several old women’ consists of the quantifier tosepyi ‘several’ and the quantified noun phrase luhme iha ‘old woman’. Notice that the quantifier follows the quantified noun phrase, rather than preceding as it does in English. A quantificational phrase can also consist of a quantifier by itself with the domain of quantification implicit, as in (6.131). 124 CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE tosepyi (6.130) Luhme old:one several:nom ‘Several old women came here’ iha woman ketyia come:here.pv.npl (6.131) Tosepyi ketyia come:here.pv.npl several:nom ‘Several (of them) came here’ Morphologically and syntactically, quantifiers pattern as nouns in Okuna, in that they inflect for case and can function (alone, or within a larger quantificational phrase) as an argument of a verb. Recall that case inflection occurs at the right edge of the phrase in Okuna (cf. 4.2). Therefore, since the quantifier comes after the quantified noun, it is normally the quantifier that will bear the case ending, if any, while the quantified noun (phrase) occurs in its unmarked form. However, if the quantifier is in turn followed by a demonstrative, it is the demonstrative that carries the case marking while the quantifier remains unmarked. Note the position of the instrumental ending -me in the examples below: § luhme ihame luhme iha tosepyime luhme iha tosepyi inime ‘with (the) old woman/women’ ‘with several old women’ ‘with these several old women’ Importantly, when a quantificational phrase is in the nominative case role, as in (6.130) and (6.131) above, the quantifier appears in its unmarked form: the case ending -e, which attaches to regular nouns in the nominative, does not occur on quantifiers or other postnominal modifiers. § Quantificational phrases almost always precede the verb (i.e., they rarely if ever undergo postposition; cf. 9.2.3). Moreover, Okuna is a language in which word order directly reflects quantifier scope: when a clause contains two quantificational phrases, the first quantificational phrase takes scope over the second one. Compare the sentences below. In (6.132), pyi inket scopes over halma hein, and the meaning is ‘For every child, there exist two (possibly di↵erent) books that that child read’. In (6.133), the relative scope of the quantifiers is reversed, and the meaning is ‘There exist two (specific) books which every child read’. (6.132) Pyi inket every:erg halma book child ‘Every child read two books’ hein two.dat talyimat read.pv.dpl.pl (6.133) Halma hein two.dat pyi child inket every:erg talyinit read.pv.epl.pl book ‘Two books were read by every child’ As in many languages, Okuna has separate quantifiers for mass nouns like n`a ‘water’ and count nouns like halma ‘book’: e.g., n`a sipe ‘some water’ vs. halma sepyi ‘some books’; n`a tsomo ‘most of the water’ vs. 6.8.1 and count noun quantifiers in halma tsomote ‘most of the books’. I discuss mass noun quantifiers in 6.8.4. 6.8.2, with additional remarks on the usage of certain quantifiers in § Finally, in § 6.8.5 I discuss other postnominal elements which share formal properties with quantifiers. § 6.8.3. Numerals are treated in § Note that there is a special class of quantificational elements not considered in this section, namely the universal quantifiers (equivalent to ‘each’, ‘every’, and ‘all’). These inflect di↵erently from the other quantifiers, patterning more like pronouns than nouns, and are thus discussed in chapter 5 ( 5.6). See also § chapter 8 ( § 8.4.3), where I discuss various types of adverbs formed from quantifier stems. § 6.8.1 Mass noun quantifiers Mass noun quantifiers quantify over nouns denoting masses or substances which cannot be divided non- arbitrarily into countable units. These include n`a ‘water’, hos ‘sand’, ahim ‘air, breath’, etc. The basic mass noun quantifiers are given below. Note that some of these are derived from verbs (e.g., muhe < muha ‘suce, be adequate’; muohe < muoha ‘be whole/complete’; tehe < teha ‘stay, remain behind’). 6.8. QUANTIFIERS AND RELATED ELEMENTS 125 han ife mian muhe muohe ohe sipe tehe tlan tsomo tsuon tsyin tuhe ‘much, a lot (of)’ ‘as much, an equal amount (of)’ ‘how much?; some, a certain amount (of)’ ‘enough, a sucient amount (of)’ ‘all, the whole (thing)’ ‘more; the most’ ‘some, a bit (of)’ ‘the rest (of), what remains (of)’ ‘so much; that much’ ‘most (of)’ ‘too much’ ‘not enough, too little’ ‘less, not as much’ Some mass noun quantifiers can combine with the diminutive prefix ki(h)- or the augmentative prefix to(h)- to express finer distinctions: kihohe kisipe kituhe tohan tohohe tomuhe tosipe totuhe ‘a bit more, slightly more’ ‘very little, just a little, a tiny bit (of)’ ‘a bit less, somewhat less’ ‘quite a lot, a great deal (of)’ ‘much more, a lot more’ ‘plenty (of), more than enough’ ‘a fair bit, quite a bit (of)’ ‘much less, a lot less, not nearly as much’ Examples of mass noun phrases containing quantifiers include: hos han ise tsuon n`a sipe iase tomuhe ueho mian ‘a lot of sand’ ‘too much snow’ ‘some water, a little water’ ‘plenty of food, more than enough food’ ‘how much wine?; some wine’ As these examples show, the quantified noun phrase normally appears in its unmarked form. However, it can also appear in the ablative case (marked with the ending -u) when the domain of quantification is definite. The result is a kind of partitive construction (note that the quantifiers muohe ‘all’ and tehe ‘the rest’ require this construction). Compare the examples below with those above: hosu han iseu tsuon nahu sipe iaseu tomuhe uehou mian ‘a lot of the sand’ ‘too much of the snow’ ‘some of the water’ ‘plenty of the food, more than enough of the food’ ‘how much of the wine?; some of the wine’ uehou tehe ueho it`o muohe ‘the rest of the wine’ ‘all of that wine’ Mass noun quantifiers can also take a count noun phrase in the ablative, in which case they indicate a portion of the (singular) object denoted by that noun phrase. In combination with a count noun, muohe is equivalent to English ‘the whole’, while sipe means ‘part of’ (similarly for quantifiers formed from sipe): 126 CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE kotou tsomo lohu han lohu tehe sliahteu muohe sliahteu sipe sliahteu kisipe ‘most of the house’ ‘much of the day’ ‘the rest of the day’ ‘all of the story; the whole story’ ‘some of the story; part of the story’ ‘a small part of the story’ When marked with ablative case, the quantified noun phrase may scramble away from the quantifier, in which case the two no longer form a constituent. This is shown by the fact that the ablative noun phrase and the quantifier can be separated by intervening material: e.g., the ergative argument Sakialma in the example below. (Note that when the quantified noun phrase is unmarked for case, it cannot scramble away from the quantifier.) (6.134) Ueho wine it`o that:abl Sakialma Sakial.erg tsuoin too:much.dat sepyi drink.pv ‘Sakial drank too much of that wine’ (lit. ‘Of that wine, Sakial drank too much’) 6.8.2 Count noun quantifiers Count noun quantifiers are those which quantify over nouns denoting discrete countable entities, as opposed to masses or substances. Apart from the universal quantifiers discussed in 5.6, the major count noun quantifiers are listed below in their basic forms. Numerals such as hen ‘two’, which also quantify over count nouns, are considered in 6.8.4. Notice that most of the count noun quantifiers listed here are transparently related to the corresponding mass noun quantifiers, but end in the sux -te (see below). § § anihte anohte ante miante muhte sepyi tehte tlante tsomote tsuonte tsyinte tuhte ‘as many, equally many’ ‘more; the most, the greatest number of’ ‘many, a lot of’ ‘how many?; some, a certain number of’ ‘enough, suciently many’ ‘some, a few’ ‘the rest (of), the remaining’ ‘so many; that many’ ‘most, the majority of’ ‘too many’ ‘not enough, too few’ ‘fewer, not as many’ Like their mass noun counterparts, many count noun quantifiers can combine with the diminutive prefix ki(h)- and/or the augmentative prefix to(h)- to express finer distinctions: kihanohte kisepyi kituhte tohanohte tohante tomuhte tosepyi totuhte ‘a few more’ ‘a very few’ ‘somewhat fewer’ ‘many more, a lot more’ ‘very many, a great many, numerous’ ‘plenty of, more than enough’ ‘several, a number of’ ‘a lot fewer, not nearly as many’ Examples of quantificational phrases containing these elements are given below. Like other quantifiers, they follow the noun or noun phrase (if any) that they quantify over, and carry the case marking for the phrase as a whole (unless they are in turn followed by a demonstrative). 6.8. QUANTIFIERS AND RELATED ELEMENTS 127 efos ante iha miante koin tohante kopo sepyi nesap muhte ‘many problems’ ‘how many women?’ ‘a great many people’ ‘some pots, a few pots’ ‘enough questions’ Normally the quantified noun occurs in its unmarked form, as in the examples above. However, when the quantified noun phrase is definite, the quantified noun may appear in the ablative case (suxed with -u), resulting in a partitive interpretation: efosu ante ihau miante koin ineu tohante im`e kopou sepyi ineu nesapu muhte ‘many of the problems’ ‘how many of the women?’ ‘a great many of those people’ ‘some of my pots’ ‘enough of their questions’ When marked with ablative case, the quantified noun phrase need not form a constituent with the quantifier, but can scramble away from it. This is shown in the example below by the fact that the quantified noun phrase is separated from the quantifier by another noun phrase (viz., the ergative argument Sakialma): (6.135) Halma iteu those:abl Sakialma Sakial.erg antei many.dat utala pf.read.ipv book ‘Sakial has read many of those books’ (lit. ‘Of those books, Sakial has read many’) To form expressions indicating an upper limit, count noun quantifiers combine with the particle hulne ‘at most, no more/later than, up to’. Likewise, to express a lower limit, fene ‘at least, no fewer than, no sooner/earlier than’ is used. These particles come immediately before the quantifier and after the quantified noun phrase (if any). Other particles which can appear in the same position include laisne ‘exactly’, lhua ‘about, approximately’, and lhi ‘almost, nearly’.3 halma fene anihte halma lhua anihte halma hulne sepyi ‘at least as many books’ ‘about as many books’ ‘no more than a few books’ Finally, note an unusual complication in the formation of quantifier phrases. I mentioned above that most of the count noun quantifiers end in -te, which seems to be a marker of plurality (see 6.8.5 below). It appears that there is a restriction on the expression of plurality, such that a quantifier containing -te may not precede another element in the same noun phrase which also expresses plurality, namely a plural demonstrative ( 6.8.5). In order to avoid such cases, a mass noun § quantifier is used where the corresponding count noun quantifier might be expected—e.g., han ‘much’ is used in place of ante ‘many’, tsomo ‘most’ in place of tsomote, etc. Compare the following: 5.3.2) or other postnominal element like iahte ‘others’ ( § § halma ante halma han tin halma han iahte ‘many books’ ‘those many books’ ‘many other books’ halma miante halma mian iahte ‘how many books?’ ‘how many other books?’ ntse halma miante ntse halma mian iahte ‘not many books’ ‘not many other books’ This rule does not apply to sepyi ‘some, a few’, or other quantifiers formed from it, which remain unchanged when a demonstrative or other plural element follows: e.g., halma sepyi tin ‘those few books’, halma tosepyi iahte ‘several other books, another several books’. 3These same particles can also be used with adverbials formed from count noun quantifiers, discussed in kasepyime ‘no more than a few times’, lhi ianihtena ‘nearly as often’. 8.4.3: e.g., hulne § 128 CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE 6.8.3 Remarks on the functions of certain quantifiers The count noun quantifier miante does double duty both as an interrogative element, equivalent to ‘how many’, and as an indefinite plural marker, equivalent to ‘some’ or ‘a number of’. The interrogative inter- pretation is signaled by the presence of the question particle ne (or aun in embedded clauses). Miante can also occur in the scope of the negative particle ntse, in which case it is translated ‘many’—e.g., ntse halma miante ‘not many books’. (Notice from the examples below that miante can fail to trigger plural agreement on the verb in negative and interrogative contexts.) Tlante is the demonstrative counterpart of miante, and has deictic or anaphoric force, equivalent to ‘this/that many’ (or ‘that’s how many...’). Tlante can also be used in exclamations, meaning ‘so many’. (6.136) Halma book miantei how:many.dat ut`alan? pf.read.ipv.qu ‘How many books have (you) read?’ (6.137) Ma 1serg elohka yesterday halma book miantei how:many.dat talyima read.pv.dpl ‘Yesterday I read a (certain) number of books’ (6.138) Ma 1serg ntse neg halma book miantei how:many.dat talou read.pv:neg ‘I didn’t read (very) many books’ (6.139) Ma elohka yesterday halma book tlantei that:many.dat talyima read.pv.dpl 1serg ‘That’s how many books I read yesterday’ or ‘I read so many books yesterday!’ Parallel to miante, the indefinite mass noun quantifier mian usually means ‘how much’ when it occurs in questions, and ‘some’ or ‘a certain amount’ in non-questions. In the scope of negation, mian may be translated ‘much’ (ntse iase mian ‘not much food’). The definite/demonstrative counterpart of mian is tlan, meaning ‘that much’, ‘that’s how much’ or ‘so much’. (6.140) Iase food mian how:much ketyit bring:here.pv.pl ne? qu ‘How much food did you (pl) bring?’ (6.141) Na iase food mian how:much ketyit bring:here.pv.pl 3aerg ‘They brought some food’ (6.142) Na ntse neg mian 3aerg how:much ‘They didn’t bring much food’ iase food ketout bring:here.pv:neg.pl (6.143) Na iase food ketyit 3aerg bring:here.pv.pl ‘That’s how much food they brought’ or ‘They brought so much food!’ tlan that:much Quantified phrases containing the equative quantifiers ife ‘as much’ and anihte ‘as many’, or the comparative quantifiers ohe ‘more’, anohte ‘more’, tuhe ‘less’, and tuhte ‘fewer’ are often accompanied by a participant nominal in the ablative case which expresses the standard of comparison. (On participant nominalization, see 10.6.) § 6.8. QUANTIFIERS AND RELATED ELEMENTS 129 (6.144) Ma 1serg akut 2pdat ikune 2pall moituhaio get.want.tnzr.abl halma book anihte as:many uktiama give.ipv.dpl ‘I’ll give you as many books as you want’ (lit. ‘... as what you want to get’) (6.145) Imem 1sinst ekpyipaio carry.able.tnzr.abl halma book anohte more he be:ipv ‘I have more books than (I) can carry’ (lit. ‘With me are more books than [what is] carryable’) (6.146) Na 3aerg ueho wine ifei as:much.dat sepyit drink.pv.pl ikima 12erg asepanilu pv.drink.epl.dnzr.abl ‘They drank as much wine as we did’ (lit. ‘... as what had been drunk by us’) Alternatively, the standard of comparison can be expressed using a clause headed by aun ‘if/whether’ preceded by a verb in the dependent form (see 10.2), and containing the quantifier mian ‘how much’ or miante ‘how many’, depending on whether a mass noun or count noun is being quantified. Since it marks the standard of comparison, the correlative clause inflects for ablative case: i.e., aun carries the ablative ending -u. The following examples are equivalent to those above. Notice that the verb ‘drink’ is omitted from the correlative clause in the third example, and aun replaced by tiaun (including the verb would also be acceptable: ikima miain asepata aunu, lit. ‘as how much we drank’). § (6.147) Ma 1serg akut 2pdat halma book anihte as:many uktiama give.ipv.dpl ikune 2pall miante how:many moituha get.want.dep aunu if.abl ‘I’ll give you as many books as you want’ (lit. ‘... as how many you want to get’) (6.148) Imem 1sinst halma book anohte more he be:ipv miante how:many ekpyipa carry.able.dep aunu if.abl ‘I have more books than I can carry’ (lit. ‘... than how many [one] can carry’) (6.149) Na 3aerg ueho wine ifei as:much.dat sepyit drink.pv.pl ikima 12erg miain how:much.dat tiaunu if:so.abl ‘They drank as much wine as we did’ (lit. ‘... as how much we [drank]’) 6.8.4 Numerals 6.8.2, the count noun quantifiers include numerals such as hen ‘two’ In addition to the elements discussed in and ehte ‘three’. Like other quantifiers, numerals can occur by themselves as noun phrases (6.150), or they can co-occur with a preceding noun expressing the domain of quantification (6.151): § (6.150) Mo 1srdat ehte three:nom kilyi see.pv ‘I saw three (of them)’ (6.151) Mo kotu house ehte three:nom kilyi see.pv 1srdat ‘I saw three houses’ Like other quantifiers, numerals follow the noun they quantify over. This means that the numeral carries the case marking for the noun phrase, unless it is in turn followed by a demonstrative or one of the elements discussed in 6.8.5, in which case the latter carries case marking and the numeral appears in its unmarked form. Also as with other quantifiers, the unmarked form of the numeral is used when the noun phrase is in the nominative case role; numerals do not take the nominative case ending (-e) found on regular nouns. § 130 CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE kotu ehte kotu ehtei kotu ehtena kotu ehte itena kotu ehte mpehisna (house three) (house three.dat) (house three.loc) (house three those.loc) (house three next.loc) ‘(the) three houses’ ‘to (the) three houses’ ‘in (the) three houses’ ‘in those three houses’ ‘in the next three houses’ In the examples above, the quantified noun (kotu ‘house’) appears in the unmarked form. The quantified noun can also appear in the ablative case, in which case the noun phrase receives a partitive interpretation: e.g., kotou ehte ‘three of the houses’, kotu iteu ehte ‘three of these houses’. The one numeral word which doesn’t follow the normal pattern is es ‘one’. This element precedes the noun it quantifies (es kotu ‘one house, a house’), and consequently never gets marked for case. In complex noun phrases, es precedes all the elements in a noun compound (including adjective-like stative nouns such as luhme ‘old one’) but follows relative clauses, as well as possessors and other case-marked noun phrases acting as modifiers: (6.152) Sakialu es one kuna friend Sakial.abl ‘a friend of Sakial’s’ paluna (6.153) isane 13all village.loc ‘an old house in our village’ es one luhme old:one kotu house Alternatively, ‘one’ may be expressed using the ‘strong’ form ehtsan, which di↵ers from es in its distribution. Whereas es precedes the noun, ehtsan follows the noun, like other numerals. In addition, es can only be used if the noun phrase is interpreted as indefinite, and often corresponds most closely to the English indefinite article ‘a/an’. By contrast, ehtsan can be used whether the noun phrase is definite or indefinite, and is more emphatic, reminiscent of English ‘a single’. Note also that es can never be used in the partitive construction; instead, ehtsan is required. es kotu kotu ehtsan kotou ehtsan ‘one house, a house’ ‘(the) one house; a single house’ ‘one of the houses’ Finally, whereas es must combine with a noun, ehtsan is used when the numeral functions as a noun phrase by itself: (6.154) Mo 1srdat ehtsan one:nom kilyi see.pv ‘I saw (just) one’ The Okuna count according to a base-ten system, but with special terms for eleven and twelve, and for 110 (‘eleventy’) and 120 (‘twelfty’). The basic number terms are given in the first column of the following table. Each of the units from one to twelve has a corresponding tens form, listed in the second column. The forms in the third column are discussed below. 6.8. QUANTIFIERS AND RELATED ELEMENTS 131 basic terms es, ehtsan hen ehte kun kian iht`a (ihtah-) kelu ni`o (nioh-) teiek tam elhu huoi kiunma tolok ‘one’ ‘two’ ‘three’ ‘four’ ‘five’ ‘six’ ‘seven’ ‘eight’ ‘nine’ ‘ten’ ‘eleven’ ‘twelve’ ‘hundred’ ‘ten thousand’ tens tam tahen tauehte takun takian taieht`a takelu tani`o tateiek kiunma tauelhu tahuoi ‘ten’ ‘twenty’ ‘thirty’ ‘forty’ ‘fifty’ ‘sixty’ ‘seventy’ ‘eighty’ ‘ninety’ ‘hundred’ ‘eleventy’ (110) ‘twelfty’ (120) combining forms es- hen- ehten- kun- kian- ihtaun- kelun- nioh- teiek- ‘plus one’ ‘plus two’ ‘plus three’ ‘plus four’ ‘plus five’ ‘plus six’ ‘plus seven’ ‘plus eight’ ‘plus nine’ Iht`a ‘six’ takes the form ihtah- when suxed with a case ending, but ihtau- when suxed with other elements, such as the ordinal ending -ka (ihtauka ‘sixth’). Note also that vowel-initial terms change their form when a vowel-final prefix is attached, in accordance with the hiatus rules discussed in 3.5.3: e.g., ka.elhu.me >
kaielhume ‘eleven times’, ka.ihtah.me > kaiehtahme ‘six times’.

§

The numbers from 13 to 19, listed below, are formed by combining the elements from the units column
above with the ending -patam. Notice that in the case of 16, the ihtau- form is used; while the terms for 14
and 15 show nasal assimilation to the following consonant:

‘thirteen’
‘fourteen’

ehtepatam
kumpatam
kiampatam ‘fifteen’
ihtaupatam ‘sixteen’
kelupatam
niohpatam ‘eighteen’
teiekpatam ‘nineteen’

‘seventeen’

Terms for the numbers from 21 through 29, 31 through 39, etc., up to 129, are formed by taking the terms
from the tens column in the table above and prefixing them with the ‘combining forms’ of the units, listed in
the third column. Notice that this is the opposite of the order found in English: e.g., estahen ‘twenty-one’
is literally ‘one-twenty’. Examples are given below:

estahen
hentahen
ehtentahen
kuntahen
kiantahen
ihtauntahen
keluntahen
niohtahen
teiektahen

‘twenty-one’
‘twenty-two’
‘twenty-three’
‘twenty-four’
‘twenty-five’
‘twenty-six’
‘twenty-seven’
‘twenty-eight’
‘twenty-nine’

keluntakian
niohtaieht`a
teiektateiek

‘fifty-seven’
‘sixty-eight’
‘ninety-nine’

estauehte
hentauehte
ehtentauehte
kuntauehte

‘thirty-one’
‘thirty-two’
‘thirty-three
‘thirty-four’

ihtauntakun
keluntakun
niohtakun
teiektakun

‘forty-six
‘forty-seven’
‘forty-eight’
‘forty-nine’

eskiunma
ehtenkiunma
estauelhu

‘one hundred and one’
‘one hundred and three’
‘one hundred and eleven’ (lit. ‘eleventy-one’)

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CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE

ihtauntauelhu
niohtahuoi
teiektahuoi

‘one hundred and sixteen’ (lit. ‘eleventy-six’)
‘one hundred and twenty-eight’ (lit. ‘twelfty-eight’)
‘one hundred and twenty-nine’ (lit. ‘twelfty-nine’)

Multiples of 100 are expressed by taking kiunma ‘hundred’ or tolok ‘ten thousand’ and quantifying them
with a following numeral. Note that there is no word for ‘thousand’: the Okuna count by tens of hundreds
instead. Examples:

kiunma hen
kiunma ehte
kiunma tam
kiunma takun
kiunma estakun
kiunma niohtahuoi

‘two hundred’
‘three hundred’
‘one thousand’ (lit. ‘ten hundreds’)
‘four thousand’ (lit. ‘forty hundreds’)
‘forty-one hundred’
‘twelve thousand eight hundred’ (lit. ‘twelfty-eight hundreds’)

tolok hen
tolok tani`o
tolok kuntani`o
tolok kiunma
tolok ihtauntauelhu

‘twenty thousand’ (lit. ‘two ten-thousands’)
‘eight hundred thousand’ (lit. ‘eighty ten-thousands’)
‘eight hundred and forty thousand’ (lit. ‘84 ten-thousands’)
‘one million’ (lit. ‘one hundred ten-thousands’)
‘1,160,000’ (lit. ‘eleventy-six ten-thousands’)

To form complex numerals from the terms above, tens, hundreds, and ten-thousands may be combined.
In such
All but the last term in a complex numeral is suxed with the instrumental case marker -me.
constructions, tens precede hundreds and hundreds precede ten-thousands, the opposite of the order in
English. Examples:

(6.155) kuntakunme

kiunma
hundred

four.forty.inst
‘one hundred (and) forty-four’

taniohme
eighty.inst

(6.156) kiunma
hundred
‘eighteen thousand’ [18,000]
lit. ‘ten thousand with eighty hundreds’

tolok
ten:thousand

ihtaupatamme
sixteen.inst

(6.157) kiunma
hundred
‘twenty-one thousand six hundred’ [21,600]
lit. ‘two ten-thousands with sixteen hundreds’

tolok
ten:thousand

hen
two

(6.158) estaiehtahme
one.sixty.inst
‘one hundred seventy-two thousand, five hundred and sixty-one’ [172,561]
lit. ‘seventeen ten-thousands with twenty-five hundreds with sixty-one’

kiantahenme
five.twenty.inst

tolok
ten:thousand

kelupatam
seventeen

kiunma
hundred

As with simple numerals, complex numerals follow the quantified noun, and host the case ending when noun
phrase-final. This case ending attaches to the final element in the numeral.

ehte
(6.159) Es
three
one
‘There are three hundred and sixty-five days in a year’

kiantaiehtahme
five.sixty.inst

ulhmona
year.loc

kiunma
hundred

l`o
day

he
be:ipv

(6.160) Na

kahu
fish

kiunmai
tauehteme
hundred.dat
thirty.inst
3aerg
‘They speared a hundred and thirty fish’

tiku
harpoon

tahyit
kill.pv.pl

6.8. QUANTIFIERS AND RELATED ELEMENTS

133

Phrases containing numerals can include one of a number of particles, which immediately precede the numeral
and follow the noun being quantified (if any). The particles lhua ‘about, around’ and lhi ‘almost, nearly’ are
used to express an approximate number, while laisne ‘exactly’ expresses a precise number. Fene ‘at least, no
fewer than’ and hulne ‘at most, no more than’ combine with numerals to indicate a lower limit and an upper
limit, respectively; while eima ‘still, more’ combines with numerals to express an additional amount. Finally,
la ‘each, apiece’ and kele ‘all together, a total of’ are often found in distributive and collective constructions,
respectively (see

5.6).

§

koin lhua huoi
koin lhi huoi
koin laisne huoi
koin fene huoi
koin hulne huoi
koin eima huoi
koin la huoi
koin kele huoi

‘about twelve people’
‘almost twelve people’
‘exactly twelve people’
‘at least twelve people’
‘at most twelve people’
‘twelve more people’
‘twelve people each/apiece’
‘twelve people all together, a total of twelve people’

Two form expressions meaning ‘N at a time’ or ‘N by N’, one of two constructions may be used. In the
first construction the numeral is repeated, with the two copies linked by the particle la and the second copy
taking the instrumental case ending: e.g., hen la henme ‘two by two, two at a time’; kun la kunme ‘four by
four, four at a time, in fours’. In the second construction, the particle ela ‘each time, any time’ combines
with a numeral in the instrumental case: e.g., ela henme ‘two by two, two at a time’, etc. Only the latter
construction is used with the numeral ehtsan: ela ehtsanme ‘one by one, one at a time’.

(6.161) Lhat`e

ela
each:time

henme
two:inst

nkilhyit
leave.pv.pl

children.nom
‘The children left two at a time’

Various constructions may be used to indicate a numerical range. To express an exact range, two numbers
are juxtaposed, with the first number (representing the lower limit of the range) preceded by fene and the
second number (representing the upper limit) preceded by hulne. To express an approximate range, the
numbers are conjoined using su ‘or; from’, with lhua optionally preceding the first number. More commonly,
su is absent and lhua is placed between the two numbers.

kahu fene tahen hulne kiantahen
kahu (lhua) tahen su kiantahen
koin tahen lhua kiantahen

‘between twenty and twenty-five fish’
‘(about) twenty or twenty-five fish’
‘twenty to twenty-five fish’

Ordinal numbers

The cardinal numbers combine with the sux -ka to form ordinal numbers, with nasal assimilation as
necessary: e.g., tam.ka > tanka ‘tenth’, kiampatam.ka > kiampatanka ‘fifteenth’. Note also the changes in
teiek.ka > teiehka ‘ninth’ and tolok.ka > tolohka ‘ten-thousandth’, due to the degemination rule discussed
in

3.5.1. Examples of ordinal numbers:

§

henka
ehteka
kunka
kianka
ihtauka
keluka

‘second’
‘third’
‘fourth’
‘fifth’
‘sixth’
‘seventh’

niohka
teiehka
elhuka
tahenka
kiunmaka
tolohka

‘eighth’
‘ninth’
‘eleventh’
‘twentieth’
‘hundredth’
‘ten-thousandth’

Ordinals are formed from complex numerals in the same way: e.g., estahenka ‘twenty-first’, ihtauntakunka
‘forty-sixth’. When ordinals are formed from compound numerals, -ka attaches just to the final element:
e.g., kiunma henka ‘two hundredth’, keluntahenme kiunmaka ‘one hundred and twenty-seventh’.

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CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE

Note that es/ehtsan ‘one’ has the irregular ordinal form mpehkai ‘first’. This forms a class with three
other words denoting positions in a sequence, all characterized by the prefix mpe-. The other elements are
listed below. Like numerals, they follow the noun and appear in their unsuxed form when the noun phrase
is nominative (rather than taking the case ending -e).

mpehis
mpekam
mpekunte

‘the next (one)’
‘the last, previous, preceding (one)’
‘the last, final (one)’

The correlatives mianka ‘which’ (lit. ‘the how many-th’) and tlanka ‘that’ (lit. ‘the so many-th’) also occur,
and may be used to ask about and identify members of a sequence. Like cardinal numerals, ordinal numerals
and related elements follow the noun they modify:

koin mpehkai
koin henka
koin huoika
koin hentakeluka
koin takunme kiunmaka
koin mpekunte
lolhampeu l`o miankana
l`o ihtaunkana
l`o tlankana

‘the first person’
‘the second person’
‘the twelfth person’
‘the seventy-second person’
‘the hundred and fortieth person’
‘the last person’
‘on which day of the week?’
‘on the sixth day’
‘on that day’

Fractions

Terms denoting specific fractions of a whole are formed by adding the sux -tla, with nasal assimilation as
appropriate: e.g., tam.tla > tantla ‘(one) tenth’, kiampatam.tla > kiampatantla ‘(one) fifteenth’. Additional
examples:

hentla
ehtetla
kuntla
kiantla
ihtautla
kelutla

‘(one) half’
‘(one) third’
‘(one) fourth, quarter’
‘(one) fifth’
‘(one) sixth’
‘(one) seventh’

niohtla
teiektla
elhutla
tahentla
kiunmatla
toloktla

‘(one) eighth’
‘(one) ninth’
‘(one) eleventh’
‘(one) twentieth’
‘(one) hundredth, percent’
‘(one) ten-thousandth’

Like the ordinal sux -ka, -tla attaches only to the final element in complex numbers: e.g., kiantahentla
‘one twenty-fifth’, niohtauelhutla ‘one 108th’, takunme kiunmatla ‘one 140th’.

Terms for fractions can in turn be combined with a following cardinal numeral to yield expressions like
ehtetla hen ‘two thirds’, kuntla ehte ‘three quarters’, kiunmatla taieht`a ‘sixty percent’, etc. Fractions occur
with a noun phrase in the ablative, as in homau hentla ‘half a loaf of bread’, kitsou ehtetla hen ‘two thirds of
an onion’, lhateu kiunmatla taieht`a ‘sixty percent of the children’. Note also expressions like the following,
in which a fraction takes instrumental case marking to express an incremental amount:

(6.162) Kop`o

hentlame
jug.nom
half.inst
‘The jug is half full’

iatsatsa
prg.rel.full.ipv

(6.163) Kop`o

ehteme
kuntla
jug.nom
three.inst
quarter
‘The jug is three quarters full’

iatsatsa
prg.rel.full.ipv

6.8. QUANTIFIERS AND RELATED ELEMENTS

135

N-tuples

Numerals can also take the prefix ka- (with glide insertion and vowel lowering as necessary) to form collective
nouns. A collective noun formed from a numeral N refers to a group of N entities, or to an object or concept
divisible into N parts. Examples:

kahen
kaiehte
kakun
kakian
kaieht`a

‘couple, pair, duo, twosome; double, twice, twofold’
‘threesome, trio, triplet, group of three; triple, three parts, threefold’
‘quadruple, foursome, quartet, group of four; four parts, fourfold’
‘quintuple, group of five; five parts, fivefold’
‘sextuple, group of six; six parts, sixfold’

A numeral prefixed with ka- often takes the instrumental ending -me and acts as a verb modifier. When
modifying an eventive verb, the instrumental form quantifies the number of times (in a row) that the event
occurs. When used with stative verbs, especially in comparative constructions, it expresses a proportion or
number of multiples, and is equivalent to ‘N-fold’, ‘by a factor of N’.

(6.164) Inmo

3anom.1srdat

kaiehteme
triple.inst

kahtyi
hit.pv

‘He hit me three times (in a row)’

palahta
tree

(6.165) Olh
dist
‘That tree over there is twice as tall as my house’
more lit. ‘That tree over there is taller than my house by a factor of two’

kahenme
double.inst

kotou
house.abl

tan
that:nom

apatohta
rel.tall.comp.ipv

im`e
1sall

Numerals with ka- also appear in the dative case, functioning as delimiting measure phrases. Here they
indicate the proportional di↵erence between the initial state and the final state:

(6.166) Hi

3inom

kaiehtei
triple.dat

atohimyi
rel.big.ainc.pv

‘It became three times as large (as before)’ or ‘It tripled in size’
more lit. ‘It grew to triple (its original size)’

These forms, along with other adverbial elements formed from numerals, are discussed further in

8.4.3.

§

6.8.5 Other postnominal modifiers

§

In
6.8.2 I noted that most count noun quantifiers end in the sux -te, which appears to mark plurality.
This sux also occurs on the elements listed below, making these the only other elements in the noun phrase
(apart from pronouns and demonstratives) to mark a distinction between singular and plural. For want of
a better name for these elements, I will refer to them as pseudo-quantifiers. Noun phrases containing a
pseudo-quantifier tend to be definite, and tend to function to pick out a unique member or subset of some
larger set or sequence of individuals.4

singular plural

eupe
iap
koipe
tsan

euhte
iahte
koihte
tsante

‘the only one(s), the sole one(s)’
‘other one(s), else’
‘(the) specific one(s), (the) particular one(s)’
‘oneself; the same one(s), the very one(s)’ (emphatic)

4Note that koipe can also precede the noun, but with a di↵erent meaning: ‘known, familiar’ (e.g., es koipe hepalau ‘a familiar
path’). Likewise, eupe can precede the noun, with the meaning ‘lone, by oneself’ (e.g., es eupe puniakaka ‘a lone traveler’). As
prenominal modifiers, koipe and eupe do not inflect for number, so the forms koihte and euhte only occur as pseudo-quantifiers.

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CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE

Like quantifiers, pseudo-quantifiers can occur as noun phrases on their own, or can follow a noun, often
combined with a participant nominal (
10.6) or other modifier. The forms in the first column are used when
the noun phrase is singular, while those in the second column are used when the noun phrase is plural (except
under the conditions noted below). Examples include:

§

koin iap
koin iahte

‘the other person’
‘the other people’

ma elohka atsal koin eupe
ma elohka atsal koin euhte

‘the only person I spoke to yesterday’
‘the only people I spoke to yesterday’

Besides quantifiers and pseudo-quantifiers, the following modifiers can also follow the noun. Noun phrases
containing these modifiers share the property that they pick out a unique individual or set of individuals.

ahkene
eihte
kaupihe
mpehis
mpehkai
mpekam
mpekunte
ufatl

‘the main/chief one(s), the principal/primary one(s)’
‘the right one(s), the correct one(s)’
‘the next one(s), the following one(s)’
‘the next one(s), the following one(s)’
‘the first one(s)’
‘the last one(s), the previous/preceding one(s)’
‘the last one(s), the final one(s)’
‘the wrong one(s)’

Unlike the pseudo-quantifiers, these modifiers do not have distinct singular and plural forms. Normally a
noun phrase containing one of these modifiers has a singular interpretation. To force a plural interpretation,
the modifier is preceded by a numeral or quantifier, as shown below. Simple plurality is usually expressed
by the quantifier mian (lit. ‘some number/amount’):

nioksot eihte
nioksot mian eihte

‘the right answer’
‘the right answers’

eun ufatl
eun mian ufatlna

‘the wrong place’
‘in the wrong places’

l`o mpehisme
l`o mian mpehisme
l`o ehte mpehisme
l`o tosepyi mpehisme

‘during the following day’
‘during the following (few) days’
‘during the following three days’
‘during the following several days’

In general, when a pseudo-quantifier or other postnominal modifier co-occurs with a non-universal quantifier,
the latter precedes (e.g., halma sepyi iahte ‘another few books’, halma ehte iahte ‘three other books’). As
6.8.2, count noun quantifiers ending in -te are not used before a pseudo-quantifier; instead the
noted in
corresponding mass noun quantifier (
6.8.1) is used, and -te appears on the pseudo-quantifier if it is the final
element in the noun phrase. Compare the following examples, where han is used in place of ante ‘many’ and
tsomo is used in place of tsomote ‘most’:

§

§

halma ante
halma han iahte

‘many books’
‘many other books’

halma tsomote
halma tsomo iahte

‘most of the books’
‘most of the other books’

5.3.2) or a
A pseudo-quantifier or other postnominal modifier can in turn be followed by a demonstrative (
§
universal quantifier (
5.6), in which case it is the demonstrative or universal quantifier which carries the case
§
marking for the noun phrase. In addition, the singular form of the pseudo-quantifier is used even when the
noun phrase is plural, since the number marker -te can only appear on the final element in the noun phrase.
Compare the following examples, where the noun phrase inflects for locative case:

6.8. QUANTIFIERS AND RELATED ELEMENTS

137

l`o mpehisme
l`o mpehis item
l`o mpehis itime
l`o mpehis ikyime

‘during the following day’
‘during that following day’
‘during those following days’
‘during each following day, during every other day’

halma iapna
halma iahtena
halma iap itan
halma iap itena
halma ehte iap itena
halma han iap itena
halma iap imuna
halma iap ikina

‘in the other book’
‘in the other books’
‘in that other book’
‘in those other books’
‘in those three other books’
‘in those many other books’
‘in all the other books’
‘in every other book’

Notes on the use of certain modifiers

Kaupihe and mpehis can be used more-or-less interchangeably to mean ‘next, following’. However, mpehis
is preferred for things that occur in a temporal sequence (e.g., l`o mpehis ‘the next day’), while kaupihe is
generally used for objects that lie along a path of movement (e.g., palu kaupihe ‘the next village [that one
comes to]’).

The pseudo-quantifier iap (plural iahte) is equivalent to English ‘other’, or ‘else’ when used in combination
with an indefinite/interrogative correlative. Examples are given below. Notice that ‘another’ is expressed
by combining iap with the indefinite numeral es ‘one, a(n)’.5

halma iap
es iap
es halma iap
m`a iap
ntsemi`o iap
ntse halma m`a iap

‘the other book’
‘another (one)’
‘another book’
‘something else; what else?’
‘no-one else’
‘no other book’

halma iahte
halma hen iahte
m`a iahte
ntse halma m`a iahte
halma iap eket

‘(the) other books’
‘two other books, two more books’
‘some other things; what else? (pl)’
‘no other books’
‘every other book’

The pseudo-quantifier koipe (plural koihte) emphasizes that the noun phrase in which it occurs has a specific
intended referent.
It tends to co-occur with es or an indefinite/interrogative correlative when the noun
phrase is indefinite, and with a demonstrative when the noun phrase is definite.

es halma koipe
halma koihte
halma mian koihte
mi`o koipe
mi`o koihte
halma koipe tan
halma koipe tin

‘a certain book, a specific book’
‘certain books’
‘a certain number of books’
‘a certain someone, someone in particular’
‘certain individuals’
‘that particular book’
‘those particular books’

Finally, the pseudo-quantifier tsan functions as an emphatic modifier. It usually corresponds to English ‘the
same’, or a juxtaposed reflexive. In combination with a following demonstrative, tsan may be translated
‘that very’ or ‘that’s the same…’ (see

9.4.3 for more on the uses of tsan):

§

5Note that halma iap eket means ‘every other book’ in the sense of ‘every book not previously considered’ or ‘every additional
book’. To refer to alternating members in a sequence of books, Okuna speakers would say halma mpehis eket ‘every next book’
or halma henka eket ‘every second book’ (likewise halma ehteka eket ‘every third book’, and so on).

138

CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE

Sakial tsan
talo tsan
talo tsante
tsan nin
kotu tsan itan
kotu tsan itena

‘Sakial himself’
‘the chief him/herself, the same chief’
‘the chiefs themselves, the same chiefs’
‘they themselves, those same ones’
‘in that very house, in that same house’
‘in those very houses, in those same houses’

(6.167) Me

talo
chief

tsanma
self.erg

tsulyi
visit.pv

1snom
‘The chief himself visited me’

(6.168) Me

koin
person

tsulyi
1snom
visit.pv
‘I was visited by that very (same) person’

in`a
that:erg

tsan
self

(6.169) Koin

tsan
self

tsulyi
in`a
person
visit.pv
that:erg
‘That’s the same person who visited me’

man
1snom

6.9 Word order within the noun phrase

A noun phrase is a phrase headed by a noun (N). Noun phrases can be replaced by a pronoun, and act
as arguments or modifiers of verbs, though a noun phrase can also modify another noun or function as a
predicate. A noun phrase consists minimally of a noun or noun compound (cf.
6.4), usually suxed with a
case ending. Noun phrases can also include dependents of various types: demonstratives, numerals and other
quantifiers, deictic particles, and possessors, along with other case-marked nominal arguments and modifiers
(often formed from clauses and corresponding to relative clauses in English).

§

The following template summarizes the relative order of elments within the noun phrase. Parentheses
indicate optional elements, while an asterisk (*) indicates that multiple elements of the same type can occur
together.

(NP-CM*/PN*) (PT) N (Q) (DEF) (DEM) -CM

4.2). The DEM slot
Here, N stands for a noun or noun compound, and CM stands for a case marker (see
5.3.2), or by one of the universal quantifiers or words
may be filled by a pronoun used as a demonstrative (
§
5.6). The Q slot is occupied by
meaning ‘other’, which pattern morphologically with the demonstratives (
quantifiers other than those which occur in the DEM slot, including numerals (see
6.8). The indefinite
correlatives m`a and mi`o, when used to mean ‘some/any’ or ‘which’, may occur in either the DEM slot or
the Q slot. As the template shows, both types of dependents follow the head noun, with elements from the
DEM class following elements from the Q class when both are present.

§

§

§

Case markers attach phonologically to the final element in the noun phrase, whatever that element may
be. Consider the examples below, showing the placement of the locative case ending -na relative to the head
noun, the numeral ehte ‘three’, the third person plural inanimate demonstrative, the correlative m`a, and the
universal quantifier -mot ‘all’ (elements in the DEM class combine with case endings in a slightly irregular
fashion; complete paradigms are given in

5.3.1 and

5.6):

kotuna
kotu ehtena
kotu itena
kotu mahna
kotu imuna
kotu ehte itena
kotu ehte mahna
kotu ehte imuna

§

§
‘in the house(s)’
‘in (the) three houses’
‘in those houses’
‘in which house(s)?’, ‘in some/any house(s)’
‘in all the/those houses’
‘in those three houses’
‘in which three houses?’, ‘in any three houses’
‘in all three houses’

(N-CM)
(N Q-CM)
(N DEM-CM)
(N DEM-CM)
(N DEM-CM)
(N Q DEM-CM)
(N Q DEM-CM)
(N Q DEM-CM)

6.9. WORD ORDER WITHIN THE NOUN PHRASE

139

The abbreviation DEF stands for definite modifier. This is a cover term for a set of elements which form
noun phrases that pick out a unique individual (or plurality of individuals) from a set. Definite modifiers
include the pseudo-quantifiers and other post-nominal modifiers discussed in
6.8.5, as well as the ordinal
numerals, formed from the cardinal numerals using the sux -ka (e.g., ehte ‘three’ > ehteka ‘third’). In
addition, superlatives such as etohohte ‘the biggest (one)’ optionally appear in the DEF slot (they can also
precede the noun). Examples:

§

kotu ehtekana
kotu eihtena
kotu eupena
kotu tsanna
kotu etohohtena
kotu sepyi mpehkaina
kotu ehteka ikina
kotu koipe itena
kotu tsan itena
kotu ehte iap itena

‘in the third house’
‘in the right house’
‘in the only house’
‘in the house itself’
‘in the biggest house’
‘in the first few houses’
‘in every third house’
‘in those particular houses’
‘in those very houses’
‘in those other three houses’

(N DEF-CM)
(N DEF-CM)
(N DEF-CM)
(N DEF-CM)
(N DEF-CM)
(N Q DEF-CM)
(N DEF DEM-CM)
(N DEF DEM-CM)
(N DEF DEM-CM)
(N Q DEF DEM-CM)

Turning to elements which precede the noun: In the template above, PT stands for deictic particle. The
deictic particles are proximal tsi (for objects near speaker), medial ke (for objects near addressee, or speaker
and addressee together), and distal olh (for objects not near the speaker or addressee). The particle precedes
5.3.2,
the noun (or noun compound), and generally follows other pre-nominal modifiers. As discussed in
deictic particles obligatorily co-occur with a demonstrative, which expresses the number and animacy of the
noun phrase. Another element which occurs in the same position as the deictic particles is the numeral es
‘one’, which behaves di↵erently in this respect from all the other numerals (including the nearly synonymous
6.8.4).
ehtsan ‘one’, which occurs in the Q position; cf.

§

§

es kotuna
tsi kotu itan
ke kotu itan
olh kotu itan

‘in a/one house’
‘in this house (near me)’
‘in this/that house (near you/us)’
‘in that house (over there)’

(PT N-CM)
(PT N DEM-CM)
(PT N DEM-CM)
(PT N DEM-CM)

(6.170) tenena

es
one

kulhe
green

kotuna
house.loc

hill.loc
‘in a green house on the hill’

(6.171) tenena

hill.loc

olh
dist

kulhe
green

kotu
house

itena
those:loc

‘in those green houses (over there) on the hill’

NP-CM refers to case-marked noun phrases, which can occur as modifiers within a larger noun phrase. The
locative noun phrase tenena ‘on the hill’ fulfills this function in (6.170) and (6.171) above. Oblique noun
phrases expressing the possessor relation (cf.

6.6) also fill the NP-CM slot in the noun phrase template:

§

(6.172) Sakiala

kotuna
house.loc

Sakial.all
‘in Sakial’s house’

(6.173) Sakiala

Sakial.all

es
one

kotuna
house.loc

‘in a house of Sakial’s’ / ‘in one of Sakial’s houses’

140

CHAPTER 6. THE NOUN PHRASE

(6.174) Sakiala

kotu
olh
Sakial.all
house
dist
‘in that green house of Sakial’s’

kulhe
green

itan
that:loc

Finally, PN in the noun phrase template stands for a participant nominal used to modify another noun. A
participant nominal is a clause which has been converted into an individual-denoting expression by adding
nominalizing morphology to the verb (see
10.6 for discussion). When used to modify the head noun in a
noun phrase, analogous to a relative clause in English, the participant nominal precedes the noun. In the
following examples, ihama mikail akile (‘thing shown to the boy by the woman’) and Sakialma tsuhpanen
(‘time/place/circumstances associated with Sakial’s living’) are participant nominals modifying the head
noun kotu ‘house’. (Note that participant nominal modifiers—at least those longer than a single word—
almost never co-occur with case-marked modifiers, which is why PN and NP-CM are treated as competing
for the same slot in the noun phrase template.)

§

(6.175) ihama

mikail
boy.dat

akile
pv.see.tnzr

kotuna
house.loc

woman.erg
‘in the house that the woman showed to the boy’

(6.176) Sakialma

tsuhpanen
Sakial.erg
live.dep.cnzr
‘in that green house where Sakial lives’

olh
dist

kulhe
green

kotu
house

itan
that:loc

Word order within the noun phrase is generally fixed. The only dependents which seem to have a variable
position are single-word participant nominals like pate ‘tall one’. These can occupy the PN slot in the
template, in which case they will precede a deictic particle such as ke, or they can be treated as the first
element in a noun compound, in which case they will follow the deictic particle:

(6.177) pate

ke
med

kotu
house

tall.tnzr
‘in this tall house’

(6.178) ke

pate
tall.tnzr

med
‘in this tall house’

kotu
house

itan
that:loc

itan
that:loc

This flexibility is possible only if the participant nominal consists of a single word.
If the participant
nominal is complex, it must occupy the PN slot. Hence, if pate ‘tall one’ is replaced by the multi-word
modifier palahtau epatohte ‘thing (which is) taller than a tree’, the latter must precede the deictic particle:

(6.179) palahtau
tree.abl

apatohte
rel.tall.comp.tnzr

ke
med

kotu
house

itan
that:loc

‘in this house (which is) taller than a tree’

Chapter 7

Verb Morphology

7.1 Introduction

4.4) I discussed the classification of verbs according to their argument structure.

In chapter 4 (
In this
§
chapter I discuss the rather complex morphology found on verbs in Okuna. As noted in chapter 2, verbs
inflect for tense, aspect, and mood, and also mark negation, as well as agreeing in number (singular versus
plural) with their subjects and objects. Verbs also take morphology for expressing modality, and those
denoting scalar properties inflect for equative and comparative/superlative degree.

§

In

7.2 I discuss number agreement, while in

§
overview of tense, aspect, and mood morphology. In
for deriving verbs of one class from verbs of other classes.
formation of comparative constructions. Finally, in
expressing modality.

§

7.3 I consider how negation is marked.

7.4 gives an
7.5 I discuss various infixes and suxes which are used
7.6 deals with the expression of degree and the
7.7 I discuss modal inflection, along with other ways of

§

§

§

Note that verbs in Okuna are generally cited with the ending -a, which marks the non-past imperfect
aspect in main clauses (cf.
10.2). To derive
the stem for most verbs, the ending -a is simply removed. For instance, the verb ‘sleep’, usually cited as
muelha, has the stem muelh-; while the verb ‘wash’, usually cited as paua, has the stem pau-. As these
examples show, verb stems in Okuna may end in a consonant or a glide.

7.4.2), as well as the indicative mood in dependent clauses (cf.

§

§

7.2 Number agreement

Verbs agree in number (singular versus plural) with their core arguments—that is, with noun phrases that
are selected by the verb and appear in the nominative, dative, or ergative case. When a verb has one or
more core arguments that are plural, this fact is registered by means of suxes, which attach to the verb
following any inflection for tense, aspect, mood, and polarity (see
7.3). For example, the verb eta ‘go’
normally takes the sux -t when its nominative argument is plural: e.g., me eta ‘I go’, versus se etat ‘we
go’. The agreement sux is often the only indication that the argument in question is plural, since nouns,
as well as (second and third person) clitic pronouns, do not themselves express number. Compare:

§

ku eta
ku etat

ne eta
ne etat

‘you (sg) go’
‘you (pl) go’

‘s/he goes’
‘they go’

pyie eta
pyie etat

‘the child goes’
‘the children go’

hi eta
hi etat

‘it goes’
‘they go’

(7.1) Tsokoimp`a

elohka
yesterday

etskanyi
arrive.pv

stranger.nom
‘The stranger arrived yesterday’

141

142

(7.2) Tsokoimp`a

elohka
yesterday

etskanyit
arrive.pv.pl

stranger.nom
‘The strangers arrived yesterday’

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

4.6) do not agree in number with the verb, and so their number
Noun phrases that are unmarked for case (
§
must usually be inferred from context (since unmarked noun phrases are normally interpreted as non-
referential, number is usually irrelevant in any case). Oblique case-marked noun phrases likewise do not
agree with the verb. Consider the examples below, where the unmarked noun phrase halma and the allative
case-marked noun phrase kamala are vague or ambiguous as to number. When it is important to the context
to specify whether an oblique or unmarked noun phrase has a singular or plural referent, one must resort to
other means to express number besides verb agreement (see

6.2).

§

(7.3) Ma

1serg

halma
book

italanka
prg.read.ipv:pst

‘I was reading a book’ or ‘I was reading books’ (more lit. ‘I was book-reading’)

(7.4) Ma

1serg

kamala
knife.all

ikpihanka
prg.look:for.ipv:pst

‘I was looking for a/the knife’ or ‘I was looking for (the) knives’

Di↵erent agreement suxes are used depending on the topicality and case role of the noun phrase being
agreed with. There are five agreement suxes, listed in the following table. The reciprocal sux is discussed
in

9.4.4, while the other suxes are discussed and illustrated below.

§

plural topic
nominative plural
dative plural
ergative plural
reciprocal

(pl)
(npl)
(dpl)
(epl)
(recip)

-t/-ta
-ua/-a
-ma
-ne/-ni
-uo/-o

Except for the dative plural marker, each sux has two forms. For plural topics, the form of the sux is
grammatically determined: -t appears on verbs in main clauses and in participial clauses (
10.3), while -ta is
§
used for verbs in the dependent form (
10.2). For the other suxes, the form is phonologically conditioned.
The nominative plural and reciprocal suxes take the forms -a and -o after a glide, and -ua and -uo
elsewhere. This is illustrated below for nominative plural agreement: in (7.5) the agreement sux follows
the imperfective sux -a, while in (7.6) it follows the perfective sux -yi, which ends in a glide.

§

(7.5) Elimma

pyie
child.nom

itsulaua
prg.visit.ipv.npl

Elim.erg
‘Elim is visiting the children’

(7.6) Elimma

pyie
child.nom

tsulyia
visit.pv.npl

Elim.erg
‘Elim visited the children’

The ergative plural sux takes the form -ni when followed by another sux beginning with a consonant
(typically the plural topic marker -t, but also the enclitic question marker -n), and -ne elsewhere. Compare
the following examples, where -ne/-ni marks agreement with pyima ‘the children’, while -t in (7.9) marks
agreement with Elim ka Sakiale:

(7.7) Elime

pyima
Elim.nom
child.erg
‘Elim was visited by the children’

tsulyine
visit.pv.epl

7.2. NUMBER AGREEMENT

143

(7.8) Elime

pyima
Elim.nom
child.erg
‘Was Elim visited by the children?’

tsul`yinin?
visit.pv.epl.qu

(7.9) Elim
Elim
‘Elim and Sakial were visited by the children’

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

pyima
child.erg

tsulyinit
visit.pv.epl.pl

ka
and

A verb can take up to two plural agreement suxes. When two suxes are present, the second sux must
be the plural topic marker -t, while the first sux is either the nominative, dative, or ergative agreement
marker, or the reciprocal marker. The verbs in the following sentences illustrate the permissible two-sux
combinations (for non-reciprocal verbs):

(7.10) Lhatima

pil`a
children.erg
bird.nom
‘The children are looking at the birds’

iksonauat
prg.look:at.ipv.npl.pl

(7.11) Ikema

dog.erg

sekeit
rat.dat

tahyimat
kill.pv.dpl.pl

‘The dogs killed the/some rats’

(7.12) Sekeit

rat.nom

ikema
dog.erg

tahyinit
kill.pv.epl.pl

‘The rats were killed by (the) dogs’

The rules governing the use of the agreement suxes are as follows:

1. If the clause contains a topic in one of the core cases (

4.3), and if that topic has a plural referent, then
the verb is marked with the sux -t. The topic is typically the first noun phrase or clitic pronoun in
the clause, is interpreted as definite, and identifies the participant about which the rest of the clause
is predicated (see

9.2.1 for more on the topic role).

§

§

2. If the clause contains a plural non-topic noun phrase marked with one of the core cases, then one of
the other agreement suxes in the above table is added to the verb. The choice of sux depends on
the case role of the non-topic noun phrase: if it is nominative, the verb takes -(u)a; if it is dative, the
verb takes -ma; and if it is ergative, the verb takes -ne/-ni.

3. If the clause contains multiple non-topic noun phrases with core case marking, only one of which has a
plural referent, then the verb will agree with that noun phrase (choice of agreement sux is as in (2)
above).

4. If the clause contains two or more non-topic noun phrases with plural referents, the verb can agree
with at most one of them. In such cases, speakers have an option as to which noun phrase will trigger
agreement, though animacy and definiteness are important factors. If one of the noun phrases is definite
and the other is indefinite, the verb will tend to agree with the definite one. If both noun phrases are
(in)definite but one of them has an animate referent and the other an inanimate referent, the verb will
generally agree with the animate one.

These rules are illustrated by the examples below. The first set of examples involves verbs taking a single
argument. In (7.13) a plural ergative argument functions as the topic, while in (7.14) the same argument
acts as a non-topic. (In the latter case, as the glosses indicate, pyima is interpreted contrastively, or taken to
be introducing a previously unmentioned referent into the discourse.) The second pair of sentences feature
a verb taking a nominative argument, which acts as the topic in (7.15) and as a non-topic in (7.16).

144

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

(7.13) Pyima

imuelhat
child.erg
prg.sleep.ipv.pl
‘The children are sleeping on the bed’

tsulna
bed.loc

(7.14) Tsulna

pyima
child.erg

imuelhane
prg.sleep.ipv.epl

bed.loc
‘There are some children sleeping on the bed’
or ‘It’s (the) children who are sleeping on the bed’

(7.15) Yhkun`a

etskanyit
arrive.pv.pl

guest.nom
‘The guests arrived’

(7.16) Yhkuna

sepyi
some:nom

etskanyia
arrive.pv.npl

guest
‘Some guests arrived’ or ‘There arrived some guests’

The examples below feature a verb taking an ergative argument and a nominative argument, and show the
various possible agreement options. In the sentences in (7.17) the ergative argument is the topic, while in
the sentences in (7.18) it is the nominative argument which functions as the topic:

(7.17) Kalma

palaht`a
tree.nom

take
cut.cv

itiausa
prg.fell.ipv

man.erg
‘The man is cutting down a/the tree’

Kalma palaht`a take itiausat
Kalma palaht`a take itiausaua
Kalma palaht`a take itiausauat

‘The men are cutting down a/the tree’
‘The man is cutting down some/the trees’
‘The men are cutting down some/the trees’

(7.18) Palaht`a

itiausa
prg.fell.ipv
tree.nom
‘The tree is being cut down by a/the man’

kalma
man.erg

take
cut.cv

Palaht`a kalma take itiausat
Palaht`a kalma take itiausane
Palaht`a kalma take itiausanit

‘The trees are being cut down by a/the man’
‘The tree is being cut down by some/the men’
‘The trees are being cut down by some/the men’

Additional examples of plural marking:

(7.19) Elimu

pyima
Elim.abl
child.erg
‘Elim’s children are well-behaved’

hantampat
proper.act.ipv.pl

(7.20) Motlama

amot
all:dat
Motla.erg
‘Motla hasn’t read all the books yet’

ntsuta
not:yet

halma
book

utaloma
pf.read.ipv:neg.dpl

(7.21) Sa

kahu
fish
13erg
‘We ate (some) fish’

iasyit
eat.pv.pl

(7.22) No

tsokoimp`a
stranger.nom

tulona
road.loc
3ardat
‘They met the strangers on the road to Tenmotlai’

Tenmotlaia
Tenmotlai.all

sasyiat
meet.pv.npl.pl

7.2. NUMBER AGREEMENT

145

(7.23) Amema

mother.erg

pyie
child.nom

sihkunoi
river.dat

histyia
take.pv.npl

‘The mother took (her) children to the river(s)’

(7.24) Sa

13erg

ispakai
student.dat

hafe
new.tnzr

halm`a
book.nom

tafyimat
show.pv.dpl.pl

‘We showed the/some new book(s) to the students’

In (7.24) the nominative argument hafe halma ‘new book(s)’ is ambiguous between a singular and a plural
interpretation, as the translation shows. This is because the slot on the verb devoted to non-topic agreement
has been filled by the dative plural sux -ma, preventing the nominative argument from triggering agreement
on the verb. Likewise the dative argument sihkunoi ‘river(s)’ in (7.23) is ambiguous between a singular and
a plural reading (although the former is more pragmatically plausible) because the verb is already agreeing
in plurality with the nominative argument. Notice that in both cases, it is the animate argument which
triggers agreement while the inanimate argument is blocked from agreeing.

Normally a verb will show plural agreement with a core argument only if that argument is overtly present
5.5. For example, topicalized second
in the clause. However, there are certain exceptions to this, discussed in
person pronouns are often omitted in questions and imperatives. These missing pronouns nevertheless trigger
agreement when plural, causing the appropriate sux to appear on the verb. Consider the examples below.
In the second pair of examples, Mekule eutaua would be used when addressing a single individual, while
Mekule eutauat would be used when addressing two or more individuals.

§

(7.25) Okuna
Okuna

sulme
language.inst

k`omin?
speak.ipv:int.qu

‘Do you (sg) speak Okuna?’

(7.26) Okuna
Okuna

sulme
language.inst

komit
speak.ipv:int.pl

ne?
qu

‘Do you (pl) speak Okuna?’

(7.27) Mekule

eutaua
clean.ipv.npl

dish.nom
‘Clean the dishes!’

(7.28) Mekule

eutauat
clean.ipv.npl.pl

dish.nom
‘Clean the dishes!’

In both cases the topic of the participial clause (‘looking at me’) is
Consider also the examples below.
omitted under coreference with the topic of the main clause (see
10.3). Nevertheless, the participle agrees
with this missing topic when it has a plural referent, just as the main clause verb agrees with the antecedent
of the missing topic:

§

(7.29) Sakiale

euolhna
there.loc

itoilhanka
prg.stand:res.ipv:pst

man
1snom

iksone
prg.look:at.pt

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial stood there looking at me’

(7.30) Sakial
Sakial
‘Sakial and Elim stood there looking at me’

Elime
Elim.nom

euolhna
there.loc

ka
and

itoilhankat
prg.stand:res.ipv:pst.pl

man
1snom

iksonit
prg.look:at.pt.pl

146

7.3 Negation

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

Negation in Okuna is marked by a combination of morphemes. All negative sentences contain the negative
particle ntse (glossed neg in the examples), or some element incorporating this particle: e.g., ntsemi ‘never’,
ntsilas ‘not only’, etc. These elements occur immediately before the portion of the clause that is being
negated (see below). In addition, negation is marked on the verb: every verb carries a sux which expresses
some combination of tense/aspect/mood features (perfective, non-past imperfective, past imperfective, or
7.4 below.
conditional) and polarity (positive versus negative). A complete list of these suxes is given in
This two-part negation construction is illustrated using the pairs of examples below. In the first pair of
sentences, the verb is marked for perfective aspect. In (7.31) the verb takes the sux -yi, while in (7.32) the
sux changes to -ou. In the second pair of sentences the verb is marked for imperfective aspect (non-past
tense). Here, the sux is -a in the positive sentence and -o in its counterpart with negation.

§

(7.31) Elohka

s`u
rain

kahpyi
fall.pv

yesterday
‘It rained yesterday’

(7.32) Elohka

ntse
neg

s`u
rain

kahpou
fall.pv:neg

yesterday
‘It didn’t rain yesterday’

(7.33) Lhatima

children.nom

halmai
book.dat

italamat
prg.read.ipv.dpl.pl

‘The children are reading (the) books’

(7.34) Lhatima

children.nom

ntse
neg

halmai
book.dat

italomat
prg.read.ipv:neg.dpl.pl

‘The children are not reading (the) books’

Quite often the negative particle ntse will immediately precede the verb, in which case it attaches to the
verb as a prefix. In its prefixal form, the negative particle is underlying m-, but regular phonological changes
a↵ect its surface realization as follows:

1. If the stem begins with a vowel, the negative prefix surfaces as m-: e.g., afa ‘accompany’, mafo ‘not

accompany’; iona ‘know’, miono ‘not know’.

2. If the stem begins with a sonorant or a consonant cluster, the negative prefix takes the form ma-: e.g.,
lima ‘open’, malimo ‘not open’; mutla ‘understand’, mamutlo ‘not understand’; nyipa ‘use’, manyipo
‘not use’; ksiama ‘sneeze’, maksiamo ‘not sneeze’; stoka ‘destroy’, mastoko ‘not destroy’.

3. Finally, if the stem begins with a single obstruent consonant, the negative prefix takes the form of
a nasal which agrees in place of articulation with the obstruent. If the obstruent is a continuant, it
changes into the closest corresponding non-continuant: e.g., fona ‘praise’, mpono ‘not praise’; huata
‘like’, nkuato ‘not like’; kahta ‘hit’, nkahto ‘not hit’; lhyua ‘enter’, ntlyuo ‘not enter’; pata ‘be tall’,
mpato ‘not be tall’; siehpa ‘write’, ntsiehpo ‘not write’; tlelha ‘find’, ntlelho ‘not find’; tolha ‘stand
up’, ntolho ‘not stand up’; tsupa ‘be lost’, ntsupo ‘not be lost’.

The following example sentences include verbs to which the negative particle has been prefixed:

(7.35) Yhmana

manuho
neg.cold.ipv:neg

hial`o
today

outside.loc
‘It’s not cold out today’

7.3. NEGATION

147

miasuhunka
(7.36) Ounana
bear.loc
neg.eat.want.ipv:pst:neg
‘The bear didn’t want to eat the fish, it seems’

kahoi
fish.dat

le
it:seems

Note that when m- immediately precedes the progressive aspect prefix i-, the latter lowers to become e-,
unless it is followed by a non-glide vowel. The perfect aspect prefix u- lowers to become o- under the same
conditions. Compare:

siehpa
isiehpa
usiehpa

‘writes, will write’
‘is writing’
‘has written’

ntsiehpo
mesiehpo
mosiehpo

‘doesn’t write, won’t write’
‘isn’t writing’
‘hasn’t written’

When some other constituent besides the verb is in the scope of negation, that constituent appears between
the negative particle and the verb, with the particle occurring in its unbound form ntse rather than as
a prefix. For instance, when some dependent of the verb is focused in the scope of negation, it follows
ntse. This is illustrated in (7.37), where Elimma is being contrasted with another participant. Ntse also
precedes unmarked noun phrases, which must be immediately adjacent to the verb, as discussed in
4.6. An
example is given in (7.38), where the noun maka, interpreted as a generic or non-referential object, intervenes
between negation and the verb. Finally, (7.39) gives an example where the negative particle and the verb
are separated by an adverbial and a dative noun phrase, both interpreted within the scope of negation.

§

(7.37) Kohui
berry
‘It’s not Elim who ate all the berries, but Sakial’

iasout,
eat.pv:neg.pl

Elimma
Elim.erg

umot
all.rdat

ntse
neg

tluosna
but

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

(7.38) Elimma

maka
meat
Elim.erg
‘Elim doesn’t eat meat’

ntse
neg

iaso
eat.ipv:neg

(7.39) Ne

ntse
neg

emiantena
how:often
3anom
‘They don’t go to Tenmotlai very often’

Tenmotlaie
Tenmotlai.dat

etot
go.ipv:neg.pl

The following examples provide minimal pairs illustrating the e↵ect of word order on the interpretation of
negative sentences. In (7.40) the negative marker attaches to the verb, whereas in (7.41) it precedes kihoin
‘letter’. Although the two sentences are translated in more or less the same way, they di↵er semantically.
The first sentence would tend to receive a focus-neutral interpretation, paraphrasable as ‘It is not the case
that the student is writing a letter’. In the second example a portion of the sentence following ntse is being
focused. There are two possibilities: If the focus is on kihoin, then the meaning of the sentence is ‘It’s not
a letter that the student is writing (but something else)’; here we say that negation scopes over kihoin.
Alternatively, the whole phrase kihoin isiehpo can act as the focus and scope for negation, in which case the
meaning is ‘It’s not writing a letter that the student is engaged in (but some other activity)’.

(7.40) Ispakama

kihoin
letter.dat

mesiehpo
neg.prg.write.ipv:neg

student.erg
‘The student is not writing a letter’

(7.41) Ispakama

ntse
neg

kihoin
letter.dat

isiehpo
prg.write.ipv:neg

student.erg
‘The student is not writing a letter’

Consider also the pair of examples below. In (7.42) the quantificational phrase tsokoimpa miante ‘a number
of strangers’ follows the negative marker ntse, and is interpretated inside the scope of negation, yielding
the reading ‘It is not the case that Elim met a number of strangers’. In (7.43) the quantificational phrase

148

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

precedes the negative marker (here realized as the prefix n-), and is thus outside the scope of negation. This
results in a subtly di↵erent interpretation, roughly paraphrasable as ‘A number of strangers are such that
Elim didn’t meet them’.

(7.42) Eleim

miante
Elim.dat
many:nom
‘Elim didn’t meet very many strangers’

tsokoimpa
stranger

ntse
neg

tsokuou
meet.pv:neg

(7.43) Eleim

miante
Elim.dat
many:nom
‘There are a number of strangers who Elim didn’t meet’

ntsokuou
neg.meet.pv:neg

tsokoimpa
stranger

A final pair of examples illustrating the scope of negation is given below. Notice how the placement of the
negative marker is reflected in the English translations.

(7.44) Inkime

ntse
neg

oite
important.tnzr

m`a
something

utso
pf.say.ipv:neg

3aerg:12dat
‘She hasn’t told us anything of importance’

(7.45) Inkime

oite
important.tnzr

m`a
something

motso
neg.pf.say.ipv:neg

3aerg:12dat
‘There’s something important that she hasn’t told us’

Attachment of the negative marker to other word classes

Besides appearing on the verb, the negative marker also attaches to certain preverbal elements. Examples
8.2.1); and the aspectual elements
include the focus operators ntsilas ‘not only’ and ntsohkina ‘not even’ (see
ntseima ‘no longer’, ntsuta ‘not yet’, and ntsoke ‘not going to’ (
8.4.2). Various negative quantifiers and
§
quantificational adverbials can also be formed by adding the negative particle to a correlative element. These
include the following (see

6.7.1 for a complete list):

§

§

ntsam`a
ntsemi`o
ntsemi`e
ntsemi

‘none, nothing, not any’ [inanimate]
‘none, no-one, not any’ [animate]
‘nowhere’
‘never’

Note that when one of these elements combines with a noun, the negative element ‘detaches’ from the
correlative and precedes the noun as ntse. Compare:

ntsam`a
ntsemi`o

‘nothing’
‘no-one’

ntse iase m`a
ntse pyi mi`o

‘no food’
‘no children’

Negative operators, quantifiers, and adverbials all precede the verb, to the left of any noun phrases inside
the scope of negation and to the right of noun phrases which are outside the scope of negation. As with
ntse, the verb is suxed with the negative form of the appropriate tense/aspect/mood sux. Examples:

(7.46) Ma

ntsam`a
nothing

etsou
say.pv:neg

1serg
‘I said nothing’ or ‘I didn’t say anything’

(7.47) Ntsemiohma
nobody.erg
‘Nobody said anything’

m`a
something

etsou
say.pv:neg

7.3. NEGATION

149

(7.48) Ma

ntse
neg

talak
money

m`a
some

ikpunka
prg.carry.ipv:pst:neg

1serg
‘I was not carrying any money’

(7.49) Im`e

1sall

halm`a
book.nom

ntsemiena
nowhere.loc

itleilho
prg.find:res.ipv:neg

‘My book is nowhere to be found’ (lit. ‘My book is found nowhere’)

(7.50) Ne

3anom

ntsemi
never

Tenmotlaie
Tenmotlai.dat

uto
pf.go.ipv:neg

‘She has never been/gone to Tenmotlai’

Other particles indicating polarity

In negative clauses the verb is sometimes followed by the emphatic particle iahok, which highlights the
negation (see
8.2.2). Negative imperatives (prohibitives) feature the particle iak, while emphatic negative
questions may be marked with the particle iakin. Examples include:

§

(7.51) It`e

mekesto
3iall
neg.prg.happy.ipv:neg
‘I’m not at all happy about this’

iahok
neg:emph

iman
1sloc

(7.52) Ku

mankilho
neg.leave.ipv:neg

iak
neg:imp

2nom
‘Don’t leave!’

(7.53) Sakiale

motsokuo
neg.pf.meet.ipv:neg

iakin?
neg:emph:qu

Sakial.nom
‘Haven’t you ever met Sakial before?’ or ‘Have you really never met Sakial?’

Note finally that ntse and m- alternate with two other preverbal negative particles, namely ntsu and ntsune.
The former expresses negated coordination, and appears in a construction where it is repeated before each
conjunct (ntsu … ntsu … is equivalent to English ‘neither … nor …’). Note that only the second conjunct
is marked for case, while the first conjunct appears in the unmarked form. Notice also that in the example
below the verb takes the negative form of the tense/aspect sux, but does not carry plural agreement with
the ergative argument (ntsu Sakial ntsu im`a).

(7.54) Halma

atai
that:dat

ntsu
nor
book
‘Neither Sakial nor I have read that book yet’

ntsu
neither

Sakial
Sakial

eima
still

im`a
1serg

utalo
pf.read.ipv:neg

Ntsune is used in place of ntse or m- to put emphatic focus on the negation, as when the speaker wishes to
contradict a previous assertion or implication. For example, (7.55) below would be used to make a simple
statement, while (7.56) would be used if the speaker wishes to disagree with an earlier claim that the water
was hot. The positive counterpart of ntsune is hi`o, which may be used to contradict a previous negative
statement, as in (7.57). (Note the presence of the emphatic particle ha, used when the sentence conveys
information which the speaker believes will be unexpected or surprising to the addressee; see

8.2.2.)

§

(7.55) Nahe

mekailo
neg.prg.hot.ipv:neg

water.nom
‘The water isn’t hot’

150

(7.56) Nahe

ntsune
neg

ikailo
prg.hot.ipv:neg

water.nom
‘No, in fact the water is not hot’

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

ha
in:fact

(7.57) Nahe

hi`o
pos

ikaila
prg.hot.ipv

water.nom
‘On the contrary, the water is hot’

ha
in:fact

The particles hi`o and ntsune can also be used as utterances by themselves, equivalent to English ‘yes’
and ‘no’: Hi`o is used to answer a yes/no question in the armative, to signal agreement with a previous
positive assertion or implication, or to contradict a previous negative assertion or implication. Ntsune is
used to answer a yes/no question in the negative, to signal agreement with a previous negative assertion or
implication, or to contradict a positive assertion or implication.

Hi`o and ntsune can also stand in for a predicate phrase which has been elided. Hi`o (like English
‘do/does/did’) replaces a positive predicate, while ntsune (like ‘don’t/doesn’t/didn’t’) replaces a negative
predicate:

(7.58) Sakiale

sihkunoi
river.dat

etyi,
go.pv

le
but

Elime
Elim.nom

ntsune
neg

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial went to the river, but Elim didn’t’

(7.59) Sakiale

sihkunoi
river.dat

metou,
neg.go.pv:neg

le
but

Elime
Elim.nom

hi`o
pos

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial didn’t go to the river, but Elim did’

These particles are not used in the so-called stripping construction, where two clauses containing contrasting
focused noun phrases are conjoined with one another, and everything except the focused phrase is omitted
from the second conjunct (see
In this construction, if the second conjunct is
negated, the focused phrase is preceded by the regular negative particle ntse, just as it is when the first
conjunct is negated:

8.2.1 for more examples).

§

(7.60) Ias`e

ketyi,
Sakialma
food.nom
bring:here.pv
Sakial.erg
‘It’s Sakial who brought the food, not Elim’

te
foc

ntse
neg

Elimma
Elim.erg

(7.61) Ias`e

ketou,
Sakialma
food.nom
bring:here.pv:neg
Sakial.erg
‘It’s not Sakial who brought the food, but Elim’

ntse
neg

tluosna
instead

Elimma
Elim.erg

7.4 Tense, aspect, and mood

In addition to number agreement (
7.2), verbs in Okuna inflect for tense, aspect, mood, and polarity. The
§
type of inflection di↵ers for verbs in main clauses versus verbs in dependent clauses. In this section I focus
10.2.
on main clause verbs. For discussion of aspect, mood, and polarity inflection in dependent clauses, see
Tense, aspect, mood, and polarity are marked on the verb by a combination of suxes and prefixes. I

§

briefly consider these in turn before presenting some sample verb conjugations in

7.4.1.

§

Suxal morphology

Verbs in main clauses mark the following features by means of suxation:

7.4. TENSE, ASPECT, AND MOOD

151

1. Two mood categories are distinguished. The indicative mood is used when the clause denotes an
actual or possible state of a↵airs, while the conditional mood is used when it denotes a contingent
or hypothetical state of a↵airs. E.g., ma uhna ‘I sing, I will sing’ (indicative), versus ma uhnike ‘I
would sing’ (conditional).

2. For verbs in the indicative mood, a two-way tense distinction is made: non-past tense is used for
states and events which overlap or follow the moment of speaking, and for generic or ‘timeless’ states
and events; while past tense is used for states and events which precede the moment of speaking. E.g.,
ma uhna ‘I sing, I will sing, I habitually sing’ (non-past), versus ma uhnyi ‘I sang’ (past).

3. A two-way aspect distinction is made in the past tense: perfective aspect is used for single events
when viewed as complete(d); while imperfective aspect is used for ongoing, habitual, or otherwise
unbounded states of a↵airs. E.g., ma uhnyi ‘I sang’ (perfective), versus ma uhnanka ‘I used to sing’
(imperfective). Note that conditional and non-past indicative verbs always pattern as imperfective.

4. Finally, for each combination of tense, aspect, and mood features, a di↵erent ending is used depending
on the polarity of the clause: one set of endings is used on verbs in positive clauses, while another
set is used for verbs in negative clauses. E.g., ma hoti uhna ‘I always sing’, versus ma ntsemi uhno
‘I never sing’. As noted below, certain tense/aspect/mood endings also have separate interrogative
forms used in yes/no questions. E.g., ko uhna ‘you sing’, versus ko `uhnin? ‘do you sing?’

The table below gives the tense, aspect, mood, and polarity endings found in main clauses. The abbreviations
7.4.2–
used in the glosses are given in parentheses after each sux, while their functions are discussed in
7.4.6.

§

§

non-past imperfective
past imperfective
(past) perfective
conditional

positive
(ipv)
(ipv:pst)
(pv)
(cond)

-a
-anka
-yi
-ike

negative

-o
-unka
-ou
-oike

(ipv:neg)
(ipv:pst:neg)
(pv:neg)
(cond:neg)

The non-past imperfective (positive) ending -a, and the past imperfective endings -anka and -unka all have
alternative forms where the final a is replaced by i. These i -final forms, listed in the table below, are referred
to as the interrogative forms (abbreviated int in the glosses).

non-past imperfective (pos)
past imperfective (pos)
past imperfective (neg)

non-interrogative
(ipv)
-a
(ipv:pst)
-anka
(ipv:pst:neg)
-unka

interrogative
(ipv:int)
(ipv:pst:int)
(ipv:pst:neg:int)

-i
-anki
-unki

The interrogative forms are used when the verb occurs in a yes/no question, usually in combination with the
question marker ne (-n after a vowel; see
9.3.2 for discussion). For suxes which do not have alternative
interrogative forms (i.e., the non-past imperfective negative sux -o, as well as the perfective and conditional
suxes), the verb takes the same form in yes/no questions as it does in other contexts. Compare the following
examples featuring the verb root uhn- ‘sing’, with interrogative/non-interrogative alternations shown in
boldface:

§

na uhna
na muhno
na uhnanka
na muhnunka
na uhnyi
na muhnou

‘she sings’
‘she doesn’t sing’
‘she used to sing’
‘she didn’t used to sing’
‘she sang’
‘she didn’t sing’

na `uhnin?
na m`uhnon?
na uhn`ankin?
na muhn`unkin?
na uhnyin?
na muhnoun?

‘does she sing?’
‘doesn’t she sing?’
‘did she used to sing?’
‘didn’t she used to sing?’
‘did she sing?’
‘didn’t she sing?’

152

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

The tense/aspect/mood/polarity suxes are subject to the usual phonological alternations. When the past
imperfective negative sux -unka is added to a stem ending in a glide, the u lowers to o in accordance with
the rules of vowel hiatus summarized in
3.5.3: e.g, laki- ‘hunt’ + -unka > lakionka. Likewise, when the
interrogative sux -i or the conditional sux -ike is added to a glide-final stem, the i lowers to e: e.g., taki-
‘break’ + -i > takie; tsoku- ‘meet’ + -ike > tsokueke.

§

The tense/aspect/mood/polarity sux immediately precedes any number agreement suxes attached to
the verb (cf.
7.2). For reference, the following table presents all of the permissible combinations of these
suxes found on main clause verbs. These are grouped into rows according to tense/aspect/mood/polarity,
and into columns according to number agreement.

§

ipv
ipv:neg
ipv:int
ipv:pst
ipv:pst:neg
ipv:pst:int
ipv:pst:neg:int
pv
pv:neg
cond
cond:neg

sg
-a
-o
-i
-anka
-unka
-anki
-unki
-yi
-ou
-ike
-oike

pl
-at
-ot
-it
-ankat
-unkat
-ankit
-unkit
-yit
-out
-ikit
-oikit

npl
-aua
-oua
-eua
-ankaua
-unkaua
-ankeua
-unkeua
-yia
-oua
-ikeua
-oikeua

npl+pl
-auat
-ouat
-euat
-ankauat
-unkauat
-ankeuat
-unkeuat
-yiat
-ouat
-ikeuat
-oikeuat

dpl
-ama
-oma
-ima
-ankama
-unkama
-ankima
-unkima
-yima
-ouma
-ikima
-oikima

dpl+pl
-amat
-omat
-imat
-ankamat
-unkamat
-ankimat
-unkimat
-yimat
-oumat
-ikimat
-oikimat

epl
-ane
-one
-ine
-ankane
-unkane
-ankine
-unkine
-yine
-oune
-ikine
-oikine

epl+pl
-anit
-onit
-init
-ankanit
-unkanit
-ankinit
-unkinit
-yinit
-ounit
-ikinit
-oikinit

Notice that when the interrogative suxes -i, -anki, and -unki are followed by a vowel, the final i lowers to
e before a number agreement sux beginning with a glide (e.g., -anki + -ua > -ankeua). In addition, the
conditional suxes -ike and -oike become -iki and -oiki, respectively, when followed by a number agreement
sux beginning with a consonant. The conditional suxes also have raising of final e to i before the bound
question marker -n (discussed in

9.3.2):

§

na uhnike
na muhnoike

‘she would sing’
‘she wouldn’t sing’

na uhn`ıkin?
na muhn`oikin?

‘would she sing?’
‘wouldn’t she sing?’

Prefixal morphology

Besides the suxes discussed above, verbs in the past and non-past imperfective, as well as the conditional,
may take one of two prefixes to mark a further set of aspectual distinctions. The prefix i- or e- marks the
progressive (prg) aspect, while the prefix u- or o- marks the perfect (pf) aspect. When an imperfective
or conditional verb does not carry one of these prefixes, it is said to be in the imperfect aspect. Roughly
speaking, the progressive is used for states of a↵airs viewed as current or ongoing; the perfect for states and
events viewed ‘after the fact’; and the imperfect for generic, habitual, and future states of a↵airs (for details,
see the discussion in

7.4.6 below):

imperfect

§

7.4.2–
§
ma hosta
ma hostanka
ma hostile

‘I dance; I will dance’
‘I used to dance’
‘I would dance’

progressive ma ihosta

ma ihostanka
ma ihostike

‘I am dancing, I have been dancing’
‘I was dancing, I had been dancing’
‘I would be dancing’

perfect

ma uhosta
ma uhostanka
ma uhostike

‘I have danced’
‘I had danced’
‘I would have danced’

7.4. TENSE, ASPECT, AND MOOD

153

The progressive and perfect prefixes each have two allomorphs, whose distribution is governed by both
phonological and morphological factors. The e- and o- variants are used when the prefix attaches to a stem
beginning with a glide vowel (such as iona ‘know’ or uohta ‘sit’), in accordance with the vowel hiatus rules
discussed in
3.5.3. In addition, e- and o- are used when the prefix attaches to a stem beginning with a
7.3). The i-
consonant, just in case the prefix is in turn preceded by the bound negative marker m- (see
and u- variants appear elsewhere. Compare the following partial paradigms for kahta ‘hit’, aktapa ‘help’,
and iasa ‘eat’:

§

§

pos

neg

imperfect
progressive
perfect

kahta
ikahta
ukahta

nkahto
mekahto
mokahto

‘hits, will hit’
‘is hitting’
‘has hit’

imperfect
progressive
perfect

maktapo
aktapa
iaktapa miaktapo
uaktapa muaktapo

‘helps, will help’
‘is helping’
‘has helped’

imperfect
progressive
perfect

iasa
eiasa
oiasa

miaso
meiaso
moiaso

‘eats, will eat’
‘is eating’
‘has eaten’

In addition, when the aspectual prefixes are added to a stem beginning with a non-glide high vowel, that
3.5.3).
vowel lowers to become the corresponding mid vowel (again due to the vowel hiatus rules discussed in
For instance, adding i- to ikla ‘scratch’ yields iekla ‘is scratching’ (negative mieklo ‘is not scratching’), while
adding u- gives uekla ‘has scratched’ (mueklo ‘has not scratched’). Likewise, adding i- and u- to uhna ‘sing’
yields iohna ‘is singing’ (miohno ‘is not singing’) and uohna ‘has sung’ (muohno ‘has not sung’), respectively.
A small number of verb stems, all of which begin with e when unprefixed, show irregularities in their
prefixed aspect forms. For these verbs, the initial e is dropped replaced with i in the progressive and u in
the perfect, or e in the progressive and o in the perfect when the negative prefix m- is added.

§

ekp-
esk-
est-
et-
ets-
etskan-
etskast-
etskop-

‘carry, bring/take, hold’
‘ask, request’
‘reach, succeed’
‘go, come’
‘say, tell’
‘arrive, appear’
‘summon, call, produce’
‘realize’

This irregularity is illustrated below with the partial paradigms for eta and etskana:

imperfect
progressive
perfect

pos

eta
ita
uta

neg

meto
meto
moto

‘goes, will go’
‘is going’
‘has gone’

imperfect
progressive
perfect

etskana metskano
itskana metskano
utskana motskano

‘arrives, will arrive’
‘is arriving’
‘has arrived’

That these eight verbs are genuinely irregular is shown by the fact that all other verbs whose stems begin
with e form the progressive and perfect aspects according to the normal rules for vowel-initial verbs: e.g.,
eka ‘be empty’, progressive ieka ‘is empty’, perfect ueka ‘has been empty’.

154

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

7.4.1 Sample conjugations and irregular forms

In the discussion which follows, I will use abbreviated names for certain tense-aspect combinations. These
are noted in the following table:

tense

non-past
non-past
non-past
past
past
past
past

aspect
(suffixal)
imperfective
imperfective
imperfective
imperfective
imperfective
imperfective
perfective

aspect
(prefixal)
imperfect
progressive
perfect
imperfect
progressive
perfect

abbreviated
name
imperfect
progressive
perfect
past imperfect
past progressive
past perfect
perfective

The paradigms below illustrate the permissible prefix and sux combinations for expressing tense, aspect,
and mood distinctions in main clauses, using the verbs siehpa ‘write’ (with the consonant-final stem siehp-)
and paua ‘wash’ (with the glide-final stem pau-). The positive forms are given in the second column and their
negative counterparts in the third column, while the fourth column gives approximate English equivalents
for each tense/aspect/mood form. Note that the negative forms are shown with the bound negative particle
m- attached (see
7.3; note that m- + siehp- becomes ntsiehp- due to the regular assimilation rules discussed
in

3.5.2). For reasons of space, the interrogative forms are not included in these tables.

§

§

imperfect
progressive
perfect
past imperfect
past progressive
past perfect
imperfect conditional
progressive conditional
perfect conditional
perfective

imperfect
progressive
perfect
past imperfect
past progressive
past perfect
imperfect conditional
progressive conditional
perfect conditional
perfective

neg
pos
ntsiehpo
siehpa
mesiehpo
isiehpa
mosiehpo
usiehpa
siehpanka
ntsiehpunka
isiehpanka mesiehpunka
usiehpanka mosiehpunka
siehpike
isiehpike
usiehpike
siehpyi

ntsiehpoike
mesiehpoike
mosiehpoike
ntsiehpou

‘write(s), will write’
‘is writing, has been writing’
‘wrote, has written’
‘wrote, would write, used to write’
‘was writing, had been writing’
‘had written’
‘would write’
‘would be writing’
‘would have written’
‘wrote’

pos
neg
paua
mpauo
ipaua
mepauo
upaua
mopauo
mpauonke
pauanka
ipauanka mepauonke
upauanka mopauonke
paueke
ipaueke
upaueke
pauyi

mpauoike
mepauoike
mopauoike
mpauou

‘wash(es), will wash’
‘is washing, has been washing’
‘washed, has washed’
‘washed, would wash, used to wash’
‘was washing, had been washing’
‘had washed’
‘would wash’
‘would be washing’
‘would have washed’
‘washed’

Apart from the eight e-initial verbs listed in the above discussion of prefixal aspect morphology, only three
verbs show irregularities in their conjugations: the copula he, and the deictic verbs ts`a ‘be over here’ (near
me) and k`a ‘be here’ (near us) or ‘be there’ (near you). The functions of the copula are explained in
9.3.1,
5.3.2.
while the deictic verbs are discussed briefly in

§

The paradigm for he is given below. Notice that he is not only highly irregular but also morphologically
‘deficient’, in that it fails to inflect for the full range of tense and aspect distinctions: there are no progressive

§

7.4. TENSE, ASPECT, AND MOOD

155

forms, and, since he is a stative verb, there are no perfective forms either. (The negative forms are given
here without the bound negative marker m-, since this element never attaches directly to the copula, but
9.3.1.)
always precedes the complement of the copula; cf.

§

imperfect
perfect
past imperfect
past perfect
imperfect conditional
perfect conditional

pos
he
heu
nka
heunka
heike
heuke

neg
ho
hou
hunka
hounka
hoike
heuoike

‘is/am/are, will be’
‘has been’
‘was/were’
‘had been’
‘would be’
‘would have been’

Note that this verb has separate interrogative forms only in the past imperfect and past perfect, where the
final a is replaced with i (nki, hunki, heunki, hounki ). As with regular verbs, the final e of the conditional
forms becomes i before a consonant-initial sux or the bound question particle -n (e.g., heike + -t > heikit;
heuoike + -n > heu`oikin).

The paradigms for ts`a and k`a are given below (like the copula, these verbs are stative and therefore lack
perfective forms). The slight irregularities found in these paradigms can be attributed to the fact that these
are the only two verbs in the language whose stems end in a non-glide vowel: tla- and ka-, respectively.

imperfect
progressive
perfect
past imperfect
past progressive
past perfect
imperfect conditional
progressive conditional
perfect conditional

imperfect
progressive
perfect
past imperfect
past progressive
past perfect
imperfect conditional
progressive conditional
perfect conditional

neg
ntsau
metsau
motsau
ntsaunka

pos
ts`a
its`a
uts`a
tsanka
itsanka metsaunka
utsanka motsaunka
ntsauoike
tsaike
itsaike
metsauoike
utsaike motsauoike

neg
nkau
mekau
mokau
nkaunka

pos
k`a
ik`a
uk`a
kanka
ikanka mekaunka
ukanka mokaunka
nkauoike
kaike
ikaike
mekauoike
ukaike mokauoike

‘is here, will be here’
‘is here, has been here’
‘was here, has been here’
‘was here, used to be here’
‘was here, had been here’
‘had been here’
‘would be here’
‘would be here’
‘would have been here’

‘is there, will be there’
‘is there, has been there’
‘was there, has been there’
‘was there, used to be there’
‘was there, had been there’
‘had been there’
‘would be there’
‘would be there’
‘would have been there’

Like the copula, k`a and ts`a have separate interrogative forms only in the past imperfective, where the final
a is replaced with i (e.g., kanka > kanki ). Also, as expected, the final e of the conditional forms raises to
become i before a consonant-initial plural agreement sux or the bound question marker -n (e.g., ntsauoike
+ -t > ntsauoikit). Finally, note that the diacritic which indicates a stressed final vowel (see
3.4) is omitted
when a plural agreement sux or -n is added to the forms in question, since the addition of the sux creates
words which conform to the regular stress rules (e.g., ts`a + -t > tsat; ik`a + -n > ikan).

§

The functions of the di↵erent tense, aspect, and mood forms are discussed and illustrated in the following
7.4.3 with the past and non-past progressive,
7.4.5 I discuss the perfective and illustrate the di↵erences
§
7.4.6 I discuss the conditional mood.

subsections:
and
between the perfective and the perfect, while in

7.4.2 deals with the past and non-past imperfect,

7.4.4 with the past and non-past perfect. In

§

§

§

§

156

7.4.2 Imperfect

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

As noted above, the non-past imperfective is marked on the verb by the sux -a in positive clauses, and -o in
negative clauses (these suxes are glossed ipv and ipv:neg, respectively). The past imperfective is marked
by the sux -anka in positive clauses, and -unka in negative clauses (glossed ipv:pst and ipv:pst:neg,
respectively). When these suxes are used without the progressive or perfect aspectual prefix, the verb is
said to be in the imperfect aspect.

The non-past imperfect tends to be used in contexts where English would use the simple present tense,
while the past imperfect corresponds to the simple past. With Class I verbs denoting an inherent or non-
transitory property predicated of some individual (or group of individuals), the non-past imperfect form is
used when the individual holds the property at the time when the sentence is uttered. The past imperfect
is used when the individual held the property at some point in the past, but perhaps no longer does so.

(7.62) Mo

tiaht`e
grandfather.nom

1srdat
‘My grandfather is tall’

pata
tall.ipv

(7.63) Mo

tiaht`e
1srdat
grandfather.nom
‘My grandfather was tall’

patanka
tall.ipv:pst

(7.64) Pal`o

sihkunu
river

utena
near.loc

tima
lie.ipv

village.nom
‘The village lies near a river’

(7.65) Sakiale

ameia
mother.all

akiel
appearance

ohtlanka
resemble.ipv:pst

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial looked like his mother’

Class I verbs also take the imperfect in generic sentences—that is, when the property in question is predicated
of an entire class of entities rather than a particular individual or group of individuals. The non-past imperfect
is used when the clause expresses a generalization that holds at the present moment, while the past imperfect
is used for generalizations that applied at some point in the past (but may or may not apply at the present
moment).

(7.66) Kotiem`e

inie
eyes

ampiohna
around.loc

kote
black

pekme
patch.inst

yla
have.ipv

raccoon.nom
‘Raccoons have black patches around their eyes’

(7.67) Palu

itan
that:loc

koinma
person.erg

es
one

sul
language

village
‘People in that village used to speak a di↵erent language’

iapme
other.inst

komankat
speak.ipv:pst.pl

Similarly with Class II and Class III verbs denoting events, the imperfect form is used in generic and
habitual clauses. To express current generalizations or habitual actions (those overlapping with the moment
of speaking), the non-past imperfect is used; while the past imperfect is used for habitual actions which are
no longer being carried out and generalizations which no longer hold.

(7.68) Kitoleuma

kepehots
acorn

iasa
eat.ipv

squirrel.erg
‘Squirrels eat acorns’

(7.69) Sakialma

kahu
fish

pala
catch.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial catches fish’ or ‘Sakial is a fisherman’

7.4. TENSE, ASPECT, AND MOOD

157

(7.70) Sakialma

ekan
here:loc

tsuhpa
live.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial lives here’

(7.71) Sakialma

ekan
here:loc

tsuhpanka
live.ipv:pst

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial lived here’ or ‘Sakial used to live here’

(7.72) Sa

kotsim
morning

ekina
13erg
every:time
‘We go swimming in the river every morning’

sihkununa
river.loc

sihpat
swim.ipv.pl

(7.73) Halai

summer

iolhmohka,
last:year

sa
13erg

kotsim
morning

ekina
every:time

sihkununa
river.loc

sihpankat
swim.ipv:pst.pl

‘Last summer, we went / would go swimming in the river every morning’

The non-past imperfect is also used to express a future event:

(7.74) Ma

1serg

losaka
firewood.all

eta
go.ipv

‘I’ll go get (some) firewood’

(7.75) Ikimme
12inst
‘Sakial is coming with us’

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

afa
come:along.ipv

It is usually possible to determine from context whether a verb in the non-past imperfect is referring to
a generic/habitual event or a future event. When necessary, these senses can be distinguished by adding
an adverbial or other temporal modifier to the sentence. For example, modifiers like hoti ‘always’, kyfalu
‘usually, as a rule’, ela ‘in each case’, or kotsim ekina ‘every morning’ bring out the generic or habitual
interpretation (cf. example (7.72) above). To emphasize a future tense reading, an expression like elohfoi
‘tomorrow’, l`o henme efoi ‘in two days’, hatlam ‘soon’, laisne ‘just’, or oke ‘in the future, by and by’ may be
added to the clause. Verbs modified by oke are usually translated using the ‘be going to’ construction, while
laisne expresses immediate future when used in combination with the non-past imperfect and corresponds
to ‘be (just) about to’.

(7.76) Ma

elohfoi
koi
1serg
tomorrow
2nom
‘I’ll meet you tomorrow’

kuola
meet.ipv

(7.77) Sakialma

oke
Sakial.erg
going:to
‘Sakial is going to write a letter’

kihoin
letter.dat

siehpa
write.ipv

(7.78) Se

laisne
just

ilaltat
go:to:shore.ipv.pl

13nom
‘We’re just about to go down to the shore’

Just as the non-past imperfect form can be used to express a future event, the past imperfect form can be
used to express a ‘future-in-the-past’ event—that is, an event which, at a certain point in time in the past,
had not yet happened but was expected to happen (cf. English ‘would leave, was going to leave, was about
to leave’). To specify the future-in-the-past reading, the verb is normally accompanied by an adverbial such
as oke or laisne.

158

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

(7.79) Sakialma

kihoin
Sakial.erg
letter.dat
‘Sakial was going to write a letter’

oke
going:to

siehpanka
write.ipv:pst

(7.80) Lhat`e

children.nom

laisne
just

sihkunoua
river.all

nkilhankat
leave.ipv:pst.pl

unma
3ardat.1serg

ahatit
pv.call.pt.pl

‘The children were just about to leave for the river when I called them (back)’

Finally, clauses in the non-past imperfect is used to express commands, wishes, or suggestions. Here the non-
past imperfect is often used in combination with the postverbal imperative/optative marker na (expressing
a command or wish) or nem (expressing a suggestion). In commands, the second person subject may be
omitted (see

9.3.3 for more discussion of imperative sentences):

§
temie
(7.81) (Ko)
2erg
hands
‘Wash your hands!’

paua
wash.ipv

(7.82) Tiakoi

uktiama
goat.dat
give.ipv.dpl
‘Go feed the goats!’ or ‘The goats should be fed’

iase
food

na
imp

ikpihanene
(7.83) Kue
2dat
prg.seek.dep.cnzr.nom
‘May you find what you’re looking for’

tlelha
find.ipv

na
imp

(7.84) Kihoin

siehpa
nem
why:not
write.ipv
letter.dat
‘Why don’t you write a letter?’

(7.85) Kimot

elohfoi
tomorrow
12:all:nom
‘Let’s all go to Tenmotlai tomorrow’

Tenmotlaie
Tenmotlai.dat

etat
go.ipv.pl

nem
why:not

7.4.3 Progressive

The verb carries progressive inflection when it denotes a state or event which is being viewed as ongoing
with respect to the present moment, or with respect to some other contextually-relevant past or future event.
As noted above, progressive aspect is marked by adding the prefix i- to the verb, in combination with an
imperfective sux expressing tense and polarity (recall that i- becomes e- when preceded by the negative
marker m- and/or followed by a glide):

itala
metalo

‘is reading, has been reading’
‘isn’t reading, hasn’t been reading’

(non-past progressive)
(non-past progressive negative)

italanka
metalunka

‘was reading, had been reading’
‘wasn’t reading, hadn’t been reading’

(past progressive)
(past progressive negative)

When a Class I verb appears in the non-past progressive, it denotes a state of a↵airs which holds at the
moment of speaking. Here, the non-past progressive is normally translated using the simple present tense in
English (‘is happy’) except when the verb denotes a position or posture, in which case it may correspond to
the English present progressive (‘is sitting’). Likewise, the past progressive denotes a state of a↵airs which
held at some point prior to the moment of speaking, and corresponds to the English simple past or past
progressive (‘was tired’, ‘was sitting’).

7.4. TENSE, ASPECT, AND MOOD

159

(7.86) Pyina

ikesta
prg.happy.ipv

child.loc
‘The child is happy’

(7.87) Elime

totsatna
table.loc

euohta
prg.sit.ipv

Elim.nom
‘Elim is sitting at the table’

(7.88) Sakiale

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is tired’

ihakta
prg.tired.ipv

(7.89) Sakiale

teusu
Sakial.nom
very
‘Sakial was very tired yesterday’

ihaktanka
prg.tired.ipv:pst

elohka
yesterday

(7.90) Kale

euolhna
over:there.loc
man.nom
‘The men were standing over there’

itoilhankat
prg.stand:res.ipv:pst.pl

For the most part, the progressive is used only with Class I verbs denoting states which are transitory,
and not thought of as inherent or necessary properties of the individual in question (e.g., kesta ‘be happy’,
mouta ‘be sick’). Verbs expressing permanent or integral characteristics of an individual (e.g., pata ‘be tall’)
almost always appear in the imperfect instead of the progressive. Many Class I verbs can describe either a
permanent state or a transitory state, depending on the context or the choice of theme argument. For such
verbs, the choice between the progressive and the imperfect correlates with this di↵erence in interpretation.
Compare the following pairs of sentences:

(7.91) Sakiale

Sakial.nom

imouta
prg.sick.ipv

‘Sakial is sick’ (now)

(7.92) Sakiale

Sakial.nom

mouta
sick.ipv

‘Sakial is sickly/infirm’ (i.e., has a chronic condition)

(7.93) Sakiale

Sakial.nom

imuntanka
prg.drunk.ipv:pst

‘Sakial was drunk’ (at a certain point in time)

(7.94) Sakiale

Sakial.nom

muntanka
drunk.ipv:pst

‘Sakial was (habitually) drunk’ or ‘Sakial was a drunkard’

(7.95) Halm`a

book.nom

totsat
table

epamna
top.loc

itima
prg.lie.ipv

‘The book is lying on the table’ (transitory location)

(7.96) Palu

village

tan
that:nom

loka
forest

pahaina
beyond.loc

tima
lie.ipv

‘That village lies beyond the forest’ (permanent location)

160

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

Occasionally a verb denoting an inherent property will appear in the progressive rather than the imperfect.
In such cases the progressive serves to emphasize that the individual in question possesses the property now,
but did not do so in the past:

(7.97) Me

ihka
earlier

mitianka,
weak.ipv:pst

le
but

1snom
‘I used to be weak, but now I’m strong’

takan
now

inasa
prg.strong.ipv

A similar semantic contrast is illustrated by the following sentences, featuring the stative Class II verb tsuhpa
‘live, reside’. In (7.98), with the verb is in the non-past imperfect, the speaker is describing his/her living
situation in neutral terms. When the verb is instead in the non-past progressive, as in (7.99), it is implied
that the speaker’s current living situation is a new (or newly relevant) development:

(7.98) Ma

kahamame
aunt.inst

1serg
‘I live with my aunt’

tsuhpa
live.ipv

(7.99) Ma

kahamame
aunt.inst

itsuhpa
1serg
prg.live.ipv
‘I am (now) living with my aunt’
or ‘I have been living with my aunt’

When an eventive Class II or Class III verb inflects for the progressive, the clause is understood to denote
a particular event which is ongoing (overlaps with) some contextually-relevant point in time. The non-past
progressive is normally used for an event which is ongoing at the moment of speaking, and corresponds
closely to the present progressive in English (‘is eating’). The past progressive is used when the event was
ongoing at some time in the past, and corresponds to the English past progressive (‘was eating’).

(7.100) Elimma

homa
bread

eiasa
prg.eat.ipv

Elim.nom
‘Elim is eating bread’

(7.101) Elimma

eiasanka
Elim.nom
prg.eat.ipv
‘Elim was eating bread when I entered the room’

me
1snom

haloi
room.dat

homa
bread

alhyue
pv.enter.pf

The progressive is also used when the clause expresses a state of a↵airs which began in the past and has
persisted up to the present moment. When used in this way, the non-past progressive often corresponds to
the English present perfect or present perfect progressive (‘has been tired’, ‘has been sitting’); while the past
progressive corresponds to the past perfect or past perfect progressive (‘had been tired’, ‘had been sitting’).
The clause often includes a temporal measure phrase, which appears in the dative case and is preceded by
kas ‘so far, as of now/then, already’ (e.g., kas luom hein ‘for two hours’):

(7.102) Sakiale

lem
emuohpi
whole:time
day
Sakial.nom
‘Sakial has been tired all day’

ihakta
prg.tired.ipv

(7.103) Ne

tsulna
bed.loc

kas
so:far
3anom
‘She has been lying on the bed for two hours’

hein
two.dat

luom
hour

isailha
prg.lie.pv

(7.104) Ne

tsulna
bed.loc

kas
so:far

luom
hour

hein
two.dat

isailhanka
prg.lie.pv:pst

me
1snom

haloi
room.dat

alhyue
pv.enter.pt

3anom
‘She had been lying on the bed for two hours when I entered the room’

7.4. TENSE, ASPECT, AND MOOD

161

Note also the following example. As in (7.104) above, the main clause, with its verb in the past progressive,
establishes a temporal context for the event denoted by the perfective participial clause. Here, however, the
past progressive verb is instead translated using the simple past (‘was young’):

(7.105) Motl`a

eima
still

teusu
very

ifihanka
prg.young.ipv:pst

no
3ardat

am`e
mother.nom

atioke
pv.die.pt

Motla.nom
‘Motla was still very young when his mother died’

Combining progressive marking with an adverbial indicating futurity (such as oke ‘going to’, hatlam ‘soon’),
or a dependent clause headed by hulne hekuna ‘by the time (that)’, yields a future progressive interpretation
(‘will be sleeping’):

(7.106) Pyima

hatlam
soon

imuelhat
prg.sleep.ipv.pl

child.erg
‘The children will soon be sleeping’

(7.107) Se

nioktata
return.dep.pl

hulne
at:the:latest

hekuna,
when.loc

13nom
‘By the time we get back, the children will be sleeping’

pyima
child.erg

imuelhat
prg.sleep.ipv.pl

The progressive can also express an event in the immediate future, much as in English. However, using
the progressive to indicate futurity is less common in Okuna than it is in English: more often the non-past
imperfect is used (
7.4.2). The progressive with future meaning occurs mostly with verbs such as nkilha
§
‘leave’, which express punctual events (i.e., events viewed as being instantaneous):

(7.108) Motl`a

inkilha
prg.leave.ipv
Motla.nom
‘Motla is leaving tomorrow’ or ‘Motla will be leaving tomorrow’

elohfoi
tomorrow

(7.109) Motl`a

haloi
room.dat
Motla.nom
‘Motla was about to leave when I entered the room’

inkilhanka
prg.leave.ipv:pst

me
1snom

alhyue
pv.enter.pt

7.4.4 Perfect

Perfect aspect is marked by the adding the prefix u- to the verb (o- after the negative prefix m- or before a
glide), in combination with an imperfective sux indicating the tense and polarity of the clause:

usiehpa
mosiehpo

‘has written, will have written’
‘hasn’t written, won’t have written’

(non-past perfect)
(non-past perfect negative)

usiehpanka
mosiehpunka

‘had written’
‘hadn’t written’

(past perfect)
(past perfect negative)

Use of the perfect aspect indicates that the event or state denoted by the verb properly precedes some other
discourse-salient point in time. For the non-past imperfect, this point in time is normally the moment when
the sentence is uttered. Verbs in the non-past perfect are usually translated using the present perfect (‘has
read’) in English:

(7.110) Na

halma
book

utai
that:rdat

ehenna
twice

utala
pf.read.ipv

3aerg
‘She has read that book twice’

162

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

The non-past perfect is similar to the perfective, and sometimes they can be used interchangeably without
significantly altering the meaning of the sentence. However, the two forms are not identical. The perfective
identifies a particular event and asserts that that event is complete(d); whereas the non-past perfect indicates
that a given type of event occurred at one or more times in the past, or that a given state of a↵airs was in
e↵ect at some point prior to the present moment. Compare:

(7.111) Ik`e

kankilhyi
run:away.pv

dog.nom
‘The dog ran away (then)’

(7.112) Ik`e

ukankilha
pf.run:away.ipv

dog.nom
‘The dog ran away (at some point or other)’
or ‘The dog has run away’

The first sentence talks about a specific event of the dog running away, while the second sentence asserts
the existence one or more events involving the dog running away. For more on the di↵erence between the
non-past perfect and the perfective, see the discussion in

7.4.5 below.

When accompanied by an element expressing futurity, such as oke ‘be going to’ or hulne elohfoi ‘by
tomorrow, no later than tomorrow’, the non-past perfect can be used where English requires the future
perfect (‘will have finished’):

§

(7.113) Hulne

ielmefoi,
next:month

na
3aerg

hafe
new.tnzr

kotoi
house.dat

tiespe
build.cv

at:the:latest
‘By next month, they will have finished building the new house’

uoslat
pf.finish.ipv.pl

The past perfect in Okuna is essentially equivalent to the past perfect in English: both forms are used when
the event or state is already over with respect to some contextually-determined time in the past.

(7.114) Lhatima

uta
already

umuelhtankat
pf.sleep.tinc.ipv:pst.pl

me
1snom

alontsein
campsite.dat

aniokte
pv.return.pt

children.erg
‘The children had already gone to sleep by the time I returned to the campsite’

7.4.5 Perfective

The perfective is marked by adding the sux -yi to the verb in positive clauses, and -ou in negative clauses:
e.g., siehpyi ‘wrote’, ntsiehpou ‘did not write’ (in the examples, -yi and -ou are glossed pv and pv:neg,
respectively). Only verbs denoting events—that is, verbs belonging to Class II or Class III—have perfective
forms; stative verbs appear only in the imperfective and the conditional. Note also that perfective marking
is not compatible with the progressive or perfect aspects (marked by i- and u-, respectively). Hence, verbs
in the perfective never carry an aspectual prefix.

The perfective form is used when the clause denotes a single complete event, viewed in its entirety, which
precedes the moment of speaking. The perfective corresponds fairly closely to the simple past form in English
(‘wrote’). However, when denoting a recently completed event, it can also be translated using the English
present perfect (‘has written’), especially when the clause contains an adverbial such as laisne ‘just’ or uta
‘already’.

(7.115) Elimma

kihoin
letter.dat
Elim.erg
‘Elim wrote the letter’

siehpyi
write.pv

(7.116) Elimma

kihoin
letter.dat

laisne
just

siehpyi
write.pv

Elim.erg
‘Elim just wrote the letter’ or ‘Elim has just written the letter’

7.4. TENSE, ASPECT, AND MOOD

163

(7.117) Elimma

kihoin
letter.dat

uta
already

siehpyi
write.pv

Elim.erg
‘Elim already wrote the letter’ or ‘Elim has already written the letter’

In narratives, a sentence may consist of two or more juxtaposed clauses with verbs in the perfective form,
denoting two or more events which happened in succession. As illustrated below, the order of the clauses
reflects the order in which the events happened. Note the absence of a direct equivalent for ‘and’ or ‘and
then’ in these examples.

(7.118) Ih`a

woman.nom

etyit
come.pv.pl

inmo
3aerg.1srdat

kefihusot
news

etsyit
tell.pv.pl

‘The women came (and) told me the news’

(7.119) Elimma

Elim.erg

kihoin
letter.dat

siehpyi
write.pv

sa
13erg

sati
meal

iasyit
eat.pv.pl

‘Elim wrote the letter, (and then) we ate dinner’

Perfective versus non-past perfect

§

As discussed in
7.4.4, the non-past perfect form is normally used when the event or state denoted by the verb
properly precedes the moment when the sentence is uttered. However, it is not (completely) interchangeable
with the perfective. The contrast between these two forms is illustrated by the pair of sentences below. Both
assert that Elim ate whale meat at some point prior to the moment of speaking. When uttering (7.120),
with the verb in the perfective, the speaker is referring to a particular occasion when Elim ate whale meat
(even if it is not known when that event took place). When uttering (7.121), with the verb in the non-past
perfect, the speaker does not have a particular occasion in mind. Instead, the sentence simply asserts that
the event has already happened at least once: eating whale meat is part of Elim’s experience of the world.

(7.120) Elimma

Elim.erg

unto
whale

makai
meat.dat

iasyi
eat.pv

‘Elim ate (some) whale meat’

(7.121) Elimma

Elim.erg

unto
whale

makai
meat.dat

oiasa
pf.eat.ipv

‘Elim has eaten whale meat (before)’

While the perfective always picks out a particular episode—a specific event or sequence of events—the non-
past perfect can refer to a series of unrelated episodes spread out over time. Compare the examples below.
The first implies that there was one fire which destroyed all the houses, while the second is compatible with
a situation where di↵erent houses were destroyed by di↵erent fires at di↵erent times.

(7.122) Tiesat

itan
this:loc

kotu
house

antei
many.dat

tohauat
fire

town
‘Many houses in this town were destroyed in a fire’

stokyima
destroy.pv.dpl

(7.123) Tiesat

town

itan
this:loc

kotu
house

antei
many.dat

tohauat
fire

ustokama
pf.destroy.ipv.dpl

‘Many houses in this town have been destroyed by fire(s)’

Because the non-past perfect can describe multiple past events or situations spread over a period of time,
this is the form that is generally used with adverbials that quantify over events, such as iehtena ‘three times,
on three (separate) occasions, in three cases’:

164

(7.124) Ma

Elime
Elim.nom

iehtena
three:times.loc

1serg
‘I (have) visited Elim three times’

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

utsula
pf.visit.ipv

The non-past perfect emphasizes that an event is being viewed ‘after the fact’, from the vantage point of the
present moment. Thus, the non-past perfect form is preferred over the perfective when the mere fact that
an event happened—that it has come to pass—is what the speaker is choosing to focus on. For example,
(7.125) asserts that the house has the property of having been built by Sakial’s grandfather; exactly when the
house was built, or under what circumstances, is not as important as the identity of the builder. Likewise,
the non-past perfect is often used to present new and potentially surprising information, especially about
a recent development, as in (7.126). Note that in this sentence, the postverbal particle iam indicates that
the sentence represents unexpected or recently-learned information, which has not yet been fully assimilated
into the speaker’s consciousness.

(7.125) Olh
dist
‘Sakial’s grandfather (is the one who) built that house over there’

miahtema
grandfather.erg

Sakialu
Sakial.abl

utai
that:rdat

utiespa
pf.build.ipv

kotu
house

(7.126) Sakialu

miaht`e
grandfather.nom

laisne
just

Sakial.abl
‘Sakial’s grandfather (has) just died’

utioka
pf.die.ipv

iam
it:turns:out

The use of the non-past perfect to emphasize that an event has come to pass is especially evident when the
verb is negated. (7.127) below indicates that the event did not take place at the designated time (but may
have occurred at some other time), while (7.128) indicates that the event has so far failed to occur.

(7.127) Sakiale

elohka
yesterday

metskanou
neg.arrive.pv:neg

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial didn’t arrive yesterday’

(7.128) Sakiale

eima
still

motskano
neg.pf.arrive.ipv:neg

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial hasn’t arrived yet’

7.4.6 Conditional

The conditional mood is marked on main clause verbs by the sux -ike (or -iki before a consonant) in positive
clauses, and -oike (or -oiki before a consonant) in negative clauses. The conditional is generally used where
English uses the modal ‘would’. Like ‘would’, it indicates that the clause represents a hypothetical (potential
or counterfactual) state of a↵airs, especially one which is contingent on some other state of a↵airs. As with
the past and non-past imperfective, verbs in the conditional can occur in the imperfect aspect (with no
prefix), the progressive aspect (with prefix i-/e-), or the perfect aspect (with prefix u-/o-). E.g.:

talike
italike
utalike

‘would read’
‘would be / have been reading’ metaloike
motaloike
‘would have read’

ntaloike

‘would not read’
‘would not be / have been reading’
‘would not have read’

The conditional form occurs most often in the apodosis of a conditional sentence (i.e., the ‘then’ clause in
an ‘if-then’ construction), when that clause expresses a hypothetical consequence. The imperfective can also
be used in this context, where the choice depends on the speaker’s assessment of how likely it is that the
event in the conditional clause will come about. Compare:

(7.129) Ikoi

aleut
help

tiuhi
need.dep:sbj

aunme,
if.inst

2sall
‘If you need help, I will give (it) to you’

kue
2dat

im`a
1serg

uktia
give.ipv

7.4. TENSE, ASPECT, AND MOOD

165

(7.130) Ikoi

aleut
help

kue
tiuhi
2sall
2dat
need.dep:sbj
‘If you needed help, I would give (it) to you’

aunme,
if.inst

im`a
1serg

uktieke
give.cond

The progressive and perfect conditional are used mostly in counterfactual sentences, describing a state or
event which might have come about, but failed to do so:

(7.131) Ku

tsipi
a:little

ihka
earlier

uketuhkai,
pf.come:here.cpl.pt:sbj

kima
12erg

kas
by:now

2nom
‘If you had managed to get here a little earlier, we would be eating dinner by now’

sati
meal

eiasikit
prg.eat.cond.pl

(7.132) Hial`o
today
‘If it hadn’t been raining today, I would have picked berries’

ukahpau,
pf.fall.pt:sbj:neg

ma
1serg

kohui
berry

ntse
neg

s`u
rain

utitieke
pf.gather.cond

(7.133) Oionai

ikuna
2ploc

ihalhkon`a,
prg.hungry.dep.nom

ma
1serg

ntse
neg

pf.know.pt:sbj
‘If (I) had known that you were hungry, I wouldn’t have eaten the rest of the food’

iase
food

tehei
rest.dat

oiasoike
pf.eat.cond:neg

In questions, use of the conditional mood can signal a polite request. Here the conditional has a ‘softening’
e↵ect, making the request less direct:

(7.134) Af`ıkin

come:with.cond.qu
‘Would/could (you) come with me?’

imem?
1sinst

(7.135) Mi

ueho
wine

moit`ıkin?
1sdat
receive.cond.qu
‘May I have some more wine?’ (lit. ‘Would I receive some more wine?’)

mian
some

iap
more

The conditional also has a softening e↵ect when used in combination with the desiderative mood sux -uh
‘want to’ (
§

7.7.1) to express the equivalent of English ‘would like’. Compare:

(7.136) Iman
1sloc
‘I want to go to Kemotlasi’

Kemotlasei
Kemotlasi.dat

etuha
go.want.ipv

Kemotlasei
(7.137) Iman
1sloc
Kemotlasi.dat
‘I would like to go to Kemotlasi’

etuhike
go.want.cond

When used in combination with the imperative particle na (in positive clauses) or iak (in negative clauses),
the conditional form expresses a wished-for event, especially if that event failed to occur, or is unlikely to
occur in the future. This construction is more or less equivalent to English ‘if only’ or ‘would that’:

(7.138) Inme

ihka
earlier

uteulikit
pf.listen.cond.pl

na
imp

3aerg.1snom
‘If only they’d listened to me earlier’ or ‘Would that they had listened to me earlier’

Finally, the conditional is used in the construction illustrated below. Here it corresponds roughly to English
‘be’ plus an infinitive clause.

(7.139) Ntsam`a
nothing
‘There is nothing else to do’ (lit. ‘Nothing else would be done’)

sukoike
do.cond:neg

iap
other

166

(7.140) It`e

tohan
very:much

kyitsike
say:about.cond

3iall
‘There is a great deal to say about that’

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

A noun phrase in the instrumental case may be added, creating a construction equivalent to English ‘have’
plus an infinitive clause:

(7.141) Imem
1sinst

suklut
task

tlante
so:many:nom

uslikeua
finish.cond.npl

‘I have so many tasks to finish’ (lit. ‘With me, so many tasks would be done’)

(7.142) Sakialme

Sakial.inst

eima
still

halma
book

ehtei
three.dat

talikima
read.cond.dpl

‘Sakial still has three books (left) to read’

sukoike
(7.143) Ikimme
12inst
do.cond:neg
‘We have nothing else to do’ or ‘There is nothing else for us to do’

ntsam`a
nothing

iap
other

7.5 Aspectual derivation

§

Section
7.4 dealt with grammatical aspect, which relates to how an event is viewed (as ongoing, com-
pleted, etc.). Okuna also has extensive morphology for expressing lexical aspect—that is, the type of
event which the clause denotes. Various suxes and infixes can be attached to a verb stem to derive a new
4.4). For example,
verb expressing a di↵erent type of event, often belonging to a di↵erent verb class (see
the sux -t can be added to the Class I verb stem toh- ‘be big’, which denotes a state, to derive the Class
II eventive verb tohta ‘become big’, which denotes a change of state.

§

The following table lists the suxes and infixes used in aspectual derivation. For each ax, I indicate
the class of the derived verb, as well as the verb class(es) that the ax applies to. These axes are discussed
and illustrated in the following subsections.

resultative (res)
active (act)
atelic inchoative (ainc)
telic inchoative (tinc)
durative (dur)
incompletive (icpl)
completive (cpl)

-i- (-u-) Class I < Class II, III -amp -im -t, -et -ot -ilm -uhk Class II < Class I, (III) Class II < Class I Class III < Class I, II, III Class II, III < Class I, II, III Class III < Class III Class III < Class III The axes listed here precede the suxes used to mark tense, aspect, mood, and polarity, discussed in 7.4. Note that these axes are not mutually exclusive with one another, but can be stacked as appropriate. For example, starting with the stative verb stem epata ‘be (so) tall’, we can derive the atelic inchoative verb epatima ‘get taller’, while adding the telic inchoative sux to this verb in turn yields epatinta ‘begin to get taller’. Additional examples include: halhka ‘be dry’ > halhketa ‘(make/become) dry’ > halhkeita ‘be dried’;
tioka ‘die’ > tioika ‘be dead’ > tioikampa ‘play dead’ > tioikampilma ‘attempt to play dead’; patla ‘cover’
> paitla ‘be covered’ > paitlota ‘keep covered’ > paitlotuhka ‘manage to keep covered’.

§

Note that the copular verb he (
§

9.3.1) takes the form hi- when it combines with aspectual derivation
suxes. Likewise the deictic verbs ts`a ‘be over here (near me)’ and k`a ‘be here/there (near us/you)’ take
the stem forms tsa- and ka-, respectively, with insertion of a u-glide before a non-front vowel in accordance
with the vowel hiatus rules summarized in
3.5.3. These are all non-scalar verbs belonging to Class I, and
thus combine with the active, telic inchoative, and durative suxes only:

§

7.5. ASPECTUAL DERIVATION

167

act
tinc
dur

hiampa
hita
hiota

tsauampa
tsata
tsauota

kauampa
kata
kauota

7.5.1 Resultative

§

4.4.2) or Class III (

Resultative aspect is marked by vowel infixation or ablaut. Resultative aspect morphology is added to a
telic verb stem belonging to Class II (
4.4.3) to derive a stative verb belonging to Class
§
4.4.1). I will refer to these derived Class I verbs as resultatives (glossed res in the examples). Recall
I (
that a telic verb denotes an event which culminates in a change of state or a change of location/position.
The corresponding verb in the resultative aspect expresses the state or location/position resulting from that
change event. For example, from the change-of-state verb tioka ‘die’ we can derive the resultative verb tioika
‘be dead’, and from the change-of-position verb tolha ‘stand up’ can be formed the resultative verb toilha
‘stand, be standing, be upright’.

§

Resultative aspect is typically marked by inserting the infix -i- after the final vowel of the stem, with
concomitant vowel lowering and epenthesis where appropriate. Most resultative verbs are formed according
to the following rules:

1. For verb stems ending in a glide preceded by a vowel, insert ei after the stem: e.g., paua ‘wash’ >

paueia ‘be washed/clean’.

2. For verb stems ending in a glide preceded by a consonant, insert i after the stem and convert the glide
to the corresponding mid vowel, in accordance with the rules of vowel hiatus resolution (
3.5.3): e.g.,
takia ‘break’ > takeia ‘be broken’; tsokua ‘meet (for the first time)’ > tsokoia ‘be known/introduced’.

§

3. For verb stems ending in a consonant or consonant cluster preceded by a falling diphthong, insert e

after the diphthong: e.g., kaiha ‘kill’ > kaieha ‘be murdered/dead’.

4. In all other cases, insert i before the final consonant or consonant cluster of the verb stem: tioka ‘die’
> tioika ‘be dead’. If the inserted i is preceded by a high vowel, that high vowel becomes a mid vowel,
as in (2) above: tsitspa ‘smash, shatter’ > tseitspa ‘be smashed, in pieces’; muka ‘close’ > moika ‘be
closed/shut’.

Additional examples of resultative verb formation include:

hana
mehka
mokta
muohta
mupatla
salha
tlisa
usla

haina
meihka
moikta

‘cut’
‘happen, come to be’
‘go home’
‘complete, make whole’ muoihta
mupaitla
‘put on [clothes]’
sailha
‘lie down’
tleisa
‘cross, traverse’
oisla
‘end, finish’

‘be cut, wounded’
‘be, exist’
‘be at home’
‘be complete(d)’
‘wear, be clothed (in)’
‘lie, be lying down’
‘lie across, span’
‘be over, finished, done’

The following twelve verbs form their resultative stems irregularly. For verbs of this class, the stressed vowel
in the stem is replaced by u (or o when adjacent to a glide).

atia
etskana
kila
kumita
lhyua
lima
lyua

‘approach, come near(er)’
‘arrive’
‘be seen, come into view’
‘come before, approach’
‘enter’
‘open’
‘wake up, awaken’

utia
etskuna
kula
kumuta
lhoua
luma
loua

‘be near(by)’
‘be present’
‘be seen, visible, in view’
‘face, be oriented towards’
‘be inside’
‘be open’
‘be awake’

168

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

nkilha
ola
sena
tsapa
uihta

‘leave, go away’
‘be heard’
‘hang (up)’
‘get lost, go astray’
‘sit down’

nkulha
ula
suna
tsupa
uohta

‘be gone, absent, away’
‘be audible, in earshot’
‘hang, be hanging’
‘be lost’
‘sit, be seated’

Adding resultative aspect morphology reduces the number of core arguments the verb can take. The sentence
in (7.144) features the Class II verb lima ‘open’, while (7.145) and (7.146) illustrate its resultative counterpart
luma ‘be open’. Notice that in the resultative clauses the actor argument (Elim) is suppressed. This is
because resultatives, being stative Class I predicates, cannot take ergative arguments.

(7.144) Elimma

huiloie
window.nom

Elim.erg
‘Elim opened the window’

limyi
open.pv

(7.145) Huiloie

iluma
prg.open:res.ipv

window.nom
‘The window is open’

(7.146) Huiloie

ilumanka
prg.open:res.ipv:pst

window.nom
‘The window was open’

Adding resultative morphology can also a↵ect how the verb’s arguments are marked for case. Compare the
sentences below. Example (7.147) contains the Class III verb tsitspa ‘smash, shatter’, which selects a patient
argument in the dative case. As shown in (7.148), when this verb is inflected for resultative aspect, that
4.3.2, dative case is associated with
same argument instead appears in the locative case. As discussed in
the endpoint—typically patient or goal—of a telic predicate. Because resultative verbs express the state or
location resulting from an action rather than the action itself, they pattern as atelic. This blocks dative
case from being assigned, and arguments which are normally assigned the dative take the locative instead
(or sometimes the allative; see below).

§

(7.147) Elimma

nauoit
cup.dat

tsitspyi
smash.pv

Elim.erg
‘Elim smashed the cup’

(7.148) Nauotna
cup.loc
‘The cup is smashed’ or ‘The cup is in pieces’

tseitspa
smash:res.ipv

Another example of how resultative aspect a↵ects case assignment is given below. With the Class III verb
tlelha ‘find’, the noun phrase denoting the finder bears the delimiter role, and is marked with dative case. This
is shown in (7.149). However, when tlelha is converted into the resultative verb tleilha ‘be found/located’,
which lacks a delimiter, this same argument appears instead in the allative case (7.150):

(7.149) Eleim

kamale
Elim.dat
knife.nom
‘Elim found the knife’

tlelhyi
find.pv

(7.150) Elima

kamale
Elim.all
knife.nom
‘Elim knows where the knife is’

itleilha
prg.find:res.pv

7.5. ASPECTUAL DERIVATION

169

Since resultative verbs do not take ergative (actor) arguments, and tend to place the focus of attention on
the undergoer of an action, it is often appropriate to translate them using an adjectival passive construction
in English. Compare the following pairs of examples:

(7.151) Mo

kala
leg

takiyi
1srdat
break.pv
‘I broke my leg’ or ‘I got a broken leg’

(7.152) Iman
1sloc
‘My leg is broken’ or ‘I have a broken leg’

itakeia
prg.break:res.ipv

kala
leg

(7.153) Sa

kotoi
house.dat

itiespat
prg.build.ipv.pl

13nom
‘We are building a house’

(7.154) Kotuna

takan
now

itieispa
prg.build:res.ipv

house.loc
‘The house is now built/finished’

The resultative cannot really be considered a passive form, however—or at least, its syntactic and semantic
properties are not fully comparable with those of the English passive. For one thing, resultative clauses are
inherently stative. Thus, (7.154) above cannot be used to describe an ongoing activity (‘The house is now
being built’), but can only mean that the house is in a built state. To form the closest equivalent of an
eventive passive, the actor argument is simply omitted from the clause, without any change to the form or
class membership of the verb (cf.

9.4.1):

(7.155) Kotoi

takan
house.dat
now
‘The house is now being built’

§
itiespa
prg.build.ipv.pl

Furthermore, whereas the English passive construction can only be used with transitive verbs, the resultative
in Okuna is fully compatible with predicates taking just a single core argument. Compare, for example:

(7.156) Sakiale

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial died’

tiokyi
die.pv

(7.157) Sakiale

tioika
die:res.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is dead’

(7.158) Sakiale

laisne
just

etskanyi
arrive.pv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial just arrived’

(7.159) Sakiale

takan
now

itskuna
prg.arrive:res.pv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is now here/present’

As the last example above shows, resultative aspect marking can be used to convert a dynamic motion verb,
such as etskana ‘arrive’, into a static verb denoting a location, such as etskuna ‘be present’. Additional
pairs of sentences illustrating this dynamic–static contrast are given below. As (7.165) and (7.167) show,
the resultative verb does not necessarily denote the literal result of a change-of-location event.
Instead,
resultative morphology can simply indicate that no movement is involved—that the verb denotes a spatial
relation between two (sets of) objects.

170

(7.160) Puniakak`a

palou
village.abl

nkilhyit
leave.pv.pl

traveler.nom
‘The travelers left the village’

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

(7.161) Puniakak`a

palou
traveler.nom
village.abl
‘The travelers are gone from the village’

inkulhat
prg.leave:res.ipv.pl

(7.162) Mikale

boy.nom

keuli
chair.dat

uihtyi
sit:down.pv

‘The boy sat (down) on the chair’

(7.163) Mikale

keulna
boy.nom
chair.loc
‘The boy is sitting on the chair’

euohta
prg.sit:down:res.ipv

(7.164) Lhat`e

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

ampiotyit
surround.pv.pl

children.nom
‘The children surrounded Sakial’

(7.165) Isane
13all
‘Our village is surrounded by forests’

paluna
village.loc

loka
forest

ampioita
surround:res.ipv

(7.166) Oun`a

bear.nom

sihkunume
river.inst

sihafautme
downstream.inst

ekau
here.abl

tlisyi
cross.pv

‘The bear crossed [i.e., went across] the river downstream from here’

(7.167) Pakone

bridge.nom

sihkunume
river.inst

sihafautme
downstream.inst

ekau
here.abl

tleisa
cross:res.ipv

‘The bridge crosses [i.e., spans] the river downstream from here’

Consider also the formation of resultative stems from verbs of perception and cognition, such as those listed
below. The non-resultative (Class III) forms of are given in the first column, with their resultative (Class I)
counterparts in the second column:

etskoipa
etskopa
kula
kila
ula
ola
luhtsa
loihtsa
mahtla maihtla
sefa
uota

seifa
uoita

‘realize’
‘see’
‘hear’
‘smell’
‘taste’
‘feel (with one’s fingers/skin)’
‘feel, sense, perceive’

In their non-resultative forms these verbs denote punctual events, while in the resultative they denote states.
For example, kila means ‘see’ in the sense of ‘begin to see’ or ‘catch sight of’ (or, when used intransitively,
‘appear, come into view’), while kula means ‘see’ in the sense of ‘be able to see, have within view’ (or, used
intransitively, ‘be visible, be in view’). Likewise, uota means ‘notice, become aware of’ while uoita means
‘be aware of’.

As the following examples show, the noun phrase expressing the experiencer (the one who sees, hears,
feels, etc.) appears in the dative case when the verb is non-resultative. With resultative verbs of perception,
the experiencer appears in either the allative case or the locative case. The locative case is used when the
experience is completely internal to the self, lacking a direct external stimulus; otherwise the allative case

7.5. ASPECTUAL DERIVATION

171

is used. Hence, kula, ula, loihtsa, maihtla, and seifa all take their experiencers in the allative case, while
etskoipa takes its experiencer in the locative case. Uoita takes a locative experiencer when denoting an
internal sensation (the experiencing of a thought or emotion, or a physical sensation internal to one’s body),
and an allative experiencer when denoting the awareness of something external to oneself:

(7.168) Ule

kilyi
see.pv

island.nom
‘The island appeared’ or ‘The island came into view’

(7.169) Puniakakameit

traveling:party.dat
‘The travellers saw [caught sight of] the island’

ule
island.nom

kilyit
see.pv.pl

(7.170) Ule

ikula
prg.see:res.ipv

island.nom
‘The island is visible’ or ‘The island is in view’

(7.171) Ule

puniakakamita
traveling:party.all

island.nom
‘The island is visible to the travellers’

ikula
prg.see:res.ipv

(7.172) Puniakakamita

traveling:party.all
‘The travellers (can) see the island’

ule
island.nom

ikula
prg.see:res.ipv

(7.173) Mo

tynna
head.loc

iahki
sharp:blow
1srdat
‘I felt a sudden sharp pain in my head’

tunku
pain

uotyi
feel.pv

tunku
tyn
(7.174) Iman
pain
head
1sloc
‘I have a headache’

euoita
prg.feel:res.ipv

(7.175) Im`e

euoitanka
prg.feel:res.ipv:pst

Sakiale
Sakial.nom
1sall
‘I had the feeling that Sakial was approaching’ or ‘I was aware that…’

iati`a
prg.approach.dep.nom

Verbs of perception in the resultative form can also take a dependent subjunctive clause, marked for nomina-
tive case, as their theme argument (see
10.2.1). The resulting expressions are equivalent to ‘It looks/appears
as though…’, ‘It sounds as though…’, ‘It feels as though…’, etc.:

§

(7.176) Kula

pyina
see:res.ipv
child.loc
‘It looks as though the child is happy’

ikest`e
prg.happy.dep:sbj.nom

(7.177) Ulanka

hear:res.ipv:pst
‘It sounded as though the baby was asleep’

kimima
baby.erg

imuelh`e
prg.sleep.dep:sbj.nom

7.6) and form the head of a restructuring
Alternatively, the perception verb can take the relative prefix a- (see
predicate (see
10.2.4); here the perception verb combines with a preceding verb (phrase) in the dependent
subjunctive which is unmarked for case. The result is a complex expression meaning ‘look X’, ‘sound X’,
‘feel X’, etc., where X is the quality or activity expressed by the dependent subjunctive verb—e.g., kesti
akula ‘look happy’, seimi amaihtla ‘taste sweet’, etc.:

§

§

172

(7.178) Pyina

kesti
happy.dep:sbj

child.loc
‘The child looks happy’

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

iakula
prg.rel.see:res.ipv

(7.179) Kimima

iauolanka
baby.erg
prg.res.hear:res.ipv:pst
‘The baby sounded asleep’ or ‘The baby sounded as though s/he were sleeping’

muelhi
sleep.dep:sbj

(7.180) Sat`e

tsuo
food.nom
too
‘The food tastes too sweet’

aseimi
rel.sweet.dep:sbj

amaihtla
rel.taste:res.ipv

A noun phrase in the allative case may be added to the above constructions to indicate the individual who
experiences the state of a↵airs in question, or from whose point of view the assessment is being made:

(7.181) Im`e

kula
see:res.ipv

pyina
child.loc

ikest`e
prg.happy.dep:sbj.nom

1sall
‘It looks to me as though the child is happy’

(7.182) Pyina

kesti
happy.dep:sbj

child.loc
‘The child looks happy to me’

iakula
prg.rel.see:res.ipv

im`e
1sall

7.5.2 Active

The active aspectual sux -amp (glossed act in the examples) is added to a verb stem to form an atelic
4.4.2). Most commonly, -amp is added to
eventive verb. Verbs formed with -amp all belong to Class II (
§
a stative Class I verb stem denoting some property X, and the result is an eventive verb meaning roughly
‘act/behave in an X manner’ or ‘exhibit signs of being X’. Examples are listed below. Notice that certain
verbs derived with -amp have a somewhat idiosyncratic meaning.

ehkana
elia
eupa
futla
hanta
huata
iksa
kiota
koluma
kuha
liunta
muha
nasa
stula
sutlka

‘come from, originate’
‘be at ease’
‘be alone’
‘be unpleasant, disagreeable’
‘be appropriate, suitable’
‘be pleasant, appealing’
‘be serious’
‘be quick’
‘be dicult, cumbersome’
‘be hard, firm’
‘be slack, loose’
‘be enough, suce’
‘be strong’
‘be strange, odd’
‘be spoiled, rotten’

ehkanampa
eliampa
eupampa
futlampa
hantampa
huatampa
iksampa
kiotampa
kolumampa
kuhampa
liuntampa
muhampa
nasampa
stulampa
sutlkampa

‘be original, act in a distinctive way’
‘be graceful, move gracefully’
‘keep to oneself, stay away from others’
‘be rude, behave badly’
‘be polite, well-behaved, act appropriately’
‘be friendly, likeable’
‘be serious, act in earnest’
‘hurry, rush, do [something] quickly’
‘be clumsy, act clumsily’
‘be rough, careless, brutal’
‘be lenient, indulgent’
‘do enough; satisfy, satiate’
‘exert oneself, use one’s strength’
‘act strangely, behave in an odd manner’
‘be vicious, act in a vile manner’

Compare the following examples, showing the conversion of a stative Class I verb into an eventive Class II
verb. Note the di↵erence in noun inflection: munta takes a nominative argument, while muntampa takes an
ergative argument.

(7.183) Elime

imunta
prg.drunk.ipv

Elim.nom
‘Elim is drunk’

7.5. ASPECTUAL DERIVATION

173

(7.184) Elimma

imuntampa
prg.drunk.act.ipv

Elim.erg
‘Elim is acting drunk’ or ‘Elim is behaving as though he’s drunk’

10.4). Sentences that show this pattern
Verbs formed with -amp often appear with a modifying converb (see
can sometimes be rendered in English by using a manner adverb to translate the -amp verb (e.g., ‘quickly’
in the first example below):

§

(7.185) Lhatima

homai
bread.dat

iase
eat.cv

kiotampyit
quick.act.pv.pl

children.erg
‘The children ate the bread quickly’ or ‘The children were quick to eat the bread’
lit. ‘The children acted quickly [by] eating the bread’

(7.186) Na

nak`a
rock.nom

tiyise
lift.cv

nasampyi
strong.act.pv

3aerg
‘He exerted himself by lifting the rock’

The sux -amp often combines with Class I verbs denoting physical sensations or emotional states. When
added to a verb of this type, -amp forms an atelic causative verb taking an actor argument (marked with
ergative case) in addition to its experiencer argument (marked with the locative or allative case). Here the
actor argument denotes an entity that (consciously or unconsciously) triggers, or tends to trigger, an emotion
or sensation in the experiencer.

ekona
hotsma
huetla
katama
kesta
ohiyna
sonka

‘be hungry’
‘be angry’
‘be afraid, fear’
‘be intimidating’
‘be happy’
‘be sad’
‘be surprising’

ekonampa
hotsmampa
huetlampa
katamampa
kestampa
ohiynampa
sonkampa

‘be appetizing, palatable; make hungry’
‘anger, be aggravating to’
‘frighten, be frightening to’
‘intimidate’
‘please, be pleasing to, make happy’
‘sadden, depress’
‘surprise, amaze, astound’

Compare the following:

(7.187) Iman
1sloc
‘I am happy’

ikesta
prg.happy.ipv

(7.188) Mo

iman
kunama
1srdat
1sloc
friend.erg
‘My friends make me happy’

kestampat
happy.act.ipv.pl

(7.189) Sakialna

iekona
prg.hungry.ipv

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial is hungry’

(7.190) Sati
food
‘The smell of that food made Sakial hungry’

Sakialna
Sakial.loc

it`a
that:erg

aluhtse
smell

ekonampyi
hungry.act.pv

Although it normally combines with Class I stative verb stems, there are a handful of Class III stems which
also combine with -amp to form Class II verbs:

174

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

etsa
kahta
kyitsa
lasta
nesapa
teuna

‘say, tell’
‘hit, strike’
‘say [s.th.] about, mention’
‘send’
‘ask’
‘put (down), place’

etsampa
kahtampa
kyitsampa
lastampa
nesapampa
teunampa

‘speak, talk, have a conversation’
‘fight, have a fight’
‘talk about, discuss’
‘send out, send away’
‘interrogate, ask questions (of)’
‘put in place; hand out, distribute’

When the verb stem denotes a telic event, adding -amp forms a verb which expresses a more open-ended
activity, or one with a variable or unspecified endpoint. For example, in the first sentence below (with uktia
‘give’), the event ends once each of the strangers in question has received a gift; whereas in the second sentence
(with uktiampa ‘give out, distribute’), no specific recipients are mentioned, and the event of gift-giving could
in principle go on indefinitely.

(7.191) Taloma

tsokoimpai
chief.erg
stranger.dat
‘The chief gave gifts to the strangers’

kytu
gift

uktiyima
give.pv.dpl

(7.192) Taloma

kytu
chief.erg
gift
‘The chief gave out gifts’

uktiampyi
give.act.pv

Note that eventive verbs formed with -amp, being atelic, cannot take delimiter arguments or appear with
4.3.2). Where the verb
noun phrases marked for dative case (except under the circumstances discussed in
from which it is derived would take a dative noun phrase, the -amp verb may take a noun phrase in the
instrumental or locative case. Compare:

§

(7.193) Ma

kefihusote
news.nom

lhatei
1serg
children.dat
‘I told the news to the children’

etsyima
say.pv.dpl

(7.194) Ma

1serg

lhatime
children.inst

etsampyi
say.act.pv

‘I spoke to/with the children’

(7.195) Unma

3ardat.1serg
‘I hit him’

kahtyi
hit.pv

(7.196) Ma

inem
3asinst

kahtampyi
hit.act.pv

1serg
‘I fought with him’

(7.197) Sa

13erg

kahtampyiot
hit.act.pv.recip.pl

‘We fought (each other)’

7.5.3 Telic and atelic inchoative

The atelic inchoative sux -im and the telic inchoative sux -(e)t (glossed ainc and tinc, respectively)
are used to derive Class II and Class III verbs expressing a change of state or the initiation of an action. I
discuss these forms in turn.

Atelic inchoative verbs express an incremental and often gradual increase in the presence of some
property. As the name indicates, these verbs denote open-ended events, with no fixed endpoint. Atelic

7.5. ASPECTUAL DERIVATION

175

inchoative verbs thus belong to Class II (
§
the stem, combined with the relative prefix a- discussed in
‘be weak’ > amitiema ‘weaken’). The following examples illustrate the formation of the atelic inchoative:

4.4.2). The atelic inchoative is marked by adding the sux -im to
7.6 (-im becomes -em after a glide: e.g., mitia

§

kaila
koipa
lhuma
liakna
liuna
muohfa
nuha
toha

‘be hot’
‘be known/familiar’
‘be dim, faded, misty’
‘be long’
‘be old’
‘be thick/dense’
‘be cold’
‘be big’

akailima
akoipima
alhumima
aliaknima
aliunima
amuohfima
anuhima
atohima

‘heat, make/get hotter’
‘make/become more familiar, get better known’
‘fade, pale, grow dimmer’
‘lengthen, grow in length, make/get longer’
‘age, get older’
‘thicken, make/get thicker’
‘cool down, make/get colder’
‘grow, increase in size, make/get bigger’

The atelic inchoative sux combines with Class I verb stems. Compare the following:

(7.198) Im`e

1sall

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

koipa
known.ipv

‘I know Sakial’ (lit. ‘Sakial is known to me’)

(7.199) Im`e

Sakiale
1sall
Sakial.nom
‘I got to know Sakial better’

akoipimyi
rel.known.ainc.pv

Atelic inchoative verbs, like other Class II verbs, can be used either ‘intransitively’ (with a theme argument
alone) or ‘transitively’ (with both an actor and a theme argument). In the former case the verb denotes a
more-or-less spontaneous action, and may be translated ‘get X-er’, where X is the state expressed by the
stem; in the latter case the verb denotes an externally-caused action, and may be translated ‘make X-er’.
Compare:

(7.200) Mase

muohfa
thick.ipv

soup.nom
‘The soup is thick’

(7.201) Mase

iamuohfima
prg.rel.thick.ainc.ipv

soup.nom
‘The soup is thickening’ or ‘The soup is getting thicker’

(7.202) Ma

mase
soup.nom

iamuohfima
prg.rel.thick.ainc.ipv

1serg
‘I’m thickening the soup’ or ‘I’m making the soup thicker’

Compare also:

(7.203) Hal`o

ihuina
prg.bright.ipv

room.nom
‘The room is bright’

(7.204) Hal`o

ahuinimyi
rel.bright.ainc.pv

room.nom
‘The room got brighter’

(7.205) Hal`o

mohkauatma
hearth:fire.erg

ahuinimyi
rel.bright.ainc.pv

room.nom
‘The hearth fire brightened the room’ (i.e., made the room brighter)

176

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

To express telic inchoative aspect, the sux -et is added to verb stems ending in two consonants, while
-t is added to stems ending in a single consonant or a glide. If the stem ends in p, f, or t, that consonant
changes to h before the -t sux, in accordance with regular phonological rules (see
3.5.1). Likewise, if the
stem ends in tl, that consonant changes to lh before -t. Finally, if the stem ends in m, it assimilates to n
before the -t sux (cf.

3.5.2). Examples showing the formation of telic inchoative verbs are given below:

§

elifa
eua
hotsma
kisa
koipa
lehma
liuna
mutla
okla
pata
tama
tlana
tsatsa
tsihfa
tuosa

§
‘be beautiful’
‘be clean’
‘be angry’
‘be frozen’
‘be known/familiar’
‘be calm’
‘be old’
‘understand’
‘be hidden’
‘be tall’
‘be great, powerful’
‘be straight’
‘be full’
‘be bare’
‘be ripe, ready’

elihta
euta
hotsmeta
kista
koihta
lehmeta
liunta
mulhta
okleta
pahta
tanta
tlanta
tsatsta
tsihfeta
tuosta

‘beautify, make/become beautiful’
‘clean (up), make/become clean’
‘anger, make/become angry’
‘freeze’
‘get to know, become familiar with’
‘calm down, make/become calm’
‘get old’
‘realize, come to understand’
‘hide’
‘make/become tall’
‘empower, make/become great’
‘straighten’
‘fill, make/become full’
‘clear (o↵), get rid of, make/become bare’
‘ripen; prepare, make/get ready’

As these examples show, the telic inchoative sux is usually added to a stative verb belonging to Class I,
and derives an eventive verb expressing the entry into a state (whether spontaneous or externally caused).
Compare the pairs of sentences below:

(7.206) Ihana

ihotsma
prg.angry.ipv

woman.loc
‘The woman is angry’

(7.207) Motlama

ihana
woman.loc

hotsmetyi
angry.tinc.pv

Motla.erg
‘Motla angered the woman with his constant talking’

na
3aerg

tahoti
constantly

etsampame
say.act.dep.inst

(7.208) Me

intuma
blind.ipv

1snom
‘I am blind’

(7.209) Me

tupuatsme
moment.inst

lai
light

iahki
flash

1snom
‘I was momentarily blinded by a flash of light’

intuntyi
blind.tinc.pv

Verbs in the telic inchoative aspect all belong to Class III (
4.4.3). They express events which are conceptu-
§
alized as having a fixed endpoint: a participant enters into, or is brought into, a particular state, and once
that state is achieved the event is over. As shown in (7.209) above, telic inchoative verbs may also take
an extra argument (unmarked for case) to express the type of instrument or means by which the change
of state is brought about. Consider the following examples, comparing the telic inchoative verb halhketa
‘make/become dry’ with the stative verb from which it is derived, halhka ‘be dry’. Notice that when an
overt actor argument is present, halhketa receives a causative interpretation (‘make dry’); and when no actor
is present, it expresses a spontaneous change of state (‘become dry’).

(7.210) Mupatl`e

halhkat
dry.ipv.pl

clothes.nom
‘The clothes are dry’

7.5. ASPECTUAL DERIVATION

177

(7.211) Mupatl`e

enkit
breeze

ihalhketat
prg.dry.tinc.ipv.pl

clothes.nom
‘The clothes are drying in the breeze’

(7.212) Ihama

mupatl`e
clothes.nom

enkit
breeze

ihalhketauat
prg.dry.tinc.ipv.npl.pl

woman.erg
‘The women are drying the clothes in the breeze’

Note also the following examples, comparing stative tsatsa ‘be full’ and telic inchoative tsatsta ‘fill’:

(7.213) Nauote

n`a
water

itsatsa
prg.full.ipv

cup.nom
‘The cup is full of water’

(7.214) Nauote

n`a
cup.nom
water
‘The cup filled with water’

tsatstyi
full.tinc.pv

(7.215) Na

nauote
cup.nom

n`a
water

tsatstyi
full.tinc.pv

3aerg
‘She filled the cup with water’

As with other Class III verbs, telic inchoative verbs can in turn combine with resultative morphology to form
7.5.1). In this case, the actor argument is
Class I verbs expressing the state resulting from an action (see
suppressed. Compare the sentences below with those in (7.212) and (7.215) above.

§

(7.216) Mupatl`e

ihalhkeita
prg.dry.tinc:res.ipv

clothes.nom
‘The clothes are dried’ (i.e., no longer wet)

(7.217) Nauote

n`a
water
cup.nom
‘The cup is filled with water’

itsaitsta
full:res.tinc.ipv

Telic inchoative aspect can also combine with Class I verbs of cognition. Observe the following examples,
comparing telic inchoative ionta ‘find out; let (someone) know’ with stative iona ‘be known’ (both verbs
assign locative case to the experiencer argument).

(7.218) Elimna

iona
know.ipv

ma
1serg

iaf`a
prg.take:part.dep.nom

Elim.loc
‘Elim knows that I am taking part’

(7.219) Elimna

iontyi
know.tinc.pv

ma
1serg

iaf`a
prg.take:part.dep.nom

Elim.loc
‘Elim found out that I was taking part’

(7.220) Ma

Elimna
Elim.loc

iontyi
know.tinc.pv

1serg
‘I let Elim know that I was taking part’

ma
1serg

iaf`a
prg.take:part.dep.nom

Consider also the examples below, where telic inchoative morphology is added to the stative verb niokona to
derive the eventive verb niokonta. Both may be translated as ‘remember’ or ‘recall’; however, niokona has
the sense of ‘have in one’s memory’, while niokonta means ‘come to have in one’s memory, bring to mind’
(the latter can also be translated ‘remind’ if an actor argument is included). Both verbs take experiencer
arguments in the locative case. A similar meaning contrast is found with suhona ‘forget, have no memory
of’ versus suhonta ‘forget, lose one’s memory of’ (or, when an actor is included ‘cause to forget’).

178

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

(7.221) Elimna

nioksote
Elim.loc
answer.nom
‘Does Elim remember the answer?’

niok`onin?
remember.ipv:int.qu

(7.222) Elimna

nioksote
answer.nom

sukane
sudden.cv

niokontyi
remember.tinc.pv

Elim.loc
‘Elim suddenly remembered/recalled the answer’

(7.223) Ma

Elimna
Elim.loc

nioksote
1snom
answer.nom
‘I reminded Elim of the answer’

niokontyi
remember.tinc.pv

Although the telic inchoative sux combines most often with stative Class I verbs, it can also be freely added
to eventive verbs belonging to Class II or III. In the latter case, the result is a Class III verb expressing the
initiation of an event, corresponding to English ‘begin to X’ or ‘start X-ing’.

hosta
mehka
muelha
puniaka

‘dance’
hosteta
‘happen’ mehketa
muelhta
‘sleep’
puniakta
‘travel’

‘begin to dance, start dancing’
‘begin to happen, start’
‘fall asleep, begin to sleep’
‘begin to travel, set out on a journey’

(7.224) Laisne

s`u
rain
just:now
‘It’s just started to rain’

kahpetyi
fall.tinc.pv

When the telic inchoative sux is added to a Class III verb, and the clause includes a delimiter argument
marked with dative case, the irrealis dative form must be used, never the realis dative, regardless of the
tense/aspect of the clause. Compare the following:

(7.225) Ihama

halma
book

utai
that:rdat

talyi
read.pv

woman.erg
‘The woman read that book’

(7.226) Ihama

halma
book

atai
that:dat

taltyi
read.tinc.pv

woman.erg
‘The woman began to read that book’

7.5.4 Durative

Durative aspect is marked by adding the sux -ot (glossed dur) to the verb stem. This sux can be added
to any verb stem, but with slight di↵erences in interpretation depending on the class of that stem. When
added to a Class I stem denoting a state, -ot forms a Class II verb expressing the perpetuation of that state,
and is roughly equivalent to English ‘stay’ or ‘remain’:

huala
isuta
k`a
kesta
nkulha
uohta

‘be healthy’
‘be alive’
‘be here’
‘be happy’
‘be gone, away’
‘be seated’

hualota
isutota
kauota
kestota
nkulhota
uohtota

‘stay/keep healthy’
‘stay/keep alive, go on living’
‘stay (here), keep here’
‘stay/keep happy’
‘stay away, avoid, keep away’
‘stay/keep seated’

The entity which remains in the state is encoded as a theme argument (marked with nominative case). If
there is an agent who acts to perpetuate the state, that agent is encoded as an actor argument (marked with
ergative case). When an actor argument is present, -ot corresponds to English ‘keep’. Compare:

7.5. ASPECTUAL DERIVATION

179

(7.227) Ne

isuta
alive.ipv

3anom
‘He is alive’

(7.228) Ne

isutota
alive.dur.ipv

3anom
‘He is staying alive’ or ‘He has survived’

(7.229) Ntsa

iesutotane
prg.alive.dur.ipv.epl

3anom.13erg
‘We are keeping him alive’

Compare also the following, examples, where the durative sux is added to a Class I verb derived from a
Class II stem by adding resultative aspect morphology:

(7.230) Hitole

ilumanka
prg.open:res.ipv:pst

door.nom
‘The door was open’

(7.231) Hitole

lumotyi
open:res.dur.pv

door.nom
‘The door remained open’

(7.232) Ma

hitole
door.nom

lumotyi
open:res.dur.pv

1serg
‘I kept the door open’

When the durative sux attaches to a Class II stem denoting an unbounded activity, it forms another Class
II stem expressing the perpetuation of that activity. Here -ot is roughly equivalent to ‘keep’, ‘continue’, or
‘go on’: e.g., hosta ‘dance’ > hostota ‘continue to dance, keep dancing’; muelha ‘sleep’ > muelhota ‘stay
asleep, go on sleeping’.

Finally, when the durative sux is added to a Class II or Class III stem denoting a telic or punctual
event, it expresses the iteration or repetition of that event: e.g., tiausa ‘fall down’ > tiausota ‘keep falling
down, fall down over and over’. Another example:

(7.233) Na

ikei
dog.dat
3aerg
‘He hit the dog repeatedly’

kahtotyi
hit.dur.pv

Note that iterative verbs are somewhat unusual in that they can take more than one delimiter, and can thus
assign dative case to more than one argument. See

4.3.2 for discussion.

§

7.5.5 Completive and incompletive

The completive (cpl) and incompletive (icpl) aspect suxes combine with an eventive (Class II or III) verb
stem to form another eventive stem. The incompletive sux is -ilm (or -elm after a glide). Added to a
stem, this sux indicates that the event denoted by the stem has (so far) failed to come about, despite the
intentions of the actor. It is roughly equivalent to English ‘try/attempt’ or ‘set out to’:

esta
ksona
peta
tatsa
tiyisa
tlelha

‘reach’
‘look at’
‘take, grab’
‘shoot, hit with a projectile’
‘lift’
‘find, discover’

estilma
ksonilma
petilma
tatsilma
tiyisilma
tlelhilma

‘try to reach, aim for, set out for’
‘try to see, look (out) for’
‘grab at, try to take’
‘shoot at, try to shoot’
‘attempt to lift’
‘set out to find, search/hunt for’

180

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

Compare the following examples:

(7.234) Na

hastein
deer.dat

3aerg
‘He killed the deer’

tahyi
kill.pv

(7.235) Na

hastein
deer.dat

utahilma
pf.kill.icpl.ipv

3aerg
‘He has set out to kill the deer’ or ‘He is trying to kill the deer’

(7.236) Na

3aerg

hastein
deer.dat

tahilmyi
kill.icpl.pv

‘He tried to kill the deer’ (but didn’t manage to do so)

Note that when the incompletive sux is added to the verb, the delimiter (see
4.3.2) must appear in the
irrealis dative, regardless of the tense/aspect or polarity of the verb, and never in the realis dative. In this
respect, the incompletive patterns like the telic inchoative, discussed in

7.5.3.

§

§

(7.237) Na

hastin
deer

anai
3aerg
that:dat
‘He tried to kill that deer’

tahilmyi
kill.icpl.pv

Note that the incompletive sux -ilm translates English ‘try’ only when the attempt did not succeed, or has
not yet succeeded at the time when the sentence is uttered. To express ‘try’ without commitment as to the
success of the attempt, the verb nika may be used, in combination with a dependent subjunctive clause (or
a noun phrase complement, when nika is used in the sense of ‘try out’ or ‘sample’):

(7.238) Kima
12erg
‘Let’s try to get all the way to the top of the mountain’

nikat
try.ipv.pl

tomla
mountain

ypiai
top.dat

sik`a
all:the:way

nem
imp

estit`a
reach.dep:sbj.pl.nom

(7.239) Ias`e

food.nom

unikit
pf.try.ipv:int.pl

ne?
qu

‘Have you (pl) tried the food?’

The completive aspect is marked by adding the sux -uhk to the stem: e.g., kahta ‘hit’ > kahtuhka ‘manage
to hit’ (the sux takes the form -ohk when the verb stem ends in a glide: e.g., takia ‘break’ > takiohka
‘manage to break’). Like the incompletive marker, the completive marker combines with an eventive verb
stem to derive another eventive verb. Adding -uhk to the verb indicates that the agent succeeded in bringing
about the event denoted by the stem, perhaps with some e↵ort and/or contrary to expectations. It is roughly
equivalent to English ‘manage to’ or ‘get’. Compare:

(7.240) Mo

kamale
knife.nom

tlelhyi
find.pv

1srdat
‘I found the knife’

(7.241) Mo

kamale
knife.nom
1srdat
‘I managed to find the knife’

tlelhuhkyi
find.cpl.pv

(7.242) Sakialma

hitole
door.nom

limyi
open.pv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial opened the door’

7.6. RELATIVE MARKING AND THE COMPARATIVE CONSTRUCTION

181

(7.243) Sakialma

hitole
door.nom

limuhkyi
open.cpl.pv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial got the door open’

(7.244) Kauen
turkey
‘A raccoon entered the turkey coop’

kotiem`e
raccoon.nom

kikotoi
shed.dat

es
one

(7.245) Kauen
turkey
‘A raccoon got into the turkey coop’

kotiem`e
raccoon.nom

kikotoi
shed.dat

es
one

lhyuyi
enter.pv

lhyuohkyi
enter.cpl.pv

7.6 Relative marking and the comparative construction

§

Class I stative verbs sometimes take the prefix a-, which I will refer to as the relative marker (glossed
rel in the examples). Verbs which carry this prefix are referred as relative verbs. Note that when a- is
prefixed to a stem beginning with a non-glide vowel, the rules of glide insertion and high vowel lowering
discussed in
3.5.3 apply: e.g., ynta ‘narrow’ > aiynta, utia ‘nearby’ > auotia. This prefix immediately
precedes the verb root, following the aspectual prefixes (
§

7.4), as well as the negative prefix m(a)- (
§

The relative prefix combines with verbs which denote a property which can be possessed to a greater or
lesser degree. When the verb appears in the relative form, it indicates that the individual of which the verb
is predicated is located somewhere along the scale associated with that property. The contrast between the
non-relative and relative forms is illustrated by the pair of examples below. Sentence (7.246) means ‘That
young man is tall’—in other words, he is of greater-than-average height according to some contextually-
determined standard. By contrast, (7.247) literally means something like ‘The young man is of a certain
height’ or ‘The young man possesses a certain degree of tallness’.

7.3).

(7.246) Kalon

nan
that:nom

pata
tall.ipv

young:man
‘That young man is tall’

(7.247) Kalon

young:man

nan
that:nom

apata
rel.tall.ipv

‘That young man is so/as tall’

A verb prefixed with the relative marker rarely appears by itself; instead, it almost always co-occurs with
some sort of modifier expressing a degree or standard of comparison. For example, it can by modified by a
noun phrase expressing the entity or class of entities in comparison to which the theme is being evaluated.
In this case, the relative form has an equative function (expressed in English using ‘as’). When the noun
phrase denotes a general class of objects, it usually appears in the unmarked form, as in (7.248). When the
noun phrase denotes a specific individual or set of individuals, it appears in the ablative case, as in (7.249):

(7.248) Kalon

nan
that:nom

kas
already

esiankats
adulthood

koin
person

apata
rel.tall.ipv

young:man
‘That young man is already as tall as an adult’ or ‘… already the height of an adult’

(7.249) Kalon

nan
young:man
that:nom
‘That young man is as tall as Sakial’

Sakialu
Sakial.abl

apata
rel.tall.ipv

182

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

To add emphasis, the relative verb is optionally preceded by the degree marker ihpi ‘as much, just as much,
equally’, as in (7.250). Note also the construction shown in (7.251), where the nominative argument denotes
two or more individuals who are equal with respect to the property expressed by the relative verb; here ihpi
is in turn preceded by kele ‘together’, which adds a collective or reciprocal meaning.

(7.250) Kalon

nan
that:nom

Sakialu
Sakial.abl

young:man
‘That young man is just as tall as Sakial’

ihpi
equally

apata
rel.tall.ipv

(7.251) Sakial
Sakial
‘Sakial and Elim are equally tall’ or ‘Sakial and Elim are the same height’

apatat
rel.tall.ipv.pl

Elime
Elim.nom

kele
together

ihpi
equally

ka
and

A stative verb also takes the relative prefix when it is modified by a noun phrase in the instrumental case
expressing a measurement on the scale denoted by the verb, as in the following example (a katlam is a unit
of measure equivalent to about 55 centimeters):

(7.252) Kalon

nan
that:nom

katlam
katlam

lhua
about

ehteme
three.inst

apata
rel.tall.ipv

young:man
‘That young man is about three katlams tall’

Note that kuista ‘be long, last a long time, endure’, when prefixed with the relative marker and accompanied
by a measure phrase, corresponds to English ‘last’ or ‘take’, as illustrated below. Similarly: liakna ‘be long’
> aliakna ‘measure (a certain length)’, lhuta ‘be heavy’ > alhuta ‘weigh (a certain amount)’, lama ‘be far
away’ > alama ‘be (a certain distance) away’. In each case the measurement is expressed by a noun phrase
in the instrumental case.

(7.253) Sukiame

luom
hour

tosepyime
several.inst

iakuistanka
prg.rel.long.ipv:pst

rainstorm.nom
‘The rainstorm lasted (for) several hours’

(7.254) Satlai

tok`e
fix.dep:sbj.nom

l`o
day

henme
two.inst

akuista
rel.long.ipv

roof.dat
‘It will take two days to fix the roof’ (more lit. ‘To fix the roof will be two days long’)

In the examples below, the relative verb is modified by (a phrase headed by) a converb, which takes the sux
-e (cf.
10.4). In this construction, the converb phrase expresses an event or type of event which identifies
the extent to which—or the respect in which—the property denoted by the relative verb holds. Here the
relative verb may be translated ‘so X (that…)’ or ‘X enough (to…)’:

§

(7.255) Sakiale

lakie
hunt.cv

aliuna
rel.old.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is old enough to hunt’

(7.256) Suhime

kule
see:res.cv

ianuhanka
prg.rel.cold.ipv:pst

exhalation
‘It was cold enough to see your breath’

Relative verbs can also be modified by a dependent clause (
examples below:

§

10.2) marked for instrumental case, as in the

(7.257) Ne

anasa
rel.strong.ipv

na
3aerg

olh
dist

naka
rock

3anom
‘He is so strong that he managed to lift that rock’

tan
that:nom

atiyisuhkame
pv.lift.cpl.dep.inst

7.6. RELATIVE MARKING AND THE COMPARATIVE CONSTRUCTION

183

(7.258) Moih`a

apata
rel.tall.ipv

mutume
fence.inst

inie
eyes

tlisime
go:over.dep:sbj.inst

girl.nom
‘The girl is tall enough to see over the fence’
lit. ‘The girl is so tall that (she) would (be able to) move her eyes/vision over the fence’

Relative verbs can also be modified by an adverbial expressing the degree to which the property holds. A
8.4.5.
partial list of these is given below. Additional degree adverbials are listed and discussed in

8.4.3 and

§

§

hampi
ihpi
miai, miampi
mu, muhpi
ntse miampi
tlai, tlampi
tsipi
tsuo, tsuompi
tsyi, tsyimpi

‘a lot, very, considerably’
‘equally, as, just as’
‘how (much); somewhat, to a certain degree’
‘enough, suciently’
‘not very, not so, not that (much)’
‘so, that, (by) that much’
‘a little, a bit, somewhat, to some degree’
‘too’
‘not … enough, insuciently’

Examples are given below, showing that the degree adverbial immediately precedes the relative verb:

(7.259) Kamale

knife.nom

miampi
how:much

ak`ılhan?
rel.sharp.ipv.qu

‘How sharp is the knife?’ (lit. ‘The knife is sharp by how much?’)

(7.260) Kamale

ntse
knife.nom
neg
‘The knife is not very sharp’

miampi
much

akilho
rel.sharp.ipv:neg

Kamale mu akilha
Kamale tsuo akilha
Kamale tsyi akilha
Kamale tlampi akilha

‘The knife is sharp enough’
‘The knife is too sharp’
‘The knife is not sharp enough’
‘The knife is so sharp’ or ‘That’s how sharp the knife is’

The relative marker also appears on a handful of non-scalar verbs referring to one of the physical senses.
7.5.1),
When the relative marker is prefixed to a verb of perception inflected for the resultative aspect (see
the resulting predicate expresses the possession of a property which is detectable by the sense in question.
Compare the following sets of verbs:

§

kila
luhtsa
mahtla
ola
sefa
uota

‘see’
‘smell’
‘taste’
‘hear’
‘feel, touch’
‘feel, perceive’

akula
aloihtsa
amaihtla
auola
aseifa
auoita

‘look, appear, have the look/appearance of’
‘smell, have the smell/odour of’
‘taste, have the taste/flavour of’
‘sound, have the sound of’
‘feel, have the feel/texture of’
‘feel, seem, appear, give the sensation of’

These verbs in turn combine with a bare noun phrase complement (
in the dependent subjunctive (
§
entity or substance which bears that property:

4.6.5) or a bare verb (phrase) complement
10.2.4). This complement expresses the property in question, or a kind of

§

(7.261) Mase

ksas
salt

amaihtla
rel.taste:res.ipv

soup.nom
‘The soup tastes salty’ or ‘The soup tastes of salt’

184

(7.262) Tilase

nuhi
cold.dep:sbj

iaseifanka
prg.rel.feel:res.ipv:pst

glass.nom
‘The glass felt cold (to the touch)’

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

Finally, the relative marker is required when the verb takes the atelic inchoative sux -im, discussed in
7.5.3 (e.g., toha ‘be big’ > atohima ‘grow, get bigger’; liuna ‘be old’ > aliunima ‘get older, age’), and also
§
in the comparative construction, discussed in the subsection below.

The comparative construction

In comparative constructions, the sux -oht (glossed comp for comparative) is added to the relative stem
of a stative verb: e.g., pata ‘be tall’ > apatohta ‘be taller/tallest’; oita ‘be important’ > auoitohta ‘be
more/most important’. Note that the verb iena ‘be good’ has an irregular comparative form: aniohta ‘be
better/best’.

As the glosses indicate, the -oht form can express either a comparative degree (‘taller’) or a superlative
degree (‘tallest’). The intended meaning can usually be inferred from context, though if necessary a universal
quantifier in the ablative case (e.g., imou ‘of all’ [inanimate], inmou ‘of all’ [animate]) can be added to the
sentence to make the superlative reading explicit:

(7.263) Olh
dist
‘That house over there is the biggest in the village’ (lit. ‘bigger than all’)

atohohta
rel.big.comp.ipv

paluna
village.loc

tan
that:nom

imou
3i:all:abl

kotu
house

Also, when the -oht form is nominalized and functions as the modifier of another noun (cf.
10.6), it optionally
follows the noun when used to express the superlative degree. For instance, kotu atohohte means ‘the biggest
house’, whereas atohohte kotu can mean either ‘the biggest house’ or ‘a/the bigger house’, depending on
context. Another example of a noun followed by a superlative modifier is given in the following sentence:

§

(7.264) Tiesat

auotiohtaio
rel.nearby.comp.tnzr.dat

town
‘How do you get to the nearest town?’

mieme
where.inst

`etan?
go.ipv.qu

When a relative verb with -oht expresses the comparative, the standard of comparison (marked by ‘than’
in English) usually appears in the ablative case. Alternatively, an unmarked noun phrase may be used
if the standard of comparison is a general class of entities rather than a particular individual or group of
individuals.

(7.265) Sakiale

mo
1srdat

ahteu
father.abl

aliunohta
rel.old.comp.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is older than my father’

(7.266) Tonaka

tan
that:nom

kotu
house

rock
‘That rock is bigger than a house’

atohohta
rel.big.comp.ipv

To express the degree of di↵erence between the entities being compared, the comparative verb may be
modified by a degree adverbial (e.g., hampi apatohta ‘a lot taller’, kitsipi apatohta ‘slightly taller’) or by a
measure phrase in the instrumental case, as illustrated below. In addition, the comparative verb may be
modified by the aspectual adverbial eima ‘still, yet’, used in the sense of English ‘even’: eima apatohta ‘even
taller’.

(7.267) Sakiale

mo
1srdat

ahteu
father.abl

ulhmo
year

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is two years older than my father’

henme
two.inst

aliunohta
rel.old.comp.ipv

7.6. RELATIVE MARKING AND THE COMPARATIVE CONSTRUCTION

185

When two events or states are being compared, rather than two individuals, the standard of comparison
may be expressed by a correlative clause headed by aun (cf.
10.2.3), where aun is marked for ablative case.
When the verb in the main clause is the same as the verb in the correlative clause, the latter is often omitted
and aun is replaced by tiaun.

§

(7.268) Ma

akiotohte
rel.fast.comp.cv

kiompyi
run.pv

Elimma
Elim.erg

miampi
how:much

akiompa
pv.run.dep

aunu
if.abl

1serg
‘I ran faster than Elim ran’ (lit. ‘… faster than how (much) Elim ran’)

(7.269) Ma

akiotohte
1snom
rel.fast.comp.cv
‘I ran faster than Elim did’

kiompyi
run.pv

Elimma
Elim.erg

miampi
how:much

tiaunu
if:so.abl

(7.270) Ma

hial`o
today

kiompyi
1snom
run.pv
‘I ran faster today than (I did) yesterday’

akiotohte
rel.fast.comp.cv

miampi
how:much

elohka
yesterday

tiaunu
if:so.abl

To express ‘preferred’ or ‘favourite’ in Okuna, the comparative ending may be added to an evaluative verb
such as henka ‘be enjoyable’ or huata ‘be liked/appreciated’, or to the modal verb okfa ‘be wanted’—e.g.,
im`e ahenkohte iase ‘my favourite food’ (lit. ‘the food most enjoyable to me’). Note that auokfohta (literally
‘more/most wanted’) can also take a subordinate clause complement, in which case it is equivalent to English
‘(would) rather’ or ‘prefer’. Alternatively, ‘rather/prefer’ can be expressed by attaching the comparative
7.7.1—e.g., muelha ‘sleep’ > muelhuha
sux to a verb stem formed with the modal sux -uh, discussed in
‘want to sleep’ > muelhuhohta ‘prefer to sleep, would rather sleep’ (lit.
‘more/most want to sleep’). Note
that verbs formed with -uh plus -oht do not carry the relative prefix.

§

(7.271) Im`e

nkilhuhohta
leave.want.comp.ipv

1sall
‘I would rather leave’ or ‘I (would) prefer to leave’

(7.272) Ku

nkilhuhohta
leave.want.comp.ipv

im`e
1sall

2nom
‘I would rather you left’ or ‘I (would) prefer for you to leave’

(7.273) Im`e

auokfohta
rel.want.comp.ipv

ku
2nom

eima
still

1sall
‘I would prefer it if you (did) not leave yet’

mankilhoie
neg.leave.dep:sbj:neg.nom

The construction equivalent to ‘the X-er … the X-er’ (e.g., ‘the bigger they come, the harder they fall’) is
illustrated below. Here two clauses are combined, each containing a comparative or atelic inchoative verb,
or a comparative quantifier or degree word (e.g., anohte ‘more’, ohpi ‘more so, to a greater degree’). The
second clause also includes the demonstrative adverbial tlai ‘thus, so, that much, to that extent’. The verb
in the first clause takes the form of a participle (
10.3): an indicative participle if the sentence describes an
actual or generic state of a↵airs, and a subjunctive participle if it describes a hypothetical state of a↵airs.

§

(7.274) Koine

aliunime,
rel.old.ainc.pt

ohe
person.nom
more:nom
‘The older a person gets, the more (s/he) knows’
lit. ‘When a person gets older, to that extent more is known (by him/her)’

iona
known.ipv

tlai
thus

akiotohte
rel.fast.comp.cv

(7.275) Kima
12erg
‘The faster we work, the sooner we will finish’
lit. ‘If we work more quickly, to that extent (we) will finish sooner’

sukait,
work.pt:sbj.pl

ohpi
more:so

tehefoi
soon

tlai
thus

uslat
finish.ipv.pl

186

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

Note finally that, although the sux -oht is mostly used in combination with the relative prefix to form
comparatives, it can also combine to a limited degree with non-stative verbs. When used with a non-
stative verb, -oht expresses an event whereby one individual (or group of individuals) surpasses another in
performing the activity or exhibiting the trait denoted by the root:

kahta
kapua
kiompa
lhaha
lhinta
tsahompa

‘hit’
‘be skillful, be good at’
‘run, chase’
‘reach, stretch’
‘be clever’
‘wrestle’

kahtohta
kapuohta
kiompohta
lhahohta
lhintohta
tsahompohta

‘out-hit, defeat (in a fight)’
‘outperform, be better at’
‘outrun, run faster than, beat (in a race)’
‘overreach, reach past/beyond’
‘outsmart, outwit, be cleverer than’
‘out-wrestle, defeat in a wrestling match’

In a clause headed by an eventive verb with -oht, the participant being surpassed is expressed by a noun
phrase in the ablative case:

(7.276) Motlama

suhpau
brother.abl

kiompohtyi
run.comp.pv

Motla.erg
‘Motla outran his brother’

7.7 Expressing modality

Modality involves the expression of possibility, necessity, and other notions related to hypothetical or possible
worlds (ability, volition, intention, etc.). Modality is expressed in two di↵erent ways in Okuna: by adding
a modal sux to the verb stem, or by using a separate modal verb which selects a verb or a clause in the
dependent subjunctive form. I discuss these options in turn.

7.7.1 Modal suxes

One of four suxes can be added to a verb stem to express modality. These suxes, listed in the following
7.4).
table, are added directly to the verb stem, preceding any tense/aspect/mood/polarity inflection (see
When added to a stem ending in a glide, the initial high vowels of the desiderative and purposive suxes
undergo lowering, in accordance with the vowel hiatus rules in
3.5.3: e.g., takia ‘break’, taki.ihp.a > takiehpa
‘intend to break’, taki.uh.a > takioha ‘want to break’.

§

§

debitive
desiderative
purposive
potential

(‘must, have to, need to’)
(‘want to’)
(‘should, mean to, intend to’)
(‘can, may, might, be able to’)

-oks
-uh
-ihp
-yip

The copular verb he (
9.3.1) takes the form hi- when it combines with these suxes. Likewise the deictic
§
verbs ts`a ‘be over here (near me)’ and k`a ‘be here/there (near us/you)’ take the stem forms tsa- and ka-,
respectively, with insertion of a glide in accordance with the vowel hiatus rules.

hioksa
hioha
hiehpa
hiyipa

‘must be’
‘want to be’
‘intend to be’
‘can be’

tsauoksa
tsauoha
tsaiehpa
tsaiyipa

‘must be here’
‘want to be here’
‘intend to be here’
‘can be here’

kauoksa
kauoha
kaiehpa
kaiyipa

‘must be here/there’
‘want to be here/there’
‘intend to be here/there’
‘can be here/there’

When a modal sux is added to the verb, that verb is treated as a (derived) stative for purposes of
tense/aspect marking (
7.4). Verbs inflected for modality cannot take perfective aspect, but can appear
§
in the non-past imperfective, past imperfective, or conditional. Below I give a partial tense/aspect/mood
paradigm for siehp- ‘write’ + debitive -oks, with approximate English translations for each form:

7.7. EXPRESSING MODALITY

187

siehpoksa
isiehpoksa
usiehpoksa

‘must write, has to write, needs to write’
‘must be writing, must have been writing’
‘must have written’

siehpoksanka
isiehpoksanka
usiehpoksanka

‘had to write, needed to write’
‘had to be writing, had to have been writing’
‘had to have written’

siehpoksike
isiehpoksike
usiehpoksike

‘would have to write, would need to write’
‘would have to be writing, would have to have been writing’
‘would have to have written’

Note also that when a verb inflected for modality is negated (
the modal sux. Compare the following:

§

7.3), the negation is understood to scope over

iman siehpyipa
iman siehpihpa
iman siehpuha
iman siehpoksa

‘I can write’
‘I intend to write’
‘I want to write’
‘I must write’

iman ntsiehpyipo
iman ntsiehpihpo
iman ntsiehpuho
iman ntsiehpokso

‘I can’t write’
‘I don’t intend to write’
‘I don’t want to write’
‘I don’t have to write’

To express propositions like ‘I might not write’, ‘I must not write’, or ‘I should not write’, where the modal
scopes over negation, a separate modal verb must be used in place of a modal sux (see next section).

The meanings of the di↵erent modal forms are discussed and illustrated below.

Potential modality

The potential modal sux -yip (glossed ‘able’ in the examples) can express the possibility that the event
denoted by the verb will come to pass, or has come to pass. When expressing possibility, the potential form
usually corresponds to ‘may’ or ‘might’ in English:

(7.277) Ise

snow

kahpyipa
fall.able.ipv

‘It may/might snow’

(7.278) Ise

snow

ikahpyipa
prg.fall.able.ipv

‘It may/might be snowing’

(7.279) Ise

snow

ukahpyipa
pf.fall.able.ipv

‘It may/might have snowed’

The potential sux can also express ability, in which case it is roughly equivalent to English ‘can, be able
to’, or the sux ‘-able’:

(7.280) Halmai

talyipa
read.able.ipv

book.dat
‘The book is readable’ or ‘The book can be read’

When the clause includes a noun phrase denoting the individual who possesses the ability to perform the
action, that noun phrase appears in the locative case. The locative-marked noun phrase almost always
replaces one of the verb’s core arguments—typically the ergative argument, if the verb takes one, otherwise
the nominative argument. Compare the following:

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

188

(7.281) Moihama

halmai
book.dat

tala
read.ipv

girl.erg
‘The girl will read the book’

(7.282) Moihama

girl.erg

halmai
book.dat

talyipa
read.able.ipv

‘The girl may/might read the book’
or ‘It is possible that the girl will read the book’

(7.283) Moihana

halmai
book.dat

talyipa
read.able.ipv

girl.loc
‘The girl can read the book’ or ‘The girl is able to read the book’

(7.284) Sakiale

Sakial.nom

nkilhyipa
leave.able.ipv

‘Sakial may/might leave’

(7.285) Sakialna

nkilhyipa
leave.able.ipv

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial can leave’ or ‘Sakial is able to leave’

Finally, a verb in the potential modality can express permission (‘may, be allowed to’). The individual who
has permission to perform the action may be represented by a noun phrase in the allative case. Like the
locative noun phrase in the examples above, this allative noun phrase normally replaces one of the verb’s
core arguments.

(7.286) Moihaua

halmai
book.dat

talyipa
read.able.ipv

girl.all
‘The girl may read the book’ or ‘The girl is allowed to read the book’

(7.287) Sakiala

nkilhyipa
leave.able.ipv

Sakial.all
‘Sakial may leave’ or ‘Sakial is allowed to leave’

Debitive modality

The debitive modal sux -oks (glossed ‘must’) expresses necessity. In certain cases this sux is used when
the clause expresses the realization or supposition that the event in question will come about, or has come
about. Here it usually corresponds to English ‘must’ or ‘be sure to’:

(7.288) Ise

kahpoksa
fall.must.ipv

snow
‘It must snow’ or ‘It’s sure to snow’

(7.289) Ise

ikahpoksa
prg.fall.must.ipv

snow
‘It must be snowing’

(7.290) Ise

ukahpoksa
snow
pf.fall.must.ipv
‘It must have snowed’

The debitive sux can also express obligation, in which case it can be translated ‘must, have to, need to’:

7.7. EXPRESSING MODALITY

189

(7.291) Halmai

taloksa
read.must.ipv

book.dat
‘The book needs to be read’

(7.292) Moihama

halmai
book.dat

taloksa
read.must.ipv

girl.erg
‘The girl must / has to read the book’

A noun phrase in either the locative case or the allative case may be added to the clause to indicate the
individual who possesses the obligation. As with the potential form, this noun phrase almost always replaces
one of the verb’s core arguments. The di↵erence between locative and allative marking is somewhat subtle:
roughly speaking, locative case is used when the sense of obligation originates within the individual, while
allative case is used when the individual is compelled by someone else. Compare the examples below: (7.293)
implies that Sakial feels an inner compulsion to read the book, whereas with (7.294) the usual sense is that
the requirement to read the book has been imposed on Sakial by someone else.

(7.293) Sakialna

halmai
book.dat

taloksa
read.must.ipv

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial must read the book’ (i.e., has the urge to read)

(7.294) Sakiala

halmai
book.dat

taloksa
read.must.ipv

Sakial.all
‘Sakial must read the book’ (i.e., is required to read)

By contrast, in (7.292) above, there is no sense that any particular individual is being compelled to bring
about the reading event. To capture this, (7.292) may be translated ‘It is necessary for the girl to read the
book’ or ‘The girl is certain to read the book’.

Purposive and desiderative modality

The purposive sux -ihp (glossed ‘intend’) is added to the verb stem when the clause denotes the state of
a↵airs where it is intended or considered desirable that the event named by the verb stem come about. It is
sometimes equivalent to ‘should’ or ‘be meant to, be supposed to’:

(7.295) Halmai

talihpa
read.intend.ipv

book.dat
‘The book is (meant) to be read’

(7.296) Moihama

halmai
book.dat

talihpa
read.intend.ipv

girl.erg
‘The girl is supposed to read the book’ or ‘The girl should read the book’

A verb in the purposive form can combine with a noun phrase in the locative case, referring to the individual
who possesses the intention that the action come about. When this individual is also one of the participants
in the intended event, the locative noun phrase will replace the core argument that denotes that participant
(usually the ergative argument, or the nominative argument if the verb lacks an ergative argument):

(7.297) Sakialna

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial intends that the girl (should) read the book’

halmai
book.dat

talihpa
read.intend.ipv

moihama
girl.erg

(7.298) Sakialna

halmai
book.dat
Sakial.loc
‘Sakial intends to read the book’

talihpa
read.intend.ipv

190

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

The desiderative sux -uh (glossed ‘want’) works essentially the same way as the purposive sux. It is added
to the verb to indicate that the event in question is desired by some individual, and usually corresponds to
English ‘want to’. The individual possessing the desire may be expressed by a noun phrase in the locative,
which can replace one of the verb’s core arguments.

(7.299) Halmai

taluha
book.dat
read.want.ipv
‘It is desired that the book be read’

(7.300) Moihama

halmai
book.dat

taluha
read.want.ipv

girl.erg
‘It is desired that the girl read the book’

(7.301) Sakialna

moihama
girl.erg

halmai
book.dat

taluha
read.want.ipv

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial wants the girl to read the book’

(7.302) Sakialna

halmai
book.dat

taluha
read.want.ipv

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial wants to read the book’

Note that a verb with the desiderative sux can in turn take the comparative/superlative sux -oht (cf.
7.6). The resulting forms are equivalent English expressions with ‘rather’ or ‘prefer’: e.g., nkilha ‘leave’ >
§
nkilhuha ‘want to leave’ > nkilhuhohta ‘prefer to leave, would rather leave’ (lit. ‘more/most want to leave’).

(7.303) Te

foc

halma
book

atai
that:dat

taluhohta
read.want.comp.ipv

iman
1sloc

‘I (would) prefer to read that book’

Generally with verbs in the purposive or desiderative form, the locative noun phrase replaces a coreferential
core argument only if that argument represents the most ‘active’ or ‘agentive’ participant in the event.
Otherwise, the locative noun phrase and the coreferential core argument are both realized in the clause.
Compare the examples in (7.304) and (7.305): in the former sentence, the participant possessing the desire
is the same individual as the (ergative) actor participant, while in the latter sentence it’s the same individual
as the (nominative) theme. (7.306) and (7.307) show a parallel contrast:

(7.304) Iman
1sloc
‘I wanted to praise the chief’

tal`o
chief.nom

fonuhanka
praise.want.ipv:pst

(7.305) Iman
1sloc
‘I wanted the chief to praise me’ or ‘I wanted to be praised by the chief’

fonuhanka
praise.want.ipv:pst

taloma
chief.erg

me
1snom

tal`o
(7.306) Iman
1sloc
chief.nom
‘I intend to praise the chief’

fonihpa
praise.intend.ipv

fonihpa
(7.307) Iman
1sloc
praise.intend.ipv
‘I intend for the chief to praise me’ or ‘I intend to be praised by the chief’

taloma
chief.erg

me
1snom

7.7. EXPRESSING MODALITY

7.7.2 Modal verbs

191

In addition to the modal suxes, Okuna has a number of Class I stative verbs for expressing notions of
possibility, necessity, desirability, etc. The most common modal verbs are listed below. For each verb, the
most literal meaning is given first, followed by typical English translation equivalents in parentheses.

alha
aniohta
etaupa
ksafa
kuia
lehua
lyihpa
okfa
otsena
tima
tiuha
toupa

‘be allowed, permissible’ (‘can, may’)
‘be better, preferable’ (‘it would be better/best if…’)
‘be predicted’ (‘be supposed to’)
‘be desired, wished for’
‘be certain, definite’
‘be advisable’ (‘should, ought to’)
‘be possible’ (‘can, may, might’)
‘be desired/desirable’ (‘want’)
‘be likely, probable’
‘be likely, common’ (‘tend to; be liable to’)
‘be necessary, needed’ (‘need, must’)
‘be presumable, apparent’ (‘must’)

As members of Class I, modal verbs select a single core argument, marked for nominative case. In addition,
most modal verbs can take a noun phrase in the locative or allative case. For ksafa and okfa, a locative
noun phrase indicates the individual who wishes or hopes for the object or event denoted by the nominative
argument. With verbs such as lyihpa and tiuha, an allative noun phrase indicates the individual with respect
to whom the object/event denoted by the nominative argument is possible or necessary.

(7.308) Iman
1sloc
‘I want some food’ (lit. ‘In me, some food is desired’)

iokfa
prg.desired.ipv

mian
some:nom

iase
food

(7.309) Im`e

ikou
2sabl

aleute
help.nom

itiuha
prg.necessary.ipv

1sall
‘I need your help’ (lit. ‘Your help is necessary to/for me’)

In the examples above, the nominative argument is a regular noun phrase. The nominative argument can
also take the form of a clause in the dependent subjunctive form (
§

10.2), denoting a hypothetical event:

(7.310) Lehua

atai
advisable.ipv
this:dat
‘This book should be read’ or ‘It is advisable that this book be read’

tal`e
read.dep:sbj.nom

halma
book

ke
med

kotseim
(7.311) Aniohta
best.ipv
morning.dat
‘It would be best if you stayed here until morning’

ku
2nom

sik`a
until

kauot`e
be:here.dur.dep:sbj.nom

(7.312) Alha

ne
3anom

ikimme
12inst

afit`a
accompany.dep:sbj.pl.nom

allowed.ipv
‘It is permissible for them to come with us’

(7.313) Lyihpa

kime
12dat

elohfoi
tomorrow

saseuot`a
meet.dep:sbj.recip.pl.nom

possible.ipv
‘It’s possible that we will meet tomorrow’

(7.314) Elimna

okfa
desired.ipv

otanaina
child.loc

kest`e
happy.dep:sbj.nom

Elim.loc
‘Elim wants (his) children to be happy’

192

CHAPTER 7. VERB MORPHOLOGY

10.2.4). In this construc-
Alternatively, the modal verb and its complement may undergo restructuring (see
tion, the dependent subjunctive verb appears without an case marking and immediately precedes the modal
verb, the two forming a complex predicate. Any arguments selected by the dependent subjunctive verb be-
have as part of the main clause, and when they trigger plural agreement or reciprocal marking (
9.4.4),
§
the agreement and reciprocal suxes attach to the modal verb rather than the verb it selects. Compare the
sentences above with their restructured counterparts below:

7.2,

§

§

(7.315) Ke

halma
book

atai
this:dat

tali
read.dep:sbj

lehua
advisable.ipv

med
‘This book should be read’

(7.316) Ku

kotseim
morning.dat

sik`a
until

2nom
‘You had best stay here until morning’

kauoti
be:here.dur.dep:sbj

aniohta
best.ipv

(7.317) Ne

ikimme
12inst

afi
accompany.dep:sbj

alhat
allowed.ipv.pl

3anom
‘They may come with us’ or ‘They are allowed to come with us’

(7.318) Kime
12dat

elohfoi
tomorrow

sasi
meet.dep:sbj

lyihpauot
possible.ipv.recip.pl

‘We may/might/could meet tomorrow’

(7.319) Elimna

Elim.loc

otanaina
child.loc

kesti
happy.dep:sbj

okfa
desired.ipv

‘Elim wants (his) children to be happy’

Note that either the dependent subjunctive verb, or the sentence as a whole, can be negated. In the former
case, the modal verb scopes over negation, while in the latter case, negation scopes over the modal. The
following pairs of sentences illustrate the contrast between these two possibilities:

(7.320) Pyie

child.nom

ntse
neg

nkilhoi
leave.dep:sbj:neg

alhot
allowed.ipv:neg.pl

‘The children may not leave’ (i.e., it is not permitted that the children leave)

(7.321) Pyie

child.nom

mankilhoi
neg.leave.dep:sbj:neg

alhat
allowed.ipv.pl

‘The children don’t have to leave’ (i.e., it is permitted that the children not leave)

(7.322) Pyie

child.nom

ntse
neg

nkilhoi
leave.dep:sbj:neg

tiuhot
necessary.ipv:neg.pl

‘The children don’t have to leave’ (i.e., it is not necessary that the children leave)

(7.323) Pyie

child.nom

mankilhoi
neg.leave.dep:sbj:neg

tiuhat
necessary.ipv.pl

‘The children must not leave’ (i.e., it is necessary that the children not leave)

The verbs tiuha and toupa are easily confused, since both verbs overlap in meaning with the debitive sux
-oks, and both may be translated as ‘must’ or ‘have to’ in English. Tiuha expresses the necessity that a
situation come about, while toupa expresses the realization or supposition that a situation has or will come
about. This contrast is illustrated below:

7.7. EXPRESSING MODALITY

193

(7.324) Ikime
12all

ahotsine
corn.nom

nalhi
plant.dep:sbj

tiuha
necessary.ipv

‘We must / have to plant the corn’

(7.325) Motl`a

Motla.nom

imouti
prg.sick.dep:sbj

toupa
must.ipv

hial`o,
today

elh
and

tlohpa
for:that:reason

mekau
neg.prg.be:here.ipv:neg

‘Motla must be sick today, and that’s why (he)’s not here’

Note also the following examples, which illustrate tima used as a modal verb. Notice that the interpretation
of this construction depends on the aspect in which tima occurs: when it occurs in progressive aspect, the
sentence indicates the strong likelihood that the event denoted by the subjunctive verb will come about,
given the current situation; when it occurs in the imperfect, the sentence expresses the general tendency
for the event denoted by the subjunctive verb to come about. (In non-modal contexts, tima means ‘lie, be
located’.)

(7.326) Kalone

ehkamne
early

lyue
wake:up.dep:sbj

boy.nom
‘The boys tend to wake up early’

(7.327) Kalone

lyue
boy.nom
wake:up.dep:sbj
‘The boys are liable to wake up early’

ehkamne
early

timat
tend.ipv.pl

itimat
prg.tend.ipv.pl

Chapter 8

Minor Word Classes

8.1 Introduction

Nouns and verbs (discussed in chapters 4, 6, and 7) constitute the open lexical classes of Okuna—i.e.,
the lexical classes to which new members may be added, either through coinage or by borrowing from another
language. There are also several closed classes of words whose members perform various grammatical
functions. Some of these classes (e.g., pronouns, quantificational adverbs) were introduced in earlier chapters.
8.2 deals with sentential particles, which mark operator
The remaining classes are discussed here. Section
functions related to focus or clause type.
8.3 gives an overview of coordinators and the conjoining of phrases
and clauses. Finally,
8.4 deals with adverbials (predicate modifiers) for expressing manner, degree, temporal
quantification, and aspect.

§

§

§

8.2 Sentence particles

Sentence particles are non-inflecting function words which occupy a fixed position in the clause. I group these
particles into two classes based on the position they occupy.
8.2.1 deals with focus particles, which express
concepts like ‘even’, ‘only’, and ‘not’.
8.2.2 deals with force and evidential particles. Force particles provide
information about the function of the clause (i.e., whether it constitutes a question, command, exclamation,
etc.), while evidential particles indicate something about the epistemological status of the sentence (i.e.,
whether it represents common knowledge, hearsay, speculation, etc.). Focus particles always precede the
verb, and take scope over some portion of the clausal nucleus (
9.2.1); while force and evidential particles
occur at the right edge of the clausal nucleus, immediately following the verb.

§

§

§

8.2.1 Focus particles

Okuna has a number of particles which precede a constituent (a noun phrase or predicate) to indicate
that that constituent is being contrastively focused—that is, foregrounded in the sentence and implicitly or
explicitly contrasted with other potential discourse referents. One such focus particle is te, illustrated in
(8.2) below.

(8.1) Ma

hotume
uncle.inst
1serg
‘I was talking to my uncle’

itsampanka
prg.say.act.ipv:pst

(8.2) Ma

1serg

te
foc

hotume
uncle.inst

itsampanka
prg.say.act.ipv:pst

‘I was talking to my uncle’ (not to anyone else)

194

8.2. SENTENCE PARTICLES

195

9.2.1), following the topic and preceding the verb and
Focus particles occur within the clausal nucleus (
§
any noun phrases unmarked for case (see
4.6.3). Case-marked noun phrases in the clause either precede
or follow the focus particle, depending on their scope, as discussed below. The major focus particles and
particle combinations are listed here (on the negative particles ntse and ntsune, see

7.3 for discussion):

§

§

ekane
hi`o
husu
husu ntse
las
ntse, ntsune
ntsilas
ntsohkina
ohkina
te
tiefu
tiefu ntse
usahke

‘just, specifically, in particular; exactly, precisely’
‘indeed, actually, in fact’
‘also, even’
‘not even’
‘only, merely, just’
‘not’
‘not only’
‘neither, not even’
‘also, even’
‘just, only, actually’
‘only, solely, just; except’
‘only not, just not; except’
‘especially, in particular’

Focus particles are interpreted as operators which take scope over the verb, verb phrase, or noun phrase to
their immediate right. Compare the following sentences, where the di↵erence in word order correlates with
a di↵erence in scope for the particle tiefu:

(8.3) Moihama

kahoi
girl.erg
fish.dat
‘The girl only cooked the fish’

tiefu
only

ipamyima
cook.pv.dpl

(8.4) Moihama

tiefu
only

kahoi
fish.dat

ipamyima
cook.pv.dpl

girl.erg
‘The girl only cooked (the) fish’

(8.5) Kahoi

tiefu
only

moihama
girl.erg

ipamyit
cook.pv.pl

fish.dat
‘Only the girl cooked the fish’
or ‘The fish were cooked by the girl alone’

(8.6) Tiefu

moihama
girl.erg

kahoi
only
fish.dat
‘It’s only (the case) that the girl cooked the fish’

ipamyima
cook.pv.dpl

In (8.3) tiefu scopes over the verb ipamyima ‘cooked’, and sets up an implicit contrast between the cooking
action and other possible actions which the girl might have performed on the fish (such as eating them). In
(8.4) the particle scopes over either kahoi ‘fish’ or kahoi ipamyima ‘cooked the fish’: this sentence asserts
that the fish are the only things that the girl cooked, or that cooking the fish is the only thing that the girl
did. In (8.5) tiefu scopes over moihama ‘the girl’, or moihama ipamyit ‘cooked by the girl’; this sentence
means that the girl is the only one who cooked the fish, or that being cooked by the girl is the only thing
that happened to the fish. Finally, in (8.6), tiefu scopes over the entire sentence, and the meaning is that
the girl cooking the fish is the only thing that happened.

The scopal domain of the focus particle extends rightward only as far as the verb. Hence in the sentences

below, the postposed noun kahoi is outside the scope of tiefu.

(8.7) Moihama

kahoi
fish.dat
girl.erg
‘The girl only cooked (them), the fish’

ipamyima
cook.pv.dpl

tiefu
only

196

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

(8.8) Tiefu

only

moihama
girl.erg

ipamyima
cook.pv.dpl

kahoi
fish.dat

‘Only the girl cooked (them), the fish’

The interaction between word order and scope is further illustrated by the sentences below, containing the
particle husu. Notice that husu can be translated as ‘also’ or ‘even’, depending on the context (likewise for
ohkina when it is used as a focus particle):

(8.9) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

Elime
Elim.nom

husu
also

fonyi
praise.pv

‘Sakial also praised Elim’ (besides doing other things to/for him)

(8.10) Sakialma

Sakial.nom

husu
also

Elime
Elim.nom

fonyi
praise.pv

‘Sakial also/even praised Elim’ (in addition to praising other people)
or ‘Sakial also praised Elim’ (in addition to doing other things)

(8.11) Elime

Elim.nom

husu
also

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

fonyi
praise.pv

‘Even Sakial praised Elim’ (he wasn’t just praised by other people)
or ‘Elim was also praised by Sakial’ (besides having other things happen to him)

The particles te and hi`o have an emphatic sense, indicating that what follows is new or unexpected infor-
mation. The particle te also has a identificational function, and is often used when the speaker wishes to
point out or draw attention to a particular referent. Sentences with te are often appropriately translated
into English using a cleft or pseudo-cleft construction. Compare the following:

(8.12) Ma

halm`a
book.nom

kohoit
1serg
chest.dat
‘I put the books in the chest’

elhyia
put:in.pv.npl

(8.13) Ma

halm`a
book.nom

kohoit
1serg
chest.dat
‘The chest is where I put the books’

te
foc

elhyia
put:in.pv.npl

(8.14) Ma

te
foc

halma
book

tin
those:nom

elhyia
put:in.pv.npl

1serg
‘It’s those books that I put in the chest’
or ‘Those are the books that I put in the chest’

kohoit
chest.dat

Te is also found as an optional element in a presentational sentences, where the speaker is drawing the
listener’s attention to the entity denoted by the focused noun phrase (which typically functions as a theme
argument and appears without any case marking):

(8.15) Te

es
one

halma
book

its`a
prg.be:here.ipv

foc
‘Here’s a book’ or ‘There’s a book over here’

(8.16) Te

Sakial
foc
Sakial
‘Here comes Sakial’

iketa
prg.come:here.ipv

Other examples of sentences with focus particles are given below:

8.2. SENTENCE PARTICLES

197

(8.17) Ne

las
just

pyi
child

3anom
‘He’s just a child’

(8.18) Kahu

aunme,
if.inst

Sakiala
Sakial.all

usahke
especially

kono
salmon

henka
like.ipv

fish
‘When it comes to fish, Sakial especially likes salmon’

(8.19) Tonaka

tan
that:nom

husu
even

ntse
neg

koin
person

anasohtaina
rel.strong.comp.tnzr.loc

tiyisyipoike
lift.able.cond:neg

rock
‘Not even the strongest person could lift that rock’

Focus particles often occur in conjoined clauses, where a focused phrase in the second clause bears a relation
of comparison, contrast, augmentation, etc., to a focused phrase in the first clause. Typically all non-focused
material is omitted from the second clause, leaving just the particle and the focused phrase:

(8.20) Elima

tsakamot
all:kinds

koine
person.nom

huata,
like.ipv

usahke
especially

pyie
child.nom

Elim.all
‘Elim likes all kinds of people, especially children’

usahke
(8.21) Hynukiale
especially
play.nom
‘Everyone enjoyed the play, especially the children’

henkanka,
enjoy.ipv:pst

inmone
everyone:all

pyia
child.all

As these examples show, the focused noun phrase in the second clause must carry the same case marking as
the corresponding focused noun phrase in the first clause. In (8.20) the children are set apart as a special
subset of the people who Elim likes. Here, pyi ‘children’ appears in the nominative case because tsakamot
koin ‘all kinds of people’ takes the nominative. In (8.21) the children are set apart as a special subset of the
people who enjoyed the play. Since inmone ‘everybody’ is in the allative case (assigned to the experiencer
participant of the verb henka ‘be enjoyable’), pyi takes the allative case as well.

Additional examples of this construction are given below:

(8.22) Halma

utai
that:rdat

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

utala,
pf.read.ipv

book
‘Sakial has read that book, and so have I’

husu
also

im`a
1serg

(8.23) Halma

book

utai
that:rdat

inket
everyone.erg

utalane,
pf.read.ipv.epl

ohkina
also

im`a
1serg

‘Everyone has read that book, even/including me’

(8.24) Ntsilas

tluosna
not:only
rather
‘It’s not just Elim who got drunk, but also Motla’

muntetou,
drunk.tinc.pv:neg

Elime
Elim.nom

husu
also

Motl`a
Motla.nom

(8.25) Sa

husu
also

tsulyit,
Elime
13erg
visit.pv.pl
Elim.nom
‘We also visited Elim, not just Sakial’

ntsilas
not:only

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

(8.26) Se

husu
also

Elimma
Elim.erg

tsulyit,
visit.pv.pl

ntsilas
not:only

Sakialma
Sakial.nom

13nom
‘Even Elim visited us, not just Sakial’ or ‘We were also visited by Elim, not just by Sakial’

198

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

Note finally that tiefu and tiefu ntse can be used to express exclusion, equivalent to English ‘except’ or ‘but’.
Tiefu is used after a negative quantifier, as in (8.27) and (8.28), while tiefu ntse is used after a universal
quantifier, as in (8.29) and (8.30):

(8.27) Elima

ntsemi`o
nobody:nom

huato,
like.ipv:neg

tiefu
only

man
1snom

Elim.all
‘Elim doesn’t like anybody except me’ (lit. ‘Elim likes nobody, only me’)

(8.28) Elime

ntsemioha
nobody.all

huato,
like.ipv:neg

tiefu
only

im`e
1sall

Elim.nom
‘Nobody likes Elim except me’

(8.29) Elima

nket
everyone:nom

huataua,
like.ipv.npl

tiefu
only

ntse
neg

man
1snom

Elim.all
‘Elim likes everyone except me’ (lit. ‘Elim likes everyone, only not me’)

(8.30) Elime

inkene
everyone.all

huata,
like.ipv

Elim.nom
‘Everyone likes Elim except me’

tiefu
only

ntse
neg

im`e
1sall

8.2.2 Force and evidential particles

Okuna has a number of particles which immediately follow the verb. Some of these particles express em-
phasis, or indicate the type of speech act which the utterance represents (statement, question, command,
exclamation, etc.). Others encode evidential features—that is, they indicate the speaker’s source of infor-
mation, or the degree of certainty with which s/he is making an assertion. The particles and their functions
are listed below and discussed in the following subsections.

ha
hok
iahok
iak
iakin
iam
kalh
la
le
lin
lo
mi
mo
mun
na
ne, -n
nem
pi
tat
tli

unexpected information (‘in fact, as it happens’)
emphatic, exclamative
emphatic negative (‘at all’)
emphatic imperative (prohibitive)
emphatic negative question
surprise, unassimilated information (‘it turns out that…’)
emphatic question
reassurance (‘don’t worry’)
conjecture, speculation (‘I think, apparently, it seems so’)
question, request to speculate (‘do you suppose?’)
uncertainty, request for confirmation (‘right?, is it so?’)
regret (‘unfortunately, I’m afraid’)
subjective judgement, personal opinion (‘I think so, in my opinion’)
question, request for judgement/opinion (‘in your opinion…?’)
imperative/optative
question
suggestion (‘let’s, how about, why not…’)
uncertainty, possibility (‘maybe, perhaps’)
common knowledge (‘of course, after all, as you know’)
hearsay, secondhand information (‘apparently, so they say’)

Particles marking clause type and emphasis

Perhaps the most common postverbal particle is ne (glossed qu in the examples), which indicates that the
sentence is a question. Both yes/no questions and content questions are marked with ne. As shown in (8.32)

8.2. SENTENCE PARTICLES

199

and (8.33) below, ne contracts to -n and attaches to the verb when the latter ends in a vowel; however, -n
is not treated as part of the verb for purposes of stress assignment (note the diacritic on it`alin, indicating
that stress falls on the penultimate syllable of the word, despite the presence of a final consonant).

(8.31) Elim
Elim
‘Did Elim and Motla manage to find the dog?’

Motlai
Motla.dat

ik`e
dog.nom

ka
and

utlelhuhkit
pf.find.cpl.ipv:int.pl

ne?
qu

(8.32) Moihama

halmai
book.dat

it`alin?
prg.read.ipv:int.qu

girl.erg
‘Is the girl reading the book?’

(8.33) Moihama

halma
book

mai
what.dat

talyin?
read.pv.qu

girl.erg
‘Which book did the girl read?’

To mark emphasis, the particle hok is often used. This particle acts is a sort of verbal exclamation point,
indicating heightened emotional involvement on the part of the speaker. It frequently occurs in exclamatory
statements such as (8.35):

(8.34) Hi

manakpyipo
neg.carry.able.ipv:neg
3inom
‘I can’t lift it; (it’s) too heavy!’

iman,
1sloc

tsuo
too

alhuta
rel.heavy.ipv

hok!
excl

(8.35) Ne

tlai
so

amila
3anom
rel.handsome.ipv
‘How handsome he is!’ or ‘He’s so handsome!’

hok!
excl

The particles la and mi are also used to express emphasis, but unlike hok they have a ‘softening’ e↵ect: la
is often added to a sentence when the speaker wishes to comfort, reassure, or placate the addressee; while
mi is used to express speaker regret in reporting an unfortunate event.

(8.36) Moito

neg.matter.ipv:neg
‘Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter’

la
emph

(8.37) Nkuetlo

ikun,
2sloc

mutlihpo
neg.harm.intend.ipv:neg

la
emph

iman
1sloc

neg.afraid.ipv:neg
‘Don’t be afraid, I won’t harm (you)’

(8.38) Sakiale

mafo
neg.go:along.ipv:neg

mi
emph

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial won’t be coming with us, I’m afraid’

ikimme
12inst

The counterpart of hok used in negative clauses is iahok. In some cases this particle corresponds to English
‘at all’ or ‘ever’:

(8.39) Ntsemi`o

iolhunka
prg.be:there.ipv:pst:neg

iahok
emph:neg

nobody:nom
‘There wasn’t anybody there’

(8.40) Inmi

ntsemi
never

kanu
lie

utso
pf.say.ipv:neg

iahok
emph:neg

3aerg.1sdat
‘He’s never (ever) lied to me’

200

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

nkuio
(8.41) Iman
1sloc
neg.certain.ipv:neg
‘I’m not at all sure I know what to do’

iahok
emph:neg

ion`a
know.dep.nom

m`a
what

suki
do.dep:sbj

aun
if

The particle kalh marks a sentence as an emphatic question. It can be used in place of ne to indicate surprise,
disbelief, frustration, disgust, or other strong emotion. To form emphatic negative questions, iakin is used
in place of kalh.

(8.42) Mikail

te
foc

oun`a
bear.nom

kilyit
see.pv.pl

boy.dat
‘Did the boys really see a bear by the sweat lodge?’

kalh
emph:qu

hamohimok
sweat:lodge

utena?
near.loc

(8.43) M`a

laisne
just

mehkyi
happen.pv

kalh?
emph:qu

what:nom
‘What on earth just happened?’

(8.44) Ymiohpa
why
‘Why on earth won’t you tell (me) the truth?’

etsoike
say.cond:neg

yte
truth

ntse
neg

iakin?
emph:neg:qu

(8.45) Ko

inem
3asinst

metsampo
neg.speak.act.ipv:neg

iakin?
neg:emph:qu

2erg
‘Won’t you even talk to him?’

Note that ne, kalh, and iakin occur only in main clause questions; embedded (indirect) questions are formed
with the element aun ‘if, whether’, discussed in
10.2.3. Two other question particles, lin and mun, are
discussed below. For more on the structure of questions, see

9.3.2.

§

Finally, the particles na, nem, and iak occur in imperative and optative clauses. Na expresses a strong
desire on the part of the speaker that an action be performed or that an event (be permitted to) come about.
In negative imperatives (prohibitives), iak is used in place of na. Nem is somewhat less emphatic than na,
and may be used when the speaker is suggesting a course of action; it can correspond to English ‘let’s’, ‘how
about’, or ‘why not’, depending on context. (For more on imperative sentences, see

9.3.3.)

§

§

(8.46) Ko

hitole
2erg
door.nom
‘Close the door!’

muka
close.ipv

na
imp

(8.47) Ma

akoi
2sdat

aleut
help

1serg
‘Let me help you!’

uktia
give.ipv

na
imp

(8.48) Atai

miaso
neg.eat.ipv:neg

iak
neg:imp

that:dat
‘Don’t eat that!’

(8.49) Kim

Kemotlasei
Kemotlasi.dat

etat
12nom
go.ipv.pl
‘Let’s go to Kemotlasi’ or ‘Why don’t we go to Kemotlasi?’

nem
emph

In the examples above, the imperative/optative particle follows a verb in the imperfect form. When na or iak
is used with a verb in the conditional form, as in the example below, the sentence expresses a counterfactual
wish. This construction corresponds roughly to English ‘if only’ or ‘would that…’:

(8.50) Inme

ihka
earlier

uteulikit
pf.listen.cond.pl

na
imp

3aerg.1snom
‘If only they’d listened to me earlier’ or ‘Would that they had listened to me earlier’

8.2. SENTENCE PARTICLES

Particles marking evidentiality

201

In addition to emphasis or clause type, a post-verbal particle may encode evidential distinctions, expressing
the source of information or degree of certainty behind the speaker’s assertion.

The particles pi and lo express a low degree of certainty: pi is equivalent to ‘maybe’ or ‘perhaps’, while
lo is used where an English speaker might use a tag question (e.g., ‘… doesn’t it?’). In the case of lo, the
speaker is not entirely certain if the proposition is true and is looking to the addressee for confirmation or
denial. Pi, on the other hand, marks the proposition as pure speculation: the speaker cannot vouch for the
truth of the sentence, and does not expect the addressee to be able to do so either.1

(8.51) Elohfoi

ise
snow

kahpa
fall.ipv

pi
maybe

tomorrow
‘Perhaps it will snow tomorrow’

(8.52) Mutoi

tokoksa
repair.must.ipv

lo
do:you:think

fence.dat
‘The fence needs to be repaired, doesn’t it?’

The particle tli also expresses uncertainty, but indicates that the proposition is hearsay, something which
the speaker learned secondhand but cannot vouch for:

(8.53) In`e

tiakoi
goat.dat

ukaiha
pf.kill.ipv
3aall
‘His goat was killed by a wolf, they say’

malkama
wolf.erg

tli
they:say

Other evidential particles indicate something about the speaker’s attitude towards the truth of what s/he
is asserting. For example, tat marks the utterance as common knowledge, something which is well accepted
or self-evident. By using tat (roughly equivalent to ‘of course’, ‘after all’, ‘as you know’, etc.), the speaker
asserts that s/he believes the proposition to be true, and expects the addressee to agree:

(8.54) Mutoi

tokoksa
repair.must.ipv

tat
of:course

fence.dat
‘As you know, the fence needs to be repaired’

The particle ha is also used when the speaker wishes to emphasize that what s/he is saying is true. However,
it di↵ers from nin in that the speaker does not expect the addressee to recognize the truth of the proposition.
Instead, ha is used when the speaker is imparting new, perhaps unexpected or surprising information, making
it similar in function to English ‘actually’, ‘in fact’ or ‘it so happens that…’. Consider the following exchange:

(8.55) Tenmotlaie

`utin?
pf.go.ipv:int.qu

Tenmotlai.dat
‘Have you ever been to Tenmotlai?’

(8.56) Hi`o,

ma
1snom

itan
3iloc

yes
‘Yes, in fact I live there!’

tsuhpa
live.ipv

ha
in:fact

The particle iam is similar to ha in that it can signal new or surprising information. It is generally used to
express a sudden realization, or when the speaker is acknowledging or reporting on something that s/he just
learned about. It is roughly equivalent to English ‘it turns out that…’ or ‘I now see/realize that…’:

1There is also a preverbal particle meaning ‘maybe, perhaps’, namely tiuse. This particle may be used in place of pi, or the

two can co-occur: e.g., Tiuse elohfoi ise kahpa pi ‘Perhaps it will snow tomorrow’.

202

(8.57) Ko

eima
still

isuka
prg.do.ipv

2erg
‘You’re still working, I see’

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

iam
just:learned

(8.58) Sakialu

am`e
mother.nom

utioka
pf.die.ipv

Sakial.abl
‘(I just learned that) Sakial’s mother died’

iam
just:learned

The particles mo and le correspond roughly to English ‘I think’: mo is used when the speaker is expressing
a subjective judgement or personal opinion, while le indicates conjecture.2 The latter is used instead of pi
‘maybe’ when the speaker believes that the proposition is true, but lacks sucient evidence to be sure.

(8.59) Sakiale

teusu
very

mila
handsome.ipv

mo
I:think

Sakial.nom
‘(I think that) Sakial is very handsome’

(8.60) Iha

nemot
3a:all:nom

usihitat
pf.go:to:river.ipv.pl

woman
‘The women have all gone down to the river, I think’

le
I:think

Mo and le each have a counterpart used to form questions, namely mun and lin, respectively. With these
particles, the point of view shifts from the speaker to the addressee. Mun is used in questions which ask for
the addressee’s opinion or judgement, while lin is used in questions which invite the addressee to speculate.
The latter particle may be used in place of ne when the speaker does not expect the addressee to be able to
provide a definitive answer. Like the other question particles (ne, kalh, and iakin), mun and lin occur both
in yes/no questions and in content questions:

(8.61) Sakiale

mili
handsome.ipv:int

mun?
in:your:opinion

Sakial.nom
‘Do you think that Sakial is handsome?’

(8.62) Kima

m`a
what:nom

suki
do.dep:sbj

12:erg
‘What do you think we should do?’

lehuat
should.ipv.pl

mun?
in:your:opinion

(8.63) Oke

s`u
rain

kahpi
fall.ipv:int

going:to
‘Do you think it’s going to rain?’

lin?
do:you:think

(8.64) Ni

m`a
what:nom

mehka
happen.ipv

3adat
‘What will happen to him, do you suppose?’

lin?
do:you:suppose

Finally, note that the evidential particles can be used to qualify the focus particles hi`o ‘yes/really’ and ntsune
‘no/not’, when the latter are used as utterances to answer a question in the armative or negative:

hi`o le
hi`o mo
hi`o mun?
hi`o pi
hi`o tat
hi`o tli

‘I believe so’
‘yes, in my opinion’
‘do you agree/think (so)?’
‘maybe so’
‘of course!’
‘yes, apparently so’

ntsune le
ntsune mo
ntsune mun?
ntsune pi
ntsune tat
ntsune tli

‘I don’t believe so’
‘no, in my opinion’
‘don’t you think (so)?’
‘maybe not’
‘of course not!’
‘no, apparently not’

2Parallel to this distinction, Okuna has two verbs meaning ‘think, believe’: ampa means ‘think’ in the sense of ‘be of the
opinion (that)’, while opa means ‘think’ in the sense of ‘suppose, conjecture’. (Yet another verb, mina, means ‘think’ in the
sense of ‘use one’s brain’ or ’contemplate/experience an idea’.)

8.3. COORDINATION

8.3 Coordination

203

Like all languages, Okuna provides various means for combining two or more constituents into a single larger
constituent of the same type. In
8.3.1 I illustrate the function words used in coordinating noun phrases and
8.3.2 I briefly discuss particles used to express various kinds of discourse relations between
clauses, while in
two clauses (temporal succession, cause and e↵ect, etc.).

§

§

8.3.1 Coordinators

Noun phrases and clauses can be linked using a coordinator, which precedes and forms a unit with the second
conjunct (and in some cases the first conjunct as well). Okuna has the following coordinators:

elh
husu
ka
le
lo
ntsu
ntsohkina
ohkina
su
tena
tlafa

‘and, and then; so, and so’
‘and also, as well as, along with’
‘and; as, such that’
‘but’
‘or’
‘nor’
‘nor’
‘and, as well as, in addition to’
‘or’
‘and’
‘for, as, because’

Coordinators expressing simple conjunction

The coordinators elh, ka, husu, ohkina, and tena all express simple conjunction, and usually correspond to
English ‘and’. However, they di↵er somewhat in their distribution. I discuss these elements in turn.

Ka, ohkina, and husu are used exclusively for coordinating two nouns or noun phrases to form a larger
noun phrase: e.g., Sakial ka Elim ‘Sakial and Elim’, kal ohkina iha ‘the man and the woman’, halma husu
kitam ‘books and papers’. Note that when noun phrases conjoined with these coordinators are marked for
case, the case ending attaches only to the second conjunct, while the first conjunct appears in its unmarked
form (or in the nominative case if no unmarked form exists, as with pronouns): e.g., Sakial ka Elimme ‘with
Sakial and Elim’, kal ohkina ihau ‘from the man and the woman’.

Although ka, ohkina, and husu all mean ‘and’, compound noun phrases formed with ka tend to have a
collective interpretation, whereas those formed with ohkina and husu tend to have a distributive interpre-
tation. The distributive reading is especially pronounced with ohkina, which has the sense of English ‘as
well as, in addition to’. For example, (8.65) below implies that Sakial and Elim are going to town together,
while (8.66) does not have that implication, and (8.67) strongly implies that they are going separately. (As
these examples show, noun phrases formed through coordination are grammatically plural, and trigger plural
agreement on the verb where appropriate: see

7.2.)

(8.65) Sakial
Sakial
‘Sakial and Elim are going to town (together)’

Elime
Elim.nom

tiesait
town.dat

ka
and

§
itat
prg.go.ipv.pl

(8.66) Sakial
Sakial
‘Sakial and Elim are (each) going to town’

Elime
Elim.nom

tiesait
town.dat

husu
and:also

itat
prg.go.ipv.pl

tiesait
(8.67) Sakial
town.dat
Sakial
‘Sakial, as well as Elim, is going to town’

Elime
Elim.nom

ohkina
as:well:as

itat
prg.go.ipv.pl

204

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

8.2.1),
In the case of husu and ohkina (which also function as focus particles meaning ‘also’ or ‘even’; see
the second conjunct may be postposed to the right of the verb, especially when it represents an afterthought.
Here the two noun phrases are separately marked for case, and the verb takes singular agreement when the
first conjunct is singular.

§

(8.68) Sakiale

tiesait
town.dat

ita,
prg.go.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is going to town, and so is Elim’

husu
and:also

(8.69) Sakiale

tiesait
town.dat

ita,
prg.go.ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is going to town, as well as Elim’

ohkina
as:well:as

Elime
Elim.nom

Elime
Elim.nom

(8.70) Nemot

tiesait
everyone:nom
town.dat
‘Everyone is going to town, including Elim’

itat,
prg.go.ipv

ohkina
as:well:as

Elime
Elim.nom

In the examples above, only two noun phrases are conjoined to form a larger noun phrase. When conjoining
three or more noun phrases, a coordinator appears between each noun phrase. The final two noun phrases
may be conjoined with ka, husu, or ohkina, but only ka is used between noun phrases earlier in the sequence.
As above, case endings appear only on the final noun phrase.

(8.71) Sakial
Sakial
‘Sakial, Motla, and Elim are going to town (together)’

Elime
Elim.nom

tiesait
town.dat

Motla
Motla

ka
and

ka
and

itat
prg.go.ipv.pl

(8.72) Sakial
Sakial
‘Sakial, Motla, and also Elim are going to town’

Elime
Elim.nom

husu
and:also

Motla
Motla

ka
and

tiesait
town.dat

itat
prg.go.ipv.pl

Ka has another function besides conjoining noun phrases. As the examples below show, it can introduce
10.3) which provides additional information about an individual mentioned in the
a participial clause (
previous clause. In English a non-restrictive (appositive) relative clause is usually used for this purpose.

§

(8.73) Ma

Elimme
Elim.inst

1serg
‘I was just talking to Elim, who I met (for the first time) last year’
more lit. ‘I was just talking to Elim, and I having met him last year’

itsampanka,
prg.say.act.ipv:pst

ka
and

namo
3anom.1srdat

laisne
just

iolhmohka
last:year

atsokue
pv.meet.pt

(8.74) Ma

Tenmotlaie
Tenmotlai.dat

ulhmo
ka
year
and
1snom
‘I went to Tenmotlai, where my mother has been living for many years’
more lit. ‘I went to Tenmotlai, and in it (my) mother living for many years’

amema
mother.erg

itan
3iloc

etyi,
go.pv

kas
so:far

antei
many.dat

itsuhpe
prg.live.pt

The examples below are similar, except that here the participial clause introduced by ka comments on or
provides supplementary information about the entire propositional content of the main clause, instead of
some entity mentioned in that clause:

(8.75) Elimma

Elim.erg
‘Elim is a good worker, as I’ve said before’ (lit. ‘and I having said thus before’)

suka,
work.ipv

ka
and

ma
1serg

tlai
thus

ihka
before

utse
pf.say.pt

kapue
skillful.cv

(8.76) Motl`a

ka
and
Motla.nom
‘Motla is still sick, which is a problem’ (lit. ‘and that being a problem’)

imouta,
prg.sick.ipv

tan
that:nom

efos
problem

hi
is.pt

eima
still

8.3. COORDINATION

205

Participial clauses of the latter type may also be fronted. However, when the clause is fronted, ka is omitted:

(8.77) Ma

tlai
thus

Elimma
1serg
Elim.erg
‘As I’ve said before, Elim is a good worker’

utse,
pf.say.pt

ihka
before

kapue
skillful.cv

suka
work.ipv

(8.78) Efos

problem

tsai,
be:here.pt

Motl`a
Motla.nom

eima
still

imouta
prg.sick.ipv

‘The problem is that Motla is still sick’ (lit. ‘Here being a problem, Motla is still sick’)

The coordinator elh also means ‘and’. However, it never conjoins nouns or noun phrases, but is instead used
to conjoin verbs, verb phrases, and entire clauses. Elh typically expresses a relation of temporal succession
(‘and then’) or cause and e↵ect (‘so, and so, thus’) between the events denoted by the conjoined clauses. It
is often followed by a discourse particle such as temai ‘then, consequently’, teuk ‘thus, therefore’, tlohpa ‘for
that reason’, etc.

(8.79) Puniakakamite

traveling:party.nom

kotsimna
morning.loc

etskanyit,
arrive.pv.pl

elh
and

kosetna
evening.loc

inane
3apall

tosati
feast

mehkyi
happen.pv

‘The traveling party arrived in the morning, and (then) in the evening a feast was held for them’

(8.80) Mo

1srdat

suhp`a
brother.nom

imouta
prg.sick.ipv

hial`o,
today

elh
and

teuk
thus

mafyipo
neg.go:with.able.ipv:neg

ikimme
12inst

‘My brother is sick today, so (he) can’t go with us’

7.4.2,

When reporting a sequence of events, especially with clauses containing verbs in the imperfect or perfective
aspect (see
7.4.5), elh is optional. Temporal succession may be indicated simply by juxtaposing two
or more clauses, with the order of the clauses reflecting the order in which the events occur. Juxtaposition
is common in narratives, especially when describing events which are closely related to one another (e.g.,
because they happen in quick succession, or involve the same individual(s)).

§

§

(8.81) Sakiale

na
Sakial.nom
3aerg
‘Sakial got up, dressed, and went out to get firewood’

tolhyi
get:up.pv

mupatlyi
dress.pv

ne
3aabs

losaka
firewood.all

suhyi
go:out.pv

(8.82) Me

1snom

eta
go.ipv

ma
1serg

it`e
3isall

ekpiha
search.ipv

‘I’ll go and look for it’ (lit. ‘I’ll go, I’ll look for it’)

Finally, simple conjunction can be expressed using the coordinator tena. This element can combine con-
stituents of any category, including nouns or noun phrases (Sakial tena Elim ‘Sakial and Elim’), adverbials
(elohfoi tena hial`o ‘yesterday and today’), and clauses. When tena combines nouns or noun phrases, both
conjuncts are marked for case: e.g., Sakialme tena Elimme ‘with Sakial and Elim’. When tena combines
clauses or parts of clauses, the events denoted by those clauses are understood to happen simultaneously.
When the events happen in succession, elh is used instead of tena, or the clauses are simply juxtaposed with
no coordinator between them, as noted above. Compare:

(8.83) Lhatima

children.erg

hostyit
dance.pv.pl

tena
and

uhnyit
sing.pv.pl

‘The children danced and sang’ (at the same time)

(8.84) Lhatima

hostyit
dance.pv.pl

(elh)
and

children.erg
‘The children danced and then sang’

uhnyit
sing.pv.pl

206

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

To express ‘both X and Y’, tena may be repeated before each conjunct:

tena Sakial tena Elim
Lhatima tena hostyit tena uhnyit

‘both Sakial and Elim’
‘The children both danced and sang’

However, to express ‘both X and Y’ where X and Y are noun phrases, it is more common to conjoin them
with ka, husu, or ohkina, as discussed above, and then combine the result with a universal quantifier, which
follows the conjoined noun phrases and carries the case marking for the whole expression (see

5.6):

§

(8.85) Sakial
Sakial
‘Both Sakial and Elim are going to Uiluma’ (lit. ‘Sakial and Elim all are going…’)

itat
prg.go.pv.pl

Uilumai
Uiluma.dat

nemot
3a:all:nom

Elim
Elim

ka
and

Other coordinators

Disjunction (‘or’) is normally expressed using the coordinator su, as in the example below. Notice that when
two noun phrases are coordinated using su, both are marked for case; and if the noun phrases both have
singular referents, then the conjoined phrase takes singular agreement, much as in English.

(8.86) Mi

Elimma
Elim.erg

su
or

1sdat
‘Elim or Sakial will help me’

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

aleut
help

uktia
give.ipv

To form the equivalent of ‘either X or Y’, su may be repeated before both conjuncts, or the particle ela can
be placed before the first conjunct: e.g., su Elim su Sakial ‘either Elim or Sakial’, ela hial`o su elohfoi ‘either
today or tomorrow’.

Disjunction can also be expressed using the coordinator lo. Lo is used in direct and indirect yes/no ques-
9.3.2) when o↵ering a choice between two or more mutually incompatible alternatives, as illustrated
tions (
§
below. When two clauses are conjoined with lo, the question particle ne/-n (or aun in indirect questions)
appears only after the second conjunct.

(8.87) Sateia

kahu
meal.all
fish
‘Do you want to have meat or fish for dinner?’

ias`uhin?
eat.want.ipv:int.qu

maka
meat

lo
or

(8.88) Motl`a

ikauotanka
prg.be:here.dur.ipv:pst

lo
or

Motla.nom
‘Did Motla stay here, or did (he) go with the others?’

iahteme
others.inst

afyin?
go:along.pv.qu

Like tena and su, lo may also be repeated before both conjuncts:

(8.89) Sateia

lo
meal.all
or
‘Do you want to have meat or fish for dinner?’

ias`uhin?
eat.want.ipv:int.qu

maka
meat

kahu
fish

lo
or

(8.90) Ma

untsapyi
wonder.pv

lo
ne
1snom
or
3anom
‘I wondered if he had woken up or if he was still sleeping’

ulyue
pf.wake:up.dep:sbj

lo
or

na
3aerg

eima
still

imuelhi
prg.sleep.dep:sbj

aun
if

Lo (usually repeated) also occurs in concessive clauses, formed with alhme ‘although, despite, even if’, to
indicate that it makes no di↵erence which of two or more alternatives is chosen:

(8.91) ku

lo
or

tehi
stay.dep:sbj

lo
or

nkilhi
leave.dep:sbj

alhme
though.inst

2nom
‘(regardless of) whether you stay or go…’

8.3. COORDINATION

207

To express ‘neither X nor Y’, the coordinator ntsu is used, repeated before both conjuncts: e.g., ntsu Elim
ntsu Sakial ‘neither Elim nor Sakial’. (When coordinating two noun phrases, ntsohkina may be used in
place of the second ntsu: e.g., ntsu Elim ntsohkina Sakial.) As the examples below show, ntsu replaces
the negative marker ntse or m(a)-, and triggers negative inflection on the following verb(s) (see
7.3 and
7.4). As the second example shows, when two singular noun phrases are combined with ntsu, the verb takes
§
singular agreement.

§

(8.92) It`e

iman
1sloc

ntsu
nor

kestunka
happy.ipv:pst:neg

ntsu
nor

ohiynunka
sad.ipv:pst:neg

3iall
‘I was neither happy nor sad about it’

(8.93) Eima

ntsu
nor

Elime
Elim.nom

ntsu
nor

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

utskano
pf.arrive.ipv:neg

still
‘Neither Elim nor Sakial has arrived yet’

The coordinator tlafa ‘for, since, because’ introduces a clause expressing the cause or reason for the event
expressed by the preceding clause (as discussed in
10.2.2, ‘because’ can also be expressed by
the relational nouns talhkou and ohpeu, or by an dependent clause inflected for ablative case):

10.2.1 and

§

§

(8.94) Mo

suhpana
brother.loc

mafyipo
neg.come:along.able.ipv:neg

ikimme,
12inst

tlafa
since

imouta
prg.sick.ipv

1srdat
‘My brother can’t come with us, since (he) is sick’

Finally, the conjunction le is equivalent to English ‘but’ or ‘yet’. It is also found in contrastive constructions,
where English tends to use ‘and, while, whereas’.

(8.95) Na

nilou
net.abl

ehtsain
one.dat

muohtuhkyi,
fix.cpl.pv

le
but

iapna
other.loc

eima
still

3aerg
‘He managed to fix one of the nets, but there’s still a hole in the other one’

ot`u
hole

he
be:ipv

(8.96) Ikema

le
dog.erg
while
‘Dogs eat meat, while bears usually eat fish and berries’

ounama
bear.erg

kyfalu
as:a:rule

iasa,
eat.ipv

maka
meat

kahu
fish

ka
and

ipoi
berry

iasa
eat.ipv

When denying one alternative and arming another (‘not X but Y’), le is often accompanied by the discourse
marker tluosna ‘rather, instead’. Alternatively, tluosna can occur by itself in this function.

(8.97) Niloi

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

umuohto,
pf.fix.ipv:neg

(le)
but

net.dat
‘It wasn’t Sakial who fixed the net, but Elim’

ntse
neg

tluosna
instead

Elimma
Elim.erg

8.3.2 Discourse markers

The following expressions typically occur at the left edge of a clause, either immediately before or after the
topic, and are often preceded by one of the coordinators discussed in
8.3.1. The function of these expressions
is to help indicate the relationships between sentences in a discourse. Some discourse markers indicate the
temporal ordering of the event denoted by the clause in which they occur and a previous or following clause.
Others indicate the presence or absence of a logical relation between the clause in which they occur and a
previous clause.

§

anin
halime
halle
heku tsanna
hisne
kai, kaine
kam, kamne

‘even so, still, nevertheless, anyway, in any case’
‘on the contrary, rather’
‘yet, however’
‘simultaneously, at the same time’
‘then, next, after that’
‘first, first of all, at first’
‘first, previously, prior to that, beforehand’

208

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

kunne
ntsune alhme
ntsune aunme
tatalhkou
taualhme
tehempi
temai
teuk
tiaunme
tielhkoua
tluosna

‘lastly, finally’
‘nevertheless, even if not; although that’s not the case’
‘if not, otherwise’
‘thus, therefore, for that reason, because of that’
‘still, anyway, even (if) so, despite that, nevertheless, regardless’
‘also, besides, moreover, in addition; either’
‘then; in that case; thus, consequently’
‘thus, therefore, hence’
‘if so, in that case; given that’
‘thus, for that purpose, in order to do so’
‘rather, instead’

Note that kai and kaine can be used interchangeably; likewise for kam and kamne.

Below are some examples of sentences containing these discourse markers. As (8.99) and (8.100) show,

the discourse marker can either precede or follow a clitic or clitic cluster.

hi
(8.98) Kai
3inom
first
‘First take the bread out of the oven, then let it cool down’

nufa,
take:out.ipv

hom`a
bread.nom

sonau
oven.abl

temai
then

anuhimi
rel.cold.ainc.dep:sbj

nana
let.ipv

(8.99) Eima

ise
snow

ikahpa,
prg.fall.ipv

le
but

me
1snom

anin
nevertheless

yhmai
outside.dat

suha
go:out.ipv

still
‘It’s still snowing, but I’m going out anyway’

(8.100) Eima

still

ise
snow

me
le
1snom
but
‘It’s still snowing, but even if it weren’t, I would stay inside’

ikahpa,
prg.fall.ipv

ntsune
not

alhme
even:if

himna
inside.loc

tehike
stay.cond

Temai is often found in in the main clause of a sentence containing a conditional clause, while anin is used
in combination with a concessive clause. (Conditional clauses are normally headed by aunme ‘if, when’ or a
10.3.2.)
subjunctive participle, while concessive clauses are headed by alhme ‘though, even if’; see

10.2.3,

§

§

(8.101) Ku

2nom

imem
1sinst

afi
come:along.dep:sbj

aunme,
if.inst

temai
then

ehkamne
early

lyuoksa
wake:up.must.ipv

‘If you (want to) come with me, then you’ll have to wake up early’

(8.102) Ma

halmai
book.dat

utala
1serg
pf.read.dep
‘Even though I’ve read the book twice, (I) still don’t understand it’

ehenna
twice

alhme,
though

hi
3inom

anin
still

mamutlo
neg.understand.ipv:neg

As the examples below show, tluosna ‘instead, rather’, often preceded by the coordinator le, expresses ‘but’
in ‘not X but Y’ constructions:

(8.103) Mo

suhp`a
brother.nom

maliunohto
neg.rel.old.comp.ipv:neg

im`o,
1sall

1srdat
‘My brother isn’t older than me, but (rather) younger’

tluosna
instead

afihohta
rel.young.comp.ipv

(8.104) Satlai

Sakialma
roof.dat
Sakial.erg
‘It’s not Sakial who fixed the roof, but Elim’

utokou,
pf.fix.pv:neg

ntse
neg

le
but

tluosna
instead

Elimma
Elim.erg

Although discourse markers are normally associated with the left edge of the clause, immediately preceding
or following the topic, they can occur closer to the verb in a position associated with focused elements (see
9.2.1). In the example below, for instance, the discourse particle temai is focused, as shown by the fact
§
that it immediately precedes the verb and follows the focus particle tiefu:

8.4. ADVERBIAL ELEMENTS

209

(8.105) Mi

ik`o
2serg

aleut
help

1sdat
‘I will succeed only if you help me’ (lit. ‘If you help me, only then will I succeed’)

uktiai,
give.pt:sbj

ma
1serg

tiefu
only

temai
then

namuohta
succeed.ipv

8.4 Adverbial elements

In addition to focus particles, force and evidential particles, coordinators, and discourse markers, Okuna has
a small number of lexical items for expressing the manner in which an action is carried out, and a larger
number for picking out particular points in time (e.g, ‘now’, ‘tomorrow’, ‘last year’), quantifying over times
(e.g., ‘sometimes’, ‘always’, ‘never’), quantifying over degrees (e.g., ‘too’, ‘very’, ‘a little’), or expressing
aspectual information (‘still’, ‘again’, ‘already’). Since these elements do not usually inflect for case, I treat
them as adverbials rather than nouns.

I begin this section with a brief discussion of manner adverbials in
8.4.1, and turn to aspectual adverbials
8.4.2. The remaining sections deal with temporal and degree adverbials. A large number of these are
8.4.4,

8.4.3. Additional temporal adverbials are listed in

in
derived from quantifiers, and are presented in
and additional degree adverbials in

8.4.5.

§

§

§

§

§

8.4.1 Manner adverbs

English has a large (indeed, open-ended) class of adverbs for expressing manner: ‘quickly’, ‘slowly’, ‘clumsily’,
In fact, there are only three such elements in
etc. Okuna, by contrast, has almost no manner adverbs.
common usage, listed below. Notice that all three are formed with the sux -pi, which also combines with
quantifiers to form degree words and adverbials of temporal duration, as discussed in

8.4.3.

§

eliampi
kolumpi
tiahpi

‘easily, smoothly, gracefully’
‘with diculty’
‘easily, with ease, in a simple manner’

These elements precede the verb that they modify:

(8.106) Na

nak`a
rock.nom

kolumpi
3aerg
with:diculty
‘He lifted the rock with diculty’

tiyisyi
lift.pv

Apart from these three elements, modification to express manner is normally done using stative verbs.
10.4). Occasionally, the stative
Typically the stative verb will occur as a converb modifier, as in (8.107) (cf.
verb will appear in the dependent indicative form, inflected for instrumental case, as in (8.108) (cf.
10.2.1).
(In fact, the sux -pi is probably an archaic variant of the instrumental case marker, which now survives
only on a handful of elements.)

§

§

(8.107) Sakialma

kiote
be:quick.cv

itupa
prg.walk.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial is walking quickly’ (lit. ‘walking [by] being quick’)

(8.108) Sakialma

kiotame
be:quick.dep.inst

itupa
prg.walk.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial is walking quickly’ (lit. ‘walking with/while being quick’)

8.4.2 Aspectual adverbials

Aspectual adverbials indicate properties of the event denoted by the predicate, or its temporal relationship to
other events, by expressing features such as continuation, completion, repetition, etc. Aspectual adverbials
9.2.1). The
always occur within the clausal nucleus, preceding the verb and following the topic, if any (see
most commonly used adverbials are listed below, followed by discussion and examples of their function.

§

210

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

eima
heiku
kas
kyfalu
laisne
niok
ntseima
ntsoke
ntsuta
oke
taheiku
uta

‘still; again’
‘again, once more’
‘as of now, by now, so far; already’
‘generally, as a rule’ (‘be wont to…, used to…’)
‘just, just now, barely’ (‘about to…’)
‘again, once more, back’
‘not any more, no longer’
(‘not going to…’)
‘not yet’
‘by and by’ (‘going to…’)
‘yet again, once again’
‘already, yet’

The adverb oke combines with a verb in the imperfective aspect to express futurity: it marks that the event
in question follows the present moment, or some other contextually determined reference point. As shown
below, it can occur with a verb in the non-past imperfective or the past imperfective. In the latter case,
it corresponds to English ‘was going to’. In negative sentences, the negative marker ntse fuses with oke to
form ntsoke, which triggers negative tense/aspect/mood marking on the verb.

(8.109) Oke

s`u
rain

kahpa
fall.dep.nom

going:to
‘Do you think it’s going to rain?’

lin?
do:you:suppose

(8.110) Na

kihoin
3aerg
letter.dat
‘She will write the letter’

oke
going:to

siehpa
write.ipv

(8.111) Na

kihoin
letter.dat

3aerg
‘She was going write the letter before I stopped her’

oke
going:to

siehpanka
write.ipv:pst

nima
3anom.1serg

uata
stop.dep

kamna
before.loc

(8.112) Na

kihoin
letter.dat

ntsoke
not:going:to

siehpo
write.ipv:neg

3aerg
‘She is not going to write the letter’

Note that marking futurity with oke is optional: as discussed in
7.4.2, a verb in the imperfect form can
express a future event even in the absence of this element. Moreover, oke does not occur in combination with
other modifiers expressing futurity, such as elohfoi ‘tomorrow’, hatlam ‘soon’, or l`o henme efoi ‘in two days’.
Adding oke to a clause already containing such a modifier would be considered redundant. This shows that
oke is an adverbial element and not a true tense marker, since tense markers freely co-occur with modifiers
that further specify the time of the event relative to the moment of speaking.

§

The adverbial kyfalu ‘generally, as a rule’ also combines with a verb in the imperfective, and indicates
that the clause denotes a tendency or habitual action. When used with the past imperfective, it is often
translated ‘used to’:

(8.113) Inmi

kyfalu
generally

iantena
often

aleut
help

uktiankat
give.ipv:pst.pl

3aerg.1sdat
‘They used to help me often’

There are two adverbials equivalent to English ‘already’, kas and uta. Kas is used of an event which began
in the past and continues up to the present moment (or some other temporal reference point). It can also be
translated ‘now/then’, ‘by now/then’, ‘so far’, etc., depending on context. As the examples below illustrate,
when kas is used the verb generally appears in the progressive aspect:

8.4. ADVERBIAL ELEMENTS

211

(8.114) Kimima

kas
baby.erg
already
‘The baby is already sleeping’
or ‘The baby is sleeping now / will be sleeping by now’

imuelha
prg.sleep.ipv

(8.115) Kimima

baby.erg
‘The baby was already sleeping when I got home’

imuelhanka
prg.sleep.ipv:pst

me
1snom

kas
already

amokte
pv.come:home.pt

Kas commonly appears in combination with a temporal measure phrase marked with instrumental or dative
case. Notice that in this construction the clause is usually translated using the perfect progressive (‘has/had
been sleeping’).

(8.116) Kimima

kas
already

luom
hour

hein
two.dat

imuelha
prg.sleep.ipv

baby.erg
‘The baby has been sleeping for two hours (now)’

(8.117) Kimima

kas
already

luom
hour

hein
two.dat

imuelhanka
prg.sleep.ipv:pst

me
1snom

amokte
pv.come:home.pt

baby.erg
‘The baby had (already) been sleeping for two hours when I got home’

The other counterpart to ‘already’, uta, is typically used of a completed event. Both kas and uta indicate
that the state or event in question is being viewed after the fact; they di↵er in that kas takes the beginning
point of an ongoing event or state as its frame of reference, while uta takes the whole event as its frame of
reference. Compare:

(8.118) Na

kihoin
letter.dat

kas
already

isiehpa
prg.write.ipv

3aerg
‘She is already writing the letter’ or ‘She has been writing the letter’

(8.119) Na

kihoin
letter.dat

uta
already

siehpyi
write.pv

3aerg
‘She has already written the letter’

Consider also the following pair of sentences, where the choice of adverbial determines how the past perfect
verb usiehpanka is interpreted (‘had been writing’ versus ‘had written’):

(8.120) Na

kihune
letter.nom

kas
already

es
one

luoim
hour.dat

usiehpanka
pf.write.ipv:pst

me
1snom

atskane
pv.arrive.pt

3aerg
‘She had already been writing the letter for an hour when I arrived’

(8.121) Na

kihoin
letter.dat

3aerg
‘She had already written the letter when I arrived’

uta
already

usiehpanka
pf.write.ipv:pst

me
1snom

atskane
pv.arrive.pt

In questions, uta and kas usually correspond to English ‘yet’:

(8.122) Na

kihoin
letter.dat

kas
already

isi`ehpin?
prg.write.ipv:int.qu

3aerg
‘Is she writing the letter yet?’

(8.123) Na

kihoin
letter.dat

uta
already

siehpyin?
write.pv.qu

3aerg
‘Has she written the letter yet?’

212

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

Another common aspectual adverbial is eima, equivalent to English ‘still’:

(8.124) Kimima

eima
baby.erg
still
‘The baby is still sleeping’

imuelha
prg.sleep.ipv

Eima is also used as a emphatic element with verbs expressing equative or comparative degree (
7.6),
comparable to English ‘just’ or ‘even’: e.g., etoha ‘be as big (as)’, eima etoha ‘be just as big (as)’; etohohta
‘be bigger (than)’, eima etohohta ‘be even bigger (than)’. In addition, eima can occur before a quantifier in
the sense of ‘more’: e.g., koin hen ‘two people’, koin eima hen ‘two more people’; koin ante ‘many people’,
koin eima ante ‘many more people’.

§

Like oke, eima and uta undergo fusion with the negative particle ntse, forming ntseima ‘no longer, not
any more’ and ntsuta ‘not yet’, respectively. Both ntseima and ntsuta require negative tense/aspect/mood
‘Not yet’ can also be expressed by eima followed by the negative marker
inflection on the following verb.
ntse (or m-).

(8.125) Kimima

ntseima
no:longer

imuelho
prg.sleep.ipv:neg

baby.erg
‘The baby is no longer asleep’ or ‘The baby isn’t sleeping anymore’

(8.126) Na

kihoin
letter.dat

ntsuta
not:yet

3aerg
‘She hasn’t written the letter yet’

siehpou
write.pv:neg

(8.127) Na

kihoin
letter.dat

ntsiehpou
neg.write.pv:neg
3aerg
‘She hasn’t written the letter yet’ or ‘She still hasn’t written the letter’

eima
still

Note that there are two adverbials equivalent to English ‘again, once more’, namely heiku and niok. These
adverbials are not synonymous: heiku expresses the repetition of an event, while niok indicates the return
to a prior state of a↵airs (the latter is clearly related to the verbs niokta ‘return, go/come back’, niokona
‘remember’, etc.). Hence heiku is used with Class II and Class III verbs (denoting events), while niok tends
to be used with Class I verbs (denoting states). When it is used with a Class II/III verb, as in (8.130) below,
niok indicates that the action in question continues or reverses a previous action (i.e., when we say that
Motla left again, we don’t mean that he repeated the act of leaving, but rather that his leaving returned
things to the way they were before he arrived):

(8.128) Mo

Motlama
Motla.erg
1srdat
‘Motla hit me again’

heiku
again

kahtyi
hit.pv

(8.129) Mo

1srdat

tiene
son.nom

niok
again

imouta
prg.sick.ipv

‘My son is sick again’ (i.e., back to being sick)

(8.130) Motl`a

etskanyi
arrive.pv

hisne
then

niok
again

kankilhyi
leave:suddenly.pv

Motla.nom
‘Motla arrived, and then suddenly left again’

Finally, note the adverbial laisne, which indicates close proximity to the present moment. When combined
with a verb in the perfect or the perfective, laisne translates as ‘just’ or ‘barely’. When combined with a
verb in the progressive, laisne expresses immediate futurity, and is equivalent to ‘(just) about to’:

8.4. ADVERBIAL ELEMENTS

213

(8.131) Na

suklute
work.nom

laisne
just

3aerg
‘They (have) just finished the work’

uslyit
finish.pv.pl

(8.132) Na

suklute
work.nom

laisne
just

uoslat
pf.finish.ipv:pst.pl

me
1snom

atskane
pv.arrive.pt

3aerg
‘They had just/barely finished the work when I arrived’

(8.133) Na

suklute
work.nom

laisne
just

ioslat
prg.finish.ipv.pl

3aerg
‘They are just finishing the work’ or ‘The are (just) about to finish the work’

English ‘as soon as’ may be expressed by adding laisne to a perfect participial clause:

(8.134) Me

laisne
just

umokte,
pf.go:home.pt

s`u
rain

kahpetyi
fall.tinc.pv

1snom
‘As soon as I got home, it began to rain’ (more lit. ‘I having just gotten home…’)

8.4.3 Adverbials formed from quantifiers

A common way of forming adverbials is by adding axes to the quantifiers discussed in sections
5.6 and
6.8. For example, there are two types of adverbials derived from count noun quantifiers. Adverbials of
§
the first type are formed by adding the prefix e- (or i- before a vowel) and the locative sux -na. These
adverbials quantify over the occasions on which a particular event happens, or the situations in which a
particular state of a↵airs holds:

§

ekihanohtena
ekina
ekisepyina
ekituhtena
emiantena
emuhtena
emuna
esepyina
etehtena
etlantena
etohanohtena
etohantena
etomuhtena
etosepyina
etotuhtena
etsomotena
etsuontena
etsyintena
etuhtena
ianihtena
ianohtena
iantena

‘a bit more often’
‘every time, in each case’
‘rarely, very occasionally, every now and then’
‘a bit less often’
‘how often; sometimes, on some occasions, in certain cases’
‘often enough’
‘always, in all cases’
‘sometimes, occasionally, now and then; in some cases’
‘on the remaining occasions’
‘that often; so often’
‘a lot more often’
‘very often, frequently; in a great many cases’
‘plenty of times, more than often enough’
‘on several occasions, in several cases’
‘a lot less often’
‘mostly, usually, for the most part, in most cases’
‘too often’
‘not often enough, too seldom’
‘not as often, less often’
‘as often, as frequently, equally often’
‘more (often)’
‘often, frequently, in many cases’

Some of these can combine with negation:

ntse emiantena
ntse etsuontena
ntse ianohtena

‘not often, seldom’
‘not too often’
‘no more often’

214

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

When quantifying over time periods, an adverbial of this type may be immediately preceded by a noun
denoting the relevant unit of time, such as l`o ‘day’ (i.e., 24-hour period), lem ‘day(time)’, koset ‘evening’,
hun ‘night’, ilme ‘month’ (lit. ‘moon’), ulhmo ‘year’. This noun is unmarked for case.

l`o ekina
ulhmo ekina
hun esepyina
lem esepyina
ntse koset emiantena

‘every day’
‘every year’
‘some nights’
‘sometimes during the day’
‘rarely in the evening’

Quantificational adverbials of the second type are formed by adding the prefix ka- to the quantifier (k-
before a vowel), and suxing the instrumental case ending -me or the dative ending -i (subject to the usual
allomorphy discussed in

4.2):

inst

kakihanohteme
kakisepyime
kakituhteme
kamianteme
kamuhteme
kanihteme
kanohteme
kanteme
kasepyime
katehteme
katlanteme
katohanohteme
katohanteme
katomuhteme
katosepyime
katotuhteme
katsomoteme
katsuonteme
katsyinteme
katuhteme

§
dat

kakihanohtei
kakisepyie
kakituhtei
kamiantei
kamuhtei
kanihtei
kanohtei
kantei
kasepyie
katehtei
katlantei
katohanohtei
katohantei
katomuhtei
katosepyie
katotuhtei
katsomotei
katsuontei
katsyintei
katuhtei

‘somewhat more times; somewhat more’
‘a very few times’
‘somewhat fewer times; somewhat less (so)’
‘how many times; a number of times’
‘enough times; enough’
‘as many times’
‘more times; more, more so’
‘many times, repeatedly, a lot’
‘a few times’
‘the remaining times’
‘that many times; so many times’
‘many more times; a lot more’
‘a great many times, over and over again’
‘more than enough (times)’
‘several times’
‘a lot fewer times; a lot less’
‘most times’
‘too many times’
‘not enough times, too few times’
‘fewer times, not as many times; less, less so’

Certain of these adverbials combine with the negative element ntse:

inst

dat

ntse kamianteme
ntse kanihteme
ntse kanohteme
ntse katsuonteme

ntse kamiantei
ntse kanihtei
ntse kanohtei
ntse katsuontei

‘not many times’
‘not as many times; less, less so’
‘no more, not any more (times)’
‘not too many times’

The e/i- adverbs quantify over occasions or instances where a situation holds, especially when dispersed over
time or across di↵erent sets of individuals or possible worlds. By contrast, the instrumental ka- adverbs are
used to quantify repetitions of a (single) event, especially when those repetitions occur in quick succession.
For example, both iantena and kanteme (from ante ‘many’) can be translated ‘many times’. However, iantena
has the sense of ‘often, on a number of occasions, in many cases, in many instances’; whereas kanteme means
‘many times in a row, repeatedly’. The instrumental ka- forms can also be used in comparative constructions,
in which case they mean ‘X times’ in the sense of ‘by a factor of X’:

(8.135) Palaht`a

tree.nom

kotou
house.abl

kanteme
many:times.inst

apatohta
rel.tall.comp.ipv

8.4. ADVERBIAL ELEMENTS

215

‘The tree is many times taller than the house’

When the ka- forms are marked with dative case, they again mean ‘X times’ in the sense of ‘by a factor of X’.
These forms occur in sentences expressing a change of state, where they are used to quantify the proportion
of change between the initial state and the final state:

(8.136) Hi

3inom

katosepyie
several:times.dat

atohimyi
rel.big.ainc.pv

‘It became several times bigger (than before)’

Mass noun quantifiers also act as the base for a series of adverbial elements, listed below. These adverbials
express a degree or extent, and are formed by combining the quantifier with the sux -pi (with certain
irregularities, e.g.: sipe > tsipi ).

hampi
ihpi
kihohpi
kitsipi
kituhpi
miampi
muhpi
muohpi
ohpi
tlampi
tohampi
tohohpi
tomuhpi
totsipi
totuhpi
tsipi
tsomopi
tsuompi
tsyimpi
tuhpi

‘a lot, much, very, greatly’
‘as (much), equally, to the same degree’
‘a bit more, to a somewhat greater degree’
‘slightly, just a bit’
‘a bit less, somewhat less’
‘how (much); somewhat, to a certain degree’
‘enough, suciently’
‘fully, completely, entirely, wholly’
‘more, to a greater degree’
‘so (much); that (much)’
‘extremely, exceedingly’
‘a lot more, much more, to a much greater degree’
‘more than enough’
‘fairly, rather’
‘much less, not nearly as much’
‘a bit, somewhat, partially’
‘almost (entirely); mostly, for the most part’
‘too (much)’
‘too little, not enough, insuciently’
‘not as much, less, to a lesser degree’

Degree adverbials with -pi generally modify a stative verb, which carries the relative prefix a-, discussed in
7.6. Consider the following examples with toha ‘be big’:

§

Hi hampi atoha
Hi ihpi atoha
Hi tsipi atoha
Hi tlampi atoha
Hi ntse miampi atoho
Hi tsyimpi atoha
Hi miampi at`ohan?

‘It’s very big’
‘It’s equally big’ or ‘It’s as big (as…)’
‘It’s a bit big’
‘It’s so big’ or ‘It’s that big / That’s how big it is’
‘It’s not very big’ or ‘It’s not (all) that big’
‘It’s not big enough’
‘How big is it?’

Many of these degree adverbials can also be used to modify agentive Class II and Class III verbs. In this
context they express the amount of force, e↵ort, intensity, or concentration with which the action denoted
by the verb is carried out:

(8.137) Na

maloi
wall.dat

hampi
much

moikenaua
fist

3aerg
‘He hit the wall hard with his fist’

kahtyi
hit.pv

216

(8.138) Me

ihama
woman.erg

tohampi
a:great:deal

loityi
look.pv

1snom
‘The woman stared at me intensely’

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

(8.139) Na

sohe
rope.nom

eima
still

ohpi
more:so

tlynkyi
pull.pv

3aerg
‘She pulled even harder on the rope’

§

Certain degree words can also be used to modify scalar adverbials such as tehefoi ‘soon’, ehkamne ‘early’,
and ehisne ‘late’: e.g., ihpi tehefoi ‘just as soon’, ohpi tehefoi ‘sooner’, ntse muhpi tehefoi ‘not soon enough’.
For more on degree adverbials, see

8.4.5.

Mass noun quantifiers suxed with -pi can in turn take the prefix e- (i- before a vowel) to form adverbials

expressing temporal duration. These include:

ehampi
ekitsipi
emiampi
emuhpi
emuohpi
etehpi
etlampi
etohampi
etomuhpi
etotsipi
etsipi
etsomopi
etsuompi
etsyimpi
etuhpi
iehpi
iohpi

‘for a long time; for some time’
‘for a very short time, (just) briefly’
‘for how long; for a certain length of time’
‘for long enough’
‘for the whole time’
‘for the rest of the time, for the remaining time’
‘for so long; for that long’
‘for a very long time’
‘for more than enough time, for plenty of time’
‘for a fairly long time, for some time’
‘for a (little) while’
‘for most of the time; mostly’
‘for too long’
‘not for long enough’
‘not for as long’
‘for as long’
‘for longer’

Examples:

(8.140) Na

3aerg

etsipi
a:while

muelhyi
sleep.pv

‘She slept for a (little) while’

(8.141) Palu

village

itan
this:loc

kas
so:far

emiampi
how:long

its`uhpan?
prg.live.ipv.qu

‘How long have (you) been living in this village?’

(8.142) Ma

palu
village

itan
that:loc
1serg
‘I didn’t live in that village for very long’

emiampi
so:long

ntse
neg

tsuhpou
live.pv:neg

These temporal adverbials can combine with ihka ‘before now’, efoi ‘after now’, tahka ‘before then’, and
tahoi ‘after then’ to indicate approximate points in time relative to some reference time:

ehampi ihka
etsipi efoi
ntse emiampi tahka
emuohpi tahoi

‘a long time ago’
‘for a while; in a while, a while from now’
‘not long before (that)’
‘for the whole time after that; ever after’

8.4. ADVERBIAL ELEMENTS

217

Adverbials of temporal duration formed with -pi may also be preceded by a noun denoting a period of time
(l`o ‘day’, kotsim ‘morning’, ilme ‘month’, ulhmo ‘year’, etc.). Notice that the temporal noun occurs in the
unmarked form.

l`o emuohpi
kotsim emuohpi
lem etsipi
ulhmo etsomopi

‘all day (long), (for) the whole day’
‘all morning, (for) the whole morning’
‘(for) part of the day’
‘(for) most of the year’

In addition to the prefix e/i-, adverbials formed with -pi can combine with the noun lau ‘way, path’ to
express an amount or degree of distance:

lau hampi
lau ihpi
lau kihohpi
lau kitsipi
lau miampi
lau muhpi
lau muohpi
lau ohpi
lau tehpi
lau tlampi
lau tohampi
lau tohohpi
lau tomuhpi
lau totsipi
lau tsipi
lau tsomopi
lau tsuompi
lau tsyimpi
lau tuhpi

‘far, a long way; to a great extent’
‘as far; equally, to as great an extent, to the same point/degree’
‘a bit farther; to a somewhat greater extent’
‘a very short way, not far; barely, hardly’
‘how far, to what degree; to some extent, to a certain point/extent’
‘far enough; enough’
‘all the way; completely, entirely, wholly’
‘farther; more, to a greater extent’
‘the rest of the way’
‘so far, so (much); that far, to that point/extent’
‘very far, a very long way; to a very great extent’
‘a lot farther; to a much greater extent’
‘more than far enough; more than enough’
‘rather far; to a fairly great extent’
‘not far; partly, partially, part way’
‘most of the way; almost (completely)’
‘too far; too (much)’
‘not far enough; not enough, insuciently’
‘not as far, less far; less, not as much’

When combined with stative verbs (prefixed with the relative marker a-; cf.
incremental degree:

§

7.6) these expressions indicate

Kop`o lau tsipi iatsatsa
Kop`o lau tsomopi iatsatsa
Kop`o lau muohpi iatsatsa
Kop`o lau tuhpi iatsatsa
Kop`o lau miampi iats`atsan?

‘The jug is partially full / part way full’
‘The jug is almost full / close to full’
‘The jug is completely full’
‘The jug is not as full (as…)’
‘How (close to) full is the jug?’

When used with location verbs, these lau adverbials quantify the distance separating one point in space from
another (8.143). When used with motion verbs and other telic predicates, they express how much distance
is traversed, as in (8.144) and (8.145), or how close one comes to reaching the endpoint, as in (8.146).

(8.143) Na

lau
way

hampi
ekau
here.abl
much
3aerg
‘She lives a long way from here’

tsuhpa
live.ipv

(8.144) Sa

moini
ocean.dat

lau
way

muohpi
entirely

13erg
‘We travelled all the way to the ocean’

puniakyit
travel.pv.pl

(8.145) Ne

eima
still

ntse
neg
3anom
‘They haven’t gotten very far yet’

miampi
how:much

lau
way

ustot
pf.reach.ipv:neg.pl

218

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

(8.146) Na

3aerg

makai
meat.dat

lau
way

muohpi
entirely

iasyi
eat.pv

‘He ate up all the meat’ (lit. ‘He ate the meat all the way’)

In place of lau muohpi, the emphatic particles sik`a ‘up to, as far as, until’ (following a dative noun phrase)
and su ‘ever since, all the way from’ (following an ablative noun phrase) are often used. When the dative
noun phrase denotes the goal of a motion event, sik`a emphasizes that the entity in motion has traversed the
entire distance to that goal (but no further). Likewise, the emphatic particle su ‘ever since, all the way from’
may be used to emphasize that an entity in motion has traversed the entire distance from a source, where
the source is expressed by a noun phrase in the ablative case. With verbs expressing telic actions, where
the dative noun phrase denotes a patient undergoing an incremental change of state, sik`a may be used to
indicate that that patient has been completely a↵ected. Compare:

(8.147) Ne

3anom

lokai
forest.dat

sik`a
until

etyi
go.pv

‘She went all the way to the forest / as far as the forest’

(8.148) Ne

lokau
forest.abl

su
ever:since

3anom
‘She came all the way from the forest’

ketyi
come:here.pv

(8.149) Na

3aerg

makai
meat.dat

sik`a
until

iasyi
eat.pv

‘He ate up the meat’ (lit. ‘He ate until the meat [was finished]’)

Adverbials formed from numerals

Certain types of adverbial expressions can also be formed productively from numerals (see
6.8.4). Temporal
adverbials meaning ‘(for) the N-th time’ may be formed by prefixing an ordinal numeral with e- (i- before a
non-glide vowel) and suxing the appropriate oblique case ending, usually the locative ending -na. Examples
include: ehenkana ‘for the second time’, iehtaukana ‘for the sixth time’, etankana ‘for the tenth time’,
iehtentakunkana ‘for the forty-third time’, etakianme kiunmakana ‘for the hundred and fiftieth time’. Related
forms include empehkaina ‘first, for the first time’, empehisna ‘next, the next time’, empekamna ‘previously,
most recently, (the) last (time)’, empekunna ‘finally, for the last time, in the end’.

§

(8.150) Unma

laisne
just

hial`o
today

empehkaina
first:time.loc

etsyi
speak.pv

3ardat.1serg
‘I just spoke to her for the first time today’

(8.151) Niok`onin

kimo
12rdat

empekamna
previous:time.loc

sasauota
meet.dep.recip.pl

aun?
when

remember.ipv:int.qu
‘Do you remember the last time we met?’ or ‘… when we last met?’
more lit. ‘Do you remember when we met (at) the previous time?’

Two types of temporal/proportional adverbials, meaning ‘N times’, may also be formed from the numerals:
Those in the first column take the prefix e- or i-, while those in the second column take the prefix ka-. Notice
that the forms meaning ‘once’ are both irregular.

8.4. ADVERBIAL ELEMENTS

219

esalh
ehen
iehte
ekun
ekian
ieht`a
ekelu
eni`o
eteiek
etam
ielhu
ehuoi
ekiunma
etolok

ekas
kahen
kaiehte
kakun
kakian
kaieht`a
kakelu
kani`o
kateiek
katam
kaielhu
kahuoi
kakiunma
katolok

‘once’
‘twice’
‘three times’
‘four times’
‘five times’
‘six times’
‘seven times’
‘eight times’
‘nine times’
‘ten times’
‘eleven times’
‘twelve times’
‘a hundred times’
‘ten thousand times’

The forms in the first column are used when quantifying over separate occasions or situations, and take the
locative case ending -na. The forms in the second column are used to count iterations of a single action,
especially when the iterations follow each other in quick succession; these forms take the instrumental ending
-me. The semantic di↵erence between the e- and ka- forms is significant: e.g., while ehenna means ‘twice’
in the sense of ‘on two (separate) occasions’ or ‘in two cases/situations/instances’, kahenme means ‘twice’
in the sense of ‘twice in a row’. An example of this contrast is given below:

(8.152) Me

Tenmotlaie
Tenmotlai.dat

tiefu
only

ekunna
four:times.loc

uta
pf.go.ipv

1snom
‘I have been to Tenmotlai only four times’

(8.153) Inmo

kahen
twice

lhua
about

kaiehteme
three:times.inst

ukahtoksa
pf.hit.must.ipv

3anom.1srdat
‘He must have hit me two or three times (in a row)’

The ka- forms are also used in comparative constructions to express a proportion, in which case they mean
‘N times’ in the sense of ‘N-fold’ or ‘by a factor of N’:

palahta
tree

(8.154) Olh
dist
‘That tree over there is twice as tall as my house’
more lit. ‘That tree over there is taller than my house by two times’

kahenme
twice.inst

kotou
house.abl

tan
that:nom

im`e
1sall

apatohta
rel.tall.comp.ipv

Finally, the ka- forms can take the dative ending in place of the instrumental. The dative variants also mean
‘by a factor of N’, but are used in sentences expressing a change of state, where the adverbial indicates the
proportional di↵erence between the initial state and the final state:

(8.155) Hi

kaiehtei
three:times.dat

atohimyi
3inom
rel.big.ainc.pv
‘It became three times as large (as before)’
more lit. ‘It grew to three times (its original size)’

8.4.4 Other temporal adverbials

Some of the more common temporal adverbs (apart from those discussed in
8.4.3) are listed below. Notice
that many of these feature the prefix e/i- and/or the sux -ne. Temporal adverbials generally pick out one
or more periods in time, often relative to the moment of speaking (e.g., elohka ‘yesterday’) or to some other
contextually salient time (e.g., ehkamne ‘early’); while others quantify over times, cases, or situations (e.g.,
hoti ‘always’).

§

220

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

efoi
ehisne
ehkamne
ela
elohfoi
elohka
empiolhna
hapa
hatlam
hial`o
hielme
hiolhmo
hoti
ielmefoi
ielmehka
ihka
iolhmofoi
iolhmohka
kanulne
lamuta
mulhe
sifoi
sihka
tahka
tahoi
tahoti
takan
tehefoi
tehihka
tuohisne
tuohkamne

‘later, in the future, from/after now, in…’
‘late’
‘early’
‘in each case, in any case, anyhow, anyway’
‘tomorrow’
‘yesterday’
‘nowadays, these days, currently’
‘often, regularly, periodically, all the time’
‘soon, in a while, before long’
‘today’
‘this month’
‘this year’
‘always, ever, all the time’
‘next month’
‘last month’
‘earlier, in the past, before now, ago’
‘next year’
‘last year’
‘at first, initially, at the beginning’
‘at last, finally, in the end’
‘always, constantly, the whole time’
‘now, starting now, from now on, as of now’
‘up to now, (only) until now’
‘before, before that/then, earlier, previously’
‘after(wards), after that, thereafter, later’
‘constantly, incessantly, all the time’
‘now, at this time’
‘soon, shortly, presently, in a little while’
‘recently, lately, not long ago’
‘late, too late, after the appropriate time’
‘early, too early, too soon, before the appropriate time’

Compound temporal expressions can be formed from hial`o ‘today’, elohka ‘yesterday’, and elohfoi ‘tomorrow’,
by adding a noun referring to the time of day. Ekina ‘every time’ and emuohpi ‘the whole time’ can also be
combined with temporal nouns. The noun precedes the adverb and is unmarked for case, as the following
examples show.3

kotsim hial`o
lem hial`o
koset hial`o
hun hial`o

‘this morning’
‘today during the day’
‘this evening’
‘tonight’

l`o ekina
kotsim ekina
hun ekina
ilme ekina

‘every day’
‘every morning’
‘every night’
‘every month’

kotsim elohka
lem elohka
koset elohka
hun elohka

‘yesterday morning’
‘yesterday during the day’
‘yesterday evening’
‘last night’

l`o emuohpi
koset emuohpi
hun emuohpi
ulhmo emuohpi

‘all day’
‘all evening’
‘all night’
‘all year’

kotsim elohfoi
lem elohfoi
koset elohfoi
hun elohfoi

‘tomorrow morning, in the morning’
‘tomorrow during the day’
‘tomorrow evening’
‘tomorrow night’

3Note that lem ‘day, daylight’ refers to the period from dawn to dusk, and is the opposite of hun ‘night’, whereas l`o ‘day’

denotes the entire period from dawn to dawn.

8.4. ADVERBIAL ELEMENTS

221

Similarly, the names for the seasons can combine with hiolhmo ‘this year’, iolhmohka ‘last year’, and iolhmofoi
‘next year’: e.g., tuhsa hiolhmo ‘this (past) winter, winter of this year’, ihmet iolhmohka ‘spring of last year’,
halai iolhmofoi ‘summer of next year’.4 Ekina and emuohpi can also be used with the names of the seasons:
e.g., tiaulyip ekina ‘every autumn’, tuhsa emuohpi ‘all winter (long)’.

Note that hial`o, elohka, hiolhmo, ielmefoi, etc., and expressions formed from them, can be modified by
fene ‘at the earliest, no sooner than, not before’ or hulne ‘at the latest, no later than’, to indicate a temporal
boundary or cut-o↵ point. Fene and hulne immediately precede the temporal adverb; if the expression
includes a temporal noun (kotsim, tuhsa, etc.), the temporal noun precedes fene/hulne. Examples:

fene elohfoi
hulne elohfoi
kotsim hulne elohfoi
tuhsa fene hiolhmo

‘tomorrow at the earliest, not before tomorrow’
‘tomorrow at the latest, no later than tomorrow, by tomorrow’
‘(by) tomorrow evening at the latest’
‘no earlier than this (coming) winter’

(8.156) Sakiale

hulne
at:the:latest

elohfoi
tomorrow

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial should have returned by tomorrow’

uniokta
pf.return.ipv

pi
perhaps

Note also that ihka, tahka, efoi, and tahoi may be preceded by a quantified noun phrase in the instrumental
case, or by a quantificational adverb of duration (e.g., ehampi ‘for a long time’, etsipi ‘for a little while’).
These quantificational modifiers measure the amount of time elapsing between the time in question and the
reference time. Examples are given below. Note that ihka picks out a time prior to the moment of speaking,
while efoi picks out a time after the moment of speaking. By contrast, tahka and tahoi pick out times
relative to some previously mentioned time.

l`o kelume ihka
l`o kelume efoi
ilme ihtahme tahka
ilme ihtahme tahoi

‘seven days ago’
‘seven days from now, in seven days’
‘six months earlier, six months before (then/that)’
‘six months later, in/after six months, six months after that’

etohampi ihka
ekitsipi efoi
ulhmo emuohpi tahka
ulhmo emuohpi tahoi

‘a long time ago’
‘in a short while, very soon’
‘for a whole year before then/that’
‘for a whole year after that’

The placement of temporal adverbs within the clause is quite free. They can be clause-initial, clause-final,
or appear between the verb and any of its noun phrase dependents, unless the latter is unmarked for case,
since unmarked noun phrases must be adjacent to the verb (see
4.6). For instance, the following sentence
variants are all possible, and mean more or less the same thing. Notice that the only place where elohka
cannot occur is between kytu and uktiyi.

§

(8.157) Elohka

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

ihai
woman.dat

kytu
gift

yesterday
‘Yesterday Sakial gave a present to the woman’

uktiyi
give.pv

Sakialma elohka ihai kytu uktiyi
Sakialma ihai elohka kytu uktiyi
Sakialma ihai kytu uktiyi elohka

When a temporal adverbial precedes the verb, it must also precede any degree adverbials (
8.4.5)
§
that modify the same verb, as illustrated below: reversing the order of hial`o and teusu renders this sentence
ungrammatical (though hial`o can also be placed before iman, or after euoita).

8.4.3,

§

4The Okuna new year is on the winter solstice. Hence an expression like halai hiolhmo (lit. ‘summer this year’) means ‘next

summer, this coming summer’ if uttered in the winter or spring, and ‘this past summer’ if uttered in the fall.

222

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

(8.158) Iman
1sloc
‘I’m feeling very tired today’

teusu
very

hial`o
today

hakti
tired.dep:sbj

iauoita
prg.rel.feel:res.ipv

Note that temporal adverbials cannot inflect for case. However, they can combine with the relational noun
heku ‘time, when’: e.g., elohfoi heku ‘tomorrow, the time tomorrow, when (it is) tomorrow’. Heku, being a
nominal element, heads a noun phrase and is capable of taking case endings. Note the following examples:

(8.159) Ma

elohfoi
tomorrow

iase
food
1serg
‘I brought some food for tomorrow’

hekoua
time.all

ekpyi
bring.pv

(8.160) Ne

ielmehka
last:month

su
ever:since
3anom
‘She has been sick ever since last month’

hekou
time.abl

imouta
prg.sick.ipv

(8.161) Iman
1sloc
‘I intend to stay with my family until spring of next year’

mokna
hearth.loc

iolhmofoi
next:year

hekoi
time.dat

ihmet
spring

sik`a
until

tehihpa
stay.intend.ipv

Remarks on the meanings of certain temporal adverbials

There are two adverbials in Okuna which translate English ‘always’: mulhe and hoti. These are essentially
equivalent in meaning, except that mulhe is used only with stative verbs belonging to Class I (
4.4.1), whereas
§
4.4.3):
hoti tends to be used with eventive verbs belonging to Class II and Class III (
§

4.4.2,

§

(8.162) Sakialna

mulhe
always

kestanka
happy.ipv:pst

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial was always happy’

(8.163) Isane
13all
‘Our cat is always trying to catch mice’

miuama
cat.erg

hoti
always

osek
mouse

palilma
catch.icpl.ipv

A number of temporal adverbs refer to the moment of speaking, among them takan ‘now’, empiolhna ‘nowa-
days’, sihka ‘just now, up until now’, and sifoi ‘starting now, from now on’ (the aspectual adverbial kas,
discussed in
8.4.2, can also be used to translate ‘now’ under certain circumstances). Of these, takan is
the most neutral, meaning simply ‘at this time’. Sihka is used of an event which began in the past and
terminates at (or just before) the present moment, while sifoi is used of an event which is just beginning.
Sifoi is similar in meaning to takan (or kas), but indicates explicitly that the state of a↵airs in question did
not hold in the past.

§

(8.164) Ihka

s`u
rain

kahpyi,
fall.pv

le
but

takan
now

earlier
‘It rained earlier, but now it’s sunny’

aho
sun

ilaina
prg.shine.ipv

(8.165) Kimima

sihka
until:now

imuelhanka
prg.sleep.ipv:pst

baby.erg
‘The baby was just sleeping’ (but has now woken up)

(8.166) Kimima

sifoi
starting:now

imuelha
prg.sleep.ipv

baby.erg
‘The baby is now sleeping’ (but was not earlier)
or ‘The baby has now begun to sleep’

8.4. ADVERBIAL ELEMENTS

223

Note finally that the adverbial ela ‘in any case, in any situation, anyhow’ is often used in combination
with imperfect marking on the verb to express a generic event or property. Also, when ela precedes a
6.7.1), it indicates that that phrase has a ‘free choice’ reading
phrase containing an indefinite correlative (
§
(equivalent to a stressed ‘any’ form in English).
In this latter construction the verb is generally in the
conditional form.

(8.167) Kotiemima

tunkuma
raccoon.erg
be:active.ipv
‘Raccoons are active at night’ (more lit. ‘In any situation, the raccoon is active at night’)

ela
in:any:case

hunna
night.loc

(8.168) Na

ela
in:any:case

miohme
someone.inst

etsampike
talk.act.cond

3aerg
‘He would talk to (just) anyone’
more lit. ‘In any situation, he would talk to someone’

(8.169) Tan

ela
that:nom
in:any:case
‘Anyone could understand that’
more lit. ‘In any situation, someone would understand that’

mutlike
understand.cond

miohna
someone.loc

(8.170) Motlana

ela
in:any:case

sasei
Motla.loc
encounter.tnzr:sbj
‘Motla can solve any problem he encounters’
more lit. ‘In any situation, Motla could solve some problem that (he) would encounter’

lahyipike
solve.able.cond

mai
some.dat

efos
problem

8.4.5 Other degree adverbials

Degree adverbials combine with stative verbs belonging to Class I, and express the (subjective) degree or
extent to which the property denoted by the verb holds. A large number of degree adverbials are derived
by adding the sux -pi to mass noun quantifiers: e.g., han ‘much, a lot’ > hampi ‘very, to a great degree’;
8.4.3 above.
tsomo ‘most’ > tsomopi ‘mostly, for the most part’. These forms are listed and discussed in
Other degree adverbials are given below.

§

Degree adverbials can be divided into two subclasses. Forms in the first subclass are related to quantifi-
cational adverbials with -pi listed in
8.4.3, and may be used interchangeably with them. These are listed
below, with the -pi variants given in parentheses. Elements in this subclass require that the following verb
carry the relative prefix a-, discussed in

7.6.

§

§

miai
mu
tlai
tsuo
tsyi

(miampi )
(muhpi )
(tlampi )
(tsuompi )
(tsyimpi )

‘how (much); somewhat, to a certain degree’
‘enough, suciently’
‘so, that, (by) that much’
‘too’
‘not … enough, insuciently’

Adverbials in the second subclass, listed below, are not derived from (or related to) quantifiers. A verb
modified by one of these elements does not carry the relative prefix a-.

atsafe
ienapi
kipehi
pehi
teusu
tohi
totohi
uteupi
ytapi

‘very, truly, terribly, horribly’
‘very, well, to a good degree’
‘slightly, barely, just’
‘a little, a bit, somewhat’
‘very, a lot, quite; really, truly, certainly’
‘extremely, exceedingly; especially’
‘extraordinarily, immensely’
‘almost, nearly’ (uteupi ntse ‘hardly, barely’)
‘truly, really’

224

CHAPTER 8. MINOR WORD CLASSES

Normally a degree adverbial will immediately precede the verb it modifies, regardless of which subclass it
belongs to:

(8.171) Kamale

miai
how

ak`ılhan?
rel.sharp.ipv.qu

knife.nom
‘How sharp is the knife?’

(8.172) Kamale

tohi
extremely

kilha
sharp.ipv

knife.nom
‘The knife is extremely sharp’

(8.173) Kamale

ntse
neg
knife.nom
‘The knife is not very sharp’

miai
much

akilho
rel.sharp.ipv:neg

Additional examples:

Kamale mu akilha
Kamale tsuo akilha
Kamale tsyi akilha
Kamale tlai akilha

‘The knife is sharp enough’
‘The knife is too sharp’
‘The knife is not sharp enough’
‘The knife is so sharp’ or ‘That’s how sharp the knife is’

10.4), or a clause
A verb modified by a degree word such as mu, tsuo, or tsyi can select a converb (cf.
§
headed by a subjunctive dependent verb inflected for allative case (cf.
10.2.1), equivalent to an infinitival
clause in English. In the former case, the converb immediately precedes the degree word; in the latter case,
the clause is usually postposed to the end of the sentence (see

9.2.3).

§

§

(8.174) Toml`a

kule
see:res.cv

tsuo
too

alamankat
rel.far.ipv:pst.pl

mountain.nom
‘The mountains were too far away to see’

(8.175) Toml`a

tsuo
too

alamankat
rel.far.ipv:pst.pl

isane
13all

kuleia
see:res.dep:sbj.all

mountain.nom
‘The mountains were too far away for us to see’

Note that the intensifying degree particles teusu and ytapi, like English ‘really’ or ‘truly’, can be used both
to assert the truth of some proposition, and to indicate that a property holds to a great degree. Ienapi and
atsafe also function as intensifiers, where ienapi tends to be used with verbs that have a positive connotation:
e.g., ienapi kesta ‘very happy’, ienapi huala ‘very healthy’. By contrast, atsafe is used with verbs that have
a negative connotation: e.g., atsafe lulha ‘very bad’, atsafe mouta ‘very sick’. (Note that the choice between
ienapi and atsafe depends on the speaker’s subjective assessment of the situation. For example, while
‘Sakial is very happy’ would normally be expressed as Sakialna ienapi ikesta, if for some reason the speaker
disapproved of Sakial’s happiness or considered it unfortunate, Sakialna atsafe ikesta could be used.)

Chapter 9

Clause Structure

9.1 Introduction

This chapter deals broadly with the constituent structure of simple sentences—that is, sentences which do
not involve the embedding of one clause within another (clausal embedding and related phenomena are dealt
with in chapter 10).

§

In

9.2 I give an overview of word order within the clause. Clauses consist minimally of a clausal nucleus
(usually headed by the verb), and can also include preposed and postposed constituents. Each of these is
9.3 I consider the formation of special types of clauses, including copular clauses,
dealt with in turn. In
questions, and commands. Finally, in
9.4 I deal with issues related to the number of noun phrase arguments
in a clause, including the formation of causative, reflexive, and reciprocal constructions.

§

§

9.2 Word order within the clause

6.9), the relative order of noun phrases and
Although word order within noun phrases is fairly fixed (see
other constituents within the clause is quite free, especially in clauses which can stand on their own as
complete utterances. Consider a sentence such as (9.1), consisting of a transitive verb along with its ergative
and dative arguments:

§

(9.1) Moihama

halmai
book.dat

itala
prg.read.ipv

girl.erg
‘The girl is reading the book’

Although the most common order is the one shown above, where the ergative argument precedes the dative
argument and the verb occurs at the end of the sentence, other orders are also acceptable. In the case of
the three-word sentence in (9.1), all six logically possible orders are allowed. The sentences below are all
grammatical, and all describe the same event.

Moihama halmai itala
Moihama itala halmai
Halmai moihama itala
Halmai itala moihama
Itala moihama halmai
Itala halmai moihama

In part, this flexibility reflects the fact that word order does not play a role in distinguishing grammatical
relations like subject and object, which are instead encoded by case inflection on the noun phrases. This is
not to say that order is unimportant, however. As the discussion in the following sections makes clear, the

225

226

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

placement of noun phrases relative to the verb, and to each other, can determine how they are interpreted
with regard to pragmatic features like topic and focus, old versus new information, et cetera.

In

9.2.1 I give an overview of the factors that dictate word order in basic clauses.

§

preposed (left-dislocated) constituents, such as contrastive topics; while
constituents to a position following the verb.

§

9.2.2 deals with
§
9.2.3 deals with the postposing of

9.2.1 Word order and topicality

An Okuna sentence consists minimally of a clausal nucleus, comprised of a verb preceded by zero or more
dependent constituents (noun phrases denoting arguments of the verb, adverbials and other modifiers, focus
particles, etc.). The clausal nucleus is sometimes preceded by a preposed constituent, often separated from
the clausal nucleus by a pause. Constituents can also follow the verb under certain circumstances, in which
9.2.3,
case they are said to be postposed. I discuss preposed and postposed constituents in
respectively. In this section I summarize the rules governing constituent order within the clausal nucleus.

9.2.2 and

§

§

Within the clausal nucleus, the order of certain elements is fixed. By definition, the verb is always the
final element in the clausal nucleus. Moreover, as discussed in detail in
5.4, if the clause includes a clitic
pronoun or clitic cluster, the latter will occur at the left edge of the clausal nucleus, preceding all of the
other (non-preposed) constituents. This is illustrated by the examples below, which di↵er with regard to
which of the verb’s arguments (ergative, nominative, or dative) is encoded by a clitic pronoun. In each case
the clitic must come first in the clause.

§

(9.2) Na

halm`a
book.nom

totsait
table.dat

3aerg
‘S/he put the book on the table’

teunyi
put.pv

(9.3) Hi

Motlama
3inom
Motla.erg
‘Motla put it on the table’

totsait
table.dat

teunyi
put.pv

(9.4) To

Motlama
Motla.erg

halm`a
book.nom

teunyi
put.pv

3irdat
‘Motla put the book there’ (lit. ‘on it’)

5.4.1), which obligatorily precedes the full noun phrase.

In the following sentences, the clause contains two clitic arguments. These combine to form a clitic cluster
(
§
(9.5) Ima

totsait
table.dat

teunyi
put.pv

3inom.1serg
‘I put it on the table’

(9.6) Uma

halm`a
book.nom

teunyi
put.pv

3irdat.1serg
‘I put the book there’

In addition, when the clause contains a noun phrase which is unmarked for case and functions as a non-
referential argument of the verb (see
4.6.3), that noun phrase immediately precedes the verb. Compare
the sentences below, containing noun phrases denoting a theme (ahotsin ‘corn’) and an instrument (natui
‘pestle’). When both the theme and instrument are marked for case (nominative and instrumental, respec-
tively), they can occur in either order (9.7)–(9.8). However, if one of the noun phrases appears in its ‘bare’
form, the other noun phrase obligatorily precedes it within the clausal nucleus (9.9)–(9.10).

§

(9.7) Ma

natuime
pestle.inst

tlulyi
pound.pv
1serg
‘I ground the/some corn with a/the pestle’

ahotsine
corn.nom

9.2. WORD ORDER WITHIN THE CLAUSE

227

(9.8) Ma

ahotsine
corn.nom

tlulyi
1serg
pound.pv
‘I ground the/some corn with a/the pestle’

natuime
pestle.inst

(9.9) Ma

natuime
pestle.inst

ahotsin
corn

1serg
‘I ground corn with a/the pestle’

tlulyi
pound.pv

(9.10) Ma

ahotsine
corn.nom

natui
pestle

tlulyi
pound.pv

1serg
‘I ground the/some corn with a pestle’

Apart from these restrictions on the placement of clitics and unmarked noun phrases, constituents within
the clausal nucleus are ordered according to their degree of ‘topicality’ (or ‘aboutness’), with more topical
elements preceding less topical elements. Typically the clausal nucleus can be thought of as having a bipartite
structure, where the first constituent identifies a particular discourse-salient referent, while the rest of the
clausal nucleus predicates something about that referent. We can refer to this first element as the topic
of the clause. If the clause contains a clitic pronoun, the clitic is the topic; otherwise, the topic can be a
full noun phrase, interpreted as definite or generic (in clitic clusters, the first clitic is understood to be the
topic). When the clause contains multiple noun phrases capable of functioning as topics, the choice of topic
will depend on the discourse context within which the clause is uttered, as well as the ‘communicative point
of view’ from which the speaker chooses to present the situation. Consider the following pair of examples,
which di↵er only in the order of the ergative and dative noun phrases:

(9.11) Mo

miahtema
grandfather.erg

olh
dist

1srdat
‘My grandfather build that house over there’

kotu
house

utai
that:rdat

(9.12) Olh
dist
‘My grandfather build that house over there’

utai
that:rdat

mo
1srdat

kotu
house

miahtema
grandfather.erg

utiespa
pf.build.ipv

utiespa
pf.build.ipv

These sentences have the same propositional content—that is, they describe the same event. The di↵erence
between them is one of ‘aboutness’. The order in (9.11) is preferred if the speaker is presenting information
about his/her grandfather, while (9.12) is the preferred order if the speaker is presenting information about
the house. A sentence like (9.11) would typically be used in a context where the speaker’s grandfather was
under discussion, as in the following dialogue:

Speaker A:
Speaker B:

“What did your grandfather do?”
“Well, for one thing, my grandfather built that house.”

A sentence like (9.12) would be used if the house were the topic of discussion, as in this situation:

Speaker A:
Speaker B:

“What can you tell me about that house over there?”
“Well, for one thing, my grandfather built that house.”

§

As noted in
9.4.1 below, varying the order of noun phrases to reflect relative topicality can achieve e↵ects
similar to those of active–passive alternations in other languages (Okuna does not have a passive construction
per se). Compare the sentences below, where the first asserts something about the agent (the hunter) while
the second asserts something about the patient (the deer). It is natural to translate the second sentence
with an English passive, reflecting the fact that the patient is more topical than the agent.

(9.13) Lakiakama
hunter.erg
‘The hunter killed the deer’

hastein
deer.dat

tahyi
kill.pv

228

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

(9.14) Hastein

lakiakama
deer.dat
hunter.erg
‘The deer was killed by the hunter’

tahyi
kill.pv

§

7.2, topic noun phrases are distinguished from non-topic noun phrases not only by the fact
As discussed in
that they appear at the left edge of the clausal nucleus, but by how they trigger number agreement on the
verb. When a topic noun phrase is marked for nominative, dative, or ergative case and is interpreted as
plural, the verb carries the plural topic sux -t. Core arguments other than the topic trigger di↵erent plural
agreement morphology: e.g., the sux -ne, which marks a non-topic ergative argument as plural. Compare:

(9.15) Lakiakama
hunter.erg
‘The hunters killed the deer’

hastein
deer.dat

tahyit
kill.pv.pl

(9.16) Hastein

lakiakama
hunter.erg

tahyine
kill.pv.epl

deer.dat
‘The deer was killed by the hunters’

Word order and topic choice can a↵ect the interpretation of missing arguments (see
5.5). All else being
equal, when a sentence consists of two conjoined clauses with a noun phrase omitted from the second clause,
the omitted argument is interpreted as coreferring with the topic the first clause. The following pair of
sentences illustrates this:

§

(9.17) Mikalma
boy.erg

ikei
dog.dat

kahtyi
hit.pv

kiompe
run.cv

nkilhyi
go:away.pv

‘The boy hit the dog, and then ran away’ (i.e, the boy ran away)

(9.18) Ikei

dog.dat

mikalma
boy.erg

kahtyi
hit.pv

kiompe
run.cv

nkilhyi
go:away.pv

‘The boy hit the dog, and then it ran away’ (i.e, the dog ran away)
or ‘The dog was hit by the boy, and then ran away’

Just as highly topical noun phrases tend to occur at the left edge of the clausal nucleus, highly focal noun
phrases—that is, noun phrases which are interpreted contrastively, and/or provide important or salient new
information about the event—tend to occur at the right edge of the clausal nucleus, immediately preceding
the verb (or the unmarked noun phrase, if any). For instance, compare the sentences below:

(9.19) Sakialma

tausi
spoon.dat

kamalme
knife.inst

kyuatyi
carve.pv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial carved the spoon with a knife’

(9.20) Sakialma

kamalme
knife.inst

tausi
spoon.dat

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial carved a spoon with the knife’

kyuatyi
carve.pv

(9.21) Tausi

kamalme
knife.inst

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

spoon.dat
‘Sakial carved the spoon with the knife’

kyuatyi
carve.pv

The order in (9.19) would be preferred in a context where it is understood that Sakial carved the spoon, and
the fact that this activity was carried out with a knife is the most salient piece of new information. On the
other hand, if it is presupposed that Sakial carved something (or did something) with a knife, and the new
information is that he carved the spoon, the order in (9.20) would be used. Finally, the order in (9.21) is

9.2. WORD ORDER WITHIN THE CLAUSE

229

appropriate if it is presupposed that the spoon was carved (or that something happened to the spoon), and
the identity of the carver is what’s being focused on. In each case, the main stress in the sentence falls on
the stressed syllable of the argument immediately preceding the verb.

Other possible orders are shown below, with approximate English translations. In each of the sentences
in (9.19)–(9.24), the most topical noun phrase comes first, while the most focal noun phrase immediately
precedes the verb.1

(9.22) Tausi

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

kamalme
knife.inst

kyuatyi
carve.pv

spoon.dat
‘The spoon was carved by Sakial with a knife’

(9.23) Kamalme
knife.inst
‘The knife was used by Sakial to carve a spoon’

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

tausi
spoon.dat

kyuatyi
carve.pv

(9.24) Kamalme
knife.inst
‘The knife was used by Sakial to carve the spoon’

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

tausi
spoon.dat

kyuatyi
carve.pv

In content questions (see
9.3.2), the interrogative element stands in for the focused constituent. Hence, inter-
rogative words normally come immediately before the verb (or before an unmarked noun phrase dependent,
if any). Compare the content questions below with the sentences in (9.19)–(9.21) above.

§

(9.25) Sakialma

tausi
spoon.dat

mahme
what.inst

kyuatyin?
carve.pv.qu

Sakial.erg
‘What did Sakial carve the spoon with?’

(9.26) Sakialma

kamalme
knife.inst

mai
what.dat

Sakial.erg
‘What did Sakial carve with the knife?’

kyuatyin?
carve.pv.qu

(9.27) Tausi

kamalme
knife.inst

miohma
who.erg

spoon.dat
‘Who carved the spoon with the knife?’

kyuatyin?
carve.pv.qu

Besides topic and focus, preverbal word order also reflects semantic scope: quantifiers and operators take
scope over the portion of the clausal nucleus to their right, up to (and sometimes including) the verb itself.
Word order can thus have a noticeable e↵ect on the interpretation of sentences with scope-bearing elements.
For example, as mentioned in
6.8, when a clause contains two quantificational phrases preceding the verb,
the first quantificational phrase takes scope over the second one. Compare the sentences below. In (9.28), pyi
unket scopes over kietam hen: the meaning is that every child was shown two (possibly di↵erent) pictures. In
(9.29), where the relative scope of the quantifiers is reversed, it is understood that there are two (particular)
pictures which I showed to every child.

§

(9.28) Ma

pyi
child

kietam
1serg
picture
‘I showed every child two pictures’

unket
every:rdat

hen
two:nom

tafyima
show.pv.dpl

1Note that in each of these sentences, tausi can be interpreted as either definite (‘the spoon’) or indefinite (‘a spoon’),
depending on whether the spoon is already familiar to the addressee at the point in the discourse when the sentence is
uttered—and likewise for kamalme (‘with a knife’ versus ‘with the knife’). My translations of these sentences are approximate,
and reflect the generalization that noun phrases expressing new information tend to be indefinite.

230

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

(9.29) Ma

1serg

kietam
picture

hen
two:nom

pyi
child

unket
every:rdat

tafyima
show.pv.dpl

‘I showed two (particular) pictures to every child’

The same principle applies to scope-bearing adverbials. Compare (9.30) and (9.31), which di↵er in the
relative order of the temporal modifier ehenna ‘twice’ and the manner modifier nakapme ‘accidentally, by
chance’. In (9.30), ehenna scopes over nakapme, and the sentence may be paraphrased ‘On two occasions, I
accidentally hit him’ (I may have hit him deliberately on other occasions). In (9.31), nakapme scopes over
ehenna, and the sentence may be paraphrased ‘It was an accident that I hit him on two occasions’ (I may
have intended to hit him only once).

(9.30) Unma

ehenna
twice

nakapme
chance.inst

ukahta
pf.hit.ipv

3ardat.1serg
‘Twice, I hit him accidentally’

(9.31) Unma

nakapme
3ardat.1serg
chance.inst
‘I accidentally hit him twice’

ehenna
twice

ukahta
pf.hit.ipv

§

As a final example of the relationship between word order and scope, consider the sentences below. As
discussed in
8.2.1, focus particles like tiefu ‘only’ scope over the portion of the clausal nucleus to their right,
up to (and perhaps including) the verb. In (9.32) tiefu scopes over the verb itlulanka ‘was grinding’, and
the sentence means that grinding is the only thing the girl was doing to the corn. In (9.33) tiefu scopes over
either ahotsine ‘corn’ or ahotsine itlulanka ‘was grinding the corn’. This sentence asserts that the corn is
the only thing that the girl was grinding, or that grinding the corn is the only thing that the girl was doing.
Finally, in (9.34) tiefu scopes over moihama ‘the girl’, or moihama itlulanka ‘the girl was grinding’. This
sentence means that the girl is the only one who was grinding the corn, or that being ground by the girl is
the only thing that was happening to the corn.

(9.32) Moihama

ahotsine
corn.nom

tiefu
only

itlulanka
prg.pound.ipv:pst

girl.erg
‘The girl was only grinding the corn’

(9.33) Moihama

tiefu
only

ahotsine
corn.nom

itlulanka
prg.pound.ipv:pst

girl.erg
‘The girl was only grinding the corn’

(9.34) Ahotsine
corn.nom
‘Only the girl was grinding the corn’
or ‘The corn was only being ground by the girl’

itlulanka
prg.pound.ipv:pst

moihama
girl.erg

tiefu
only

In rare cases, the verb may be preceded by two or more noun phrases which fail to di↵er from one another
in relative topicality, focus, or scope—e.g., when the clause contains no scope-bearing elements, and is being
used to present a situation ‘out of the blue’ (e.g, in response to the question ‘What happened?’). In clauses
of this type, which we might refer to as pragmatically neutral, the relative order of noun phrases is
essentially free. However, there is a tendency for ergative noun phrases to come at the beginning of the
clause, for noun phrases with human referents to precede those with non-human referents, and for noun
phrases interpreted as definite to precede those interpreted as indefinite.

9.2. WORD ORDER WITHIN THE CLAUSE

231

9.2.2 Preposed constituents

§

§

10.5,

10.2,

10.6).

Certain types of phrases properly precede the clausal nucleus, occurring at the left edge of the sentence. Such
phrases are said to be preposed. Note that preposed constituents are confined to main clauses: preposing
10.3), or in nominalized clauses such as gerunds
is not allowed in dependent and participial clauses (
and participant nominals (
§

One class of constituents which can be preposed includes temporal adverbials (e.g., elohka ‘yesterday’,
halai ekina ‘every summer’) and oblique case-marked noun phrases (e.g., muohfe kahpise ohpeu ‘because of
the heavy snowfall’), when these elements are used to set the scene or establish the general context (time,
place, reason, etc.) for the situation or event described in the clausal nucleus. Examples are given below.
That the constituents in question are preposed is shown by the fact that they come before the (boldfaced)
clitic pronouns: clitics always occur at the left edge of the clausal nucleus, and are thus normally sentence-
initial (
9.2.1). Note that when the preposed constituent is internally complex, as in (9.37), it generally
forms its own prosodic unit, and is separated from the clausal nucleus by a short pause, indicated here by a
comma.

5.4,

§

§

§

(9.35) Elohka

Sakialme
ma
Sakial.inst
1serg
yesterday
‘Yesterday I spoke with Sakial’

etsampyi
tell.act.pv

(9.36) Halai

ekina
every:time

sa
13erg

kahame
aunt

ka
and

tus`o
uncle.nom

tsulauat
visit.ipv.npl.pl

Kemotlasina
Kemotlasi.loc

summer
‘Every summer we visit our aunt and uncle in Kemotlasi’

(9.37) Muohfe

ohpeu,
heavy.tnzr
cause.abl
‘Because of the heavy snowfall, they decided to stay home’

otupyit
decide.pv.pl

kahpise
snowfall

na
3aerg

mokna
home.loc

tehat`a
stay.dep.pl.nom

Constituents may be preposed only if they provide background or contextualizing information. If the adver-
bial or oblique noun phrase constitutes a focal part of what is being asserted, and especially if it is being used
contrastively, it must appear within the clausal nucleus. For example, (9.35) above would not be appropriate
as an answer to the question in (9.38), which is specifically asking for the time of the event; instead, the order
in (9.39) is required, with elohka coming immediately before the verb, in the position normally associated
with focused constituents. Likewise (9.41), but not (9.37), is an acceptable response to the question in (9.40).

(9.38) Ko

Sakialme
Sakial.inst

emi
when

2erg
‘When did you speak with Sakial?’

etsampyin?
tell.act.pv.qu

(9.39) Ma

Sakialme
Sakial.inst

elohka
yesterday

etsampyi
tell.act.pv

1serg
‘I spoke with Sakial yesterday’

(9.40) Na

ymiohpa
why

ne
qu
3aerg
‘Why did they decide to stay home?’

otupyit
decide.pv.pl

mokna
home.loc

tehat`a?
stay.dep.pl.nom

(9.41) Na

muohfe
heavy.tnzr

kahpise
snowfall

ohpeu
cause.abl

otupyit
decide.pv.pl

mokna
home.loc

3aerg
‘They decided to stay home because of the heavy snowfall’
or ‘It’s because of the heavy snowfall that they decided to stay home’

tehat`a
stay.dep.pl.nom

In the example below, the oblique case-marked pronoun it`e is preposed, preceding the clitic ma. The preposed
pronoun functions here much like a topic, referring back to an entity mentioned in the previous clause:

232

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

(9.42) Im`e

1sall

kamale
knife.nom

itsupa:
prg.missing.ipv

it`e
3iall

ma
1serg

eun
place

imuna
all.loc

ukpiha
pf.search.ipv

‘My knife is missing: I’ve looked for it everywhere’ (lit. ‘for it, I’ve searched everywhere’)

In addition to noun phrases and adverbials, certain kinds of subordinate clauses are commonly preposed.
10.3) and dependent clauses marked with oblique case or used in com-
These include participial clauses (
§
bination with a relational noun (
10.2.2). Like preposed adverbials, preposed subordinate clauses
10.2.1,
§
introduce background information—specifically, they identify an (actual or hypothetical) situation that pro-
vides the temporal context, purpose, rationale, etc., for the situation named by the main clause. Conditional
clauses headed by aunme ‘if’ and concessive clauses headed by alhme ‘though’—whose function is to iden-
tify a situation which is (or is not) required in order for the situation named by the main clause to come
about—are also typically preposed. Examples are given below (as above, the left edge of the clausal nucleus
is indicated by the boldfaced clitic pronoun).

§

(9.43) Sakohmima
spouse.erg

losak
firewood

itake,
prg.chop.pt

ma
1serg

mekule
dish.nom

pauyia
wash.pv.npl

‘While (my) husband chopped firewood, I washed the dishes’

(9.44) Homa
bread
‘In order to make bread, you must first grind the corn into flour’

pusuki
make.dep:sbj

elhkoua,
purpose.all

kamne
beforehand

ko
2erg

ahotsine
corn.nom

sofoi
flour.dat

tluloksa
pound.must.ipv

(9.45) Ikun
2loc

im`o
1sabl

aleute
help.nom

okfi
want.dep:sbj

aunme,
if.inst

ko
2erg

eski
request.dep:sbj

tiuha
necessary.ipv

‘If you want my help, you’ll have to ask (for it)’

A final class of preposed constituents are contrastive topics, consisting of a noun phrase (unmarked for
case) followed by aunme. The function of a contrastive topic is to introduce a new subject of discussion into
the discourse, or reintroduce a subject from earlier in the discourse. Contrastive topics typically correspond
to English expressions of the form ‘as for X’, ‘as far as X is concerned’, ‘with respect to X’, etc. Note that
the clausal nucleus typically contains a resumptive clitic or oblique pronoun which encodes the participant
referred to by the contrastive topic.

(9.46) Sakial
Sakial
‘As for Sakial, I haven’t met him yet’

nami
3anom.1sdat

aunme,
if.inst

ntsuta
not:yet

utsokuo
pf.meet.ipv:neg

As shown in (9.45) above, aunme is also used to form conditional clauses, where it corresponds to English
‘if’ or ‘when(ever)’. It is possible that contrastive topics should be analyzed as a special kind of conditional
clause, in which everything except a focused constituent has been elided—e.g., Sakial aunme might be
thought of as meaning ‘if/when (it’s) Sakial (that we’re talking about)’.

9.2.3 Postposed constituents

Noun phrases, dependent clauses, and adverbials which follow the verb are said to be postposed. In the first
example below, the temporal adverb elohfoi ‘tomorrow’ has been postposed, while in the second example,
the nominative noun phrase Elimu lihpa ‘Elim’s sister’ has been postposed:

(9.47) Sa

lakiat
hunt.ipv.pl

elohfoi
13erg
tomorrow
‘We’re going hunting tomorrow’

9.2. WORD ORDER WITHIN THE CLAUSE

233

(9.48) Ntsuta
not:yet
‘(She) hasn’t returned yet, Elim’s sister’

uniokto
pf.return.ipv:neg

Elimu
Elim.abl

lihp`a
sister.nom

Postposed noun phrases normally denote individuals whose existence and relevance to the discourse is pre-
supposed. For instance, (9.48) above is appropriate only in a context where Elim’s sister has already been
established as one of the individuals under discussion. Like preposed constituents, postposed constituents are
associated with background information. Thus a noun phrase (especially one marked with oblique case) will
often be postposed when it conveys information which is supplementary or tangential to the main assertion
of the sentence. Compare the following sentences, which di↵er in the placement of the locative noun phrase:

(9.49) Lhatima

sihilalna
riverbank.loc

ilaliat
prg.play.ipv.pl

children.erg
‘The children are playing by the river’

(9.50) Lhatima

ilaliat
prg.play.ipv.pl

sihilalna
riverbank.loc

children.erg
‘The children are playing by the river’

These sentences are roughly equivalent in meaning, but di↵er in the informational status of the locative noun
phrase. In (9.49), where sihilalna is immediately preverbal, greater focus is placed on the location of the
event. Here the fact that the children are by the river is judged by the speaker to be significant—indeed,
it may constitute the only new piece of information in the utterance, as when (9.49) is used in answer to
the question ‘Where are the children playing?’. In (9.50), on the other hand, where sihilalna is postposed,
the location of the action is somewhat de-emphasized. This sentence might be used if the location of the
event were already known to the addressee—e.g., in answer to the question ‘What are the children doing by
the river?’. Alternatively, the speaker might be presenting the location of the event as new but incidental
information, perhaps an afterthought.

Note that first and second person oblique pronouns are frequently postposed, at least in main clauses.
This may be because first and second person pronouns refer to participants in the discourse, who are often
backgrounded since their relevance to the discourse is taken for granted. For the most part, these pronouns
precede the verb only if they are topicalized or focused. Compare the following:

(9.51) Sakiale

Sakial.erg
‘I like Sakial’

huata
like.ipv

im`e
1sall

(9.52) Im`e

Sakiale
Sakial.erg

huata
like.ipv

1sall
‘I like Sakial’ or ‘As for me, I like Sakial’

(9.53) Sakiale

im`e
Sakial.erg
1sall
‘I’m the one who likes Sakial’

huata
like.ipv

The order in (9.51), with the oblique experiencer im`e following the verb, is pragmatically neutral, and would
be used when uttering the proposition out of the blue. In (9.52), im`e occurs at the beginning of the clause
and is likely to be interpreted as a topic. This sentence would be appropriate in a context where the speaker
is already under discussion—e.g., it might be uttered in answer to the question ‘Who do you like?’. Finally,
in (9.53), where im`e immediately precedes the verb, the pronoun is likely to be interpreted as focused (cf.
9.2.1 above). This last sentence might be used in answer to the question ‘Who likes Sakial?’.

Even if it does not represent backgrounded or peripheral information, a constituent will often be postposed
if it is prosodically ‘heavy’—i.e., long and internally complex. Complement clauses, for instance, are often

§

234

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

postposed, as in (9.55) below. Here the embedded question pyie elohfoi nioktuta aun ‘if the children will
return tomorrow’ appears to the right of the verb iona ‘know’, which selects the clause as its theme argument.
Compare this sentence with (9.54), where the theme argument, consisting of a single word (the noun nioksot
‘answer’), most naturally precedes the verb.

(9.54) Elimna

nioksote
answer.nom

i`onin?
know.ipv:int.qu

Elim.loc
‘Does Elim know the answer?’

(9.55) Elimna

i`onin
know.ipv:int.qu

pyie
child.nom

elohfoi
tomorrow

Elim.loc
‘Does Elim know if the children will return tomorrow?’

nioktita
return.dep:sbj.pl

aun?
if

In fact, dependent clauses normally precede the verb only under special circumstances, such as when the
clause is topicalized, or contains within it a constituent which is topicalized or focused. Compare the examples
below: (9.56), where the dependent clause is postposed, represents the most neutral order. In (9.57), the
dependent clause is topicalized, and so precedes the verb. Likewise in (9.58), the dependent clause contains a
clitic pronoun (ne) which refers back to the preposed topic of the clause (the latter marked with aunme; see
10.2.3). Finally, in (9.59), the dependent clause is fronted because it contains a focused constituent—
9.2.2,
§
specifically, the interrogative element emi ‘when’, which scopes over the entire sentence, turning it into a
content question (see
9.3.2). (Notice that in the sentences where the dependent clause precedes the
verb, the noun phrase Elimna has been postposed. With verbs of thinking or saying, there is a tendency
for the dependent clause complement to occur on the opposite side of the verb from its other arguments,
perhaps so as to make sentences with dependent clauses easier to process.)

6.7.1,

§

§

§

(9.56) Elimna

opa
think.ipv

pyie
child.nom

elohfoi
tomorrow

nioktat`a
return.dep.pl.nom

Elim.loc
‘Elim thinks that the children will return tomorrow’

(9.57) Pyie

nioktat`a
return.dep.pl.nom
child.nom
‘That the children will return tomorrow, Elim definitely thinks (so)’

elohfoi
tomorrow

opa
think.ipv

ytapi
truly

Elimna
Elim.loc

(9.58) Pyi

aunme,
if.inst

ne
3anom

elohfoi
tomorrow

nioktat`a
return.dep.pl.nom

opa
think.ipv

child
‘As for the children, Elim thinks that they will return tomorrow’

Elimna
Elim.loc

(9.59) Pyie

`opan
child.nom
think.ipv.qu
‘When does Elim think that the children will return?’

nioktat`a
return.dep.pl.nom

emi
when

Elimna?
Elim.loc

9.3 Special clause types

Having reviewed word order in basic clauses, I consider certain clause types and special constructions that
9.3.1 I introduce the copula he and discuss di↵erent types of copular
require additional discussion.
clauses. The remaining subsections provide an overview of various speech act types: in
9.3.2 I discuss the
9.3.4 with direct versus indirect quotation.
formation of questions, while

9.3.3 deals with imperatives, and

In

§

§

§

§

9.3.1 Copular sentences

When a noun phrase forms the main predicate of a clause, it can combine with the copula he, corresponding
to ‘be’ in English. The copula immediately follows the predicate noun phrase, which may be unmarked for
case (

4.6), or marked for one of the oblique cases (

4.5):

§

§

9.3. SPECIAL CLAUSE TYPES

235

(9.60) Sakiale

mo
Sakial.nom
1srdat
‘Sakial is my brother’

suhpa
brother

he
be:ipv

(9.61) Halm`a

totsatna
table.loc

he
be:ipv

book.nom
‘The book is on the table’

The Okuna copula has a much more limited distribution than its English counterpart. In English, ‘be’ is
used to form predicates not just from noun phrases (‘Sakial is a doctor’), but also from adjective phrases
(‘Sakial is tall’). In Okuna, however, ‘adjectives’ pattern as a subclass of verbs, and form predicates without
the need for a copula: e.g., Sakiale pata ‘Sakial is tall’.

The copula he inflects for tense/aspect/mood and polarity (
§
7.5 and

7.2), and can
7.7.1, as well as the non-finite and
combine with the aspectual and modal suxes discussed in
nominalizing morphology discussed in chapter 10. In this respect it behaves as a verb (specifically, a Class
I verb; cf.
4.4.1). However, he has an irregular conjugation, and only makes certain aspectual distinctions:
perfective and progressive forms do not occur. Below is the complete tense/aspect/mood/polarity and
agreement paradigm for the copula, as it occurs in main clauses. Note that, as a Class I verb, he can take
at most one plural agreement sux, either the topic plural marker -t (pl) or the nominative plural marker
-ua (npl).

7.4) and number agreement (
§

§

§

§

imperfect
perfect
past imperfect
past perfect
imperfect conditional
perfect conditional

sg
he
heu
nka
heunka
heike
heuke

positive
pl
hit
heut
nkat
heunkat
heikit
heukit

npl
heua
heua
nkaua
heunkaua
heikeua
heukeua

sg
ho
hou
hunka
hounka
hoike
heuoike

negative
pl
hot
hout
hunkat
hounkat
hoikit
heuoikit

npl
houa
houa
hunkaua
hounkaua
hoikeua
heuoikeua

Notice the vowel alternation whereby he becomes hi- when the agreement sux -t is attached. He also
becomes hi- when it combines with the question marker -n:

(9.62) Halm`a

totsatna
table.loc

hin?
be:ipv.qu

book.nom
‘Is the book is on the table?’

In addition, the copula takes the form hi- when it combines with an aspectual or modal sux (with lowering
of the sux vowel when the latter is high), e.g.:

-ihp
-ot
-t
-uh
-yip

hiehpa
hiota
hita
hioha
hiyipa

‘intend to be’
‘continue to be’
‘begin to be, become’
‘want to be’
‘able to be’

The copula also has an irregular conjugation in dependent clauses (
§
The dependent and participial forms of the copula are given in the following tables:

10.2), and in participial clauses (
§

10.3).

imperfect

sg
ha
hu
hi
hoi

pl
hata
huta
hita
hoita

npl
haua
houa
heua
hoia

sg
heua
heuo
heue
heuoi

perfect
pl
heuata
heuota
heueta
heuoita

npl
heuaua
heuoua
heueua
heuoia

dep
dep:neg
dep:sbj
dep:sbj:neg

236

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

imperfect

sg
hi
hu
hai
hau

pl
hit
hut
hait
haut

npl
heia
houa
haia
haua

sg
heue
heuo
heuai
heuau

perfect
pl
heuet
heuot
heuait
heuaut

npl
heueia
heuoua
heuaia
heuaua

pt
pt:neg
pt:sbj
pt:sbj:neg

The copula appears in three types of predication structures. In the first type, the copula combines with a bare
noun phrase—i.e., a noun phrase which does not take any case marking—to form a predicate denoting an
individual or class of individuals. This predicate in turn takes a nominative case-marked theme noun phrase
as its argument, which may (but need not) function as the topic of the clause. Examples of this construction
are given below. (Concerning (9.64), note that colour words pattern as nouns in Okuna—hemak is literally
‘grey one’ or ‘thing which is grey’—and thus require the copula in order to form predicates.)

(9.63) Koin

nin
person
those:nom
‘Those people are our friends’

so
13rdat

kuna
friend

hit
be:ipv.pl

(9.64) Sieme

hemak
moheu
sky.nom
grey:one
cloud.abl
‘The sky was grey with clouds’

nka
be:ipv:pst

When the copular predicate is negated, the predicate noun phrase is preceded by the negative marker ntse
(or some other particle incorporating negation, such as ntsilas ‘not only’, ntseima ‘no longer’, ntsemi ‘never’,
etc.), and the negative form of the copula is used:

(9.65) Koin

nin
those:nom

ntse
neg

person
‘Those people are not our friends’

so
13rdat

kuna
friend

hot
be:ipv:neg.pl

(9.66) Tehefoi

sieme
sky.nom

ntseima
no:longer

moheu
cloud.abl

presently
‘After a while the sky was no longer grey with clouds’

hemak
grey:one

hunka
be:ipv:pst:neg

In non-past tense main clauses the copula is very often omitted, leaving just the noun phrase, unless the
copula is required to carry number agreement or host one of the modal and aspectual suxes discussed in
7.7.1. Compare the examples below. Here, he and ho are optional, and typically left out, while
7.5 and
§
their past tense and plural counterparts are not.

§

(9.67) Sakiale

mo
Sakial.nom
1srdat
‘Sakial is my friend’

kuna
friend

(he)
be:ipv

(9.68) Sakiale

ntse
neg

mo
1srdat

kuna
friend

(ho)
be:ipv

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial is not my friend’

(9.69) Sakiale

mo
1srdat

kuna
friend

nka
be:ipv:pst

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial was my friend’

mo
(9.70) Sakial
1srdat
Sakial
‘Sakial and Elim are my friends’

Elime
Elim.nom

ka
and

kuna
friend

hit
be:ipv.pl

9.3. SPECIAL CLAUSE TYPES

237

The copula is also overt in the following examples, where it is needed to host the modal sux -uh and the
telic inchoative sux -t, respectively:

(9.71) Sakialna

mo
1srdat

kuna
friend

hioha
be.want.ipv

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial wants to be my friend’

(9.72) Sakiale

Sakial.nom

mo
1srdat

kuna
friend

hityi
be.tinc.pv

‘Sakial became my friend’ (lit. ‘began to be my friend’)

An important condition on copula deletion is that the predicate containing the copula must denote an
inherent attribute of the theme, one which is integral to the theme and/or resistant to change.
If the
predicate instead denotes a non-integral property of the theme, the copula is never omitted, even when it is
not needed to host any verb suxes. Compare the examples below. Being grey is a more-or-less permanent
property of the dog’s coat, but a transitory property of the sky: hence the copula is normally omitted in
(9.73) but remains overt in (9.74).

(9.73) Ikena

luane
coat.nom

hemak
grey:one

(he)
be:ipv

dog.loc
‘The dog’s coat is grey’

(9.74) Sieme

hemak
sky.nom
grey:one
‘The sky is grey this morning’

he
be:ipv

kotsim
morning

hial`o
today

When the copula is omitted, questions are formed by adding the particle ne to the end of the sentence:

(9.75) Ku

2nom

mi`o
who

ne?
qu

‘Who are you (sg)?’

(9.76) Sakiale

kuo
2rdat

kuna
friend

ne?
qu

Sakial.nom
‘Is Sakial your friend?’

Besides combining with an unmarked noun phrase to form a predicate, the copula can combine with a
noun phrase marked for one of the oblique cases, as shown below. Here the predicate identifies the location,
possessor, beneficiary, etc., of the nominative-marked theme argument. Note that the copula is never omitted
when the predicate noun phrase is in one of the oblique cases.

(9.77) Nil`o

sane
red

hutana
basket.loc

he
be:ipv

net.nom
‘The net is in the red basket’

(9.78) Kamale

knife.nom

Sakialme
Sakial.inst

hin?
be:ipv.qu

‘Does Sakial have the knife?’ (lit. ‘Is the knife with Sakial?’)

(9.79) Halma

tan
that:nom

ntse
neg

ikoi
2sall

ho
be:ipv:neg

book
‘That book is not for you’ or ‘That book is not yours’

238

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

Finally, the copula is used to form existential clauses, where it corresponds to English ‘there is…’. Here
the copula combines with an unmarked noun phrase (denoting the entity whose existence is being asserted)
preceded by a noun phrase in the locative case (denoting the location). This same construction can also
be used to express a possession relation, but with an instrumental noun phrase (denoting the possessor) in
place of the locative noun phrase. The copula may not be omitted in this construction.

(9.80) Totsatna
table.loc
‘There is a book on the table’

halma
book

he
be:ipv

es
one

(9.81) Totsatna
table.loc
‘There are no books on the table’

halma
book

ho
be:ipv:neg

ntse
neg

(9.82) Sakialme

es
one

halma
book

nka
be:ipv:pst

Sakial.inst
‘Sakial had a book’ (lit. ‘There was a book with Sakial’)

9.3.2 Questions

Questions can be divided into four broad classes along two dimensions: yes/no questions versus content
questions (also known as wh questions), and direct questions versus indirect questions. In a direct
yes/no question, such as ‘Are the children playing?’, the speaker presents a complete proposition and solicits
confirmation or denial from the addressee.
In a direct content question, such as ‘Who is playing?’, the
speaker presents an incomplete proposition and asks for the addressee to complete it. Indirect yes/no and
content questions function as the complements of predicates with meanings like ‘ask’ and ‘wonder’ (e.g., ‘I
wonder if/whether the children are playing’, ‘I wonder who is playing’). In this section I summarize how
these di↵erent types of questions are formed in Okuna.

Direct yes/no questions

To form a direct yes/no question, the unstressed particle ne (glossed qu) is usually added to a main clause.
This particle immediately follows the verb. (Other question particles can be used in place of ne under certain
circumstances; these are discussed in
8.2.2.) As the examples below show, the word order in a direct yes/no
question is the same as in the corresponding statement. Note that direct yes/no questions are pronounced
with a high pitch on the syllable bearing sentence-level stress, followed by a drop to a mid-level or slightly
rising pitch extending to the end of the sentence (statements, by contrast, end in a falling pitch contour).

§

(9.83) Lhatima

hakatlyit
laugh.pv.pl

children.erg
‘The children laughed’

(9.84) Lhatima

hakatlyit
laugh.pv.pl

ne?
qu

children.erg
‘Did the children laugh?’

When ne comes after a verb ending in a vowel, it undergoes contraction with the verb and surfaces as the
bound element -n. This is illustrated in (9.86) and (9.88) below. In addition, certain tense/aspect/mood
endings take di↵erent forms, glossed int(errogative), when they occur in a yes/no question. The non-past
imperfective ending -a becomes -i, as shown in (9.88); while the past imperfective endings -anka and -unka
become -anki and -unki, respectively (all other endings, including perfective -yi, remain the same in yes/no
questions). Note that attaching -n to the verb does not a↵ect stress assignment (see
if the verb is
stressed on the penultimate syllable without -n, then penultimate stress is retained when -n is added. In
such cases, the stressed vowel is marked with a diacritic, as shown in (9.88).

3.4):

§

9.3. SPECIAL CLAUSE TYPES

239

(9.85) Moihama

elohka
yesterday

kihoin
letter.dat

girl.erg
‘The girl wrote the letter yesterday’

siehpyi
write.pv

(9.86) Moihama

elohka
yesterday

kihoin
letter.dat

girl.erg
‘Did the girl write the letter yesterday?’

siehpyin?
write.pv.qu

(9.87) Sakialma

hutai
basket.dat

itapa
prg.weave.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial is weaving a basket’

(9.88) Sakialma

hutai
basket.dat

it`apin?
prg.weave.ipv:int.qu

Sakial.erg
‘Is Sakial weaving a basket?’

As in non-questions, word order in questions is sensitive to discourse structure. If a particular constituent
in the clause is the focus of the questioning, that constituent will generally appear immediately before
the verb, following constituents denoting information which the speaker takes for granted. Compare the
examples below, which di↵er in the order of elements preceding the verb: (9.89) might be used if the speaker
presupposes that Elim sent the letter, and wants to know whether it happened yesterday as opposed to some
other day; (9.90) might be used if the speaker presupposes that Elim sent something yesterday, and wants
to know if it was the letter; and (9.91) might be used if the speaker presupposes that someone sent the letter
yesterday, and wants to know if it was Elim.

(9.89) Elimma

kihune
letter.nom

elohka
yesterday

lastyin?
send.pv.qu

Elim.erg
‘Did Elim send the letter yesterday?’

(9.90) Elimma

elohka
yesterday

kihune
letter.nom

Elim.erg
‘Did Elim send the letter yesterday?’

lastyin?
send.pv.qu

(9.91) Kihune

elohka
yesterday

Elimma
Elim.erg

lastyin?
send.pv.qu

letter.nom
‘Was it Elim who sent the letter yesterday?’

Direct content questions

Direct content questions are formed in the same way as direct yes/no questions, using the question particle
ne (or -n). Here, however, the preverbal focus position is occupied by an indefinite correlative such as m`a
‘what’, mi`o ‘who’, or emi ‘when’ (cf.
6.7.1), or by a larger noun phrase containing an indefinite correlative.
Okuna content questions di↵er in this respect from their English counterparts, where the wh-phrase normally
moves to the front of the sentence. Compare the yes/no questions in (9.89)–(9.91) above with the related
content questions below:

§

(9.92) Elimma

kihune
letter.nom
Elim.erg
‘When did Elim send the letter?’

emi
when

lastyin?
send.pv.qu

(9.93) Elimma

m`a
elohka
what:nom
yesterday
Elim.erg
‘What did Elim send yesterday?’

lastyin?
send.pv.qu

240

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

(9.94) Kihune

miohma
letter.nom
who.erg
‘Who sent the letter yesterday?’

elohka
yesterday

lastyin?
send.pv.qu

Note that because indefinite correlatives can be used either as interrogatives (‘who’) or as simple indefinite
quantifiers (‘someone/anyone’), the above sentences are potentially ambiguous between a content question
reading and a yes/no question reading. For example, given the proper context, (9.94) can mean ‘Did someone
send the letter yesterday?’. In actual practice, these readings can usually be distinguished by intonation:
when (9.94) is a yes/no question, lastyin is pronounced with a level or slightly rising pitch on the second
syllable; and when it is a content question, lastyin is pronounced with a falling pitch on the second syllable.
In other cases, a content question and the corresponding yes/no question are distinguished not only by
intonation, but by the inflectional form of the verb. As noted above, and in
7.4, when the verb takes one
of the imperfective endings -a, -anka, or -unka, the final a changes to i in yes/no questions, but remains a
in content questions. Compare:

§

(9.95) Motlama

miohme
who.inst

itsamp`ankan?
prg.talk.ipv:pst.qu

Motla.erg
‘Who was Motla talking to?’ (content question)

(9.96) Motlama

miohme
who.inst

itsamp`ankin?
prg.talk.ipv:pst.qu

Motla.erg
‘Was Motla talking to someone/anyone?’ (yes/no question)

Additional examples of content questions are given below. In these examples the indefinite correlative is
part of a larger interrogative phrase: yhkuna mi`o ‘which guest(s)’, mekul miante ‘how many bowls’, mioha
kotu ‘whose house’, and huta m`a ‘which basket’.

(9.97) Kima
12erg
‘Which guest(s) are we still waiting for?’

mioha
which.all

yhkuna
guest

eima
still

ipeutat
prg.wait.ipv.pl

ne?
qu

(9.98) Na

mekul
bowl

miante
how:many:nom

ketyit
bring:here.pv.pl

ne?
qu

3aerg
‘How many bowls did they bring?’

(9.99) Mioha

kot`o
house.nom

eu`olhan?
be:over:there.ipv.qu

who.all
‘Whose house is over there?’

(9.100) Ma

kepehotse
acorn.nom

huta
basket

mai
what.dat

elhihp`auan?
put:in.intended.ipv.npl.qu

1serg
‘Which basket am I supposed to put the acorns in?’

When the indefinite correlative is embedded inside a dependent clause (see
10.2.1), that dependent clause
precedes the verb in the main clause. This is in contrast to the usual order, where dependent clauses are
postposed to the end of the sentence (

9.2.3). Compare the examples below:

§

(9.101) Sakialna

§
Elimma
Elim.erg
Sakial.loc
‘Sakial thinks that Elim gave the knife to (his) daughter’

kamale
knife.nom

opa
think.ipv

napei
daughter.dat

auokti`a
pv.give.dep.nom

(9.102) Elimma

kamale
knife.nom

mioi
who.dat

auokti`a
pv.give.dep.nom

`opan
think.ipv.qu

Elim.erg
‘Who does Sakial think that Elim gave the knife to?’

Sakialna?
Sakial.loc

9.3. SPECIAL CLAUSE TYPES

241

Note that when the addressee is the topic of a yes/no or content question, the second person clitic pronoun
may be omitted. However, if the topic has a plural referent and would trigger plural agreement, the verb
carries the appropriate agreement marking (
§

7.2) even when the pronoun is dropped, as shown in (9.105).

(9.103) Kihune

letter.nom

elohka
yesterday

lastyin?
send.pv.qu

‘Did you (sg) send the letter yesterday?’

(9.104) Paloi

village.dat

emi
when

ni`oktan?
return.ipv.qu

‘When will you (sg) return to the village?’

(9.105) Paloi

village.dat

emi
when

nioktat
return.ipv.pl

ne?
qu

‘When will you (pl) return to the village?’

Indirect questions

10.2),
Indirect questions in Okuna take the form of a clause headed by a verb in the dependent form (
§
followed by the element aun (here glossed ‘if’; see
10.2.3). To form an indirect yes/no question, the verb
takes the dependent subjunctive form. Here aun corresponds to ‘if’ or ‘whether’ in English. Verbs which
select indirect questions as complements include nesapa ‘ask’, untsapa ‘wonder’, and iona ‘know’. As the
following examples show, the indirect question is normally postposed to the right of the selecting verb.

§

(9.106) Ma

1serg

untsapa
wonder.ipv

elohfoi
tomorrow

s`u
rain

kahpi
fall.dep:sbj

aun
if

‘I wonder if/whether it will rain tomorrow’

(9.107) Ma

1serg

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

nesapyi
ask.pv

Motlama
Motla.erg

kihoin
letter.dat

uta
already

usiehpi
pf.write.dep:sbj

aun
if

‘I asked Sakial if/whether Motla had written the letter yet’

Aun may also form indirect content questions by combining with a dependent clause containing an indefinite
correlative, as illustrated below. Notice that in indirect content questions, aun does not correspond directly
to any element in the English translation. When the content question refers to an actual event or state of
a↵airs, the verb is in the dependent indicative form rather than the dependent subjunctive:

(9.108) Ma

untsapa
wonder.ipv

Motlama
Motla.erg
1serg
‘I wonder what Motla is writing’

mai
what.dat

isiehpa
prg.write.dep

aun
if

(9.109) Ma

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

nesapyi
ask.pv

Motlama
Motla.erg

kihoin
letter.dat

emi
when

asiehpa
pv.write.dep

aun
if

1serg
‘I asked Sakial when Motla wrote the letter’

Additional examples are given below. Sentence (9.110) shows a direct yes/no question which in turn contains
an indirect content question. In (9.112), the verb in the indirect question is negated, and appears in the
negative form of the dependent indicative, marked with the sux -i.

(9.110) Inkuo

3aerg.2rdat

etsyit
say.pv.pl

ne
qu

ih`a
woman.nom

miei
where.dat

ita
prg.go.dep

aun?
if

‘Did they tell you where the woman is/was going?’

242

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

inat
(9.111) Iman
1sloc
those:erg
‘I don’t know why those children are crying’

miono
neg.know.ipv:neg

kimi
child

ymiohpa
why

ihisata
prg.cry.dep.pl

aun
if

(9.112) Na

nesapyit
ask.pv.pl

ma
3aerg
1serg
‘They asked why I hadn’t fixed the fence yet’

ymiohpa
why

mutoi
fence.dat

ntsuta
not:yet

utoku
pf.repair.dep:neg

aun
if

When the indirect content question refers to a hypothetical event or state of a↵airs, the verb appears in
the dependent subjunctive, as in (9.113). (This sentence is actually ambiguous: because the verb is in the
dependent subjunctive, it is also possible to interpret it as an indirect yes/no question with the correlative
m`a functioning as an indefinite element: ‘It’s not clear if there’s anything to be done’.)

(9.113) Ntsilo

neg.clear.ipv:neg

m`a
what

suki
do.dep:sbj

aun
if

‘It’s not clear what to do’ or ‘It’s not clear what one would/should do’

Note that indirect questions pattern like noun phrases, insofar as aun can take a case ending. In the examples
below, for instance, aun takes the allative case ending -a. The form auna, meaning roughly ‘about’ or ‘about
whether’, is used with verbs of thinking and saying to indicate a question which is being debated:

(9.114) Sa

ikyitsampauot
prg.talk:about.act.ipv.recip.pl

13erg
‘We’re talking about whether to go hunting tomorrow’

elohfoi
tomorrow

lakieta
hunt.dep:sbj.pl

auna
if.all

(9.115) Na

sokastyiot
argue.pv.recip.pl

ineu
3apabl

mi`o
who

3aerg
‘They argued about which of them was stronger’

anasohta
rel.strong.comp.dep

auna
if.all

Finally, note the demonstrative element tiaun ‘if so, if that’. This element forms indirect questions from
which everything except a focused constituent has been elided. Often the focused constituent is an indefinite
correlative, as in (9.117)–(9.119), in which case tiaun forms what is called a sluicing construction.

(9.116) Na

3aerg

etsyi
say.pv

no
3ardat

mi`o
who:nom

utsoku`a;
pf.meet.dep.nom

miono
neg.know.ipv:neg

Elime
Elim.nom

tiaun
if:that

‘She said that she just met someone; (I) don’t know if (it was) Elim’

(9.117) Sakiail

Sakial.dat

laisne
just

mi`o
who:nom

utsokua,
pf.meet.ipv

le
but

miono
neg.know.ipv:neg

mi`o
who:nom

tiaun
if:that

‘Sakial just met someone, but (I) don’t know who’

(9.118) Im`e

1sall

halm`a
book.nom

laisne
just

uskoha,
pf.steal.ipv

le
but

miono
neg.know.ipv:neg

miohma
who.erg

tiaun
if:that

‘My book was just stolen, but (I) don’t know by whom’ or ‘… but I don’t know who did it’

(9.119) Sakialna

iohiyna
prg.sad.ipv

le,
it:seems,

le
but

miono
neg.know.ipv:neg

ymiohpa
why

tiaun
if:that

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial seems to be sad, but I don’t know why’

9.3. SPECIAL CLAUSE TYPES

9.3.3 Imperatives

243

Imperative sentences, which express commands or wishes, are formed with the verb in the non-past imperfect
form, discussed in
7.4.2. Examples of positive and negative imperatives are given below. Since the non-past
imperfect is also used to express future tense, we might paraphrase these examples more literally as ‘You
will wash your hands’ and ‘You will not touch the pot’.

§

(9.120) Ko

2erg

temie
hands

paua!
wash.ipv

‘Wash (your) hands!’

(9.121) Ko

2erg

pankotoi
cooking:pot.dat

ntse
neg

silh
finger

teuno,
put.ipv:neg

eima
still

ikaila
prg.hot.ipv

ha!
in:fact

‘Don’t touch the pot, (it’s) still hot!’

Notice that both of these examples, the imperative clause includes an overt second person clitic pronoun.
As in English, the second person argument of an imperative clause can be omitted, as in (9.122) below.
However, omission of this argument is less common in Okuna than it is in English. In particular, the second
person argument is typically overt when it is part of a clitic cluster, as in (9.123), and necessarily overt when
it is being focussed, as in (9.124). In the latter case it takes the form of a full (non-clitic) pronoun.

(9.122) Temie
hands

paua!
wash.ipv

‘Wash (your) hands!’

(9.123) Iko

amai
1sdat
3inom.2erg
‘You give it to me!’

uktia!
give.ipv

(9.124) Hi

3inom

ik`o
2serg

suka!
do.ipv

‘You do it!’ (or ‘It’s you who must do it!’)

Note that even when the second person pronoun is omitted in an imperative, it still triggers number agreement
as necessary. When the second person argument is plural, the verb carries the appropriate agreement sux
even when the pronoun is left out. For instance, the examples above would all be used when addressing a
single individual, whereas (9.125) and (9.126) below would be used when addressing two or more individuals.
Here the verb takes the plural topic agreement sux -t regardless of whether ko is included as an overt topic
or not.

(9.125) Ko

2erg

temie
hands

pauat!
wash.ipv.pl

‘You wash (your (pl)) hands!’

(9.126) Temie
hands

pauat!
wash.ipv.pl

‘Wash (your (pl)) hands!’

Imperative sentences are often marked as such by adding the emphatic particle na or nem after the verb. Na
(glossed imp) is used when the speaker is issuing a command or expressing a strong wish that a particular
event come about, while nem is used when the speaker is suggesting a possible course of action. The contrast
is illustrated below:

244

(9.127) Losak

anohte
more

teunaua
put.ipv.npl

firewood
‘Put more wood on the fire!’

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

na
imp

hauait
fire.dat

(9.128) Losak

firewood

anohte
more

teunaua
put.ipv.npl

nem
why:not

hauait
fire.dat

‘Why don’t (you) put more wood on the fire?’

The particle iak occurs in place of na in negative commands:

(9.129) Ku

mankilho
neg.leave.ipv:neg

iak
neg:imp

2nom
‘Don’t leave!’

Imperatives formed with na, iak, or nem are regarded as informal, and sound rather brusque when addressed
to someone with whom one is unfamiliar, or to whom one is expected to show respect or deference. To express
a polite command or request, the verb-like element eskuke ‘please’ is used in place of an emphatic particle.2
Eskuke immediately follows the main verb, which appears in the converb form (suxed with -e). When the
main verb takes one or more plural core arguments, the number agreement suxes attach not to the verb
itself, but to eskuke (which takes the form eskuki- before a consonant: e.g., eskuke + -ma ‘dpl’ > eskukima).

(9.130) Temie
hands

paue
wash.cv

eskuke
please

‘Please wash (your) hands’

(9.131) Temie
hands

paue
wash.cv

eskukit
please.pl

‘Please wash (your (pl)) hands’

(9.132) Huiloie

window.nom

lime
open.cv

eskukeua
please.npl

‘Please open the windows’ (addressed to one person)

(9.133) Huiloie

window.nom

lime
open.cv

eskukeuat
please.npl.pl

‘Please open the windows’ (addressed to two or more people)

To form polite prohibitives, eskuke combines with a verb in the negative participial form, suxed with -u:

(9.134) Pankotoi

ntse
neg

silh
finger

teunu
put.pt:neg

eskuke
please

cooking:pot.dat
‘Please don’t touch the pot’

(9.135) Huiloie

malimu
neg.open.pt:neg

eskukeuat
please.npl.pl

window.nom
‘Please don’t the windows’

Note that imperatives in Okuna can have a first person or third person topic in place of a second person
topic, in which case it is more or less obligatory that the clause include some overt imperative marking
(either a particle or a form of eskuke). Imperatives with first or third person topics are usually translated
with a construction involving ‘let’ or ‘may (it be that)’:

2Eskuke may have originated as a reduced form of eske ukia ‘may (you) perform a request’, or eske uktia ‘may (you) grant

a request’ (eske ‘request’).

9.3. SPECIAL CLAUSE TYPES

245

(9.136) Kim

etat
go.ipv.pl

na!
imp

12nom
‘Let’s go!’

(9.137) Inkue

aleut
help

uktiat
give.ipv.pl

na!
imp

3aerg.2dat
‘Let them help you!’ or ‘May it be that they’ll help you!’

(9.138) Kimima

ntse
baby.erg
neg
‘Don’t let the baby touch the pot!’

pankotoi
cooking:pot.dat

silh
finger

teuno
put.ipv:neg

iak!
neg:imp

(9.139) Me

takan
now

nkilhe
1snom
leave.cv
‘Please let me leave now’

eskuke
please

9.3.4 Direct quotation

With verbs of saying such as etsa ‘say, tell’, the propositional content of the saying event (i.e., what is said)
is usually expressed by a dependent clause, functioning as the nominative case-marked argument of the verb
(cf.
10.2.1). Likewise verbs such as nesapa ‘ask’ can take a dependent clause headed by aun ‘if, whether’
§
9.3.2,
(cf.
§

10.2.3) to express the content of the question.

§

(9.140) Sakialma

aleut
etsyi
Sakial.erg
help
say.pv
‘Sakial said that he needed help’

in`e
3aall

itiuh`a
prg.need.dep.nom

(9.141) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

nesapyi
ask.pv

ikimna
12loc

elohfoi
tomorrow

ahotsin
corn

nalhihpi
plant.intend.dep:sbj

aun
if

‘Sakial asked if we intend(ed) to plant corn tomorrow’

In the examples above, the person uttering the sentence is reporting the content of what Sakial said or asked
(indirect quotation), rather than Sakial’s exact words (direct quotation). To express direct quotation, the
construction illustrated below is used. Here the direct quotation, which takes the form of a main clause,
follows the verb of asking or saying and is introduced by the quotative particle ia (glossed quot):

(9.142) Sakialma

ia,
Sakial.erg
quot
‘Sakial said, “I need help”’

etsyi
say.pv

Im`e
1sall

aleut
help

itiuha
prg.need.ipv

(9.143) Sakialma

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial asked, “Do you intend to plant corn tomorrow?”’

ia,
quot

Ikuna
2ploc

elohfoi
tomorrow

ahotsin
corn

nesapyi
ask.pv

nalh`ıhpin?
plant.intend.ipv:int.qu

In informal speech and writing, the verb of saying or asking may be omitted in this construction, leaving
just the quotative particle preceded by a noun phrase in the ergative case giving the identity of the speaker.

(9.144) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

ia,
quot

Im`e
1sall

aleut
help

itiuha
prg.need.ipv

“‘I need help”, (said) Sakial’

The quotative particle need not be used with a complete sentence, but can also precede any word or phrase
to indicate that it is being cited or quoted rather than used to refer:

246

(9.145) Ma

ia
quot

1serg
‘I said yes’

hi`o
yes

etsyi
say.pv

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

This particle is also used to introduce a proper name in one of the two appositive constructions found in
Okuna. In appositives a proper name (such as Elim) is juxtaposed with a descriptive noun phrase (such as
mo suhpa ‘my brother’) which picks out the same individual. In Okuna the proper name can either precede
or follow the descriptive noun phrase. When the name precedes, there is no special marking: e.g., Elim
mo suhpa ‘my brother Elim’ (lit. ‘Elim my brother’). When the name follows the descriptive noun phrase,
it is introduced by the quotative particle ia: e.g., mo suhpa ia Elim ‘my brother Elim’. Note that in the
former construction, any case marking appears on the final word of the descriptive noun phrase; while in
the latter construction the case marker is repeated on both the descriptive noun phrase and the name. For
example, ‘with my brother Elim’ is Elim mo suhpame (with the instrumental ending -me attaching to mo
suhpa) or mo suhpame ia Elimme (with -me attaching to both mo suhpa and Elim). Further examples of
the appositive ia construction include:

(9.146) Mo

kasuhp`a
cousin.nom

ia
quot

Elime
Elim.nom

itskana
prg.arrive.ipv

1srdat
‘My cousin Elim is coming to visit tomorrow’

tsuleia
visit.dep:sbj.all

elohfoi
tomorrow

(9.147) Euolhna

over:there.loc

es
one

koinma
person.erg

ia
quot

Elimma
Elim.erg

tsuhpa
live.ipv

‘Over there lives a man (named) Elim’

(9.148) Takisma

ia
quot

Tenmotlaima
Tenmotlai.erg

minta
meaning

m`a
what

`ekpan?
carry.ipv.qu

name.erg
‘What does the name ‘Tenmotlai’ mean?’
lit. ‘What meaning does the name ‘Tenmotlai’ carry?’

9.4 Valence

In this section I discuss clause structure with respect to alternations in valence—that is, in the number
9.4.1 I discuss valence reduction and counterparts to the English
of overt core arguments in a clause. In
9.4.4 I discuss reflexive
passive construction. In
and reciprocal clauses, respectively.

9.4.2 I discuss causative constructions. And in

9.4.3 and

§

§

§

§

9.4.1 Decreasing valence: Equivalents of the passive

The passive construction in English and other languages fulfills various functions. It enables the patient
noun phrase to be ‘foregrounded’ (made more salient), and the agent noun phrase to be ‘backgrounded’, or
even be omitted from the clause if its referent is unknown or unimportant. In some cases, passivization may
also express stativity, emphasizing the complete(d)ness of the action.

Okuna does not have a passive construction, so the pragmatic e↵ects of passivization must be achieved
in other ways. For example, foregrounding of the patient and backgrounding of the agent may be achieved
simply by making the patient into the topic of the clause (so long as it is definite), in which case it will
precede the agent noun phrase. Compare the following examples. In (9.149) the agent is the topic, while in
(9.150) the patient is the topic. The former sentence would be used in a discourse context where the hunter
is being discussed, while the latter would be used if the deer were the focus of attention. To highlight the
fact that the patient is more ‘topical’ than the agent in (9.150), we may choose to translate this sentence
using an English passive construction, even though it di↵ers from (9.149) only in word order.

9.4. VALENCE

247

(9.149) Lakiakama
hunter.erg
‘The hunter killed the deer’

hastein
deer.dat

tahyi
kill.pv

(9.150) Hastein

lakiakama
deer.dat
hunter.erg
‘The deer was killed by the hunter’

tahyi
kill.pv

Suppression of the agent is achieved simply by dropping the ergative-marked noun phrase from the sentence,
as in (9.151). No special passive morphology is required here. That the deer is the patient of the action is
shown by the fact that hastin takes dative case marking (if the deer had been doing the killing, rather than
being killed, it would have appeared in the ergative case: hastinma).

(9.151) Hastein

tahyi
kill.pv

deer.dat
‘The deer was killed’ or ‘Someone killed the deer’

Below are additional examples illustrating the optionality of ergative arguments. Notice that when the
ergative argument is absent, the sentence is often ambiguous between a passive-like interpretation, where
the action has an implicit agent (‘The door was closed’), and a middle-like interpretation, where there is no
agent at all and the event is viewed as spontaneous (‘The door closed’).

(9.152) Mikalma
boy.erg
‘The boy closed the door’

hitole
door.nom

mukyi
close.pv

(9.153) Hitole

mikalma
boy.erg
door.nom
‘The door was closed by the boy’

mukyi
close.pv

(9.154) Hitole

mukyi
close.pv

door.nom
‘The door (was) closed’

(9.155) Hauatma

kiospyi
lotsain
burn.pv
wood.dat
fire.erg
‘The fire burned up the wood’

(9.156) Lotsain

hauatma
wood.dat
fire.erg
‘The wood burned up in the fire’

kiospyi
burn.pv

(9.157) Lotsain

kiospyi
burn.pv

wood.dat
‘The wood (was) burned up’

Suppression of the ergative argument is just a special case of a more general pattern in Okuna. In principle,
any core argument can be omitted from a clause if its referent is unknown or unimportant to the discourse.
Consider the pairs of sentences below, for example. In the second sentence of each pair, the non-ergative
argument is left out, yielding the equivalent of an absolute or antipassive construction in other languages.
Again, note that the form of the verb does not change when an argument is omitted.

(9.158) Na

kot`o
house.nom
3aerg
‘They are cleaning the house’

ieutat
prg.clean.tinc.ipv.pl

248

(9.159) Na

ieutat
prg.clean.tinc.ipv.pl

3aerg
‘They are cleaning’

(9.160) Motlaua

ikema
dog.erg

pyie
child.dat

Motla.all
‘Motla’s dog bit the child’

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

kilhtyi
bite.pv

(9.161) Motlaua

ikema
dog.erg

kilhtyi
bite.pv

Motla.all
‘Motla’s dog bit (someone or other)’

It is even possible, in the appropriate context, to omit all core arguments from the clause, leaving just the
verb. For example, coming across a patch of scorched earth in a forest clearing, one might remark:

(9.162) Ekan

kiospyi
burn.pv

le
apparently

here:loc
‘Someone must have burned something here’
or ‘Something must have burned here’

Perhaps the closest structural equivalent to a passive is the resultative (res) construction discussed in
7.5.1.
As the examples below illustrate, resultative morphology is added to a Class II or III verb denoting an action
to derive a Class I verb expressing the state resulting from that action. In the process, the verb’s ergative
argument (if any) is suppressed, while the dative argument (if any) loses its status as a delimiter and appears
instead in the locative or allative case:

§

(9.163) Kalma

kotoi
house.dat
man.erg
‘The men are building the house’

itiespat
prg.build.ipv.pl

(9.164) Kotuna

tieispa
build:res.ipv

house.loc
‘The house is built/finished’

However, even the resultative construction is not fully comparable to the English passive. See
some discussion on this point.

§

7.5.1 for

9.4.2 Increasing valence: Causative constructions

A causative construction is any construction in which an external actor participant directly or indirectly
brings about an event: e.g., ‘Sakial made Elim write the letter’ is a causative proposition, where ‘Sakial’
is the external actor (or causer) who brings about the writing event—in this case by compelling a more
immediate actor (‘Elim’, the causee) to carry out the action. Below I discuss some of the ways of expressing
causation in Okuna.

Monoclausal causatives

To begin with, any Class III verb which normally describes a spontaneous or self-directed action may be
‘causativized’ simply by adding an actor argument—a noun phrase marked with ergative case—without
the need for any special causative marking. The participant denoted by the actor argument is usually
understood to be acting directly on the participant denoted by the theme/delimiter argument—that is,
physically manipulating it so as to cause it to undergo a change of state or location. Compare the following
examples, featuring the Class III verb uihta. Although this verb normally expresses a self-directed action
(‘sit down’), it can also express an externally-caused action (‘set down’) when an actor argument is included
in the clause:

9.4. VALENCE

249

(9.165) Pyie

tsoil
child.nom
bed.dat
‘The child sat down on the bed’

uihtyi
sit:down.pv

(9.166) Amema

pyie
child.nom

tsoil
bed.dat

uihtyi
sit:down.pv

mother.erg
‘The mother set the child down on the bed’

Compare also the following examples, featuring the Class III verb tiausa ‘fall/drop’:

(9.167) Palaht`a

tiausyi
fall.pv

tree.nom
‘The tree fell’

(9.168) Kalma

palaht`a
tree.nom

tiausyit
fall.pv.pl

man.erg
‘The men felled the tree’

Certain Class II verbs show a somewhat di↵erent valence alternation. These include kiompa, illustrated
below, which means ‘run, move quickly’ when used intransitively and ‘chase’ (i.e., cause to move quickly)
when used transitively. Here, however, the transitive variant is formed by adding a nominative-marked theme
argument denoting a causee, rather than an ergative-marked actor argument denoting a causer.

(9.169) Ikema

ikiompa
prg.run.ipv

dog.erg
‘The dog is running’

(9.170) Ikema

sekite
rat.nom

ikiompa
prg.run.ipv

dog.erg
‘The dog is chasing a rat’

Class I verbs, which are generally stative, cannot take an actor argument at all. However, a Class I verb
can be converted into a Class II verb by adding the atelic inchoative sux -im or the telic inchoative sux
-(e)t (e.g., nuha ‘be cold’ > enuhima ‘make/get colder, cool down’, nuhta ‘make/get cold’; cf.
7.5.3). These
derived verbs are capable of taking an ergative-marked actor argument, as in (9.173), in which case they
denote an externally-caused change of state.

§

(9.171) Mupatl`e

ihalhkat
prg.dry.ipv.pl

clothes.nom
‘The clothes are dry’

(9.172) Mupatl`e

halhketyit
dry.tinc.pv.pl

clothes.nom
‘The clothes became dry’ or ‘The clothes dried’

(9.173) Na

3aerg

mupatl`e
clothes.nom

halhketyia
dry.tinc.pv.npl

‘He dried the clothes’ (i.e., caused the clothes to become dry)

Class I verbs denoting an emotion or physical sensation, such as ohiyna ‘be sad’, can be converted into Class
II verbs using the active sux -amp (
7.5.2). Like verbs derived with -im or -(e)t, these are capable of
§
taking an actor argument denoting the causer of the emotion/sensation.

250

(9.174) Motlana

iohyina
prg.sad.ipv

Motla.loc
‘Motla is sad’

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

(9.175) Sliahte

it`a
that:erg

Motlana
Motla.loc

ohyinampa
sad.act.ipv

story
‘That story saddens Motla’ or ‘That story makes Motla sad’

For verbs denoting an emotion or sensation, the -im and -(e)t causatives tend to imply that the actor is
doing something (consciously or unconsciously) to bring about an emotional reaction in the experiencer,
whereas the -amp causative is used when some characteristic of the actor triggers the emotion, without the
actor necessarily having to do anything. For example, ‘X saddens Y, X makes Y sad’ can be expressed using
ohiynta, euohiynima, or ohiynampa, depending on the intended sense: ohiynta means ‘X does something to
make Y sad’ and euohiynima means ‘X does something to increase Y’s level of sadness’, whereas ohyinampa
has the sense of ‘X inspires sadness in Y’.

Biclausal causatives

A verb cannot have more than one actor argument, and hence a verb cannot take more than one noun phrase
marked for ergative case. Consider clauses headed by a Class II or III verb and containing an ergative actor,
such as (9.176) and (9.177) :

(9.176) Kimima

ailyi
cry.pv

baby.erg
‘The baby cried’

(9.177) Sakialma

kihoin
Sakial.erg
letter.dat
‘Sakial wrote the letter’

siehpyi
write.pv

Sentences like these cannot be causativized simply by adding another ergative noun phrase to express the
causer. Suppose we wanted to form a sentence meaning ‘A loud noise caused the baby to cry’: we could
not do this by adding the ergative noun phrase lhonkoma ‘noise’ to (9.176). *Lhonkoma kimima ailyi is no
more grammatical in Okuna than ‘The noise cried the baby’ is in English: aila ‘cry’ cannot combine directly
with a causer because its actor argument function has already been filled by kimi ‘baby’. The mono-clausal
causative construction is unavailable for such verbs.

In order to express an externally-caused action, the Class II/III verb is placed in the dependent indicative
form, and the clause containing that verb (marked for nominative case) is selected as the theme argument
of a causative verb such as lohka, which takes the causer as its ergative argument. This construction, which
I will refer to as the biclausal causative construction, is illustrated in (9.178) and (9.179):

(9.178) Lhonkoma

loud:noise.erg

lohkyi
cause.pv

kimima
baby.erg

ail`a
cry.dep.nom

‘A loud noise made the baby cry’ (more lit. ‘caused the baby[’s] crying’)

(9.179) Ma

lohkyi
cause.pv

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

kihoin
letter.dat

siehp`a
write.dep.nom

1serg
‘I made Sakial write the letter’

The biclausal causative construction is available quite generally for expressing external causation of an event.
In cases where one has the option of using the biclausal causative construction or simply adding an ergative
argument to a clause which does not already have one, the choice between the two depends on how directly
the causer is acting on the causee. Consider the examples below, featuring the verb nkilha ‘leave, go away’.

9.4. VALENCE

251

Both the mono-clausal causative in (9.181) and the biclausal causative in (9.182) describe a situation where
Sakial caused the child to leave. In (9.181), however, it is understood that Sakial acted directly on the child
to bring about the event, by carrying or leading the child away. In (9.182), by contrast, it is more likely that
Sakial acted indirectly—e.g., ordering or persuading the child to leave, tricking the child into leaving, etc.

(9.180) Pyie

nkilhyi
leave.pv

child.nom
‘The child went away’

(9.181) Sakialma

nkilhyi
Sakial.erg
leave.pv
‘Sakial took/led the child away’

pyie
child.nom

(9.182) Sakialma

lohkyi
cause.pv

pyie
child.nom

nkilh`a
leave.dep.nom

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial made the child leave’ or ‘Sakial got the child to leave’

Note that if the noun phrase denoting the causee is in the nominative or dative case, as in (9.182) above, the
verb denoting the caused event may also appear in the converb form, immediately preceding the causative
verb (see
10.4 on the converb construction). Hence, (9.183) below is acceptable as an alternative to (9.182).
Crucially, this converb construction is not available for causatives like (9.178) or (9.179), where the causee
is in the ergative case.

§

(9.183) Sakialma

pyie
child.nom

nkilhe
leave.cv

lohkyi
cause.pv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial made the child leave’ or ‘Sakial got the child to leave’

In the examples of the biclausal construction seen so far, the causee functions as an argument of the dependent
verb.
It is also possible for the causee to function as the dative-marked delimiter argument of lohka, as
illustrated by the examples below (causative verbs like lohka belong to Class III). When the causee is an
argument of the causative verb, its function within the dependent clause is usually expressed by a missing
argument.

(9.184) Ma

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

lohkyi
cause.pv

1serg
‘I made Sakial write the letter’

kihoin
letter.dat

siehp`a
write.dep.nom

(9.185) Sakialma

pyie
child.dat

lohkyima
cause.pv.dpl

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial made the children leave’

(9.186) Kimei

lhonkoma
loud:noise.erg

lohkyi
cause.pv

baby.dat
‘A loud noise made the baby cry’

nkilhat`a
leave.dep.pl.nom

ail`a
cry.dep.nom

(9.187) No

nkilhe
3ardat
leave.cv
‘They were made to leave’

lohkyit
cause.pv.pl

Lohka is a semantically neutral causative verb, roughly equivalent to ‘make’ or ‘cause’ in English. Other
causative verbs which can occur in the biclausal construction discussed above include teuohka and somita:
teuohka is similar to lohka, but connotes a degree of coercion on the part of the causer, making it closer to
English ‘force’ or ‘compel’; while somita is used when the causer verbally influences the causee to act, and
thus corresponds to ‘persuade’ or ‘convince’ (the latter requires a dependent subjunctive complement when
used as a causative verb).

252

(9.188) Ma

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

teuohkyi
force.pv

1serg
‘I forced Sakial to write the letter’

kihoin
letter.dat

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

siehp`a
write.dep.nom

(9.189) Ma

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

somityi
convince.pv

1serg
‘I convinced Sakial to write the letter’

kihoin
letter.dat

siehp`e
write.dep:sbj.nom

Another pair of verbs which occur in causative constructions are mehka and tsuhka. These verbs take a
nominative argument denoting an event and an optional dative argument denoting the experiencer of that
event. Normally they are used as equivalents of English ‘happen/occur’ or ‘take place’, as in the examples
below. Note that mehka is neutral, while tsuhka is used when the event which happens is unfortunate or
unpleasant, and can sometimes be translated ‘go wrong’.

(9.190) Esimoitatse

naming:ceremony.nom
‘The naming ceremony will take place tomorrow’

elohfoi
tomorrow

mehka
happen.ipv

(9.191) Kuo

2rdat

m`a
what:nom

mehkyin?
happen.pv.qu

‘What happened to you?’ (neutral)

(9.192) Kuo

2rdat

m`a
what:nom

tsuhkyin?
happen:badly.pv.qu

‘What happened to you?’ (negative) or ‘What’s wrong?’

(9.193) Mo

1srdat

tsuhkyi
happen:badly.pv

naua
palm

han`a
cut.dep.nom

‘I happened to cut my hand’ (lit. ‘[My] hand being cut happened to me’)

Mehka and tsuhka can take an actor argument as well as a theme and a delimiter, in which case they
function as causative verbs. Mehka, when used in place of lohka, usually emphasizes that the causer is acting
indirectly and/or unintentionally to bring about the event, and corresponds roughly to English ‘have’:

(9.194) Ma

1serg

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

mehkyi
happen.pv

kihoin
letter.dat

siehp`a
write.dep.nom

‘I had Sakial write the letter’ (more lit. ‘I made writing the letter happen to Sakial’)

(9.195) Me

Elimma
Elim.erg

nehtyi,
startle.pv

elh
and

mo
1srdat

it`a
that:erg

tsuhkyi
happen:badly.pv

naua
palm

han`a
cut.dep.nom

1snom
‘Elim startled me, and that’s what caused me to cut my hand’

Note finally that the theme argument of a causative verb need not be a dependent clause, but can be a
regular noun phrase or pronoun denoting an action, event, or oce:

(9.196) Ko

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

ymiohpa
why

2erg
‘Why did you make Sakial do that?’

tan
that:nom

lohkyin?
cause.pv.qu

(9.197) Sa

Sakiail
13erg
Sakial.dat
‘We made Sakial our chief’

talo
chief

lohkyit
make.pv.pl

9.4. VALENCE

9.4.3 The reflexive construction

253

Reflexive clauses are formed using the noun tsan, glossed ‘self’ in the examples below. Tsan normally occurs
immediately before the verb, replacing one of the verb’s arguments:

(9.198) Mikalma
boy.erg
‘The boy hit the dog’

ikei
dog.dat

kahtyi
hit.pv

(9.199) Mikalma
boy.erg
‘The boy hit himself’

tsan
self

kahtyi
hit.pv

Tsan is the functional counterpart of a reflexive pronoun (‘myself’, ‘yourself’, ‘themselves’, etc.). Unlike the
English reflexive pronouns, however, tsan takes the same form regardless of the person and number of its
antecedent:

ma tsan kahtyi
ko tsan kahtyi
na tsan kahtyi

‘I hit myself’
‘you hit yourself’
‘s/he hit him/herself’

sa tsan kahtyit
ko tsan kahtyit
na tsan kahtyit

‘we hit ourselves’
‘you hit yourselves’
‘they hit themselves’

4.6). Being unmarked, tsan does
When used as a reflexive element, tsan is normally unmarked for case (see
7.2), even when its antecedent is plural. Compare the examples
not trigger number agreement on the verb (
§
below: In the first sentence, the dative-marked topic argument (‘women’) and the nominative argument
(‘children’) are both plural, and so the verb carries both the plural topic sux -t and the nominative plural
sux -ua. In the second sentence, however, tsan stands in for the nominative argument; here, -ua is absent
and the verb carries only plural topic agreement:

§

(9.200) Ihai

pyie
child.nom

kilauat
see.ipv.npl.pl

woman.dat
‘The women see the children’

(9.201) Ihai

tsan
self

kilat
see.ipv.pl

woman.nom
‘The women see themselves’

The reflexive construction is actually a variant of the body part construction discussed in
4.6.3. When a
clause denotes an event where the actor acts on a part of his/her own body, the noun which denotes the
body part appears in its ‘bare’ form, unmarked for case and without a possessive pronoun, as with temie
‘hands’ in (9.202) below. Tsan patterns with body part terms in this respect (9.203). In fact, tsan can be
used to mean ‘body’, so an alternate translation for (9.203) would be ‘The children washed (their) bodies’.3

§

(9.202) Pyima

temie
hands

pauyit
wash.pv.pl

child.erg
‘The children washed their hands’

(9.203) Pyima

tsan
self

pauyit
wash.pv.pl

child.erg
‘The children washed themselves’

The distribution and function of tsan depend on the class to which the verb belongs. I consider the various
possibilities below.

3Tsan also means ‘thing, object, entity’. To express ‘body’, the more usual word is koitsan (for the body of a person) or

lino (for the body of an animal, vessel, etc.).

254

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

Reflexive clauses with Class I verbs

Verbs belonging to Class I may take tsan as an argument if they express a relationship between an experiencer
(marked for one of the oblique cases) and a theme argument (marked for nominative case). When a verb of
this type is reflexivized, tsan replaces the nominative noun phrase, while the oblique noun phrase names the
individual who bears the relationship to him/herself. Compare:

(9.204) Elima

Elim.all

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

huata
like.ipv

‘Elim likes Sakial’ (lit. ‘To Elim, Sakial is liked’)

(9.205) Elima

tsan
self

huata
like.ipv

Elim.all
‘Elim likes himself’

Reflexivization of Class II verbs

Class II verbs can take up to two core arguments, one marked with ergative case and the other with
nominative. When tsan is used with a Class II verb, it usually replaces the nominative noun phrase, and
the clause denotes an event whereby the actor carries out an action on him/herself or stands in a particular
relation to him/herself. Compare:

(9.206) Moihama

mikale
girl.erg
boy.nom
‘The girl is looking at the boy’

iksona
prg.look:at.ipv

(9.207) Moihama
girl.nom
‘The girl is looking at herself in the mirror’

iksona
prg.look:at.ipv

ailotna
mirror.loc

tsan
self

Tsan can, in principle, appear with any Class II verb. This includes verbs like muelha ‘sleep’, tupa ‘walk’,
and ekpiha ‘search’, which normally do not take a nominative argument because they denote events involving
only one (core) participant. It is not always easy to articulate the function of tsan when used with such
verbs. Roughly speaking, the reflexive serves to emphasize that the actor is involving him/herself fully in
the action, or performing the action for his/her own benefit:

(9.208) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

tsan
self

muelhyi
sleep.pv

‘Sakial got himself some sleep’ (lit. ‘Sakial slept his body’)

(9.209) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

tsan
self

ihosta
prg.dance.ipv

‘Sakial is dancing vigorously’ (lit. ‘Sakial is dancing his body’)

(9.210) Sakialma

kamala
knife.all

tsan
self

ikpiha
prg.search.ipv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial is looking for a knife for himself’ or ‘… a knife that he can use’

Occasionally the ergative argument is replaced by tsan while the nominative argument remains. This con-
struction may be used to emphasize that the event happened spontaneously, without any external cause.
Compare the sentences below: (9.211) is a regular transitive clause, with muka ‘close’ taking an ergative
argument and a nominative argument. In (9.212)–(9.213) only the nominative argument is present. (9.212)
is ambiguous between an agentive reading, where the event is caused by an implicit agent or force separate

9.4. VALENCE

255

from the undergoer, and a non-agentive reading, where the event happens spontaneously.4 When tsan is
included, as in (9.213), only the non-agentive reading is possible. In this usage, tsan has a similar sense to
English ‘by itself’, ‘on its own’, ‘of its own accord’, etc.

(9.211) Ihama

hitole
door.nom

mukyi
close.pv

woman.erg
‘The woman closed the door’

(9.212) Hitole

door.nom

mukyi
close.pv

‘The door (was) closed’

(9.213) Hitole

door.nom

tsan
self

mukyi
close.pv

‘The door closed (by itself)’

Consider also the examples below, featuring the verb tiausa. This verb means ‘drop’ [transitive] when used
to describe an agentive action, and ‘fall’ or ‘drop’ [intransitive] when it describes a non-agentive action:

(9.214) Kitoleuma

kepehotse
acorn.nom

palahtau
tree.abl

tiausyi
fall/drop.pv

squirrel.erg
‘The squirrel dropped an acorn from the tree’

(9.215) Kepehotse
acorn.nom

palahtau
tree.abl

tiausyi
fall/drop.pv

‘An acorn fell/dropped from the tree’ or ‘An acorn was dropped from the tree’

(9.216) Kepehotse
acorn.dat

palahtau
tree.abl

tsan
self

tiausyi
fall/drop.pv

‘An acorn fell/dropped from the tree’

Reflexivization of Class III verbs

Class III verbs are those which can take up to three core arguments (ergative, dative, and nominative).
With Class III verbs expressing the transmission of an object, image, idea, etc., from one individual to
another, tsan typically replaces the nominative argument. Here, either the ergative or the dative argument
can be interpreted as the antecedent in the reflexive relation, depending on which one functions as the topic.
Compare the following:

(9.217) Sakialma

pyie
Eleim
Sakial.erg
child.nom
Elim.dat
‘Sakial showed the child to Elim’

kilyi
show.pv

(9.218) Sakialma

Eleim
Elim.dat

tsan
self

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial showed himself to Elim’

kilyi
show.pv

(9.219) Eleim

Sakialma
Elim.dat
Sakial.erg
‘Elim was shown himself by Sakial’

tsan
self

kilyi
show.pv

4To indicate unambiguously that the event has an agent, an ergative noun phrase must be included in the clause. When
the identity of the actor is unknown, an indefinite element such as mi`o ‘someone’ may be used: e.g., Hitole miohma mukyi
‘Someone closed the door’ or ‘The door was closed by someone’.

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CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

With verbs denoting an action whereby an agent (in the ergative case) brings about a change of state in a
patient (in the dative case), tsan normally stands in for the dative argument, with the ergative argument
acting as its antecedent. Compare:

(9.220) Ihama

kail
man.dat

kahtyi
hit.pv

woman.erg
‘The woman hit the man’

(9.221) Ihama

tsan
self

kahtyi
hit.pv

woman.erg
‘The woman hit herself’

(9.222) Pyima

totsait
table.dat

mulme
cloth.inst

patlyi
cover.pv

child.erg
‘The child covered the table with a cloth’

(9.223) Pyima

patlyi
cover.pv
child.erg
‘The child covered herself with a cloth’

mulme
cloth.inst

tsan
self

However, it is also possible for tsan to replace the ergative argument, with the dative argument acting as the
antecedent. In this construction, the speaker indicates that the dative-marked undergoer (rather than some
other individual) is ultimately responsible for the action coming about. Compare the following sentences,
for example: (9.224) is a regular transitive clause with actor and undergoer both expressed overtly and the
undergoer functioning as the topic of the clause. In (9.225) and (9.226) the actor is unspecified, causing the
ergative noun phrase to be omitted. These sentences di↵er in that (9.226) implies that the dog played a
crucial role in its own death, whereas (9.225) carries no such implication.

(9.224) Elima

ikei
dog.dat

sisliankama
rattlesnake.erg

Elim.all
‘Elim’s dog was killed by a rattlesnake’

kaihyi
kill.pv

(9.225) Elima

ikei
dog.dat

kaihyi
kill.pv

Elim.all
‘Elim’s dog was killed’

(9.226) Elima

ikei
dog.dat

mitunke
somehow

Elim.all
‘Elim’s dog got itself killed somehow’

tsan
self

kaihyi
kill.pv

Compare also the examples below. In (9.227), where Sakial is in the ergative case, it is implied that Sakial
is performing a deliberate action on himself. Here, the focus is on Sakial as the initiator of the action. In
(9.228) Sakial is in the dative case, and the focus is on Sakial as the undergoer of the action. In the latter
sentence, the presence of tsan signals that, although Sakial did not intend the event to happen, his actions
are nonetheless responsible for bringing it about.

(9.227) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

tsan
self

kahtyi
hit.pv

‘Sakial (deliberately) hit himself’

(9.228) Sakiail

Sakial.dat

tsan
self

kahtyi
hit.pv

‘Sakial (accidentally) hit himself’ or ‘Sakial got himself hit’

9.4. VALENCE

257

Occasionally a Class III change-of-state verb will take tsan in addition to an overt ergative argument and an
overt dative argument, as in the examples below. Here, the presence of the reflexive element specifies that
the actor is exerting him/herself, or acting for his/her own benefit. In other words, tsan emphasizes that
the individual performing the action is also a↵ected by the action. Verbs of ingestion such as iasa ‘eat’ and
sepa ‘drink’ often appear with tsan, since the action has an e↵ect not only on the substance being ingested,
but also on the person doing the ingesting.

(9.229) Ihama

satei
meal.dat

tsan
self

iepamat
prg.prepare.ipv.pl

woman.erg
‘The women are preparing themselves a meal’

(9.230) Na

homai
bread.dat

tsan
self

3aerg
‘He ate (himself) some bread’

iasyi
eat.pv

Although it normally appears in its unmarked form, tsan occasionally takes core case marking, especially
when it is being used contrastively. Note the example below, where tsan, marked with the ergative case
ending -ma, is contrasted with the ergative argument inmot ‘everyone’.

(9.231) Sakiale

inmot
everyone:erg

ufonane,
pf.praise.ipv.epl

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial was praised by everyone, including himself’

ohkina
including

tsanma
self.erg

Tsan can also appear in one of the oblique cases, used when an oblique argument is coreferential with a
core argument in the same clause. In the following examples, tsan appears in the allative case, taking the
ergative argument as its antecedent. In the first sentence, tsan expresses the topic or subject matter of the
event denoted by kyitsa ‘talk about, discuss’, while in the second sentence it functions as a possessor. Used
as a possessor, tsan corresponds to ‘(one’s) own’ in English (e.g., tsana kotu ‘one’s own house’, tsanu pyimit
‘one’s own children’).

(9.232) Sakialma

tsana
self.all
Sakial.erg
‘Sakial was talking about himself’

ikyitsanka
prg.talk:about.ipv:pst

(9.233) Sakialma

tsana
self.all
Sakial.erg
‘Why would Sakial have burned down his own house?’

kotoi
house.dat

ymiohpa
why

ukiosp`ıkin?
pf.burn.cond.qu

In addition to occurring as a noun phrase by itself, tsan can also appear as an emphatic modifier within a
larger noun phrase, as illustrated below. Emphatic tsan follows a noun (e.g., talo tsan ‘the chief himself’)
but precedes a pronoun, which takes the non-clitic form (e.g., tsan nin ‘they themselves’).

tsanma
(9.234) Hynukiale
play.nom
self.erg
‘The chief himself will perform (in) the play’

ukia
perform.ipv

talo
chief

Used as a noun modifier, tsan often has the sense of English ‘the same’.5 In combination with a following
demonstrative, tsan may be translated ‘that very’ (or, in a larger sentence, ‘that’s the same…’):

(9.235) Sa

mekul
bowl

tsanu
self.abl

sepat
drink.ipv.pl

13erg
‘We drink from the same bowl’

5Another way of expressing ‘the same’ is with kelefe or keliale preceding the noun. Both kelefe and keliale mean ‘shared
one’, but the former is used of objects that can be possessed (e.g., Sa kelefe kotuna tsuhpat ‘We live in the same house’), while
the latter is used of people, animals, and attributes (e.g., Ne keliale amema upaksonat ‘They were raised by the same mother’).

258

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

(9.236) Mo

koin
person

nan
1srdat
that:nom
‘I met that very person’ or ‘That’s the same person I met’

sasyi
meet.pv

tsan
self

(9.237) Kuo

es
one

koine
2rdat
person.nom
‘I met the same person that you met’
lit. ‘You having met a person, that same one I also (met)’

usase,
pf.meet.pt

nan
that:nom

tsan
self

husu
also

umai
1srdat

A pronoun modified by tsan can be used as a sort of long-distance reflexive, explicitly marking a coreference
relation between an argument of an embedded clause and an argument of a higher clause. This is illustrated
below. The first sentence, like its English counterpart, is ambiguous: the embedded pronoun na may refer
to Sakial, or to some other individual not named in the sentence. On the other hand, when na is replaced
by tsan in`a, as in the second sentence, the only interpretation is that Sakial said that he, Sakial, would write
the letter.

(9.238) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

etsyi
say.pv

na
3aerg

kihoin
letter.dat

siehp`e
write.dep:sbj.nom

‘Sakial said that s/he would write the letter’

(9.239) Sakialma

etsyi
say.pv

tsan
self

in`a
3aserg

kihoin
letter.dat

siehp`e
write.dep:sbj.nom

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial said that he himself would write the letter’

9.4.4 Reciprocal clauses

Reciprocal (‘each other’) clauses are formed by suxing the reciprocal morpheme -(u)o (glossed recip) to
the verb. This morpheme takes the form -o after a glide and -uo elsewhere, as illustrated below. In (9.240)
the reciprocal sux follows the imperfective sux -a, while in (9.241) it follows the perfective sux -yi,
which ends in a glide:

(9.240) Pyie

kilauot
see.ipv.recip.pl

child.dat
‘The children will see each other’

(9.241) Pyie

kilyiot
see:res.pv.recip.pl

child.dat
‘The children saw each other’

The reciprocal marker occupies the same sux slot as the nominative, dative, and ergative plural agreement
suxes (see

7.2), and is thus mutually exclusive with them. Compare:

§
(9.242) Kalma

pyie
child.nom
man.erg
‘The men are looking at the child’

iksonat
prg.look:at.ipv.pl

(9.243) Kalma

pyie
child.nom

iksonauat
prg.look:at.ipv.npl.pl

man.erg
‘The men are looking at the children’

(9.244) Kalma

iksonauot
prg.look:at.ipv.recip.pl
man.erg
‘The men are looking at each other’

9.4. VALENCE

259

The examples above show that when the antecedent of the reciprocal is the topic of the clause, and appears
in one of the core cases (nominative, dative, ergative), the verb takes the plural topic sux -t in addition to
-(u)o. Compare these examples with (9.245) below: in the latter case, -t is absent because kalma ‘the men’
is not the topic of the clause, but is instead interpreted contrastively or as providing new information.

(9.245) Kalma

iksonauo
prg.look:at.ipv.recip.pl

man.erg
‘There are some men looking at each other’
or ‘It’s the men who are looking at each other’

A reciprocal-marked verb is sometimes augmented by the collective particle kele ‘all, together’, or the
distributive particle la ‘each, in turn’. Adding kele emphasizes that the participants are acting on each
other simultaneously, while adding la emphasizes that they are acting separately or in succession. For
example, (9.246) would be used if the men hit each other at the same time, while (9.247) would be used if
A hit B first, after which B hit A:

(9.246) Kalma

man.erg

kele
together

kahtyiot
hit.pv.recip.pl

‘The men hit each other’ or ‘The men fought / came to blows’

(9.247) Kalma

man.erg

la
each

kahtyiot
hit.pv.recip.pl

‘The men each hit the other (in turn)’

Adding reciprocal morphology to the verb usually reduces its valence, with the reciprocal marker ‘standing
in for’ one of the core arguments in the clause. With Class I verbs, reciprocal morphology replaces the
nominative (theme) argument, and the antecedent for the reciprocal is a noun phrase in one of the oblique
cases (typically denoting an experiencer):

(9.248) Isane
13all
‘We recognized Sakial’

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

niokoihtyi
recognize.tinc.pv

(9.249) Isane
13all
‘We recognized each other’

niokoihtyio
recognize.tinc.pv.recip

With Class II verbs, the nominative argument is again suppressed while the ergative argument functions as
the antecedent for the reciprocal:

(9.250) Me

lhatima
children.erg

1snom
‘The children visited me’

tsulyine
visit.pv.epl

(9.251) Lhatima

tsulyiot
children.erg
visit.pv.recip.pl
‘The children visited each other’

With Class III verbs, either the nominative or the dative argument is usually suppressed, with one of the
other core arguments acting as antecedent (typically the one functioning as the topic).
In (9.253), for
example, reciprocal morphology replaces a nominative argument with a dative topic as antecedent, while in
(9.255) it replaces a dative argument with an ergative topic as antecedent.

260

CHAPTER 9. CLAUSE STRUCTURE

(9.252) No

es
one

tsokoimp`a
3ardat
stranger.nom
‘They met a stranger on the road to Uiluma’

sasyit
meet.pv.pl

Uilumaua
Uiluma.all

tulona
road.loc

(9.253) No

3ardat

Uilumaua
Uiluma.all

tulona
road.loc

sasyiot
meet.pv.recip.pl

‘They met (each other) on the road to Uiluma’

(9.254) Na

Sakiail
3aerg
Sakial.dat
‘They gave gifts to Sakial’

kytu
gift

uktiyit
give.pv.pl

(9.255) Na

kytu
gift

uktiyiot
give.pv.recip.pl

3aerg
‘They gave each other gifts’

Occasionally the reciprocal sux is added to a Class II or Class III verb without replacing any of its core
arguments. Here the presence of reciprocal morphology may indicate that two or more individuals are acting
for one another’s benefit:

(9.256) Ihama

iase
food

ititiankauot
prg.gather.ipv:pst.recip.pl

woman.erg
‘The women were gathering each other food’

Compare also the examples below, where reciprocal marking alternates with an instrumental noun phrase:

(9.257) Sa

Sakialme
Sakial.inst

isokastankat
prg.argue.ipv:pst.pl

13erg
‘We were arguing with Sakial about that’

it`e
that:all

(9.258) Sa

13erg

isokastankauot
prg.argue.ipv:pst.recip.pl

it`e
that:all

‘We were arguing (with each other) about that’

efosa
(9.259) Elim
Elim
problem.all
‘Elim and I talked over the problem with our friends’

kuname
friend.inst

so
13rdat

im`a
1serg

ka
and

kyitsampyit
mention.act.pv.pl

(9.260) Elim
Elim
‘Elim and I discussed the problem’ or ‘… talked with one another about the problem’

kyitsampyiot
mention.act.pv.recip.pl

efosa
problem.all

im`a
1serg

ka
and

Note that reciprocal marking is optional in (9.258) and (9.260). For example, Elim ka im`a efosa kyitsampyit
is also an acceptable way to say ‘Elim and I discussed the problem’. The presence of the reciprocal sux
in (9.260) serves to emphasize that Elim and the speaker both participated actively in the discussion (and
implies that nobody else participated). In other cases, however, reciprocal marking is not optional: Note that
there are several verbs in English which describe reciprocal actions when used intransitively (e.g., ‘meet’,
‘fight’). Their Okuna counterparts, however, must take the reciprocal sux in such cases:

(9.261) So

13rdat

laisne
just

utsokuauot
pf.meet.ipv.recip.pl

‘We just met (each other)’

9.4. VALENCE

261

Reciprocal clauses with la iap and la iahte

When a core argument bears a reciprocal relation to an argument in a more peripheral function (e.g., verb
modifier, possessor), the latter may be expressed using the noun phrase la iap (lit.
‘each the other’) or la
iahte (lit. ‘each the others’) inflected for oblique case, rather than by adding reciprocal morphology to the
verb. Often the antecedent noun phrase contains a distributive universal quantifier meaning ‘each’ (see
5.6).
Examples are given below. The form la iap is used in contexts where two individuals stand in a relation to
one another, while la iahte is used when more than two individuals each stand in a relation to the others.

§

(9.262) Na

la
each

iapa
3aerg
other:all
‘They were talking about each other’

ikyitsankat
prg.mention.ipv:pst.pl

(9.263) Ne

la
each

kotuna
3anom
house.loc
‘They stayed at each other’s houses’

iapa
other:all

tehyit
stay.pv.pl

(9.264) Lhati

nket
3a:each:nom

la
each

iahteu
others:abl

amema
mother.erg

fonyinit
praise.pv.epl.pl

children
‘The children were praised by each other’s mothers’ or ‘… each praised by the others’ mothers’
more lit. ‘Each child was praised in turn by the others’ mothers’

La iap and la iahte can also appear as core arguments, together with reciprocal marking on the verb, when
it is necessary to place special emphasis on the reciprocal nature of the event. Compare the examples below,
where (9.265) is focus-neutral, while (9.266) features narrow focus on the delimiter participant. In the latter
case, the dative noun phrase la iaip is included in order to give the focus particle tiefu something to take
scope over. (If la iaip were omitted from (9.266), giving Pyima tiefu kahtyiot, the sentence would mean that
hitting each other is the only thing that the children did.)

(9.265) Pyima

kahtyiot
hit.pv.recip.pl

child.erg
‘The children hit each other’

(9.266) Pyima

child.erg

tiefu
only

la
each

iaip
other.dat

kahtyiot
hit.pv.recip.pl

‘The children only hit each other’ (not anyone else)

Chapter 10

Nominalization and Complex Clauses

10.1 Introduction

In this chapter I discuss various ways of forming complex sentences by embedding one clause inside another.
In Okuna, as in many head-final languages, subordinate clauses are not marked by a separate class of function
words—e.g., there are no complementizers comparable to English ‘that’. Instead, subordinate clauses are
formed by adding special morphology to the verb.

For example, compare the main clause in (10.1) with its subordinate clause counterparts in (10.2)–
(10.4). In (10.2) the verb stem ital- ‘be reading’ carries the nominalizing sux -a, which marks the so-called
dependent (dep) form. The dependent clause, which patterns like a noun phrase, inflects for nominative
case and is selected as the complement of the verb iona ‘know’. Here the dependent clause functions as a
theme argument, denoting the proposition known by Sakial. In (10.3) and (10.4) the verb appears in two of
its participle (pt) forms, marked by the suxes -e (for the indicative mood) and -ai (for the subjunctive
mood). Indicative participles form adverbial clauses which provide a temporal context for the event in the
main clause, while subjunctive participles form conditional (‘if’) clauses.

(10.1) Pyima

halmai
child.erg
book.dat
‘The child was reading the book’

italanka
prg.read.ipv:pst

(10.2) Sakialna

halmai
Sakial.loc
book.dat
‘Sakial knew that the child was reading the book’

ionanka
know.ipv:pst

pyima
child.erg

ital`a
prg.read.dep.nom

(10.3) Pyima

sati
child.erg
meal
‘While the child was reading the book, her mother made dinner’

itale,
prg.read.pt

amema
mother.erg

halmai
book.dat

no
3ardat

ipamyi
prepare.pv

(10.4) Pyima

italai,
child.erg
prg.read.pt:sbj
‘If the child is reading the book, her mother will be pleased’

halmai
book.dat

amena
mother.loc

no
3ardat

kestampa
happy.act.ipv

10.3. The
The dependent form and its uses are discussed in
§
remaining sections of this chapter deal with other kinds of verb inflection for deriving subordinate verbs
and clauses. In
10.4 I discuss the formation of converbs, which modify another verb by specifying the
means or manner in which the event denoted by the verb is carried out (e.g., from tlynk- ‘push’ we can
form the converb tlynke ‘by pushing’, which can then combine with the main verb lima ‘open’ to form the
compound predicate tlynke lima ‘open by pushing, push open’). Nominalized verbs denoting types of events,

10.2, while participles are discussed in

§

§

262

10.2. THE DEPENDENT FORM

263

10.5. Finally

10.6 deals with participant nominals, nominalized verbs
called gerunds, are discussed in
referring to individuals involved in actions or states (people, objects, places, times, etc.). These include
agentive nouns, formed by adding the sux -ka to the dependent form of the verb (e.g., muelha ‘sleep’ >
muelhaka ‘sleeper, one who sleeps’). Participant nominals play a crucial role in Okuna grammar, since they
constitute the main class of noun modifiers, functioning much as adjectives and relative clauses do in English
(e.g., muelhaka pyi ‘sleeping child’ or ‘child who sleeps’).

§

§

10.2 The dependent form

There are various types of subordinate clauses in Okuna which are characterized by the appearance of
special aspect/mood/polarity inflection on the verb, largely distinct from the inflection found on verbs
7.4 for discussion). Verbs which carry this special inflection are said to be in the
in main clauses (see
dependent form (abbreviated dep in the examples). Clauses headed by a verb in the dependent form are
called dependent clauses. Example (10.5) below gives an ordinary main clause, which can stand on its
own as a complete sentence, while (10.6) gives its dependent counterpart. Notice that these clauses di↵er
solely in the form of the verb: palyiat versus apalauata.

§

(10.5) Lhatima

kah`o
fish.nom

palyiat
catch.pv.npl.pl

children.erg
‘The children caught the fish’

(10.6) lhatima

children.erg

kah`o
fish.nom

apalauata
pv.catch.dep.npl.pl

‘(the fact that) the children caught the fish’
or ‘(the event where) the children caught the fish’

Verbs in the dependent form behave just like verbs in main clauses, in that they can combine with arguments
and modifiers and assign case in the same way as main clause verbs. However, dependent clauses as a whole
behave like noun phrases, in that they can inflect for case and act as arguments of a verb. They can also
combine with certain types of nouns to form adverbial clauses denoting time, reason, manner, etc. Before
discussing these functions, I give an overview of dependent verb morphology.

Suxal morphology

Verbs in the dependent form are characterized by special inflectional suxes, used in place of the suxes
found on main clause verbs for marking tense, aspect, mood, and polarity. Like verbs in main clauses,
dependent verbs inflect for polarity, with separate suxes for positive and negative clauses (the latter being
7.3). In addition, dependent verbs inflect for mood, making a two-way
those that contain negation: see
distinction between indicative and subjunctive (the di↵erences between these two moods are discussed
later in this section). The following table gives the dependent verb suxes. For each sux, the abbreviation
used in the example sentences is given in parentheses.

§

dependent indicative
dependent subjunctive

positive
(dep)
(dep:sbj)

-a
-i

negative
(dep:neg)
(dep:sbj:neg)

-u
-oi

3.5.3, the suxes -i and -u undergo lowering (becoming
In accordance with the vowel hiatus rules given in
-e and -o, respectively) when immediately preceded or followed by a glide: e.g., tsoku.i > tsokue ‘meet.sbj’,
m.tsoku.u > ntsokuo ‘meet.dep:neg’.

§

In most constructions involving dependent verbs, the verb agrees in number (singular versus plural) with
its nominative, dative, and ergative arguments, if any (see
7.2 for more on number agreement). Number
agreement inflection on dependent verbs is the same as on main clause verbs, except that the plural topic

§

264

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

marker has a slightly di↵erent form: on main clause verbs plural topic agreement is marked by the sux
-t, whereas for dependent verbs the sux is -ta. For reference, the following table lists all of the possible
combinations of dependent endings with agreement marking.

sg
-a
-u
-i

dep
dep:neg
dep:sbj
dep:sbj:neg -oi

pl
-ata
-uta
-ita
-oita

npl
-aua
-oua
-eua
-oia

npl+pl dpl
-auata
-ouata
-euata
-oiata

-ama
-uma
-ima
-oima

dpl+pl
-amata
-umata
-imata
-oimata

epl
-ane
-une
-ine
-oine

epl+pl
-anita
-unita
-inita
-oinita

In addition, verbs in the dependent form can take the reciprocal sux -(u)o (see
in combination with the plural topic marker -ta:

§

9.4.4), either by itself or

recip recip+pl
-auo
dep
-ouo
dep:neg
dep:sbj
-euo
dep:sbj:neg -oio

-auota
-ouota
-euota
-oiota

Prefixal morphology

Verbs in the dependent form also take prefixes to mark aspect, and can host the bound negative marker
7.3). Like verbs in main clauses, dependent verbs inflect for one of four aspects: imperfect,
m(a)- (see
progressive (prg), perfect (pf), and perfective (pv) (see
7.4 for discussion of the meanings of these
terms). However, unlike verbs in main clauses, all four aspects are marked by prefixes. The following table
gives the mood/aspect prefixes, both separately and in combination with the negative marker m(a)-:

§

§

imperfect
progressive (prg)
perfect (pf)
perfective (pv)

pos neg
— m(a)-
i-
u-
a-

me-
mo-
ma-

To illustrate these prefixes in combination with the dependent suxes discussed above, the complete set of
dependent forms for ma tupa ‘I walk’ is given below. I also include rough English equivalents for each form:

ma tupa
ma itupa
ma utupa
ma atupa

‘(that) I walk, (that) I will walk’
‘(that) I am/was walking, (that) I have/had been walking’
‘(that) I have/had walked’
‘(that) I walked, (that) I had walked’

ma ntupu
ma metupu
ma motupu
ma matupu

‘(that) I don’t/won’t walk’
‘(that) I am/was not walking, (that) I have/had not been walking’
‘(that) I have/had not walked’
‘(that) I didn’t/hadn’t walked’

ma tupi
ma itupi
ma utupi
ma atupi

‘(that) I would walk, for me to walk’
‘(that) I would be walking, (that) I would have been walking, for me to be walking’
‘(that) I would have walked (at some point), for me to have walked’
‘(that) I would have walked (then)’

ma ntupoi
ma metupoi
ma motupoi
ma matupoi

‘(that) I wouldn’t walk, for me not to walk’
‘(that) I wouldn’t be walking, (that) I wouldn’t have been walking’
‘(that) I wouldn’t (ever) have walked, for me not to have walked’
‘(that) I wouldn’t have walked (then)’

10.2. THE DEPENDENT FORM

265

The progressive, perfect, and negative prefixes are the same as those found on main clause verbs, and show
the same allomorphy discussed in
7.4. The perfective prefix a-, which occurs only on dependent
verbs, exhibits the following allomorphy, in accordance with the vowel hiatus rules summarized in

7.3 and

3.5.3:

§

§

§

1. When a- attaches to a stem beginning with a, the two vowels fuse into a single vowel: e.g., a- + atia

‘approach’ > atia.

2. When a- attaches to a stem beginning with a non-glide vowel, a glide is inserted between the prefix and
the stem. When one or both of the vowels is rounded, a u glide is inserted between them; otherwise an
i glide is inserted: e.g., a- + otsa ‘dig’ > auotsa; a- + elila ‘hug, embrace’ > aielila; a- + ylha ‘defeat’
> miaiylha.

3. When a glide is inserted between a- and a stem beginning with a high vowel, that vowel undergoes

lowering (i > e, u > o): e.g., a- + imla ‘smile’ > aiemla; a- + uktia ‘give’ > auoktia.

The following eight verbs constitute an exception to the above rules:

ekpa
eska
esta
eta
etsa
etskana
etskasta
etskopa

‘carry, bring/take, hold’
‘ask, request’
‘reach, succeed’
‘go, come’
‘say, tell’
‘arrive, appear’
‘summon, call, produce’
‘realize’

For these verbs, the initial e of the stem is dropped (except in the imperfect indicative) and replaced with
the appropriate aspectual prefix. This is illustrated by the following partial paradigm for ekpa:

ma ekpa
ma ikpa
ma ukpa
ma akpa

‘(that) I carry, (that) I will carry’
‘(that) I am/was carrying, (that) I have/had been carrying’
‘(that) I have/had carried’
‘(that) I carried, (that) I had carried’

ma mekpu
ma mekpu
ma mokpu
ma makpu

‘(that) I don’t/won’t carry’
‘(that) I am/was not carrying, (that) I have/had not been carrying’
‘(that) I have/had not carried’
‘(that) I didn’t/hadn’t carried’

The dependent forms for the copula he (
9.3.1), which has a highly irregular conjugation, are listed below.
§
Note that this verb makes only a two-way aspectual distinction, between imperfect and perfect, and can host
the agreement suxes -ta (plural topic) and -(u)a (nominative plural).

imperfect

sg
ha
hu
hi
hoi

pl
hata
huta
hita
hoita

npl
haua
houa
heua
hoia

sg
heua
heuo
heue
heuoi

perfect
pl
heuata
heuota
heueta
heuoita

npl
heuaua
heuoua
heueua
heuoia

dep
dep:neg
dep:sbj
dep:sbj:neg

The deictic verbs ts`a ‘be here (near me)’ and k`a ‘be here’ (near us) or ‘be there (near you)’ (
5.3.2) also
§
have somewhat irregular dependent forms. The table below lists the dependent forms for ts`a and k`a in the
imperfect aspect; to express the progressive and perfect aspects, the appropriate prefixes are added to these
forms (being stative verbs, ts`a and k`a do not take the perfective aspect prefix a-).

266

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

dep
dep:neg
dep:sbj
dep:sbj:neg

sg
tsaua
tsauo
tsaie
tsauoi

pl
tsauata
tsauota
tsaieta
tsauoita

npl
tsauaua
tsauoua
tsaieua
tsauoia

sg
kaua
kauo
kaie
kauoi

pl
kauata
kauota
kaieta
kauoita

npl
kauaua
kauoua
kaieua
kauoia

Although they inflect for aspect and mood, dependent verbs are not marked for tense. No morphological
distinction is made between past and non-past (except indirectly: verbs in the perfective aspect receive a
past tense interpretation by default). Consequently, the time of the event denoted by a dependent clause
must usually be inferred from the context in which that clause appears. Typically, the tense of a dependent
clause is calculated relative to the tense of the main clause in which it appears. Compare the examples
below, where the dependent clause Sakialma losak itaka ‘(that) Sakial is/was chopping firewood’ combines
with the relational noun himna ‘while’ (lit. ‘inside’) to form a temporal modifier:

(10.7) Sakialma

sati
Sakial.erg
meal
‘While Sakial is chopping firewood, I’ll begin preparing dinner’

itaka
prg.cut.dep

himna,
inside.loc

losak
firewood

ma
1serg

(10.8) Sakialma

sati
Sakial.erg
meal
‘While Sakial was chopping firewood, I began preparing dinner’

itaka
prg.cut.dep

himna,
inside.loc

losak
firewood

ma
1serg

ipanta
prepare.tinc.ipv

ipantyi
prepare.tinc.pv

In (10.7) the dependent clause is translated using the present tense (‘is chopping’) because it combines with
a main clause in the non-past imperfect; whereas in (10.8) it combines with a main clause in the perfective
and receives a past tense translation (‘was chopping’). However, the form of the dependent verb is the same
in both sentences. Progressive aspect marking on taka indicates that the time of the chopping event overlaps
with the time of the event denoted by the main clause, but without specifying whether the chopping event
occurs in the past, present, or future.

The various uses of the dependent form are discussed below.

10.2.1 I discuss case marking on
dependent verbs and the use of dependent clauses as arguments of verbs and modifiers of main clauses.
10.2.2 I discuss dependent clauses as complements of relational nouns (such as himna in (10.7) and
In
10.2.3 I discuss the elements aun and alh, which also combine with dependent clause
(10.8) above). In
complements. Finally,
10.2.4 deals with verbs which can select a dependent subjunctive verb (without case
marking) as their complement to form complex predicates.

In

§

§

§

§

Note that dependent verb inflection also provides the stems from which gerunds and most participant
10.6, respectively.

nominals are constructed. Gerunds and participant nominals are discussed in

10.5 and

§

§

10.2.1 Dependent clauses as arguments

Verbs in the dependent form behave syntactically like nouns, insofar as they can inflect for case. Case endings
attach to the end of the dependent verb, following the dependent sux and any number agreement suxes
which come after it.

Dependent verbs inflect like regular nouns, according to the rules summarized in

4.2. Some sample case
paradigms, featuring dependent verbs formed from the stem kaht- ‘hit’, are given in the table below. The first
four columns show the paradigms for singular verbs in the dependent indicative (positive and negative) and
the dependent subjunctive (positive and negative), respectively. The fifth column gives the case paradigm
for kahtuta (kaht- ‘hit’ + -u ‘del:neg’ + the plural topic agreement sux -ta). Finally, the sixth column
gives the case paradigm for kahtane (kaht- + -a ‘dep’ + the ergative plural agreement sux -ne, which
becomes -ni when followed by a consonant).

§

10.2. THE DEPENDENT FORM

267

kahta
(dep)
nom kaht`a
kahtai
dat
kahtana
loc
kahtaua
all
kahtau
abl
kahtame
inst

kahtu
(dep:neg)
kaht`o
kahtoi
kahtuna
kahtoua
kahtou
kahtume

kahti
(dep:sbj)
kaht`e
kahtei
kahtina
kahteia
kahteu
kahtime

kahtoi
(dep:sbj:neg)
kahtoie
kahtoie
kahtoina
kahtoia
kahtoio
kahtoime

kahtuta
(dep:sbj.pl)
kahtut`a
kahtutai
kahtutana
kahtutaua
kahtutau
kahtutame

kahtane
(dep.epl)
kahtan`e
kahtanei
kahtanina
kahtaneia
kahtaneu
kahtanime

Note that dependent clauses never appear in the actor function, and hence dependent verbs never take
the ergative case ending -ma. (In addition, some of the forms which do occur are quite rare; for example,
dependent indicative verbs rarely appear in the allative case, while dependent subjunctive verbs rarely appear
in the ablative.) The functions of the di↵erent case forms are summarized and illustrated below.

Dependent clauses in the nominative

Dependent clauses appear most often in the nominative case. A dependent clause is marked for nominative
case when it acts as the (theme) argument of a higher predicate in place of a regular noun phrase. For
example, compare the following sentences, featuring the Class I verb oukuta ‘be troubling’, which takes a
nominative argument denoting the object or source of the troubling feeling. In (10.9) the nominative role
is filled by the noun kefihusot ‘news’, while in (10.10) the same role is filled by the dependent clause Elime
eima imouta ‘(the fact) that Elim is still sick’, denoting a proposition and referring to a particular state of
a↵airs.

(10.9) Kefihusote
news.nom
‘The news troubles me’

oukuta
troubling.ipv

im`e
1sall

(10.10) Elime

eima
still

imout`a
prg.sick.dep.nom

oukuta
troubling.ipv

im`e
1sall

Elim.nom
‘(The fact) that Elim is still sick troubles me’ or ‘It troubles me that Elim is still sick’

Typically dependent clauses in the nominative function as complements of verbs like iona ‘know’, etsa
‘say, tell’, opa ‘believe’, tiyla ‘seem, appear’, etc. Like noun phrase complements, a dependent clause may
precede the verb that selects it. This is especially common when the dependent clause is being topicalized
or contrastively focused, as in (10.11):

(10.11) Pyima

ital`a
child.erg
prg.read.dep.nom
‘(The fact) that the child is reading the book (is what) I know’

halmai
book.dat

iona
know.ipv

iman
1sloc

Much more frequently, the dependent clause is postposed, and follows the verb that selects it (cf.
Examples of sentences with postposed dependent clauses include:

§

9.2.3).

(10.12) Iman
1sloc
‘I know that the child is reading the book’

halmai
book.dat

pyima
child.erg

iona
know.ipv

ital`a
prg.read.dep.nom

(10.13) Tiyla

pyima
child.erg

halmai
book.dat

ital`a
prg.read.dep.nom

appear.ipv
‘It appears that the child is reading the book’

(10.14) Ma

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

etsyi
tell.pv

pyima
child.erg

halmai
book.dat

metal`o
neg.prg.read.dep:neg.nom

1serg
‘I told Sakial that the child was not reading the book’

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CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

As shown below, postposition of dependent clauses can be iterated. That is, a postposed dependent clause
complement may itself contain an postposed dependent clause complement.

(10.15) Ma

etsyi
say.pv

Motlana
Motla.loc

ion`a
know.dep.nom

pyima
child.erg

halmai
book.dat

ital`a
prg.read.dep.nom

1serg
‘I said that Motla knows that the child is reading the book’

In all of the examples above, the complement clause is in the indicative mood. Complement clauses can
also be formed from dependent verbs in the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive is used when the event
or situation referred to by the dependent clause is hypothetical (possible, counterfactual, contingent, etc.)
rather than actual or expected. Many verbs regularly select a subjunctive dependent clause complement.
These include modal verbs (expressing possibility, necessity, desirability, etc.) such as okfa ‘wish, want’,
tiuha ‘be needed, necessary’, and so on. Other verbs which take a subjunctive complement include eska ‘ask,
request’ and sohompa ‘order’, where the complement denotes a wished-for event. Examples:

(10.16) Itiuha

Elime
Elim.nom

elohfoi
tomorrow

nkilh`e
leave.dep:sbj

prg.needed.ipv
‘It is necessary that Elim leave tomorrow’ or ‘It is necessary for Elim to leave tomorrow’

(10.17) Itiuha

prg.needed.ipv

elohfoi
tomorrow

nkilh`e
leave.dep:sbj

‘It is necessary to leave tomorrow’ or ‘It is necessary that (one) leave tomorrow’

(10.18) Iman
1sloc

okfa
want.ipv

Elime
Elim.nom

elohfoi
tomorrow

nkilh`e
leave.dep:sbj

‘I wish that Elim (would) leave tomorrow’ or ‘I want Elim to leave tomorrow’

(10.19) Ma

1serg

Eleim
Elim.dat

eskyi
ask.pv

ne
3anom

elohfoi
tomorrow

nkilh`e
leave.dep:sbj

‘I asked Elim to leave tomorrow’ (more lit. ‘I asked Elim that he should leave tomorrow’)

(10.20) Aniohta
best.ipv
‘It would be best if Elim left tomorrow’

Elime
Elim.nom

elohfoi
tomorrow

nkilh`e
leave.dep:sbj

As these examples show, clauses in the dependent subjunctive correspond closely to embedded subjunctive
or conditional clauses in English (‘that Elim leave’, ‘that Elim would leave’). Often they are most naturally
translated using an infinitive construction (‘to leave’, ‘for Elim to leave’). In a few cases, as with aniohta
‘be best’, a subjunctive dependent clause corresponds to a conditional clause (‘if Elim left’).

Certain verbs can select either an indicative or a subjunctive dependent clause. For example, the depen-
dent clause complement of etsa ‘say, tell’ is in the indicative when it denotes a reported event, and in the
subjunctive to express an indirect command:

(10.21) Ma

1serg

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

etsyi
say.pv

kimima
baby.erg

ihis`a
prg.cry.dep

‘I told Sakial that the baby is/was crying’

(10.22) Ma

1serg

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

etsyi
say.pv

losak
firewood

titi`e
gather.dep:sbj

‘I told Sakial to gather firewood’ or ‘… that (he) should gather firewood’

10.2. THE DEPENDENT FORM

269

Consider also the following minimal pair, showing that the verb uota ‘feel, sense, perceive’ can take either an
indicative or a subjunctive complement. As the translations of these sentences show, the indicative is used
when the clause denotes an actual perceived event, while the subjunctive is used when it denotes a non-actual
or possible event (note that the first sentence entails that somebody did in fact touch the speaker’s arm,
while the second sentence does not):

(10.23) Mo

uotyi
feel.pv

1srdat
‘I felt someone touch my arm’ or ‘I felt that someone was touching my arm’

nailh
arm.dat

miohma
someone.erg

silh
finger

iteun`a
prg.put.dep

mo
1srdat

(10.24) Mo

uotyi
feel.pv

mo
1srdat

nailh
arm.dat

miohma
someone.erg

silh
finger

iteun`e
prg.put.dep:sbj

1srdat
‘I felt as though someone were touching my arm’

Recall that, in addition to distinguishing indicative and subjunctive mood, verbs in the dependent form
inflect for aspect (imperfect, progressive, perfect, or perfective). When a dependent clause in the nominative
case is selected by a higher verb, the choice of aspect depends on whether the state of a↵airs denoted by
the dependent clause temporally precedes, follows, or overlaps with the state of a↵airs denoted by the main
clause. For instance, if the progressive aspect is used, this indicates that the state of a↵airs denoted by the
dependent clause overlaps with the state of a↵airs denoted by the main clause. This is true regardless of the
tense/aspect of the main clause verb. Compare the following:

(10.25) Sakialna

iona
know.ipv

Elime
Elim.nom

imout`a
prg.sick.dep.nom

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial knows that Elim is sick’

(10.26) Sakialna

ionanka
know.ipv:pst

Elime
Elim.nom

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial knew that Elim was sick’

imout`a
prg.sick.dep.nom

These sentences are identical except for the tense of the main verb ‘know’: iona (non-past) versus ionanka
(past). In both sentences, the time at which Sakial knows Elim to be sick overlaps with the time at which
Elim is sick. Because of the di↵erence in the tense of the main clause, the dependent clause is translated
‘that Elim is sick’ in (10.25), but ‘that Elim was sick’ in (10.26).

Likewise, when the dependent verb appears in the perfect or perfective aspect, this signals that the event
or situation denoted by the dependent clause properly precedes the event or situation denoted by the main
clause—again, regardless of whether the main clause is in the past or the non-past tense (perfect aspect is
generally used when the dependent clause denotes a previous state or habitual action, while the perfective is
used when it denotes a single completed event). In the following examples, perfect marking on the dependent
verb indicates that Sakial’s knowledge of Elim’s sickness came about only after Elim had recovered:

(10.27) Sakialna

iona
know.ipv

Elime
Elim.nom

umout`a
pf.sick.dep.nom

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial knows that Elim was sick’ or ‘… that Elim has/had been sick’

(10.28) Sakialna

iontyi
know.tinc.pv

Elime
Elim.nom

umout`a
pf.sick.dep.nom

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial found out that Elim had been sick’

Compare also the following examples, which di↵er in the aspect of the dependent verb. In (10.29), with the
dependent verb in the imperfect, it is understood that the woman witnessed the pot being smashed—i.e, the
seeing event and the smashing event occurred simultaneously. In (10.30), with the dependent verb in the
perfective, it is understood that the woman witnessed the consequences of the action (say, a smashed pot
lying on the ground) rather than the action itself. Here, the smashing event properly precedes the seeing
event.

270

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

(10.29) Ihai

kopoi
woman.dat
pot.dat
‘The woman saw the boy smash the pot’

mikalma
boy.erg

kilyi
see.pv

tsitsp`a
smash.dep.nom

(10.30) Ihai

woman.dat

kilyi
see.pv

mikalma
boy.erg

kopoi
pot.dat

atsitsp`a
pv.smash.dep.nom

‘The woman saw that the boy (had) smashed the pot’

As an additional example, observe the three-way contrast below. In (10.31), where the dependent verb is
in the imperfect, it is understood that Elim witnessed the entire mending event from beginning to end: the
temporal span of the seeing event coincides with the temporal span of the mending event. In (10.32), by
contrast, with the dependent verb in the progressive, the meaning is that Elim saw the man engaged in the
in other words, the seeing
activity of mending the net, but may not have witnessed the complete event:
event merely overlaps with the mending event. Finally, in (10.33), with the dependent verb in the perfect,
it is understood that Elim observed the after-e↵ects of the mending event (and was thus able to conclude
that the event had taken place at some earlier point in time), but did not witness the event itself.

(10.31) Eleim

kilyi
see.pv

kalma
man.erg

niloi
net.dat

Elim.dat
‘Elim saw the man mend the net’

(10.32) Eleim

kilyi
see.pv

kalma
man.erg

niloi
net.dat

Elim.dat
‘Elim saw the man mending the net’

namuoht`a
mend.dep.nom

inamuoht`a
prg.mend.dep.nom

(10.33) Eleim

kilyi
see.pv

kalma
man.erg

niloi
net.dat

unamuoht`a
pf.mend.dep.nom

Elim.dat
‘Elim saw that the man had mended the net’

When the state of a↵airs expressed by the dependent clause is interpreted as following the state of a↵airs
expressed by the main clause, the dependent verb appears in the imperfect aspect, usually accompanied by
an adverb expressing futurity, such as efoi ‘later’ or oke ‘by and by’ (‘be going to’):

(10.34) Sakialna

Elime
iona
Elim.nom
know.ipv
Sakial.loc
‘Sakial knows that Elim will leave’

oke
going:to

nkilh`a
leave.dep.nom

(10.35) Sakialna

ionanka
know.ipv:pst

Elime
Elim.nom

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial knew that Elim was going to leave’

oke
going:to

nkilh`a
leave.dep.nom

Dependent clauses in the dative and oblique cases

Dependent clauses can appear in other cases besides the nominative. For instance, dependent indicative
clauses may inflect for dative case to express the resulting state, or temporal ‘cut-o↵ point’, for some state
of a↵airs. They often correspond to ‘until’ clauses in English. As the example below illustrates, dependent
clauses in the dative are often followed by the particle sik`a, roughly equivalent to ‘as far as’.

(10.36) Se

kauotat
be:here.dur.ipv.pl

lhat`e
13nom
children.nom
‘We will stay here until the children return’

nioktatai
return.dep.pl.dat

sik`a
as:far:as

10.2. THE DEPENDENT FORM

271

Besides the nominative and the dative, dependent clauses can appear in one of the four oblique cases: locative,
allative, ablative, instrumental. Oblique case-marked dependent clauses have various adverbial functions,
many of which can also be expressed in other ways—e.g., by using a participial clause (
10.3), or with a
constituent consisting of a relational noun (
10.2.3) taking a dependent clause (unmarked
for case) as its complement.

10.2.2) or aun (
§

§

§

A dependent indicative clause in the locative case denotes an event which acts as a temporal reference for
the event expressed by the main clause. Such expressions, which function similarly to indicative participial
clauses (

10.3.1), are equivalent to ‘when/while/as’ clauses in English:

§

(10.37) Ne

ma
1serg

imuelhana
prg.sleep.dep.loc

3anom
‘They left while I was sleeping’

nkilhyit
leave.pv.pl

When inflected for the allative case, a dependent subjunctive clause indicates the purpose or goal of an
action—expressed in English using ‘so that’, ‘in order for/to/that’, or a bare infinitival clause. Dependent
subjunctive clauses also take the allative when they co-occur with degree markers like tsuo ‘too’ and muhpi
‘enough’.

(10.38) Na

3aerg

makai
meat.dat

ksapatlyi
salt.pv

tuhsaua
winter.all

lanteia
preserve.dep:sbj.all

‘She salted the meat (in order) to preserve (it) for the winter’

(10.39) Elime

Elim.nom

keuli
chair.dat

tolhyi
stand.pv

isane
13all

kuleia
see:res.dep:sbj.all

‘Elim stood on a chair so that we could see (him)’
or ‘… in order for us to see (him)’

(10.40) Kohote

chest.nom

tsuo
too

alhuta
rel.heavy.ipv

(Sakialma)
Sakial.erg

tiyiseia
lift.dep:sbj.all

‘The chest is too heavy (for Sakial) to lift’

Dependent indicative clauses in the ablative case express the cause or reason for an event, or the beginning
point of an event or state, and are equivalent to ‘since’ or ‘because’ clauses in English. When expressing a
beginning point, the dependent clause may be followed by the emphatic particle su, here equivalent to ‘ever’
(e.g., iome alimau su ‘ever since the world began’).

(10.41) Tomla

iome
mountain
world.nom
‘Those mountains have been there since the world began’

ieuolhat
prg.be:there.ipv.pl

tin
those:nom

alimau
pv.begin.dep.abl

(10.42) Pyie

meun
child.dat
milk
‘Elim gave the child milk because she was thirsty’

Elimma
Elim.erg

uktiyi
give.pv

inan
3asloc

ihalhkonau
prg.thirsty.dep.abl

Finally, dependent clauses (both indicative and subjunctive) can inflect for instrumental case. In the indica-
tive mood, an instrumental dependent clause denotes a secondary event or state which co-occurs with the
event denoted by the main clause. This is illustrated in (10.43), where ihisame describes an action which
accompanies the event of the child running out of the room. More commonly, secondary events are expressed
using a participial clause (

10.3), as in (10.44):

§

(10.43) Pyie

child.nom

halou
room.abl

kiompe
run.cv

suhyi
go:out.pv

ihisame
prg.cry.dep.inst

‘The child ran out of the room crying’ (lit. ‘with crying’)

272

(10.44) Pyie

halou
room.abl

kiompe
run.cv

suhyi
go:out.pv

ihise
prg.cry.pt

child.nom
‘The child ran out of the room crying’

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

Indicative clauses in the instrumental case can also express the action by means of which a given result is
achieved:

(10.45) Na

nasats
strength

tafyi
show.pv

lhute
heavy.tnzr

nak`a
rock.nom

tiyisame
lift.dep.inst

3aerg
‘He showed his strength by lifting a heavy rock’

When combined with a stative verb in the dependent form, instrumental case forms the equivalent of a
manner adverb in English: e.g., kiota ‘be quick’ > kiotame ‘quickly, by being quick’. (Manner modification
can also be done with converbs; see

10.4 for discussion.)

(10.46) Pyie

§
kiotame
child.nom
quick.dep.inst
‘The child ran quickly out of the room’

halou
room.abl

kiompe
run.cv

suhyi
go:out.pv

Subjunctive dependent clauses can also combine with instrumental case to express a hypothetical condition,
corresponding to a conditional (‘if’) clause in English—or, when the dependent verb is negated, an ‘unless’
clause. This is illustrated in (10.47) and (10.48). (Conditional clauses can also be formed using aunme or a
subjunctive participle, as discussed in
10.3.2, respectively). The locative case can also be used
in place of the instrumental, as in (10.49), but this is less common.

10.2.3 and

§

§

(10.47) Ma

aleut
help

uktia
give.ipv
1serg
‘I will help if necessary’

tiuhime
necessary.dep:sbj.inst

(10.48) Lhat`e

children.nom

ntse
neg

tehefoi
soon

nioktoitame,
return.dep:sbj:neg.pl.inst

inane
3apall

ekpihoksa
search.must.ipv

le
it:seems

‘If the children don’t return soon, I guess (we) will have to go look for them’
or ‘Unless the children return soon…’

(10.49) S`u

kahpina,
fall.dep:sbj.loc

kim
12nom

Kemotlasei
Kemotlasi.dat

metot
neg.go.ipv:neg.pl

rain
‘If it rains, we won’t go to Kemotlasi’

10.2.2 Dependent clauses as complements of relational nouns

§

As discussed in
6.5, relational nouns are a special class of nouns which express a spatio-temporal or abstract
relation between two or more objects, locations, or events. These nouns normally carry dative or oblique
case marking, and combine with a preceding noun or noun phrase complement to form a larger noun phrase.
In the following example, him ‘interior’ is a relational noun (inflected for locative case), and tohmi kotu is
its complement:

(10.50) tohmi

large:one

kotu
house

himna
inside.loc

‘inside the large house’ (lit. ‘at the large house[’s] interior’)

In addition to noun phrase complements, a number of relational nouns can take dependent clause comple-
ments to form adverbial modifiers. The most common of these are listed below, suxed with the appropriate
case ending (note that talhkou and ohpeu are essentially synonymous):

10.2. THE DEPENDENT FORM

273

elhkoua
hekuna
himna
isna
kamna
ohpeu
talhkou
usna

‘in order to/that, so that’
‘because, since, given that; when’
‘while’
‘after’
‘before’
‘because’
‘because’
‘instead of’

Elhkoua, which forms purpose clauses, selects a complement containing a verb in the dependent subjunctive,
as does usna:

(10.51) kihoin

siehpi
write.dep:sbj

elhkoua…
in:order:to.all

letter.dat
‘in order to write the letter…’

(10.52) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

kihoin
letter.dat

siehpi
write.dep:sbj

elhkoua…
in:order:to.all

‘in order for Sakial to write the letter…’ or ‘in order that Sakial (would) write the letter…’

(10.53) Sakialma

kihoin
letter.dat

siehpi
write.dep:sbj

usna,
instead.loc

na
3aerg

atuyi
rest.pv

Sakial.erg
‘Instead of writing the letter, Sakial took a nap’
more lit. ‘Instead of Sakial writing the letter, he took a nap’

The other relational expressions normally select complements with a verb in the dependent indicative:

(10.54) s`u

rain

ikahpa
prg.fall.dep

talhkou…
cause.abl

‘because it is/was raining…’

(10.55) no

am`e
mother.nom

3ardat
‘after her mother died…’

atioka
pv.die.dep

isna…
after.loc

(10.56) Kima
12erg

hauat
fire

pusukata
make.dep.pl

kamna,
before.loc

losak
firewood

titioksa
gather.must.ipv

‘Before we build a fire, (we) have to gather firewood’

The relational noun heku, inflected for locative case, corresponds to English ‘when’ (expressing a time) or
‘since, given that’ (expressing a presupposed state of a↵airs). Note also the expression hulne hekuna, meaning
‘by the time that…’, where hulne is literally ‘no more, no later (than)’:

(10.57) Me

niokta
return.dep

hulne
no:later

hekuna,
when.loc

1snom
‘By the time I returned, they had already left’

ne
3anom

uta
already

unkilhankat
pf.leave.ipv:pst.pl

In the examples above, the dependent clause complement immediately precedes the relational noun and is
unmarked for case. It is also possible for the dependent verb to take ablative case marking:

(10.58) s`u

rain

ikahpau
prg.fall.dep.abl

talhkou…
cause.abl

‘because it is/was raining…’

274

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

(10.59) Elime

Kemotlasei
Elim.nom
Kemotlasi.dat
‘instead of Elim going to Kemotlasi…’

eteu
go.dep:sbj.abl

usna…
stead.loc

Ablative marking on the complement is rare when the dependent clause immediately precedes the relational
noun. However, when the two are separated by intervening material, ablative marking becomes obligatory.
For instance, the dependent clause must take ablative marking when it is separated from kamna ‘before’
or isna ‘after’ by an adverb or instrumental noun phrase expressing temporal duration (e.g., etsipi ‘a little
while’, ilme henme ‘for two months’):

(10.60) no

am`e
mother.nom

atiokau
pv.die.dep.abl

3ardat
‘a little while after her mother died…’

(10.61) no

am`e
mother.nom

atiokau
3ardat
pv.die.dep.abl
‘two months before her mother died…’

etsipi
for:a:while

isna…
after.loc

ilme
moon

henme
two.inst

kamna…
before.loc

It is likely that the elements aun and alh, which inflect for case and select dependent clause complements,
also belong to the class of relational nouns. However, since these elements require special discussion, I deal
with them in a separate subsection.

10.2.3 Dependent clauses as complements of aun and alh

Dependent clauses may be selected as complements by the noun-like elements aun and alh. The former is
used to form conditional clauses and related constructions, while the latter forms concessive clauses and
I discuss these elements in turn. For the sake of consistency, aun will be glossed
related constructions.
‘if’ in the examples, while alh will be glossed ‘though’. Note, however, that ‘if’ and ‘though’ are not fully
equivalent to aun and alh, so these glosses are only approximate.

Clauses with aun

An important function of aun is to form indirect questions. Indirect questions are embedded clauses express-
ing a hypothetical proposition, which are selected by verbs such as nesapa ‘ask’, untsapa ‘wonder’, and iona
‘know’. When the dependent verb in the aun clause is in the subjunctive mood, the clause is interpreted as
an indirect yes/no question. Here, aun corresponds to ‘if’ or ‘whether’ in English. As the examples below
show, indirect questions are normally postposed to the right of the verb that selects them:

(10.62) Ma

untsapa
wonder.ipv

elohfoi
tomorrow

s`u
rain

kahpi
fall.dep:sbj

aun
if

1serg
‘I wonder if/whether it will rain tomorrow’

(10.63) Ma

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

nesapyi
ask.pv

Motlama
Motla.erg

kihoin
letter.dat

usiehpi
pf.write.dep:sbj

aun
if

1serg
‘I asked Sakial if/whether Motla had written the letter’

Aun also forms indirect content questions by combining with a dependent indicative clause. Here the clause
contains one or more of the indefinite/interrogative correlative elements discussed in
6.7.1 (e.g., m`a ‘what’,
mi`o ‘who’, emi ‘when’, ymiohpa ‘why’, etc.). In such cases, aun serves merely to indicate that the clause is
an indirect question and has no direct English equivalent.

§

(10.64) Ma

untsapa
wonder.ipv

Motlama
Motla.erg
1serg
‘I wonder what Motla is writing’

mai
what.dat

isiehpa
prg.write.dep

aun
if

10.2. THE DEPENDENT FORM

275

(10.65) Ma

1serg

Sakiail
Sakial.dat

nesapyi
ask.pv

Motlama
Motla.erg

kihoin
letter.dat

emi
when

usiehpa
pf.write.dep

aun
if

‘I asked Sakial when Motla wrote / had written the letter’

Besides expressing indirect questions, clauses headed by aun have other functions as well. For example, an
aun clause with the verb in the dependent subjunctive can be selected by the relational noun elhko ‘purpose’,
inflected for allative case. The resulting expression is equivalent to English ‘just in case’:

(10.66) ne

manioktoita
neg.return.dep:sbj:neg.pl

3anom
‘just in case they don’t return …’

aun
if

elhkoua…
purpose.all

Being itself a noun-like element, aun can be suxed with a case ending under certain circumstances. For ex-
ample, aun can take the allative case ending -a. Clauses headed by auna, meaning roughly ‘about (whether)’,
are used with verbs of thinking and saying to indicate a question which is being debated:

(10.67) Sa

ikyitsampauot
prg.talk:about.act.ipv.recip.pl

13erg
‘We’re talking about whether to go hunting tomorrow’

elohfoi
tomorrow

lakieta
hunt.dep:sbj.pl

auna
if.all

(10.68) Na

sokastyiot
argue.pv.recip.pl

ineu
3apabl

mi`o
who

3aerg
‘They argued about which of them was stronger’

anasohta
rel.strong.comp.dep

auna
if.all

Dependent indicative aun clauses can also take the ablative case ending -u. Ablative aun clauses occur in
comparative constructions (
7.6), where they express the standard of comparison, especially when making
§
comparisons of manner or amount. Typically the aun clause contains a correlative such as miai ‘how’, mian
‘how much’, miante ‘how many’. As example (10.71) shows, the verb may be omitted from the aun clause
when it is the same as the verb in the main clause.

(10.69) Ma

1serg

akut
2pdat

halma
book

anihte
as:many

uktiama
give.ipv.dpl

ikune
2pall

miante
how:many

moituha
get.want.dep

aunu
if.abl

‘I’ll give you as many books as you want’ (lit. ‘… as how many you want to get’)

(10.70) Imem
1sinst

halma
book

anohte
more

he
be:ipv

miante
how:many

ekpyipa
carry.able.dep

aunu
if.abl

‘I have more books than I can carry’ (lit. ‘… than how many are carryable’)

(10.71) Na

3aerg

ueho
wine

ifei
as:much.dat

sepyit
drink.pv.pl

ikima
12erg

miain
how:much.dat

aunu
if.abl

‘They drank as much wine as we did’ (lit. ‘… as how much we [drank]’)

Finally, aun can take the instrumental case ending -me. As shown below, aunme can select a dependent
indicative complement to form a temporal (‘when’) clause, or a conditional (‘if, whenever’) clause expressing
a general precondition for some event. Alternatively, aunme can select a dependent subjunctive complement
to form a conditional (‘if’) clause expressing a hypothetical or counterfactual condition. When introduced
by an aunme clause, the main clause often includes the particle temai ‘then’. (Note that aunme clauses
have many of the same functions as participial clauses, discussed in

10.3.)

§

(10.72) S`u

rain

kahpa
fall.dep

aunme,
if.inst

me
1snom

mokna
home.loc

teha
stay.ipv

‘When(ever) it rains, I stay at home’ or ‘If it rains…’

276

(10.73) Elohfoi

s`u
rain

kahpi
fall.dep:sbj

aunme,
if.inst

tomorrow
‘If it rains tomorrow, then I’ll stay at home’

me
1snom

temai
then

mokna
home.loc

teha
stay.ipv

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

(10.74) S`u

kahpi
fall.dep:sbj

me
rain
1snom
‘If it rained, I would stay at home’

aunme,
if.inst

mokna
home.loc

tehike
stay.cond

(10.75) Elohka

s`u
rain

ukahpi
pf.fall.dep:sbj

aunme,
if.inst

yesterday
‘If it had rained yesterday, I would have stayed at home’

me
1snom

mokna
home.loc

utehike
pf.stay.cond

When an indicative aunme clause contains an indefinite/interrogative correlative, it functions as a type of
adverbial clause known as an adjunct free relative. Adjunct free relatives in English are introduced by
a wh-element suxed with ‘-ever’ (‘whoever’, ‘whatever’, ‘whenever’, etc.). The main clause often contains
a pronoun or demonstrative correlative (see
6.7.2) which refers back to the proposition expressed by the
aunme clause.

§

(10.76) Na

m`a
what:nom

sukata
do.dep.pl

aunme,
if.inst

na
3aerg

tsuali
careful.dep:sbj

lehuat
should.ipv.pl

3aerg
‘Whatever they do, they should be careful’
more lit. ‘When(ever) they do something, they should be careful’

(10.77) Ku

miei
where.dat

eta
go.dep

aunme,
if.inst

tiei
there.dat

husu
also

man
1snom

eta
go.ipv

2nom
‘Wherever you go, I will go there too’
more lit. ‘When(ever) you go somewhere, there I also will go’

(10.78) Hitolna

mi`o
who:nom

auotiohta
rel.close.comp.dep

aunme,
if.inst

hi
3inom

in`a
3aerg

muke
close.cv

eskuke
please

door.loc
‘Whoever is closest to the door, please close it’
more lit. ‘When(ever) someone is closest to the door, will that (person) please close it’

The verb hutopa ‘depend on, be based on, be linked with’ often selects an aunme clause:

(10.79) Soniokt`e

hutopa
answer.nom
depend.ipv
‘The answer depends on who one asks’

mioi
who.dat

nesapa
ask.dep

aunme
if.inst

Aunme clauses can include a quantifier, such as ante ‘many’, sepyi ‘a few’, tsomote ‘most’, etc., which
quantifies over the set of events or cases denoted by the clause. When a quantifier is present, it follows aun
and carries the case ending. The following combinations are particularly common:

aun anteme
aun ikyime
aun sepyime
aun tsomoteme

‘often when, in many cases when/where’
‘always when, whenever’
‘sometimes when, in some cases when/where’
‘usually when, in most cases when/where’

Examples:

(10.80) Sakialma

ueho
wine

sepa
Sakial.erg
drink.dep
‘When Sakial drinks wine, he usually gets drunk’
more lit. ‘In most (cases) when Sakial drinks wine, he gets drunk’

tsomoteme,
most.inst

ne
3aabs

aun
if

munteta
drunk.tinc.ipv

10.2. THE DEPENDENT FORM

277

(10.81) Ma

1serg

imuelhta
prg.sleep.tinc.dep

aun
if

sepyime,
some.inst

iman
1sloc

opa
believe.ipv

lohan
voice

ul`a
hear:res.dep.nom

‘Sometimes when I’m going to sleep, I think (I can) hear voices’

Note finally that, in addition to combining with a dependent clause, aunme can follow a noun phrase
(unmarked for case) to mark that noun phrase as a contrastive topic. The contrastive topic construction is
used to introduce a new (or newly relevant) participant into the discourse, and is more or less equivalent to
English ‘as for X’ or ‘as far as X is concerned’:

(10.82) Elim
Elim
‘As for Elim, he will have to wait for us to return’

peutoksa
wait.must.ipv

aunme,
if.inst

kim
12nom

na
3aerg

nioktitaua
return.dep:sbj.pl.all

A contrastive topic with aunme can also combine with the question particle ne to form a construction
equivalent to English ‘What about X?’ (e.g., Sakial aunme ne? ‘What about Sakial?’).

Clauses with alh

Like aun, alh is a nominal element which normally selects a dependent clause as its complement. Unlike aun,
which can appear in various cases, alh always takes the instrumental ending -me. When alhme combines with
a dependent clause in the indicative mood, the result is a concessive clause, equivalent to a clause headed
by ‘although’, ‘(even) though’, or ‘despite (the fact that)’. The main clause often includes the contrastive
particle anin ‘still, nevertheless, even so’.

(10.83) Hi

3inom

teusu
very

lhutata
heavy.dep.pl

alhme,
though.inst

anin
still

tekelhyipankat
pick:up.able.ipv:pst.pl

iman
1sloc

‘Although they’re quite heavy, I was still able to pick (them) up’

(10.84) Mi

Motl`a
Motla.nom

motsokuo
neg.pf.meet.dep:neg

1sdat
‘Even though I’ve never met Motla, I know a lot about him’

alhme,
though.inst

in`e
3aall

han
much

iona
know.ipv

iman
1sloc

When the alhme clause includes an indefinite correlative (
question introduced by ‘despite, in spite of’ or ‘no matter’:

§

6.7.1), it usually corresponds to an indirect

(10.85) Ikuna
2ploc
‘Despite what you think, the work is not so dangerous’

alhme,
though.inst

opa
believe.dep

m`a
what:nom

suklute
work.nom

ntsemiai
not:so

nukano
dangerous.ipv:neg

(10.86) Na

miampi
how:much

na
nika
3aerg
3aerg
try.dep
‘No matter how hard she tries, she won’t succeed’

alhme,
though.inst

manamuohto
neg.succeed.ipv:neg

When the dependent verb is in the subjunctive mood, the alhme clause is interpreted as a concessive
conditional, corresponding to a clause with ‘even if’ or ‘whether (or not)’. Sometimes the alhme clause
contains two predicates combined using the repeated coordinator lo ‘or’, as in (10.88) and (10.89) below.
Here, the concessive clause indicates that the choice among alternative situations makes no di↵erence to the
situation denoted by the main clause.

(10.87) Na

3aerg

hampi
much

uespi
pf.study.dep:sbj

alhme,
though.inst

nesaip
question.dat

mosonioktyipoike
neg.pf.answer.able.cond:neg

‘Even if he had studied hard, (he) would not have been able to answer the question’

278

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

aho
(10.88) Lo
or
sun
‘Whether it rains or shines, the ship will depart tomorrow’

laini
shine.dep:sbj

kahpi
fall.dep:sbj

alhme,
though

s`u
rain

lo
or

topuole
ship.nom

elohfoi
tomorrow

nkilha
leave.ipv

(10.89) Ikoi
2all

lo
or

okfi
want.dep:sbj

lo
or

ntsune
not

alhme,
though.inst

hi
3inom

anin
still

sukoksa
do.must.ipv

‘Whether you want to or not, (you) still have to do it’

Finally, like aunme, alhme can combine with an unmarked noun phrase in place of a dependent clause, in
which case it corresponds to English ‘in spite of’ or ‘notwithstanding’:

(10.90) S`u

rain

alhme,
though.inst

otieuni
garden.dat

seuki
weed

tifoksa
remove.must.ipv

hial`o
today

‘In spite of the rain, (we) need to weed the garden today’

10.2.4 Restructuring: Bare dependent complements of verbs

§

4.4.1, a number of Class I verbs can take a dependent clause as their nominative argument.
As discussed in
These include verbs like otsena ‘be likely’, where the dependent clause is headed by a verb in the subjunctive
mood. In the examples below, etok`e consists of etoki (the dependent subjunctive form of toka ‘fix’), plus the
nominative case ending -e; ietok`e and iotok`e are the progressive and perfect forms, respectively. As these
examples show, dependent clauses in the nominative are normally postposed after the verb that selects them
(cf.

9.2.3).

§

(10.91) Otsena

Elimma
Elim.erg

mutoi
fence.dat

tok`e
fix.dep:sbj.nom

likely.ipv
‘It is likely that Elim will fix the fence’

(10.92) Otsena

Elimma
Elim.erg

mutoi
fence.dat

itok`e
prg.fix.dep:sbj.nom

likely.ipv
‘It is likely that Elim is fixing the fence’

(10.93) Otsena

Elimma
Elim.erg

mutoi
fence.dat

utok`e
pf.fix.dep:sbj.nom

likely.ipv
‘It is likely that Elim has fixed the fence’

An alternative to this construction is shown below. Here, the dependent subjunctive verb and its dependents
immediately precede otsena, and the dependent verb is not marked for nominative case, but appears instead
in its ‘bare’ form, without any case marking (e.g., toki instead of tok`e). As the translations of these sentences
show, the dependent subjunctive form here corresponds roughly to the English infinitive (e.g., ‘to fix’).

(10.94) Elimma

mutoi
fence.dat

toki
fix.dep:sbj

Elim.erg
‘Elim is likely to fix the fence’

otsena
likely.ipv

(10.95) Elimma

mutoi
fence.dat

itoki
prg.fix.dep:sbj

Elim.erg
‘Elim is likely to be fixing the fence’

(10.96) Elimma

utoki
Elim.erg
pf.fix.dep:sbj
‘Elim is likely to have fixed the fence’

mutoi
fence.dat

otsena
likely.ipv

otsena
likely.ipv

10.2. THE DEPENDENT FORM

279

In this construction, the selecting verb and the dependent verb form a kind of complex predicate heading a
single clause, a phenomenon known as restructuring. Here the selecting verb rather than the dependent
verb carries the tense and mood inflection for the clause, and can also take other morphology available to
7.6), as in (10.98) below.
Class I predicates—e.g., it can inflect for the comparative/superlative degree (see

§

(10.97) Elimma

mutoi
Elim.erg
fence.dat
‘Elim was likely to fix the fence’

toki
fix.dep:sbj

otsenanka
likely.ipv:pst

(10.98) Elimma

mutoi
fence.dat

toki
fix.dep:sbj

Elim.erg
‘Elim is more likely than me to fix the fence’

auotsenohta
rel.likely.comp.ipv

im`o
1sabl

Crucially in restructuring, the arguments and modifiers of the dependent verb behave as part of the main
clause. Consequently, the predicate as whole can be thought of as inheriting its argument structure properties
from the dependent verb. For instance, although otsena ‘be likely’ belongs to Class I, toki otsena ‘be likely
to fix’ behaves as a Class III predicate because toka ‘fix’ is a Class III verb. One piece of evidence to show
that the arguments of the dependent verb are part of the main clause comes from number agreement (cf.
if one of the core arguments of the dependent verb is plural, the number agreement suxes attach
7.2):
§
not to the dependent verb itself, but to the verb that selects it:

(10.99) Elimma

mutoi
fence.dat

utoki
pf.fix.dep:sbj

Elim.erg
‘Elim is likely to have fixed the fences’

otsenama
likely.ipv.dpl

(10.100) Elim
utoki
pf.fix.dep:sbj
Elim
‘Elim and Sakial are likely to have fixed the fences’

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

mutoi
fence.dat

ka
and

otsenamat
likely.ipv.dpl.pl

Compare (10.99) and (10.100) with the non-restructuring examples below, where otsena takes a (postposed)
dependent subjunctive clause complement in the nominative case. Here the plural noun phrases are properly
part of the dependent clause, and number agreement shows up on the dependent verb rather than on otsena:

(10.101) Otsena

Elimma
Elim.erg

mutoi
fence.dat

utokim`a
pf.fix.dep:sbj.dpl.nom

likely.ipv
‘It is likely that Elim has fixed the fences’

(10.102) Otsena

Elim
Elim

ka
and

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

mutoi
fence.dat

utokimat`a
pf.fix.dep:sbj.dpl.pl.nom

likely.ipv
‘It is likely that Elim and Sakial have fixed the fences’

An additional piece of evidence for restructuring comes from the fact that a verb and its bare dependent
complement can act as a single unit in the formation of a participant nominal (see
10.6), with participant
nominal morphology appearing on the selecting verb. Compare:

§

(10.103) Elimma

Elim.erg

utokal
pf.fix.dep.dnzr

mutu
fence

‘(the) fence that Elim has/had fixed’

(10.104) Elimma

Elim.erg

utoki
pf.fix.dep:sbj

otsenal
likely.dep.dnzr

mutu
fence

‘(the) fence that Elim is/was likely to have fixed’

280

(10.105) mutoi

utokaka
pf.fix.dep.anzr

koin
person

fence.dat
‘(the) person who has/had fixed the fence’

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

(10.106) mutoi

utoki
pf.fix.dep:sbj

otsenaka
likely.dep.anzr

koin
person

fence.dat
‘(the) person who is/was likely to have fixed the fence’

There are two possible ways to negate a clause containing a restructuring predicate: either the clause as
a whole can be negated, including the selecting verb, or just the dependent verb can be negated. When
just the dependent verb is negated, the negative marker ntse attaches to it as a prefix (m-) if the two are
adjacent. This is illustrated in (10.107). When the entire clause is negated, both verbs inflect for negative
polarity; the negative marker ntse again precedes the dependent verb, but does not attach to it as a prefix,
even when the two are adjacent. This is illustrated in (10.108). Notice how these sentences are translated,
reflecting a subtle di↵erence in interpretation:
in the latter sentence negation scopes over ‘likely to have
fixed’, while in the former sentence it only scopes over ‘to have fixed’.

(10.107) Elimma

mutoi
fence.dat

motokoi
neg.pf.fix.dep:sbj:neg

Elim.erg
‘Elim is likely not to have fixed the fence’

(10.108) Elimma

mutoi
fence.dat

ntse
neg

utokoi
pf.fix.dep:sbj:neg

Elim.erg
‘Elim is not likely to have fixed the fence’

otsena
likely.ipv

otseno
likely.ipv:neg

Verbs like otsena, which can select a bare dependent subjunctive verb to form a restructuring predicate, all
7.7.2 for additional discussion). The
belong to Class I. They include the modal verbs, listed below (see
glosses give the most literal English equivalents of each verb, while more idiomatic translations are given in
parentheses.

§

alha
aniohta
etaupa
ksafa
kuia
lehua
lyihpa
okfa
tima
tiuha
toupa

‘be allowed, permissible’ (‘can, may, be allowed to’)
‘be better, preferable’ (‘better, it would be better/best if…’)
‘be predicted’ (‘be supposed to’)
‘be desired, wished for’ (‘want to, wish for’)
‘be certain, definite’ (‘be sure’)
‘be advisable’ (‘should, ought to, be supposed to’)
‘be possible’ (‘can, may, might’)
‘be desired/desirable’ (‘want’)
‘be likely, common’ (‘tend to; be liable to’)
‘be necessary, needed’ (‘need to, have to, must’)
‘be presumable, apparent’ (‘must’)

Examples:

(10.109) S`u

kahpi
fall.dep:sbj

etaupa
predicted.ipv
rain
‘It’s supposed to rain tomorrow’

elohfoi
tomorrow

(10.110) Ne

hatlam
soon

tioki
die.dep:sbj

kuia
certain.ipv

3anom
‘He is certain to die soon’

(10.111) Ma

kielna
dream.loc

utupi
pf.walk.dep:sbj

1serg
‘I must have been dreaming’ (lit. ‘walking in a dream’)

toupa
must.ipv

10.2. THE DEPENDENT FORM

281

(10.112) Ko

2erg

kaine
first

halma
book

atat
these:dat

tali
read.dep:sbj

lehuamat
advisable.ipv.dpl.pl

mo
in:my:opinion

‘I think you (pl) should read these books first’

The following examples, featuring tiuha ‘be necessary’, show how the placement of negation a↵ects the
interpretation of sentences with modal predicates. When the entire sentence is negated, the meaning is ‘not
have to’, but when only the dependent verb is negated, the meaning is ‘must not’. A more literal translation
of (10.114) would be ‘For you it is not necessary to leave now’, while (10.115) may be paraphrased ‘For you
it is necessary to not leave now’.

(10.113) Ikune
2pall

takan
now

nkilhi
leave.dep:sbj

tiuha
necessary.ipv

‘You (pl) must leave now’

(10.114) Ikune
2pall

ntse
neg

takan
now

nkilhoi
leave.dep:sbj:neg

tiuho
necessary.ipv:neg

‘You (pl) don’t have to leave now’

(10.115) Ikune
2pall

takan
now

mankilhoi
neg.sbj.leave.dep:sbj:neg

tiuha
necessary.ipv

‘You (pl) must not leave now’

The following examples further illustrate the interaction between modal verbs and negation in restructuring
predicates:

ntse nkilhoi alho
ntse nkilhoi lyihpo
ntse unkilhoi toupo

‘not allowed to leave’ mankilhoi alha
‘can’t leave’
‘can’t have left’

mankilhoi lyihpa
monkilhoi toupa

‘allowed not to leave’
‘might not leave’
‘must not have left’

Other Class I verbs which form restructuring predicates are listed below. These include the resultative forms
of dynamic perception verbs such as kila ‘see, notice’, ola ‘hear’, etc., to which the relative prefix a- has
been added (see

7.5.1 for more on the resultative aspect, and

7.6 for more on the relative marker).

§

§

akula
aloihtsa
amaihtla
aseifa
auoita
auola
iala
koluma
kuista
kyisa
malha
tiapa
tiyla
tuosa

‘look, appear’
‘smell’
‘taste’
‘feel (to the touch)’
‘feel, seem’
‘sound’
‘know how’
‘be dicult’
‘take a long time’
‘take (only) a short time’
‘be worthwhile, worth (doing)’
‘be easy’
‘seem, appear’
‘it’s time that…’ (lit. ‘be ripe’)

Examples:

(10.116) Mase

hampi
soup.nom
very
‘The soup smells very good’

ahenki
rel.enjoyable.dep:sbj

ialoihtsa
prg.rel.smell:res.ipv

282

(10.117) Halma

tan
this:nom

iman
1sloc

mutli
understand.dep:sbj

book
‘This book is very dicult for me to understand’

teusu
very

koluma
dicult.ipv

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

(10.118) Mo

Motl`a
Motla.nom

empekamna
most:recently

1srdat
‘The last time I saw Motla, he seemed to be happy’

akile,
pv.see.pt

inan
3asloc

ikesti
prg.happy.dep:sbj

tiylanka
seem.ipv:pst

(10.119) Kim

nkilhi
leave.dep:sbj

12nom
‘It’s time for us to leave’

ituosat
prg.be:time.ipv.pl

(10.120) Halma

atai
this:dat

tali
read.dep:sbj

book
‘That book is worth reading’

malha
worthwhile.ipv

(10.121) Halma

atai
this:dat

tali
read.dep:sbj

kuistanka
take:long:time.ipv:pst

book
‘That book took a long time to read’ or ‘Reading that book took a long time’

The verb iala ‘have, be responsible for’ normally combines with a noun phrase complement and denotes
inalienable possession (e.g., Sakialu suhpa iala ‘Sakial has a brother’). However, iala can also combine with
a bare dependent subjunctive complement, in which case it means ‘know how’. The individual who possesses
the knowledge is referenced by a noun phrase in the ablative case:

(10.122) Sakialu

tali
read.dep:sbj
Sakial.abl
‘Sakial knows how to read and write’

tena
and

siehpi
write.dep:sbj

iala
have.ipv

As with other restructuring predicates, either the selecting verb or the dependent verb can be negated,
depending on the scope of negation. Compare the following examples, where the second and third sentences
di↵er subtly in meaning:

(10.123) Ikun

ytapi
certainly
2sloc
‘You certainly look happy’

kesti
happy.dep:sbj

iakula
prg.rel.look.ipv

(10.124) Ikun

ytapi
certainly

ntse
neg

kestoi
happy.dep:sbj

iakulo
prg.rel.look.ipv:neg

2sloc
‘You certainly don’t look happy’

(10.125) Ikun

ytapi
certainly

nkestoi
neg.sbj.happy.dep:sbj:neg

iakula
prg.rel.look.ipv

2sloc
‘You certainly look unhappy’

Note that restructuring predicates like kesti akula ‘look happy’ are somewhat formal. A more colloquial
alternative would be to use a stative verb preceded by an unmarked noun denoting an abstract quality: e.g.,
akiel kesta, literally ‘be happy (in) appearance’. Compare the pairs of sentences below, where the second
sentence in each pair is the more common variant:

(10.126) Ohu`e

seimi
sweet.dep:sbj

amaihtla
rel.taste:res.ipv

fruit.nom
‘The fruit tastes sweet’

10.3. PARTICIPIAL CLAUSES

(10.127) Ohu`e

fruit.nom

amahtle
flavour

seima
sweet.ipv

‘The fruit tastes sweet’ (lit. ‘is sweet in flavour’)

283

(10.128) Elime

hakti
tired.dep:sbj

iakula
prg.rel.look.ipv

hial`o
today

Elim.nom
‘Elim is looking tired today’

(10.129) Elime

Elim.nom

akiel
appearance

ihakta
prg.tired.ipv

hial`o
today

‘Elim is looking tired today’ (lit. ‘is tired in appearance’)

(10.130) Sakialna

hotsmi
angry.dep:sbj

iauola
prg.rel.sound.ipv

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial sounds angry’

(10.131) Sakialna

Sakial.loc

aule
sound

ihotsma
prg.angry.ipv

‘Sakial sounds angry’ (lit. ‘is angry in sound’)

Finally, evaluative Class I verbs like henka ‘be enjoyable’ and huata ‘be appreciated’ can take a bare depen-
dent subjunctive complement denoting a type of activity. The experiencer is expressed by a noun phrase in
the allative case.

(10.132) Im`e

sihpi
swim.dep:sbj

henka
enjoyable.ipv

1sall
‘I like to swim’

10.3 Participial clauses

The term participial clause refers to a type of subordinate clause in Okuna headed by a participle.
Participles are untensed verbs marked with one of a set of special suxes, listed and discussed below. A
participial clause acts as an adjunct, and names an event or state of a↵airs which provides the temporal
In discourse-functional
or logical context for the event or state of a↵airs denoted by the main clause.
terms, participial clauses express ‘background’ (presupposed or scene-setting) information, while main clauses
generally express ‘foregrounded’ (asserted) information. In narratives, for example, the sequence of events
which constitutes the plot line is encoded by a succession of main clauses, while participial clauses serve to
clarify, modify, or set the scene for events in the plot line. Put another way, the main clauses describe what
happened, while participial clauses describe when it happened or under what conditions.

Consider the following example, where Elimma imuelhe is the participial clause (marked by the sux
-e on the verb), and Sakiale moktyi is the main clause. Here the participial clause provides context for the
main clause by expressing an event which was ongoing at the time when the main clause event occurred.

(10.133) Elimma

imuelhe
prg.sleep.pt

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

moktyi
come:home.pv

Elim.erg
‘While Elim was sleeping, Sakial came home’

Participles are formed by adding an ending on the verb stem, which replaces the tense/aspect/mood/polarity
endings found in main clauses (cf.
10.2), participles make a two-
way mood distinction between indicative and subjunctive, with separate endings in each mood for positive
and negative participles. Participles also take the same aspectual prefixes found on verbs in the dependent

7.4). Like verbs in the dependent form (
§

§

284

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

form: progressive i-, perfect u-, and perfective a-, with the imperfect marked by the absence of an aspect
prefix on the participle.

The endings for forming participles are listed in the table below, together with the abbreviations used for
these endings in the glosses. Note that -u becomes -o when preceded by a glide: e.g., m.o.pau.u > mopauo
‘not having washed’.

indicative participle
subjunctive participle

positive
(pt)
(pt:sbj)

-e/-i
-ai

negative
(pt:neg)
(pt:sbj:neg)

-u
-au

Participles agree in number with their subjects and objects, with plural number agreement marked by suxes
that follow the participial ending. These suxes are the same as the ones used for verbs in main clauses (see
discussion in
7.2). The complete set of number agreement forms for the participles is given in the following
table. As this table shows, the positive indicative ending, which otherwise takes the form -e, surfaces as -i
when preceded and followed by a consonant.

§

sg
-e
pt
-u
pt:neg
pt:sbj
-ai
pt:sbj:neg -au

pl
-it
-ut
-ait
-aut

npl
-eua
-oua
-aia
-aua

npl+pl dpl
-ima
-euat
-uma
-ouat
-aima
-aiat
-auma
-auat

dpl+pl
-imat
-umat
-aimat
-aumat

epl
-ine
-une
-aine
-aune

epl+pl
-init
-unit
-ainit
-aunit

Participles can also take the reciprocal sux -(u)o, either by itself or in combination with the plural topic
sux -t (see

9.4.4 for more on reciprocal clauses):

§

recip recip+pl
-euo
pt
-ouo
pt:neg
pt:sbj
-aio
pt:sbj:neg -auo

-euot
-ouot
-aiot
-auot

The copula he (
§
discussed in
and can host the agreement suxes -t (plural topic) and -(u)a (nominative plural).

9.3.1) has an irregular conjugation. The participial forms for the copula are listed below. As
7.4.1, the copula makes only a two-way aspectual distinction, between imperfect and perfect,

§

imperfect

sg
hi
hu
hai
hau

pl
hit
hut
hait
haut

npl
heia
houa
haia
haua

sg
heue
heuo
heuai
heuau

perfect
pl
heuet
heuot
heuait
heuaut

npl
heueia
heuoua
heuaia
heuaua

pt
pt:neg
pt:sbj
pt:sbj:neg

The deictic verbs ts`a ‘be here (near me)’ and k`a ‘be here/there (near us/you)’ (
5.3.2) also form their
§
participles irregularly. The table below gives the imperfect participles for ts`a and k`a; the prefixes i- and
u- are added to these forms to give the corresponding progressive and perfect participles, respectively. For
these verbs, the indicative participles and their subjunctive counterparts are homophonous.

pt
pt:neg
pt:sbj
pt:sbj:neg

sg
tsai
tsau
tsai
tsau

pl
tsait
tsaut
tsait
tsaut

npl
tsaia
tsaua
tsaia
tsaua

sg
kai
kau
kai
kau

pl
kait
kaut
kait
kaut

npl
kaia
kaua
kaia
kaua

10.3. PARTICIPIAL CLAUSES

285

Indicative participial clauses generally express a temporal context (‘when/while’) or the presupposed cause or
reason for the event denoted by the main clause (‘because/since/given that’). Subjunctive participial clauses
express a hypothetical condition on which the event in the main clause depends, making them functionally
equivalent to conditional (‘if’) clauses. Indicative participles are discussed and illustrated further in
10.3.1,
while subjunctive participles are dealt with in

10.3.2.

§

§

10.3.1 Indicative participles

As noted above, indicative participles are formed by adding the sux -e (or -i between two consonants) to
the verb stem when the clause is positive, and -u when the clause is negative. The indicative participial form
may be unprefixed, or it may carry the progressive prefix i-, the perfect prefix u-, or the perfective prefix a-.
Examples of indicative participial clauses are given here (formed from na muelha ‘s/he sleeps’, na muelhat
‘they sleep’), while the functions of the di↵erent aspectual forms are discussed below.

na muelhe
na imuelhe
na umuelhe
na amuelhe

na muelhit
na imuelhit
na umuelhit
na amuelhit

‘when s/he sleeps’
‘while s/he is/was sleeping’
‘once s/he has/had slept’
‘when s/he slept’

na mamuelhu
na memuelhu
na momuelhu
na mamuelhu

‘when s/he doesn’t sleep’
‘without him/her sleeping’
‘without him/her having slept’
‘when s/he didn’t sleep’

‘when they sleep’
‘while they are/were sleeping’
‘once they have/had slept’
‘when they slept’

na mamuelhut
na memuelhut
na momuelhut
na mamuelhut

‘when they don’t sleep’
‘without them sleeping’
‘without them having slept’
‘when they didn’t sleep’

The progressive participle

Progressive participles generally express an event which is or was ongoing, or a state of a↵airs which is/was
in e↵ect, at the time when the event denoted by the main clause takes place. The following examples show
a progressive participial clause juxtaposed with a main clause in the perfective aspect. As the glosses for
these sentences indicate, progressive participial clauses are typically translated using a subordinate clause
10.2.2, but
with ‘while’ (Okuna also has other ways of forming ‘while’ clauses, as discussed in
these are less common). The participial clause and the main clause may occur in either order, though it is
most common for the participial clause to precede the main clause.

10.2.1 and

§

§

(10.134) Elimma

imuelhe
prg.sleep.pt

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

moktyi
come:home.pv

Elim.erg
‘While Elim was sleeping, Sakial came home’

(10.135) Sakialma

kamala
knife.all

ikpihe
prg.search.pt

no
3ardat

utsape
pf.lose.tnzr

Sakial.erg
‘While Sakial was looking for a/the knife, he found the shoe that (he) had lost’

tloke
shoe.nom

tlelhyi
find.pv

Below, a progressive participial clause is juxtaposed with a main clause in the imperfect or progressive aspect.
Notice that how the participial clause is translated (with ‘is asleep’ versus ‘was asleep’) depends on whether
the main clause is in the past tense or the non-past tense. The participle itself does not show any tense
distinctions.

(10.136) Elimma

imuelhe
prg.sleep.pt
Elim.erg
‘While Elim is asleep, I (will) work’

ma
1serg

suka
work.ipv

(10.137) Elimma

imuelhe
prg.sleep.pt

ma
1serg

isuka
prg.work.ipv

Elim.erg
‘I am working while Elim sleeps / is asleep’

286

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

(10.138) Elimma

Elim.erg

imuelhe
prg.sleep.pt

ma
1serg

isukanka
prg.work.ipv:pst

‘I was working while Elim slept / was asleep’

Progressive participial clauses can also correspond to bare participial modifiers in English, especially when
they share a referent with the main clause:

(10.139) Mikale

halou
room.abl

kiompe
run.cv

boy.nom
‘The boy ran out of the room crying’

suhyi
go:out.pv

ihise
prg.cry.pt

In the examples presented above, the participle is an eventive (Class II or Class III) verb. Stative (Class
I) verbs can also form progressive participles, expressing a condition or state of a↵airs holding at the time
when the main clause event occurs. Stative progressive participles often correspond to secondary predicates
in English:

(10.140) Sakiale

moktyi
come:home.pv
Sakial.nom
‘Sakial came home completely exhausted’

muohpi
completely

iahakte
prg.rel.tired.pt

A progressive participle is often used to express a situation involving two or more actions performed together,
where English would be more likely to use two tensed predicates or clauses conjoined with ‘and’:

(10.141) Lhatima

children.erg

iohnit
prg.sing.pt.pl

hostyit
dance.pv.pl

‘The children sang and danced’ (lit. ‘danced while singing’)

Although progressive participial clauses usually provide a temporal context for the event denoted by the
main clause, they can also express the cause, reason, or rationale for that event:

(10.142) Sakialna

teusu
very

iekone,
prg.hungry.pt

na
3aerg

iase
food

maha
some.all

Sakial.loc
‘Sakial being very hungry, he began to look for something to eat’
or ‘Since/given that Sakial (was) very hungry…’

ekpihtyi
search.tinc.pv

Notice that when the main clause and the participial clause share a referent, any full noun phrase which
picks out that referent will appear in the first clause, regardless of whether it is the participial clause or the
main clause. In the second clause, that referent will be picked out by the appropriate pronoun. Compare
the following sentences, which have the same meaning, but with the order of the participial clause and the
main clause reversed: in each case the noun iha ‘woman’ occurs in the first clause, while the second clause
contains a clitic pronoun which refers to the same referent.

(10.143) Ihama

kop`o
pot.nom

inakpe
prg.carry:in:hands.pt

ne
room.dat

woman.erg
‘The woman, carrying the pot, came into the room’
more lit. ‘While the woman (was) carrying a pot, she came into the room’

haloi
3anom

lhyuyi
enter.pv

(10.144) Ih`a

haloi
room.dat

lhyuyi
enter.pf

na
3aerg

kop`o
pot.nom

inakpe
prg.carry:in:hands.pt

woman.nom
‘The woman came into the room carrying a pot’
more lit. ‘The woman came into the room while she (was) carrying a pot’

When the progressive participial clause is negated, it may be translated into English using a ‘without’ clause:

10.3. PARTICIPIAL CLAUSES

287

(10.145) Ne

euolhna
there.loc

3anom
‘He sat there without looking at me’ or ‘He sat there, not looking at me’

euohtanka
prg.sit.ipv:pst

inme
3aerg.1snom

meksonu
neg.prg.look:at.pt:neg

The progressive participle is also used in the construction illustrated below, where the participial clause
is introduced by the conjunction ka ‘and, such that’. Here the participial clause provides background
information about one of the entities mentioned in the preceding clause. In the English counterpart of this
sentence, the noun in question is modified by a non-restrictive (or ‘appositional’) relative clause.

(10.146) Me

Uilumai
Uiluma.dat

ulhmo
1snom
year
‘I went to Uiluma, where my mother has been living for many years’
more lit. ‘I went to Uiluma, and in it (my) mother living for many years’

amema
mother.erg

itan
3iloc

etyi,
go.pv

kas
so:far

ka
and

antei
many.dat

itsuhpe
prg.live.pt

Finally, note the examples below. Here Okuna uses a progressive participle construction where English would
employ a preposition or subordinating conjunction. The progressive participial form of tiyla ‘seem’ (which
in turn selects a dependent subjunctive clause marked for nominative case) is the equivalent of ‘as if’ or ‘as
though’. In addition, ‘without’, when used of an instrument, can be expressed using a negative participial
clause headed by a verb like nyipa ‘use’.

(10.147) Na

im`e
1sall

kuhinie
dirty:look

etyi,
put.pv

itiyle
prg.seem.pt

inan
3asloc

amai
1sdat

kahtihp`e
hit.intend.dep:sbj.nom

3aerg
‘She glared at me as though she intended to hit me’
more lit. ‘She gave me a dirty look, (it) seeming that she intended to hit me’

(10.148) Ama

3idat.1serg

eiasoksanka
prg.eat.must.ipv:pst

ntse
neg

taus
spoon

inyipu
prg.use.pt:neg

‘I had to eat it without a spoon’ (lit. ‘not using a spoon’)

The perfect participle

As with progressive participial clauses, a perfect participial clause typically provides a temporal context for
the clause it modifies. When the perfect participle is used, the contextualizing event properly precedes the
main event, rather than overlapping with it, as in the case of the progressive participle. As the examples
below illustrate, the main clause can refer to a past or non-past event or state. In either case, the perfect
participle expresses an event/state which properly precedes it. A perfect participial clause is often used
where English would employ a subordinate clause with ‘when’, ‘once’, or ‘after’.

(10.149) Sakiale

umokte
pf.come:home.pt

sa
13erg

sati
meal

iasyit
eat.pv.pl

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial having come home, we ate dinner’ or ‘After Sakial had come home…’

(10.150) Sakiale

umokte
pf.come:home.pt

sa
13erg

sati
meal

iasat
eat.ipv.pl

Sakial.nom
‘When Sakial comes home, we will eat dinner’ or ‘Once Sakial has come home…’

Sometimes there is an implied cause-and-e↵ect relation between the two clauses, where the perfect participial
clause describes an event which acts as a necessary precondition to the event denoted by the main clause:

(10.151) Ihama

woman.erg

ahotsine
corn.nom

tlule
grind.cv

uoslit,
pf.finish.pt.pl

homai
bread.dat

pusuktyit
make.tinc.pv.pl

‘The women having finished grinding the corn, (they) began to make the bread’
or ‘Since the women had finished grinding the corn…’

288

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

When the perfect participle is negated, as in the examples below, the participial clause is roughly equivalent
to a ‘before’, ‘without’, or ‘until’ clause in English, depending on the tense/aspect and polarity of the main
clause:

(10.152) Sakiale

ntsuta
not:yet

umoktu
pf.come:home.pt:neg

sa
13erg

sati
meal

iasyit
eat.pv.pl

Sakial.nom
‘Before Sakial got home, we ate dinner’ (lit. ‘Sakial having not yet come home…’)

(10.153) Sakiale

momoktu
neg.pf.come:home.pt:neg

sa
13erg

Sakial.nom
‘Until Sakial comes home, we won’t eat dinner’
or ‘We won’t eat dinner without Sakial having (first) come home’

sati
meal

ntse
neg

iasot
eat.ipv:neg.pl

As with progressive participial clauses, perfect participial clauses may be introduced by the conjunction ka
‘and, such that’, as in the example below. Here the participial clause provides background information about
one of the participants mentioned in the main clause—specifically, by mentioning an event involving that
participant which had occurred at some point prior to the event in the main clause:

(10.154) Ma

Elimme
Elim.inst

laisne
just

etsampyi,
say.act.pv

ka
and

nami
3anom.1sdat

ntsemihka
never:before

usasu
pf.meet.pt:neg

1serg
‘I just spoke to Elim, who I had never met before’
lit. ‘I just spoke with Elim, and I never having met him before’

The imperfect participle

The imperfect participle is marked by the absence of an aspectual prefix on the verb. It is similar in meaning
to a progressive participle, but is used when the participial clause denotes a generic or habitual event, a
future event, or a permanent or integral property of an individual. A participial clause in the imperfect
nearly always correspond to an English ‘when’ or ‘since’ clause with the verb in the simple present, or (when
expressing a cause or reason) a bare participial modifier.

(10.155) Sakiale

mokte
come:home.pt

sa
13erg

sati
meal

iasat
eat.ipv.pl

Sakial.nom
‘When Sakial gets home, we (will) eat dinner’

(10.156) Sakiale

kot`a
Sakial.nom
brick.nom
‘Since Sakial is strong, he should be the one to carry the bricks’ or ‘Sakial being strong…’

ekpi
carry.dep:sbj

lehuaua
should.npl

nase,
strong.pt

in`a
3aerg

te
foc

The perfective participle

The perfective participle is marked by the prefix a-. Perfective participial clauses normally combine with a
main clause in the past progressive or the past perfect, as shown below. Here the participial clause provides
a temporal context for the main clause by identifying a (usually punctual) event which occurred while the
main clause event was ongoing. Normally the perfective participial clause may be translated into English
using a ‘when’ clause in the simple past.

(10.157) Ma

Uilumana
Uiluma.loc

itsuhpanka
prg.live.ipv:pst

Motl`a
Motla.nom

atioke
pv.die.pt

1serg
‘I was living in Uiluma when Motla died’

(10.158) Uta

aho
sun

ukahpanka
pf.descend.ipv:pst

lakiak`a
hunter.nom

paloi
village.dat

already
‘The sun had already set when the hunters returned to the village’

anioktit
pv.return.pt.pl

10.3. PARTICIPIAL CLAUSES

289

Note also the following example, where the perfective participial clause is introduced by ka ‘and, such that’.
Here the participial clause names a (single) past event which provides background or identifying information
on one of the individuals named in the main clause.

ka
and

(10.159) Sakial,
Sakial
‘Sakial, who I just introduced to you, is my brother’
more lit. ‘Sakial, and I having just introduced him to you, he is my brother’

asotsokue,
pv.introduce.pt

nima
3anom.1serg

ukoi
2srdat

ne
3anom

laisne
just

mo
1srdat

suhpa
brother

As a final illustration of the indicative participial construction, compare the examples below. These sentences
describe the same temporal relation between two events, but di↵er in which event is expressed by the main
clause and which event is expressed by the participial clause:

(10.160) Sakiale

moktyi
come:home.pv

Elimma
Elim.erg

imuelhe
prg.sleep.pt

Sakial.nom
‘Sakial came home while Elim was sleeping’

(10.161) Elimma

imuelhanka
prg.sleep.ipf:pst

Sakiale
Sakial.nom

Elim.erg
‘Elim was sleeping when Sakial came home’

amokte
pv.come:home.pt

10.3.2 Subjunctive participles

The subjunctive participle is formed by adding the sux -ai to the verb stem when the clause is positive, and
-au when the clause is negative. Like indicative participles, subjunctive participles may be unprefixed, or
may carry the progressive prefix i-, the perfect prefix u-, or the perfective prefix a-. Examples of subjunctive
participial inflection are given below (na muelha ‘s/he sleeps’):

na muelhai
na imuelhai
na umuelhai
na amuelhai

‘if s/he sleeps’
‘if s/he is/was sleeping’
‘if s/he has/had slept’
‘if s/he slept’

na mamuelhau
na memuelhau
na momuelhau
na mamuelhau

‘unless s/he sleeps’
‘unless s/he is/was sleeping’
‘unless s/he has/had slept’
‘unless s/he slept’

Clauses headed by a subjunctive participle denote a precondition for the event denoted by the main clause—
that is, a hypothetical state of a↵airs which must be realized in order for the main event to occur. Subjunctive
participial clauses thus correspond roughly to conditional (‘if’) or means (‘by’) clauses in English. (For other
ways of forming conditional clauses in Okuna, see

10.2.1 and

10.2.3.)

§

§

(10.162) Ko

2erg

kamala
knife.all

kotuna
house.loc

ekpihai,
search.pt:sbj

tiena
there.loc

tlelhi
find.dep:sbj

otsena
likely.ipv

‘If you look for your knife in the house, (you) are likely to find it there’
or ‘By looking for your knife in the house…’

(10.163) S`u

ikahpai,
prg.fall.pt:sbj

me
rain
1snom
‘Had it been raining, I would have stayed at home’

mokna
home.loc

utehike
pf.stay.cond

(10.164) Ko

2erg

kamala
knife.all

kotuna
house.loc

ukpihai,
pf.search.pt:sbj

tiena
there.loc

utlelhike
pf.find.cond

‘If you had looked for your knife in the house, (you) would have found it there’

As the following examples illustrate, how the participial clause is translated depends on the tense (non-past
versus past) and mood (indicative versus conditional) of the verb in the main clause:

290

CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

(10.165) Me

1snom

ihaktai,
prg.tired.pt:sbj

ma
1serg

muelha
sleep.ipv

‘If I’m tired, I (will) sleep’

(10.166) Me

ihaktai,
prg.tired.pt:sbj

1snom
‘If I were tired, I would sleep’

ma
1serg

muelhike
sleep.cond

(10.167) Me

ihaktai,
prg.tired.pt:sbj

ma
1serg

umuelhike
pf.sleep.cond

1snom
‘If I were tired, I would have slept’ or ‘Had I been tired…’

When the participial clause is negated, it can often be translated using ‘unless’ or ‘without’ in English:

(10.168) Sakialma

Sakial.erg
‘Unless Sakial helps, I won’t be able to do it’ or ‘Without Sakial helping…’

uktiau,
give.pt:sbj:neg

hi
3inom

ntsoke
not:going:to

sukyipo
do.able.ipv:neg

iman
1sloc

aleut
help

ntse
neg

10.4 The converb construction

In the converb construction, a verb carrying the sux -e modifies a following verb, with the two verbs
forming a kind of complex predicate expressing a single event or type of action. The verb marked with -e is
called the converb (abbreviated cv in the examples), while the verb which it modifies is called the head
verb. An example is lihke tifa ‘cut o↵, remove by cutting’, where the head verb tifa ‘remove’ is modified by
the converb lihke ‘cutting’. Note that converb modification can be iterated, meaning that a converb modifer
may itself consist of a head verb modified by a converb: e.g., kiote kiompe mokta ‘run home quickly’, where
kiote ‘being quick’ modifies kiompe ‘running’, and kiote kiompe ‘running quickly’ in turn modifies mokta ‘go
home’.

The converb must be adjacent to the head verb, and the two behave as a single syntactic unit. The head
7.2), and the nominalizing
verb carries all tense/aspect/mood/polarity inflection (
morphology discussed elsewhere in this chapter. Consider the following examples, featuring lihke tifa ‘cut
o↵’:

7.4), number agreement (
§

§

(10.169) Na

lotsane
branch.nom

lihke
cut.cv

3aerg
‘They are trying to cut the branches o↵’

itifilmauat
prg.remove.icpl.ipv.npl.pl

(10.170) Inan
3iloc
‘She preferred to cut the branch o↵’

lotsane
3asall

lihke
cut.cv

tifuhohtanka
remove.want.comp.ipv:pst

(10.171) Iman
1sloc

iona
know.ipv

na
3aerg

lotsane
branch.nom

lihke
cut.cv

utifat`a
pf.remove.dep.pl.nom

‘I know that they (had) cut the branch o↵’

When a clause containing a converb is negated, the negative particle takes the form ntse, and precedes the
converb, while the head verb takes the negative form of the tense/aspect/mood sux. Note that ntse never
attaches directly to the converb (in its bound form m(a)-) even when it immediately precedes the converb.

(10.172) Na

3aerg

lotsane
branch.nom

eima
still

ntse
neg

lihke
cut.cv

utifo
pf.remove.ipf:neg.

‘S/he hasn’t cut o↵ the branch yet’

10.4. THE CONVERB CONSTRUCTION

291

A complex predicate containing a converb is assigned to the same verb class as the head verb (cf.
example, lihke tifa ‘cut o↵’ is a change-of-location predicate belonging to Class III (see
the fact that tifa ‘remove’ is a Class III change-of-location verb.

4.4). For
§
4.4.3) by virtue of

§

Converbs expressing means or manner

Predicates consisting of a head verb modified by a converb express a single unified event. Typically the
converb denotes an activity while the head verb denotes a change of state, and the construction as a whole
expresses an activity that brings about or culminates in the change of state. Consider the examples given
below. In (10.173), with tlynke lima ‘push open’ (lit. ‘open by pushing’), the pushing activity brings about
the opening event; while in (10.174), with solhe kahta ‘pelt, bombard’ (lit. ‘hit by throwing’), the throwing
activity results in the hitting event.

(10.173) Sakialma

hitole
door.nom

tlynke
push.cv

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial pushed the door open’

limyi
open.pv

(10.174) Sakialma

solhe
Sakial.erg
throw.cv
‘Sakial is pelting the rats with stones’

sekeit
rat.dat

naka
stone

ikahtama
prg.hit.ipv.dpl

English resultative constructions, such as ‘hammer the metal flat’, may be rendered in Okuna using a converb
construction where the head verb denotes the entry into a state (often formed from a stative verb stem using
the telic inchoative sux -(e)t, discussed in

7.5.3):

(10.175) Motlama

lhote
metal.nom

konom
hammer
Motla.erg
‘Motla hammered the metal flat’
more lit. ‘Motla flattened the metal by pounding (it with a) hammer’

tsaltyi
flat.tinc.pv

§
tlule
pound.cv

In the examples above, the converb is a Class II verb denoting an activity which modifies a Class III verb.
The converb can also be (headed by) a stative Class I verb modifying a Class II or Class III verb, as shown
below. Given that converbs express the manner or means by which an action is carried out, stative converbs
correspond closely to manner adverbs in English (‘quickly’, ‘beautifully’, etc.):

(10.176) Na

kiote
quick.cv

etsampyiot
speak.act.pv.recip.pl

3aerg
‘They spoke to one another quickly’

(10.177) Motlama

elife
Motla.erg
beautiful.cv
‘Motla sings beautifully’

uhna
sing.ipv

Class II verbs expressing the manner in which something is done appear frequently as converbs modifying
other verbs. Examples of Class II manner verbs include kapua ‘be skillful/accomplished, act with skill’, kela
‘be together, act as a group’, and sukana ‘act/happen suddenly or abruptly’.

(10.178) Elimma

kapue
skillful.cv

siehpa
write.ipv

Elim.erg
‘Elim writes well’ or ‘Elim is a good writer’

(10.179) Lhatima

kele
be:together.cv

eiasat
prg.eat.ipv.pl

children.erg
‘The children are eating together’

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CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

(10.180) Mo

Elimma
Elim.erg

sukane
1srdat
be:abrupt.cv
‘Elim suddenly hit me’ (lit. ‘hit me by acting abruptly’)

kahtyi
hit.pv

Particularly prevalent are cases where the converb denotes a manner of motion (‘run’, ‘walk’, ‘swim’, ‘fly’,
‘dance’, ‘crawl’, ‘jump’, etc.) and the head verb denotes a trajectory of motion (‘go to’, ‘come from’, ‘enter’,
‘exit’, ‘insert’, ‘remove’, etc.). Examples are given below, showing the converbs iante ‘by jumping’ and
heulhte ‘by being pulled’ in combination with various trajectory verbs. Iante atia ‘jump towards’ is literally
‘approach by jumping’, heulhte otla ‘pull apart’ is literally ‘separate by being pulled’ (or ‘cause to separate
by pulling’), and so on.

atia
eta
hita
kloha
tlisa
tsypa

elha
kloha
nkilha
otla
teuna
tolha

‘approach’
‘go to’
‘come over here’
‘go through’
‘cross, traverse, go over’
‘enter [a body of water]’

iante atia
iante eta
iante hita
iante kloha
iante tlisa
iante tsypa

‘jump towards’
‘jump to’
‘jump over here’
‘jump through’
‘jump across/over’
‘jump into [a body of water]’

‘put into, insert’
‘go through’
‘leave, go away’
‘separate’
‘put, place’
‘stand up’

heulhte elha
heulhte kloha
heulhte nkilha
heulhte otla
heulhte teuna
heulhte tolha

‘pull into’
‘pull through’
‘pull away’
‘pull apart’
‘pull into place’
‘pull up, pull into a standing position’

Example sentences with motion-denoting converb constructions include:

(10.181) Ik`e

halou
room.abl

kiompe
run.cv

suhyi
go:out.pv

dog.nom
‘The dog ran out of the room’ (lit. ‘exited by running’)

(10.182) Hastine

mutume
fence.inst

iante
jump.cv

tlisyi
go:over.pv

deer.nom
‘The deer jumped over the fence’ (lit. ‘crossed by jumping’)

(10.183) Hesa

naum`a
cougar.nom

klalpe
move:stealthily.cv

iatia
prg.approach.ipv

rabbit.all
‘The rabbit is being stalked by a cougar’ (lit. ‘approached by moving stealthily’)

(10.184) Han`e

teneme
hill.inst

lokai
forest.dat

kiompe
run.cv

kelhyi
ascend.pv

fox.nom
‘The fox ran up the hill (and) into the woods’ (lit. ‘ascended by running’)

(10.185) Na

ketoi
bone.dat

heulhte
pull.cv
3aerg
‘She is pulling meat o↵ the bones’ (lit. ‘removing by pulling’)

itifama
prg.remove.ipv.dpl

maka
meat

(10.186) Hut`a

sukuma
wind.erg

lhope
blow.cv

puhtlyi
overturn.pv

basket.nom
‘The wind blew the basket over’ (lit. ‘overturned by blowing’)

Some trajectory verbs in Okuna refer to a particular direction or type of goal—e.g., ilalta ‘go to the shore
(from inland)’, mokta ‘go home’, palhta ‘come ashore’, sihafa ‘go downstream’. These can also combine with
converbs denoting manner of motion to express complex movement events:

10.4. THE CONVERB CONSTRUCTION

293

tatane ilalta
tupe palhta
sihpe sihafa

‘wander down to the shore’
‘wade ashore’
‘swim downstream’

(lit. ‘go to the shore by wandering’)
(lit. ‘come ashore by walking’)
(lit. ‘go downstream by swimming’)

Additional examples:

(10.187) Ma

nak`a
stone.nom

sihkunoi
river.dat

1serg
‘I dropped the stone into the river’

tiause
drop.cv

tsypyi
submerge.pv

(10.188) Lhat`e

kiompe
run.cv

imoktat
prg.go:home.ipv.pl

children.nom
‘The children are running home’

Note also the following example, where the converb is selected by the stative verb ohtla ‘resemble’. Ohtla
expresses a comparison, and takes a nominative noun phrase denoting the subject of comparison and an
allative noun phrase denoting the object/standard of comparison. Here, the converb expresses a type of
action with respect to which the comparison holds. A more literal translation of this example might be ‘She
resembles a bird by (or with respect to) singing’.

(10.189) Ne

pilaua
bird.all

uhne
sing.cv

ohtla
resemble.ipv

3anom
‘She sings like a bird’

Other functions of the converb construction

In the examples above, the converb indicates the manner in which, or means by which, the action denoted
by the main verb is carried out. The converb construction also has a handful of other uses. In certain cases,
for instance, the head verb expresses aspectual modification of the event denoted by the converb. Verbs
which can appear as the head verb in this construction include:

atia
esta
niokta
sehta
tima
uata
usla
ylpa

‘come close to, almost/nearly do’
‘manage to, succeed in doing’
‘redo, do again, repeat’
‘continue, go on; resume, start again’
‘tend to; be liable to, be likely to’
‘stop, cease’
‘finish’
‘undo’

Examples:

(10.190) Ma

ahotsine
corn.nom

nalhe
1serg
plant.cv
‘I finished planting the corn’

uslyi
finish.pv

(10.191) Sakialma

Sakial.erg

halmai
book.dat

tale
read.cv

sehtyi
go:on.pv

‘Sakial resumed/continued reading his book’

(10.192) Motlai

itiause
Motla.dat
prg.fall.tnzr
‘Motla was nearly hit by a falling rock’
more lit. ‘A falling rock approached hitting Motla’

nak`a
rock.nom

kahte
hit.cv

atiyi
approach.pv

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CHAPTER 10. NOMINALIZATION AND COMPLEX CLAUSES

When used in this construction, the motion verb niokta ‘return, go back’ indicates repetition of the action
denoted by the converb, and often translates the English prefix ‘re-’: e.g., siehpa ‘write’ > siehpe niokta
‘rewrite’. Similarly, predicates formed with ylpa (glossed ‘undo’) express an action which reverses or undoes
the e↵ects of the action denoted by the converb; hence, ylpa corresponds fairly closely to the English prefixes
‘un-’ and ‘de-’: e.g., patla ‘cover’ > patle ylpa ‘uncover’; tiespa ‘build, construct’ > tiespe ylpa ‘unbuild,
deconstruct, disassemble’. Compare also:

(10.193) Na

ikei
dog.dat

s`o
rope

hotyi
attach.pv

3aerg
‘He tied up the dog’

(10.194) Na

ikei
dog.dat

s`o
rope

hote
attach.cv

ylpyi
undo.pv

3aerg
‘He untied the dog’ (lit. ‘He undid tying up the dog’)

(10.195) Na

ikei
dog.dat

s`o
rope

hote
attach.cv

nioktyi
return.pv

3aerg
‘He retied the dog’ (lit. ‘He redid tying up the dog’)

Crucially, an aspectual verb can select a converb just in case both verbs share the same core arguments. For
instance, the converb construction is allowed in (10.196) because the ergative noun phrase functions as the
actor argument for both verbs: the musicians are responsible for carrying out both the playing event and the
stopping event. In (10.197), by contrast, the playing event and the stopping event have di↵erent actors (the
musicians and Sakial, respectively), and so the converb construction is not allowed: uata instead selects as its
complement a postposed dependent clause marked with nominative case, and atlpaka ‘musicians’ functions
as the ergative argument of the dependent verb:

(10.196) Atlpakama

sukane
musician.erg
sudden.cv
‘The musicians suddenly stopped playing’

atlpe
play.cv

uatyit
stop.pv.pl

(10.197) Sakialma

sukane
sudden.cv

uatyi
stop.pv

atlpakama
musician.erg

atlpat`a
play.dep.pl.nom

Sakial.erg
‘Sakial suddenly stopped the musicians from playing’

Causative verbs, such as one of the ones listed below, can also select a converb. These verbs take an
ergative argument denoting the causer, with the converb and its dependents indicating the event that is
being caused. Crucially, the converb must be a Class II or Class III verb which does not take an ergative
argument; otherwise, the causative verb must select a dependent clause marked with nominative case.

aktapa
kina
lohka
mehka
nana
solohka
somita
teuohka
tsuhka

‘help, aid (in); let, enable, facilitate’
‘let, enable’
‘make, cause’
‘have, cause, let happen’
‘allow, let, permit; leave’
‘order, command, demand’
‘persuade, convince’
‘force, compel’
‘have, cause, let happen (s.th. bad)’

Examples:

(10.198) Me

Sakialma
Sakial.erg

1snom
‘Sakial made me leave’

nkilhe
leave.cv

lohkyi
make.pv

10.5. GERUNDS

(10.199) Moihama

ik`e
dog.nom

suhe
go:out.cv

girl.erg
‘The girl let the dogs out’

kinyia
let.pv.npl

295

Finally, when a Class I verb expressing a property is modified by certain degree words (such as tsuo ‘too’,
mu ‘enough’, etc.), the degree word can be preceded by a converb denoting the (type of) action with respect
to which the property holds to the degree indicated.

(10.200) Toml`a

kule
see:res.cv

tsuo
too

alamat
rel.far.ipv.pl

mountain.nom
‘The mountains are too far away to see’

(10.201) Ohui
fruit
‘Is that fruit ripe enough to eat yet?’

tin
those:nom

kas
already

iase
eat.cv

mu
enough

iatuosit
prg.rel.ripe.ipv:int.pl

ne?
qu

10.5 Gerunds

Gerunds are nominalizations denoting a type of action or state, or an abstract property or characteristic.
Gerunds are formed by suxing -ts (glossed ger) to a verb stem in the dependent indicative form, which is
marked by the sux -a in the positive and -u in the negative (see

10.2):

§

kesta
nkestu

‘be happy’
‘not be happy’

kestats
nkestuts

‘being happy, happiness’
‘not being happy, unhappiness’

The formation of gerunds with -ts is completely productive: any verb is capable of taking this sux, even
11.2). Examples:
if it also has an irregular nominal form (see

§

esta
fiha
huetla
kiota
kuola
lalia
lomua
mehka
mouta
tioka
usla

‘reach, succeed at’
‘be young’
‘be afraid’
‘be fast’
‘meet’
‘play, have fun’
‘crash on shore’
‘happen, occur’
‘be sick’
‘die’
‘end, finish’

estats
fihats
huetlats
kiotats
kuolats
laliats
lomuats
mehkats
moutats
tiokats
uslats

‘success’
‘being young, youth’