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16. K'tlê by Jeff Jones

Texts | Grammar Guide | Vocabulary | Abbreviations | Inflections
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niôtepzaz tînno

zano' tîklozatl, zenko zantacîmozto.
leohoepzô t'hazatl, tacîm k'hênaka.
leohoepzô k'katêônatl k'lanit'pata.
k'zohla k'zipateaz leohoepzoin zano' k'halzina.
t'hazê, k'xazômê kiazzonkêhaz.
hemok'tip'tli leohoepzô kiaclôpa hîk'mazza zano' halzipa.
  Smooth English

"A Child's Story"

"Once, I was sitting near an ocean."
"As a wave broke, saltwater passed over me."
"Not fighting the wave, I was made joyful."
"I dreamed about waves approaching me from far away."
"While they were breaking, I felt them stroking me."
"Being able to travel, a wave carried me far away."
Smooth English of mârèchi Text

"Once, I was sitting near an ocean."
"A wave broke, and water passed over me."
"I didn't try to fight the wave, and was made joyful."
"I dreamed about waves approaching me from far away."
"While it was breaking, I felt it stroking me."
"A wave was able to travel and it carried me far away."


Grammar Notes


Orthography Notes

The digraphs |p'|, |t'|, and |k'| represent ejectives; otherwise, an apostrophe represents a glottal stop. The digraph |tl| represents a single consontant. Circumflexed vowels have high tone and non-circumflexed ones have low tone.


The trickiest part for someone who doesn't know the language probably is parsing the word forms, due to the stem variations. Suffixes for which these apply are preceded with H or C in the suffix list. These can change the final consonant of the stem, or the vowel preceding it, andor do other things. I've included the relevent ones, all relative to the citation form.

H: changes final |t| to |z|, or changes |a| or |e| to |ô|, or appends |h| to a high-tone vowel.

C: changes final |t| to |z|, or changes |a| or |e| to |ê|, or appends |c| to a high-tone vowel.

An unchanged |i|, |e|, or |o| preceding the final consonant may be deleted if the suffix begins with a vowel (with or without H/C). If so, the vowel before may be undeleted.

There are other changes: e.g. an nasal assimilates to a following stop's place of articulation and a glottal stop is deleted between vowels. A high tone vowel becomes low tone before a following vowel (without H/C).

In one derivation, the initial (C)V of the root is reduplicated, with the result being then subjected to the various phonetic processes, such as vowel deletion. For some dynamic verbs, this represents iterative forms.

Morphology and Syntax

K'tlê words are classified as verbs, nouns, or particles, with these further divided according to specific characteristics (see WORD CLASSIFICATION ABBREVIATIONS). The citation form for nouns is the singular and the citation form for verbs is the one closest to being basic, usually the patientive-coreferencing depictive (PCD) form.

K'tlê uses a direct-inverse system with a 2 > 1 > 3 person hierarchy. Word order is largely determined by pragmatics, although parts of the same construction shouldn't be separated. Head nouns are not mandatory.

Noun phrases corresponding to definite 3rd person affixes are definite and those corresponding to indefinite affixes are indefinite. If there's no corresponding phrase, the definite affixes can be considered pronominal and the indefinite ones taken as indicating that the argument is unspecified.

Personal agreement on verbs is laid out like this, assuming the verb is direct. If it's inverse, AGENT and PATIENT are swapped, as are OBJECT and SUBJECT.

1 patientive                stem-PATIENT
V agentive       AGENT-     stem
2 transitive     AGENT-     stem-PATIENT
R relational    OBJECT-     stem-SUBJECT
3 trivalent     AGENT-THEME-stem-PATIENT

Relational verbs might need more explanation. They describe the subject as it relates to the object, you can usually read them as

SUBJECT is (English gloss) OBJECT.

Participles mostly work like finite verbs, using the same prefixes, but take noun agreement suffixes instead of personal ones (agentive verbs lose their personal prefixes, of course). Only trivalent verbs have thematic participles. For these, the head noun acts as the participial verb's theme. Only one of the other two arguments can be marked (AGENT if direct, PATIENT if inverse); the other isn't specified.

The perlative applicative (-PER) makes the object refer to a route rather than to a location. Hopefully, the descriptions under INFLECTIONS are adequate.

An adverbialized clause specifies the circumstances or time of the main situation, and can imply other relationships as well. Sometimes, it's used instead of a conjunction.



Letters in brackets [] are part of the citation form, but not actually part of the root or stem. Letters in parentheses () are part of the root or stem, but not actually part of the citation form; they're included for the construction of other forms.

D2      clep            carry
SR      halzi           far/away from   with (zano')
SR      hen             above
T=      hî              then
D2      kata'           fight/oppose
SR      kloz            before, earlier (temporal)
S2      lanit           joyful
IN      leohoepzô       wave
D3      ô               tell, say, speak
MN      tacîm           saltwater
DV      tip'[tli]       go
T=      tî              now
AN      tînno           child
D1      t'haz           die
S2      xazem           feel (external sense)
SR      zi[tl]          near
C       zano'           very
S1      zantacîmozto    at/near an ocean or sea
S1      zen             sitting
D2      zmik            stroke (zonk before a vowel)
D2      zohol           dream


Word Classification Abbreviations

 Basic Word Class      plus      Argument Structure
   D   Dynamic verb                1   patientive monovalent
   S   Static verb                 V   agentive monovalent (Volitional)
   A   Animate (count) noun        2   transitive divalent
   I   Inanimate count noun        R   Relational divalent
   M   inanimate Mass noun         3   ditransitive/trivalent
   T   Temporal word               N   Non-possessed noun
   C   Conjunction or adverb       =   proclitic




0       3S.             3rd person definite singular (non-agentive verbs)
he-     3S(.DIR)-       3rd person definite singular (agentive verbs only)
kia-    1S.INV-         1st person singular inverse (transitive verbs)
k'-     1S(.DIR)-       1st person singular (direct if not monovalent)
ma-     INV-            inverse (relational verbs only)
mok-    CAP-            modal denoting ability
ni-     IND(.DIR)-      3rd person indefinite (direct if not monovalent)


 0     .S      noun singular
 0     .PCD    patient-coreferencing depictive
 0     .PRF    perfective aspect (possible only for dynamic verbs)
 0     .IPF    imperfective aspect (stative verbs only)
 -a     -IND    3rd person indefinite
H-a     -3S     3rd person singular
C-ak    -PER    perlative applicative
C-an    -NEG    negative
C-em    -CAU    causative
H-ê     -3P     3rd person plural
 -ê     -IPF    imperfective aspect (dynamic verbs)
 -in    -P      noun plural
 -ko    -1S     1st person singular
 -na    -INAP   inanimate participle plural
 -pa    -RSL    resultative
 -pat   -INC    inceptive (start of a state)
 -pza   -THMS   thematic participle singular
 -te    -RET    retrospective (perfect) aspect
 -tl(i) -CON    added to finite verb to adverbialize its clause
 -z     -NOM    added to finite verb to nominalize its clause
 -za    -INAS   inanimate participle singular

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