lesson 9 past, present, future
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past, present, future tense in -n

Many verbs in the stories end in -n. See the examples from Lesson1 from Coyote and the Turtle Girl. Ultan (dissertation, p. 119) calls it "semantically neutral" but says that it can serve the role as a "non-past" or "recent past" tense. We think it is not about past or present at all. It's just something that marks the end of a verb. So we will call it verb.final.

Here are a few examples from The Lost Swimmer.
ʔòpá:nte,   píje:ton.   ʔòpá:nte,   píje:ton.
He kept on swimming, swimming.
ʔòpá:nte,
continuously
   
swim
-je:
move.​about
-to
around
-n.
verb.​final
   
ʔòpá:nte,
continuously
   
swim
-je:
move.​about
-to
around
-n.
verb.​final
   
ʔakym   ʔýk’oje   ʔyjè:n.
Now his friends were leaving.
ʔakym
now
   
ʔý
move
-k’o
leave
-je
3p.​pl
   
ʔy
move
-jè:
move.​about
-n.
verb.​final
   
wólimk’ojo:m   jó:kiTin   ʔàtin.
The whole bunch dove like that.
wóli
bunch
-m
relational
-k’ojo:
people
-m
subject
   
jó:kiT
dive
-in
verb.​final
   
ʔàti
do
-n.
verb.​final
   

ʔatin really means "do or did like that", so it's a verb too, as the -n shows us.

If the verb ends in a consonant, add -in instead of -n. (The best way to think of it is that the suffix is “really” -in, and the -i disappears after a vowel.) Also, if the verb ends in a -k, then instead of -in, the vowel will be whatever the previous vowel is! This is called “vowel harmony.”

Examples:
-in after most consonants:

hinsi:n
(s/he) floated out and upward
hin
float
-si:
out.​of
-n
verb.​final
   
sòlin,   sòlin.
He sang and sang.
sòl
sing
-in,
verb.​final
   
sòl
sing
-in.
verb.​final
   
Vowel harmony after k or k’:
nìhaj   sỳmi   jýlyk’yn
I pounded the deermeat.
I
-ha
be
-j
1stper
   
sỳmi
deer
   
jýlyk’
pound
-yn
verb.​final
   
mòmbák’amsa   ʔéc’ulàk’an
That leaf is brownish red.
mòmbák’amsa
leaf
   
ʔéc’ulàk’an
brownish red
   
All those sentences we’ve shown you so far are in the past tense. However, being in the past is simply understood because these sentences are part of a story. So we understand it is past because of the context. But a sentence that is without any context could be either past or present. Without context, solin (see above) could be past or present. It could also mean ‘S/he sings” or ‘S/he is singing.’
Examples:
mýt’an
roast over a fire
roast
-t’a
on.​top.​of
-n
verb.​final
   
There are of course ways that can make certain that something happened in the past or present, such as using words like “yesterday” k’ájpidihàma or “already”, hìma. Examples:
k’ájpidihàma   ʔýda:n.
He came yesterday.
k’ájpidihàma
yesterday
   
ʔýda:
movement
-n.
verb.​final
   
ʔámam   hìma   c’én,   ʔámwete,   mý・me・n
He had already seen them, but he didn’t shoot.
ʔámam
them
   
hìma
already
   
c’én,
see
   
ʔámwete,
but.​although
   
mý・me・n
2nd.​person.​prohibative
   
Future Tense

However, if you want to talk about the future, you must add the suffix -ki:, (or -kit,see below), which would translate as “will” most of the time.

Examples:

sà   jóc’onojèhki:n
He will circle about the fire.
fire
   
frequent
-c’o
hearsay
-no
2p.​sub
-jèh
motion
-ki:
will
-n
verb.​final
   
ník’ùnimaj   ʔýnoki:n,   ʔàn.
I will go first, he said.
ník’
I
-ùnimaj
first
   
ʔýno
move.​along
-ki:
will
-n,
verb.​final
   
ʔàn.
he.​said
   
belemwete   pije:tomehki:n
(You) will never swim here again.
bele
again
-m
adverbial.​absolutive
-wete
continuative.​contrastive
   
pi
swim
-je:
move.​about
-to
about
-meh
not
-ki:
future
-n
verb.​final
   
mihano  c'ajim   haki:n
You will be different
mi
you
-ha
be
-no
2nd.​person
   
c'aj
different
-im
nominalizer
   
ha
be
-ki:
will
-n
verb.​final
   
Before a consonant, the future suffix would be -kit.

Examples:

ʔýdiknòssesa   táwalkitkàmmoton.
He will still be working when I get there.
ʔý
motion
-dik
facing
-nòssesa
x
   
táwal
work
-kit
future
-kàmmoto
continue
-n.
verb.​final
   
bískitjà:m
Will you two stay?
bís
stay
-kit
future
-jà:
with
-m
object
   
exercises 1,2
Read the present tense sentences below and convert them to future tense in Konkow.
ʔípemkan   ʔétapwònon
Everything just stopped.
ʔípemkan
everything
   
ʔétap
x
-wòno
dead
-n
verb.​final
   
hétydiwetehàj   máko:   pékymàn
Sometimes I eat fish.
héty
what
-di
place
-wete
but.​although
-hà
be
-j
I
   
máko:
fish
   
eat
-ky
x
-mà
x
-n
verb.​final
   
exercises 3,4
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