utilizing linguistic documentation for research and revitalization
lesson 9 past, present, future
*****call vocabulary list*****
past, present, future tensein -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.
ʔakym ʔýk’oje ʔyjè:n.
Now his friends were leaving.
wólimk’ojo:m jó:kiTin ʔàtin.
The whole bunch dove like that.
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.”
-in after most consonants:
(s/he) floated out and upward
He sang and sang.
Vowel harmony after k or
nìhaj sỳmi jýlyk’yn
I pounded the deermeat.
That leaf is 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.’