Person-marking is the term for how a language marks the subject of a verb. Person refers to whether it's 1st person (“I”), 2nd person (“you”), or 3rd person (“he, she”). Number refers to whether it's a single person, or two (dual) or many (plural).
For 1st and 2nd person, subject marking on main verbs almost never occurs in sentences that are simple statements, like “I ate.” Instead sentences with person suffixes on the verb are usually commands, or questions, or expressions of doubt, or have some other more complex meaning.
First person examples:
Take the verb roots below and add the 1st.person suffix (and the emphatic suffix too if you want to. Then provide an appropriate translation for them, like the sentences above.
The second person subject suffix has several different shapes depending on what comes before it. In most cases it is -no or -ni for “you” singular. But after a dual or plural it is -mo or -m. (We’ll show you examples of -mo and -m when we introduce duals and plurals in the section 6.)
Second Person examples:
*Although the translation says “they say,” there is no “they” or “say” in this Konkow sentence – the idea of it is conveyed by the suffix -c’o, glossed as “hearsay”. Another way to translate it would be “rumor has it, you cracked acorns.”)
*The emphatic marker -s looks just like the first person suffix. How do you tell the difference? Just by knowing the meaning of the sentence – since this sentence is about “you” (2nd person), not “I” (1st person), then this -s must be the emphatic.
Like the first person, these sentences are not just simple statements. Person-marking on the verb always means something more complex, in this case occurring with other suffixes that convey some kind of uncertainty about the statement (-c’o ‘hearsay,’ -pa ‘maybe,’ or -dè, ‘questioning’).
Recall that verbs in third person (he, she, it) bear no person suffix at all.
The dual suffix is -ja: and the plural suffix is -je. They come before the person suffixes in a word.
Examples of duals and plurals on verbs:
1st.person with dual or plural
2nd.person with dual or plural
When there is a dual or plural with second person, the person suffix is -mo or -m.
3rd.person with dual or plural
Although there is no 3rd person suffix, 3rd person verbs are marked for number.
So you see in the example above that in the third person forms, the verb.final suffix comes back.
For the verb sing (sol), write the person suffix and dual or plural in each example below along with any other necessary suffixes to make the sentence.
- 1 all other such suffixes are illustrated in sentences you have seen above in this lesson
- 2 they are all one word in Konkow.
The first line is done for you.
In the first column below are some of the sentences that we used as examples for this lesson. Change the person and number in these sentences so that they match the translation given in the second column.
A dual or plural subject can be marked in several other ways too. It can be marked on nouns or pronouns either, as well as or instead of, the verb. There are also other suffixes on verbs that indicate plural, such as -h (see the verb suffixes chart).
The reciprocal suffix -to also implies a dual or plural subject without showing it in person and number suffixes.
Plural subject can also be implied by reduplication – for example:
Here the reduplication on the noun ‘branch’ indicates ‘branches’, and the reduplication of the verb suffix -t’a indicates that the action is being done by multiple squirrels.
Many sentences where “they” is the implied subject don’t bother marking plural at all.
In Konkow, the term person refers to the subject being marked on a verb.
The person suffix marks whether the subject is 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person.
- 1st.person “I”
- on a main verb -(i)s
- on a helping verb -j (see Lesson 10)
- 2nd.person “you”
- on both main verbs and helping verbs: -no, -ni, -mo, or -m
- 3rd.person “he, she”
- Ø (that is, nothing, no suffix)
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