lesson 5 - pronouns

These are the vocabulary words that will be introduced in this lesson.

Verb roots
bojehto swing c’e see
hémnon read janito tell
jó:ki: dive méjin give
mýtʔa roast píje: swim
wóti catch.fish
Noun roots
c’ámmi: knife k’o:doj place
màko: fish sol song
other
ʔàdiky then dòw commit
k’ána:n bottom.under kàni and, then
verb suffixes
-an say -bo encouragement
-c’o must have -in verb final
-kì:T future.finish -man must have
-n verb final -p imperative
-s allow.let -toto move.about
noun suffixes
-ky agent
pronouns
mi you mímem you dual subject
mima: you dual mímem you plural object
míme you plural mink’i your, yours
mink’an with you mima:k’i your, yours dual
mimek’i your, yours pl. mìhani mìhano you
mìnaj I to or with you my him, her, it
mỳhaj I to him/her mym he, she, it
mysa: them dual mysa:m they dual
mysá:ki their, theirs dual myse them plural
mysek’i they plural mysem they plural
ni I nìhaj I
nik me nik’i my
nikk’an with me nísa us dual
nísam we dual subject
part 1 basic pronouns

Pronouns are words like “I,” “me” (first person); “you” (second person); and “he, him, she, her, it” (third person). And of course there are the plural pronouns like “we”, “us,” “they” and “them”. That’s how they work in English.

In English, sentences generally have at least one noun or pronoun. But in Konkow, as you saw in Lesson 2, a sentence without any noun or pronoun is just fine.
We gave as an example só:n. “They released him.”
só:n.
They released him.
só:
release
-n.
verb.​final
   
This came out of the story of Coyote and the Turtle Girls, and the translation was clear because of the context of what was going on in the story. Without that context, só:n could also mean “He released him” or “she released them.”. It’s a perfectly good sentence, in any case.
However, Konkow does have a very rich pronoun system. We will start by showing you the subject and object pronouns. Examine the chart below.
1st person subject object
singular ni nik
I me
dual nísa:m nísa:
we(two) us(two)
plural nísem níse
we (more than two) us (more than two)
2nd person
singular
mín
you you
dual mímem mima:
you (two) you (two)
plural mímem míme
you (more than two) you (more than two)
3rd person
singular
mým, momis mý,mó
he, she, it him, her, it
dual mysa:m mysa:
they (two) them (two)
plural mysem myse
they (more than two) them (more than two)
The pronoun mo is less common than my. You can just use my in your own speech if you like, but you will occasionally see mo in the stories and other sentences.

Note that except for singular “I” and “you”, the subject pronouns all have an -m at the end, just like nouns do. Object pronouns are “bare”- that is, no -m. Another thing to notice is that the pronouns differ according to whether they refer to just one, or two, or more than two people. Think of all these words as having a set of components that go together. For example, first person dual subject has three pieces: the pronoun root ni “first person”, -sa “dual (two)”, and -m “subject”.) We can represent the parsed pronoun and it’s translation like this:
nisam
ours
ni
1.​pro
-sa
dual
-m
subj
   
pronoun chart
So you don’t have to memorize 18 pronouns – just memorize 6 components and the s order they go in.
The exceptions are these:
  • ni is the 1st person singular subject, don’t add ‑m to it.
  • mi is the 2nd person singular subject, don’t add ‑m to it.
  • nik is the 1st person singular object, so unlike all the other pronouns, you add -k.
  • min is the 2nd person singular object, so unlike all other pronouns, you add -n.
pronoun chart
It may be helpful to put images with the pronoun concepts we are trying to explain. In the diagram below, the pronouns are grouped into 1st person, 2nd, person and third person and by singular, dual and plural occurrences. Their english translations are also given.
pronoun chart
Exercise 1 Fill in the pronoun

Using the English translation as your guide, put the correct pronouns in the following sentences. Say the sentences out loud, too, for practice. (We aren’t separating all the components of each word, but you should recognize a few components here and there.

 solmanc’os.

He must have sung.

 màko: wótiminc’ehàj,  -t’akì:n.

If you.plural catch the fish, I will roast it.

 -maja:s hémnon.

we.two are reading.

 kanaj mejin.

I gave it to you.alone.

néno   jántop!

Tell me a story!

Click the ‘Check answers’ button to see if you have all the answer correct
As we said, you don’t necessarily have to use a pronoun or a noun in a Konkow sentence. When you read stories, there can be many paragraphs without using pronouns. When do they actually get used? Usually it is for emphasis or clarity, to distinguish one person from another.

Here are some examples from the Lost Swimmer:

píje:tonkàni.
They swam. [And then]
swim
-je:
move.​about
-to
around
-n
verb.​final
-kàni.
and.​then
   
mým,   ʔàdiky,   jó:kiTin,   jó:kiTin.
He dove and dove.
he
-m,
subject
   
ʔàdiky,
phrase.​marker
   
jó:kiT
dive
-in,
verb.​final
   
jó:kiT
dive
-in.
verb.​final
   
The first phrase above has no pronoun, but the second one does, because the subject has changed from a general group “they” to a particular person. But now that it was established that that particular person dove, the next line (13) is still about him, but without using a pronoun.
k’ána:nk’o:dojdi   jó:kiTin.
Way down to the bottom he dove.
k’ána:n
bottom
-k’o:doj
place
-di
at
   
jó:kiT
dive
-in.
verb.​final
   
Since English has to put in a pronoun, the translation has a pronoun even though there is not one in Konkow.
part 2 other types of pronouns

As you saw earlier in this lesson there are several suffixes that are added to pronouns. We learned about the three roots and the suffixes for dual and plural. For the subjective case an -m is added. For the objective case the pronoun root is simply used. There are two additional suffixes we would like to call attention to here with pronouns that end with k’i (possessive) and ones that end with k’an (with).

The pronoun tree below demonstrates the components below.
pronoun chart
Examples of the k’i (possessive) and k’an (with) suffixes on pronouns:
        possessive   with
1st person   Singular   nik'i, nik   nikk'an
        my   with me
    Dual   nisa:k'i   nisak'an
        ours (dual)   with us (dual)
    Plural   nisem   nisek'an
        our (plural)   with us (plural)
2nd person   Singular   mink'i, min   mink'an
        your, your's   with you
    Dual   mima:k'i   mimak'an
        your, yours (dual)   with you (dual)
    Plural   mimek'i   mimek'an
        your, yours (plural)   with you (plural)
3rd person   Singular   mym, momis   myk'an
        he, she, it   with him, her, it
    Dual   mysa:k'i   mysak'i
        their, their's (dual)   with them (dual)
    Plural   mysek'i   mysek'an
        they (plural)   with them (plural)
part 3 related pronouns
It is very common in the stories and elicited sentences to use a different form for first person singular. In place of the simple pronoun ni, we very often find nihaj. nihaj usually just translates as “I”, although Dr. Ultan explains that it literally means “it is I,” or “I am (the) one who….”

Here’s an example from Coyote and the Turtle Girls: Coyote sees the Turtle Girls swimming, and asks “How is the water?” They respond “It’s fine.” So then Coyote says:
níhaj   bèlem   mákpajkì:n.
Coyote said, “I too will try it”.
I
-haj
contrastive
   
bèlem
also
   
mákpaj
try
-kì:
future
-n.
verb.​final
   
Using Ultan’s explanation, it would literally translate as “I am one who will also try it.”

Just like the previous examples, the word nihaj is present to emphasize that a new person, himself, is about to swim. There are a lot of these pronoun-like constructions. Some even incorporate two persons in the same word.
mìhani (or mìhano) you
mìnaj I to you
mỳhaj I to him/her

Examples:

mìhani   bíssàm
Were you in the habit of staying there?
you
-ha
aux
-ni
2nd.​person
   
bís
stay
-sà
habitual
-m
past
   
míhano   bíswononà:m
You could have been there.
you
-ha
aux
-no
plural
   
bís
exist
-wono
remote.​past
-nà:
subjunctive
-m
past.​tense
   
mỳhaj   c’ámmi:   méjin.
I gave him the knife.
mỳ
she/he
-ha
be
-j
1stperson.​subject
   
c’ámmi:
knife
   
x
-j
1stperson.​subject
-in.
verb.​final
   
mỳhaj   méjin,   c’éboʔàn
I gave it to him so that he could see it.
mỳ
he
-haj
aux
   
méjin,
x
   
c’é
see
-bo
permissive
-ʔàn
consequence
   
mìnhaj   píkydòwin
I’m going swimming with you.
mìn
you
-ha
aux
-j
1stper
   
swim
-ky
agentive
-dòw
commit
-in
verb.​final
   
What these really are, are pronouns attached to the auxiliary verb root “be” or “do.” Here are the four forms analyzed:
nìhaj
I
1.​pro
-ha
be
-j
1.​subj
   
mìhani
you
2.​pro
-ha
be
-ni
2.​subj
   
mìhano
you
2.​pro
-ha
be
-no
2.​subj
   
mìnaj  
I to you (the h of ha disappears after a consonant)
mìn
2.​pro
-a
be
-j  
1.​subj
   
mỳhaj
I to him/her
mỳ
3.​pro
-ha
be
-j
1.​subj
   
So because ha ‘be’ is a kind of verb, it carries person markers (-j, 1stpers.subj, -ni, -no, 2ndpers.subj). person.markers can also occur on the main verbs of sentences. We’ll discuss them in a later lesson.
These are more common than the plain subject pronouns because they are more emphatic. So we see again, that pronouns are primarily used for emphasis.
pronoun chart
pronoun exercises
These exercises practice pronouns
use these exercises to practice what you have learned
pronoun activities
These exercises practice pronouns
use these exercises to practice what you have learned
pronoun extra materials
Extra resources, charts, posters, etc
use these extras for reference and to practice what you have learned