Some Reflections on Lakota Language Structures
as looked at by a naive* non-Native

- by A. W. Tüting -



*The author, not a linguist of profession, but dealing with many different languages since about half a century, is - and would like to be - 'naive' in the sense of not (i.e. no longer!) carry the burden of a eurocentrical-biased view on non-Western (e.g. Native) languages, as commonly experienced with Latin-based grammatical rules laid upon non-Indo-European languages. This - although amateurish - try to breaking out of the fenced-in ways of 'Weltanschauung' was favoured (or even made possible!) by dealing and experimenting with the Conlang Lojban for some years, which initially had been created for the only purpose to scholarly prove the so-called Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of language influencing human thought and - even - perception of the world around us. The Conlang Lojban (le logji bangu - 'the Logical Language') has been modeled in quite some essential features after Native languages such as Nootka (Nuu-chah-nulth), Navajo etc. (so, obviously, sharing - at least some - common traits with the Siouan tongues, too).


Lakota Parts of Speech


The Lakota Basic Sentence

In Lakota language, an utterance is basically composed by 'parts of speech' Western linguists commonly are calling 'verbs'. At a closer look, these 'verbs' always can stand for entire 'sentences'. Roughly speaking, Western linguists commonly devide these parts in so-called 'stative verbs' and 'active verbs' (the latter subdivided in intransitives and transitives) - yet, with regard to the considerations dealt with here and their very purpose, it is preferable to quickly forget these terms for some time.

It seems that, basically, these units are all of the same kind, e.g.:

"(smb) is good/beautiful"
to be good/beautiful
"(smb) is a man"
to be a man
(a) man
"(smb) has arrived here"
to arrive here
_kte_ [kte'] "(smb) has killed (smb/smth)" to kill kill

Lakota word in traditional transcription (I.)
Lakota word in NetSiouan transcription to indicate pronunciation (II.)
Moreorless* (see below) literal rendition (III.)
English translation (IV.)
English equivalent according to Western nomenclature (V.)


It seems that first of all - unlike in Latin grammar-based understanding - there is no distinction made between 'nouns' and 'verbs' ('adjectives', 'adverbs' etc.), which is highly uncommon and hard to imagine for most people raised and 'living' in Western thinking. (As far as can be seen, the linguistic approach here is rejected by Siouan grammar books most probably due to the fact that these are the works of linguists rooted in Western concepts of language - are there any Native linguists not raised in English as their first language?

Parts of speech called 'nouns' conceptually are referring to 'things' allowing 'names' to be tagged on them ('noun' fr. Latin 'nomen' = name). Although, of course, there are nouns also given to immaterial topics like events, philosophical concepts and ideas, uttered words etc., one 'deeply feels' that nouns are 'things' thought of to in principle being able to be touched with our hands.
It is other than 'natural' and intuitive for us to imagine that the concept of e.g. 'house' is grammatically not different from. say, 'live'. On the other hand, there nevertheless are - be they few, though - comparable concepts also in Western languages - e.g. 'rain' (the rain/to rain) in English. There is no semantic difference saying "there is rain" and "it rains"! In e.g. Italian and Romanian, not even the 'subject' _it_ is needed, it's simply "piove" or "plouã" - just like Lakota _magazu_ [mag^a'z^u] which is a complete sentence too, with the meaning "it was/is raining" or "there was/is rain" (or even 'rain' - if regarded conventionally as a 'noun').
In German, there is a noun 'Haus' (house), but also a verb 'hausen' (to house) with the meaning 'to live/dwell' (with a maybe slightly pejorative connotation of "dwelling under not too comfortable local circumstances" in today's language). What it does not mean, though, is "there _is_ a house/_are_ houses" comparable to the 'rain' example. But a connotation like this is attested for at least some Native tongues - and, of course, the Conlang lojban with _zdani_ - to-be-a-house/to-be-houses -, e.g. "ti zdani" - this is-a-house/these are-houses, "vu zdani" - there is-a-house yonder/there are-houses yonder, where the so-called gismu 'zdani' doesn't differ from any other Lojban gismu like e.g. 'klama' (to go/come), neither in outer appearance nor syntactical use.

Now, these Lakota one-word sentences already have, say, 'pointers' built-in - or better, understood - to indicate what 'participant(s)' is/are involved in what the word's semantic contents denotes.

So, - as seen above - _waste_ e.g. is a relation telling of him, her or it to be/having been 'good' or 'beautiful', where the one referred to is not explicitely expressed in the word, but understood.
This is just the way
_wicasa_ tells us of a certain him (rather than of a her or it in this case) to be a 'man' (i.e. an adult male), just like the small sentence _hi_ has to be understood that a certain he, she or it "has arrived here" or, in the case of the sentence _kte_ "has killed" a certain him, her or it, respectively.

(Just notice that in Lakota, these parts of speech all are having a slight flavour of past rather than present tense, whereas the future is indicated otherwise - see below).

When these tiny sentences are to tell us of more than just one single he - she - it involved, this usually has to be indicated by an other grammatical 'word' or unit that is following after. This unit is _pi_ and can be called a 'plural marker' because telling us that the one referred to is not a singleton. (Little words like these often are named enclitics which is Greek meaning about 'to lean on' because - although regarded as a separate unit and mostly written separately - they're uttered together with the preceding one-word sentence as if attached to it or 'leaning on' it and forming one word.)
So e.g.
_waste pi_ tells us of certain thems to being 'good' or 'beautiful' ones, which can be translated as "They were/are good/beautiful". This is similar to _wicasa pi_ (they were/are men), _hi pi_ (they have arrived here - [and are here, now]) or _kte pi_ (they have killed him/her/it)

Other 'participants' like I - you - we - you all are not already 'built-in' so one has to slightly alter the one-word sentences in order to point to them. Doing this, the default reference is no longer valid.
This alteration is done by glueing small particles to the one-word sentence in front of the word or inside of it (BTW, that's why these Native tongues are often talked of as being 'incorporative').

So, _kte_ (s/he, it killed him, her, it) can be changed to now mean "I killed him, her, it" by adding the particle _wa-_ to it, thus getting the Lakota sentence _wakte_. (In Latin-based grammars, these particles usually are called affix which in Latin is about 'to add/fix to smth'; if it's inserted in the word, it is called infix instead.)
This particle - and others of the kind (
see below) are to refer to the agent of the one-word sentence, i.e. who is related in kind of a causative sense to the action or event it denotes, or more simply expressed, its doer or performer.

"I killed (him/her/it)" [I am the agent of _kte_]
"you killed (him/her/it)" [you're the agent of _kte_]
_(he) kte_
"s/he, it killed (him/her/it)" [s/he, it are the agent of _kte_]
_unkte_ [uNkte'] "you & I killed (him/her/it)" [you & I is the agent of _kte_] *
_unkte pi_ [uNkte'pi] "we killed (him/her/it)" [we are the agents of _kte_] *
_yakte pi_ [yakte'pi] "you (all) killed (him/her/it)" [you are the agents of _kte_]
_(hena) kte pi_ [kte'pi] "they killed (him/her/it)" [they are the agents of _kte_]

(*the sentences _unkte_ and _unkte pi_ are ambiguous: they also can be translated as "s/he, it killed you & me" and "s/he, it killed us"/"they killed us", respectively!)

But in the basic sentences _kte_ (s/he, it killed him/her/it) and _kte pi_ (they have killed him/her/it) also the second kind of participants involved can be expressed in order to point to a patient different from the default him/her/it.

The so-called patient is regarded as the participant to whom the action or event denoted by the basic one-word sentence is related to, i.e., here in the case of _kte_, the one who is killed.

The small particles glued to the one-word sentence (i.e. the affixes or infixes - see above! ) must be different from those for the agents shown above. So, in order to e.g. express that it is me that was killed, the basic sentence _kte_ (s/he, it killed him/her/it) has to be altered by adding the little part _ma-_ to it: _makte_ (s/he, it killed me).

_kte_/kte pi_
"s/he, it killed me" [I am the patient of _kte_]
"s/he, it killed you" [You are the patient of _kte_]
"s/he, it killed you & me" [you & me is the patient of _kte_] *
_unkte pi_ [uNkte'pi] "s/he, it killed us" [we are the patient of _kte_] *
_makte pi_ [makte'pi] "they killed me" [I am the patient of _kte pi_]
_nikte pi_ [nikte'pi] "they killed you (all)" [you are the patients of _kte pi_]

(*the sentences _unkte_ and _unkte pi_ are ambiguous - see above!)



Of course, it is possible to denote both kinds of participants, i.e. agent(s) and patient(s) in a sentence like this, thus using both sets of small particles (affixes/infixes) shown above. (And there are still some others not presented so far!)

There is a special particle expressing the relationship of I-agent/you-patient which is _-ci-_ [-chi-] and still one more (for the moment!) that is _wica-_ [wicha'], pointing to a - so-called 'animate' - patient in plural see below!)


Note: In these cases, the particle pointing to the patient always precedes the one pointing to the agent! Exception is _un-_ [uN], which comes first (except for _wica-_ [wicha'])


_kte_/kte pi_
"you killed me" [I am the patient, you are the agent of _kte_]
"I killed you" [you are the patient, I am the agent of _kte_]
"you killed (him/her/it)" [you're the agent, him/her/it the patient of _kte_] patient as default unexpressed - see above!
_unkte pi_ [uNkte'pi] "we killed (him/her/it)" [we are the agents, him/her/it the patient of _kte_] patient as default unexpressed - see above! *
_mayakte pi_ [ma-ya'-ktepi] "you (all) killed me" [I am the patient, you (all) are the agents of _kte pi_]
_cikte pi_ [chi-kte' pi] "I killed you (all)" [you are the patients, I am the agent of _kte pi_]
_nikte pi_ [nikte'pi] "they killed you (all)" [you are the patients, they are the agents] *
_nikte pi_ [nikte'pi] "s/he, it killed you (all)" [you are the patients, s/he, it is the agent] *
_wicawakte_ [wicha'-wa-kte] "I killed them" [they are the patients, I am the agent of _kte_]
_wicayakte_ [wicha'-ya-kte] "you killed them" [they are the patients, you are the agent]
_wicakte_ [wicha'-kte] "s/he, it killed them" [they are the patients, s/he, it is the agent]
_wica'unkte_ [wicha'-un-kte] "you & I killed them" [they are the patients, you & I is the agent]
_wica'unkte pi_ [wicha'-un-kte pi] "we killed them" [they are the patients, we are the agents]
_wicayakte pi_ [wicha'-ya-kte pi] "you (all) killed them" [they are the patients, you are the agents]
_wicakte pi_ [wicha'-kte pi] "they killed them" [they are the patients, they are the agents]


There are still other forms, e.g. the reflective where the particle _-ic'i-_ [ich'i] (=self) has to be prefixed or infixed. In these cases the patient particles have to be added.

Note that the particle _-ma-_ undergoes a change in his vowel (ma-ic'i-kte -> m-ic'i-kte) and after _un-_ a _-k-_ is inserted!


_ic'ikte_/ic'ikte pi_
"I kill(ed) myself" [I am the patient and the agent of _kte_]
"you kill(ed) yourself" [you are the patient and the agent of _kte_]
"s/he, it killed (him-/her-/itself)"
_unkic'ikte_ [unk-ich'i'-kte] "I & you kill(ed) ourselves"
_unkic'ikte pi_ [unk-ich'i'-kte pi] "we kill(ed) ourselves"
_nic'ikte pi_ [n-ich'i'-kte pi] "you (all) kill(ed) yourselves"
_ic'ikte pi_ [ich'i'-kte pi] "they killed themselves"



Whereas 'words' like _kte_ able to take particles for agents and patients, by Western linguists usually are called active transitive verbs, there are other so-called active verbs, words that only can take particles for agents because there are no patients (or objects) to be affected by the agent respective - therefore also called intransitive. These are words/sentences like _hi_ (s/he, it comes/arrives here; to arrive here):


"I arrived here" [I am the agent/performer of _hi_ (coming)]
"you arrived here" [you're the agent/performer of _hi_]
_(he) hi_
"s/he, it arrived here" [s/he, it is the agent/performer of _hi_]
_unhi_ [uN-hi'] "you & I arrived here" [you & I is the agent of _hi_]
_unhi pi_ [uN-hi'-pi] "we arrived here" [we are the agents/performers of _hi_]
_yahi pi_ [ya-hi'-pi] "you (all) arrived here" [you are the agents/performers]
_(hena) hi pi_ [hi'-pi] "they arrived here" [they are the agents/performers of _hi_]
_ahi_ [a-hi'] "they arrived here" (regarded as one unit) *

* Different from the so-called distributive _hi pi_, _ahi_ is used for a collective e.g. a family or a body of warriors etc.



Finally, there still are words/sentences like _waste_ or _wicasa_ - see above! - which, as it appears, in principle are of the same kind. Although according traditional Western nomenclature _waste_ could be thought of as an adjective or adverb (good/nice/beautiful) and _wicasa_ (adult male/human) as a noun, they rather can be regarded as kind of 'verbs'. Thus, Western linguists name words like _waste_ by the term stative verb (yet, the _wicasa_ kind obviously not?).
The specialty here is that both kinds only can have patient particles added (but not the ones - shown above - indicating agents!). For native speakers (i.e. 'thinkers') of Western languages, this is not too intuitive to getting along with. So, it shall be tried to give a somewhat 'paralleling' model of circumlocution in English for that, just to give a slight idea of what these constructions might be 'thought' in a Dakotan mind set.

So e.g. _mawaste_ [ma-wa'shte] could be thought of as, say, [being-good-is-in-reference-to/pertained-by-me] etc.,
and _
winicasa_ [wi-ni'-cha-sha] likewise as [being-an-adult-male-is-in-reference-to/pertained-by-you] etc.


_waste_/waste pi_
Translation into Western language
"I am good/nice/beautiful"
"you are good/nice/beautiful"
"s/he, it is good/nice/beautiful"
_unwaste_ [uN-wa'shte] "you & I are good/nice/beautiful"
_unwaste pi_ [uN-wa'shte-pi] "we are good/nice/beautiful"
_niwaste pi_ [ni-wa'shte-pi] "you (all) are good/nice/beautiful"
_(hena) waste pi_ [washte'-pi] "they are good/nice/beautiful"
_wasteste_ [washte'-shte] "they are good/nice/beautiful" *

* The reduplicated form _wasteste_ is used to indicate plurality for inanimates (how Latin-based grammars would tell us), i.e. non-humans and non-animals like trees, rocks, candies etc.
The terms animates, inanimates however don't seem to reflect Dakota spirituality. The Latin word animus (cf. English animal !) means breath, soul etc. which, in Native thinking, also might apply to trees and rocks etc., because comprised by the term
takuye oyas'in (all is related). The Dakota expression for English animal(s) however is drawing a different line of distinction from e.g. trees, rocks etc.: it is _wamakaskan_ [wa-ma'-kxa-shkaN] meaning what-moves-on-the-earth.


_wicasa_/_wicasa pi_
Translation into Western language
"I am an adult male/a man"
"you are an adult male/a man"
_(he) wicasa_
"he is an adult male/a man"
_unwicasa_ [uN-wi'-cha-sha] "you & I are adult males/men"
_unwicasa pi_ [uN-wi'-cha-sha-pi] "we are adult males/men"
_winicasa pi_ [wi-ni'-cha-sha-pi] "you (all) are adult males/men"
_(hena) wicasa pi_ [wi-cha'-sha-pi] "they are adult males/men"



There are still other, different kinds of words (in the European sense) which in Lakota are all of the same type as shown above, e.g.:

- Numerals - which are adjectives, adverbs or nouns in English (the first man, to be second, the one etc.):

Lakota: _tokahe_ [txoka'he] (s/he, it is first), _unyamni pi_ [uN-ya'mni-pi] (we are three), _waniyetu wikcemna sakpe amakeyamni_ [wa-ni'-ye-tu wi-kce'-mna sha'kpe a-ma'-ke-ya-mni] (I am sixty three 'winters').
(In Lojban, BTW, numerals are articles:
_ci ninmu_ [shi ni'nmu] - three women.)

- non-addressing kinship terms - which are nouns in European languages (e.g. my father, their grandfather...)

Lakota: _atewaye_ [ate'-wa-ye] (about: I made/call him father), _tunkasilaya pi_ [txunka'shila-ya-pi] (about: they made/call him grandfather).




The Lakota Basic Sentence slightly modified
to achieve different shades of meaning


These one-word sentences as shown up to now are open to modification in two different ways:
  • By adding particles after them of that kind we already have encountered with the plural marker _pi_ (that usually are called enclitics -see above!).
    These particles have manyfold functions, below are just a few examples for it.
  • By adding particles - usually - in front of the one-word sentence (that are called affixes - see above!), just of the kind we dealt with to indicate agents or patients.
    These particles very often denote by what means or where an event or action is performed.


'enclitic' particle
(male/female speech)
Translation into Western language
[hu-wo'] [he']
"Yahi hwo/he?" (Did you arrive hear?) - Question
"Wahi sni." (I didn't arrive/I'm not here) - Negation
"Niwaste yelo/ksto! or: Niwastelo!" (You're nice!) - Assertion
_sece_ [se'ce] "(Hena) hi pi sece." (They might have come) - Assumption
_kte_ (ktA) [kta'] "Wimacasa kte." (I'll be a man) - Future/'irrealis'
_s'a_ [s'a'] "Magazu s'a." (It often rained) - Frequency of action/event
_yo/ye_, _wo/we_ [yo'/ye', wo'/we'] "Kte sni yo!" (Don't kill him/her/it!) - Command


'affix' particle

Basic sentence
Translation into Western language
_na-_ (foot/wheel action)
t'A (s/he, it died)
"(He) nat'e." (s/he, it died e.g. being run over by a car)
_ka-_ (blow action)
blecA (shatter)
"Kawablece." (I shattered it by hitting)
_ya-_ (mouth/teeth action)
sicA [shi'ca] (s/he, it is bad)
"(He) yasica s'a." (s/he often has a 'bad-mouth')
_yu-_ (hand action) blecA (shatter) "(Hena) yubleca pi" (They shattered it with their hands)
_yu-_ (gen.: causation) zaza [ja'ja] (*clear etc.) "Yuzaza po!" [=pi yo] (Wash it! pl.)
_wo-_ (piercing/shooting) hla [h^la'] (sound/ring) "Wohlahla." (They ringed of being shot, e.g.of bottles )
_wa-_ (cutting, blade act.) hloka [xlo'ka'] (hollow) "Wayahloke." (You made a miscut, e.g. while skinning)
_o-_ (in, into, for) kte [kte'] (s/he, it killed...)

(mni) owicakte (... killed them in [the] (water) - a name)

_o-_ (gen.: location) ti [thi'] (s/he, it dwelled) oti (where s/he, it dwelled/lived -> to be a lodge/house)
_o-_ (gen.: location) sni [sni'] (s/he, it is cold) osni (where it is cold -> it is cold weather)
_i-_ (by means of, on etc.) ali [ali'] (s/he, it ascends) oiali (where one climbs up with -> to be stairs/a ladder)
_a-_ (on, upon etc.) leze [le'je] (s/he, it urinates) aleze (s/he, it urinates on)
_wa-_ (generic 'object') yawa (s/he reads etc. it) wayawa (s/he reads smth. -> e.g. to attend school)
_-kici-_ (dat.: for smb) kagA [ka'g^a] (s/he makes) kicicage (s/he, it makes anything for another)
_-ki-_ (dat.: for/from smb) manun [maN-nu'N]_(to steal) makinun (s/he, it steals smth from smb)



There are many more such particles that alter the meaning of words/basic sentences; here, just some more examples of how words are built in order to create new expressions:

Short dialogue:

Q: He otunwahe kin el tuktel owotetipi wanzi han hwo? (Where is a restaurant in this town?)
A: Ka
wiglioinanzi kin hel isakib wanzi he. (There's one right near the gas station over there.)

_o-wote-ti-pi_ [o-wo'te-thi'pi] (about: "where-one-eats-house"):

_ti pi_ (lit.: "they dwell" -> to be a lodge/house), _wote_ (lit.: "s/he, it ate smth" -> to eat), this is irregular from _yutA_ (wate, yate, yute: I, you, s/he, it ate it) with the generic object particle _wa-_ prefixed: wa-yute -> wote (to eat food), and the locative particle _o-_ glued to the beginning of the entire expression.

_wigli-o-i-na-zi_ [wi'gli-o-i'-na-ji] (about:"where-it-stands-upright-with")

_wigli_ (grease, fat -> gasoline), _zi_ [ji'] ("s/he, it is erect/upright") -> _nazi_ (na+zi - lit.: "to be upright by foot" -> 'to stand', plus _i_ and _o_ prefixed - see above.



Irregular basic sentences

Like in every natural language, there has to be a drop of bitterness in our wine of regularity! And as seen commonly, those parts of speech used very often usually do not follow the simple regular rules.

So let us give just a few examples to demonstrate other forms of expressing these one-word sentences, e.g. introducing the word _yA_ (to go):

Note: the capitalized A of _yA_ is only to indicate that this vowel is 'changeable' due to different position within an environment of other words or particles, usually it is pronounced and spelled as _-e_.


The so-called Y- and 'nasal' conjugations (yA)

_ye_ (yA)

_yin kte_ [yiN-kte] (yA)
_ble_ (I went/go)
_mni kte _ (I will go)
_le_ (you went/go)
_ni kte_ (you will go)
_(he) ye_ (he went/goes)
(he) yin kte _ (s/he, it will go)
_unye_ (you & I went/go) unyin kte _ [uN-yi'N-kte] (you & I will go)
_unya pi (we went/go) unyan pi kte _ [uN-ya'N-pi-kte] (we will go)
_la pi _ (you (all) went/go) la pi kte _ [la'-pi-kte] (you & I will go)
_(hena) ya pi_ (they went/go) (hena) ya pi kte _ [ya'-pi-kte] (they will go)


Notice that the 'irrealis' or future particle (enclitic) _kte_ (ktA) not only triggers the changeable vowel A to become _-i_ (in 1st and 2nd person singular, i.e. I, you) but also the nasal _-iN_ (in 3rd p.s. and dual, i.e. s/he, it and you & I). Where there is the plural particle (enclitic) _pi_ following directly, the vowel A - in principle! - is left unchanged so no nasal conjugation is needed (see 1st to 3rd p. plural). In 1st p. pl., the change from _-a_ to nasal _-aN_ is triggered by the particle (prefix) _un-_.

[The one-word sentence _yA_ (to go) might seem to have also become a particle (suffix) to express the idea of 'to make/to cause/to have for/to regard as', cf. _kolayA_ [kxo-la'-yA] (to have for a best friend) e.g. _kolaciye_ ("I-have- you-as-best friend" -> "you're my 'kola'") or _atewaye_ ("I-have-him-as-father" -> my father). Nevertheless, this _-yA_ - different from 'to go'! - takes the regular suffixes, so they might just be homophones and not be related at all. Yet anyway, it's a very important particle, and part of the word _slolyA_ (to know) too:
_slolwaye_ (I know her/him/it), _slolyaye_ (you know her/him/it), _(he) slolye_ (s/he, it knows her/him/it), ... _(hena) slolya pi_ (they know her/him/it) etc.

Now, just one more very common and important example with the word 'to go' included:

It is 'to start for/to set out for', composed by the words _i_ (the opposite of _hi_ - see above) with the meaning 'to arrive there' and _yA_ in duplication: _iyayA_


_iyaye_ (yA)

_iyayin kte_ [i-ya'yiN-kte] (yA)
_iblable_ (I started/set out for there)
_iblamni kte _ (I will start/set out for there)
_ilale_ (you started/set out for there)
_ilani kte_ (you will start/set out for there)
_(he) iyaye_ (he started/set out for there)
_(he) iyayin kte _ (s/he, it will start/set out for there)
_unkiyaye_ (you & I started/set out for there) _unkiyayin kte _ (you & I will start/set out for there)
_unkiyaya pi_ (we started/set out for there) _unkiyaya pi_ kte _ [uN-ya'N-pi-kte] (we will start/set out...)
_ilala pi _ (you (all) started/set out for there) _ilala pi kte _ [i-la'-la-pi-kte] (you (all) will start/set out...)
_(hena) iyaya pi_ (they started/set out for there) (hena) iyaya pi kte _ [ya'-pi-kte] (they will go)



The Lakota Pattern of Topic & Comment

Basic sentences 'decorated'


All those one-word sentence words we have been dealing with up to now - see above - can be regarded as typical comments! Yet, what then are topics? Are there typical topic words, too? Yes, at least those kinds of words which are not sentences by themselves, like those already encountered above: _he_ and _hena_!

In Lakota language (just like in many other Native tongues), space is devided in three areas (compare Lojban _ti_, _ta_, _tu_and _vi_, _va_, _vu_):

_le_ [le'] - 'this one here' (within the reach of one's hands)
_lena_ [le-na'N] - 'these here' (within the reach of one's hands)

_he_ [he'] - 'that one there' (within a distance of about six metres)
_hena_ [he-na'N] - 'those there' (within a distance of about six metres)

_ka_ [ka'] - 'that one yonder' (in a greater distance)
_kana_ [kana'N] - 'those yonder' (in a greater distance)

So, usually the words _he_ and _hena_ are used as topics in 3rd person (sing. and plur.) to express s/he, it and they respectively. Please be aware of that this grammatically is not necessary because redundant. Anyway, in a sentence like _he hi_ (he arrived here) or _hena hi pi_ (they arrived here) _he/hena_ is the topic (meaning 'this one/these ones') commented by the one-word sentence _hi_ (s/he, it/they have arrived her). Okay?

So the basical topic-comment pattern is [as for: T] :: [C]

[as for:]

structure in English
As for: that one :: He is an adult male/a man
waste pi
As for: those :: They are good/nice
As for: that one :: S/he, it has arrived here
kte pi hwo?
As for: those :: Did they kill him/her/it?


The comment sentence somehow refers to the topic to which it is related in some way. In our examples, the topic redundantly denotes an agent/patient already expressed in the one-word sentence respectively. But, please do not assume that the topic words have always to be in a somewhat defined relationship to the comment's 'subject' etc. as our examples might insinuate. The topic part rather offers kind of a 'plate' for the comment sentence to choose from. As we will see later, there can be - and usually is - a whole bunch of topic words to be referred to by the agents and/or patients expressed or implied in the comment sentence. Moreover, there also can be 'phrases' (groups of words belonging together) in the topic part not already referred to in the comment sentence.

Here, some more examples:

[as for:]

structure in English
As for: those :: He killed them
wakte yelo!
As for: that one :: I have killed him/her/it !
wicayakte po (=pi yo)!
As for: those :: You (all), kill them !
unkte pi sece
As for: that one :: We might kill him/her/it?
As for: t
hat one :: S/he, it might kill us.
unkte pi sece
As for: those :: They might kill us.



So far, this doesn't seem to be something very important, already. Yet, not only these tiny topic words like _le_, _he_ etc. can serve as a topic but also any of those basic mini sentences we have been dealing with above!

We already learned that e.g. _wicasa_ is a complete sentence meaning "he is an adult male/a man", and that "I am a man" is expressed as _wimacasa_ (about: "being-a-man-is-pertaining-to me"). Now, this idea can also be expressed with _wicasa_ put into the topic part of an utterance: here we have to use a second word (one-word sentence) which is _heca_ [he'cha] (about: be-of-such-kind/be-a-such). Hence: _wicasa hemaca_ [wicha'sha hema'cha].



Some more words:

_pezuta_ [pxeju'ta] (to-be-medicine)
_wakanyeza_ [wakxa'Nyeja] (to-be-a kid/child)
_tona_ [to'naN] is a so-called 'T-word' (question word) and of the same type as seen above, i.e. a complete one-
word sentence with the meaning "to-be-how-many" (e.g.
_(hena) tona pi hwo/he?_ - "They're how many?"
_yuha_ (s/he it has him/her/it), e.g. _bluha_, _luha_, ... _unyuha_, _unyuha pi_, _luha pi_, _yuha pi_.
_e_ (s/he, it is the one), e.g. _miye_, _niye_ , ... _unkiye_, _unkiye pi_, _niye pi_, _e pi_.
_sunkawakan_ [shu'n-ka-wa-kxa'N] (it-is-a-horse, lit. 'mystery/power dog'),
_oyuspA_ (to catch/arrest), e.g. _obluspe_, _oluspe_, ... _unkoyuspa pi_, _oluspa pi_, _(hena) oyuspa pi_.

_ksto_ [kshto'] is the female form of a statement enclitic (_yelo_ is the male form).


[as for:]

structure in English
As for: be-a-man :: I am a such -> I am a man
heca yelo!
As for: be-a-doctor :: S/he is a such ! -> S/he's a doctor !
heca pi ksto!
As for: be-a-kid :: They are such! -> "They're kids !!"
tona pi he?
As for: kid :: How many are? -> How many kids are there?
wakanyeza hena

As for: kid, those :: I have them -> I have children.

pezuta wicasa he
As for: be-a-doctor, that one :: S/he is the one! -> S/he's *the* doctor !
As for: this one :: I am the one -> This is me.
oyuspa pi
As for: horse :: they caught it -> They caught (a) horse.



Topic Marker

One important kind of words are so-called topic markers following words other than 'innate' topic words like _le_, _he_ etc., i.e. those little one-word sentences mainly dealt with up to now, in order to indicate their syntactical function as a topic. Some of this new kind of 'little words' e.g. are the following:


topic marker

_kin_ [kiN] or _ki_
Determines the topic to be definite - in many cases comparable to English 'the'
_wan_ [waN]
Determines the topic to be indefinite - in many cases comparable to English 'a/an/one'
_eya_ [eya']
Determines the topic to be indefinite & plural - usually translated to English as 'some'
_k'un_ [k'uN]
Determines the topic to be 'the aforesaid' - nothing comparable in English

Most of the times when _kin_ or _wan_ follows a one-word sentence, this word can be regarded as if a noun in Western languages (but not always! - see below): So e.g. _wicasa kin_ [wicha'sha-kiN] usually can be looked at (and translated) as 'the adult male/the man', which is just the same with _sunkawakan wan_ [shu'NkawakxaN-waN] (a/one horse) or _atewaye kin_ (lit.: "the one-I-have-as-a-father" -> my father), _tunkasilayapi kin_ [txunka'shila-ya-pi-kiN] from: _tunkasilayA_ - have-as-a-grandfather (lit.: "the one-they-have-as-a-grandfather" -> their grandfather -> the US Government/the President of the United States of America).
(We'll hear of
_k'un_ later!)



Some new words:

_winyan_ [wi'NyaN] (be-a-woman)
_tehila_ [theh^i'la] (to love/be affectionate to smb)
_anpetu_ [aNpe'tu] (to be day) -> _anpetu kin le_ ('the day this here' -> today)
_itawa_ [itxa'wa] (to possess, own), _mitawa_, _nitawa_, _(he) tawa_, _-untawa pi_ ... ('I own him/her/it' ...)
_sunka_ [shu'Nka] (to be a dog),
_sungmanitu_ [shu'Ngma'Nnitu] (to be a coyote, 'wilderness-dog')
_Lakota_ [lakxo'ta] (be a Lakota, Native, Indian)
_iyecinkiyanke_ [iye'-chiN-k-iNyaNke] (lit.: "runs-by-itself", to be an automobile/car)
_opetun_ [ophe'txuN] (s/he, it buyed it, to purchase)


[as for:]

[as for:]

Translation to English

wicasa kin
sunkawakan wan
the man caught a/one horse
winyan kin
temahila sni
the woman here doesn't love me
anpetu kin
wahi ktelo (=kte yelo)!
I will be (come) here, today.
mitawa (kin)
My woman (wife) is nice/good
sungmanitu kin
sunka wan
kte yelo!
The coyote has killed a dog!
Lakota kin
sunkawakan eya
wicaoyuspa pi
the Indians caught some horses
atewaye kin
iyecinkiyanke wan
my father bought an automobile


Usually, the subject of a comment's sentence refers to topic I, whereas an object is related to one of the following topics. Yet, one should always keep in mind that this is not a strict rule, since there is only context to decide where each of the built-in participants of the comment sentence is pointing to!



As mentioned already, topic words (and, as we will see, also phrases and sentences!) not only can be referred to by comments subjects or direct objects (sorry for these grammatical expressions!), but also by so-called indirect objects and still other parts of speech. There are 'verbs' (one-word sentences) bearing the dative infix _ki_ or just having a dative notion from its semantic, e.g.:

_k'u_ [k'u'] (s/he, it gives him/her/it to him/her/it, to give), e.g. _mak'u_, _nik'u_ etc. (s/he, it gave it to me ..., to you etc.)
_manun_ [maNnu'N] (to steal) -> _makinuN_ [ma-ki'-nuN] (to steal smth from smb).

These are also called ditransitive simply because being able to have/express three (and more) participants, e.g. the giver(s), the one(s) given and the recipient(s) as seen above.

Notice that one-word sentences - like _manun_, here - can be made ditransitives by adding (incorporating) particles to them - like the dative marker _-ki-_ or others seen above - so they can express more participants and point to more topics directly. In other words, one can create additional slots for objects.

_ni_ [niN'] - s/he lived/lives - one participant
_niyA(N)_ -> niye - s/he causes/caused to live; s/he, it breathes/breathed - one participant
_nikiyA_ -> nikiye - s/he causes/caused his/her/its own to live - two participants
_nikiyA_ [nikhi'yA] -> nikiye - s/he causes/caused him/her/it to live - two participants
_wanikiyA_ [wani'khiyA] -> wanikiye - s/he causes/caused smb. to live -> that who... -> saviour - one participant



New words:

_wowapi_ [wo'wa-pi] (lit.: 'smth they wrote' -> smth written -> to be a letter, book)


[as for:]

[as for:]

Translation to English

sunkawakan wan
s/he gave a horse to me
wowapi wan
winyan kin
k'u pi
they gave a book/letter to the woman
iyecinkiyanke kin
mawicakinun pi
they stole the car from them


As for the topic side of the sentence, of course, for each participant of the comment a topic 'word' can be filled in:

so if the comment e.g. is _mawicakinun_ (s/he, it stole smb/smth from them), the three participants can point to three topics'words: e.g. _winyan_ (woman), _wica(sa)_ (man) and _cante_ [chaNte'] (heart), here: _cantepi_ [chaNte'-pi]* (their heart) in order to form a fancy sentence like:

*(Why this is so, we will see later!)



winyan kin
wica ota (kin)
cantepi kin
the woman
this here
many man
their heart
steals them


Hence: "This woman stole/steals the hearts from many men." (admittedly, not a good Lakota sentence!)




topic I 1_le_ (this here) is kind of repeating topic I giving it a 'flavour' of closeness translated by 'this woman'.

And, maybe, as kind of a rule to stick to: In this sort of one-word sentences which can take three participants ('ditransitives'), the topic I-slot is for subjects, the topic II-slot for - 'animate' - indirect objects i.e. the participants referred to by _-ki-_ (simply speaking: the one(s) smth is given to or taken away from!) and topic III-slot for the direct objects (the one(s) indicating what has been given or taken away).

The topic 'words' - in principle - do not express plurality - (apart from the _ota_ added to _wicasa_ here) this job is done almost exclusively by the 'commenting' one-word sentence.
Here, the
_-wica-_ part (expressing 'them') points to topic II (wicasa) thus indicating plurality, whereas the sentence as such (_ma-kinun_) with its 3rd person singular agent (s/he, it), related to topic I, denotes that _winyan_ has to be regarded as singular.
Since in this kind of one-word sentences (ditransitives) the direct object (here, 'that taken away') is rather implied than expressed, it cannot itself indicate
plurality (or singularity) of the topic III-word (_cante_). So, if its plurality
is necessary or wished to be expressed explicitely, this must be accomplished at the topic word itself (how this can be done in Lakota, we will see later).



As mentioned earlier, there can be many topics that are not already somehow - in nuce - included in the comment sentence and pointed to by it. Here is an example:


New type of word: _un_ [uN] - with, by means of etc.

New word:
_sunkpala_ [shuNkpa'la] - dog pet/puppy, from _sunka_

Remember: _t'A_ - s/he, it died, _na-_ - by foot/wheel action





sunkpala kin
iyecinkiyanke un
nat'e pelo (=pi yelo) !
the puppy
by (a) car
they foot-action-died [male assertion]

The puppies were killed (run over) by a car !



The above rule-of-thumb only seems to hold for objects pointed to by the comment part, which roughly go by this order, whereas other topics are free - see below.

New word:
_aguyapi_ [ag^u'-ya-pi] - bread
_ecela_ [ece'la] - alone, only
_ni_ [ni'N] - s/he, it lives, is alive



Aguyapi ecela un
wicasa kin
ni pi sni.
by bread alone
the man
they-live not

"Man lives not from bread alone" (Men do not live from bread alone)



Seeing that most of the topic words in principle are nothing else than the one-word sentences we already had encountered on the comment's side (although, as topics, understood and translated as if nouns) , it is not surprising at all to also find constructions like the following:


_hi_ ("s/he, it arrived here" - to come/arrive)
_waste_ ("s/he, it is-good/nice" - to be good/nice)



yahi kin
waste ksto !
you have arrived here [topic marker]
(s/he or) it is-good/nice [female assertion] !

"It is good that you have arrived here!" -> "Welcome (here)!"

Here, the topic is translated as a whole sentence ("you have arrived here"), hence, in the entire topic-comment structure, it is given as a subordinate clause!

And, of course, these topic sentences need not be just one-word sentences as found on the comment side and transferred to the topics side to make them topics, they can consist of more complex sentences as well, thus having topics of their own. E.g., let's see the following example - now with the use of the enclitic _k'un_ - already introduced above!

New words:
_gli_ [gli'] - s/he, it arrived/came home -> to arrive/come home
_ceyA_ [che'-ya] (he) ceye - s/he, it cried -> to cry/weep (also: to pray)
_htalehan_ [h^ta'-le-haN] - to-be-yesterday -> yesterday (the day before today)
_lila_ [li'la] - really/very
_tohan_ [to'-haN] - when?, then
_hehan_ [he'-haN] - then, when

_wakanyeza_ [wa-kxaN'-ye-z^a] - s/he, it is-a child/kid -> to be a child/kid
_k'un_ [k'uN'] the aforesaid



# 1
I arrived/came home

I arrived home yesterday.



# 2
wakanyeza kin
ceya pi
the child
they cried

The children were/are really crying.


Sentence # 1

top marker
Sentence # 2
(Tohan) htalehan wagli
wakanyeza kin lila ceya pi
(When) yesterday I came home
the children were really crying

Yesterday, when I arrived home, the children were really crying.



It seems that sentence #2, here in total has two topics it is commenting on, namely sentence #1 marked by the topic marker _k'un_ plus _hehan_ which kind of repeats/points back to _tohan_ (that usually is omitted - and itself being a topic within sentence #1 and a subtopic with regard to the entire sentence composed here).



And, there are still more kinds of using whole sentences as topics, e.g.:

New word:

_keyA_ [ke'ya] (s/he said it) - It seems that the word derived from _kin eyA_ (topic marker + s/he said)


TOPIC (sentence #1)

COMMENT (sentence #2)
htalehan gli
yesterday s/he came home
s/he said

S/he said that s/he came home yesterday.
S/he came home yesterday, s/he said.

And likewise:


TOPIC (sentence #1)

COMMENT (sentence #2)
"htalehan wagli"
"yesterday I came home"
s/he said

"I came home yesterday", s/he said.


As you might have recognized already, these topic-comment structures can be nested, thus being recursive and - in theory - infinite:


sentence #1

htalehan gli k'un hehan
when he came home yesterday
sentence #2
wakanyeza kin lila ceya pi
the children were crying very much
sentence #3
s/he said

When s/he arrived home yesterday, the kids were crying very much, s/he said.


Looked at this sentence as a whole, its - outer - structure is the following:



htalehan gli k'un hehan wakanyeza kin lila ceya pi
when s/he arrived home yesterday, the kids were crying very much
s/he said


Cutting off the comment part, the remaining topic part can again be split up, thus getting one topic part and its comment (which now is _(lila) ceya pi_) etc. etc..



The Topic & Comment Pattern as a Basic Scheme

topic side:


It seems to be widely acknowledged among Siouanists that there are no such parts of speech in Lakota that usually are called adjectives in Western linguistic.



sunkawakan kin
the horse
it is-good

The horse is good.



sunkawakan waste kin
mitawa yelo
the good horse
it belongs-to-me/is-mine

The good horse ...

[lit. about: the horse that is good...]


New words:

_wicahpi_ [wi-cha-h^pi] (to be-a-star; star)
_kinyan_ [kiN'-yaN] (to fly)
_ekiyA_/_eciyA_ [e-ki'ya/e-chi'ya] (s/he called him/her/it; to call smb)



wicahpi kin
the star
it flies/is flying

The star is flying.



wicahpi kinyan kin
eciya pi
the flying star
they called him

They called him Flying Star (i.e. Thecumseh).



That the _kinyan_ part in _wicahpi kinyan kin_ - though translated to English as if an adjective - actually seems to be something different in Lakota, might be seen when looking at the following examples:


New words:

_ca_ [cha] - and so; and that's why etc.
_wanyankA_ [waN'-yaN-ka] - s/he, it saw him/her/it; to see smth, smb.


_yuha_ [yu-ha'] _bluha_, _luha_ etc. - to have smth/smb



sunkawakan waste wan
a/one good horse
I have it

I have/had a good horse.




wicahpi wan kinyan
wawanyanke yelo
(see below)
and so
I saw it [male assertion]

I saw a flying star!




wicahpi wan
a/one star

There was/is a star flying.


So the whole construction maybe is about:

"There was a star that flew and so it was that I saw it".


The rule to handle this anomality occurring with 'adjectives' of indefinite 'nouns' (i.e. those with the topic marker _wan_ ) states that only adjectives that usually come together with a certain noun (e.g. 'a good horse') - maybe in kind of an idiomatic sense - can follow the first model shown above, whereas others (like 'flying star' or 'red shirt' etc.) have to be expressed in syntactical constructions using _ca_. This rule, not wrong though, doesn't help very much but at least gives us a hint into the right direction, indicating that it might have to do with something called idiomatism.

Let us try to follow this track in order to get some better insight:

Going back in our imagination into the past for about five hundred years when there still were no horses known to Native peoples on the continent of Northern America, we can state that the Lakota word _sunkawakan_ [s^unN'kawakxaN'] learned above did not exist either, then. Let us assume further that the Lakota word for 'dog' was about the same as today, i.e. _sunka_ [s^uN'ka], and the term for 'powerful/magic/holy (etc.)' as well. Now imagine a Dakota warrior, 'pezuta wicasa' or any other Native person in full command of expressing himself/herself in his/her Siouan tongue coming in sight of a horse for the very first time! Deeply impressed returning to his camp circle, s/he would have told others about this tremendous discovery maybe using the following sentence:


Le anpetu kin sunka wan (lila) wakan
wawanyanke yelo/ksto
Today, a dog, he was (real) miraculous
and so
I saw it [male/female assertion]

I saw a dog today that (really) was miraculous!

Later on, more horses appeared, were caught and domesticated by the Native peoples. More and more, horses were to take over functions that earlier dogs had been used for: the term 'sunka wakan' (power dog) got established and used as kind of a fix compound to denote this new animal so important for the different Native peoples then living in the 'Plains', and essentially influencing and coining their very culture. Maybe, it was then already that talking of horses might have been expressed like this:


Htalehan sunka wakan wan
Yesterday, a 'miraculous dog'
I caught it

I caught a 'miraculous dog', yesterday.

Today, this term is glued together to 'sunkawakan' (also in pronunciation one single word and usually slurred together to something like [s^uN'kaakaN']. When using it, Lakota speakers today are even hardly aware of its original meaning, just having the idea of 'horse' in mind. So, speaking of a 'sunkawakan', there isn't any problem using the above syntactical structure because the phrase being understood as one noun.
Later, speaking of 'sunkawakan waste' also became so common to the Dakota people that they no longer would think as of "a horse that is/was good or beautiful", but simply as of a 'good horse' (or even a 'good-horse', maybe!).
(All this might be compared to building compound nouns in German, which today - for mainly historical reasons - is highly idiomatic and generally has to be memorized like, say, the different forms of past tense of irregular verbs in English.)

It seems that 'adjectives' modifying nouns do not really exist in Lakota language - they are replaced instead by fix compounds built by topic words moreorless glued together with former one-word sentences (and be it just in the minds of the speakers!).



proper names

The creation of proper names of the form 'noun' modified by an'adjective' (i.e. a Lakota topic commented by a one-word sentence) seems to be free, grammatically, just like the examples above using the definite topic marker _kin_. There might be two reasons for this, in relation with each other: 1) proper names are per definitionem

meant to designate smb. (or smth.) unique, hence they're no generic terms, 2) so the indefinite topic marker _wan_ never is allowed to be attached to name compounds. (The use of the definite enclitic _kin_ is not necessary because understood with regard to the definiteness being implied.)

So, here's just a few examples of proper - personal - names in Dakota/Lakota:


New words:

_tate_ [txate'] (to be-wind, windy)
_wi_ [wi'] (to be-sun/moon)
_kuwa_ [kuwa'] (s/he, it chased/hunted him/her/it; to chase smb./smth.)
_mni_ [mni'] (to be-water; water)
_ti_ [thi'] (to be-a-house/lodge; a 'Tipi')
_okte'_ [o-kte] (s/he, it killed him/her/it in/on smth.; to kill smb./smth. in/on a place)
_tatanka_ [txatxaN'ka] (to be-a-bull, lit.: 'big-body')
_lutA_ [lu'ta] (to be-red; only in names), in Dakota dialect: _dutA_
_sunka_ [s^uN'ka] (to be-a-dog/horse)
_kokipA_ [kxoki'pxa] (s/he, it is afraid of him/her/it)




it chased it

about: 'Sun-chasing Wind'
(Leonard Peltier's Lakota name)



(historical name from the Standing-Rock lists)


he killed them in

about: 'Kill-in-the-Water'
(more lit.: he has killed them in the water)



(historical name from the Standing-Rock lists)


he killed them in

about: 'Kill-in-the-House'
(more lit.: he has killed them in the house)


'Tatanka duta'

(historical name from the Standing-Rock lists)


luta (duta)
he is-red

'Red Bull'


'Tasunka kokipapi'

(historical name)


kokipa pi
they feared-it


And also:


'Cetan wakiyan'

(historical name from the Standing-Rock lists)


cetan [cetaN']
wakiyan [wa-khi'-yaN]
it is-(a)-thunder

'Thunder Hawk'



'Hoksila wanbli'

(historical name from the Standing-Rock lists)


hoksila [ho-ks^i'-la]
wanbli [waN-bli']
he is-(an)-eagle

'Eagle Boy'


'Cante Peta'

(historical name from the Standing-Rock lists)


cante [chaN-te']
peta [pxe'-ta]
(his) heart
it is-fire

'Fire Heart'


'Wasicun Maza'

(historical name from the Standing-Rock lists)


wasicun [wa-s^i'-cuN]
maza [maN'-za]
he is-iron

'Iron White Man'



There are still other nominal compounds following a different pattern - maybe imitating the English model - e.g.


'Sunka Wicasa'

(historical name from the Standing-Rock lists)

'Dog Man'

and many other proper names formed like this (this aspect will have to be dealt with later!



comment side:

'modal verbs'

It seems that also the relationship between verbs and their modals (on the comment's side of a sentence) generally follows this pattern:


New words:

_zi_ [zi'] - s/he, it is-yellow/pale; to be yellow/pale
_owanyankA_ [o-waN'yaNka] - s/he, it looks like (from: wanyankA - to look/see)
_kolayA_ [kxo-la-ya] - he-has-him-as-a-(male best)-friend
_okihi_ [oki'hi] - s/he, it is-able to, s/he, it can; to be able
_inyankA_ [iNyaN'ka] - s/he, it ran (as 'adverb' _inyang_ - 'runningly')
_mani_ [maN'ni] - s/he, it walked/went by foot (as 'adverb' mani/mawani - 'walkingly'/by foot)
_sicA_ [s^i'cA] - s/he, it is bad/not good


_cante_ [chante'] - one's heart


Nizi [niN-zi']
oniwanyanke [o-niN'waN-yaNke]
As for: you-are-pale
you-look-like [it]

You're looking pale.


Or slightly altered:



kolawaye kin
As for: my friend
As for: he-is-pale
he-looks-like [it]

My friend is looking pale.



wanblake [waN-bla-ke]
owakihi [o-wa'-kihi]
As for: I-see her/him/it
I-am-able [for it]

I can see her/him/it.




inyang [iNyaNg']/mani [maNniN']
ble [ble']
As for: running/walking

I went running/by foot.


It might appear that Dakotan syntactic structure - up to now called topic & comment - is still better understood as a basic sentence (i.e. the comment part) in some way 'decorated' or 'adorned' (by the topic part) in order to add some more detail information to it. Maybe the topic part is nothing more than that and doesn't really belong to the sentence, syntactically, as a sentence's subject or object would be a part of the whole structure. This said, in our understanding, it's no longer the topic (say subject or object) that is commented on by the basic sentence, but the other way around, the comment part that is given more details for modification. Thus, the adverb issue could be explained and understood more easily:



lila [li'la]
cantemasice [chante'mas^ice]

I'm very sad/sorrowful.


Thus, the left-hand (topic) part tells us how, in what way etc. the following basic sentence (comment) part is performing.

We already mentioned that in Dakota 'adjectives' do not seem to really exist: an adjective modifying a noun actually is rather a one-word sentence commenting on its topic. So, also many words functioning like adverbs basically are nothing but verbs too: very often differing somewhat in their forms, i.e. being altered slightly in their endings. Yet, this different form doesn't seem to be a feature specific to the verb's adverbial function.
Let us repeat an example we've already dealt with above:



inyang [iNyaNg']
ble [ble']
As for: to run

I went runningly.



to run
(he) inyanke [iNyaN'ke]
s/he, it ran
wainyanke [waiN'yaNke]
I run/was running
yainyanke [yaiN'yaNke]
you run/was running
unkinyanka pi [uNkiN'yaNka-pi]
we run/were running
yainyanka pi [yaiN'yaNka-pi]
you (all) run/were running
(hena) inyanka pi [iNyaN'ka-pi]
they run/were running


Pretty often, when another word/particle is following, a word's finals are shortened in a specific way:

For example, "Hena inyanka pi" (They were running), when expressed as a male statement, i.e. "Hena inyanka pi yelo!", becomes "Hena inyanka pelo/inyankapelo" with the final vowel _i_ and the initial consonant _p_ dropped and the remaining words moreorless slurred together. Usually, the remaining consonant undergoes softening, then, e.g.

inyanke -> inyank -> inyang,

just like in compounds when seperate words are kind of 'glued together':

sunka [s^un'ka] (dog) + manitu [maN'niNtu] (ref. to outside the camp/wilderness)

-> sunk + manitu

-> sung + manitu

-> sungmanitu [s^uNgmaN'niNtu] (coyote/prairie dog)





Continuation - Part 2





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