Mahican VAI Preterite and Present

The preterite tense is a way to talk of something in the past that has been completed.

He was killed. I was happy. We went there. 

The present tense also specifies information that the past action occurred in a more distant past than another past action. It is almost always found in questions in Mahican texts with rare exceptions (P mlh29).

Who had been there? What had been done? 

In phrases without reference to another past event, the present tense may refer to a past event with ongoing or present time relevance. (HA23)(HA58)

How has he been working?  What day has he ordained? 

This tense can also be used for a hypothetic or conditional expression in the past. (P mlh29)

If he had never been born. 

The Preterite

Preterite Indicative

Preterite forms are constructed using by first building the verb form using the appropriate personal prefix and the appropriate ending, then adding the preterite ending -pan. Plural and obviative endings follow the preterite ending and use preterite specific forms. If no additional endings such as a plural or an obviative ending follow, the the preterite ending -pan is shortened to -p.

Anahkāāp. He worked.
Anahkāāpaniik. They worked.

Note the preterite plural ending iik which is also used in the present when a plural ending is required.

The 1st and 2nd person forms use a more complete form of this ending: -hupan

kiisanahkāāw vai-s be ready

Ngiisanahkah. I am ready. 
Ngiisanahkahup.  I have been ready. (preterite)(s114)
Ktanahkahup. You worked. 

machāāyuw vai-cv sin, do evil

Numachāāy. I sin. 
Numachāāyhup.  I sinned. (s127)
Kumachāāyhup. You sinned. 

When added to a form that has the ending -uw a contraction occurs which preserves the oo sound resulting in uw + -upan => -oopan. This shortens to -oop when no further endings follow the preterite suffix.

Machāāyoop.  He sinned. (s127)
Miitθoop. He ate. 
Oop.. He said. 

Vowel stem verbs in the 3rd person forms add the preterite suffix -upan to the final w and the sequences āāw-upan and ąąw-upan contract to āāp and ąąp respectively for the sg forms. Plural 3rd person forms contract to āāpaniik and ąąpaniik.

Anahkāāw. He works. 
Anahkāāk. They work. 
Anahkāāp.  He worked. 
Anahkāāpaniik. They worked. 

Consonant stem verbs simply add -upan directly.

Siiwāānŭtamup.  He was sad. 
Siiwtāānŭtamupaniik.  They were sad. 

The preterite suffix may be added to the 1st and 2nd plural forms. The final h of these endings drops and the long vowel that had been shortened now reappears and the preterite suffix is added directly.

Ndanahkahnah.  We work.
Ndanahkahnąąp. We worked. 
Kmachāāyhmąąp. You (pl) sinned. 
Nsihnąąp. We said so. 

No instances of a preterite form were found in Mohican source materials built on the all inclusive 1st pl or 2nd pl suffix -hnookw.

Examples:



ndanahkahup I worked
ktanahkahup
anahkāāp
ndanahkahnąąp
ktanahkahmąąp
anahkāāpaniik

numachāāyhup I sinned
kumachāāyhup
machāāyoop
numachāāyhnąąp
kumachāāyhmąąp
machāāyoopaniik

nsihup I said so
ksihup
oop
nsihnąąp
ksihmąąp
oopaniik

numiitθihup I ate
kumiitθihup
miitθoop 
numiitθihnąąp
kumiitθihmąąp
miitθoopaniik

nsiiwāānŭtamhup I was sad.
ksiiwāānŭtamhup
siiwāānŭtamup
nsiiwāānŭtamhnąąp
ksiiwāānŭtamhmąąp
siiwāānŭtamupaniik

Preterite Subordordinative Mode

For the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person sg the preterite suffix is linked to the n endings of the subordinative mode with the long vowel āā.

Ndanahkāān. I work. 
Ndanahkāānāāp. I worked. 
Ktanahkāānāāp.
Wtanahkāānāāp.

(This reflects the fact that the true n ending is -nāā before phonetic simplification for general use.)

The plural forms follow the same principle as the indicative mode forms, the final h drops and the suppressed long vowel ąą forms the bridge to the preterite suffix.

Ndanahkāānāānah.  We work. 
Ndanahkāānāānąąp.  

Examples:



ndanahkāānāāp I worked
ktanahkāānāāp
wtanahkāānāāp
ndanahkāānāānąąp
ktanahkāānāānąąp
ktanahkāānāāwąąp
wtanahkāānāāwąąpaniik

numachāāyunāāp I sinned
kumachāāyunāāp
wumachāāyunāāp
numachāāyunāānąąp
kumachāāyunāāwąąp
wumachāāyunāāwąąpaniik

nsiināāp I said so
ksiināāp
wsiināāp
nsiināānąąp
ksiināāwąąp
wsiināāwąąpaniik

numiitθiināāp I ate
kumiitθiināāp
miitθiināāp 
numiitθiināānąąp
kumiitθiināāwąąp
miitθiināāwąąpaniik

nsiiwāānŭtamunāāp I was sad.
ksiiwāānŭtamunāāp
wsiiwāānŭtamunāāp
nsiiwāānŭtamunāānąąp
ksiiwāānŭtamunāāwąąp
wsiiwāānŭtamunāāwąąpaniik

Preterite Conjunct Order

The preterite suffix is added to the conjunct endings as -upan and as in other settings, -upan simplifies to -up.

The 1st person sg conjunct ending ah adds the preterite to the full ending of -ąąn:

Aānih-anahkayąąnup.  Because I worked. 

Examples:



āānahkāānayąąnup I worked
āānahkayanup
āānahkāātup
āānahkayakoop
āānahkayāākoop
āānahkahtiitup  (or āānahkāātupaniik)

Examples with modal ending (-ah) which becomes -āā- before the preterite suffix:



āānahkāānayąąnāāp When I had worked
āānahkayanāāp
āānahkāātāāp
āānahkayakwāāp
āānahkayāākwāāp
āānahkahtiitāāp  (or āānahkāātāāpaniik)

The three ways to indicate completed action:

1. Use of anih-

Nuyah ndunih-ptamun. I already heard. (s79)

2. Use of pakachih pc already
Nuyah pakachih mbutamun. I already heard. (s79)

3. Use of preterite:
Mbutamunāāp. I have heard.

The Present

Inflection patterns are similar to those used with the preterite suffix. The present suffix -θan shortens to -θah when no additional endings follow.

Anahkāāθah. He has been working. 
Anahkāāθaniik. They have been working. 

Note the plural ending iik which is also used in the preterite when a plural ending is required.

The 1st and 2nd person forms add this ending directly:

kiisanahkāāw vai-s be ready

Ngiisanahkah. I am ready. 
Ngiisanahkāāθah.  I have been getting ready. (present)(s114)
Ktanahkāāθah. You have been working. 

Anahkāāθah wunąąkwah. He had been working yesterday.

machāāyuw vai-cv sin, do evil

Numachāāy. I sin. 
Numachāāyuθah.  I have sinned. (s127)
Kumachāāyuθah. You have sinned. 

When added to a form that has the ending -uw a contraction occurs which preserves the oo sound resulting in uw + -uθan => -ooθan. This shortens to -ooθah when no further endings follow the present suffix.

Machāāyooθah.  He had been sinning. (s127)
Miitθooθah. He has eaten. 
Ooθah.. He had said so. 

Vowel stem verbs in the 3rd person forms add the preterite suffix -uθan to the final w and the sequences āāw-uθan and ąąw-uθan contract to āāθah and ąąθah respectively for the sg forms. Plural 3rd person forms contract to āāθaniik and ąąθaniik.

Anahkāāw. He works. 
Anahkāāk. They work. 
Anahkāāθah.  He had worked. 
Anahkāāθaniik. They have worked. 

Consonant stem verbs simply add -uθan directly.

Siiwāānŭtamuθah.  He had been sad. 
Siiwtāānŭtamuθaniik.  They have been feeling sad. 

The present suffix may be added to the 1st and 2nd plural forms. The final h of these endings drops and the long vowel that had been shortened now reappears and the suffix is added directly.

Ndanahkahnah.  We work.
Ndanahkahnąąθah. We had been working. 
Kmachāāyhmąąθah. You (pl) have sinned. 
Nsihnąąθah. We have said so. 

No instances of a present form were found in Mohican source materials built on the all inclusive 1st pl or 2nd pl suffix -hnookw.

Examples:



ndanahkāāθah I have worked
ktanahkāāθah
anahkāāθah
ndanahkahnąąθah
ktanahkahmąąθah
anahkāāθaniik

numachāāyuθah I had been sinning
kumachāāyuθah
machāāyooθah
numachāāyhnąąθah
kumachāāyhmąąθah
machāāyooθaniik

nsiiθah I have said so
ksiiθah
ooθah
nsihnąąθah
ksihmąąθah
ooθaniik

numiitθiiθah I have eaten
kumiitθiiθah
miitθooθah
numiitθihnąąθah
kumiitθihmąąθah
miitθooθaniik

nsiiwāānŭtamuθah I have been sad.
ksiiwāānŭtamuθah
siiwāānŭtamuθah
nsiiwāānŭtamhnąąθah
ksiiwāānŭtamhmąąθah
siiwāānŭtamuθaniik

Present Subordordinative Mode

For the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person sg the present suffix ls linked to the n endings of the subordination mode with the long vowel āā.

Ndanahkāān. I work. 
Ndanahkāānāāθah. I have worked. 
Ktanahkāānāāθah.
Wtanahkāānāāθah.

(This reflects the fact that the true n ending is -nāā before phonetic simplification for general use.)

The plural forms follow the same principle as the indicative mode forms, the final h drops and the suppressed long vowel ąą forms the bridge to the preterite suffix.

Ndanahkāānāānah.  We work. 
Ndanahkāānāānąąθah.  

Examples:



ndanahkāānāāθah I have worked
ktanahkāānāāθah
wtanahkāānāāθah
ndanahkāānāānąąθah
ktanahkāānāānąąθah
ktanahkāānāāwąąθah
wtanahkāānāāwąąθaniik

numachāāyunāāθah I have sinned
kumachāāyunāāθah
wumachāāyunāāθah
numachāāyunāānąąθah
kumachāāyunāāwąąθah
wumachāāyunāāwąąθaniik

nsiināāp I have said so
ksiināāθah
wsiināāθah
nsiināānąąθah
ksiināāwąąθah
wsiināāwąąθaniik

numiitθiināāθah I have eaten
kumiitθiināāθah
miitθiināāθah
numiitθiināānąąθah
kumiitθiināāwąąθah
miitθiināāwąąθaniik

nsiiwāānŭtamunāāθah I have been feeling sad.
ksiiwāānŭtamunāāθah
wsiiwāānŭtamunāāθah
nsiiwāānŭtamunāānąąθah
ksiiwāānŭtamunāāwąąθah
wsiiwāānŭtamunāāwąąθaniik

Present Conjunct Order

The present suffix is added to the conjunct endings as -uθan and as in other settings, -uθan simplifies to -uθah.

The 1st person sg conjunct ending ah adds the preterite to the full ending of -ąąn:

Aānih-anahkayąąnuθah.  Because I have worked. 

Examples:



āānahkāānayąąnuθah I have worked
āānahkayanuθah
āānahkāātuθah
āānahkayakwuθah
āānahkayāākwuθah
āānahkahtituθah  (or āānahkāātuθaniik)

Examples with modal ending



āānahkāānayąąnāāθahWhen I had been working
āānahkayanāāθah
āānahkāātāāθah
āānahkayakwāāθah
āānahkayāākwāāθah
āānahkahtitāāθah  (or āānahkāātāāθaniik)