The diminutive suffix (ush) may be added to an animate or an inanimate noun in order to convey the idea of little, small, cute or fondness to the noun.
Póoshiish cat Pooshíishush. Little cat. (pooshiish)ush Mbooshíishum. My cat. nu(pooshiish)um Mbooshíish'shum. My little cat. nu(pooshiish)(ush)(um) Mbooshiish'shúmak. My little cats nu(pooshiish)(ush)(um)(ak)
(ush) precedes (um) posessive, (al) obviative and plural endings
One peculiar consequence of adding (ush) is that all the (t) and (s) consonants in the word change to (ch) and (sh)
Na pootaatíikan. That horn. Na poochaachíikanush. That little horn. Niik poochaachiikanúshak Those little horns. Mboochaachiikanúshak. My little horns Nu ha asún. That's a stone. Ashúnush. Little stone. Na ha takwáx. That's a turtle. Chakwáxush. Little turtle. Yoon ha shóokul. Sugar. Shóokulush. Candy. Shookulápwaan. Cake. Shookulapwáanal. Cakes. Shookulapwáanush. Cookie. Shookulapwáanshal. Cookies. Yoon amóxool. This boat. Amoxóolush. Little boat. Wan ha amíimunz. Child. Amiimúnzhush. Baby. Amiimúnzh'shak. Babies. Nŭmihchkwúshŭmak. My little trees.
The following table shows how the diminutive suffix combines with the other suffixes we have learned so far.
Diminutive Noun Paradigms
|diminutive||(noun stem) – (ush)|
|diminutive pl animate||(noun stem) – (ush)-(ak)|
|diminutive pl inanimate||(noun stem) – (ush)-(al)|
|diminutive obviative||(noun stem) – (ush)-(al)|
|possessed diminutive||(noun stem) – (ush)-(um)*|
|possessed dimin. pl animate||(noun stem) – (ush)(um)(ak)*|
|possessed dimin. pl inanimate||(noun stem) – (ush)(um)(al)*|
*(use (um) only on nouns which take the (um) possessive suffix)
Sometimes adding (ush) changes the meaning of a word:
Nu wíikwahm. That house. Yoon wiikwáhmush. This outhouse. Nguk. My mother. Ngúkush. My maternal aunt. Nooxw. My father Nóoxwush. My paternal uncle Pongw. Dust. (inanimate) Póngwush. A moth. (animate)
Phonology quirks affecting the suffix (ush) :
(stem-uw) + (ush) => (stem-oosh)
lúnuw man lunóosh little man
(stem-uy) + (ush) => (stem-iish)
Wan móhkamuy. This ice. (This large ice chunk) Wan móhkamiish. This little ice. (This piece of ice)
(stem-ay) + (ush) => (stem-eesh)
Nun áanay. That road. Nun áaneesh. That little road.
Contraction rules for (ush)
|(ay) + (ush)||(eesh)|
|(uy) + (ush)||(iish)|
|(uw) + (ush)||(oosh)|
The following nouns add (ush) irregularly as:
(uw) + (ush) => (oohush)
Ngútkuw. My knee. Nguchkóohush. My little knee. Shookuláapoow. Sweet drink. Shooulaapóohush. Little sweet drink. Léekuw ni sand Leekóohush. Little sand
For some nouns ending in (uw) one may add (ush) either way as optional variants:
Awéen ha yoon pakíinjuw? Whose plate is this? Pakiinjóohush or pakíinjoosh. Little plate. All nouns ending in (-iinjuw) follow this pattern: Chiihiinjóohush. Little tea cup. Chiihiinjóosh. Little tea cup.
It should be noted that all other nouns ending in (uw) use (oosh) for the diminutive.
Lúnoosh. Little man. Shíipoosh. Little river. Skahúnzuw. Boy. Shkahúnzhoosh. Little boy
(2) Locative forms of nouns
Munsee Delaware has a special locative suffix (ung) which turns the noun into a location.
The suffix adds location meanings such as:
Verb gender matches the subject, not the location.
Locative nouns can stand alone without a verb, and do not function as a verb object.
Nu wíikwahm. That house. Wiikwáhmung. In, at the house Wiikwáhmung lúnuw apúw. The man is in the house.
The locative suffix (ung) contracts its vowel just like (ush) :
Mbuy áhteew. The water, it is there. Mbiing apúw. In the water, he is. apúw vai he be here, be there (stem-uy) + (ung) => (stem-iing)
Maash Yoda, ngumee ndaaptoonéhna.
Nu áanay. That road. Áaneeng ndápi. I am there, on the road. (On the road, I am.) (stem-ay) + (ung) => (stem-eeng)
A pronoun can represent a locative noun. As such it represents a location, but there are no locative forms of pronouns.
Yoon ndápi. Here I am. Nu ndápi. There I am. Nu síipuw. That river. Nu síipoong nda. I am going to that river. (stem-uw) + (ung) => (stem-oong) Na amóxool. That boat. Amoxóolung ktápi. You are here, in the boat.
Contraction rules for (ung)
|(ay) + (ung)||(eeng)|
|(uy) + (ung)||(iing)|
|(uw) + (ung)||(oong)|
Irregular locative suffix:
Some nouns ending in (stem)-(uw) combine with the locative suffix to form (stem)-(oohung)
This is a variant such that (stem)-(oong) or (stem)-(oohung) are both acceptable.
Ngútkuwak. My knees. Ngutkóohung. On my knee(s). (The same form is used for singular and plural.) Shuwáapoow áhteew. The vinegar is here. Shuwaapóohung. In the vinegar. Shuwáapoong. In the vinegar. Shookulaapóohung. In the sweet drink. Shookuláapoong. In the sweet drink. Pakíinjuw. Plate. Pakiinjóohung. On the plate. Pakíinjoong. On the plate. (other nouns ending in (iinjuw) are similar) Léekuw áhteew. There is sand here. Leekóohung. In the sand. Pkuw apúw. The gum is here. (animate noun)
The locative form for the verb [pkuw] is not attested, but the dictionary lists its obviative form using both 2 variants:
Pkúwal or pkóohal. His gum.
All other nouns ending in (uw) use (oong) for the locative form.
Síipuw. River. Síipoong. In the river. Nánuw. My cheek. Nánuwak. My cheeks. * Nánuwal. My cheeks. * Nanoong. On my cheek(s). * This dependent noun has animate and inanimate variants.
A small number of nouns end in (eew) and these add the locative suffix irregularly
kwsháhteew ni tobacco kwushahtéehung kshíiteew ni soup kshiitéehung tundéew ni fire tundéehung
Word order in phrases with a locative noun:
Locations are almost always mentioned first, before the verb. Síipoong wŭneewáawal. At the river I saw him.
Locative suffix on a possessed noun:
The locative suffix (ung) is a ‘final’ suffix, i.e. no other endings may follow it.
Plural, locative, vocative, absence and obviative endings are all final suffixes and therefore may not co-exist on the same word.
The ‘non-final’ suffixes including (ush) diminutive and (um) possessive may precede (ung), in the order specified:
naxk my hand náxkung on my hand náxkung on my hands kŭnáxkung on your hand(s) wŭnáxkung on his hand(s) naxkŭnáanung on our hand(s) * kŭnaxkŭwáawung on ye hand(s) ** wŭnaxkŭwáawung on their hands **
*The locative suffix on a noun with a collective possesor (belonging to us inclusive or exclusive) is added to the full 1st plural ending (unaan). (ref PB)
** The locative suffix on a noun with a plural possesor (belonging to ye, them) is added to the full plural ending (uwaaw).
(reference John O’Meara Delaware Resource)
Alternatively, and more in line with modern usage, the singular possessor forms may be used for plural possessor expression, context will then guide the interpretation.
Niilóona mbáhna. Náxkung mbuy áhteew. We came. On our hand(s) water was there.
Locative versions of kinship words are used to refer to one’s relative’s place of residence:
Nooxung. At my father's. Wulaakwu nooxwung ndaam. Last evening I went to my father's. (reference 'When I lost my teeth'story transcribed by Dr John O'Meara) Kwukung. At his mother's.
The table below shows how the locative suffix combines with other suffixes, if present.
Locative Noun Paradigms
|locative||(noun stem) – (ung)|
|dimin. locative sg or pl||(noun stem) – (ush)-(ung)|
|possessed locative||(noun stem) – (um)*-(ung)|
|possessed dimin. locative||(noun stem) – (ush)-(um)-(ung)*|
|plural possessor locative||(noun stem)-(uwaaw)-ung**|
|collective possessor||(noun stem)-(unaan)-ung**|
*(um) is only used on nouns known to use the (um) possessive suffix
** forms found in the prayer book, (uwaaw) and especially (unaan) are not in common use by modern speakers
(3) Nouns marked for absence
The absence suffix (aya) may be added to a noun in order to convey the idea of ‘’recently deceased’‘.
Absence endings may only be used on person names and kinship words.
Plural and inanimate forms have not been not documented.
Numoxóomus. My grandfather. Nŭmoxoomsáya. My late grandfather. Noohŭmáya. My late grandmother
Obviative forms use (-ungala)
Mooxoomsungála. His late grandfather. Oohumungála. His late grandmother. (Reference Ives Goddard Delaware Verbal Morphology)
(4) Vocative modes (rare)
(aa) sg and (took) plural may be added to nouns for use when addressing or invoking a person:
Nguk My mother Ngúkaa Mother (in address) Ngúkaash Mother (vocative) (Reference John O'Meara Munsee Delaware Dictionary) Ngwíissak My sons Ngwíisstook Oh my sons Njoos My friend Njo My friend (vocative) (Reference John O'Meara Munsee Delaware Dictionary)
(5) Hierarchy of noun affixes:
Prefixes precede the noun stem.
The diminutive suffix (ush) precedes all other suffixes present.
Possessive (um) precedes all suffixes except (ush).
1st plural and 2nd plural (una) and (awa) may combine with some final suffixes using the full endings forms of (unaan) and (uwaaw).
Final suffixes: plurals (ak) (al) , obv (al), locative (ung) , absence (aya) and vocative (aa) (-took) may not coexist on the same noun and no other suffix may be added after a final suffix.
Hierarchy of Noun Inflections
|ak or al|
Go to the noun diminutives and locatives practicum