So far all the verbs studied either take ‘no object’ or a third person object:
Nii néewaaw. I saw him. (VTA Direct Indicative) Nii néemun. I saw it. (VTI Indicative) Nii nŭmíitsi. I am eating. (VAI Indicative) Sóokulaan. It is raining. (VII Indicative)
VTAs are able to inflect for objects other than a 3rd person object .
One of the ways this is done is by reversing the way the prefixes and suffixes work.
Direct: (nu) + (stem) + (aa) + (endings) => I ---- him Inverse: (nu) + (stem) + (ukw) + (endings) => He --me
Inverse Mode reverses the direction of speech such that the subject becomes the object and the object becomes the subject. A special direction marker (ukw) is used to signal this reversal.
Néewukw. He saw me. Kŭnéewukw. He saw you etc
Direct mode verbs speak of ‘him’, all forms have a 3rd person object (him) :
Subject ----------> Object I ---------------------> him You ----------------> him He ------------------> him (obviative) etc
Inverse mode verbs reverse this, and the forms have a third person subject:
Object <--------------- Subject me <----------------------- He you <---------------------- He him <---------------------- He
us <------------------------ He
ye <------------------------ He
them <-------------------- He (obviative)
It is easy to get confused when studying this mode so I will use the following terms to make it easier to keep things straight:
(1) Uses the direction marker (aa) inserted before the endings
(2) Prefixes and basic endings indicate the subject (I, you, he, we, ye, they)
(3) Object is always a 3rd person by definition (him, her or them)
-When the object is plural (them), the plural ending (ak) is used but only on 1st sg and 2nd sg forms
-When obviative, the (al) suffix is used; this applies to 3rd sg and 3rd pl forms
(1) Uses the direction marker (ukw) inserted before the endings
(2) Prefixes and basic endings indicate the object (Me, you, him, us, ye, them)
(3) The subject is always a 3rd person by definition (He, She)
-When the subject is plural (They), the plural ending (ak) is used but only on 1st sg and 2nd sg forms
-When obviative the (al) suffix,is used, applies to 3rd sg and 3rd pl forms
Inverse mode verbs are useful for several reasons:
(1) They are the only way one can inflect a verb to say things like ‘he saw me’ or ‘he saw you’.
(2) Inverse mode has forms which allow for a subject to be either definite or indefinite, but only for phrases in the 3rd person. (The dog chased the cat vs A dog chased the cat).
Remarks on the Algonquian Independent Indicative Author(s): Ives Goddard Source: International Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 40, No. 4, (Oct., 1974), pp. 317-327 Published by: The University of Chicago Press
(3) 3rd person inverse forms have two third person participants, the obviative participant is the subject, and the non-obviative participant is the object. This comes in handy when the subject must be an obviative noun or person, for example a dependent noun.
His father saw him. Néeka óoxwal wunéewkool. wu-(neew)-(ukw)-al
Also inverse mode allows one to keep the focus on one person, which is one way the obviative system is used:
He saw his father and his father saw him. Wuneewaawal óoxwal waak óoxwal wunéewkool.
(4) Inverse mode allows one to use an inanimate subject (It, they)
For phrases such as “The falling rocks hurt him.”
(To be discussed next chapter)
(5) Inverse forms are not passives.
Kŭnéewukw. He saw you. The subject = he and the object = you.
There is no evidence that these verbs have any passive quality requiring translation such as ‘you were seen by him’, as I would recommend against thinking of inverse verbs in these terms. When a personal pronoun is used with the singular subject of a verb in the inverse, it is always “néeka.” If inverse forms were passives, that pronoun would be the pronoun corresponding to the person encoded by the prefix. Silently thinking the word ‘neeka’ before an inverse form may be helpful, as a hint to learning this mode.
Néeka kŭnéewukw. Him, he saw you.
Yoda style translation may also be helpful in the study of these forms.
Kunéewukw. Saw you, he did.
(6) Passive forms do exist in the huluníixsuwaakan, when the subject is indefinite. VTAs build these forms using a modified inverse marker (ukee) for all forms except for the 3rd person, which uses the X form of the direct indicative mode paradigm: (stem)-aaw.
Néewke. I was seen (neew)-(ukee)-(m) Néewaaw. He was seen.
(7) All the forms under discussion here are in the indicative mode, i.e. not subordinative or conjunct, however inverse forms of those modes do exist and will be explained later.
Overview of Inverse Mode Constructs.
(1) Inverse Indicative Mode – Animate subject (This chapter)
(2) Inanimate Subject, objective forms (ukw + n endings)
and absolute forms (ukw + m endings)
(3) Passive Mode or Indefinite Subject Forms (ukee + m endings)
Kŭnéewke or kŭnéewŭkeem
An indefinite person, thing, group saw you. i.e. You were seen.
We will also discuss along the way a few stem types which combine with (ukw) or (ukee) in peculiar ways (stems in aw, ahw, ushw, ush,) and two irregular verbs (leew and mhweew)
Conjugation paradigms with examples:
Inverse Indicative Mode
Has an animate 3rd person subject ‘He’
The inverse object may be any person.
He -------------------------------------- me He -------------------------------------- you He (obviative) ---------------------- him He -------------------------------------- us He -------------------------------------- ye He (obviative) ---------------------- them
These forms are neither objective or absolute except for the 3rd person forms which are objective and take an obviative ending.
("He" The animate noun => him) and the plural ("They" The animate nouns => him).
Absolute forms for the 3rd person forms will be discussed below.
These forms are constructed using the inverse marker (ukw) instead of the direct marker (aa). The w endings are added to the marker. This direction marker (ukw) tells us that the usual pattern of prefixes and endings to indicate the subject and object of the verb are reversed. The w endings tell us that the participants are animate and the pattern of the endings tell us which person is participating as the object of the inverse verb. (he-me / he-you / he-him etc)
VTA Inverse Indicative Mode Objective Forms (Singular Subject)
|nu-(stem)-(ukw)-w||nu-(stem)-ukw||He — me|
|ku-(stem)-(ukw)-w||ku-(stem)-ukw||He — you|
|wu-(stem)-(ukw)-wal||wu-(stem)-ukool||He (obviative) — him|
|nu-(stem)-(ukw)-wuna||nu-(stem)-ukoona||He — us (exclusive)|
|ku-(stem)-(ukw)-wuna||ku-(stem)-ukoona||He — us (inclusive)|
|ku-(stem)-(ukw)-uwa||ku-(stem)-ukoowa||He — ye|
|wu-(stem)-(ukw)-waawal*||wu-(stem)-ukoowaawal*||He (obviative) — them|
|X Form N/A|
* optionally some speakers may use the shorter 3rd sg ending for plural subjects:
wu-(stem)-(ukw)-wal => wu-(stem)-ukool
Example using the verb kataaleew want s.o.
Ngatáalukw He wants me Katáalukw He wants you Kwatáalkool He (obv) wants him Ngataalkóona He wants us Kataalkóona He wants us Kataalkóowa He wants ye Kwataalkoowáawal He (obv) wants them
Note the 3rd person form, the ending (ukool) is formed by (ukw)-(wal) which contracts phonologically to (ukool).
This contraction also occurs in other endings:
(ukw) + (una) => (ukoona) for example.
Lúnuw ngatáalukw. The man wants me. (nu)-(kataal)-(ukw) Katáalukw. He wants you. Lúnuwal wŭnéewkool. The man saw him. Kŭnéewukw. He saw you.
níhleew kill s.o.
ahwáaleew love s.o.
Oxkwéew ngáta-níhlukw. The woman- she wants to kill me. Ktahwáalukw. She loves you. Wuníhlkool mihlóos'sal. The rotten old man killed him. (when two animate 3rd person parties are involved, the one marked as obviative drives the verb in the inverse modes) Amíimunz ndahwaalŭkóona. The child loves us. Awéen ktahwaalukóona. Someone loves us. Káta-nihlŭkóowa laawéewii-póoshiish. The wildcat wants to kill ye. Lúnuwal wtahwaalkoowáawal óhpunak. The man loves them- the potatoes. Kóolu- aa -ahwáalukw. She should love you. ku + wulu => kóolu
Particularities for certain stem types:
Stems that end in (aw) blend with (ukw) to form (aakw)
Stems ending in (uw) blend with (ukw) to form (ookw)
VTA Stems Ending in (aw) or (uw)
|(stem-uw)-ukw||(stem)ookw||péeshuweew||mbéeshookw||He brings me|
|(stem-aw)-ukw||(stem)aakw||kŭlustáweew||ngulsútaakw||He listens to me|
|(stem-x)-ukw||(stem)xookw||kxweew||ngaxookw||He fears me|
Msúchee ngulsútaakw. He hardly listens to me. nu-(kulusutaw)-ukw kŭlustáweew listen to s.o. ; msúchee PC hardly, not at all Kulsútaakw. She listens to you. ku-(kulusutaw)-ukw Ápih ktéhkwi-kulústaakw. She will stop listening to you. ehkwi- ehkwu- PV stop, cease Alóot mbéeshookw. He brought me anyway. nu-(peeshuw)-ukw peeshuweew bring s.o.; alóot pc anyway Mbayáhkwu-péeshookw. I am glad he's bringing me. payahkwu- pv be glad about s.t. Ktáyookw. S/he got you. ku-(ayuweew)-ukw ayúweew get/have s.o.
Two VTA stems end in (x) and these contract with (ukw) also
(x) + (u) => (xoo)
kxweew vta be afraid of s.o., be wary of s.o.
Ngwáxaaw. Kwáxookw ha? I am afraid of him. Is he afraid of you?
stem: (kxw) no prefix ; (kwax) with prefix
wtáxeew vta visit s.o.
Péexoot uch kóotxookw. He will visit you soon.
Contrast the above verbs with verbs ending in -xaw
pahtamaweelxáweew vta pray to s.o., pray for s.o.
Mbahtamawéelxaakw. He prays for me.
eenheelxáweew vta pay for s.o.. pay to s o.
Ndeenhéelxaakw. He paid for me.
Other stems have a hidden final (w) on the verb stem. The (w) is hidden because it does not show up in any verb forms, but we know its there because the forms with affixes starting with (u), like the inverse direction marker, show a contraction: (w) + (u) => (oo).
These verb stems are built with a morpheme called a medial added to the root.
The medial adds specific meaning to the word:
(-ahw) 'by tool/instrument' (-ushw) 'by cutting action ' (-usw) 'by heat'
(Reference John O’Meara The Delaware Stem)
The dictionary listing provides examples of forms with the contraction as well, which helps in identifying them.
pahtheew hit s.o. by accident ; stem = (pahtahw)
Mbáthaaw. I hit him. (direct, indicative mode) Mbáthookw. He hit me. (inverse mode) nu(pahtahw)ukw (payaxkahw)ee+w shoot s.o. Mbayáxkhookw alóot. He shot me anyway.
tumusheew cut s.o. up ; stem = (tumushw)
Ndúmshaaw. I cut him up. (direct, indicative mode) Ndúmshookw. He cut me up. (inverse mode) nu(tumush)ukw
looseew burn s.o. ; stem = (loosw)
Msúchee kulóosaaw. You hardly burned him. Kŭlóosookw. He burns you.
VTA Stems with ”hidden” (hw) or (sw)
There is one VTA stem which ends in (pw) and the (pw) cluster does appears in other verb forms, making it easily recognizable.
Katóopweew vta be hungry for s.t. animate
Ngatóopwaaw. I am hungry for him. Pooshíishal kwatóopookw. The cat is hungry for him. (stem-pw) + (ukw) --> (stem)-pookw
Only two VTAs are irregular, as far as I know.
VTA Irregular Verb leew say to s.o.
|Direct objective||Direct absolute||Inverse objective|
The (l) drops before ukw in forms with a prefix on the stem.
When a preverb takes the prefix, the (l) does not drop.
He intends to say to me.
VTA Irregular Verb mhwéew eat s.o.
|Direct objective||Direct absolute||Inverse objective|
The stem (mwuhw) collapses to (mhw) if not stressed.
If stressed, (mwuhw) drops the final (w)
(nu)(mwúhw)(aa)(w) => nŭmwúhaaw
mwu is pronounced “mo”
(reference Ives Goddard, Historical Phonology of Munsee)
Negative Inverse Indicative Mode
(stem)-(ukoowi) + (w endings)
Negative inverse forms are not specified for a objective or an absolute inverse subject. In other words, the negatives endings with w endings do not exclusively refer to objective inverse subjects. (Reference Ives Goddard Delaware Verbal Morphology)
VTA Negative Inverse Indicative Objective Forms Singular Subject
|mah nu-(stem)-ukoowi||He — me not|
|mah ku-(stem)-ukoowi||He — you not|
|mah wu-(stem)-ukoowiiwal||He (obv) — him not|
|mah nu-(stem)-ukoowiiwuna||He — us not (exclusive)|
|mah ku-(stem)-ukoowiiwuna||He — us not (inclusive)|
|mah ku-(stem)-ukoowiiwa||He — ye not|
|mah wu-(stem)-ukoowiiwal||He (obv) — them not|
Mah kŭneewkóowi. He saw you not. Mah ngataalŭkóowi. He wants me not. Nu lúnuw mah ngataalŭkóowi. That man wants me not. Mah ngataalukoowíiwuna. He wants us not. Mah awéen kuneewkóowiiwuna. Noone saw us. Mah kuneewkóowiiwuna. He did not see us. (no noun so probably objective) Mah kwataalkoowíiwal. He, they don't want him/her or them. Mah kwataalkoowíiwal. He, they don't want him/her or them.
The last two examples illustrate a certain ambiguity of the inverse 3rd person objective forms. This is because the same ending (oo)(w)(ii)(wal) is used for a singular or plural inverse object and because the subject could also be either singular or plural because it is obviative. Attaching nouns could help resolve some that ambiguity, and general discourse context should help.
Yool lúnuwal mah kwataalkoowíiwal na oxkwéew. Yool lúnuwal mah kwataalkoowíiwal niik oxkwéewak.
Plural Subject Inverse Indicative Objective Forms
(They-me They-you etc)
(stem)-(ukw)-(w endings, plurals)
These forms are almost the same as the singular forms except for the 1st and 2nd person which take the animate plural ending (ak) with contraction of (ukw) + (wak) => (ukook)
VTA Inverse Indicative Objective Forms (Plural Subject)
|nu-(stem)-(ukw)-wak||nu-(stem)-ukook||They — me|
|ku-(stem)-(ukw)-wak||ku-(stem)-ukook||They — you|
|wu-(stem)-(ukw)-wal||wu-(stem)-ukool*||They (obviative) — him|
|nu-(stem)-(ukw)-wuna||nu-(stem)-ukoona*||They — us (exclusive)|
|ku-(stem)-(ukw)-wuna||ku-(stem)-ukoona*||They — us (inclusive)|
|ku-(stem)-(ukw)-uwa||ku-(stem)-ukoowa*||They — ye|
|wu-(stem)-(ukw)-waawal*||wu-(stem)-ukoowaawal*||They (obviative) — them|
|X Form N/A|
*same as the singular subject forms
optionally some speakers may use the shorter 3rd sg ending for plural subjects:
wu-(stem)-(ukw)-wal => wu-(stem)-ukool
Kŭnéewkook. They saw you. Ngatáalkook. They want me. Katáalkook. They want you. Ktahwáalkook. They love you Ngáta-níhlkook. They want to kill me. Wunihlkoowáawal mihlóos'sal. The rotten old men, they killed them. Amiimúnzak ndahwaalŭkóona. The children love us. Aéeeniik ktahwaalukóona. Some people love us. Kata-nihlŭkóowa laawéewii-pooshíishak. The wildcats they want to kill ye. Lúnuwal wtahwaalkoowáawal óhpunak. The men love them- the potatoes.
Examples with other stem types:
Neekáawa aa kulsutáakook. They should listen to you kŭlustáweew listen to s.o. (stem-aw) Mbeeshóokook. They are bringing me. [peeshuweew bring s.o.] (stem-uw) Ktayóokook. They got you. [ayuweew get/have s.o.] (stem-uw) Mbayaxkhóokook. They shot me. nu-(payaxkahw)-ukook Kŭloosóokook. They burn you. ku-(loosw)-ukook Ndumshóokook. They cut me up. nu-(tumushw)-ukook Mbathóokook. They hit me by accident. nu-(patahw)-ukook Ndúkook. They said to me. (drops (l) if prefixed) Ktúkook. They say to you. Ngwiis'sal wtúkool. My sons said to him. Ngáta-lukóol They intend to say to me (non-prefixed forms do not drop the (l)) nu(mwuhw)ukw-ak -> Numóhookook. They ate me.
Negative Plural Subject Inverse Indicative Objective Forms
These forms are also almost the same as the corresponding singular inverse object forms except for the 1st and 2nd person which take the animate plural ending (ak).
VTA Negative Inverse Indicative Objective Forms (Plural Subject)
|mah nu-(stem)-ukoowiiwak||They — me not|
|mah ku-(stem)-ukoowiiwak||They — you not|
|mah wu-(stem)-ukoowiiwal*||They (obv) — him not|
|mah nu-(stem)-ukoowiiwuna*||They — us not (exclusive)|
|mah ku-(stem)-ukoowiiwuna*||They — us not (inclusive)|
|mah ku-(stem)-ukoowiiwa*||They — ye not|
|mah wu-(stem)-ukoowiiwal*||They (obv) — them not|
*same as the singular subject forms
(Reminder: Negative forms are not specified for objective or absolute subject)
(Reference Ives Goddard Delaware Verbal Morphology)
Mah ngataalkoowíiwak. They want me not Mah kneewkoowíiwak. They saw you not Mah ngataalukoowíiwuna. * He/they want us not. * sg and pl forms are idem Mah kwataalkoowíiwal aweeniil. * Some people (or someone) don't want him/her or them. Mah kwataalkoowíiwal niil awéeniil. * Those people (or that person) don't want him/her or them.
Adding a noun for the object would clear up the singular vs plural ambiguity of the 3rd person forms for the object. The subject is obviative so it is not possible to distinguish between singular and plural. Examples below also show word order variation.
(Word Order in Discourse by Pamela A. Downing and Michael Noonan (Jun 1995) Publisher: John Benjamins Pub Co (August 1995) P120-122)
Kaal aweeniil mah kwataalkoowíiwal. Some people (or a person) don't want a car. Kaalak aweeniil mah kwataalkoowíiwal. Some people (or a person) don't want cars. Mah kwataalkoowíiwal niil awéeniil kaal. * Those people (or a person) don't want a car. Mah kwataalkoowíiwal niil awéeniil kaalak. * Those people (or a person) don't want cars.
Inverse Mode, Absolute Forms
(Noun Required Construction)
(stem) + (ukw) + (m endings)
Direct mode for VTAs has a complete set of objective forms alongside absolute forms. Inverse mode only has this for 3rd person forms.
In direct mode, absolute and objective forms affect the verb object:
Néeweew lúnuwal. He saw a man. Wuneewáawal lúnuwal. He saw the man.
In inverse mode, it is the subject which is affected.
Lúnuwal néewukw. A man saw him. Lúnuwal wunéewkool. The man saw him.
There are no 1st person singular, plural or 2nd person singular, plural forms for use with an absolute animate subject in inverse mode.
Passive forms built using (ukee) plus context clues may be used to speak of vague or indefinite subjects.
Also demonstrative pronouns can provide some definiteness for the forms we have already discussed if desired.
VTA Inverse Indicative Absolute Forms
Noun Required Construction
|nu-(stem)-ukw||a, some noun(s) — me|
|ku-(stem)-ukw||a, some noun(s) — you|
|—-(stem)-ukw||a, some noun(s) — him|
|nu-(stem)-ukóhna||a, some noun(s) — us (excl)|
|ku-(stem)-ukóhna||a, some noun(s) — us (incl)|
|ku-(stem)-ukóhmwa||a, some noun(s) — ye|
|—-(stem)-ukook||a, some noun(s) — them|
The subject of these absolute forms are not specified for number (subject could be one or many) and are unspecified for gender as well. Therefore these forms may be used for an animate or inanimate absolute 3rd person subject that could be singular or plural.
(Reference Ives Goddard Delaware Verbal Morphology)
Néewukw lúnuwal. 'A' man saw him.
Could this be confused with neewukw from the objective mode set?
Néewukw. He saw me.
No, because the objective form does not require a noun, and if a noun was added an obviative ending would not be used since there would only be one 3rd person participant. The obviative ending here on lunuw signals the participation of two 3rd persons making it clear this is a absolute mode 3rd person form and not an objective mode 1st person form.
Could this phrase has two translations?
Lúnuw óoxwal néewukw. The man's father saw me.
No, because an obviative noun could not be considered to be absolute or vague, since it refers to a definite person.
More absolute examples:
Néewkook lúnuwal. 'A' man saw them. Níhlukw laawéewii-pooshíishal. ''A'' wild cat killed him.
When two animate 3rd person parties are involved, the one marked as obviative drives the verb in inverse modes)
Examples using an absolute inanimate inverse subject:
Paxkshíikan níhlkook. ''A'' knife killed them. (inanimate nouns do not take obviative endings) Paxkshíikanal níhlkook. Knives killed them. Inanimate nouns do not take obviative endings. The (al) on paxkshiikan is the inanimate plural ending.
The same form is used for a plural subject as for a singular subject. The required noun will use singular or plural or obviative endings as appropriate. The verb will not add an obviative ending since absolute forms do not allow for that.
Lúnuwal ahwáalkook óhpunak. Some men love potatoes. (A man loves potatoes.) Lúnuwal katáalukw óhpun. Some man/men want the potato. (A man wants the potato.) Níhlkukw mihlóos'sal. A rotten old man killed him. Paxkshíikan níhlukw. A knife killed him. Paxkshíikanal níhlukw. Knives killed him.
VTA Negative Inverse Indicative Absolute Forms
The negative forms use the negative suffix with m endings.
(ukw) – (oowi) + (m endings)
Noun Required Construction
|mah nu-(stem)-ukoowi||a, some noun(s) — me not|
|mah ku-(stem)-ukoowi||a, some noun(s) — you not|
|mah —-(stem)-ukwoowi||a, some noun(s) — him not|
|mah nu-(stem)-ukoowíhna||a, some noun(s) — us not (excl)|
|mah ku-(stem)-ukoowíhna||a, some noun(s) — us not (incl)|
|mah ku-(stem)-ukoowíhmwa||a, some noun(s) — ye not|
|mah —-(stem)-ukoowíiwak||a, some noun(s) — them not|
Negative forms in inverse mode are interchangeable as far as use for objective and absolute sets are concerned. Otherwise said, negative inverse forms do not specify for an objective versus an absolute subject.
Comparison of the negative forms:
Inverse negative forms using w endings take an obviative ending which does not distinguish singular from plural for the inverse subject. One must depend on context for interpretation. Also the same form is used for a plural inverse object, so the inverse object is also ambiguous.
Inverse forms using m endings use different forms for singular and plural inverse objects, and are thus less ambiguous. The inverse subject is ambiguous however because even though these forms require a noun, it will be in the obviative.
Mah wuneewkoowíiwal. He, they did not see him,them. (very ambiguous)
Lúnuwal mah neewkóowi. A,some man,men saw him not. (less ambiguous) Lúnuwal mah neewkoowíiwak. A,some man, men saw them not. (less ambiguous)
Mah neewkóowi lúnuwal. ''A'' man saw him not. (or some men...) Mah neewkoowíiwak lúnuwal. ''A'' man saw them not. (or some men...) Oxkwéewak mah neewkóowi. Some women see me not. Na mihlóosus mah-uch nihlukoowíihna. That old man will not kill us. Mah kataalkoowíiwak awéeniil. Some people (or a person) don't want them. (This m ending form references 'them' non-ambiguously) Mah kwataalkoowíiwal awéeniil. Some people (or a person) don't want him/her or them. The w ending form is ambiguous because its singular object form is the same as the plural object form Mah kataalóowi awéeniil. Some people (or a person) don't want him/her. The m ending forms differentiate him/her from them non-ambiguously Mah awéen neewkoowíhna. Noone saw us (excl). (nu)-(neew)-(ukw)-(oowii)-(hna) m ending set Mah awéen neewkoowíiwuna. Noone saw us (excl). (nu)-(neew)-(ukw)-(oowii)-(wuna) w ending set