Mahican VAI Conjunct Participles

Participles are verbs that modify nouns or act as a noun.

Verbs generally focus on an action or a state and the subject is a secondary focus. A participle focuses on the subject and the action is the secondary focus.
He dances. versus He who dances or the dancer.

Participles use initial change and normal conjunct endings. Additional endings such as plural endings may be added.

Jonathan Edwards provided the following participles in his book about the Mahican language.

Paamθuyah. I walking. 
Paamθuyan. You walking. 
Paamθiit.  He walking. The walker. 
Paamθuyakw. We walking. 
Paamθuyaakw. You (pl) walking. 
Paamθiichiik. They walking. The walkers. 

Note the plural ending -iik on the last word in this series.
initial change-(pumuθii)-tiik

Participles may be translated using terms like : ‘that which’ or ‘he who’ or ‘the one who’


He who is red, the red one.  

You (pl) who are red.   

Where he went.  

aaw he goes (somewhere = implied)      
aayąąt: verb stem is (ąą) => (aa)-(y)-(ąą)-(t)  
(initial change)-(y insert)-(stem)-(conj ending)  

Where I went.  

The one who came.  

paaw he comes    its verb stem is (pąą)  
irregular participle (initial change as aa + y)  

What he said.   

uwah he says (something = implied)   stem is (ii)   
aayiit: (aa)-(y)-(ii)-(t)  
(initial change)-(y insert)-(stem)-(conj ending)  

The above three examples illustrate some particularities of monosyllabic verb stems, re: atypical initial change in the form of (aay)

Sad man.  

The pretty one.  

wunaayuw vai-cv  be pretty, nice, good  

The sleeping one.  

VAI participles are listed in the dictionary inflected for a 3rd person head (person who is the main focus of the participle)

Extra suffixes for obviation may be added to third person forms using -(u)niit instead of the usual conjunct ending.

Sad man.  (obviative)

Siiwaantak. Sad man. (proximate)

The pretty one.  (obv)

wunaayuw vai-cv  be pretty, nice, good  

The sleeping one.  (obv)

(-t) or (-uk) endings for 3rd person sg subjects

Plural 3rd person participles are formed by adding -iik to the the 3rd sg conjunct form.

Niimanaaw maachaayuk.   
Evil man.  

Nimanaak maachaayukiik.  
Evil men.   

The sleeping ones, they who are sleeping.  
(stem)- (3rd sg conj)-(animate pl)  

Preverbs and participles

Some verbs or preverb-verb combinations have a quantity or a location or another attribute built in to the meaning of the verb. For example in English, the verb ‘to come from’ requires a precise location (I come from home) or a vague location (He came from somewhere).
Preverbs that point to a certain way, a certain place, a certain amount, a certain thing exist in Mahican, and when the preverb is part of the verb as a verb root it is called a relative root.
Participles of such verbs or preverb-verb combinations may use take on the meaning of that quantity, attribute or location. For the verb ‘to come from’ the participle is ‘where he comes from’.

Said otherwise: stems with relative roots (or a preverb) may form participles that may use as a focus any of the participants or the relative root may be the focus.

Anąąwatuw He costs a certain amount. 
Aanąąwatuyah. What I cost.

Aanąąwatuyan. What you cost.

How I am.

How you are.

What I said.

What you said.

How I speak. 

Where you walk.

How much I worked.

How long we worked.

sáhkih- pv a certain length (of time, measurement)

Wíikuw vai dwell there

 Where I dwell. My home.  

 Where you dwell. Your home  

 His home.   

 Our home.  

 Your (pl) home.  

 Their home.  


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