Mahican VII Conjunct Basics


The conjunct order is used for certain types of secondary clauses.

Several conjunct modes exist. the conjunct differs from the subordinative mode which plays a narrative role and interacts with the main clause by telling more of the story, whereas conjunct sub-phrases put more of a spin or twist to the story and thus have a much stronger relationship to the main clause. Conjunct clauses typically provide crucial timing information that complements the information of the main clause.

Subordinative mode:

'That's where it fell.'  (Noh kiipihnāāw.)  
The subordinative tells more of the story or about the place, continuing a topic of discourse.  

Conjunct mode:

'It fell because it rained.'  (Kiipihnāāw āānih-sóokunąąk.)  
The conjunct goes beyond the narrative and provides information about when or why something happened. 

Preverbs are often used in conjunct mode phrases. Time qualifier preverbs with meanings like “when” link the action between the two clauses with information about ‘timing’.

There are four conjunct modes in use in the Mahican language.

The Changed Conjunct

The changed conjunct mode is used when the time frame of the action in the conjunct sub-phrase is simultaneous or co-occurring to that of the main phrase.

It is cold outside 'because it is snowing'.  

Changed Subjunctive Conjunct

When the action precedes the time frame of another clause, the “Changed Subjunctive Conjunct Mode” is used. This mode adds a ‘modal suffix’ (-ah) to the usual conjunct ending to clearly set it apart.

The road cracked 'after it snowed heavily'.     
'When it rains and rains', you will seek shelter.   

Conditional or hypothetical ideas are expressed using the “Subjunctive Conjunct Mode” and this mode is how one expresses phrases that in English would start with “if…”

It might be cold 'if it snows'.  

Lastly there are the participles. These are verbs conjugated using conjunct endings and function in a noun-like manner. They may also form possessive like compounds with adjacent nouns, and in that way function as adjectives.

'The nice one' is there  
The 'nice chair' is there.   

Conjunct Endings, Initial Change and Modal endings

All conjunct modes for VIIs use a basic set of conjunct endings (described below). In addition to these endings, a characteristic shift in the initial vowel of the verb stem called the ‘’Initial Change’‘ occurs in all conjunct modes except for the conditional. Here’s how initial change works: If the initial vowel of a verb is (a) or (u) then that vowel changes into (āā). No shift occurs if the initial vowel is a long vowel. When a preverb is present, as is often the case, the initial change will affect the initial vowel of the preverb instead of the initial vowel of the verb stem. (A preverb-verb combination is called a compound stem).

This may all sound complex but will be much easier to understand using examples.

Initial Change (a) => (āā) (u) => (āā)

Generic Form Initial Vowel Changed Vowel Conjunct Form Meaning
wunút (u) (āā) wāānihk it is nice
anāāyuw (a) (āā) āānāāyuk it happened
ksutāāw (u) (āā) kāāstāāk it is warm
kátāāw-pxąąn (a) (āā) kāātāāw-pxąąk its going to snow

The “modal ending” (ah) is added to the end of the conjunct ending in some modes (Changed Subjunctive and Subjunctive).

Conjunct Order Overview

Conjunct Mode Schema
Changed (initial change)-(conjunct endings)
Changed Subjunctive (initial change)-(conjunct endings)-(ah)
Subjunctive (no initial change)-(conjunct endings)-(ah)
Participles (initial change)-(conjunct endings)

Wunut. It is good. (independent indicative)
Wāānihk. That it was good. (changed conjunct)
Wāānihkah. When that was good. (changed subjunctive)
Wunihkah. If it is good.
Wāānihk. That which is good. The good one.

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