Participles are built from verbs but function as nouns.
They are conjugated using initial change and normal conjunct endings which indicate the subject and object.
Participles may use any participant as its head or main focus. Verbs with built in qualifiers such as somewhere, somehow, etc may also use this aspect as the head of the participle.
Participles may be translated as: ‘that which’ or ‘he who’ or ‘the one who’
Endings such as the plural conjunct ending -iik and the conjunct obviative sg ending -ih and and the conjunct obviative pl ending -ii may be used. The ending however does not indicate which person or participant is the head of the participle. Context should indicate that information.
What I told him. (qualifier as head of the participle)
What I want to tell him.
What he told him.
The one I helped.
What I fed him.
xamaaw vta feed s.o.
What I want to feed him.
The one he loves.
You whom I love / my beloved / my dear.
Participles are listed in the dictionary inflected for a 3rd person head (head word of the relative phrase)
(-t) endings for 3rd person singular subjects
(htii-t) for 3rd person plural subjects
His wife, her husband.
When building a participle one chooses the form appropriate to the participants then one assigns the endings that define the resulting word, now acting as a noun, as proximate or obviative. This can be broken down into a 3 step process:
1) Desired phrase: The ones he loves, they are looking for him.
2) Participants : he — them
3) Function as a noun: They (proximate)
1) He is looking for them, the ones he loves.
2) Participants: he loves them
3) Noun function: them (pl obviative)
Examples from Mahican Writers:
In this example the proximate participant ‘he’ takes no endings because its meaning is ‘he who redeems them’. A plural ending would change the meaning to ‘They was he redeems’. The obviative participant is “they who are elected by God’ and takes the plural obviative suffix because the head of the participle is the obviative participant ‘they’.
Well who is he who Redeems them - the ones who are elected by God? (HA21)
Awaanii=k nah pahkwąąxkunąąt Pahtamawąąs nootnąąchii?
pahkwąąxkunaaw vta redeem, save s.o.
nootnaaw vta chose, elect s.o.
This example uses the same logic as the preceding example.
Pahtamawąąθ kiisih-kxanawaanąąt maawih kiisihąąchii.
God is able to keep them all those he created. (HA11)
In this example one can see that the plural ending on the 3rd person participle is used for a participle with ‘they as the head.’ This system is preferred over the alternative of using the form ending in htiit. The proximate participant is ‘they who serve him’ and takes no obviative ending because the function of the noun determined by the head of the participle is the proximate person ‘they’. The following noun is obviative.
Maawih niik aanahkahtawąąchiik niin Pąhtamawąąsan wąąk ąhwąąnąąchiik niin wtayooman Jesusan.
All those they who serve him that one who is God and they who love him that one who is his son Jesus. (Watts11)
This example shows how an obviative object may still be implied by a passive form that has suppressed the object. The passive ‘they are brought’ is indefinite as far as specifying an object that could be singular, plural or inanimate. The obviative participant is ‘he who redeems them’ and takes the obviative sg ending because the participle head is the obviative person ‘he’. Note that even though a plural animate object is implied the ending is not plural.
Waach ąąm paaswąąmuk pumąąwusohąąntuwąąkanuk, niin wchih pahkwąąxkunąąchih.
For the purpose that they should be brought in salvation by the one (obv) because he (obv) is the one who redeems. (HA20)