Dene

Grammar Guide

Part B: The Verb

3. First Person Subject Pronoun, Dual
At this point Denes¶øiné has an extra category that is not found in English. Denes¶øiné verbs number in singular, dual, and plural. English has only singular and plural.

First person dual 'we' is formed by adding the prefix id, just before the classifier and stem.

hqþe ‘he, it is'
hídlü 'we (2) are'
or
nádher 'He is staying'
náhídher 'We (2) are staying'
or
Yeøtsi 'He is making it'
híltsi 'We (2) are making it'


When the prefix id is introduced into a verb, certain phonetic changes take place in the verb.

1. If there is a classifier 1 or ø just before the stem, the / d / is dropped and ø becomes 1 .

yálgus 'He is jumping'
yáílgus 'We (2) are jumping'
or
yíøchu 'he is taking it'
hílchú ‘We (2) are taking it'

2. If the first consonant of the stem is / ? /, the / d / becomes / t /.

yene¿® ‘he is stealing it’
niþ® ‘we are stealing it’

3. If the first consonant of the stem is /d, k, j, t/, the / d / is dropped.

Yedq ‘he is drinking it’
Hídq ‘we are drinking it’
Ghekel ‘he is paddling’
Ghíkel ‘we are paddling’
Hejen ‘he is singing’
Híjen ‘we are singing’

4. If the first consonant of the stem is / n /, the / n / is dropped.

Eghálana ‘he is working’
Eghálaghída ‘we are working’

5. If the syllable immediately preceding id ends in / e / or / i /, the vowels
/ e / or / i / are dropped.

hetsagh 'He is crying'
hítsagh 'We (2) are crying'
or
nüdhen 'He is thinking'
níddhen 'We (2) are thinking'

6. It will be noticed that, in some cases a consonant / gh / or / h / is introduced when the first person dual íd is added to the verb.

y®øchú 'He is taking it'
yehüøchú 'We (2) are taking it'
or
yeríttvagh 'He hears it'
díttvagh 'We (2) hear it'
or
shétü 'He is eating'
shéhítü 'We (2) are eating'
or
yaøti 'He is talking'
yaheøti 'We (2) are talking'

The reasons for the above variations are not fully understood, but / gh / usually occurs if there is a vowel / i / in the second last syllable. / h / usually occurs with verbs that have ne as a second person subject pronoun prefix.

 
Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre