Dene

Grammar Guide

Part B: The Verb

7. The Perfective Prefix - / the /
The perfective is indicated in some verbs by a prefix the, which occurs just before the subject pronoun and replaces the imperfective prefix,; if any.

nágha 'He is going'
nátheya ‘he went' (stem change)
or
hebes 'It is boiling'
thebes 'It has boiled'

In third person forms when there is a direct object pronoun ye, present.,
/ the / is replaced by a high tone on the prefix that occurs just before the subject pronoun.

yeøbes 'He is boiling it'
yéøbes 'He boiled it'
or
yeþáth 'He is cutting it’
yéþath 'He cut it'(stem change)

In first person forms, when classifier ø or no classifier is present, perfective / the / requires the subject pronoun to be marked by i.

yeøtsi 'He is making it'
thiøtsü ‘I is made it'
hegha ‘He is going'
náthiya ‘I went' (stem change)

First and second person dual the perfective forms require no special comment as they form regularly in the same manner as he imperfective forms.

thílbes 'We (2) boiled it'
thüøbes 'You (2) boiled it'
or
nathídlógh ‘We (2) laughed'
nathüdlógh ‘You (2) laughed'

Some verbs are defective in the perfective system. These verbs lose perfective / he / in the first and second persons singular,

hikü 'I started off' (on water)
hükü 'You started off'

" retain the high tone in third person forms,

hékü 'He started off'

" retain / he / in first person dual,

hikü 'We (2) started off'

"and lose / he / in second person dual.

hukü 'You (2) started off'

Note that in the first person dual form hikü ,the initial / hi / is a variation from the prefix / he / that would normally be expected in this position. This change seems to be caused by the common tendency in Denes¶øiné for one sound to fuse into another.

 
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