Dene

Grammar Guide

Part B: The Verb

17. Stem Changes for Number
As has been seen already, number is indicated in Denes¶øiné by adding the prefixes dá or he . This system applies to many verbs, but there are others that change their stems instead of adding prefixes.

Yálgus ‘he is jumping’
Yáhelgus ‘they (2) are jumping’
Yárálgus ‘they (pl) are jumping
Hegha ‘he/she is going’
He¿ás ‘they(2) are going’
Hedél ‘they (pl) are going'
Nádher ‘he/she is staying’
Náhedher ‘they(2) are staying’
Nádé ‘they (pl) are staying'
or
Thetü ‘he/she is sleeping'
Hetes ‘they (2) are sleeping’
thetes ‘they (pl) are sleeping’

From these examples it will be seen that some verbs have separate stems for singular, dual, and plural; some have one stem for singular and dual, and a separate stem for prural. These stems cannot be predicted. They must be memorized. Note that in third person dual the prefix / he / is usually present even though there is a separate dual stem. Note the following examples of complete paradigms.

Hesa ‘I am going’
Hügha ‘you are going’
Hegha ‘he/she is going’
Híþas ‘we (2) are going’
Huh¿ás ‘you (2) are going’
He¿ás ‘they (2) are going’
Hidél ‘we (pl) are going'
Huhdél ‘you (2) are going’
Hedél ‘they (pl) are going’
Thida ‘I am sitting’
Thüda ‘you are sitting’
Theda ‘he/she is sitting’
Thíke ‘we (2) are sitting’
Thuhke ‘you (2) are sitting’
Heke ‘they (2) are sitting’
Déthílttvi ‘we (pl) are sitting’
Duøttvi ‘you (pl) are sitting’
Déøttvi ‘they (pl) are sitting’

Note that in this latter illustration, the prefix // has been added to the plural forms.


At this point a hitherto unmentioned object pronoun prefix, eøe ‘eachother’ should be discussed. This prefix requires a subject in dual or prural, but it is frequently omitted because the nature of the object implies that the subject must be more than one.

Ye¿ü ‘he saw ‘him/her’
¿eøeheþü ‘they saw eachother’
yu¿eth ‘he/she is kicking him/her’
¿eøehuþeth ‘they are kicking eachother’
yeneø¿ü ‘he/she is looking at him/her’
¿eøehenel¿ü ‘they are looking at eachother’

Note that the introduction of the prefix ¿eøe changes classifier ø to l, and if there is no classifier, Classifier d is addicted.

 
Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre