Dene

Grammar Guide

Part C: The Sentence Expanded

7. Miscellaneous Constructions
(a) The personal pronoun is sometimes used for emphasis or clarity. These pronouns are si ‘me, I’, nen ‘you’, edine ‘he, she, nuhnü ‘we, you (pl)’.

si násther ‘I am staying’ (emphasis on ‘I’)
kú nen ‘What about you?’ (literally, ‘Now you’)
núnü denesøiné dáhídlü ‘We people are Denes¶øiné

(b) When it is necessary to couple two nouns together, with or without their modifiers (as in English, ‘the books and magazines’), Denes¶øiné uses a connector, chu .In simple situations this is used twice .

deneyu chu tßékwi eghálahena ‘The man and woman are working’
nen chu si horél¿ü ‘He wants you and me’

Sometimes the first person pronoun with its connector chu is omitted, if there is a dual subject pronoun in the verb.

Samoél chu heþás ‘Samuel and I are going’


If there are more than two nouns to be joined, the connectors ¿ú or híle maybe used.

Bierre ¿ú Samoél ¿ú Jon nahédel
Bierre ¿ú Samoél ¿ú Jon nahedel híle

Both of the above illustrations mean, ‘Peter, Samuel, and John started to go back again’.

(c) When postpositions follow words other than nouns or pronouns, an abstract pronoun ho is sometimes introduced, to act as a link between the postposition and the word it follows.

eyer hotßén ‘until there/up to that time’  
eyer ‘there’ Adverb
ho ‘ it’ Abstract Pronoun
hotßén ‘to/toward’ Postposition
     
Nahojísü hobaz® hoæenátßedé ‘They are fighting to break it’ (trying to alter the situation)  
náhojísü ‘to break it’ Included Clause
ho ‘it’ Abstract Pronoun
æe ‘on’ Postposition


Note: hoæenátßedé means literally ‘they are staying on it’. (Northern dialect)

(d) Among the modifiers of the verb, that is, those words that follow the verb, there are several words that indicate the time of the action. (This is different from the imperfective, perfective, and optative meanings that are found in the verb, which indicate whether the action is being carried on, has been completed, or is about to begin.) We have already studied the word ha¿eh which indicates the future tense.

Nádher ha¿eh ‘He will be staying’

To this may be added the word indicating past tense, and øínü/héøínü indicating customary action in past time.

Nirésøe nü ‘I was picking it up’
Nághidher nü ‘I stayed’
Shéghestü nü ‘I ate’
Sél holnü øínü ‘He used to tell me stories’

The words ha and may be combined to indicate a future intention in the past.

Bér beghq shéyestü hanü ‘I was going to eat the meat’

A further refinement in the tense system may be obtained by the use of walí and ghülé , the optative and perfective forms of hqþe ‘it is’. These occur following the verb.

Yaæe násther walí ‘I will be staying in heaven’
Luwe chogh tuwé hoghq nathesja ghülé ‘I have been to Cold Lake again’
Sas øeghänüødé ghülé ‘He had killed the bears’

(e) Some Denes¶øiné words have a dual function. ttvi ‘too, again’ may function as an adverb or as an adjective.

Ttvi kónarüdi ‘Say so again’
Si ttvi etthén ghes¿ü ‘I saw caribou too’

The words híle ‘not’ and ‘past tense’ are modifiers of the verb which may also modify other parts of speech.

nádher híle ‘He is not staying’
eyer híle ‘not there’
þaz® hotßén híle ‘nowhere’ (not towards anything)
eghálaghesna ‘I worked’
setßuné nü ‘my late grandmother’

The modifier losí ‘ever’ is used in two different positions.

Þq yeghqshégheti losí øaghädhi ha ‘Whoever eats it will die’
Eøághp ta yeghq shégheti dé øaghädhi ha ‘If anyone eats it, he will die’

(f) The use of the nominal enclitic i/hi is not entirely understood. We have observed its use with certain types of included clauses. It frequently occurs with simple sentences.

dánechá ‘They are big’
dánechái ‘They are the big ones’
or
yú delæos ‘The cloth is red’
eyi yú delæos ‘It is the red cloth’

(g) Numerals ‘one’ to ‘ten’ are of two systems. Set A refers to people; set B to all other things.

Set A
Set B
Meaning
üøághe
üøághe
‘one’
nádene
náke
‘two’
tqnü
taghe
‘three’
dünü
düghü
‘four’
sñlänp
sñlághe
‘five’
eøæétqnp
eøæétaghe
‘six’
üøásdüghü
üøásdüghü
‘seven’
eøæédñnq
eøæédüghü
‘eight’
eøótq
eøótq
‘nine’
üøónq/ honénq
üøónq
‘ten’

Complex numerals (more than ten) are formed as follows, using numerals of set B only.

Üøághe cvadheø ‘eleven’
Náke cvadheø ‘twelve’
Taghe cvadheø ‘thirteen’
Nónq cvadheø ‘twenty’
Nónq hotßén üøághe ‘twenty-one’
Nónq hotßén náke ‘twenty-two’
Tñnq hotßén taghe ‘thirty’
Tñnq hotßén üøághe ‘thirty-one’ etc…

(h) The prefixes , and he are sometimes used together in third person plural to denote individuality.

dájen ‘They are singing’ (in unison)
dáhejen ‘They are singing’ (possibly each a different tune)
or
nádé ‘They are staying’ (in one place)
nárádé ‘They are staying’ (in different places)
 
Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre