Grammar Guide


Verbs are by far the most used part of speech in the Saulteaux Language. They not only express action as in the case of the English verb, but also conveys thought as to the subject and also the object of the verb. In addition, reference may be included as to the degree or extent to which the action was performed. Knowing the verb, it becomes possible to express any thought or action that is desired. Of course this does not mean that one may learn the verb and disregard all the other essentials of vocabulary. The vocabulary, however, is of little use unless one understands the verb in all its forms.

Many distinctions are made by the many changes to which the verb may be subjected. All these forms are quite regular, and once the principle is understood, a verb may be taken and, by adding prefixes, given adverbial syllables and desired endings for numbers, gender, tense, mood, and voice. It is also possible to express with one word what in English would take a whole sentence. While this may sound like an enormous task, it is quite possible if each step is mastered effectively.

In the verb is expressed Tense, Mood, Number, Gender, Case, and Voice.

Tense - Tense as in English, refers to the time an action takes place. Different tenses are much alike and, as they depend often simply upon the addition of a particle, only one set of forms need be learned for the two tenses. From the present is formed the perfect and the future.

Mood – There are three moods: the indicative, the subjunctive and the imperative. The indicative mood is used as in English: the verb of the main clause. The subjunctive mood is nearly always used to take the place of the infinitive and the participle. The imperative is used for expressing command.

Number - The Saulteaux verb refers to the number both of the subject and of the object of its action.

Gender - Here is a distinct department from the English usage. In Saulteaux, gender refers to the possessing, or, not possessing, life. Nouns are animate or inanimate. Some objects not having life are treated as animate and the verb form for the animate is used.

Case - The case of a noun if nominative or accusative is shown in the termination of the verb.

Voice - Voice is similar to the English in some respects and entirely dissimilar in others. The active voice corresponds to the English active voice. The English passive is broken into two distinct voices in Saulteaux. These are the inverse and the general passive. The inverse is the mood of the verb which inverts the action of the transitive verb in the active voice. The general passive is simply the English passive, but makes no reference to a person committing the action implied in the passive verb.

All verbs fall into one of the three classes: (1) imperative verbs, (2) intransitive verbs, (3) transitive verbs.

Imperative verbs are those which simply make a statement of a condition without any reference to persons or things. The principle is that every action must be performed by some person or thing. In some cases it is impossible to trace the action to anything, but is simply the statement of a condition.

Intransitive verbs are those verbs which have no object but are simple statements of fact about the action performed by the subject.

Transitive verbs are those in which the action performed by the subject is done upon the object of the verb.

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