3.7.3. He and nià

The verbs he "be" and nià "do" are the only (non-defective) verbs in Tokana with irregular conjugations. The copula he is a stative verb which takes an absolutive case-marked subject. The paradigm for he is given below (note that, being a stative verb, he lacks past tense forms):

   positive  negative
   simple  non-past  he  hoti
 completive  heun  hotun
   dependent indic.  non-past  hiat, hian-  hotia
 completive  heuna  hotuna
   dependent subjunc.  non-past  hiano  hotio
 completive  heuno  hotuno
  resultative  hieu  hoteu

Note also that when the focus prefix i- is attached to he, the resulting form is written and pronounced ihè.

Nià is an auxiliary verb (section 3.8.4) which takes an ergative case-marked subject. The paradigm for nià is given here:

   positive  negative
   simple  non-past  nià  nioti
 completive  niun  niotun
 past definite  niè  niotie
   dependent indic.  non-past  niat, nian-  niotia
 completive  niuna  niotuna
 past definite  niet, nien-  nioteia
   dependent subjunc.  non-past & nbsp;niano  niotio
 completive  niuno  niotuno
 past definite  nieno  nioteio
  resultative  nieu  nioteu
 imperative  niau  niefe

He and nià may host modal/aspectual suffixes (section 3.6.1), in which case the stem forms used are hi- and ni-, respectively:

"want to be"
hiulhka    "must
hioina     "begin to be,

niuha      "want to do
niulhka    "must do
nioina     "begin to do

Note that nià and niè are written without an accent mark when suffixed with a clitic determiner:

niama      "I do (so)"
niekyina   "you did

The uses of these verbs are discussed below:

(1) He as a copula: One use of he is as a copular verb. In this usage, he 'links' two noun phrases, indicating that they refer to the same individual (for another strategy for forming nominal predicates, see section 3.9.3):

Ne      Han he ne      suhpama
the:Abs Han is
the:Abs brother-my:NA
"Han is my brother"

Ne      suhpama       he ne      Han
brother-my:NA is the:Abs Han
"My brother is

More often, he is used with dative phrases to form locative, existential, and possessive predicates. For example:

Te      halma he itai    pamai
the:Abs book  is the:Dat top-Dat table
"The book is on
top of the table"

He halma itai    pamai
is book  the:Dat top-Dat table
"There is a book on top
of the table"

Itai    pamai   totsat he
the:Dat top-Dat table  is book
"On top of the table
(there) is a book"

Imai   he
me:Dat is book
"I have a book (with me)"
"At me (there) is a book"

Given the requirement that ergative subjects in Tokana must be specific (i.e. must have an overt determiner; see 2.1.1), an existential construction must be used when the notional (agentive) subject of a verb is non-specific. Compare the following sentences:

Na      mikal
tsitspè           kopo
the:Erg boy   smash-Pst-the:Abs
"The/that boy smashed the pot"

mikal tsitspit      te      kopo
is   boy   smash-Dep:Pst the:Abs
"A boy smashed the pot"
lit. "(There) was a boy that
smashed the pot"

In the first sentence, the speaker has a particular boy in mind, whose identity is known (or easily discernible) by the participants in the conversation. In the second sentence, the speaker is introducing a new participant - viz., some boy or other - not previously mentioned in the discourse. In the latter case, there is no way to express the idea in question using an ordinary transitive construction; instead, an existential construction is required.

When it is not used existentially (i.e. equivalent to there is in English), the copula he may be deleted, as in the following examples:

Ne      suhpama       itai    Uilumai
brother-my:NA the:Dat Uiluma-Dat
"My brother [is] in

Melh  ni ne      suhpama?
Qu the:Abs brother-my:NA
"Where [is] my brother?"

Miò'n  koi?
who-Qu you:Abs
"Who [are]

The copula may only be dropped when it is in its unmarked form, however - that is, when it does not carry any order, tense/aspect, or negation suffixes, and when there is no clitic determiner or focus prefix attached to it. Compare the following sentences:

Te      halma
itai    pamai   totsat
the:Abs book  the:Dat top-Dat table
book (is) on the table"

Te      halma hoti
itai    pamai   totsat
the:Abs book  is-Neg the:Dat top-Dat
"The book is not on the table"

In the first sentence, the unmarked form of the copula (he) has been deleted. In the second sentence, however, the copula must host the negative marker -oti, and so it cannot be deleted. Compare also:

Ne      Han ne
the:Abs Han the:Abs brother-my:NA
"Han (is) my

Inai    Sakiale    iona hianne
Han ne      suhpama
the:Dat Sakial-Dat know is-Dep-the:Abs Han
the:Abs brother-my:NA
"Sakial knows that Han is my

In the first sentence, the copular construction occurs in a main clause, and so he may be dropped; whereas in the second sentence, the copular construction occurs in an embedded clause, and so he must be present to host the dependent suffix -an-, as well as the clitic determiner -ne.

(2) Nià as an emphatic auxiliary: Nià may be used to form emphatic verb phrases, just like English do: Notice that nià, like all auxiliaries, takes a complement with the verb in the dependent order (see 3.8.4):

Ami   fiuaten           kahu
I:Erg catch-Pst-the:Abs
"I caught the fish"

Ami   niè
fiuatat   ne      kahu!
I:Erg do-Pst catch-Dep the:Abs fish
did catch the fish!"

Emphatic nià is also sometimes used in its imperative form (with a dependent subjunctive complement) to indicate urgency:

afananoma!   "Come with me!"
hynano!     "Don't move!"

(3) Nià as a 'pro-verb': Just like English do, nià may be used to 'stand in' for an (eventive) verb phrase in elliptical contexts - e.g. coordinate structures - as shown below:

Ami   ie   klotat    eiase       homa, ki  husu niena
I:Erg with quick-Dep Foc-eat-Pst bread and also do-Pst-the:NA
"I ate (the) bread quickly, and so did Sakial"

Ami   ie   klotat    eiase       homa, le  tu  niotiena
I:Erg with quick-Dep Foc-eat-Pst bread but not do-Neg-Pst-the:NA
"I ate (the) bread quickly, but Han didn't (do

Here niè and niotie 'stand in for' the verb phrase ie klotat eiase homa "ate the bread quickly" in the second conjunct.

In addition to coordinate structures, the pro-verb nià is commonly used in place of full verb phrases when asking and answering questions about events, and in comparative constructions (additional examples of this last use are given in 3.6.3 above):

Mà'n    inià?
"What are (you) doing?"

Ami   iase
anehte mahe     nienko
I:Erg eat-Pst more   what-Dat
"I ate more than you

Finally, the pro-verb nià can refer to an event mentioned earlier in the discourse. For instance, given the question "Why did she cry?", one could respond with the following sentence, where niè refers back to the previously-mentioned act of crying:

talhkò  muelhoksat
do-Pst because tired-Dep
"(She) did
it because (she) was tired"

3.8. Argument structure and case marking

In Tokana the mapping of grammatical relations (subject, object, etc.) to case forms (ergative, absolutive, dative, etc.) is a complicated business: There is a great deal of variation from verb to verb, and even between different forms of the same verb. Tokana is what one could call a thematic or active case-marking language. That is, the case marking which a noun phrase receives correlates more or less with the semantic role of the participant which that noun phrase refers to. Below I list the five cases together with the basic roles they encode:

 case  semantic roles  definition (with examples in boldface)
 absolutive  patient

The participant being created, destroyed, changed, or otherwise affected by the action denoted by the verb

John killed Bill


The participant undergoing the event; the one who the event 'happens to' - often the participant undergoing an event of motion

Bill fell down
John threw the ball

 ergative  agent

The (volitional, conscious, external) participant who acts to bring about the event denoted by the verb

John killed Bill
John danced

 dative  recipient

The participant receiving something in an event of giving/receiving

John gave Bill the book


The participant who experiences or perceives an emotion or sensation, or the participant from whose point of view the situation is described

John is sad
John heard the music
John knows Bill


The direction or destination towards which the theme moves or is directed/oriented

John went to the river


The point in space or time at which the event
denoted by the verb occurs

John slept under the tree


The participant who is in a relation of possession or ownership with the theme

John has a book

 instrumental  instrument

The object or means which is employed by the agent to bring about the event - e.g. a tool

John cut the meat with the knife


The (non-volitional, often inanimate) participant that acts to bring about the event denoted by the verb

The wind blew the door open
John cut his finger


The place or object through/along/across which the theme passes on its way to the goal

The bird flew over the tree

 ablative  source

The point at which the theme originates, or the direction from which movement of the theme occurs

John returned from the river

Given the correspondences above table, Tokana verbs can be divided into a number of lexical-semantic classes according to the number of arguments they take, and how those arguments are case-marked. Note that some verbs can occur in more than one class, where the choice of class usually correlates with a difference in meaning. For instance the verb eta "go, walk", can take either an absolutive or an ergative subject, depending on whether it is the path of movement or the manner of movement that is being emphasised:

Han ete         sikà      itai    Tenmothaie
the:Abs Han
go/walk-Pst as:far:as the:Dat Tenmothai-Dat
"Han went as far as

Na      Han ete         sikà
itai    Tenmothaie
the:Erg Han go/walk-Pst as:far:as the:Dat
"Han walked as far as Tenmothai" (as opposed to

Consider also the verb kaila "be hot":

Inai    Hane    kaila
the:Dat Han-Dat
"Han is hot"

Ne      Han
the:Abs Han hot
"Han is

The first sentence, with a dative subject, means that Han is feeling hot (e.g. because it is a hot day); while the second sentence, with an absolutive subject, means that Han himself has a high temperature (e.g. because of a fever).

I illustrate some of the verb classes in Tokana in the following subsections.

3.8.1. Zero argument verbs

Zero argument verbs are verbs which do not take any arguments at all. These are uncommon in Tokana. Certain stative predicates may occur without any overt arguments when used in weather expressions: For instance, nohta "be cold" does not take any subject or object in the following sentence; it is assumed to be predicated of the environment in general (notice that there is nothing in this sentence corresponding to the semantically empty subject it in English):

Iaslò teusu
today very  cold
"It's very cold

Most weather expressions, however, are formed with intransitive verbs, such as kahpa "descend, come down", yisa "rise, ascend, lift", lialhopa "blow":

kahpe         sù
yesterday come:down-Pst rain
"It rained

Kas yisa mohi
now rise
"The fog/mist is lifting now"

Lialhopa suhu ysmai
blow     wind
"It's windy outside"

3.8.2. Intransitive verbs

An intransitive (or one argument) verb takes a subject but no object. Intransitive verbs may take ergative, dative, or absolutive subjects in Tokana, depending in part on their meaning:

(1) Intransitive verbs which denote conscious, volitional activities normally take an ergative subject. Verbs in this class include muelha "sleep", uhna "sing", hostana "dance", eta "walk", penta "run", satania "cook, prepare a meal", etc.:

Na      Han satanie
immiote    lohe
the:Erg Han cook-Pst whole:time day-Dat
cooked all day"

Sa         lati     muelhe
itai    tsole
the:Pl:Erg children sleep-Pst the:Dat
"The children slept in the

In a sense, intransitive verbs which take ergative subjects may be thought of as 'covert transitives', inasmuch as many of these verbs can take optional direct objects. For example, hostana "dance" may take an object in the absolutive case which indicates the kind of dance performed:

Mafe hostane   ilhpè
the:Erg Mafe dance-Pst
"Mafe danced the ilhpè

Verbs in this class which indicate motion of the subject may take a dative object denoting the goal (or 'endpoint') of that motion, as in the following example, where the event of running terminates once the deer are in the woods (that "the woods" is an object of the verb is shown by the fact that the dative determiner attaches to the end of the verb as a clitic):

Sa         sten pentei
the:Pl:Erg deer run-Pst-the:NA woods-Dat
"The deer ran
into the woods"

(2) Intransitive verbs which denote emotional or mental states typically take a dative subject. Some verbs which denote physical states (such as those formed with the root uota "feel") also take dative subjects. Verbs of this class include kesta "be happy", ohiyna "be sad", hotsma "be angry", nohtuota "feel cold", tunkuota "hurt, be in pain":

Inai    Sakiale
teusu hotsmun   inlotka
the:Dat Sakial-Dat very  angry-Cpl
"Sakial was very angry yesterday"

Ohiynunna      Mafè     talhkò  tiokinne
sad-Cpl-the:NA Mafe-Dat because die-Dep:Pst-the:Abs
"Han was sad because his cousin had died"

Itai    nalhema       tunkuota
the:Dat arm-Dat-my:NA
"My arm hurts"

(3) Intransitive verbs which denote qualities, states, changes of state, or spontaneous (uncontrolled) events of various kinds usually take absolutive subjects. Verbs of this class include pata "be tall", aulina "be important", iena "be good", laina "shine, be bright", sena "hang, be hanging", tsunka "get into trouble", tioka "die", tiausa "fall down".

Ne      suhpama       teusu pata
brother-my:NA very  tall
"My brother is very tall"

Ne      iha   luhme   tioke   ihutka
the:Abs woman
old:one die-Pst last:night
"The old woman died last

This class also includes a number of verbs of motion or position whose denotation makes reference to a goal, location, or source. Such verbs include itskana "arrive", nelha "leave, depart", lhima "be here", suehma "be away, be gone", lhiana "come here", sulhaita "go away from here", eta "go (to)":

Ne      suhpama       kas     suehma  kete hene
the:Abs brother-my:NA already be:away for  two-Dat
"My brother has been away for two

Also in this class are verbs which may take a proposition (in the form of an embedded clause with the verb in the dependent order; section 3.3.1) as their only argument. These verbs include tiuha "be necessary, be needed", uetsena "seem (to be the case), be likely, be probable", tiyla "seem, appear", alha "be allowed", tiapa "be easy", lyihpa "be possible", toupa "must, be very likely", and ufisa "be common, be wont to happen":

tahanokyina       ne      Han ilohfoi
be:needed visit-Subj-you:NA
the:Abs Han tomorrow
"It is necessary/needed that you visit Han

Ni alha       afananokim
Qu be:allowed come:along-Subj-we:Abs you:Pl:Dat
"May we
come along with you?"
or "Is (it) allowed that we come along with

Toupa uksasinkim               itai
must  Refl-meet-Dep:Pst-we:Abs the:Dat dreamplace-Dat
must have met each other in the dreamplace"
or "It must be that
we met each other in the dreamplace"

uksasanokim           itai    tulone
Refl-meet-Subj-we:Abs the:Dat road-Dat
"We used to meet on the road
from time to time"

3.8.3. Transitive verbs

Transitive (or two argument) verbs are verbs which take a subject and a direct object. Transitive verbs in Tokana generally take an absolutive object and an ergative, instrumental, or dative subject:

(1) Verbs denoting prototypically transitive actions, where an agent argument acts consciously to bring about some sort of change in a patient argument, take an ergative subject and an absolutive object. Such verbs include kahta "hit", kaiha "kill", pesa "take, grab, pick up", iasa "eat", kespa "carry, wear", mukta "close", stelhma "find", pusuka "make, create":

Na      moiha stelhmè
the:Erg girl  find-Pst-the:Abs book
"The girl found the

Na      Elim muktè
the:Erg Elim close-Pst-the:Abs window
"Elim closed the

Te      homa  pusukena
the:Abs bread make-Pst-the:NA Mafe
"Mafe made the

Verbs of this class may also take instrumental subjects, if the participant performing the action is inanimate or is acting unintentionally:

Itan     suhune    muktè
the:Inst wind-Inst close-Pst-the:Abs window
"The wind
closed the window" (by blowing against it)

Elimne    muktè             huiloi
the:Inst Elim-Inst
close-Pst-the:Abs window
"Elim closed the window"
   (e.g., by
accidentally brushing against it)

(2) Verbs denoting mental and emotional activities generally take a dative subject and an absolutive object or embedded clause complement. Verbs in this class include iona "know", opa "think, believe", henka "like, enjoy", huaita "like, appreciate", mutha "understand", fana "not know, be unsure of", untsepa "wonder", fala "want, hope (for)" (but not uima "love, be in love with", which takes an ergative subject):

muthotì                sot
I:Dat understand-Neg-the:Abs
"I don't understand this word"

Hane    opa   uimanna         Sakial
the:Dat Han-Dat think
love-Dep-the:NA Sakial
"Han thinks that Sakial loves

Inai    Hane    iona uimanna
the:Dat Han-Dat know love-Dep-the:NA Sakial
"Han knows
that Sakial loves (him)"

Most verbs of perception also take dative subjects: E.g. hiela "see", ola "hear", mahtha "taste" (but not skona "look at" or teula "listen to", which take ergative subjects):

Imai  hielen
I:Dat see-Pst-the:Abs Sakial
"I saw Sakial"

Isai       latie        olè
the:Pl:Dat children-Dat hear-Pst-the:Abs loud:noise
children heard the loud noise"

Inai    Elime
mahthè            mas
the:Dat Elim-Dat taste-Pst-the:Abs
"Elim tasted the soup"

Consider also the following example, where hiela takes a clausal complement:

Inai    pyie
hiele   tsitspanna       mikal te      kopo
the:Dat child-Dat
see-Pst smash-Dep-the:NA boy   the:Abs pot
"The child saw the boy
smash the pot"

These verbs may also be used without a dative subject, in which case they pattern with the absolutive intransitives discussed in 3.8.2. As an intransitive, hiela translates as "look, appear", ola translates as "sound", etc.:

Hiela tsitspinna           mikal te      kopo
smash-Dep:Pst-the:NA boy   the:Abs pot
"It looks/appears that the boy
smashed the pot"
or "(One can) see that the boy has smashed the

Te      mas  mahtha paienat
soup taste  delicious-Dep
"The soup tastes delicious"
"The soup, (one can) taste that (it) is delicious"

Ne      Han ola        moutano
the:Abs Han
hear/sound sick-Subj
"Han sounds sick"
lit. "Han, (one can)
hear that (he) would be sick"

Verbs denoting possession, inclusion, or location also take a dative subject and an absolutive object. These include:

he       "be, be at; have (with
eha      "have, own,
yma      "have,
enyma    "consist of, be
comprised of"

The copula he "be" (see section 3.7.3) is used with datives to indicate physical possession:

Imai   he es
me:Dat is one book
"I have a book"
lit. "At me
(there) is a book"

Imai   hoti   iakme
me:Dat be-Neg any   coins
"I don't have any money (with
lit. "At me (there) isn't any

Eha "have, own" denotes alienable possession - e.g. ownership of personal property:

miammeima             eha  ante halma
the:Dat grandmother-Dat-my:NA
have many book
"My grandmother has/owns many

When the absolutive object rather than the locative subject precedes the verb, then eha has the sense of English belong to (this also applies to iala, discussed below):

katia lhon  ehana       ammeikma
the:Abs house there have-the:NA
"That house belongs to our

Finally, yma "have, include" and enyma "have, consist of, be comprised of" denote possession in the sense of a whole-to-part relation - for instance, body part possession.

yma  inie kote
me:Dat have eyes black
"I have black

Itai    katiai    lhon  enyma ihtà
the:Dat house-Dat there have  six  room
"That house has
(consists of) six rooms"

Yma is also used with colour words such as has "white", sane "red", kote "black", which are all nouns in Tokana:

Itene      hitolehi
katiai    yma  sane
the:Pl:Dat door-Dat-the:NA house-Dat have
"The doors of that house are

Also in this class is the verb iala "have, be responsible for". Iala denotes inalienable possession - in particular, possession by virtue of familial relationship, birth, custom, or stewardship. This verb is used when the possessed object is a person (e.g. a relative), a domestic animal, cultivatable land, or some other entity to which the possessor can be said to have an obligation:

Inai    Sakiale    iala hen lihpa
Sakial-Dat have two sister
"Sakial has two sisters"

Iala kian talpe itai    kameikma
have five field
the:Dat clan-Dat-our:NA
"Our clan has five

Note also the following example with iala, where the absolutive object (te tieliapi te ohte "(the) taking care of this land") denotes an actitivity which is the function or responsibility of the dative subject (itai kameima "my clan"):

tieliapi    te      ohte ialai       kameima
the:Abs taking:care
the:Abs land have-the:NA clan-Dat-my:NA
"Taking care of this land is
the responsibility of my clan"
lit. "Taking care of this land
'belongs to' my clan"

Iala is also used with various nouns expressing inalienable properties:

iala hanu     "have wisdom, be wise"
iala kà       "have worth, be
iala kasni    "have care,
take care, be careful"
iala mainin
"have mind, be intelligent"

Finally, iala is used to express age:

Inai   iala
teiekpahenta ume
he:Dat have twenty-nine  year
"He is
twenty-eight years old"

Note that dative 'subjects' (or fronted possessors) are also found in expressions like the following, which describe spontaneous or uncontrolled actions that affect parts of the body:

tikana   san
me:Dat flow:out blood
"I am bleeding"
"At me flows out blood"

Inai    Hane
sanioine            kuma
the:Dat Han-Dat red-Pred-become-Pst
"Han blushed" or "Han went red in the face"
"At Han (the) face became red"

kahte   tyn
me:Loc hit-Pst head
"I hit (my) head"
lit. "At me (the) head was

By contrast, if a person is performing a conscious and deliberate action on part of his or her own body, then the subject appears in the ergative case, as shown below. (Notice that this sentence is literally "I opened eyes" or "I eye-opened". When occurring as direct objects, body part nouns like inie normally do not take a determiner or a possessive clitic; the fact that the speaker opened his own eyes is of course understood from context.)

Ami   lime     inie
I:Erg open-Pst eyes
opened my eyes"

Compare also the examples below, which illustrate a three-way contrast between ergative, instrumental, and dative subjects:

Na      kelis hane    silh
the:Erg girl  cut-Pst
"The girl cut her finger" (on purpose)

Inan     kelisne   hane    silh
the:Inst girl-Inst
cut-Pst finger
"The girl cut her finger" (accidentally)

Inai    kelise   hane    silh
the:Dat girl-Dat
cut-Pst finger
"The girl cut her finger (on something)"
"The girl got her finger cut"

The first sentence would be used if the girl cut her finger deliberately (perhaps in preparation for a blood-sibling ritual). The second sentence would be used if the girl caused her own finger to be cut, but did so unintentionally (e.g., in a context where she was cutting something and the knife slipped). The third sentence would be used if something or someone else cut the girl's finger (e.g., in a context where she accidentally brushed her hand against something sharp).

3.8.4. Auxiliaries

Auxiliaries are verbs which take a noun phrase subject (marked with ergative, absolutive, or dative case, depending on the verb) and an embedded clause object with the verb in the dependent order (section 3.3.1). The embedded clause has no overt subject, the subject of the embedded verb being understood to be the same as the subject of the auxiliary. Examples of auxiliaries include otupa "decide", uota "feel", and tunka "act":

Kima   otupe      tiespano   katia
we:Erg decide-Pst build-Subj house here
"We decided to
build a house here"
or "We decided that (we) would build a house

Imai  uota huliat
I:Dat feel
"I feel healthy"

tenù   tunkihe      umpatimano
the:Pl:Erg people act-Prog-Pst
"Those people were acting

In this section I focus on the following verbs, which are commonly used as auxiliaries:

eta        "go/come"
lania      "continue, stay"
elima      "begin, become, start"
emukta     "finish (up), complete"
uata       "stop"
nula       "become, get, grow,
nakpana    "become, wind
tukpa      "do together, do

(1) As discussed in section 3.2, eta "go/come" may be used as an auxiliary to indicate a future event or state. This is quite reminiscent of the use of be going to to mark future tense in English. Note that when it is used as a future tense auxiliary, eta always takes an absolutive case subject:

Ne      luhme
lhon  eta tiokat  hatham
the:Abs old:one there go  die-Dep
"That old person is going to die soon"

Te      solat   ifoi      lolhampute ieta
the:Abs wedding then(Fut) week-Dat   Foc-go
"The wedding is going to happen next

Consider also this example, where eta denotes motion towards a goal as well as future tense:

Kim    ilohfoi  eta
we:Abs tomorrow go  fish-Dep
"We're going fishing

(2) Lania "stay, remain, continue" indicates the continuation or extension of an activity or state. This verb may take an ergative or absolutive subject, depending on whether that subject is an agent or a theme:

lanie        suntat
she:Abs continue-Pst be:silent-Dep
remained silent"

Asi      lanie        skonat
me     immiote    kihe
they:Erg continue-Pst look:at-Dep me:Abs
whole:time time-Dat
"They kept looking at me the whole

Te      ahol  lanie        nulat
the:Abs sound continue-Pst become-Dep be:loud-Dep
sound kept getting louder"

(3) Elima "begin, become, start" and emukta "finish (up), complete" denote the initiation and completion of an activity or task, respectively, while uata "stop" indicates the cecession of an activity or task. All three of these auxiliaries take ergative subjects:

Kima   innalhkate
elime     fisehthimat yli
we:Erg this:morning begin-Pst plant-Dep
"We began planting (the) grain this morning"

Ani     emukte     kyuahtat  ten
she:Erg finish-Pst carve-Dep the:Pl:Abs door
finished carving the doors"

Kyina      uatulhka
you:Pl:Erg stop-must Refl-hit-Dep
"You must stop

(4) Nula "become, get, grow, increase" takes an absolutive subject and an embedded complement containing a stative verb. It indicates a steady (and usual gradual) increase in the quality or property denoted by the complement:

thonka   "be loud"     nula thonkat   "get louder"
klota    "be fast"     nula klotat    "speed up, get
liuna    "be old"
nula liunat    "age, get

Mai   nula liunat, temai uota
I:Abs grow old-Dep then  feel
"The older I get, the healthier I

(5) The verb nakpana "become, wind up, end up" takes an absolutive subject. It denotes the entrance of the subject into a particular state, usually involuntarily and/or unexpectedly:

nakpane     teusu moutat
they:Abs wind:up-Pst very
"They became very sick"

Elim nakpane     eupat
the:Abs Elim wind:up-Pst alone-Dep
found himself alone"

(6) The verb tukpa "do as a group, work together on" takes a plural ergative subject, and indicates an action performed by two or more people acting together, or a set of actions performed simultaneously or in concert by two or more people. It is frequently used where in English one would use an adverbial such as together or all:

tenù   tukpun          tiespat   te      tiom
people do:together-Cpl build-Dep the:Abs barn
"Those people built the
barn together"
or "Those people worked together to build the

Kima   tukpe           itskanat   itai
we:Erg do:together-Pst arrive-Dep the:Dat village-Dat
arrived at the village together"
or "We all arrived at the
village (at the same time)"

(7) The verb umunia "undo" denotes the reversal of an action or state: E.g. panthata "cover", umunia panthatat "uncover". Compare the following sentences:

sehkè           sò
I:Erg tie-Pst-the:Abs rope
tied the rope"

Ami   umunie   sehkat  te
I:Erg undo-Pst tie-Dep the:Abs rope
"I untied the

Note also this example:

Te      katia
umunia tiespat
the:Abs house undo   build-Dep
"The house is
falling apart"
lit. "The house is

In addition to these auxiliaries, which indicate the inception, continuation, reversal, etc., of an event, there are a number of auxiliaries which express something about the manner in which the event is carried out, or the rate at which it transpires:

"do well, do correctly, be good at"
untuka      "do poorly, do incorrectly, be bad

sukania     "be sudden, happen
hathafa     "be
gradual, happen gradually"
"be occasional, happen occasionally"
amameska    "be constant, happen

tesukania   "do
[something] abruptly"
"do [something] gradually"
"do [something] occasionally"
"do [something] constantly"

These verbs are often translated by adverbs in English, as the following examples show:

Na      Mothe uonia
the:Erg Mothe be:good:at sing-Dep
"Mothe sings
or "Mothe is a good singer"

katia sukanie             kiospoinat
the:Abs house
happen:abruptly-Pst burn-begin-Dep
"The house burst into

Itai    kotoi    hathafe
the:Dat room-Dat happen:gradually-Pst
"It gradually got dark in the room"

Na      Han tesukanie       hakathat
the:Erg Han
do:abruptly-Pst laugh-Dep
"Han burst out laughing"

Te      uhin amaniana             Mothe
the:Abs song do:constantly-the:NA Mothe sing-Dep
is constantly singing that song"



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