Pronominal Prefixes I1

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Pronominal Prefixes: intransitive singular

When we refer to action by a single individual, we use the singular prefixes.

nga- (I) is for first person singular, e.g. ngare (I go), ngawam (I went).

yi- (you singular) is for second person singular, e.g. yire (you go), yiwam (you went).

∅- (he/she/it) is for third person singular, e.g. kare (he/she/it goes), wam (he/she/it went).

  • The ∅- means nothing, a zero prefix.
  • There is an extra ka- which only shows up in third person singular in present tense. You'll hear it all the time, so you need to know it.
  • Just like "go" has an irregular past tense "went" (not "goed"), Kunwok re (go) has an irregular past tense wam (went).

Here it is again, in tabular form:

Nonpast Meaning Past Meaning Comment
ngare I go ngawam I went nga- is the first-person singular, I
yire you (sg) go yiwam you (sg) went yi- is the second-person singular, you (sg)
kare he/she/it goes wam he/she/it went - (no prefix) is the third-person singular, he/she/it

Here are more examples, this time for bidbun (climb) and mankan (fall).

Nonpast Meaning Past Meaning
ngabidbun I climb ngabidbom I climbed
yibidbun you (sg) climb yibidbom you (sg) climbed
kabidbun he/she/it climbs bidbom he/she/it climbed
Nonpast Meaning Past Meaning
ngamankan I fall ngamankang I fell
yimankan you (sg) fall yimankang you (sg) fell
kamankan he/she/it falls mankang he/she/it fell

It's your turn to try this with some new verbs:

I run (lobme) she swims (wurlebme) you're sitting (yerrkan) he's returning (durndeng) I cry
ngalobme kawurlebme yiyerrkan kadurndeng nganalkbun

Finally, you could make a table of words with their prefixes for some other intransitive verbs: e.g. dowen (be unwell), dolkkan (stand), keyo (sleep), di (be present), bebme (arrive), yayme (be itchy), borrkke (dance), wayini (sing).

Next: Intransitive Verbs 2

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