Fun WIth Verbs

Well, I have been very bad at keeping up with regular posting around here. Sorry about that – I’ve been busy chasing after my daughter (who begins kindergarten next month!), working on language, and all those every day things that keep a person busy. So. Anyway.

I’ve been digging around in some more language sources, and found a few new words to add to the Hanis Coos vocabulary. This week it’s been a careful search through Jane Sokolow’s word list. In 1965, she worked with Martha Harney Johnson to record hundreds of words and phrases in Hanis in two notebooks. Many of the words are repeated – throughout successive interviews, she would re-elecit words. However, she seems to have gotten a few words no one else did, and, along with other sources, noticed a fun pattern in making verbs.

In Hanis, it is fairly easy to turn a noun into a verb (English does too, but not all languages have the kind of syntax where this is easy). One way to do it is add the general verbal/transitive suffix -t or -ts. Adding -t to the word pol, shell, creates the verb polt, meaning to shell an egg or open a clam. npolt maqtlai, I shelled the egg. npolt tluush, I opened the clam.

Same technique is used to create the verb ‘to marry’. Unlike English, there is not a general verb ‘to marry’ in Hanis. Instead it is very gender-specific and created from the words woman (huu’mis) & man (demihl); so in Hanis a man could say nhuum’misit-I married her, a woman could say ndemihlt – I married him.

So, I think there is room for a lot of creativity in making verbs in Hanis!


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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