Trying to suss out distinctions of meaning

The headache of having no more fluent speakers of Hanis is,while going through century old written materials, I run across questions about differences in meaning between words that have similar, or on the surface even identical definitions.

I ran across one today in St Clair.  There is a verb I’d seen before in other sources, tlqai- meaning ‘to break’:

ntlqaits nji’lech-I broke my leg

tlqaitsu – (the waves) broke

Then in St Clair there appear to be two (though related) verb roots for ‘to break’:

ntlqaits=I broke it clean off  (n=I, tlqai=to break, -ts=transitive suffix)

tlkilixtii-it is broken up (tlkilixt-to break(?), -ii=mediopassive)

ntlkilixtit-I broke it (n=I, tlkilixt=to break(?), -t=transitive suffix)

So in addition to tlqai- there is now the similar but different looking verb stem tlkilixt- both defined as ‘to break’.  But there seems to be a little difference.  St Clair defined tlqai as ‘broken clean off’.  Reading between the lines (as it were) he seems to imply that tlkilixt- can mean broken up in pieces (or at least not completely broken off, like tlqai-).

I wish I could go back to someone like Jim Buchanan or Martha Harney Johnson and ask some questions, and figure out distinctions of meaning between words.  But alas, I was born a few decades to late for that.  So I am left with trying to ‘read between the lines’.


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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