Powhatan/Grammar

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Grammar Outlines[edit]

Grammar Outline: ---

I Morphosyntax
A Direct
1 Verbs with 1st or 2nd person subjects and third person objects are direct and are marked with a suffix
B Inverse
1 Verbs with 3rd person subjects and 1st or 2nd person objects are inverse and are marked with a suffix
C Negation
1 The Powhatan negative prefix “MaTa” has several forms which are in complementary distribution
II Morphology
A Noun Inflection (Powhatan has extensive verbal and nominal morphology)
1 Gender
a Nouns are divided into two different genders; animate and inanimate. This comes into play with pluralization and possession
2 Number
a There are two number distinctions; singular and plural
3 Obviation
a When 2 or more animate nouns occur within a sentence and are not conjoined, the focus or proximate noun is inflected for major 3rd person. The remaining nouns are inflected for minor 3rd person
4 Possession
a Possessed nouns are inflected for person and number
b Possessive prefixes can be used with almost any noun in Mattaponi
c Certain nouns (including most body parts and kinship terms, and some words for personal objects like clothing) have inalienable possession. That means you must use a possessive prefix with one of those words. For these words, the possessive pronouns are slightly different. The pronouns are nih-, kih-, o-, and mih- before a root noun that begins with a consonant, and n-, k-, w-, and m- before a root noun that begins with a vowel.
d When animate words use the third person form ("his or her"), there is not only a prefix (o- or w-) but also a suffix (-an) at the end of the word. This is not true for inanimate words.
B Verb Inflection (There are 4 Powhatan verb categories: Inanimate Intransitive (II), Animate Intransitive (AI), Transitive Inanimate (TI), and Transitive Animate (TA))
1 Intransitive Verbs
a Agree with the gender of their subjects
2 Transitive Verbs
a Agree with the number of their inanimate objects. If the subject noun is not present then the verb also has inflection for the number of the subject. Transitive Animate Verbs
1 Agree with the number of both their subjects and their objects which are animate
III Syntax
A Syllable Stress
1 syllables alternate in stress from light to heavy
2 if the 1st vowel is weak (uh or e) then even syllables are light, otherwise odd syllables are light
B Word Order
1 Mattaponi's word order is primarily SUBJECT VERB OBJECT (SVO), but there are exceptions
C Topicalization
1 This is a property of Powhatan syntax which is achieved by adding an independent pronoun
D Questions
1 Yes/No
a The use of non-affirmative endings alone or in addition to an interrogative prefix.
2 Content / WH-word Questions
a Questioned elements are moved to the beginning of the sentence