Oct 22, 2008

Fourth - Words

Mapuzugun is not a tonal language (unlike many other native languages of the Americas)

Stress is irregular (i.e. words have no fixed stress patterns) and will depend on the region the language is spoken, according to Prof. Cañumil.
It is common for Mapuzugun dialects to differ in their stress placement for some words.

Loan words from other languages.

Mupuzugun incorporated words initially from other surrounding native languages and later from Spanish.
Some words of Quechua origin are:
...pataka /pa'taka/ = (one) hundred,
...waranka /wa'ranka/ = (one) thousand
Some words of Spanish origin are:
...kucijo /ku'tʃiʎo/ from cuchillo: knife,
...deskan /des'kan/ from descansar: to rest.

In Mapuzugun the majority of "primitive" words (i.e. that do not derive from other words) have 2 syllables and, to a lesser extend, 1 syllable.[2]
Words with 3 or more morphemes are generally of foreign origin.[2]

Mapuzugun is a polysynthetic language, i.e. words are usually formed by the incorporation or agglutination of many morphemes and other lexical elements affecting the meaning of the original word and adding to the extension (length) of the word. Sometimes a single word in Mapuzugun can be translated into a whole sentence in other languages.[3]
This main characteristics of Mapuzugun will be introduced in my next entries.

Syllable formation according to the Raguileo Alphabet: [2]
In Mapuzugun, a syllable can be formed by:
i. an isolated vowel: e.g. a-kun = to arrive, I arrived.
Note: in other entries I will introduce the characteristics of verbs in Mapuzugun: 1. the infinitive of the verb is identical to the 1st Pers. Singular and verbs that express actions imply the action is already concluded (past tense)
ii. a vowel preceded by a consonant or a semivowel:
......ru-ka = house
......ye-ku = cormorant
iii. a vowel, followed by a non-obstuctive consonant:
......an-tv = sun, day
iv. a vowel followed by a semivowel:
......aw-kiñ-ko = echo
v. by a vowel preceded by a any consonant and followed by a non-obstructive consonant or a semivowel as well:
......ñar-ki = cat
......ciw-kv = chimango

Particles are inserted into verbs (between the root and desinence or suffix) to modify the meaning (in tense, different markers, negation, etc) allowing for the formation of words of up to 12 syllables[2]
Example: verb “kimvn” (to know), we can form the word:
"Probably they (all) will come to let them know"
From Spanish: Posiblemente vengan a darles aviso a ellos. [2]
kim- is the root of the verb "kimvn"
-gvn is the desinence for the 3rd person plural
Inserted in between are among others, the particles:
"-la-" negation marker,
"-(y)a-" future (the particle to mark the future tense is the vowel "a". The semivowel "y" is placed to soften the transition between the negation and the future markers.
"-y-" this is part of the verbal desinence (in this case "-ygvn"). Certain authors consider the "-y-" of the desinence to be a marker of the "realis (or indicative) mood"[4]
"-pa-" marks the direction of the action (in this direction)
"-pe-" marks the immediate past tense (that the action was done recently)
"-tu-" this particle modifies verbal roots in different ways (being also a verbalizer of nouns) In this case, it marks the action had been done previously and is done again this time.
"-ge-" marks that the action marked by the verb is applied to the person indicated in the desinence (in this case "-ygvn")

Particles will be explained in detail in next entries.

Not all sentences will present this structure: there are also other simple sentences that resemble the kind of sentences we are used to:
E.g.. Malal mew mvley re wenxu kujiñ
......malal = corral (an enclosure of livestock)
.....mew = prep. en este caso: "in"
.....mvlen = to be
.....-y = 3ra Pers. Singular
.....re = adv. "only"
.....wenxu = adj. "macho"
.....kujiñ = animal (also, animals)
"En el corral hay solamente animales machos"
In the corral there is only male animals

From this sentence we can also conclude that:
....."mew" is actually a postposition,
.....that Mapuzugun lacks articles "the",
.....that adjectives are placed before nouns
.....there is no gender in Mapuzugun (gender is marked through adjectives or modifiers)
Example. "kawej" = horse (this refers to the generic word "equine", without identifying whether is a horse, a mare, one or many).
To mark the gender and number, we use the markers "wenxu" (male) o "zomo" (female) and the numbers "kiñe" (one), "epu" (two), ..., "mari" (ten) etc. "zomo kawej" is then "(the) mare" and "epu wenxu kawej" means "two horses"

We will see this and other characteristics of Mapuzugun in my next entries.

[2] Cañumil, Tulio et al, op. cit.
[4] Fernández Garay, ...

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