Lesson 14: Grammar

Intransitive Stems in -n-aj

Observe the composition of the verbs in the following expressions taken from the Basic Sentences:

  Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
(1) kin taal  "I come" j taalen  "I came" ma' talakeni' 
"I haven't come"
(2) kin k'oja'anchajal  "I am ailing" j k'oja'anchajen  "I was ailing" ka'a p'éel mes
"I've been ailing for two
(3) kin meyaj  "I work" j meyajnajen  "I worked" ma' j meyajnakeni' 
"I haven't worked"
      ka'a p'éel año
j meyajnaken 
"I have worked for two
The chart below will facilitate the comparison of the parts of the forms in Column 2:

  Pre Stem I IIa IIb III  
(1) j taal - - en "I came"
(2) j k'oja'an ch aj en "I took sick"
(3) j meyaj n aj en "I worked"
Note that these verb expressions indicate past time. You already know that in past-time intransitive verb expressions the pre-stem particle j, may be left off. Part I, the root, of course, is obligatory, as is also Part III, the pronominal ending. It is only in Part II that difference can be observed. With k'oja'anchajen, you have seen that this part (-chaj-) serves to derive from a nominal root (such as k'oja'an "sick," ma'alob "well," nojoch "big") a verb stem. You also learned in 13.3.2. that verbs like taal "come," kíimil "die," wenel "sleep," káajal "begin," okol "enter," luk'ul "leave," do not form their second-stem with such derivational suffixes: with this class of verbs, Part II is empty. Note now that with verbs like meyaj the second stem is formed by the addition of -n-aj. A majority of the verbs in Maya belong to the class of verbs whose second stems are formed with -n-aj.

In the Basic Sentences you have encountered the following:

kin xook "I study" : xooknajen "I studied"
kin suut "I return" : suunajen "I returned"
ku xíimbal "he walks" : xíimbalnajij "he walked"
ku tsool "he explains" : tsoolnajij "he explained"
ku t'aan "he talks" : t'aanajij "he talked"
ku bo'oll "he pays" : bo'olnajij "he paid"
ku na'atik "he understands" : na'atnajij "he understood"
ka kaambal "you learn" : kaabalnajech "you learned"
ka wuk'ul "you drink" : uk'ulnajech "you drank"

Intransitive Stems in -n

The chart below will similarly facilitate the comparison of the forms in Column 3 of 14.3.1. above:

  I IIa IIb III IV  
(1) ta(l) - - ak en "...that I come"
(2) k'oja'an ch aj ak en "...that I take sick"
(3) meyaj n - ak en "...that I work"
Note that these verb expressions are dependent on previous elements since they contain the subordinate suffix -ak. An examination of the chart above will show that there is a third stem of verbs like meyaj which is formed of the root plus the suffix -n. It should be carefully noted here that while both the second and third stem of -ch-aj-al verbs contain the suffix (or suffix cluster) -ch-aj-, only the second stem of verbs in the class with meyaj contain the part -n-aj; the third stem of this verb class is formed with -n alone.

Other subordinate (italicized) verbs of this class (underlined) you encountered are:

     jay p'éel ja'ab xooknakech  "how many years have you studied?"
     jay p'éel ja'ab kaambalnakech  "how many years have you learned?"
     ma' talakeni'  "I haven't come"
     ma' suunakeni'  "I haven't returned"
     ma' meyajnakeni'  "I haven't worked

You will note that taal (tal-) "come" has no special third stem.

"When" - Phrases (or Clauses) with Past (le) ka ...

Observe the following sentences:

     (1)  tu'ux j binech ka j luk'ech Cantamayec '"where did you go and you left Cantamayec?'(or: "where did you go, when you left Cantamayec?")

     (2)  kin luk'ul Kanasine' ka j máanen t Jo'  "I leave Kanasin and I moved to Merida" (or: "when I left Kanasin, I moved to Merida")

     (3)  kin luk'ul k'anasine' ka tin wilaj Juan  "I leave Kanasin and I saw Juan" (or: "when I left Kanasin, I saw Juan")

Each of these sentences contains a part consisting of the particle ka followed by a verb which indicates past time. Looking at these three sentences, the mode of thought here may be more apparent now: the ka- clauses are not dependent on the rest of the sentence. This is reflected in the first and more "literal" or "direct" translation of the three sentences. The second translation of these sentences conforms more to the English idiom: note that in these, one of the clauses is introduced by when.

Such word-groups as these (we can call them "ka-clauses") frequently occur in sequence with other "ka-clauses", as in:

     (1)  ka j máanen t jo' ka tin wilaj Juan ka...  "and then I moved to Merida, and then I saw Juan, and...".
     (2)  ka túun tu ya'alaj ookene'ex  "and then he said: come in!"

In these two sentences we see such "ka-clauses" functioning as coordinate, independent parts.

The following sentences taken from 14.1. give further examples of "ka-clauses" (in sentences where a free translation calls for a when-clause in English):

    jay p'éel ja'ab yaan teech ka j k'u'ubech xook  "how old are you and you were delivered to study?" (or: "how old were you, when you were put in school?")

    tu'ux binech ka j ts'o'ok le óox p'éel ja'abo'  "where did you go and those three years ended?" (or: "where did you go, when those three years were over?")

    jach chichan ka j káaj in bin escuela  "I'm really small and I began to go to school" (or: "I was very small when I began to go to school")

The Verbs luk'ul and jóok'ol

You have learned the verbs luk'uland jóok'ol, both with the meaning "leave." Though in many contexts either may be used, there is a difference in meaning: jóok'ol means "to go out from inside something," whereas luk'ul means "to go away from outside something." The transitive forms of these verbs, jóok's(ik) and luk's(ik), therefore, mean "take out of" and "take off of," respectively.

Compounds in -náal

Note the following paired items:

ku síijil "he is born" síijnáal ~ sijnal "[one] born at"
ku kajtal "he dwells" kajnáal ~ kajnal
"resident of"
ka ch'íijil "he grows up" j ch'ijnáalech ~ j ch'ijnalech "you [are] one
who was raised[there]"
It can be seen from these examples that the form náal (nal) is used to derive nouns from verbs. The derived forms indicate "one who is 'native' of by birth, or residence." Note that when náal (nal) combines with a verb root, the verb root bears a neutral accent.