Lesson 11: Grammar

More on Transitive Verbs Derived from Intransitive Verbs

In 4.3.1. we made some preliminary observations on the different ways of matching derived transitive verbs with intransitive verb roots or stems. It was apparent that, having learned any given intransitive verb root or stem, one does not automatically know the shape of a transitive verb stem derived from it. Further instances of paired stems, intransitive and transitive, have appeared since Lesson 4, and we assemble them here. Note that for the intransitive stem we give the base form (which is the one that would appear in the frame ko'ox _____). The derivational affixes are separated from the root (or from each other) by single hyphens (-), and the inflectional elements added after these are separated from the stem by a double hyphen (--). Observe the following intransitive derived-transitive pairs:

  Intransitive Root (or Stem) Derived Transitive Stem
1. meyaj     "work" meyaj-t--ej     "serve [him]!"
2. bo'ol      "pay" bo'ol-t--ej     "pay for [it]!"
3. xíimbal     "walk" xíimbal-t--ej     "visit [him]!"

  Intransitive Root (or Stem) Derived Transitive Stem
  First Stem Second Stem (+ Pronoun)  
1. aj-al "waken" j aaj--en aj-s--ej "wake [him]!"
2. lúub-ul "fall" j lúub--en lúub-s--ej "fell [it]!"
3. wen-el "sleep" j ween--en ween-s--ej "put [him] to sleep!"
4. taal "come" j taal--en taa[l]-s--ej "bring [it]!"
5. bin "go" j bin--en bin-[s]--ej "take [it]!"
6. k'a'aj-al "remember" j k'a'aj--en ka'aj-s--ej "remind [him]!"

  Intransitive Root (or Stem) Derived Transitive Stem
  First Stem Second Stem (+ Pronoun)  
1. tóok "burn" j tóok--en tóok-ø--ej "burn [him]!"
2. maan "buy" j maan--en man-ø--ej "buy [it]!"
3. kool "clear off" j kool--en kol-ø--ej "clear [it] off!"
4. xook "study" j xook--en xok-ø--ej "study [it]!"
5. koon-ol "sell" j koon--en kon-ø--ej "sell [it]!"
6. pak'-al "plant"   j pak'--en pak'-ø--ej "plant [it]!"
7. uk'-ul "drink" j uk'--en uk'-ø-ej "drink [it]!"
You will note that in Class 1, the suffix deriving transitives from intransitives is -t-, in Class 2 it is -s-, and in Class 3, it is zero (-ø-).

In Class 1, the modifications of the intransitive root (or stem) are minimal: (1) loss of stem-final -l- before the transitivizing -t- (2, 3).

In Class 2, they are not infrequent: (1) loss of root final -l- (or -n-) before the transitivizing -s- (4, 5),  (2) loss of stem-final -Vl (1, 2, 3, 6), and (3) replacement of intransitive root-shape CVC by root-shape CVVC before the -s- (3). In one instance (3) both of these modifications appear.

In Class 3, however, before the transitivizing -ø-, root (or stem) changes are more common: (1) loss of stem-final -Vl (5, 6, 7), and (2) replacement of root-shape CVVC by root-shape CVC (2, 3, 4, 5). In one instance (5), both of these modifications occur, and in one instance (1), neither does.

Of the six classes of relationships between transitives and intransitives listed in 4.3.1, all occur here, too. One further type is in evidence here:

      (7) Some intransitive verbs with final C lose it in the related transitives before t.

It is also to be noted that the following classes of intransitive second stems (first mentioned in 9.3.4) have now appeared:

First Stem Second Stem
aj-al aaj-
lúub-ul lúub-
We have now, therefore, met three classes of derived transitive stems (accompanied by suffixes -t-, -s-, and -ø-) - (with or without changes in root-shape), and two classes of intransitive second stems (with root-shape modification and without it). We shall note further classes as the forms appear.

The Passive in -a'al and in ...-V'V-...-Vl

In the Basic Sentences of this and previous lessons you have heard the following phrases. Compare those in Column 1 with their corresponding number in Column 2.

  Column 1 Column 2
(1) tu ts'íibtaj  "he wrote [it]" ku ts'íibta'al ti'  "it is written for her"
(2) ko'ox ajsik  "let's wake [him] up" las cinco kin wajsa'al  "I'm awakened at five"
(3) bix a wa'alik  "how do you say [it]?" bix u ya'ala'al  "how is it said?"
(4) ba'ax ken a manej  "what'll you buy?" ku ma'anal  "it is bought"
Observe that the verbs in Column 1 are transitive. They consist of the transitive stem plus an ending (which may be -aj, -ik, -ej). Note also that the verbs in Column 2 consist of the transitive stem plus an ending -a'al (with one complication, in 4., to be discussed below). Comparing the English equivalents for both columns we can see that the relationship between the corresponding Maya forms is that of active voice (Column 1) to passive voice (Column 2).

To place in clear relief the differences in form between active and passive verbs, we list below the verb part of the above phrases, marking with a single or double hyphens, as in 11.3.1., the division between root and stem and between stem and following inflectional affixes:

  Column 1 Column 2
(1) ts'íib-t--ik ts'íib-t--a'al
(2) aj-s--ik aj-s--a'al
(3) a'al-ø--ik a'al-ø--a'al
(4) man-ø--ej ma'an--al
One sees from this that, with one exception, one builds the passive on the transitive stem by adding to that un-modified stem the ending -a'al. The one exception here (in 4.) does modify the stem (as we see in Column 2) and employs a different form of the passive ending.

We now inspect some additional examples from the present lesson:

ku konik  "he sells [it]" ku ko'onol  "it is sold"
ku xokik  "he reads [it]" ku xo'okol  "it is read"
ku k'amik  "he receives [it]" ku k'a'amal  "it is received"
In these we observe the following:

     (1)  All of these verbs form their derived-transitive stems as in Class 3 (see 11.3.1.).
     (2)  Among such Class 3 derived-transitive stems, however, these stems constitute a special sub-class: from the forms man-ik, kon-ik, xok-ik, kam-ik, it is clear that the stems of this sub-class are monosyllabic and contain a neutral-accented vowel.
     (3)  In the passive forms of such stems the neutral-accented vowel is replaced by a sequence V'V (the vowels in this
sequence being identical with the replaced vowel).
     (4) Instead of -a'al, the ending which follows these transitive stems is -Vl, (this vowel always being identical with the last preceding vowel).

We now list below those transitive stems presented in 11.3.1. (Column 1) with their corresponding passive forms (in -a'al or in ...-V'V-...-al)(Column 2)

  Column 1 Column 2
(1) meyaj-t-- meyaj-t--a'al
(2) bo'ol-t-- bo'ol-t--a'al
(3) xíimbal-t-- xíimbal-t--a'al
(4) aj-s-- aj-s-a'al
(5) lúub-s-- lúub-s-a'al
(6) ween-s-- ween-s-a'al
(7) taal-s-- taal-s--a'al
(8) bin-s-- bin-s--a'al
(9) ka'ab-s-- ka'ab-s--a'al
(10) tóok-ø-- tóok-ø--a'al
(11) man-ø-- ma'an-ø--al
(12) kol-ø-- ko'ol-ø--ol
(13) xok-ø-- xo'ok-ø--ol
(14) kon-ø-- ko'on-ø--ol
(15) pak'-ø-- pa'ak'-ø--al
(16) uk'-ø-- u'uk'-ø--ul
From these, it is clear that 1-10 are passives in -a'al, and 11-16, in conformity with their special monosyllabic neutral-accented nature, are passives in ...-V'V-...--Vl.

Agent of Passive Verb

Observe the following sentences from the Basic Sentences:

          yan u xo'okol tí' t u men u láak' máak  "it must be read to her by another person'
          k u ts'íibta'al ti' t u men wá máax  "it is written for her by someone'

From these examples, it is apparent that the agent of a passive verb is singled out by the expression t u men "by, at the hand of" followed by a noun (u láak' máak) (wá máax) which specifies the agent.

Object Sets with Plural Subject Pronouns

From the Basic Sentences of Lessons 10 and 11, we abstract the following forms:

tu yilo'ono'ob "they saw us"
ta wile'exo'ob "you (pl.) saw them"
ka a bise'exo'ob "you (pl.) are to take them"
ka bisikeno'ob "you (pl.) take me"
yan u bisiko'ob "they have to take [him]"
ku bisikecho'ob "they take you"
The subject pronouns are underlined and the object pronouns italicized. Combinations with singular subject pronouns were presented in 9.3.6. Here we present in similar tabular form-with corresponding use of numbers for person, singular (1, 2, 3) and plural (4, 5, 6)--the first number for the subject and the second for the object--these object sets with plural subject pronouns:

4-1     (no such form) 4-4     (see 10.3.3)
4-2     k áantikech 4-5     k áantike'ex
4-3     k áantik 4-6     k áantiko'ob
5-1     ka wáantikene'ex 5-4     ka wáantiko'one'ex
5-2     (no such form) 5-5     (see 10.3.3)
5-3     ka wáantike'ex 5-6     ka wáantike'exo'ob
6-1     ku yáantikeno'ob 6-4     ku yáantiko'ono'ob
6-2     ku yáantikecho'ob 6-5     ku yáantike'exo'ob
6-3(1)     ku yáantiko'ob 6-6(1)     ku yáantiko'ob
6-3     (no such form) 6-6     (see 10.3.3)
This completes the inventory of usual subject-object combinations. Some special variants which emphasize the plurality of the first person plural objects will be presented later.