There are two different ways an inanimate noun can be possessed by someone in Myaamiaataweenki (see this post for the difference between animate and inanimate nouns). The first are the types of nouns that require possession (the speaker must indicate who owns the noun). Examples of these are a number of body parts. The second type of nouns can stand alone (without possession) with the option to add possession if the speaker chooses. In this post we will explain the first set: those that require possession.
We will only focus on three separate possessors here: my, your, his/hers (there is no gender distinction for third person). Their Myaamiaataweenki equivalents are below:
My = ni-
Your = ki-
His/hers = a-
You may notice I put a dash (-) after each piece. This is important because it indicates that it must connect directly to the noun word. It is not a separate work like in english (i.e. my water). I also want to note that the sounds above will not always appear exactly how they are. There are often other sounds added when combining the possessor to the noun word. The simple reason for this is the sounds are necessary to insert because the normal sound combinations do not work well together. Extra sounds must be inserted to bridge the gap.
Let’s look at a straightforward example of possessing an inanimate noun, such as -ntepikani ‘head’:
My head = nintepikani
Your head = kintepikani
His/her head = antepikani
A second example is the word -wiinsooni ‘name, clan’
My name – niwiinsooni
Your name – kiwiinsooni
His/her name – awiinsooni
Our final example is for -iiyawi ‘body, self’
My body – niiyawi
Your body – kiiyawi
His/her body – awiiyawi
You might notice the above example has some differences in how the two pieces get combined. For the first two, my and your, the /n/ and /k/ just get added to the stem. The reason for this is that the /i/ that is a part of the possessor melts into and becomes part of the already existing /ii/ sound that is part of the stem. In the third term, his/her body, you notice a /w/ is added. This is done to help bridge the gap between the sounds /a/ and /ii/ because they don’t go together in Myaamiaataweenki. These are common patterns you will find across the language.
You might recognize a few words in this last set from the common greetings we use with each other:
neehahki-nko kiiyawi – how are you (literal translation “how is your body”)
neehahki niiyawi – I’m good (literal translation “my body is good”)
Keep this in mind and stay tuned for our post about the second type of nouns.