Adjectives modify nouns or add descriptive information about a noun or noun phrase. There are very few adjectives in K’iche’. They usually have the form CVC. Positionals, perfective verb forms and nouns are used to modify nouns as well.
*This is a two part unit. You will find the vocabulary and excercises in Unit 29
- Adjectives may be attached directly to the noun (attributive), like in:
Or they serve as the predicate of a stative phrase (predicative):
Sometimes, ideas typically expressed by adjectives in English, require intransitive verbs or stative phrases in K’iche’:
Wa’ we q’ij, nim ub’antajik. This is an important day.
This day, big its-importance
- Adjectives as attributes
In K’iche’ adjectives used as attributives precede the noun they modify. An attributive vowel a is suffixed to the adjective before the head noun.
nim ‘big’ + ja ‘house’=
saq ‘white’ + ja ‘house’=
Itzel ‘evil’ + winaq ‘person’=
- Nouns as attributes of other nouns
When nouns are attributes of other nouns, they are linked with a.
kem ‘weaving‘ + tz’ib’ ‘write’ =
kej ‘horse’ + ch’ich’ ‘metal thing’ =
- Possessed compound nouns
The “adjective-a noun” compound is a single word; therefore, possessive pronouns attach to the first element of the compound.
- Plural attributive adjectives
In plural nouns with an attribute, the particle taq is added between attribute and noun. The attribute keeps the vowel –a.
A few adjectives have irregular plural forms. A glottal stop is inserted when part of the predicate.
chom (fat, plump)
ch’uti’n (small, for things)
The particle taq is required despite the plural marking on the adjective. Such double plural marking is not uncommon in K’iche’.
- Adjectives as predicates
As we have seen before, adjectives can be predicates:
Reminder: Placement of the particle taq
To pluralize noun and modifier, the particle taq is inserted between modifier and noun, even when the modifier is already in the plural (see above):
When the adjective is in predicate position, the particle taq precedes the subject.