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Tïjonïk 4 Are wa’ nuwuj! (This is my book!)
K’iche nominal possessive markers


In this lesson you will learn about nominal possession in K’iche.’ It is a bit more intricate than English or Spanish as K’iche’ has a much richer word morphology. You will have a lot of examples and drills!


Listen to the following speech:

Keb’ oxib’ q’ij kanoq, k’o jun achi xuya jun tzijonem pa jun tijob’al; jewa’ xub’ij: Ri in sib’alaj k’o numeb’ail; k’o nurajil, k’o wulew, k’o wo’ch, k’o e nuchikop jacha le e nuwakax, e nukej. Pa taq le wulew: k’o nuq’oq’, k’o numukun, k’o woj nutikom. Par kinb’ij chiwech: mib’an iwech chech le jastaq we k’olik. Le e chikop jacha le wakax; nuwakax , awakax , iwakax, uwakax, kiwakax e qawakax ri’. Jasche kinb’ij wa’?  xa rumal xa kaqajal qib’ chirij taq le jastaq, chuq na kintij ta ri wakax  pa nutukelam, we k’o wab’ix kamik; par chwe’q kab’ij wene awab’ix chik, wene rab’ix chine jun chik achi chuq k’or kub’ana’ kux iwab’ix on ri kik’aslemal, qak’oxomaj rij ri kiche’el, na’taja chiqech cher k’o ri kikik’el kab’in pa ri qakik’el pa taq we q’ij kamik.
K’o la b’a qak’ixib’al chirij taq le qajastaq chuqe chi qaxo’l oj, ma le wulew in kamik, awulew kan at la’ chwe’q kab’ij,  kulew kan taq ri e qalk’wal, iwulew kanoq, par chuq wene kuriq na jun q’ij kok na qulew pa komon, maj jun jastaq kaqak’am b’ik are taq koj kamik. Xa oj b’inel, oj q’axel pa we uwach ulew. Maltyox

Show/Hide English translation

Several days ago, a man gave a speech at a school. This is what he said: “I have a lot of wealth. I have money. I have land. I have a house. I have livestock: cows, horses. On my lands, I have chilacayotes, squash, avocados that I’ve planted. But I tell you all: don’t cling to the things you have. Live stock like cows: my cows, your cows, y’all’s cows, his/her cows, their cows are really all of our cows. Why do I sa this? Because we are temporary with our things. I don’t eat my cow by myself. I may have cornfields today, but they might be yours tomorrow. Maybe it will belong to another man, but it could become y’all’s or ours.
Let’s take care of the things our ancestors have left us. Let’s follow the path they showed us with their lives. Let’s understand their origins, let’s not forget that their blood runs in our blood today.
Let’s, then, respect our things and also each othert, because what is my land today will be your land tomorrow, the land of our children, y’all’s land. But maybe there will come a day where it will be all of our land. When we die we will bring nothing with us. We are temporary, travelers upon the earth. Thanks.




In K’iche’ nominal possession markers are prefixed on the possessed person/object. Different sets of prefixes are used with consonant-initial nouns and with vowel-initial nouns. The exception is formal address, in which the post-nominal particles la (sing.) or alaq (plural) are used instead of prefixes. See the examples on the table below.

Before a consonant

rajil “money” Before a vowel achi’l “friend”
nu-rajil my money w-achi’il my friend
a-rajil your money aw-achi’il your friend
rajil la your money (formal)  achi’l la  your friend (formal)
u-rajil his/her money r-achi’il his/her friend
qa-rajil our money q-achi’il our friend
i-rajil your money (pl. informal) iw-achi’il your friend (pl.  informal)
rajil alaq your money (pl. formal) achi’l alaq your friend (pl. formal)
their money k-achi’il
their firend


Inherent possession (-Vl)
A certain class of K’iche’ nouns may take an additional /-Vl/ suffix. This is known as inherent possession and marks a part-whole relationship between possessor and possessed object/person. For example, the semantic difference between nub’aq and nub’aqil, both of which would be glossed as “my bone” in English, concerns inherent possession: The former references bones that are not part of the possessor’s body, chicken bones used to make soup for example; the latter, in contrast, references the possessor’s own body. Some nouns take only inherent possession markers (wife, husband), others may take both (bone, house). The large majority of nouns do not take inherent possession markers, however. A few nouns take irregular possessed forms such as house (ja when not possessed, -ochoch when possessed.)

Preconsonantal b’aq ‘bone’ Prevocalic ixoq ‘woman’ o’ch ‘house’
nu-b’aq-il my bone( as part of my body) w-ixoq-il my wife w-o’ch my house
a-b’aq-il your bone aw-ixoq-il your wife aw-o’ch your house
b’aq-il la your bone (formal) ixoq-il la your wife (formal) o’ch la  your house (formal)
u-b’aq-il his/her/its bone r-ixoq-il his wife r-o’ch  his/her house
qa-b’aqi-il our bone q-ixoq-il our wife q-o’ch our house
i-b’aq-il your (pl.) bone iw-ixoq-il your wife (pl.) iw-o’ch your house (pl.)
b’aq-il alaq your (pl. formal) bone ixoq-il alaq your wife (pl. formal) o’ch alaq your house (pl. formal)

their bone k-ixoq-il their wife ko’ch their house

Other examples:

kik’ ‘blood’ – nukik’el ‘my blood’
kaq ‘red’ – nukaqal ‘my redness’
q’aq’ ‘fire’ – nuq’aq’al ‘my fever’
suk’ ‘pure’ – nusuk’mal ‘my absence of sin; purity’

K’AK’A TAQ TZIJVocabulary
wuj book
che’ tree
ja house (unpossessed)
-o’ch house (possessed)
-ij back of ….(possessed)
achi’il friend
wach face
-al child (of woman)
kaq red
 ch’ich’  metal; car
 kik’  blood
 xa’r  cup
 wakax  cow
 q’oq  chilacayote
 oj  avocado
 ulew  tierra
b’aq  bone
 rajil  money
 tijonik  lesson
 tzib’ab’al  pencil, pen

Mark the following nouns with the possessive markers for all persons