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Tïjonïk 5 K’o jun qat’u’y pa ja! (We have a pot at home!)



K’iche’ does not have verbs equivalent to English ‘to have’ and ‘to be’, which introduce existential sentences or possession clauses such as “There is a hole on my shirt” or “I have red shoelaces”. In K’iche’, as in most Mayan languages, possession and existence are denoted with a special particle called existential (k’o in K’iche’). Existential k’o often appears in sentence or phrase initial position. In sentence-final position it’s replaced with k’olik. In this unit you will learn how to use k’o and its syntactic roles.



In the following video, Nan Chaya tells us a bit about the objects in her kitchen and what she cooks there.


The particle k’o followed by a possessed noun indicates possession, as we see in the examples below:

Ex. 1
K’o nuwuj
Ex my-book
I have a book.
K’o nuwa chi’.
k’o nu-wa chi’
Ex my-food here
I have food here.
Ex. 3
K’o uxajab’ ri ak’al.
k’o u-xajab- ri ak’al
Ex his-sandals art child
The child has sandals.
Ex. 4
K’o qo’ch chila’ Nawalja’.
k’o q-o’ch chila’ Nawalja’
Ex our-house there Nahualá
We have a house in Nahualá.
Ex. 5
K’o iwab’ix pa juyub’.
k’o iw-ab’ix pa juyub’
Ex y’all’s-cornfield loc hill
You all have a cornfield in the forest/mountain/hill.
Ex. 6
K’o e kik’ajol le achijab’.
k’o e ki-k’ajol  le     achij-ab’
Ex PL their-son (of man) these men
The men have sons.


Existential Sentences
The particle k’o functions as an existential, which in English can be glossed as “There is/There are” or different conjugations of the verb “to be”, as we can see from the examples below:

Ex. 7
K’o jun ala pa tijob’al.
k’o jun ala pa tijob’al
Ex one boy loc school
There is a boy in the school.
Ex. 8
K’o jun tz’i’ pa b’e.
k’o jun tz’i’ pa b’e
Ex one dog loc road
There is a dog on the road.
Ex. 9
At k’o pa swan!
at k’o pa swan
You Ex. loc ravine
You are in the ravine!
Ex. 10
Oj k’o pa le ro’ch le a Wel.
Oj k’o pa le r-o’ch a Wel.
we Ex. loc. det his-house Manuel
We are in Manuel’s house.
Ex. 11
K’o sib’alaj ichak.
K’o sib’alaj i-chak.
Ex. much y’all’s-job
You have a lot of work.
Ex. 12
In k’o pa le uk’isb’al cholaj.
In k’o pa le u-k’isb’al cholaj
I   Ex loc det its-end  row/lane
I’m in the last line
Ex. 13
K’o jun chik qachak.
k’o jun chik qa-chak
Ex. one more our-job
We have another job.
Ex. 14
K’o jun nutzijonem awuk’.
k’o jun nu-tzijonem aw-uk’
Ex one my-conversation your-with
I need to have a conversation with you.

In the following lesson, we will learn more about how to use the existential particle k’o, and we will also learn about personal pronouns. For now, practice using the possessive and existential phrases we have learned in this lesson.

K’AK’A TAQ TZIJVocabulary
ab’ix cornfield, milpa
kayib’al market
swan ravine
tzib’ab’al pen, pencil
sib’alaj very, much, a lot
b’e road, path
t’uy’ pot (for cooking)
chak work
achi man
achijab’ men
ixoq woman
ixoqib’ women
tijonik class, lesson
rajil money
  • Can you try writing 3 sentences using possession and 3 existential sentences?
  • Can you translate the following phrases to K’iche’?
  1. I have a pen.
  2. My friends have a house in Nahualá.
  3. There is a cow in the road.
  4. My mother has a lot of money.
  5. There is a lot of work in the lesson.
  6. We are in the K’iche’ class.
  7. There is a pot in the kitchen.
  8. We have a cornfield in the ravine.
  9. Manuela is at Xwan’s house.
  10. My dad is at the market.