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Tïjonik 16 Tajin Kinweta’maj (I am learning)
Auxiliary Verbs


In this lesson, we will learn about several helping (i.e. auxiliary) verbs.


Le alkalte

Pa we nutinamit Nawalja’ sib’alaj nim ub’antajik le alkalte, ma are ri’ ri achi on ixoq cher rajawaxik kakowin chech rilik, ukajmaxik le qatinamit. Pa taq we q’ij kamik ri’, e k’i le achijab’ kakaj ko’k alkalteyib’. Sib’alaj k’i taq le tzob’aj le kekowinik kakinuk’maj kib’. Kakicha’ jun achi on jun ixoq cher kajawaxik kok pa jun chayunem rech alkalte pa we qatinamit. Rajawaxik oj kaqakoj ri qachomanik: ma are e k’i le tzob’aj le kakaj xaq kakik’am b’i jun achi on jun ixoq pa le q’atb’al tzij chwach le e tzob’aj le qas tzij che kakaj kekito’ ri e qawinaq. Rajawaxik jun k’extajem. Rumal k’u la’ ri oj katajin kaqakoj qachomab’al arech no’jim kak’extaj le qatinamit. Tajin kojchakun pa kiwi’ ri e qalk’wal. Naj rajawaxik kojka’y wi apanoq, arech ri ak’alab’ kaketa’maj ri ub’e’el ucholaj chi’lam le urajawaxik le jalajoj taq komon pa we qatinamit. Na’taja chiqech cher e k’i la’ kakaj ko’k pa le q’atb’al tzij, cher ma rajawaxik kaqil na che ri jun achi on jun ixoq kakowinik kojril pa junamam aretaq chopan pa le q’atb’al tzij, ma qonojel ya’tal chiqech kojk’oji’ pa utzil, pa ki’kotemal.

Show/Hide English translation

The Alcalde

In my town of Nahualá, the alcalde (mayor) is very important because he’s the man or woman that must be able to watch over and serve our town. Nowadays, there are many men who want to become alcalde. There are many political groups that get organized. They choose a man or woman that is respected to enter the elections for alcalde in our town. It is necessary that we (put to) use our reasoning; there are more groups that only want to get a man or woman into the government than those that truly want to help our people. A change is necessary. That’s why we are using our knowledge to slowly change our town. We are working for our children. It is necessary that we look far ahead so that our children can learn about reality and the needs of different communities in our town. Let’s remember that there are many that want to be in the government, but we must see whether this man or woman can look after us equally when they get elected, because we all have the right to be well, to be in happines.


The following shows the common use of some auxiliary verb-construction (in English auxiliary verbs are usually followed by the infinitive, like in I want to cry). In K’iche’ a second full verb is often used after the auxiliary.

Kowinik “to be able to”: The main verb follows a form of “kowinik,” with which it agrees in person and aspect.

Kinkowinik kimb’ek.
K-in-kowin-ik k-im-b’e-k
INC-1sing-be able to-pfm  INC-1sing-go-pfm.
I can go.

Xatkowinik xab’ano.
x-at-kowin-ik x-a-b’an-o
COMP-2sing-be able to-pfm COMP-2sing-do-pfm.
You were able to do it. / You could do it.

Kinkowinik kink’am b’i le pwaq.
k-in-kowinik  k-in-k’am  b’i  le  pwaq
INC-1sing-be able to   INC-1sing-take  directional art. money
I can take away the money.

La kakowin alaq kinto’ alaq?
La ka-Ø-kowin alaq k-in-Ø-to’ alaq?
INT INC-Ø-be able to 2pl INC-1sing-Ø-help?
Can you all (formal) help me?

Aj “want” (vtr): In a construction with the verb aj “want” the following main verb does not have to agree in person with –aj-.

I want (it)
We want (it)
You want (it)
You (pl) want (it)
Kaj la
K-Ø-aj la
You (formal) want (it)
Kaj alaq
k-Ø-aj alaq
You (formal, pl) want (it)
He/she wants (it)
They want (it)

Kawaj kimb’e pa tinamit.
Ka-w-aj k-im-b’e pa tinamit.
INC-1sin-want INC-1sing-go loc. town
I want to go to town

Xawaj xab’ano.
x-aw-aj x-a-b’an-o
COMP-2sing-aj COMP-2sing-do-pfm
You wanted to do it.

La kaj la kujtzalij la aninaq?
La k-Ø-aj la k-uj-tzalij la aninaq?
INT INC-Ø-want 2sing,formal INC-1pl-return dir. fast
Do you (formal) want us to return here quickly?

La kaj la koje’xojowa chwe’q?
La k-Ø-aj la k-oj-e’-xojow-a chwe’q?
INT INC-Ø-want 2sing,form. INC-1pl-incorporated movement-dance-PFM tomorrow
Do you (formal) want us to go dance tomorrow?

Rajawaxik “it is necessary”, “to need”: The irregular passive stem (ajawaxik) of the verb aj “want” becomes the base for the phrase rajawaxik “it is necessary.” The subject and nature of the need is expressed in a following verb. “Rajawaxik” may also be used as a noun: a necessary thing.

Rajawaxik katzijon le nan ruk’ le tat.
It is necessary that the mom talk to the dad.

Rajawaxik kaya’ kan le pwaq wuk’ in.
It is necessary to leave the money with me.

Rajawaxik kaya’ kan le qawa rumal le aj ik’.
It is necessary that our maid give us food.

Jas rajawaxik kab’anik?
What must be done?/ What’s necessary to be done?

Chab’ij chwe we k’o jun rajawaxik.
Tell me if you have a need/if you need something.

Tajin : describes an ongoing action or an event happening at the same time as another (“progressive” English: I am/was talking). In K’iche this idea is expressed by the word katajin(ik), which is the followed by a transitive or intransitive verb in the incompletive aspect (with proper person). In colloquial speech katajin is shortened to tajin.

Progressive action in incompletive: katajin + verb in incompletive:

Katajin ku’l le winaq chanim.
The people are arriving now.

Progressive action in completive : katajin + verb in incompletive; context makes it clear that event is in the past time:

Katajin kajosq’ix le ulew aretaq xinopan chi la’.
The land was being cleaned when I arrived there.

Progressive in future time: katajin + verb; context makes it clear that event takes place in the future:

Katajin kewa’ le winaq aretaq xujok pa ja.
The people will be eating when we enter the house.

Here are a few more examples:

Katajin kujwa’ik.
We are eating.

Katajin kixukunaj le itat.
Your father is healing you (all).

Katajin kinkunax waral.
I am being healed here.

Katajin kekunataj le e yawab’ib’.
The sick people are being healed.

La katajin kakunan le ajkun che la?
Is the doctor healing you (formal)?

Lal katajin kakunan la le ne’.
You (formal) are healing the baby.


K’AK’A TAQ TZIJVocabulary
k’ulanem wedding
ab’ix cornfield, milpa
eleb’al bathroom
uwach ulew the (face of the) Earth
sutz’ cloud
b’inel ja’ river
k’is(o) (vtr) to finish, to run out
tzaj(ik) (vit) to dry up
b’in(ik) (vit) to walk, (to go, to move)
k’iy(ik) (vit) to grow (plants)

Translate the following phrases into English:

  1. La kakowin alaq kab’e alaq pa le nuk’ulanem?
  2. We kawaj kab’ano, katkowinik kab’ano.
  3. Sib’alaj kakowin le ali kaxojowik.
  4. Rajawaxik le jab’ arech kak’iy le ab’ix.
  5. Rajawaxik kinb’e pa le eleb’al.
  6. Rajawaxik kinb’e pa ro’ch le a Wel.
  7. Rajawaxik kaqachajij le uwach ulew.
  8. Katajin kab’in le sutz’ chwach le kaj.
  9. Katajin katzaj taq le b’inel taq ja’ pa iximulew.
  10. Katajin kak’is le che’ pa we qatinamit.