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Tïjonïk 20 Saqirik Iwonojel! (Good morning, everyone!)
Relational Nouns


Relational nouns play the same syntactic role as English prepositions but are inflected as nouns. Unlike the locative prepositions chi and pa, relational nouns never occur without a possessive marker. They mark a relationship of belonging, causality, reflexivity, temporality or spatiality between two phrases.


In Unit 10, we read a text written by Mauricio, a beginner student from the United States who told us about what he did everyday. Mauricio later went to Nahualá to study k’iche’, and he wrote the following text. Read it, and then look at the explanation of relational nouns. Some of them, we have already been using for quite some time. After reading through the kemchi’ section, come back to the text and identify them

Chanim, pa Nahual ja’ in k’o wi. Sib’alaj utz kinwil le tinamit. K’o le nima k’ayb’al pa jueves chil pa domingo. E k’i le winaq keb’e che loq’omanik pa k’ayb’al. K’i le jas taq kakayix rumal le aj k’ay: k’o le lej, le q’or, le kar, le atzyaq. Konojel le jastaq kawaj k’o pa k’ayb’al.

Kawaj kinwetamaj le ch’ab’al K’iche’, rumal la’ xinpe waral. Ronojel q’ij, k’o le tijonik rech k’iche’ pa le tijob’al. Jub’eq’ kosnaq le b’e rumal kinb’in pa le tijob’al. Par utz kinwilo rumal na nutukel ta kinb’inik. Keb’in wuk’ le wachi’il. Pa le tijob’al, kasik’ix le wuj y katzibax le tzij rumal le ajtij. Kaqasikij chil kaqatz’ib’aj choqe oj tijoxelab’. K’i le chak che le retamaxik rech k’iche, par k’i chil le jas taq kinwetamaj!

Show/Hide English translation

Right now, I am in Nahualá. I like this town a lot. There is a big market on Thursdays and Sundays. There are a lot of people who go shopping at the market. There are a lot of things that are sold by the merchants. All of the things that you want are at the market.

I want to learn K’iche, because of that I came here. Everyday, I have K’iche’ class at school. It is a little tiring because I walk to school. But I like it because I don’t walk alone. I walk with my classmates. At school, books are read and things are written by the teacher. We students also read and write there. Learning K’iche’ is a lot of work, but I am learning a lot of things, too!



It indicates a relationship of possession, association or purpose. The possessor may be emphasized with a Set B (absolutive pronoun) the relational noun. It may also be contracted as can be seen in the examples below.

We(ch) (in)                             mine

Awe(ch) (at)                           yours

Re(ch) (ri are)                        his/hers

Ech la  (lal)                              yours (formal)

Qe(ch) (oj)                              ours

Iwe(ch) (ix)                             you all’s

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Ke(ch) (ri ar’e)                        theirs

Ech alaq (alaq)                        you all’s (formal pl)



Le tz’ib’ab’al wech in.
The pencil is mine.
Ronojel le ulew ech alaq.
All this land is yours (formal pl)

“Association”- The possessor is generally non-agentive and does not “own” the object but expresses a close association between them .

Sib’alaj utz kinwil le atz’yaq rech Nahuala.
I really like the dress (style) of Nahuala.
Jawi k’o wi le wuj re le qatijonik?
Where is the paper with/about/concerning our unit?

Purpose/beneficiary (dative)

Kub’an le wa rech le nuk’ulanem.
S/he is making the food for my wedding.

Constructions in which –ech expresses the recipient/indirect object:

Xloq’ ulew iwech ix.
The land was bought for you all.
Maltyox chiwe.
Thank you all.
Jas kub’ij chwe?
What is he saying to me?
Kuya le wuj chqe.
He is giving the book to us.

Other functions

-ech also introduces oblique objects after antipassive verbs.

In combination with rumal after  intransitive verbs and passive forms, it introduces indirect causes:

Xopan le wuj awuk’ rumal wech in.
The book came because of me.

Following a nominal, -ech indicates a quality or state of the corresponding person:

Utz awe la!
Lucky you! You have it good! (formal)

Sidenote: The shortened from e is used as the word for girlfriend/boyfriend

La k’o awe?
Do you have a boyfriend?

B) –UK’
It is equivalent to English with but can also be a locative (See bottom two examples below).

Kinch’aw ruk’ le nunan pa le ch’aweb’al.
I am speaking with my mom on the phone
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Ri ala awuk’ xb’e wi.
The boy went (together) with you
Kimb’e ruk’ le ajkun.
I am going to the doctor
Kel b’i ruk’ le ajkun.
He leaves from the doctor.

The noun –umal introduces agents in passive constructions: by, by agency of … , because of

Xkamisax le me’s rumal le tz’i’.
The cat was killed by the dog.

It also introduces indirect causes, beneficiaries, or instigators in intransitive clauses.

Xopan le wuj awuk’ rumal wech in.
The book came to you because of me.

rumal because
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Na kinb’e ta pa le nimatijob’al rumal xinkosik.
I am not going to school because I am tired.
Rumal ri’/ rumal k’u ri’.
For that reason; therefore

Xinkosik, rumal ri’ na kimb’e ta pa le tijob’al.
I am tired, and therefore I am not going to school.

This noun is a quantifier meaning all (pl) or every (sg).

Saqirik iwonojel!
Good morning you all!/Good morning everybody!

Ronojel q’ij kinch’aj le nuware.
I brush my teeth everyday.

-tukel means by oneself; alone .The referent  appears as the possessive marker.

Utukel kakanaj kan pa ja.
He stays behind in house all by himself.
Nutukel kimb’ek.
I am going alone.

F) -ij
The relational noun -ij introduces verbal goals. It is comparable to English “after” in “He threw himself after her.”

We will learn about a few other relational nouns in later units.


K’AK’A TAQ TZIJVocabulary
k’olb’al wuj library
rikil dish (of prepared food)
nimaq’ij party, holiday
kos(ik) (vit) to become tired
kosnaq tired
ki’kot(ik) (vit) to be(come) happy
b’ison(ik) to be(come) sad
sik’ij (vtr) to read
tz’ib’aj (vtr) to write
ch’aweb’al telephone
E-achi’il classmate; friend

Translate the following phrases into K’iche’:

  1. Are you going to the library alone?
  2. The cat is ours.
  3. I go to work everyday.
  4. I am tired because I have a lot of work.
  5.  Do you want to go to the park with us?

Translate the following phrases into English:

  1. Sib’alaj utz kinna le wa rech Iximulew.
  2. Na kojb’e ta pa k’ayb’al rumal maj le qarajil.
  3. Kaqab’an le rikil che le nimaq’ij.
  4. Chwe’q kimb’e pa le juyub’ kuk’ le e wachi’il.
  5. Kinb’ison rumal na karaj ta le nunan kab’e wuk’ pa le tinamit.