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Tïjonïk 28 K’ak’ le nupo’t! (My huipil is new)
Adjectives Part 1


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 exercises in Unit 29

  1. Adjectives may be attached directly to the noun (attributive), like in:

K’a’n                                                               fierce

Le e k’a’na taq tz’i’                                        the fierce dogs

Or they serve as the predicate of a stative phrase (predicative):

K’ak’                                                               new

K’ak’ le nupo’t.                                               My huipil is new.

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

Num  (vi)         to be hungry

Kinnumik.         I am hungry.

Noj (vi)            to be full

Xinnojik           I had enough to eat (I am full)

Ki’kot (vi)        to be happy

Kinki’kotik.       I am happy.

B’ison (vi)       to be sad/pensive

Kimb’isonik     I am sad.

kos (vi)            to be tired

Kinkosik.          I am tired.


  1. 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’=                          

Le nima ja                  the big house

saq ‘white’ + ja ‘house’=                      

Le saqa ja                  the white house

Itzel ‘evil’ + winaq ‘person’=                

le itzela winaq          evil person

Le k’ak’a powi’                        the new hat

Jun q’e’la powi’                       an old hat

Nimatijob’al                             university (lit. the big school)

Nimakej                                    big horse


  1. Nouns as attributes of other nouns
    When nouns are attributes of other nouns, they are linked with a.

kem ‘weaving‘ + tz’ib’ ‘write’            =

Kematz’ib’    computer

kej ‘horse’ + ch’ich’ ‘metal thing’       =

kejach’ich’   bicycle


  1. Possessed compound nouns
    The “adjective-a noun” compound is a single word; therefore, possessive pronouns attach to the first element of the compound.

Jun k’ak’a po’t                                    a new huipil

Xinloq’ le nuk’ak’apo’t                    I bought the new huipil (for myself).

A’re uk’a’na taq tz’i’.                     They are his fierce dogs.


  1. Plural attributive adjectives
    In plural nouns with an attribute, the particle taq is added between attribute and noun. The attribute keeps the vowel –a.

Le e q’eqa taq me’s                   the black cats

E k’a’na taq tz’i’                      fierce dogs

A’re uk’a’na taq tz’i’            They are his fierce dogs.

A few adjectives have irregular plural forms.  A glottal stop is inserted when part of the predicate.

Singular Plural/Attributive Plural/Predicative
nim (big)
nimaq nima’q
pim (thick)
pimaq pima’q
chom (fat, plump)
chomaq choma’q
nich’ (small)
nich’aq nich’a’q
nitz’ (small)
nitz’aq nitz’a’q
ch’utin (small, for things)
ch’utiq  ch’uti’q


The particle taq is required despite the plural marking on the adjective.  Such double plural marking is not uncommon in K’iche’.

Le e nitz’aq taq tz’i’                                         the small dogs


  1. Adjectives as predicates
    As we have seen before, adjectives can be predicates:

E nitz’a’q le taq imul.                           The rabbits are small.

K’ak’ le nupo’t.                                               My huipil is new.


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):

le saqa taq ja                the white houses

le nimaq taq tz’i’          the big dogs

When the adjective is in predicate position, the particle taq precedes the subject.

E nima’q taq le tz’i’      The dogs are big (stative).