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Tïjonïk 29 K’ak’ le nupo’t! (My huipil is new)
Adjectives Part 2


This unit is a continuation of unit 28. We will deal with several more constructions that have to do with adjectives.


As review, Lupita shows us some more examples of adjectives that qualify nouns before we move on to other uses of adjectives:



Adjectives as nouns
K’iche’ adjectives may act as nouns. When referencing humans, they take the regular plural suffix (-Vb’):

Alaj       small, little                   alajib’              little ones

Ri’j       old (person)                 ri’jab’              old people

Ch’u’j   crazy                            ch’u’jab’          lunatics

Meb’a’ poor                             meb’a’ib’         poor (pl)

Q’inom rich                              q’inomab’        rich people

q’or     lazy                              q’orib’             lazy ones

Abstract nouns from adjectives
When adjectival roots add the suffix  –Vl, they reference the quality expressed by the adjective or a relationship of inherent possession (the vowel of the suffix is not predictable and has to be learned).

Pim                              thick

E-pimal                        its thickness

Upimal le lej                the thicknessof the tortilla

Ki’                               sweet

E- ki’il                         its sweetness

Uki’il le tara’s               the sweetness of the peach

There are two ways of intensifying modifiers: Adverbial sib’alaj, or suffixal -alaj:

Sib’alaj is an adverb, modifying the predicate or verb of a phrase:

Sib’alaj nich’ le nuch’ich’.                    My car is very small.

Sib’alaj kaq le apalaj                            Your face is really red.

The suffix –alaj intensifies adjectives and appears in attributive position  only. There is no attributive –a linking attribute and noun

Jun nimalaj tz’i’                       a very big dog

Jun itzelalaj winaq                   a very bad person

Jun utzalaj winaq                     a very good person

Adjectival quality gradations
Adjectives in K’iche’ can be graded according to degree of its property. The suffix -C1-oj indicates a somewhat lesser degree of the quality expressed in the adjective.

Saq       white/clean                  saqsoj              whitish / somewhat clean

Rax       green/blue                    raxroj               greenish

Kaq      red                               kaqkoj             reddish

Q’an     yellow                         q’anq’oj           yellowish

Q’eq     black                            q’eqq’oj           blackish

Tz’il      dirty                             tz’iltz’oj           a little dirty

Ki’        sweet                           ki’koj               a little/ bland

B’aq     thin/bony                     b’aqb’oj           somewhat bony

Ch’aqal(ik)       wet                  ch’aqch’oj         (still) a little wet

Ch’am  sour                             ch’amch’oj      a little sour

k’a       bitter                            k’ak’oj a little bitter

Tza        salty                             tzatzoj              too salty

Chom   big/fat                          chomchoj         a little chubby

K’ax     hurting                         k’axk’oj           hurting somewhat

K’axk’oj nujolom.        I have a little headache.

Comparative phrases
Comparative phrases require the pronoun are in phrase-initial position at the beginning and  the relational noun ch(i)–E-wach. Examples below use the third person sg. (ch-u-wach) because objects or people other than speaker and addressee are being compared.

Are nim le atz’i’ chuwach le nutz’i’.
Your dog the big in comparision with my dog
Your dog is bigger than mine.

Are sib’alaj kaq le apo’t chuwach le nupo’t
Your huipil is red in comparision with my huipil
Your huipil is redder/has more red in it than mine

Sib’alaj aninaq kach’aw le are’ chinuwach in
He speaks very fast in comparision withme
He speaks a lot faster than I.

For negation: “he is not Xer than….” the adjective or verb is negated with the usual na-…ta(j)” negation frame.

Are na nim ta le atz’i’ chuwach le nutz’i’.              Your dog is not bigger than mine.

Are na aninaq ta kach’aw chinuwach in.                  He doesn’t talk faster than me.


To express the outstanding quality of an object, comparative phrases or the adverb sib’alaj with raised pitch and elongated pronunciation are used.

Versive derivation
An intransitive verb is derived from adjectives/nouns meaning to turn/become X or to acquire the quality of X . This derived verb is called a versive. The suffix –Vrik adds also to the adjectival stem, the exact form of the vowel of the suffix has to be memorized. The suffix  –ik is a phrase final marker, which is dropped when the verb is not in phrase-final-position. Be aware that not every noun/adjective has a versive derivation. Versives derived from positional stems take the suffix –Vb’ik.

Versive from adjectival roots (-a/ir(ik))

Saq                   white               saqirik                         to turn white; to dawn; to fade (color)

Kaq                  red                   kaqarik                        to turn red

Q’eq                 black                q’eqarik                       to turn black

Rax                   green               raxarik                         to turn green

Q’an                 yellow             q’anarik                       to turn yellow

Kow                 hard                 kowirik                        to turn hard

K’ok’               tasty, fragrant  k’ok’arik                     to turn tasty, fragrant

Q’aq’                hot                   q’aq’arik                      to get hot

Chom               fat                    chomarik                     to get fat

B’aq                 skinny             b’aqirik                        to get skinny

Miq’in             hot                   miq’inarik                   to become hot/to warm up

chaqi’j             dry                   chaqi’jarik                   to dry out

Nitz’                 small                nitz’arik                       to become small


Versives from positional roots (-ob’ik)

Q’e’l                 old (things)      q’e’lob’ik                    to grow old (things)

Tz’il                  dirty                 tz’ilob’ik                      to turn dirty

“Joron” is an irregular versive:

Joron                cold (not climate; but food and drink)    jorob’ik           to get cold (for example: coffee)

K’AK’A TAQ TZIJVocabulary
Al heavy
Alaj little (young, used for animals, children)
B’aq thin (bony)
Ch’am sour
Tz’il dirty
Ch’aqal(ik) wet (this is a positional adjective that loses suffixal -ik when not in phrase final position)
Ch’u’j crazy
Ch’utin/ch’utiq(pl) small
Chaqi’j dry
Chom fat
Itzel evil
Je’l beautiful
Joron cold (food, drink, water; not climate)
K’a bitter
K’a’n mean
K’ak’ new
K’aslik alive, awake
K’ax difficult, pain
K’ok’ delicious
Kamnaq dead
Kaq red
Ki’ sweet
Ko strong, hard
Miq’in hot
Ne’ baby
Nich’/nich’aq tiny, small
Nitz’/Nitz’aq small, tiny
Nim/Nimaq big
Ojer ancient
Pim thick
Q’an yellow
Q’eq black
Rax green, blue
Rikil food (in the sense of dish or particular kind of food)
Sak’aj industrious, ambitious, smart
Sak’aj E-jolom to be smart, intelligent, early riser
Saq white
Tew cold (climate)
Ti’oj muscular
Tz’ikin bird
Tza salty
Utz good

Translate the following sentences into English:

  1. Tz’iltz’oj le upowi’ le numam.
  2. Nim le ukami’x le ak’al.
  3. Kab’in le q’eq’akej pa le b’e.
  4. K’a’n le uch’utinan le walib’.
  5. Sib’alaj je’l le k’aslemal we kaloq’oj awib’.
  6. Xukoj le nuk’ak’a po’t le al Talin.
  7. Sib’alaj k’ok’ le uwa’l ik.
  8. Ch’am le q’or.

    Translate the following sentences into K’iche’:

  9. The very good teacher died.
  10. The poor (ones) have no food.
  11. The book is thick.
  12. The little cats are in the milpa.
  13. Wel ate a delicious peach.
  14. Tomás has a black cat.
  15. Marías clothes are dry.
  16. Diego’s car is very small.