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Tïjonïk 31 Kab’antajik le sub’ (The tamales are made)
Passive constructions II


Passive II (or completive passive), in contrast with Passive I, focuses on the result of the event/action or on the resulting state. It conveys that an action has been completely finished. A common use is in descriptions of processes, such as describing a recipe (once x is done, then…). We will see an example in our tzijonik, where Nan Xe’p explains how to make sub’ (tamales), typically used to accompany meals.


In the following video, Nan Xe’p explains the process of making sub’:


Passive II focuses on the result of the event/action or on the resulting state. The passive II suffix is –(V)taj which is used with both root (CVC) and derived transitives (non-CVC). The vowel V of the  suffix –(V)taj is often dropped. It is usually the root vowel when present.  Since these verb forms are intransitive, they take –ik when phrase final.


kunaj: to heal; to cure

Xkikunaj le ali ri ixoqib’.
The women treated the girl.

Xkunataj le ali (kumal ri ixoqib’).
The girl was healed (by the women).

Le ali xkunatajik.
The girl was healed
B’an(o): to do

She is doing it/She does it/She will do it.

It is being done/It is done/It will be done.

It is getting (completely) done/It is (completely) done/ It will be (completely) done.

In the completive passive (Pasive II) underlying agents are introduced by utilizting E-umal:

La xkunataj le ali awumal?
La x-kunataj le ali aw-umal?
Was the girl healed by you?


Phrases that express an impersonal subject like “one can…X” or  “it can be X-ed…” are expressed in K’iche’ with the completive passive (passive II).

It can be understood.

It can be learned.

It can be arranged.

He will be cured/ He will get better.

Na kab’antaj ta wumal
I am not going to do it. Lit: It will not be done by me (this is what you can answer as a response to someone asking you to do something for that person)


Irregular passive forms

Active Passive I Passive II
B’an(o) b’an(ik) b’antaj(ik)
Tij(o) tij(ij) tijtaj(ik)
Elesaj/Esaj elesax (only)
Ta (to, phrase final) ta(ik)


K’AK’A TAQ TZIJVocabulary
nab’e first…
k’a te k’u ri then…/after…
si’ firewood
iyej (vit) to wait
pis(o) vtr to wrap
ch’aj (vtr) to wash
nuk’ (vtr) to light (a fire)

Using the following verbs, and following Nan Xe’p’s example, explain the process of making coffee:

Le Kape

Q’ol le kape to pick coffee
Sa’ to dry
K’ilij to (dry) roast
Jok’ to grind
K’ayij to sell
Loq’  to buy
Nuk’ le q’aq’ to build a fire
Ch’aj le k’olb’al to wash the coffeepot (container)
K’aq puwi le q’aq’ to put (the pot) on the stove
K’aq le saqli/joron  chupam to put water in (the container)
K’aq le jok’om kape to put the ground coffee in
 Ch’u’q  to cover (with lid)
 Poq’owik  to boil
 Q’ij  to serve/pour coffee (and other hot liquids)