The indefinite article in K’iche’ jun is equivalent to English “a”, but can also be used for “one”
Definite articles: K’iche’ uses three definite articles we, le or ri. They correspond somewhat to English “this”, “that” and “the”. Which one is chosen depends mainly on physical or imagined closeness to the speaker and visibility of object spoken about.
In addition ri/le/we articles do not only refer to physical closeness, but can also refer to temporal distance: ri indicates things in the past, or not yet done; le refers to things recently done, with relevance to the present; we refers to things just done, going on right now.
It is important to remember that the use of these demonstratives is a matter of personal perspective, and not necessarily something absolute. A speaker can indicate emotional closeness to an event through the use of a specific demonstrative article.
“Default article”: The default article in Nahuala is “le”.
The following is a story about a worm and its transformation:
Let’s take a look at the use of demonstrative articles:
WE is used for objects that are very close to speaker, you could touch it.
The (my) dog (right here next to me) is good.
This man gave me a huipil as a present
LE is used for objects that are not so close, but visible to speaker
The (my) dog (in my field of vision) is good.
RI is used for objects that are not visible to the speaker. In stories ri often refers to items already known, or things that were introduced earlier. In other K’iche’ varieties ri seems to be the default article, whereas Nahualá seems to prefer le.
This (my) dog (not in my field of vision) is good
These ri/le/we articles also serve as relative pronouns
|we||who, which (right here next to me, or just done)|
This man, who..
This dog here, that you gave me, is very good
This is the good man who cured me
|le||who, which (there, visible, or recently done)|
The man who…
Good is the dog that you gave me.
The man who cured me is good.
The man whom I cured yesterday came
Did the man who cured me come yesterday?
|ri||who, which (not in my field of vision; not present to the speaker; not yet done, or done in the past)|
The man who…
The dog that you all gave me is good.
Although it is possible to pair one type of article with different relative pronouns, some combinations are preferred:
(Article) we is almost always matched up with we (relative pronoun)
The man who gave me a huipil died.
A default combination is le followed by ri
I really like the book that you gave me.
Ri + wi: locative relative pronoun (where)
Ri (relative pronoun) together with wi results in a locative relative pronoun with the meaning “Where:
The school where I teach is very far.
Jas(a) can combine with we/le/ri to introduce subordinate object clauses:
Listen to that which (right now) I say.
Listen to which (here and now) I say
Listen to what I say.
Obey what I am saying right here to you!
|nimaj (vtr)||to obey; heed|
|chakuj (vit)||to work|
Translate the following phrases to English:
- Xkam ri kitat le ak’alab’ ojer.
- Utz we ak’al, kinunimaj.
- K’ax le xb’ij la che le achi.
- La maja kape ri itat pa juyub’?
- Ojer katin ri ixoq pa ja’ ronojel q’ij.
- Kamik kechakun pa tinamit le winaq le xek’ayin le kej chwe.
- Ri ixoq ri xixkunanik, sib’alaj kixuloq’oj.
- Kaqajat’ij le tz’i’ ri xkamisan ri jun me’s.
- Xul le achi ri xch’ab’en la kab’ijir.
- Kunimaj le ak’al jas ri kab’ix che rumal ri utat.
- Na utz ta we kinchakuj
- Kaq’i’taj le utat le ak’al che le kub’ij re ralk’wal.
Translate the following phrases to K’iche’. Choose an article or relative pronoun which seems appropriate (there is not necessarily one correct answer):
- This man cured me a long time ago
- This is the man who cured me
- The man who spoke to you yesterday will come today in the afternoon.
- The horse, which you sold to me, is sick now.
- The children obeyed that which their father said to them.
- That boy who left the day before yesterday works here.
- The father of my wife died a long time ago.
- Has your older brother still not arrived from town?
- It is necessary that the man who gave me this horse go with us to the court house.
- The child is sick again whom you cured a long time ago.
- Did you listen to what the teacher said?
- Tell me what the mayor said (just now).