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Tïjonïk 4 Are wa’ nuwuj! (This is my book!)
K’iche nominal possessive markers


In this lesson, you will learn about nominal possession in K’iche’. It is a bit more intricate than English or Spanish as K’iche’ has a very rich word morphology. You will have plenty of examples and drills!


In the following videos, students practice the possessive markers with tat Wel. Do you notice a difference between the two?




In K’iche’ nominal possession markers are prefixed on the possessed person/object. Different sets of prefixes are used with consonant-initial nouns and with vowel-initial nouns. The exception is formal address, in which the post-nominal particles la (sing.) or alaq (plural) are used instead of prefixes. See the examples in the table below:

Before a consonant

rajil “money” Before a vowel achi’l “friend”
nu-rajil my money w-achi’il my friend
a-rajil your money aw-achi’il your friend
rajil la your money (formal)  achi’l la  your friend (formal)
u-rajil his/her money r-achi’il his/her friend
qa-rajil our money q-achi’il our friend
i-rajil your money (pl. informal) iw-achi’il your friend (pl.  informal)
rajil alaq your money (pl. formal) achi’l alaq your friend (pl. formal)

their money k-achi’il

their friend


Inherent possession (-Vl)
A certain class of K’iche’ nouns may take an additional /-Vl/ suffix. This is known as inherent possession and marks a part-whole relationship between possessor and possessed object/person. For example, the semantic difference between nub’aq and nub’aqil, both of which would be glossed as “my bone” in English, concerns inherent possession. The former references bones that are not part of the possessor’s body, chicken bones used to make soup, for example; the latter, in contrast, references the possessor’s own body. Some nouns take only inherent possession markers (wife, husband), others may take both (bone, house). The large majority of nouns do not take inherent possession markers, however. A few nouns take irregular possessed forms such as house (ja when not possessed, -ochoch when possessed).

Preconsonantal b’aq ‘bone’ Prevocalic ixoq ‘woman’ o’ch ‘house’
nu-b’aq-il my bone( as part of my body) w-ixoq-il my wife w-o’ch my house
a-b’aq-il your bone aw-ixoq-il your wife aw-o’ch your house
b’aq-il la your bone (formal) ixoq-il la your wife (formal) o’ch la  your house (formal)
u-b’aq-il his/her/its bone r-ixoq-il his/her wife r-o’ch  his/her house
qa-b’aqi-il our bone q-ixoq-il our wife q-o’ch our house
i-b’aq-il your (pl.) bone iw-ixoq-il your wife (pl.) iw-o’ch your house (pl.)
b’aq-il alaq your (pl. formal) bone ixoq-il alaq your wife (pl. formal) o’ch alaq your house (pl. formal)

their bone k-ixoq-il

their wife ko’ch

their house

Other examples:

kik’ ‘blood’ – nukik’el ‘my blood’
kaq ‘red’ – nukaqal ‘my redness
q’aq’ ‘fire’ – nuq’aq’al ‘my fever’
suk’ ‘pure’ – nusuk’mal ‘my absence of sin; purity’
K’AK’A TAQ TZIJVocabulary


wuj book
che’ tree
ja house (unpossessed)
-o’ch house (possessed)
-ij back of… (possessed)
achi’il friend
-wach face (possessed
-al child (of woman)
kaq red
ch’ich’ metal; car
kik’ blood
xa’r cup
wakax cow
q’oq’ chilacayote
oj avocado
ulew tierra
b’aq bone
rajil money
tijonik lesson
tz’ib’ab’al pencil, pen



Mark all of the following nouns using the possessive markers for all persons: