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Tïjonïk 6 In ajtij; at tijoxel (I am a teacher; you’re a student)


In this unit, you will learn about K’iche pronouns,which are a bit complex. We will start with personal pronouns and how to use them in conversation. Next, you will learn how to report the location of people and objects.


Independent pronouns
Independent pronouns -equivalent to English personal pronouns- are used in K’iche’ as subjects of non-verbal predicates as well as for emphasis or topicalization (As, for me, I am sure I’ll learn K’iche’). They are used more sparsely than in English, however. Non-verbal predicates include stative phrases denoting states, conditions or qualities. Unlike Spanish or English, K’iche’ does not have a verb equivalent to ‘to be’. You will notice that the English translations of the example sentences below require the verb ‘to be’ as copula. In pronominal, non-verbal sentences in K’iche’ independent pronouns occupy the first slot followed by the predicate as in the following examples:

  1. In ajtij.
    I teacher
    I am a teacher.
  2. At rajkun le nunan.
    You her-doctor art. my-mother
    You are my mother’s doctor.
  3. Are le utat le al Ska’.
    He art. her-dad- art. class. Francisca
    He is Francisca’s dad.
  4. Oj ajxojolob’ pa Awas Q’ij.
    We dancers preposition Good Friday
    We are dancers on Good Friday.
  5. A’re ral le nan We’l.
    They her-children art. nan. Manuela
    They are the children of ms. Manuela.

Note that independent pronouns are not marked for gender (See table below).

you (pl)
you (formal)
you (pl, formal)
  1. La utz awach?- Utz maltyox , e k’u ri at ?– Utz maltyox
    How are you – Well thank you, and you ?– Well, thank you
  2. La utz wach la? – Utz maltyox, e k’u ri lal ?– Utz maltyox
    How are you – Well thank you, and you?– Well, thank you.
  3. In ajtij.
    I teacher
    I am a teacher.
  4. At
    you student
    You are a student.
  5. Are
    utz una’oj
    He/she/it good his-character
    He is a good man/woman (he has good character/ buena gente).
  6. Lal k’amal b’e
    you (formal) leader
    You (formal) are a leader.

Locative sentences
Locative sentences describe the location of the subject. K’iche’ locative sentences consist of independent pronouns in the first slot followed by the existential particle k’o and its locative complement. Note that if a third person subject is plural the form ek’o is used. If a third person is explicit, it precedes the existential k’o as well (See the examples below).

  1. At k’o pa swan!
    at k’o pa swan
    You Ex. loc ravine
    You are in the ravine!
  2. Oj k’o
    pa le ro’ch le a Wel.
    Oj k’o pa le r-oche le a Wel
    we ex. loc. his-house Manuel
    We are in Manuel’s house.
  3. In k’o
    pa le uk’isb’al cholaj.
    In k’o pa u-k’isb’al cholaj
    I   Ex loc its-end row/lane
    I’m in the last lineIf the subject of the sentence is the third person singular pronoun, the particle k’o stands alone.
  4. K’o
    pa tijob’al
    k’o pa tijob’al
    Ex loc school
    He/she/it is at schoolIf the subject of the sentence is the third person plural pronoun, e precedes the particle k’o
  5. E k’o
    pa tijob’al
    e k’o pa tijob’al
    they Ex loc school
    they are at school
  6. E k’o
    keb’ uk’ajol le tat Xwan
    e k’o keb’ u-k’ajol le tat Xwan
    they Ex two his-sons art tat Juan
    Juan has two sons

Emphasis, topicalization, and independent pronouns

When the subject is topicalized or emphatic contrast is stressed, independent pronouns are copied in sentence-initial position.

  1. In in k’o pa tijob’al.
    As for me, I am at school.
  2. At at le utaqo’n le q’atal tzij.
    You, you are the judge’s messenger!
  3. Are le Tu’r le loq’omanel.
    It is Venturo who is the buyer.
  4. Oj oj wokol ja!
    As for us, we are construction workers.
  5. Ix ix e’laq’omab’!
    You all, you are thiefs!
K’AK’A TAQ TZIJVocabulary
tz’ib’ab’al pencil, pen, chalk
wuj book
uxaq wuj piece of paper
wanke’t table, desk
tem chair
chim bag
rax green, blue
q’eq black
q’an yellow
saq white
kaq red
ajtij teacher
tijoxel student
tikonel famer (someone who plants)
ajtij teacher
ajkun doctor
pare’ priest
kojol b’aq nurse, pharmacist
chakunel worker
k’amal b’e leader; president; traditionally a person who is an expert in ceremonial speech, for example for weddings
ajanel wood worker
ajq’ij calendar specialist, daykeeper, shaman
Ajik’ maid (someone who is paid by the month – ik’)
b’insanel ch’ich’ driver
b’anal si’ someone who gets and sells firewood
b’anal ch’ajo’n somebody who does laundry for a living
b’anal wa cook
wokol ja handyman; construction worker
alkalte’ mayor

Translate the following phrases into English.

  1. Oj k’o pa Iximulew.
  2. In ixoq.
  3. Alaq k’o alaq pa juyub’.
  4. A’re’, utz kina’oj.
  5. La utz wach alaq?
  6. K’o jun tz’i’ pa le nuchakub’al.
  7. In in k’o pa ja.
  8. Are’, le wajtij.
  9. Ix k’o pa le nimatijob’al.
  10. Le qab’ix k’o chila’.
  11. Are’, k’o wuk’.
  12. A’re’ le tijoxelab’.
  13. Oj k’o pa b’e.
  14. K’o jun chi tzij pa le cholaj.

Translate the following phrases into K’iche’.

  1. I have a bag.
  2. I am a teacher.
  3. He is a student.
  4. They are students.
  5. They (focus) are in school
  6. I have two children.
  7. They are in his office.
  8. They have shoes.
  9. How is your mom?