Subjects and ‘to say’ in Wyandot

Subjects with ‘to say.’

In the Wyandot language the newly-introduced subject of a verb often comes after the verb itself, the opposite of what happens in English. The verb or noun that forms the subject typically comes after the relative pronoun that in this case means ‘who’  or ‘the’.  Here are examples with one of the verb roots that mean ‘to say’.  The sentences are taken from the Narratives recorded by Marius Barbeau in 1911-2.

The eagle said, “Hurry up.“ (Barbeau 1960:140)

ayęhąǫˀ            de        tsamęhuhiˀ       te tsatatęnyǫhtę

she/it said it     the       eagle                hurry up (you plural)

de      tsamęhuhiˀ

[deh   tsah-men-hoo-hee-ee]

She who is a bear said, “Now he is coming here.“ (Barbeau 1960:143)

aˀyęhąǫ          d          anyǫnyęˀ          nęh  utareˀ

she/it said it     who     (it is a) bear    now     he is coming here

d       anyǫnyęˀ

[dan-yon-nyen-en]

He said it, he who is a boy, “I do not wish it.“ (Barbeau 1960:143)

ahęhąǫˀ            de        hǫmęˀtsęhtiˀah             ą          te yehe

he said            who     he is a boy                  not       I do not wish

He said it, he who is chief, “You will stand at my back.” (Barbeau 1960:70)

ahęhąǫˀ      de        hǫmąyuwanęh    kǫˀmąh            tęseˀtaha                       yeˀnǫmąyeh

he said     who    he is the chief the other way  you will stand              at my back

de      hǫmąyuwanęh

[deh   hon-man-yoo-wah-nenh]

He said it, he who is the turtle, “Me next.” (Barbeau 1960:60)

ahęhaǫˀ            nd        ingyaˀwiš         di         nǫmąˀdeˀ

he said            who     turtle               me       next time

nd     ingyaˀwiš

[ndeen-gyah-ah-weesh]

She said it, she who is old, “Let it be so.” (Barbeau 1960:64)

ayęhąǫˀ            ne        yaˀtǫˀ               tuh       skanǫh

she said        who     she is old     there    let it be so

Now she said, the eagle, “Who will take care of him.” (Barbeau 1960:140)

nęh      ayęhąǫˀ            de        tsamęhuhiˀ       tsinęęh[1]            ehukaratat

now     she said            the       eagle                who (is it)                         one will take care of him

[1] This has replaced a less appropriate word.

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