TBD: Introduction

Noun roots

TBD: Introduction

Root suppletion in nominal possession

  • 'father':
    • 1 papa
    • 2 ë-më / o-mo / ë-mo (?)
    • 3 i-mu
    • NP y-ïmï
  • often suppletive in Cariban languages: to do: search for inflected forms of these
    • 'arrow'
    • 'house'
    • 'poop'
    • 'mother'
    • 'hammock string'


The personal pronouns of Yawarana are shown in ref. The system shows the usual Cariban inclusive/exclusive (1+2 and 1+3) distinction, though the 1+2 pronoun ejnë does not have the /k/ found elsewhere in the family. There are plural forms of the second and third person pronouns, which are composed of the respective singular form and the plural marker kontomo for second, -santomo for third person. An alternative strategy for pluralizing tëwï is by using jnepl’. This results in tëwï=jne, which usually simply becomes ta=jne. Singular speech act participant pronouns can procliticize to nouns (see ref), verbs (see Simple verbal clauses) and postpositions (see The postpositional phrase).


sg pl
1 wïrë (u=)
1+2 ejnë (ej=)
1+3 ana
2 mërë (=) monkontomo
3 tëwï tëwïsantomo

The third person demonstrative pronouns or articles are shown in ref. to do: is there a 4‑way distinction? [cf. Ye’kwana?] None of them have shortened and phonologically bound counterparts. to do: is there a më= from mërë?

Demonstrative pronouns / articles

anim inan
sg pl sg pl
prox kërë kërësantomo eni / seni eni=jne / seni=jne
medial/near? michi / misi michisantomo / michitomo mërë mërë=jne
dist mëjkï mëkïsantomo mëjnï mënï=jne
  • nominal interrogative pronouns: to do: are there examples of ëjkë 'which?'
    • anïkï ‘who’ (pl with -santomo)
    • ati ‘what’ (no pl)

Nominal inflection

Nouns in Yawarana may bear suffixes marking their possession status (ref), number (ref), and nominal past tense (ref). Possessed nouns can carry second and third person prefixes, as well as the linker y- (ref). to do: nominal inflectional classes defined by prefixes & suffixes

Suffixes for possessed and non-possessed nouns

In the possession construction in Yawarana, the possessor noun occurs immediately preceding the possessed noun, which is the head of the possession phrase. to do: crossref to phrase structure Alternatively, the possessor can appear as a prefix on the possessed noun. The possessor noun is never marked (for instance, with genitive case), but the possessed noun (the head) is often marked for being possessed by a suffix; an unambiguous label for this counterpart of the genitive is pertensive (Dixon 2010). The choice of suffix is lexically conditioned; while most nouns take -ripert’, some take -ti. Unpossessed nouns generally are unmarked, but some 15 nouns to do: add list of -të nouns bear the suffix -tënpert’ when they appear without a possessor.

Examples illustrate the possible patterns of markedness for nouns when possessed and unpossessed. The vast majority of nouns in our corpus are unmarked when unpossessed, but when possessed the suffix -ripert’ occurs . A handful of nouns is marked with -ri/-tipert’ when possessed and with -tënpert’ when not possessed . Another handful is unmarked when possessed and marked with -tënpert’ when not possessed . The fourth logical category, where neither possession or non-possession is marked, contains very few members (only one attested so far). For these nouns, the difference is marked only by the presence or absence of a possessive prefix or free-form possessor . to do: this data should live in the dataset and only be referenced here

  1. Nouns that take a suffix only when possessed:

    akajra-ri ‘X’s bow’ akajra ‘bow’
    y-amaka-ri ‘X’s yucca’ amaka ‘yucca’
    y-ántë-ri ‘X’s fishhook’ antë ‘fishhook’
    y-ateri-ri ‘X’s garden/field’ ateri ‘garden/field’
    ënu-ru ‘X’s eye’ ënu ‘eye’
    y-ëpi-ri ‘X’s medicine’ ëpi ‘medicine’
  1. Nouns that take one suffix when possessed and another when unpossessed:

    yë-ri ‘X’s tooth’ yë-të ‘tooth’
    pata-ri ‘X’s place’ pata-të ‘(part of name) San Juan de Manapiare’
    y-ese-ti ‘X’s name’ ese-të ‘name’
    y-ase-tï ‘X’s cord’ ase-të ‘cord’
  1. Nouns that take a suffix only when unpossessed:

    yëjpë ‘X’s bone’ yëjpë-të ‘bone’
    petï ‘X’s thigh’ petï-të / pej-të ‘thigh’
    y-aponi ‘X’s stool’ apon-të ‘stool’
  1. Nouns that never take a suffix, whether possessed or unpossessed:

    i-jmëy 'his egg’ ëjmëy 'egg’

Nominal number

The suffix -tomo (-tom, -ton) occurs on both possessed and unpossessed nouns .

Nominal tense

TBD: Describe -jpëpst’.

Inflectional prefixes

There are three inflectional prefixal morphemes on nouns (ref); only two of them are possessive prefixes, the third being the linker. Prefix allomorphy is mainly conditioned by the initial segment of the noun root.

Inflectional prefixes on nouns

_C _V
2 a- / ë- ay-
3 i- t-
np y-

Second person a(y)- only occurs on a small number of nouns, all of them kinship terms (ref). With other nouns (and for all first and first person inclusive possessors), a pronominal form is used (see ref). None of the stems in ref is attested with a pronominal second person possessor.

Nouns taking second person a(y)-.

Stem Meaning
stems.csv:sane-mother ‘mother’
stems.csv:awo-uncle ‘uncle, father in law’
stems.csv:najmo-grandmother ‘grandmother’
stems.csv:ya-ra-grandchild ‘grandchild’
stems.csv:akono-younger-sister-of-woman ‘younger sister of woman’
stems.csv:wanene-aunt ‘aunt’

The third person prefix has the allomorphs i- and t-:

  1. Her arm? / ¿su brazo?

The linking prefix y- only occurs on V-initial nouns. It marks them as being preceded by their possessor . C-initial (and i-initial) nouns do not show a prefix in this context . This pattern is shared by postpositions (see Postpositions).

    1. into your mouth / dentro de tu boca
    2. The one who ate a child's ear, so they say. / el que comió la oreja de un niño, así dicen

The noun phrase

A constituent we call the noun phrase is identifiable in the genitive construction in which one noun (or pronoun) possesses another noun. For instance, pana ‘ear-pert’ in is possessed by muku ‘child’. The possessor obligatorily precedes the possessum, the two parts of the constituent only being interruptible by certain particles . Possessor SAP pronouns can occur as proclitics . On V-initial nouns, the linker y- appears in the genitive construction.

  1. The one who ate a child's ear, so they say. / el que comió la oreja de un niño, así dicen
  1. The man went to his house. / se fue el hombre para su casa (porque ya amaneció) (ctorat: 46)

The linker also occurs with (pro-)nominal possessors:

  1. What they call the food of the criollos. / lo que llaman la comida de los criollos

Nominal Derivational Morphology

  • V → N
    • -ri ‘action nmlzto do: this is potentially an agent nominalizer, too
    • -jpëpst.acnnmlz
      • also ‘pst.abs.nmlz)’ to do: add convsuenmaj-47
    • -nëinf’ or ‘generic action nominalizer’ to do: this probably only occurs on intransitive verbs
      • wënkej-në from transitive wënkepï 'forget'
    • -niagtnmlzto do: see ctoyucairdi-4, descokigrme-53 for predicative use
    • n-V-ri only with yeme ‘eat (fruits, eggs, soup)’
    • -sapëabs.nmlz’ (contrast with -jpëpst.acnnmlz’)
    • -topocirc.nmlz
    • ‑pïnïpriv.nmlzto do: only found with -se-mï, not attested as nominalizer
  • Adv → N
  • Postp → N
  • N → N
    • discuss pïjkë and sere-kë 'manioc-DIM' , reference sections
    • -imë: e.g., wara 'woman' waraimë 'married woman' (from dictionary)

The action nominalizer -ri


The past nominalizer -jpë


The absolutive nominalizer -sapë