Original artwork by Dale DeArmond, used with permission by the Alaska Native Language Center

Dena'ina Verbs and Verb Paradigms

Click here to visit the Dena'ina Verbs website!

The verb is the most elaborate and expressive part of the Dena'ina language. One way to better understand verbs is through the study of verb paradigms: groups of related verb forms which vary by a single parameters, such as subject, aspect, or object. For example, the following is an example of a subject paradigm for the Dena'ina verb 'to be' in the imperfective aspect.

-lan 'to be' (imperfective aspect)
    Nondalton Kenai
first person singular 'I am'
eshlan
ełan
second person singular 'you are'
inlan
third person singular 'he, she, it is'
nlan
first person plural 'we are'
ch'ilan
second person plural 'you guys are'
ehlan
ełan
third person plural 'they are'
qilan
areal 'area is'
qilan

This paradigm demonstrates some interesting rules of pronunciation which distinguish Nondalton and Kenai dialects. In Kenai, the first person singular sh- and the second person plural eh- are not pronounced when they precede a stem-initial l-. Instead, the stem-initial voiced l- changes to voiceless ł-. In shorthand we could write this as:

Kenai stem-initial l- devoicing rule: sh/h + lCV --> łCV (where C = consonant, V= vowel)

Click on the link below to access the website about Dena'ina verb paradigms. Note that this is still a work in progress, but it is moving along quickly, so you should check back often for updates!



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