Chapter 5:
Stative Sentences

5.0 Stative Sentences

`Antz li Loxa e. Rose is a woman.
Tzeb to li Petu` e. [Petu7] is still young (a girl).
Mi krem to li Chep e, mi vinik xa? Mi `oy xa yajnil.
Is Joseph still a boy, or is he a man already? Does he have a wife yet?

"Stative" sentences are sentences that attribute a quality, condition, or state to their subjects. These sentences have the following form:

Predicate Subject
(noun or adjective)

The predicate, which can be a noun or an adjective, ordinarily precedes the subject.

`Ep li `abtel e. The work is numerous (i.e., there is a lot of work).
`ep, "much, a lot"
Muk' li na e. The house is big.
muk', "big"
Mi lek li `itaj e? Are the vegetables good?
lek, "good"
Mi bik'it to li tzeb e? Is the girl still little?
bik'it, "small, little"

As in locative sentence or sentences indicating existence, the interrogative particle mi precedes the predicate in question formation, while a particle of time like to and xa follow it. The subject can also be fronted.

`Ali jna e, `ach' to. My house is still new.
`ach', "new"
`A l amok e, mi ton mi te`? Your fence, is it of rock or wood?
te`, "tree, wood"

Note that generic subjects of stative sentences are formed with the definite article li.

`Ali xulem e, mut. Vultures are birds.
xulem, "buzzard, vulture"
mut, "bird"
Tzotz li ton e. Rocks are hard.
tzotz, "hard, strong"

In general, subject of stative sentences are definite: these sentences assert that something specific pertains to some class, or shows a quality, or is some condition or state. Tzotzil sentences do not require a copular verb, like "to be," in such constructions.

Vinik li Xun e. John is a man. (We are talking of someone specific.)
Nat li ch'en e. The cave is long (deep).
nat, "long, deep"
ch'en, "cave, cavern, precipice"
Chi` li kajve e. Coffee is sweet.
chi`, "sweet"
kajve(l), "coffee"

It is fairly common for a possessed noun to serve as the subject of a stative sentence, often without an explicit article (but no less definite as a result).

Mi `ip to avajnil?
Mi `ip to l avajnil e? Is your wife still sick?
`ip, "sick"

Sak xa ajol.
Sak xa l ajol e. Are you white-haired already?
sak, "white"

A locative phrase with ta can also delimit the predicate or the subject of a stative sentence.

Sak ta `util li jk'u` e. My clothes are clean inside.
Sak ta yut li jk'u` e. The inside of my clothes are clean.
Muk' li jna ta `ak'ol e. My house up above is big.

In the first example, ta `util functions as the adverb "inside," modifying the predicate sak "white." In the latter example, ta `ak'ol functions as a (restrictive) relative clause, modifying the subject: my house‹which is up above‹is big. In the second example, the phrase li jk'u` e "my rope" functions as the subject of the predicate sak and as the possessor of `ut "inside." The sentence means, literally: "My clothing is white in its interior." I will give a few other examples of this process:

Tzotz `ip ta jmek li `unen e. The child is seriously ill.
`unen, "child"
ta jmek, "very" (Literally: "one time, once")
Mas lek li k'in ta `enero. The party in January is better.
mas, "more"

Words like mas "more," tzotz "strong," lek "well," and jutuk "a little" can modify nouns and predicative adjectives. Comparison is often expressed through a structure of this type:

Mas nat li Xun e, mas komkom li yitz'in e.
John is taller than his little brother. (Literally: John is taller, and his brother is shorter.)
`itz'in-al, "younger brother"
komkom, "short, scrawny"

Note also that temporal particles can follow the predicate or the modifier.

Tzotz to `ox `ip volje li `unen e.
Tzotz `ip to `ox volje li `unen e. The child was still very sick yesterday.
volje, "yesterday"
Jutuk xa k'ux li jjol e. My head hurts less already.
k'ux, "painful"
Lek `ox muk' ta junyo li jchob e. My cornfield will already be pretty big in June.

Another word that can modify a stative predicate is batz'i "true, truly," although this word has different characteristics. Batz'i cannot be a predicate; it functions only in conjunction with a noun or an adjective.

Batz'i lek l avabtel e. Your work is really good.
Batz'i j`ak'-chamel li mol e. The old man is a real witch.
j`ak'-chamel, "witch" (literally: one who gives illness)

Particles cannot separate batz'i from the predicate it modifies.

Batz'i `ip xa li jtot e. My father is already very sick.

The word batz'i can also directly modify a noun that is not in predicate position‹that is, the subject of a sentence or the object of the preposition ta.

Lek li batz'i vob e. The true musician is good.
Chapal ta batz'i k'op li jkaxlan e. The ladino knows Tzotzil.
chapal, "ready, prepared, educated"
k'op, "word, language"
jkaxlan, "ladino, non-indigenous"
Thus, one can see that batz'i k'op "the true language" denotes Tzotzil, which among Tzotziles is also called jk'optik "our language." The latter example literally means, "The ladino is ready for the real language."

Note the agentive prefix j- in the word jkaxlan, a prefix that distinguishes it from the word kaxlan "chicken."

The emphatic form of a stative sentence employs the word ja`: a particle with various special uses. In particular, ja` can replace a stative predicate‹a nominal or adjectival predicate‹in responses.

Mi vinik li Xap e? Is Sebastian a man?
Ja`. Yes, he is.

The meaning of ja` can be seen in the following examples:

Mi te ta kavilto li preserente e? Is the president in the town hall?
Te. Yes, he is.
preserente, "president"
Mi ja` te ta kavilto li preserente e? Is the president he one who is in the town hall?
Ja`. Ja` te. Yes, it is him. He is there.
Ch'abal xa li jtz'i` e. My dog is no longer.
Pero mi ja`? But was he the one (that died)?

Ja` directs attention to the subject of a sentence, and it gives emphasis to the fact that the subject is what the predicate attributes to it. Ja` also can function as a predicate of a sentence with the meaning "it is him, it is this."

Much'u te ta yut na? Who is inside of the house?
Ja` li Pil e. She is [Felipa].
K'usi `oy (te) ta chobtik? What is there in the cornfield?
Mi ja` ka` mi ja` tz'i`? Is it a dog or a horse?
ka`, "horse"

Comparative data from Tzeltal and other dialects of Tzotzil suggest that the so-called pronouns of the first and second person are in reality based on the root ja`.

Much'u li` e? Mi vo`ot? Who is here? Is it you?
Vo`on. It is me.

Furthermore, other, more complex stative sentence use the particle ja` for the sake of emphasis.

Mi ja` abankil li Petul e? Is it Peter that is your older brother?
Ja`. Ja` jbankil. Yes, that's him. He is my older brother.
`Ali Maryan e, che`e. And Marean, well?
Ja` `onox jbankil noxtok. He is also my older brother.
che`e, "well" (it goes at the end of a sentence)
`onox, "anyway, always"
noxtok, "also, again"

These particles have different characteristics. `Onox pertains to the group of temporal particles. It follows the first word of the predicate, and also follows xa and to if these occur in the same sentence. Che`e "well" always ends a sentence, sometimes replacing the final enclitic -e. Noxtok can move liberally in the sentence, more or less like locative phrases with ta.

Tzotz li Xun e, pero ja` xa `onox mas tzotzil li yitz'in e. John is strong, but his brother is even stronger.
Mi lek li tajimol e? Is the game good?
tajimol, "game"
Lek, che`e. Well, yes.

Every nominal predicate has, in its basic form, the emphatic particle ja` which can disappear in a non-emphatic sentence‹a situation similar to that with te in locative phrase or ta in temporal phrases. (For example, te ta Jobel "there in San Cristobal").

5.1 Sentences of Existence and Locatives Used as Stative Sentences

Sentences that assert the existence of something have the general form:

`Oy X.
(where X represents the subject.)

Sentences that indicate the location of a specific thing have the general form:

Te ta Y li X e.

(Y represents the location, and X the subject.)

A combined form, that can be seen in sentence like

Te (`oy) sna ta `ak'ol. His house is house up there.

asserts the existence, the ownership, and location of something. The general form is:

Te (`oy) X ta Y

We can see that sentence of this form are, basically, stative sentences, made up of a predicate P and a subject S. These sentences means "S is P." In sentences that indicate existence, the predicate is `oy‹a noun with the meaning "something exists"‹and the subject is an indefinite noun:

`Oy vo`. Water exists. There is water.
`Oy jna. My house exists. I have a house.

Locative sentences use the predicate te, which is a noun with the approximate sense: "existing in such a place"‹in other words, te is the reduced form of a locative phrase with ta. In effect, one can consider that there are locative predicates of the form:

te ta X

from which te can disappear when it does not serve as predicate of the entire sentence (that is to say, when the construction with ta is only the locative phrase in the sentence and not the predicate) (1).

`Oy k'in (te) ta Jobel. There is a party in San Cristobal.
Tey ta Jobel li k'in e. The party is in San Cristobal.
In general, subjects of locative sentences are definite, taking the article li, and come at the end of sentences.

Sentences with locative predicates but indefinite subjects have a meaning that is as much existential as it is locative. According to the normal pattern, the indefinite subject precedes the locative phrase with ta.

Te vo` ta `olon `osil. There is water (i.e., rain) in the lowlands.

This sentences appears to be equivalent to the following:

Te `oy vo` ta `olon `osil.
`Oy vo` (te) ta `olon `osil.

The existential meaning appears to be derived from the indeterminacy of the noun vo` and from its position in the sentence.

Thus, it is not surprising that other stative sentences are characterized by a partially existential meaning. Consider the following sentences:

Mi tzotz xa li vo` ta `olon e? Is the rain in the lowlands heavy?
Mi tzotz xa vo` ta `olon? Are there heavy rains in the lowlands?

In the first, we already know that it is raining in the lowlands, and we are asking whether the rain is heavy. In the second, we are asking whether there is rain and whether it is strong. A negative response to the first question would be:

K'un to. (No), it is still light.

A negative response to the second question would be:
Ch'abal to. There is still none.2

Also note that the negative forms of locative sentences or sentences indicating existence are basically stative.

Ch'abal vaj.

The predicate of this sentence is the adjective ch'abal, which means "non-existent, absent."

`Oy vaj.
Mu`yuk (= mu `oy uk) vaj.

Te ta sna li Xun e.
Mu te uk ta sna li Xun e.

The basic negative form of a sentence with the predicate `oy or te has the particle mu "no" and the negative/subjunctive suffix -uk in cojunction with the predicate. (We have also seen other negative forms, for example, with ch'abal.)

The position of `oy in stative sentences with locative predicates or adjectives appears to be variable, and there is a reflex of this variability in the interrogative and negative forms. For example, both of the following sentences appear to be equivalent.

Te ta sna li jkumpare.
Te `oy ta sna li jkumpare. My godfather is in his house.
kumpa(re)-il, "godfather"

If there is a difference between these sentences, the difference can be characterized by the two translations.

  1. My godfather can be found in his house.
  2. My godfather is in his house.

Note that, in locative sentences, the first element of the predicate is te, followed optionally by `oy. The inverted order signals existence and not location.

Te (`oy). He is there.
`Oy (te). There is over there.

`Oy also appears together with certain adjectives.

Lek to li jkumale.
Lek to `oy li jkumale. My godfather is still well.

The only difference I can find between these sentences is this: the predicate without `oy emphasizes the condition or quality of the subject ("My godfather is good."), whereas the predicate with `oy underscores the non-permanent state of the subject ("My godfather is well."). (The difference corresponds to the difference in Spanish between estar and ser, the two forms of the verb "to be.") Thus, the following sentence is strange or abnormal:

??? Muk' `oy li vitz e.

because largeness is not a transitory condition for a mountain, but rather a permanent state. Similarly, `oy does not appear in sentences with nominal predicates that mark their subjects as members of a specific class. Thus, for example, one can say:

J`ilol li Tonik e. Antoinette is a curer.
Tonik, "Antoinette"

But one cannot say:

*** J`ilol `oy li Toniik e.3

5.2 Interrogative and Negative Forms of Stative Sentences

In a sentence like:

Vinik li Petul e. Peter is a man.

the negative can be used in two ways: 1) We can negate that Peter is a man, or 2) We can negate that it is Peter who is a man. Thus, there are two negative forms of this sentence:

Mu vinik uk li Petul e. Peter is not a man (for example, he might still be a boy).
Ma`uk vinik li Petul e. It isn't Peter who is a man (but rather Joseph).

In the first sentence, the negative particle mu and the negative suffix -uk join with the predicate vinik. In the second, the word ma`uk "it is not him, it is not this" appears. There are also negative forms with the particle bu, which absorbs the negative suffix.

Muk' bu vinik li Petul e. Peter is not a man.
Mu to bu vinik li Petul e. Peter is still not a man. (Literally: There is still not a time/place in which Peter is a man.)

The contrast between the negative forms can also be seen in predicate nominative sentences, in which the predicate notes a social position or office.

Mu xa bu preserente li Xun e. John is not the president.
Ma`uk xa preserente li Xun e. It is not John who is president.

Similarly, there are various negative forms of the sentence

Lek li jchob e. My cornfield is good.

I will present a few more negative forms:

Mu lek uk li jchob e.
Muk' bu lek li jchob e. My cornfield isn't good (i.e., it is bad).
Ma`uk lek li jchob e. My cornfield isn't good (although yours is).

Sometimes the following form also occurs:

Mu`uk lek li jchobe. My cornfield isn't good. (Literally: I don't have a cornfield that is good.)

which appears to be derived from a sentence indicative of existence like

Lek `oy li jchob e. The cornfield that I have is good.

The following sentences originate from the same source:

Ch'abal / mu`yuk bu lek li jchob e. No part of my cornfield is good.

In general, negative sentences with ma`uk differ from sentences with mu + -uk or mu`yuk or muk'.

Ma`uk `oy vo` ta Jobel, ja` `oy bot. It isn't raining in San Cristobal; its hailing.
Ma`uk `ip li Chep e, ja` `ip li xch'amal e. John isn't sick; his sister is.
Ma`uk `oy yixim li Chep e, ja` `oy avixim. It isn't Joseph who has corn, but rather you.

Mu`yuk vo` ta Jobel. It doesn't rain (it isn't raining) in San Cristóbal.
Muk' bu `ip li Chep e. Joseph isn't sick.
Ch'abal yixim li Chep e. Joseph doesn't have corn.

Demonstratives like li` "here," le` "there," and taj "that" can serve as the subjects of stative sentences.

`Ol li` e. This is heavy.
`ol, "heavy"
Ton taj e. That is a stone.
Mu lek uk le`e. That isn't good.

This sort of demonstrative subject does not carry the definite article li, although it combines with the final enclitic -e.

Now we will consider questions based upon stative sentences. We have already seen interrogative forms with mi.

Mi takin xa li chenek' e? Are the beans dry yet?
takin, "dry"
Mi ja` `ip l atot e? Is your father sick?

Sometimes mi and ja` combine to form ma`, "Is it him?" or "Is it this?"

The interrogative roots much'u "who" and k'usi "what" are used as predicates, as in the following examples:

Much'u taj e? Who is that?
K'usi li` e? What is this?

Other questions, based on the same interrogative roots, are distinguished by the definite character of another noun.

Much'u li vinik e? Who is that man?
Jnachij. He is an inhabitant of Nachij.

K'usi li mas muk' e? Which is bigger.
Ja` mas muk li` e. It is this one. (Literally: This one is bigger.)
K'usi li tulan e? What is a "tulan"?
`Ali tulane, te`. A "tulan" is a tree.
tulan, "oak tree"

(Note in the last example how one asks about the meaning of an unknown word.)

A construction like li mas muk' e shows how an adjective with a definite article can function as a noun. A similar process occurs in English: "big" (adjective), "the biggest" (noun).

Also note that an isolated noun can be a complete sentence. In Tzotzil, there is no third person pronoun. An isolated noun is interpreted as a predicate noun, with the implicit subject "he, she, it."

Tzeb. She is a girl.
J`apas. He is an inhabitant of `Apas.
Lek. It is good.

Questions are also formed with adjectives or indefinite nouns.

Much'u p'ij? Is there someone who is inteligent? (And who is it?)
K'usi lek? What is good? Is there something good?
Much'u j`ilol? Is there someone who is a curer?
Likes other sentences with indefinite subjects, these examples question the existence of something: of an intelligent person, of something good, or of a curer.

Much'u, together with an animate [human?] noun, means "which."

Much'u te ta ana e? Who is in your house?
Te jun vinik. A man.
jun, "one"
Much'u (ti) vinik te? Which man?
Ja` li Pavlu e. Pablo.

There are similar interrogative expressions.

Te `oy j`Apas ta Jobel. There is an inhabitant of `Apas in San Cristóbal.
Much'u junukal? Who?
Te `oy vo` ta `ak'ol. There is water up there.
Bu jotukal? On which side? Where, exactly?

Junukal is related to jun "one" (compare with English: Which one?), and jotukal is derived from jot "side."

`Oy jka`. I have a horse.
K'usi jtosukal? What kind?

Jtosukal is related to tos "type, class, species."

5.3 Stative Sentences with Subjects in the First and Second Person

Vinik li Xun e. John is a man.
Vinikon li vo`on e. I am a man.

Te ta sna li Xap e. Sebastian is in his house.
Teyot ta ana li vo`ot e. You are in your house.

Mi li` li karo e? Is the car here?
Mi li`ot e? Are you here?
Li`on e. I am here.

Mi muk' xa li `unen e? Is the child big already?
Mi muk'ot xa? Are you big already?
Muk'on xa. I'm already big.

We have already seen that the basic form of a stative sentence is:

Predicate + Subject

Not only nouns, but also "pronouns" of the first and second person, can occupy the subject position. The first person" denotes the person who is speaking, "I," and "the second person" denotes the person who is being spoken to, "you." The predicate of a stative sentence should carry a suffix that corresponds to the subject. The suffixes are the following:

Vinik- on. I am a man.
Vinik- ot. You are a man.
Vinik. He is a man.

One can see that a noun subject (the so-called "third person") engenders a null suffix. Also note that an explicit subject is not necessary, because the suffix (although it is null), together with the predicate, indicates the implicit subject. However, an explicit noun or a pronoun such as vo`on or vo`ot can be used for emphasis or greater clarity.

Mi kuxulot to? Are you still sober? (Literally: Are you still alive?)
kuxul, "alive, sober"
Kuxulon to li vo`on a`a. `Ali vo`ot e? I am still sober. And you?
`Ali vo`on e, kuxulon `uk. I am also sober.
`uk, "also"

Note that the pronominal subject can be fronted.

The word `uk "also, equally" should be distinguished from the negative suffix -uk (without an intial glottal stop) that we have already encountered.

The "absolutive" suffixes, -on "I" and -ot "you," combine with the first word of the predicate. Here I will present examples of various stative sentences that we have already seen, in order to indicate the correct position of the suffxes.

`Antz li Loxa e.
`Antzot (li vo`ot e). You are a woman.
Mi krem to li Chep e?
Mi kremot to (li vo`ot e)? Are you still young?

Muk' li na e.
Muk'on. I am grown-up (literally: big).

A l avajnil e, mi `ip to?
Ali vo`ot e, mi `ipot to? Are you still sick?

`Ip li jjol e.
`Ali vo`on e, `ip li jjol e. I have a head cold. (Literally: As for me, my head is sick.)

In the last example, the grammatical possessor has been fronted, but the grammatical subject is a noun (li jjol e "my head") that, as a result, engenders a null suffix on the predicate `ip "sick."

Tzotz xa `ip li `unen e. The child is still violently ill.
Tzotz xa `ipon (li vo`on e). I am already violently ill.
Vo`ot e, mas natot. Vo`on e, mas komkomon.
You are taller, and I am shorter.
Batz'i j`ak'-chamelot. You are a true witch.
Batz'i tzotzon xa. I am already really strong.

One can see how the "pronouns" themselves, vo`on "I" and vo`ot "you," carry the appropriate absolutive suffixes. I already mentioned that the root of these words, vo`-, is related to ja`. (Both roots have the hypothetical form: HA`.) The relationship can still be seen in sentences like the following:

Mi ja` bankilal li Chep e? Is Joseph older?
Ja` (li Chep e). Yes, he is.
Mi vo`ot bankilalot? Are you older?
Vo`on. Yes, I am.

These sentences with ja` are focused on the identity of the person who is older, while sentences without ja` refer to the quality of being older.

Mi bankilal li Chep e? Is Joseph older?
Bankilal. Yes, older.
Mi bankilalot? Are you older?
Bankilalon. I am.

I will offer another example:

Much'u li jvabajom e? Mi ja` li Chep e?
Who is the musician? Is it Joseph?
Ja`. Yes, (it is him).
Much'u li j`ilol e? Mi vo`ot? Who is the curer? Is it you?
Vo`on. It's me.4

We have seen that the subject of a sentence can be fronted for emphasis. A definite noun, with an demonstrative article, attracts the initial particle `a- when fronted.

J`ilol li Xun e. John is a curer.
`Ali Xun e, j`ilol. As for John, he is a curer.

As Josh Smith has suggested, based on Tzeltal, it seems likely that the initial particle `a- is a reduced form of ja`, which serves to call attention to the fronted subject. Here I will present some Tzotzil sentences, with their Tzeltal equivalents, to illustrate the argument.

Tzotzil Tzeltal
Krem to li Xap e. Kerem to te jxap e.
`Ali Xap e, krem to. Ha` te jxap e, kerem to.

The relatioship between ja` and the explicit pronouns vo`on and vo`ot can be seen with greater clarity in the first and second person (when one speaks of me or you).

Kremon to. I am still a boy.
Vo`on kremon to. And me, I'm still young.

Note that it is not necessary to separate the constituent vo`on from the predicate with a pause (indicated with a comma in the examples with fronted nouns). This pause appears to be engendered by the presence of the enclitic -e, which ordinarily comes at the end of a group of words.5

Sentences with `oy that use locative predicates also occur with first and second person subjects.

Te ta kavilto li Xap e.
Teon ta kavilto.
Te `oy ta sna li Xun e.
Te `oyot ta ana.

When the predicate of a sentence is an adjective that can accompany `ot, the position of the absolutive suffixes depends on the presence or absence of `oy.

Lek li Xun e. John is good (permanent state).
Lek `oy li Xun e. John is well (transitive state).

Lekon. I am good (permanent state).
Lek `oyon. I am well (transitive state).

Not all adjectives can accompay the predicate `oy (which appears to contribute a sense of transience to the predicate). Without the word `oy the suffixes directly combine with the adjectives.

Chapal ta kastiya li Romin e. Domingo speaks Spanish.
kastiya, "Spanish"
Chapalon ta kastiya. I speak Spanish. (Literally: I am ready for Spanish.)

To negate a sentence with a first or second person subject, it is very easy to employ the negative forms with muk' bu, mu to bu, mu xa bu, etc., without an explicit negative suffix.

Mi chapalot xa? Are you ready yet?
Mu to bu chapalon. I am still ready.
Mu`yuk to. Not yet.

Kremon to. I am still a boy.
`I`i. Mu xa bu kremot. Molot xa. No, you aren't a boy. You're old already.
`i`i, "no!"

The word mol can be a noun, "an old man," just as easily as an adjective "old, big."

Mol li te` e. The tree is big.
Kuxul to li mol e. The old man is still alive.
Mi muk' bu jvabajomot? Aren't you a musician?
Jvabajomon a`a. Yes, I am.

When directly negating a predicate with absolutive suffixes, one must use an additional negative suffix that combines with the absolutive suffix. We have already seen that the negative suffix is -uk when there is no absolutive suffix (with third person subjects).

Mi p'ij li jkaxlan e? Is the ladino intelligent?
Mu p'ij uk. He is not intelligent.
Mi `ep l avixim e? Do you have much corn?
Mu `ep uk. No.

With other persons, the negative predicate acquires the following form:

mu + Predicate + ik + Absolutive Suffix

(One can see that the form -uk is, in reality, the negative infix -ik- without any following suffix.)

Mi p'ijot? Are you intelligent?
Mu p'ijikon. I am not.
Tzebon to. I am still a girl.
Mu tzebikot xa. You are no longer a girl.

Many adjectives, of the form CVCVl, like chapal "ready," or chopol "bad," lose the second root vowel when they combine with the infix or the negative suffix.

Mu chaplikon. I am not ready.
Mu choplikot. You are not bad.
Mu chopluk. Is isn't bad.
Mu jamluk. It isn't open.
jamal, "open"

The pronouns vo`on and vo`ot also have negative forms.

Mi ja` `ip li Xun e? Is John sick?
Ma`uk. Ja` `ip li Chep e. No, Joseph is sick.

Mi vo`ot `ipot? Are you sick?
Mu vo`onikon. No (but another person is).

Mi mu vo`otikot j`ilolot? Aren't you a curer?
Vo`on che`e. Yes, I am.

Forms like ma`uk vo`on and ma`uk vo`ot also occur.

`Ipot volje. You were sick yesterday.
Ma`uk vo`on. Mu vo`onikon. Ja` `ip kitz'in. I wasn't sick. It wasn't me who was sick. It was my younger brother.

Absolutive suffixes combine directly with interrogative predicates.

Buy li Xun e? Where is John?
Buyot? Where are you?
Buyon samel? Where was I last night?
Teyot ta kantina. Jyakubelot. You were at the bar, and you were drunk.
jyakubel, "a drunkard"

Furthermore, it is possible to ask:

Who are you?


K'usiot `onox? Mi tz'i`ot?
What are you? Are you a dog?


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