Thus, in the Chamulan dialect:
`Oy chon ta te`tik.
can have two meanings: either "There are animals in the forest (some particular forest)" or "There are animals in the forest (generally-speaking)." The general sense is, obviously, less common in speech.
1 Other Tzotzil-speakers maintain the possibilty of all these sentences, as equivalents of one another:
Te kajnil ta Nabenchauk.
Te ta Nabenchauk li kajnil e.
Te li kajnil ta Nabenchauk. My wife is in Nabenchauk.
But only the second sentence seems completely normal or correct in Zinacantec Tzotzil.
1 In the speech of certain Zinacentecos, one hears locative sentences without the element te, with predicates of the form ta X:
Ta Jobel li k'in e. The party is in San Cristobal. Ta be li Xun e. John is on the road (i.e., John is travelling).
The maximal form--that is, the one with te--appears to be the preferred form.
2 I am not sure if there is some difference between the second question and the following, which is explicitly existential, and contains the attributive form of the adjective tzotz (tzatzal):
Mi `oy xa tzatzal vo` ta `olon `osil? Is there already strong rain in the lowlands?
Both sentences are possible.
3 The following sentence is possible, but indicates existence and not a specific quality:
J7ilol 7onox 7oy bu lek e. There are always good curers.
4 On occasion one hears sentences like
Ja7 vo7on. Ja7 li vo7on e. It's me.
These appear to be extensions of the pattern with nouns, which use the pronouns in an analagous fashion, without reference to their historical roots.
5 One also hears sentences like
7Ali vo7on e, kremon to. As for me, I am still a boy.
with the enclicit and the pause, but without the article.
1 It is noteworthy that the word -koj does not function as an ordinary noun, but only by itself in "benefactive" or instrumental constituents. In order to say "I am at fault, I am guilty," one uses the word mul-il "crime, blame, guilt." For example:
7Oy jmul. I am guilty.
On the other hand, the word kwenta as an ordinary noun, sometimes possessed, means "debt."
Ilaj li jwenta e. My debt is finished.
2 The expression mu jayuk means "too much, so much that there was no end to it."
Mi ilaj li 7abtel e? Is the work finished yet?
Batz'i mu jayuk. It's overwhelming. (In other words, it never ends).
3 It is possible that the restrictions on the possessed forms of some nouns is motivated by the desire to avoid homophonous word. For example, the root €7ok, "turtle" does not occur with possessive prefixes, but only with forms of 7u7un-il.
Ja7 ku7un li 7ok le7e. That turtle is mine.
Thus, a possessed form of "turtle" is not confused with a form of the inalienably possessed noun 7ok-ol, "foot."
Ja7 kok le7e. That is my foot.
1 In other dialects of Tzotzil, the absolutive suffixes are used to mark the objects of transitive verbs, while the absolutive prefixes are reserved to indicate the subjects of intransitive verbs. It is also very common to form perfective aspect by means of the verb laj- "to finish, to end," using it as an auxiliary. Thus, the perfective forms in Chamulan Tzotzil are the following:
lajmaj I hit him. lajkil I saw him. lajmajot I hit you. lajkilot I saw you. lasmajon He hit me. lajyilon He saw me. lasmajot He hit you. lajyilot He saw you. lamajon You hit me. lavilon You saw me. lamaj You hit him. lavil You saw him.
One can see that these forms vary only slightly from the forms with auxiliaries: for example, the final j of laj disappears in a few cases. Similar forms occur in Zinacantec Tzotzil:
laj jmaj I finished hitting him. laj jmajot I finished hitting you. laj smajon He finished hitting me. laj smajot He finished hitting you. laj amajon You finished hitting me. laj amaj You finished hitting him.
The meaning of the perfective forms in the Chamulan dialect may be clearer in light of these equivalent forms.
2 Note that in a nominal sentence in which the predicate is a possessed noun, the constituent order is different.
Noun Possessor Subject 1 2 3 sbankil 7Antun li Xune. John is Andrew's older brother.
Here, it is the second constituent--that is, the possessor--which engenders the possessive prefix.
3 One can say:
Ismil Xun yajnil li Petul e. Peter's wife killed John.
because the agent is Peter's wife and not John's.
4 This sentence is, after all, ambiguous. It can also mean: "John's wife killed someone" or "Someone killed John's wife."
1 The form kremotik can also mean "we are boys."
Ital li kremotik e. The boys arrived.
Tzeboxuk pero kremotik. You are girls, but we are boys.
2 The reflexive/reciprocal construction with -ba should not be confused with the use of the word -ba, with the possessive prefix s-, menaing "the first."
sba yajnil his first wife
sba jch'amal my first child
There is possibility for some confusion, engendered by this construction.
Ismaj li sba yajnil e. He hit his first wife.
Ismaj sba li yajnil e. His wife hit herself.
Ismilbe sba xch'amal. Hei killed hisj first son.
Ismil xch'amal stuk. He ikilled his own son.
3 Take note of the following sentence:
Mi vo`ot ti `ip atot e? Are you the one whose father is sick? (Literally: Are you, who your father is sick?)
It is possible to formulate a relative clause based on a noun that functions as possessor.