Gramática pipil

Gramática pipil

Con Gramática pipil se refiere al conjunto de reglas y princios que regulan el uso del idioma pipil. Este artículo muestra un esquema gramatical del idioma náhuat o pipil, una lengua perteneciente a la familia lingüística utoazteca, emparentada con el náhuatl clásico. El pipil es una lengua amenazada y es hablada actualmente por los pipiles de El Salvador.

Contenido

Sonidos

Fonemas básicos y acentos

Vocales básicas
Vocales anteriores Vocales posteriores
Cerrada i u
Media e
Abierta a
  • La realización de las vocal anterior oscila entre [o] y [u], pero el alófono predominante es la vocal cerrada.
  • Históricamente hubo distinción fonémica de cantidad en náhuatl, es decir, las palabras podrían tener diferentes significados dependiendo en si alguna de las vocales era larga o breve. Sin embargo, la distinción parece haber desaparecido en el idioma pipil moderno.
Consonantes básicas
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Labiovelar Glotal
Oclusivas p t k [k], [g], [ɣ] kw
Africadas tz [ts] ch [tʃ]
Fricativas s sh [ʃ] j [h]
Nasales m n [n], [ŋ], [m], [ɲ]
Liquidas l
Semivocales y w [(ɣ)w]
  • El fonema /k/ frecuentemente tiene como alófonos también a [g] y a [ɣ] tanto por el contexto fonético, como por la variación dialectal que presenta la lengua.
  • El fonema /n/ tiene varios alofonos, cuya distribución es la que sigue:
  • Cuando /n/ va seguida de una vocal es usualmente alveolar.

naja 'yo, me', ini 'este', nunan 'mi madre' [n]

senpa [m] 'una vez, de nuevo', Ken tinemi? '¿Cómo estás?' [n], inchan [ɲ] 'en casa de ellos', tenkal 'puerta, patio' [ŋ]

  • Precediendo a otras consonantes o a una pausa la pronunciación de n es casi siempre velar [ŋ].

Kan nemi? '¿Dónde está (él/ella)?', anyawit 'tú (pl.) estás yéndote';

Ini ne apan 'Esto es el río', Shimutalikan! '¡Siéntate!' [ŋ]

  • A final de palabra y antes de una vocal, también es velar [ŋ].

Ken ajsik? '¿Cómo llegó él/ella?', wan ini 'y esto' [ŋ]

  • El sonido Velar [ŋ] aparece también en algunas palabras entre dos vocales; se puede representar gráficamente mediante "nh".

nemanha 'más tarde, ahora mismo', kinhita 'los ve', tenhat 'rivera' [ŋ]

La mayoría de las palabras están acentuadas en la segunda a la última sílaba. Algunos están acentuadas en la última sílaba: estás incluyen algunos compuestos léxicos como tenkal 'puerta, patio' (desde ten 'entrada' y kal 'casa'), ciertos prefijos o monosilabas reduplicadas como (opcionalmente) kajkal 'casas', y pueden ser diminutivos con -tzin o -chin. También hay palabras en estas categorías con el acento en la penúltima sílaba regular. .

Fonotáctica

  • Las sílabas pueden tener cualquier forma permitida por la fórmula (C)V(C) y las palabras pueden tener cualquier número de tales sílabas

kal 'casa', at 'agua', ne 'ahí', nu-ish 'mi ojo', a-pan 'río', mis-tun 'gato', kat-ka 'era', uj-ti 'camino', kwa-wit 'árbol, madera, vara', nu-kwaj-kwach 'mis ropas', metz-ti 'luna', nech-kwa 'él/ella me come', tzak-tuk 'cerrado', shik-tzuj-tzun-ta-mej-ti-kan '¡afilen las puntas!'

  • La mayoría de consonantes en náhuat pueden aparecer en cualquier posición, pero m y kw no pueden hacerlo al final de una sílaba (o palabra); tampoco exostem palabras que finalicen en p. Si m o kw aparecen al final de una sílaba, éstas se convierten en n y k respectivamente (ver las pronunciaciones en las tablas de arriba).

tekuma-t 'jícara' pero nu-tekun 'mi jícara', ki-tzakwa 'él/ella lo cierra' pero tzak-tuk 'cerrado'

  • J tiene una distribución limitada: nunca puede aparecer después de otra consonante y raramente lo hace al principio de una palabra. J, al final de una palabra, tiene una pronunciación débil y suele desaparecer totalmente.

naja 'Yo, me', ujti 'camino', nikwaj 'yo lo comí', shushukna(j) 'verde'

Semivocales secundarias

Cuando dos fonemas vocálicos están juntos en una misma palabra, se suele interponer una [j] (el sonido y) entre ellos (o [w] si la primera vocal es u). Esto es común cuando la primera de las dos vocales está acentuada.

  • miak 'mucho' → ['mijak]
  • *shikwa + -ashikwaya '¡cómelo!'
  • se-uk (de *se + -uk) 'otro' → ['sejuk]
  • nu-ika-w 'mi hermano menor' → [nu'wigaw]

En otros casos, si /i/ o /e/ preceden a otra vocal, se sustituyen a menudo por [j].

  • ki-pia-ya 'él ya lo tiene' → [gi'pjaja]
  • seujti (de *se + ujti) 'una vez' → ['sjuhti]

Pero esta [j] suele omitirse si aparece después de sh o ch.

  • shiawa! (por *shi-yaw-a) '¡vete ya!' → ['ʃ(j)awa]
  • shi-k-chia-kan! '¡esperen! → [ʃik'tʃ(j)akaŋ] / [-gaŋ]

Después de n alveolar o /k/ = [g], [j] se combina a menudo para producir [ɲ] (parecida a la ñ española) o /y/ [j], respectivamente.

  • niajki (por*ni-yaj-ki) 'yo fui' → ['njahki] / ['ɲahki]
  • kielkawa '´él/ella olvida' → [gjel'kawa] / [jel'kawa]

Reduplicación

La reduplicación es un proceso morfológico caracterizado en términos fonológicos y que se emplea en varias instancias del sistema gramatical pipil. La reduplicación náhuat toma la forma de una repetición de la primera sílaba de una palabra (de hecho, es solo la parte (C)V la que se repite): así, por ejemplo, la reduplicación de kunet 'niño' es ku-kunet 'niños', y un derivado de la raíz petz- 'liso' es pe-petz-ka 'una especie de pez pequeño y plateado (pepesca en el español local)'.

Otra variedad más productiva de reduplicación involucra la adición de una j luego de la reduplicación. Por ejemplo: ku-j-kunet 'niños', pe-j-petz-naj plural de petz-naj 'liso, desnudo'. En términos generales, la reduplicación simple (sin j) es gobernada por criterios léxicos; la reduplicación con j, por el contrario, es utilizada por reglas gramaticales que:

  • generan nombres y adjetivos plurales de singulares

tamal 'tortilla' → taj-tamal 'tortillas'

mistun 'gato' → mij-mistun 'gatos'

kal 'casa' → kaj-kal 'casas'

apan 'río' → aj-apan 'ríos'

  • producen verbos iterativos de verbos no iterativos

taketza 'él/ella habla' → taj-taketza 'él/ella conversa'

nemi 'él/ella está (en algún lugar)' → nej-nemi 'él/ella camina'

paki 'él/ella ríe' → paj-paki 'él/ella está feliz'

ki-ajwa 'él/ella lo regaña' → ki-aj-ajwa 'él/ella lo reprende'

Sintagma nominal

Determinante y cuantificadores

Determinantes y cuantificadores comunes
algunos determinantes algunos cuantificadores
  • ne 'el, la, los, las'
  • se 'un, una'
  • ini 'este, esta'
  • uni 'ese, esa'
  • se(j)se 'cada'
  • miak 'muchos'
  • ch(i)upi 'few, a few'
  • muchi 'todo, todos'
  • se 'uno'
  • ume 'dos'
  • yey 'tres'
  • nawi 'cuatro'
  • makwil 'cinco'

Los determinantes (con la exceción de ne) y los cuantificadores pueden usarse como pronombres, i.e. sin preceder a un nombre al que determinan o cuantifican, e.g. ne takat 'el hombre', ini techan 'esta aldea', miak kal 'muchas casas', ume siwat 'dos mujeres'.

Posesión

Los prefijos que se muestran a continuación se anteponen a los nombres para expresar a quién "pertenecen"; por ejemplo: nu-yak 'mi nariz', i-eltiw 'su hermana', tu-mistun 'nuestro gato', mu-techan 'tu pueblo'.

Índices posesivos
Posesor individual Posesor plural

nu- 'mi'

mu- 'tu'

i- 'su'

tu- 'nuestro'

anmu- 'sus (2ª persona)'

in- 'sus (3ª persona)'

Algunos nombres exigen siempre un posesor, por lo que es incorrecto en náhuat decir solamente *se yak 'una nariz' o *ne eltiw 'la hermana': en lugar de eso, uno debe decir se iyak 'una su-nariz', ne nueltiw 'la mi-hermana' o cualquier otra forma posesiva que se ajuste mejor al contexto. Los nombres que siguen esta norma son, en su mayoría, aquellos que expresan ya sea partes del cuerpo o miembros de la familia.

Otros nombres pueden aparecer con un posesor o sin él. Algunos de estos tienen dos formas distintas: la forma absoluta, que se utiliza sin el prefijo posesivo, y la forma construida, que se utiliza con el prefijo posesivo. Estos 'estados' pueden ser indicados por diferentes sufijos; por ejemplo: ne kune-t 'el niño' → ne nu-kune-w 'mi niño'; ne sin-ti 'el maíz' → ne nu-sin 'mi maíz'; ne esti 'la sangre' → ne nu-es-yu 'mi sangre'. Cuando ambos estados del nombre tienen un marcador-cero (como mistun y techan), diremos que el nombre es 'invariable'.

Sufijos absolutos y construidos
Absoluto Construido
Singular
  • -t
  • -ti
  • cero
  • -w
  • cero
Plural
  • -met
  • -ket
  • cero
  • -wan
  • cero

Los indices posesivos nos muestran la persona y número del posesor, que puede ser especificado por un sintagma nominal seguido por el sustantivo cosntruido. Cuando eso sucede, la construcción tendrá normalmente el índice de la tercera persona, e.g. ne i-mistun ne piltzin 'el gato del niño' (literalmente: 'su-gato el niño').

Existen una manera alternativa de expresar esto, si el nombre es alienable, usando la preposición pal o el relacional ipal: ne mistun pal ne piltzin ('el gato del niño'). Incluso con posesión inalienable, es posible decir ne inan pal ne piltzin ('el su-madre del niño' = 'la madre del niño').

El plural

Un nombre pueden formar el plural por dos procedimientos:

a través de reduplicación (ver más arriba)
  • mistun 'gato' → mij-mistun 'gatos'

usando los sufijo de plural (-met, -ket)

  • taka-t 'hombre' → taka-met 'hombres'

Para nombres poseídos:

Existe una sufijo especial para nombres poseídos existe un sufijo de plural especial, -wan, usado con ciertos nombres que denotan relaciones familiares y posesión inalienable.

  • nu-elti-w 'my sister' → nu-elti-wan 'my sisters'
  • nu-kunpa 'my comrade or friend' → nu-kunpawan 'my comrades or friends'
  • nu-pal 'mine' → nu-pal-wan 'my possessions'

En el resto de casos se usa la forma reduplicada del singular.

  • nu-kune-w 'my child' → nu-kuj-kune-w 'mis hijos'
  • nu-kwach 'my cloth → 'nu-kwaj-kwach 'mi(s) ropa(s)'

Sometimes the possessive prefix is reduplicated instead.

  • nu-ish 'my eye' → nuj-nu-ish 'my eyes'
  • i-kshi 'his foot' → ij-i-kshi 'his feet'

Algunas palabras pueden acompañar a un sustantivo en el sintagma nominal, como los determinantes ne, ini, uni, son invariable para número, e.j. uni mistun 'ese gato', uni mijmistun 'esos gatos'. Por otra parte, los nombres son acompañados por un cuantificador que es plural en el sentido de sí mismos, no necesitan estar en plural morfologicamente, e.j. ume mistun 'dos gatos'.

Adjetivos

Los adjetivos que se usan atributivamente preceden o siguan al nombre, e.g. se selek iswat o se iswat selek 'una hoja tierna' (selek 'tierno, fresco, verde', iswat 'hoja').

Existe una variación grande con respecto a como marcar el plural en un sintagma nominal que contiene un adjetivo. Seimpre y cuando algún elmento dentro del sintagma nominal tenga marca de plural, parece que no importa cula, o incluso cuantos elementos se pluralicen (redundamente), aunque algunos hablantes parecen indicar una preferencia por (1) marcar el plural en el primer elemento en que sea posible (lo más a la izquierda posible), y (2) evitar la redundacia, por tanto chijchiltik tzaput o tzajtzaput chiltik, pero ume chiltik tzaput o ume tzaput chiltik.

Pronombres y adverbios

Ningún sintagma nominal lleva marca de caso, y esto es igualmente cierto para los pronombres, cada uno de los cuales tiene una única forma que puede desempeñar cualquier función sintáctica en la oración.

Pronombres personales
Singular Plural

naja 'yo'

taja 'tu'

yaja 'él, ella'

tejemet 'nosotros'

anmejemet 'vosotros, ustedes'

yejemet 'ellos'

Oros pronombres y deícticos
Pronombres Adverbios de lugar Otros adverbios
Demonstrativo
  • ini, yajini 'este'
  • uni, yajuni 'ese'
  • yaja ne 'aquel(mucha distancia)'
  • nikan 'aquí'
  • unkan 'allí'
  • ne 'alla (mucha distancia)'
  • ijkini 'como este'
  • ijkiuni 'como aquel'
  • ash(k)an 'ahora, hoy'
  • kwakuni 'entonces'
  • nemanha 'tarde, después'
Interrogativo
  • 'quién?'
  • tey/tay 'qué?'
  • katiawel? 'cuál?'
  • kan? 'dónde?'
  • ken? 'cómo? cómo que?'
  • keman? 'cuándo?'
Indefinido
  • aka 'alguien'
  • inte aka 'nadie'
  • tatka 'algo, cualquier cosa, alguna cosa'
  • inte tatka 'nada'
  • kanaj 'alguna parte, en otra parte'
  • inte kanaj 'en ninguna parte, por ninguna parte'
  • nujme 'por todas partes, por donde quiera'
  • inte keman 'nunca'

Caso, preposiciones y relaciones

Ningún sintagma nominal en función argumental lleva marca de caso. Para especificar otras funciones no argumentales, típicas de un adjunto, se usa una preposición ante el nombre o pronombre. Las principales preposiciones son:

Prepositions
ka 'a, hacia (etc.)'
  • ka tiupan 'a la iglesia'
  • ka tayua 'por la noche'
tik 'en, desde (etc.)'
  • tik ne techan 'en/desde la aldea'
  • tik Nawat 'en Nawat'
pak 'on'
  • pak ne metat 'on the grinding stone'
tech 'at, by, near, to'
  • tech ne apan 'Junto al rio'
  • tech ne siwat 'Para la mujer'
wan 'with (etc.)'
  • wan ne siwat 'Con la mujer'
chan 'chez'
  • chan ne siwat 'at/to/from the woman's house'
pal 'of, for'
  • pal nunan 'Para mi madre'
  • se siwat pal nutechan 'Una mujer de mi pueblo'

Todas las preposiciones mencionadas derivan diacrónicamente de los relativos. En algunos casos, la preposición simplemente representa una abreviación del relativo simplemente omitiendo el prefijo "i-".

Relationals are quasi-nouns expressing some relationship (sometimes spatial, but not always) to their possessive complement. For example, nu-jpak, meaning 'on or over me', consists of the relational (i)jpak conveying 'position above' with a first person singular possessor. Some relationals are shown in third-person-singular forms in the following table:

Some relationals
Spatial relations Other relations
  • ijtik 'in, inside'
  • ijpak 'on, over'
  • itan 'under'
  • ishpan 'in front of'
  • ipan 'behind'
  • itech 'near, alongside'
  • iwan 'with'
  • ichan 'at/to/from the house of'
  • ipal 'for, belonging to'
  • ipanpa 'on account of, instead of'

Morfología básica del verbo

Marcas de sujeto y objeto

The following table shows the prefixes that serve to index the subject and object, respectively. (Note that in the subjunctive mood the second-person subject prefix takes the special form shi-.)

Subject and object indices
Number Person Subject

prefixes

Object

prefixes

Singular 1 ni- nech-
2 ti-, shi- metz-
3 - ki- / -k-
Plural 1 ti- tech-
2 an(h)-, shi- metzin(h)-
3 - kin(h)-

Verbs with a plural subject take a plural suffix: basically -t except in the subjunctive when -kan is used:

Subject person and number indices
Indicative Subjunctive
Number Person Prefix Suffix Prefix Suffix
Singular 1 ni- - ni- -
2 ti- shi-
3 - -
Plural 1 ti- -t ti- -kan
2 an- shi-
3 - -

Transitive verbs take, in addition, an object prefix after the subject prefix. The third-singular object prefix ki- is shortened to -k- when preceded by any of the subject prefixes ni-, ti- or shi-. This is illustrated here by the present (indicative) and subjunctive of an intransitive verb (panu 'pass') and a transitive verb with a third-person-singular object (-pia 'have'):

Sample verbs
panu (intransitive) -pia (transitive)
Number Person Present Subjunctive Present Subjunctive
Singular 1 nipanu ma nipanu nikpia ma nikpia
2 tipanu ma shipanu tikpia ma shikpia
3 panu ma panu kipia ma kipia
Plural 1 tipanut ma tipanukan tikpiat ma tikpiakan
2 anpanut ma shipanukan ankipiat ma shikpiakan
3 panut ma panukan kipiat ma kipiakan

A few examples follow:

Intransitive:

  • Nuteku tekiti tik ne mil. 'My father works in the cornfield.'
  • Taika tichuka? 'Why are you crying?'
  • Ne kujkunet kuchit. 'The children are sleeping.'

Third-person-singular object:

  • (Naja) nikpia se tiltik mistun. 'I have a black cat.'
  • (Tejemet) tiktemuat kwawit tik ne kujtan. 'We are looking for wood in the forest.'

Non-third-person-singular object:

  • Taika tinechtemua? 'Why are you looking for me?'
  • (Naja) nikinnutza ne kujkunet. 'I am calling the children.'

Transitive with third-person (zero-prefix) subject:

  • Nuteku kipia chiupi tumin. 'My father has some money.'
  • Te nechkakit ne kujkunet. 'The children cannot (do not) hear me.'

Tiempos verbales

Los tiempos (llamados así por comodidad aunque realmente se refieren tanto al aspecto, el modo como al tiempo gramatical) se caracterizan por disintos sufijos. El sufijo de plural -t se combina con cada tiempo con los otros sufijos específicos del tiempo, como se mostrará a continuación:

Terminaciones de tiempo
Singular Plural
Presente - -t
Pasado -ki, -k, -, -j -ket
Perfecto -tuk -tiwit
Futuro -s -sket
Condicional -skia -skiat
Condicional perfecto -tuskia -tuskiat
Imperfecto/Pluscuamperfecto -tuya -tuyat
Subjuntivo/Imperativo - -kan
Participio -tuk
El presente (a pesar de su nombre), el perfecto y el subjuntivo no se refieren a un tiempo específico, sino que se refieren a eentos antes, o después del momento del habla tal como se determina por el contexto. Estos tiempos expresan acción habitual en marcha (presente), acción completada (perfecto) y acción o estado potencial (subjuntivo), respectivamente:
  • Presente: Nemik se takat munamiktijtuk kipiatuya ne isiwaw, wan inte kimati katka ka kisa ka tayua. 'Había un hombre casado que tenía una esposa, y no sabía que ella acostumbraba a salir por la noche'.
  • Perfecto: Yaja pejki kikwa ne tortaj kimakatuk inan. 'Empezó a comer la empanadilla que su madre le había dado'.
  • Subjuntivo: Kilwij ma walmukwepa. 'Le dijo que volvería (o: que ella debería volver).'

El imperativo sólo difiere del subjuntov por la ausencia de la partícula gramatical introductoria ma.

  • Sujunctivo: Yawi metzilwia ma shimutali. 'Ella te dirá siéntate.'
  • Imperativo: Shikalaki wan shimutali! Entra y siéntate!'

El participio funciona como nombre o como adjetivo: no toma prefijos de objeto y se pluraliza por reduplicación más que por sufijación.

  • Nikpia se kumit tentuk wan et. 'Tengo una olla llena de judías.'
  • Nikpia yey kumit (tej)tentuk wan et. 'Tengo tres ollas llenas de judías.'

Conjugaciones

Conjugaciones regulares
Presente Pasado Perfecto Sujunctivo
I kuchi 'dormir' kuchki kuchtuk ma kuchi
II panu 'pasar' panuk panutuk ma panu
III tajtani 'preguntar' tajtan tajtantuk ma tajtani
IV mutalua 'correr' mutaluj mutalujtuk ma mutalu

Los verbos clasificados dentro de la 1ª conjugación (o clase de conjugación I) en esta tabla la terminación en -a o -i en el presente y en el subjuntivo se pierde en el pasado (que termina en -ki para esta conjugación) y el perfecto (todos los perfectos terminan en -tuk). Los verbos de la 2ª conjugación (o clase de conjugación II), que terminan en -a, -i o -u, conservan esta terminación en todos los casos, y forman el pasado en -k. La 3ª conjugación (clase III) difiere de la clase I sólo en que no existe sufijo de pasado, y sólo la raíz sin terminación alguna. Finalmente la 4ª conjugación (clase IV) está formada por verbos que acaban en -ia o -ua en el presente, pero que pierden su vocal final a en los otros tiempos (incluyendo el subjuntivo) y añaden una -j en el pasado y el perfecto.

Mutating Class I verbs
Present Past Perfect Subjunctive
pew-a 'begin' pej-ki pej-tuk ma pew-a
-inay-a 'hide' -inash-ki -inash-tuk ma -inay-a
-ku-a 'buy' -kuj-ki -kuj-tuk ma -ku-a
-pi-a 'have' -pish-ki -pish-tuk ma -pi-a

Class I includes a sub-class of mutating stems which end in the present and subjunctive in -wa, -ua, -ya or -ia. These change to -j-, -uj-, -sh- and -ish-, respectively, in the past and perfect.

Irregular verbs
Present Past Perfect Subjunctive
yaw(i) 'go' yajki yajtuk ma yaw(i)
witz 'come' walaj walajtuk ma wiki
-kwa 'eat' -kwaj -kwajtuk ma -kwa
-kwi 'take' -kwij -kwijtuk ma -kwi

There are very few truly irregular verbs. The present and subjunctive of yawi 'go' and witz 'come' are given in full here:

yawi 'go' witz 'come'
Present Subjunctive Past Present Subjunctive Past
Singular 1 niyaw ma niyaw niajki niwitz ma niwiki niwalaj
2 tiyaw ma shu tiajki tiwitz ma shiwi tiwalaj
3 yawi ma yawi yajki witz ma wiki walaj
Plural 1 tiawit ma tiawit tiajket tiwitzet ma tiwikikan tiwalajket
2 anyawit ma shumet / sh(i)akan anyajket anwitzet ma shiwimet / shiwikan anwalajket
3 yawit ma yawit yajket witzet ma wikikan walajket

Prefijo direcctional

El prefijo direccional wal- 'hacia el hablante' sigue al marcador de sujeto pero precede a los otros marcadores de objeto en verbos transitivos (excepto al objeto de tercera persona ki-). Este prefijo presenta una característica morfológica peculiar conadu es precdido por ni-, ti-, shi- o ki-, siendo en ese caso omitidas tanto la -i del prefijo anterior como la w- del direccional, dando las formas fusionadas: nal-, tal-, shal- and kal-. When ni-/ti-/shi-, ki- and wal- would all come together, the ki- component disappears altogether, so that nal-, tal- and shal- do double duty as transitive (= ni- + ki- + wal-, etc.) markers as well as intransitive (= ni- + wal-, etc.) ones. The plural object marker kin- is split in two when combined with wal-. The following examples illustrate.

kiski 'went/came out' walkiski 'came out (towards me)'
nitemuk 'I went down' naltemuk 'I came down (here)'
kiwikak 'he took (it)' kalwikak 'he brought (it)'
nikwikak 'I took (it)' nalwikak 'I brought (it)'
kinnutzki 'he called them' kalinnutzki 'he called them here'
nikinnutzki 'I called them' nalinnutzki 'I called them here'

Syntax

Non-verbal predicates

Non-verbal phrases may be employed as predicates, with no verbal element at all in the sentence.

  • Ini Carlos. 'This is Carlos.'
  • Carlos tumak. 'Carlos is fat.'
  • Yejemet tuj-tumak. 'They are fat.'

Non-verbal predicates do not have most of the morphological categories of verbs (such as tense), but some of them do take the subject indices. As usual there is no prefix for third-person subjects, hence Ini Carlos.

  • Naja ni-Carlos. 'I am Carlos.'
  • Taja ti-tumak. 'You (sg.) are fat.'
  • Tejemet ti-tuj-tumak. 'We are fat.'

Subjunctive non-verbal predicates are possible.

  • Ma ijkia! 'Let it be so!'
  • Naja niknekiskia ma nupal. 'I wish it were mine.'

Non-verbal predicates may be followed (like verbal ones) by an invariable katka which establishes a past time-frame. In a non-verbal context katka can thus be translated as was or were.

  • Naja ni-tumak katka. 'I was fat / used to be fat.'

Intransitive and transitive

Most Nawat verbs belong clearly to one of two major formal types: intransitive or transitive.

Here, intransitive verbs are understood to be those which cannot have an object and corresponding object prefixes, while transitive verbs are those which must have an object and object prefixes. Neither subject nor object noun phrases need be present in the sentence, but whether explicit or implicit, the corresponding subject and object indices must. (This statement rests on the convention of considering the index for a third-person subject to take the form of 'zero'.)

Some of the most common intransitive and transitive Nawat verbs are given below:

Some common Nawat verbs (by transitivity and conjugation class)
Intransitive:
chuka (II) cry ina (II) say kalaki (III) enter
kisa (I) go/come out kuchi (I) sleep miki (II) die
naka (II) stay nemi (II) be (in a place or state), exist nesi (II) be seen, be born
paki (II) be happy, laugh panu (II) pass pewa (I) begin
taketza (I) talk takwika (II) sing tami (II) end
tekiti (I) work temu (II) go down chuka (II) cry
weli (II) be able, know (how to) witz (irr.) come yawi (irr.) go
Transitive:
-chia (I) wait (for) -chiwa (I) make, do -ilpia (IV) tie
-ilwia (IV) tell (someone) -ishtia (IV) take out -ita (II) see
-kaki (II, IV) hear, listen to -kua (I) buy -kwa (irr.) eat
-maka (II) give (to someone) -mana (I) cook -mati (I) know, understand
-neki (II) want, love -nutza (I) call, speak to -paka (II) wash
-palewia (IV) help -pia (I) have -talia (IV) put
-temua (IV) look for -uni (II) drink -wika (I) take, carry

Valency changes

There are a number of means, grammatical or lexical, for changing a verb's valency (the number of arguments it takes) and thereby effectively 'converting' it to a different transitivity type. A considerable number of lexical pairs exist consisting of two related verbs, one intransitive and the other transitive:

The -i (intr.) ~ -a or -ia (tr.) alternation is very frequent in the lexicon, but is not productive, and does not constitute a hard-and-fast rule.

  • kelun-i (II) 'break' (intr.) ~ -kelun-a (I) 'break' (tr.)
  • tem-i (II) 'become full' (intr.) ~ -tem-a (I) 'fill' (tr.)
  • shin-i (II) 'be sprinkled' (intr.) ~ -shini-a (IV) 'sprinkle' (tr.)
  • tam-i (II) 'end' (intr.) ~ -tami-a (IV) 'end' (tr.)

A more productive lexical derivation that increases valency is the causative suffix -tia.

  • kalak-i (II) 'enter' (intr.) ~ -kalak-tia (IV) 'put in, bring in' (tr.)
  • mik-i (II) 'die' (intr.) ~ -mik-tia (IV) 'kill' (tr.)
  • panu (II) 'pass' (intr.) ~ -panul-tia (IV) 'cause to pass' (tr.)
  • tawan-i (II) 'get drunk' (intr.) ~ -tawan-tia (IV) 'get (someone) drunk' (tr.)

Apart from such purely lexical alternations, there are two prefixes with specific grammatical functions which, attached to transitive verbs, reduce their surface valency (when they are used, there is no object prefix):

The unaccusative prefix ta- indicates that the object is indefinite or unspecified. Compare: Yaja ki-kwa 'He eats it', Yaja ki-kwa ne et 'He eats the beans', but Yaja ta-kwa 'he eats'.

  • -kwa 'eat' (tr.) → ta-kwa (unspecified object)
  • -mana 'cook' (tr.) → ta-mana (unspecified object)
  • -paka 'wash' (tr.) → ta-paka (unspecified object)

The unergative prefix mu- avoids mentioning the agent, and the underlying object gets re-encoded as surface subject, e.g. Mu-kwa 'It gets eaten', Mu-kwa ne et 'The beans get eaten'.

  • -kwa 'eat' (tr.) → mu-kwa 'get eaten'
  • -mana 'cook' (tr.) → mu-mana 'get cooked'

Mu- has three other possible meanings, all involving a survace valency decrease: reflexive, reciprocal and middle.

  • Reflexive: -paka 'wash' (tr.) → mu-paka 'wash oneself'
  • Reciprocal: -ita 'see' (tr.) → mu-ita 'see each other'
  • Middle: -namiktia 'marry (tr.) → mu-namiktia 'get married'

Unmarked oblique complements

Some Nawat verbs have a complement which does not correspond to any index in the verb. These include the following:

Intransitive verbs taking a locative complement. In this case the complement may optionally be replaced by a prepositional or relational phrase.

  • Naja niyaw Sentzunat. 'I am going to Sonsonate.'

(also: Naja niyaw ka Sentzunat.)

  • Yaja nemi Awachapan. 'She is in Ahuachapán.'

(also: Yaja nemi tik Awachapan.)

Ditransitive verbs, i.e. transitive verbs with two 'objects'. Generally one of these has the semantic role of recipient or affected party, and this will be encoded as grammatical object in Nawat. The other complement, normally in a patient role, is made the unmarked oblique complement.

  • Ne siwat nechmakak ne tumin. 'The woman gave me the money.'
  • Yaja kinmachtia Nawat. 'He teaches them Nawat.'
  • Nechishtilijket ne nupiltzin. 'They took my son from me.'

Valency-reduced ditransitives, i.e. verbs of the preceding type that undergo valency-reduction with ta- or mu-, thereby becoming two-argument verbs without a grammatical object. For example, ta-machtia 'teach (something)' (without saying whom we teach).

  • Yaja tamachtia Nawat. 'He teaches Nawat.'
  • Ne siwat tamakak tumin. 'The woman gave money.'

With mu- we have mu-machtia 'learn, study' (i.e. 'teach oneself').

  • Yejemet mumachtiat Nawat. 'They learn (or study) Nawat.'

Verb sequences

There are several ways for a verb to be subordinated to another (preceding) verb.

  • If the verbs have different subjects:

the subordinate verb may be in the subjunctive (always introduced by ma)...

  • Nikneki ma shinaka. 'I want you to stay.'
...or in the present tense introduced by pal or ka.
  • Niwalajtuk nikan pal titaketzat. 'I have come here so that we may talk.' (literally 'I have come here for we talk')
  • Ken tikchiwki ka yawi ne tawanani? 'How did you get the drunkard to go away?' (lit. 'How did you make that (he) goes away the drunkard?')
But if the first object is the same as the second subject, there may be no subordinator with the present (serial verb construction).
  • Inte nechajkawa nikalaki. 'She won't let me in.' (literally 'She doesn't let me I enter')
  • When both verbs share the same subject:

Pal may again be used, with both verbs indexed for the same subject:

  • Niwalaj ka nikan pal nitaketza muwan. 'I came here in order to talk to you.' (lit. 'I came here for I talk with you')
The two verbs may be juxtaposed with no intervening subordinator, again with both verbs indexed for the same subject and the second in the present (i.e. unmarked) tense. Called the serial verb construction, this pattern is very pervasive and has many uses in Nawat.
  • Niajki nitaketza iwan. 'I went to speak to him.' (literally 'I went I speak with him')
  • Nikistuk nipashalua. 'I have come out for a stroll.' (lit. 'I have gone out I stroll')
  • Nimuketzki niktatia tit. 'I got up to light the fire.' (lit. 'I got up I light the fire')
  • Nimukwepki nikita. 'I turned around to see.' (lit. 'I turned round I see')
  • Yaja mutalia chuka. 'He is sitting (there) crying.' (lit. 'He sits he cries')

Periphrastic TAM constructions

The serial construction also serves as the structure for a number of compound expressions of tense, aspect and modality, e.g.

yawi (present) + V (periphrastic future)

  • Naja niyaw nimumachtia Nawat. 'I am going to (or I will) learn Nawat.'
nemi + V 'be V-ing'
  • Tejemet tinemit titakwat. 'We are eating.'
pewa + V 'start V-ing'
  • Ne piltzin pejki chuka. 'We boy started to cry.'
-neki + V 'want to V'
  • Naja niknekiskia nimetzpalewia. 'I would like to help you.'
weli + V 'can/be able to/know how to V'
  • Taja tiweli titaketza yek. 'You can speak well.'

But there are also constructions, or variant expressions, that depart from this pattern somewhat.

The invariable word katka, which means 'was' or 'before, in the past', may occur following a verb form to establish past or habitual reference, e.g. inte kimati katka 'he didn't know'.

Negation

Negative particles immediately precede either a verb or a non-verbal predicate. Basically there are three of them:

the ordinary negator inte (with a shorter form: te and a dialect variant tesu),

  • Ne siwatket inte walajtiwit. 'The women have not come.'
  • Tesu nikmati. 'I do not know.'
  • Naja te ni-Carlos. 'I am not Carlos.'
the less frequent nian or nan, which is conjunctive or emphatic,
  • Yejemet inte takwajket nian atiket. 'They neither ate nor drank.'
and the prohibitive maka or .
  • Maka shalmukwepa! 'Don't come back!'

They also combine with pronouns and adverbs to yield other negative expressions, e.g. (in)te (t)atka 'nothing', (in)te aka 'no one', (in)te keman 'never', nian aka 'no one at all, and no one', maka keman 'never ever!', etc.: Inte nikmati tatka (datka) 'I know nothing', Maka shikilwi aka! 'Do not tell anyone!'

Phase

Two suffixes, -a and -uk, lend different phasal nuances to a predicate, i.e. they add certain temporal (or related) notions, expressing that a situation has already been reached (with -a) or that it still obtains (with -uk). The more common phasal suffix, -a, is also used simply to place emphasis on the predicate so marked. Compare for example:

  • Nemi takwal. 'There is some food.'
  • Nemia takwal. 'There is food now.' (implies there wasn't any before)
  • Nemiuk takwal. 'There is still food.' (implies there was food before too)

In negative sentences, the phasal suffixes are added to the negative particle, for example:

  • Inte (te, tesu) nemi takwal. 'There is no food.'
  • Intea (teya, teya su) nemi takwal. 'There is no more food.'
  • Inteuk (teyuk) nemi takwal. 'There is no food yet.'

Questions

Yes-no questions are not differentiated grammatically from the corresponding statements. They may be affirmative, e.g. Taja tikmati? 'Do you know?', or negative, e.g. Inte tikitak kanka witz? 'Didn't you see where he was coming from?'

For replying affirmatively to yes-no questions, one may use E / Ej / Eje 'Yes', and sometimes Kia 'That's right' (literally 'So'). But it is equally common to respond using the appropriately inflected form of the main verb of the question, e.g. (offering a cookie, for example) Tikneki se? - Nikneki 'Would you like one? - I would', Weli titaketza Nawat? - Weli 'Can you speak Nawat? - I can'. The standard negative answer is Inte / Te / Tesu 'No', or again, the verb of the question negated: Tikitak uni takat ka ne? - Te nikitak 'Did you see that man over there? - I did not'. Other idiomatic responses include Nusan 'Also', Teika inte! or Taika te! 'Why not!' and Inte / Te / Tesu nikmati 'I don't know'.

Wh-questions are formed with a wh-word which usually immediately precedes the predicate (verbal or non-verbal.

Indirect questions are introduced by either (a)su 'if, whether' or a wh-expression, depending on the kind of question.

Coordination

Wan or iwan (which is also the preposition and relational 'with') serves as an all-purpose coordinating conjunction. There seem not to be any specialised native words for 'but' and 'or' (unless ush 'or' is one), and the Spanish words pero and o are sometimes used. N(i)an 'nor' may be used to coordinate negative statements. Mal or melka 'although, even though' can form adversative clauses, e.g. Niyaw niyaw, mal-te/melka te nikneki 'I will go, although I don't want to'. Nusan 'also' is common, e.g. Yaja nusan walaj 'She also came'; its negative counterpart is simply nusan te... 'not...either', e.g. Naja nusan te nikneki nitakwa 'I don't want to eat either'.

Subordination

subordinate clauses are introduced by subordinators; the following table illustrates some of the most common:

subor-dinator translation use example
ka 'that', 'because' general complementizer, reason
  • Yaja ina ka te kimati tatka. 'He says that he doesn't know anything (about it).'
  • Ne ejekat witz sesek ka ne mishti kitzakwa ne tunal. 'The wind comes cold because clouds cover the sun.'
ma (subjunc-tive) 'that', 'to' unrealized different-subject complements, purpose
  • Nikneki ma shitakwika. 'I want you to sing.'
  • Yek ma mumachtikan. 'It is good that they should learn.'
  • Shikajkawa ne at ma seseya. 'Leave the water to cool.'
pal '(in order) to', 'for...to' purpose
  • Ne tujtutut welit patanit pal kitemuat takwal. 'Birds are able to fly in order to seek food.'
  • Nalwikatuk ini pal tikwa. 'I have brought this for you to eat.'
(a)su 'if' condition, indirect question
  • Su te nitekiti, te tiawit titakwat. 'If I do not work we will not eat.'
  • Shiktajtanili su weli metzmaka chiupi at. 'Ask her if she can give you some water.'
kwak 'when' time clause
  • Kwak niajsik, te nemituya aka. 'When I arrived, there wasn't anybody there.'

Relative clauses, which always follow (rather than precede) their head, may be simply juxtaposed clauses, or introduced by the article ne, the general complementizer ka or the interrogative pronoun (the last two being distinguished phonologically in various ways in the dialects). Headless relative clauses are introduced by interrogative pronouns.

Lexicon

General

As regards origin, the Pipil lexicón consists of the following components:

  • the central component (by far the largest): native or inherited vocabulary, nearly all shared (with minor variations) with Mexican Nahuatl, though the lexeme pool is patently smaller than that of Classical Nahuatl)
  • a small number of loans from surrounding indigenous languages
  • loans from Spanish, the proportion of which fluctuates depending on the speaker and register, and which includes loans of varying antiquity and degree of integration
  • neologisms proposed by some speakers or writers based on extending the native vocabulary component
  • loans from Mexican Nahuatl varieties proposed by some speakers or writers

There exist mechanisms of native origin for the creation of derived and compound words. No doubt these were more actively used in the language's past, since some such mechanisms are only attested in fossilized form. In more recent periods of the language, use of such procedures appears to have decreased, and with them the productivity of the procedures themselves.

Derivation

A selection of well-attested derivational affixes follows:

affix function meaning examples
-k or -tik suffix adjectives general adjective suffix
  • ista-t 'salt' → ista-k 'white'
  • -kukua 'hurt' → kuku-k 'painful, spicy-hot'
  • chil 'pepper' → chil-tik 'red'
-tuk suffix adjectives from verbs participle or stative adjective
  • wak-i (verb) 'dry' → wak-tuk 'dry (adj.)'
  • mik-i 'die' → mik-tuk 'dead'
-na(j) suffix adjectives cf. '-ish', '-y'
  • chil-tik 'red' → chi-chil-naj 'reddish'
  • petz-tik 'bare, naked' → petz-naj 'smooth'
-yu suffix nouns from nouns 'special' inalienables (non-productive)
  • a-t 'water' → -a-yu 'juice, sauce, soup'
  • -teku 'father' → -tekuyu 'master'
te- prefix nouns from nouns alienable from inalienable (non-productive)
  • -nan 'mother' → te-nan '(somebody's) mother'
  • -pal 'property' → te-pal 'belonging to somebody (else)'
-tzin/chin suffix nouns from nouns diminutive (or honorific) suffix
  • te-t 'stone, rock' → te-chin 'little stone'
  • -nan 'mother' → nan-tzin 'lady'
-pala suffix nouns from nouns old, pejorative suffix
  • kwach-ti 'cloth' → kwach-pala / kwech-pala 'rag'
  • siwa-t 'woman' → siwa-pala 'whore'
-tal suffix nouns from nouns collective suffix, plantation
  • chapulin 'locust' → chapulin-tal 'swarm of locusts'
  • kamuj 'cassava' → kamuj-tal 'cassava patch'
-l suffix nouns from verbs object of action
  • ta-kwa 'eat' → ta-kwa-l 'food, animal'
-ni suffix nouns from verbs agent
  • ta-machtia 'teach' → ta-machtia-ni 'teacher'
  • miki 'die' → miki-ni 'dead body'
-lis suffix nouns from verbs action or result
  • ta-kaki 'hear' → ta-kaki-lis 'hearing'
  • takwika 'sing' → takwika-lis 'song'
-ya suffix intransitive verbs from adjectives inchoative
  • sese-k 'cold' → sese-ya 'get cold'
-tia suffix transitive verbs from verbs causative
  • miki 'die' → -mik-tia 'kill'
  • kalaki 'enter' → -kalak-tia 'put in, bring in'
-(i)lia suffix ditransitive verbs from transitive verbs applicative
  • -ishtia 'take out/away' → -ishti-lia 'take out/away from (someone)'
  • -chiwa 'do' → -chiw-ilia 'do (something) to (someone)'
mu- prefix intransitive verbs from transitive verbs reflexive or medio-passive
  • -talia 'put' → mu-talia 'sit'
  • -altia 'bath (trans.)' → m-altia (for *mu-altia) 'bathe (intrans.)'
ta- prefix verbs from transitive verbs unaccusative (though sometimes re-transtivized)
  • -chia 'wait for' → ta-chia 'look, see'
  • -mutia 'scare' → ta-mutia 'be scary'

Ideophones

Ideophones are a distinct set of lexical items, often denoting some process that is directly perceived by the senses (such as a kind of sound or visual experience), which enter into a special range of language-specific grammatical patterns. Nawat is one of many languages possessing such items and the associated patterns, which in this case are 'expressive' verb formations. The root form of a typical Nawat ideophone is a CVCV sequence, e.g. -chala-, -china-, -kelu-, -kina-, -kumu-, -kwala-, -tapa-, -tikwi-, -tzaya-, -tzili-, -tzutzu-. These roots are not words and only acquire full meaning when they enter into one or another of the derivational patterns for Nawat ideophones. Some at least are probably onomatopoeic in origin.

The four most common morphological patterns for such Nawat verb formations are the following (R represents the ideophone root, rR a reduplicated root without j):

pattern type of formation examples
Rni intransitive diffusion verbs
  • kelu-ni 'break (intr.)'
  • kumu-ni 'swarm'
  • kwala-ni 'get angry'
  • tapa-ni 'explode'
  • tikwi-ni 'thunder'
  • tzili-ni 'ring'
-Rna or -Rnia transitive diffusion verbs
  • kelu-na 'break (tr.)'
  • tapa-na 'cause to explode'
  • tzaya-na 'cause to split'
  • tzutzu-na 'play a musical instrument'
  • kumu-nia 'excite'
rRka intransitive repetitive verbs
  • cha-chala-ka 'chatter'
  • chi-china-ka 'burn'
  • ki-kina-ka 'complain'
  • kwa-kwala-ka 'boil'
-rRtza transitive repetitive verbs
  • -ke-kelu-tza 'stir, shake'

Incorporation

Classical Nahuatl is characterized by widespread use of the device of incorporation. This is a grammatical and lexical phenomenon found in different guises in many languages. The Nahuatl system is quite well known to linguists because it is often cited as an example in linguistic literature.

Briefly, in incorporation a lexeme potentially representing one of a verb's semantic arguments or adjuncts, rather than forming a separate grammatical constituent is allowed to be attached directly to the verb itself thereby forming a compound verb. In Nahuatl this incorporated lexeme is prefixed to the verb.

In Pipil, examples of this kind of structure also occur. However, their use is far less widespread than in Classical Nahuatl, and the process is barely (if at all) productive. Therefore existing examples rather resemble ordinary lexicalized compounds. Furthermore, most of those used involve one of a specific, limited range of incorporating elements which show considerable grammaticalization and are therefore perhaps best viewed, in the Pipil context at least, simply as derivational prefixes.

The grammaticalization of these elements manifests itself in form, meaning and function. The Pipil forms of some of these incorporating stems are somewhat specialized phonologically; moreover, some of the forms used for incorporation no longer have corresponding full-word counterparts.

Most of the narrow set of widely-used incorporating elements belong to a single semantic set, that of body parts. While in some compounds the literal meanings of such elements subsists, in many others they only retain a broadly metaphorical sense, while in some it is quite difficult to perceive any particular meaning at all.

A selection of Pipil 'incorporation prefixes' with illustrations of some of their uses follows:

prefix meaning(s) full word examples
a- water a-t 'idem'
  • -a-pachua 'immerse in water' (cf. -pachua 'press, flatten')
  • -a-paka 'wash (in water)' (cf. -paka 'wash')
  • -a-kalaki 'enter in water' (cf. -kalaki 'enter')
ek- good / well yek 'idem'
  • -ek-chiwa 'arrange, prepare' (cf. -chiwa 'make, do')
el- chest, mind (none)
  • -el-namiki 'remember' (cf. -namiki 'meet')
  • -el-kawa 'forget' (cf. -(aj)kawa 'leave')
ish- eye / face / front -ish 'eye'
  • -ish-mati 'know, be familiar with, recognize' (cf. -mati 'know')
  • -ish-kwepa 'turn around, turn over' (cf. -kwepa 'turn')
ku- (1) tree / wood / stick kwawit 'idem' (construct -kwaw)
  • ku-temu 'climb down' (cf. temu 'descend')
ku- (2) head (none)
  • -ku-pachua 'hold down (by the head?)' (cf. -pachua 'press, flatten')
ma- hand -mey, -may 'idem'
  • -ma-paka 'wash hands' (cf. -paka 'wash')
sen- one / together se 'one'
  • sen-ta-kwa 'eat together' (cf. (ta)-kwa 'eat')
ten- mouth / opening / door -ten 'idem'
  • -ten-namiki 'kiss, revere' (cf. -namiki 'meet')
  • -ten-tzakwa 'close' (cf. -tzakwa 'cover, close')
tzin- bottom / base (none)
  • -tzin-kutuna 'cut down' (cf. -kutuna 'cut')
tzun- head -tzuntekun 'head'
  • -tzun-teki 'wound' (cf. -teki 'cut')
yul- heart, mind, life -yulu 'heart', yultuk 'alive'
  • yul-taketza 'think' (cf. taketza 'speak')
  • mu-yul-kwepa 'revive, come back to life' (cf. -kwepa '(re)turn')

Examples of sentences containing incorporation compounds:

  • Ne isiwaw mukechkupina kisa pashalua. 'His wife would divide in two at the neck [and the head would] go out and have fun.' (mu-kech-kupina 'REFLEXIVE + neck + separate')
  • Pejki kitzinkutuna muchi ne ijikshi tatuk. 'He started to cut down all the corn stalks.' (ki-tzin-kutuna 'OBJECT + base + cut')
  • Kan kitak ka mutalujket, kutemuk wan kianki ne tumin. 'When he saw that they had run away, he climbed down the tree and picked up the money.' (ku-temu-k 'tree + descend + PAST')
  • Yejemet kikwit ne at pal kiunit wan pal mumapakat. 'They use the water for drinking and washing (their hands).' (mu-ma-paka-t 'REFLEXIVE + hand + wash + PLURAL)'

Other compounds

Lexical stems may combine to form other kinds of lexical compounds. Compounding mechanisms may still exist in the spontaneous language use of some speakers (to the extent that they still have spontaneous language use) but there is limited evidence for their natural, productive application.

Where traditional compounds are concerned, much of what has beensaid about incorporation is equally applicable. In fact, the same lexical combining forms that predominate in incorporation verbs often reappear in other compounds. Since these tend to be monosyllables with a low level of semantic specificity, we may call them 'light elements' and the compounds they form 'light compounds'.

Some 'light' compounds
first element second element compound meaning of compound
a- 'water' kua- 'snake' a-kua-t 'eel'
ish- 'eye, face' kal 'house' ish-kal-yu 'face'
ma- 'hand' -kwi 'take' ma-kwi-l 'five'
ma- 'hand' pipil 'child, diminutive' ma-pipil 'finger'
sen- 'one' -pua 'count' sen-pua-l 'five, twenty (lit. one-count)'
ten- 'mouth, opening' kal 'house' ten-kal 'patio, door'
ten- 'mouth, opening' -tzun- 'hair' -ten-tzun 'beard, moustache'
tzin- 'bottom, base' kal 'house' tzin-kal 'corner'
tzun- 'head' -tukay 'name' -tzun-tukay 'surname'

Compounds containing more than one 'heavy' lexeme are rather rarer, and when new ones are proposed it is perhaps most often in response to the pressure of Spanish, i.e. in attempts to find a 'native' equivalent to a Spanish word in order to avoid a loanword. In the following table, '%' preceding a word indicates a neologism (proposed by at least one native speaker).

Some 'heavy' compounds
first element second element compound meaning of compound
achtu 'first, before' -ish 'eye'  %achtu-ish 'spectacles' (cf. Spanish 'ante-ojos')
kujtan 'forest, countryside' kuyam-et 'pig' kujtan-kuyam-et 'peccary' (cf. Spanish 'tunco de monte' )
kujtan 'forest, countryside' techan 'village' kujtan-techan 'hamlet' (Spanish 'cantón' )
naka- 'meat' tamal 'tortilla' naka-tamal 'tamale (with meat filling)'
siwa- 'female' mistun 'cat' siwa-mistun 'female cat'
tajku 'middle, half' tunal 'day' tajku-tunal 'noon'
tepus- 'iron' patani 'fly'  %tepus-patani 'plane'
tzupelek 'sweet' kisa 'come out' tzupelek-kisa 'become sweet'
ujti 'road, way' patawak 'wide' ujti-patawak 'main road'
ukich 'male' tijlan 'hen, chicken' ukich-tijlan 'rooster'

Loanwords

When speakers fail to find an adequate word or expression in Nawat they may (1) employ a circumlocution (for example, they could call the kitchen kan titamanat '(the place) where we cook'), (2) borrow a Spanish word or expression (e.g. ne kosina 'the cocina' ), or (3) simply code-switch. However, when we speak of loanwords we have in mind items of foreign origin that have become habitual elements of Nawat usage and may also have undergone adaptation as a result.

Spanish loans into Nawat include some very common words indeed, such as mas 'more' or pero 'but'. Some loans, particularly older ones, may adopt forms or meanings which differentiate them from their Spanish source, e.g. pelu 'dog' (Spanish perro), mesaj 'table' (Sp. mesa), noya 'grandmother' (from Spanish señora 'lady'). There are also cases where the source form or meaning has become less common or disappeared from contemporary Spanish usage (at least in the standard varieties) but lives on in Nawat, e.g. tumin 'coin, money' (older Spanish tomín). In such cases as these, speakers may be unaware of a word's historical origin and simply view it as 'typical Nawat', even preferring it to a neologism created with an intention of greater 'authenticity'.

  • Tiut tiawit aber su timuchiwa alegrar chupi. 'We'll go and see if you cheer up a little.'
  • Pero kenemej tesu mawiltia ka afuera, muchijki entristecer. 'But in this way he didn't play outside, he became sad.'
  • Nu amiguj ikustuj na nikchiwa contar cuentos. 'My friend likes me to tell stories.'
  • Ashkan tiksajsakat chikwasen pual kushtal aros. 'Today we'll carry a hundred and twenty sacks of rice.'
  • Musta tiu-tiawit ashta ne tatzinu. 'Tomorrow we'll go towards the south.'
  • Tesu kimati katka ka ne isiwaw se brujaj. 'He didn't know that his wife was a witch.'
  • Ne musiwapiltzin yaja mas selek. 'Your daughter is younger.'
  • Tay ora tinemit? 'What time is it?' (literally 'What hour are we (at)?'

With one possible exception (pashalua 'go for a walk, take time off work' < *pasyarua < Spanish pasear + the non-productive verb suffix -ua), verbs can only be borrowed into Nawat from other languages in an invariable form based on the Spanish infinitive. Such forms cannot be conjugated directly. Instead, they must be preceded by the Nawat verb -chiwa 'make, do' to form compound expressions, e.g. from Spanish escribir 'write' we have Nawat nikchiwa escribir (contracted to nikcha escribir) 'I write' (literally 'I do escribir' ), tikchiwket or tikchijket escribir 'we wrote' (lit. 'we did escribir' ), etc.

Dialect variation

Dialects

Pipil internal dialect variation is incompletely documented at present. While recognising the existence of important gaps in our knowledge (which or may or may not ever be filled, as the last native speakers pass on), we do know of two well-defined dialect areas, at least as far as the department of Sonsonate is concerned which may tentatively be called Upland and Lowland respectively. The Upland dialect area includes the towns of Izalco and Nahuizalco, the Lowland area those of Santo Domingo de Guzmán and Cuisnahuat. Present knowledge also includes some points of differentiation between Santo Domingo and Cuisnahuat. Thus for practical purposes we are chiefly able to speak of three known varieties: Izalco, Cuisnahuat and Santo Domingo.

Phonological variation

  • The /k/ phoneme has voiced allophones more frequently in Lowland, especially in Santo Domingo.
  • Syllable-final /l/ (as in kal 'house', chiltik 'red') is sometimes devoiced; no clear dialect distribution can be formulated for this trait, however.
  • Pre-consonantal /s/ following /i/ (as in mistun 'cat') is often palatalized; again no precise distribution can be stated.
  • In some areas the evolution of secondary semivowels described above for unstressed syllables also takes place in stressed syllables, the stress then falling on the vowel following the semivowel giving rise to word-final stress, e.g. /maltia/ 'bathes' → [mal'tja] (rather than [mal'tija]), and /kuat/ 'snake' → ['kwat] (instead of ['kuwat], ['guwat]). This feature has been attested for Nahuizalco and for the department of Ahuachapan, but a complete isogloss remains to be drawn.

Morphological variation

  • The plural prefixes with a nasal element (in(h)-, kin(h)-) tend to be avoided by some speakers in Santo Domingo, but this appears to be a new development.
  • The sequence /nm/ in second person plural forms (anmejemet, anmu-) is variously altered: amejemet, amu-, anhejemet, awmejemet, mejemet...).
  • For Izalco nikan 'here', ashan 'now, today', nemá 'later', kwakuni 'then' and ijkiuni 'like that', Santo Domingo has nin, an, nemanha, kunij ([g-]) and kiunij ([k-]).
  • 'What' and 'who':
Izalco/Upland Cuisnahuat Santo Domingo
'what' tey ta tay
'who' ka ka gaj
  • There are many differences between the assignment of individual verbs to one or another conjugation class, most noticeably affecting past tense formation.
  • The verb yawi 'go' possesses both longer and shorter forms (e.g. niyaw versus niu, nu...), but the latter vary between dialects.
  • The verb -chiwa 'make, do' possesses full and short forms (e.g. nikchiwa versus nikcha), but -cha is more general in Upland dialects.
  • The verb -maka 'give' and derivatives (such as -namaka 'sell') are normally contracted to monosyllabic -ma in Upland speech.
  • Some sporadic differences in verb valencies, e.g. in Izalco tajtani 'ask' is intransitive, in Santo Domingo transitive.
  • General negative particle: Upland inte, Lowland te(su).
  • Miscellaneous differences in the forms of some words, e.g.
Izalco/Upland Cuisnahuat Santo Domingo
'arrive' así ajsi ajsi
'tell' -ilia -ilwia -ilwia
'forest, country' kujtan kujtan kojtan

Syntactic variation

  • Somewhat different periphrastic tense constructions are found in Upland and Lowland dialects.
  • Izalco dialect often adds ne to subordinators, e.g. kwak ne 'when', kan ne 'where', tay ne 'what', pal ne 'in order for'.

Lexical variation

A few examples of inter-dialectal lexical differences follow:

Izalco/Upland Cuisnahuat Santo Domingo
'be born' takati waltakati nesi
'brother (older)' -echkaw -man -manuj (< Sp. hermano
'high' wejkapan kujtik kojtik
'laugh' wetzka wetzka paki
'party, fiesta' yualu ilwit ilwit
'remain' mukawa naka naka
'send, order' -titania -tuktia -tuktia

Spelling systems

Among the works published since the early twentieth century until the present in which the Pipil language is described or transcribed at any length, rarely do two authors fully coincide in the spelling conventions they use. The spelling system used in this article is that employed in recently produced materials associated with the Nawat language recovery initiative IRIN. The following table allows this to be compared to with other spelling systems, ordered approximately in reverse chronological order.

Comparison of spelling systems
IRIN/

this article

Geoffroy Rivas/

Lemus

Campbell Schultze Jena Spanish-based
a a a a a
e e e e e
i i i i i
u u u u u, o
p p p p p
t t t t t
k k k k k, c, qu
k k k g g, gu
kw q kw ku ku, cu
tz z ts ts tz, ts
ch c ch č ch
s s s s s, z, c
sh x x š sh
j h h χ j
m m m m m
n n (m) n (m) n, ń, m n (m)
l l l l l
y y y y (i) y (i)
w w w u u, hu, gu, gü

See also

Referencias

  • Arauz, Próspero (1960). El pipil de la región de los Itzalcos. (Edited by Pedro Geoffroy Rivas.) San Salvador: Ministerio de Cultura.
  • Calvo Pacheco, Jorge Alfredo (2000). Vocabulario castellano-pipil pípil-kastíyan. Izalco, El Salvador.
  • Campbell, Lyle. (1985). The Pipil language of El Salvador. Mouton grammar library (No. 1). Berlin: Mouton Publishers. ISBN 0-89925-040-8 (U.S.), ISBN 3-11-010344-3.
  • Geoffroy Rivas, Pedro (1969). El nawat de Cuscatlán: Apuntes para una gramática. San Salvador: Ministerio de Educación.
  • King, Alan R. (2004a). ¡Conozcamos el náhuat! El Salvador: IRIN.
  • King, Alan R. (2004b). Gramática elemental del náhuat. El Salvador: IRIN.
  • King, A.R. (typescript). Léxico básico náhuat.
  • Lemus, Jorge Ernesto (1997a). "Formación de palabras y léxico pipil." In: Estudios lingüísticos. San Salvador: Concultura.
  • Lemus, Jorge Ernesto (1997b). "Alfabeto pipil: una propuesta." In: Estudios lingüísticos. San Salvador: Concultura.
  • Lemus, Jorge Ernesto (1998). "Fonología métrica del pipil." In: Memoria: IV Congreso Lingüístico/I Simposio "Pueblos Indígenas de El Salvador y sus fronteras". San Salvador: Concultura.
  • Lemus, Jorge Ernesto ([1988]). "A sketch grammar of the Nahuat spoken in Santo Domingo de Guzmán." Bachelor's thesis, Universidad Evangélica de El Salvador. (unpublished typescript)
  • Ramírez Vázquez, Genaro (undated typescript). "Pequeña guía para introducción al náhuat."
  • Todd, Juan G. (1953). Notas del náhuat de Nahuizalco. San Salvador: Editorial "Nosotros".
Obtenido de "Gram%C3%A1tica pipil"

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