Lesson Three - Part Two
Animate (AI) versus Inanimate (II) Subjects - Continued



When putting verbs together, one part of the verb always stays the same, or almost the same. In the previous examples, these would be niihoo- ("yellow"), bee'- ("red), woo'(o)tee- ("black"), and nii'- ("good"). This is known as the root of the verb. The other part of the verb changes according to whether it is used with an animate or inanimate thing. The rule is:


root + -(n)eihi- Animate things
root + -(y)oo- Inanimate things


When the root ends in a vowel, then -n- is added before -eihi- and -y- is added for inanimate things, as with niihoo- (these are called glide consonants by linguists). When the root ends with a consonant, as in "heniiyoot-/ heniiyoo3-," this is not necessary. The root combined with these verb suffixes forms what we call the verb stem. With this rule, you can take many different roots and make whole words with them:


     neniice'- (gray)
     nenííce'éíhinoo I am gray
It is gray
     nenííce'eihínee You two are gray
     nenííce'éí'i Those are gray
     hee- (long/tall)
     heenéíht He is long/tall
     heeyóó' It is long/tall
Play  heeneihí3i' They are long/tall
Play  heeyóú'u Those are long/tall



Exercises for Lesson Three