Lesson Six - Part Two
Inanimate Nouns and Possession


The following is an old Ghost Dance Song.


heisonoonin houu Our father the crow,
beehiineenitii[t] He created everything.
heisonoonin Our father.


Notice that when it talks about "our" father, there is no separate word for "our." Instead, "our father" is all one word. In fact, the beginning prefix he- indicates 'your,' while the final suffix -in changes the meaning to 'yours and mine' – in other words, 'our.' This is called possession, and the details on who the possessor is – whether it's 'my father' or 'your father' or 'her father' – are always indicated by prefixes and suffixes, which we will learn in this section.


he-isonoon-in houu beehii-neenitii-t he-isonoon-in
our father crow all-create/do-he our father


Arapaho uses a set of prefixes to indicate ownership - "my name," "your cup." The dashes are added simply to help you see the new parts that are added to the word. They are not actually part of written or spoken Arapaho.


Play  ne-niisih'íit my name Play  neniisih'íit-ono my names
Play  he-niisih'íit your name Play  heniisih'íit-ono your names
Play  hi-niisih'íit his/her name Play  hiniisih'íit-ono his/her names

Play  neniisih'íit-oonínoo our name / names
Play  heniisih'íit-óónin our(incl) name or names
Play  heniisih'íit-oonínoo your(pl) name or names
Play  hiniisih'íít-oonínoo their name or names


The -oon- after the noun is simply a modified form of the plural -on-o. It is required with 1plural, 12, 2plural, and 3plural. When a noun already ends with long vowels or diphthongs, then there is no additional change: touyoo becomes notouyoo, 'my cup,' notouyoono, 'my cups', hitouyooninoo, 'their cups.' Note that Arapaho does not distinguish between "our name" and "our names."



Go on to Part Three of this Lesson