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Module 2

Intransitive Sentences with Proper Noun Subjects


In Module 2 will discuss the pattern of intransitive sentences with proper noun subjects, subject referring to a specific individual. Like in Module 1, sentences discussed here are "declarative" sentences that state a fact or describe a situation, For example, Sunaałit Garfiield (Garfield is tired). In this example, Garfield is a proper noun because it refers to a specific individual.


​Sunaałit Garfield​​.

Sunaałit Garfield.

is tired.



proper noun

The previous two mini-modules discussed the pattern of basic declarative intransitive sentences with common noun subjects (Mini-Module 1) and the special pattern of sentences with no subject that is used for "weather words and tides" in Sm'algya̱x (Mini-Module 1A). They follow the pattern:

Recall the sentence structure described in Module 1: Time Marker verb-a connective - common noun subject - end.

Key points to remember:


  • Sm'algyax uses the word order Time MarkerVerbSubject Object,  while English uses the word order SubjectVerb (with connected time marker) – Object

  • Each of the components of a Sm'algya̱x sentence is "glued" to the next component by a connective which becomes part of the first word.There are a number of connectives, and which one is used depends on the category of the following word. In module 1 we saw that the a-connective precedes a common noun.

In Mini-Module 1 we saw that the pattern of intransitive sentences with common noun subjects is the same whether or not there is a time word or conjunction in the sentence starter slot in the template, and regardless of what that sentence starter might be. So sentences with any of the following sentence starters all followed the same pattern: nah, dm, no sentence starter, yagwa, ła, ada, awil, dzida, dziła, dawila, ts'u, etc. This makes the pattern of intransitive sentences with common noun subjects easy to use.

When the subject of the sentence is a proper noun on the other hand, is a bit more complicated and requires attention to what is in the sentence starter slot which determines whether it is a independent or dependent declarative intransitive sentence. 


Independent sentences with Proper Noun subjects (Names)

Independent declarative intransitive sentences always begin with time expressions beginning with nah or dm, or there is no time expression at all. (You can remember this as "nah, dm or nothing," Or perhaps you could say "nah, dm or nada.") Such independent sentences generally occur at the beginning of a conversation or discourse. The connective -t is used, sometimes with an added vowel. English sentences translate to Sm'algya̱x as this type:


  • John is tall.

  • Mary walked to the store.

  • Harry ate.

  • Clarence will forget.

Here is the pattern for Independent Intransitive Sentences with a Proper Noun Subject, with the -(V)t CN (connective) linking the intransitive verb to the proper noun subject.

Nah / Dm / Nothing)Verb-(v)t connective – Proper Noun End.


The "start" slot of an independent sentence is filled in one of three ways:

  • the time word nah (completed action)

    • or a complex time expression beginning with nah, such as nah ła (just past, had), or nah dm (would have),

  • the time word dm (future action, will)

    • or a complex time word beginning with dm, such as dm'al (near future)

  • the start slot is empty, with no time expression and no other sentence starter.

Dm limit Meeli.   

Dm liimi-t Meeli.   Mary will sing.

Remember to use the root form for a word without a connective and to make the required sound adjustments (the k at the end of miilk becomes a g).

Dm miilgit Dzon

Dm miilk-t Dzon.    John will dance.


Łuuntit Donald. 

Nah betsgit Meeli.   

Dm xst'og̱at 'niit.      


Nah ła yeltgit Noon

Suunsit Haabit.     


Łuuntit Donald

'Na̱pła̱xłgit Baati

Dm xsent Mildit


Mary arrived.

He will sleep.

Your mother just returned.

Herbert is blind.

Donald is angry.

Bertie is tall.

Mildred will play bingo (gamble)

Remember that when there is no time word in the sentence starter position, if the verb expresses a state of being or quality of the subject, the state or quality is understood to be ongoing, so it is translated as a present tense in English. 


Amap'asit Tammy -  Tammy is pretty.


On the other hand, when the verb expresses an action and there is no time word, the action is understood to be completed, so the past tense is used in the English translation. 


Sisaaxsit Meeli -   Meeli laughed.


Amap'pasit Tammy. 

​​​Dependent sentences with Proper Noun Subjects


This section will present the patterns of dependent declarative intransitive sentences with proper noun subjects. The connective -s is used (sometimes with an added vowel).The following English sentences translate to Sm'algya̱x as this type:


  • Mary is dancing.

  • When John arrived…

  • And Clarence ate.

  • If my grandfather was sick.

  • Sam is about to leave.


These sentences always begin with:


  • the time words

    • yagwa (ongoing action, -ing)

    • ła (already, while)

  • complex time expressions beginning with one of these such as:

    •  yagwa dm (going to be)

    • ła dm (about to) or

    • ła yagwa (while, as, still, now),

  • a conjunction such as ada (and), awil (because), ts'u (although), dzida (if), dawila (and then), etc.

    • When the intransitive sentence is introduced by conjunctions the –(V)s connective is used before a proper noun subject, regardless of what the time word is.

  • Basically, anything except nah or dm in the sentence starter slot signals a dependent sentence pattern.

Yagwa / Ła / conjunction)verb-(v)s connective – Proper noun end.

                                                                                    Ła dm miilgis Dzon.     John is about to dance

Note that the pronunciation rules are different for the -(V)t and -(V)s connectives used with proper nouns than for the –a connective used with common nouns. Here is a comparison presented as a table:


Ła dm miilgis Dzon.

Info on Variations

Yagwa 'yag̱ayaas Meeli.  

Ła dm 'yag̱ayaas Meeli.     


Yagwa gyebns Shamu.    

Ła ɬuuntis Meeli.       

Ada 'yag̱ayaas Meeli.   


Dzida adaawxs Noon        





Mary is walking down.

Mary is about to walk down.

Shamu is coming up for air.

Mary is angry.

And Mary walked.

If your mother tells the story…


Yagwa 'yag̱ayaas Meeli.

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