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Western Abenaki Dictionary

Essential Sentence Patterns 1-5

There are two basic systems:

Independent = Whole event

Conjunct = Part of the event

Both are equally common and can work together to form much richer statements.

1. Intransitive (+)

An intransitive verb only has a subject (a pronoun) and no object (no noun). Intransitive verbs usually end in the letters -a or -i (which changes to -o in the + Independent third person as seen below). Independent

nolidah8zi = I am happy
kolidah8zi = you are happy
wlidah8zo = s/he is happy
nolidah8zibna = we are happy (ex)
kolidah8zibna = we are happy (in)
kolidah8ziba = you all are happy
wlidah8zoak = they are happy


walidah8zia = (when/that) I am happy
walidah8zian = (when/that) you are happy
walidah8zit = (when/that) s/he is happy
walidah8ziak = (when/that) we are happy (ex)
walidah8ziakw = (when/that) we are happy (in)
walidah8ziakw = (when/that) you (pl) are happy
walidah8zihidit = (when/that) they are happy


nd'abi = I sit
kd'abi = you sit
abo = s/he sits
nd'abibna = we sit (ex)
kd'abibna = we sit (in)
kd'abiba = you (pl) sit
aboak = they sit


abia = (when/that) I sit
abian = (when/that) you sit
abit = (when/that) s/he sits
abiak = (when/that) we sit (ex)
abiakw = (when/that) we sit (in)
abiakw = (when/that) you (pl) sit
abihidit = (when/that) they sit


(a) kagwi waji = why (b) ni waji = that is why/therefore

Kagwi waji wlidah8zian? = Why are you happy?

Nd'abi, ni waji wlidah8zia. = I sit, therefore I am happy

Kagwi waji abian? = Why do you sit?

Nolidah8zi, ni waji abia. I am happy, therefore I sit

kizi polwakhozo = he can save himself

2. Intransitive (-)


8da nolidah8ziw = I am not happy
8da kolidah8ziw = you are not happy
8da wlidah8ziwi = s/he is not happy
8da nolidah8zippna = we are not happy (ex)
8da kolidah8zippna = we are not happy (in)
8da kolidah8zippa = you (pl) are not happy
8da wlidah8ziwiak = they are not happy


8da walidah8ziwwa = (when/that) I am not happy
8da walidah8ziwwan = (when/that) you are not happy
8da walidah8zikw = (when/that) s/he is not happy
8da walidah8ziwwak = (when/that) we are not happy (ex)
8da walidah8ziwwakw = (when/that) we are not happy (in)
8da walidah8ziwwakw = (when/that) you (pl) are not happy
8da walidah8zihidikw = (when/that) they are not happy


8da nd'abiw = I don't sit
8da kd'abiw = you don't sit
8da abiwi = s/he doesn't sit
8da nd'abippna = we don't sit (ex)
8da kd'abippna = we don't sit (in)
8da kd'abippa = you (pl) don't sit
8da abiwiak = they don't sit


8da abiwwa = (when/that) I don't sit
8da abiwwan = (when/that) you don't sit
8da abikw = (when/that) s/he doesn't sit
8da abiwwak = (when/that) we don't sit (ex)
8da abiwwakw = (when/that) we don't sit (in)
8da abiwwakw = (when/that) you (pl) don't sit
8da abihidikw = (when/that) they don't sit


(a) kagwi waji 8da = why not (b) ni waji 8da = that is why not

Kagwi waji 8da wlidah8ziwwan? = Why aren't you happy?

8da nd'abiw, ni waji 8da wlidah8ziwwa. = I don't sit, therefore I am not happy

Kagwi waji 8da abiwwan? = Why don't you sit?

8da nolidah8ziw, ni waji 8da abiwwa. I am not happy, therefore I don't sit

8da kizi polwakhoziwi = he cannot save himself

Kagwi waji 8da polwakhozikw? = Why can't s/he save him/herself?

3. Transitive (+)

A transitive verb has a subject (the pronoun) and an object (the noun). Therefore there are two additional modifications that can be made to them to speak clearly. First, objects in Abenaki can be either animate (na) or inanimate (ni). Verbs for na and ni words have slightly different endings. Na usually ending in -8, Ni verb forms usually ending in -m or -to. Second, objects can be either definite ('the' specific object - I see the car) or indefinite ('a' object - I see a car). Some verbs can have both Intransitive and Transitive forms. Intransitive example:

n'noda = I hear
k'noda = you hear
as in ...
n'kizi noda = I am able to hear

etc ... using the pattern above

In the transitive form something or someone is being heard (a noun). So there is both a subject (the person hearing - the pronoun) and an object (the thing or one being heard - the noun)

Indefinite (a):

n'nodam kagwi = I hear something
k'nodam kagwi = you hear something
nodam kagwi = s/he hears something
n'nodamebna kagwi = we hear something (ex)
k'nodamebna kagwi = we hear something (in)
k'nodameba kagwi = you (pl) hear something
nodamok kagwi = they hear something
n'nodaw8 awani = I hear someone
k'nodaw8 awani = you hear someone
nodawa awanihi = s/he hears someone
n'nodaw8bna awani = we hear someone (ex)
k'nodaw8bna awani = we hear someone (in)
k'nodaw8ba awani = you (pl) hear someone
nodawak awanihi = they hear someone

Definite (it/the):

n'nodamen ni = I hear that (inanimate noun)
k'nodamen ni = you hear that (inanimate noun)
nodamen ni = s/he hears that (inanimate noun)
n'nodamenana ni = we hear that (inanimate noun) (ex)
k'nodamenana ni = we hear that (inanimate noun) (in)
k'nodamen8 ni = you (pl) that (inanimate noun)
w'nodamen8 ni = they hear that (inanimate noun)
n'nodaw8 na = I hear that (animate noun)
k'nodaw8 na = you hear that (animate noun)
nodaw8 nihi = s/he hears that (animate noun)
n'nodaw8na na = we hear that (animate noun) (ex)
k'nodaw8na na = we hear that (animate noun) (in)
k'nodaw8w8 na = you (pl) hear that (animate noun)
w'nodaw8w8 nihi = they hear that (animate noun)

4. Transitive (-)

8da kagwi n'nodamo = I don't hear anything/something
8da kagwi k'nodamo = you don't hear anything/something
8da kagwi nodamowi = s/he doesn't hear anything/something

examples: pita wig8dam = s/he is very pleased
pita 8da wig8damowi = s/he is very displeased

8da awani n'nodaw8w = I don't hear anyone/someone
8da awani k'nodaw8w = you don't hear anyone/someone
8da awanihi nodawawi = s/he doesn't hear anyone/someone

example: kanwa askwa 8da kagwi lli 8zidawawi = but yet answered nothing

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