The selection of Theme Suffix in VTA verbs

Observation
ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒥᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chiwaapamin. you see me.
ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒥᑎᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chiwaapamitin. I see you.

The it in the second example above is called a theme suffix. The difference between these two examples is that the theme suffix –it appears in ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒥᑎᓐ chiwaapamitin I see you and not in ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒥᓐ chiwaapamin you see me.

There are three transitive animate theme suffixes, which follow the TA verb stem: -it, -aa, -e, and -ikw/-iku. it is used only when first persons ( nii I, ᓃᔮᓐ niiyaan we) are actors and the second persons ( chii you, ᒌᔮᓅ chiiyaanuu we including you, ᒌᐧᐋᐤ chiiwaau you all) are goals. -aa and -ikw/-iku are used in all combinations with third persons.

Southern Dialect English Actor Rank Goal Prefix Theme Suffix
ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒥᓐ Click here to hear this word chiwaapamin you see me. 2 > 1 chi
ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒥᑎᓐ Click here to hear this word chiwaapamitin I see you. 1 < 2 chi it
ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒥᓈᐧᐋᐤ Click here to hear this word chiwaapaminaawaau you all see me. 2 > 1 chi
ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒥᑎᓈᐧᐋᐤ Click here to hear this word chiwaapamitinaawaau I see you all. 1 < 2 chi it
ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒥᓈᓐ Click here to hear this word chiwaapaminaan you see us. 2 > 1 chi
ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒥᑎᓈᓐ Click here to hear this word chiwaapamitinaan we see you. 1 < 2 chi it
ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒫᐤ Click here to hear this word chiwaapamaau you see her. 2 > 3 chi aa
ᒋᐧᐋᐸᒥᒄ Click here to hear this word chiwaapamikw she sees you. 3 < 2 chi ikw
ᓂᐧᐋᐸᒫᐤ Click here to hear this word niwaapamaau I see her. 1 > 3 ni aa
ᓂᐧᐋᐸᒥᒄ Click here to hear this word niwaapamikw she sees me. 3 < 1 ni ikw
ᐧᐋᐸᒣᐤ Click here to hear this word waapameu she sees him (the other). 3 > 3′ aa
ᐧᐋᐸᒥᑰ Click here to hear this word waapamikuu he (the other) sees her. 3′ < 3 iku

[for the plural third persons combinations see the Conjugation Tables]

The theme suffix it appears in independent and conjunct verb forms for 1>2 person combinations. The direct theme suffix aa/e and the inverse theme suffix iku/ikw appear in the independent, and some conjunct verb forms for third persons combinations.

Direct and Inverse in TA verbs

When the actor of a TA verb outranks the goal on the person hierarchy, we can speak of a “direct” relationship. When the goal outranks the actor on the person hierarchy, then we speak of an “inverse” relationship. The theme suffix aa is thus also called the Direct suffix , while the theme suffixes it and iku/ikw are called the Inverse suffixes.

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