Sunteți pe pagina 1din 7

Pluralizing Nouns, Adjectives, & Adverbs:

Because we‟ve gotten into pluralizing verbs, we‟ve found that the words we use with those verbs in many cases have to be pluralized as well. Yet, in almost all cases, they don‟t pluralize in the same way so we can‟t use what we know in pluralizing verbs with non-verbs. This brief write-up is intended to provide you with a description on how you pluralize the vocabulary we‟ve been learning up until this point. Most, but not all, of the vocabulary we‟ve had will be addressed. This sketch should act as a comprehensive analysis and reference guide for you in dealing with this important area of Cherokee language learning. However, it is not exhaustive, and keep in mind that the patterns discussed here will hold up on almost all forms, but there are always exceptions in Cherokee.

The first basic concept when dealing with pluralization in Cherokee is to distinguish what is being pluralized based upon one basic concept: Are the objects “living” (especially people) or not? In almost all cases, living things are pluralized differently than non-living things. Our first idea then is to determine living versus non-living pluralization patterns. We‟ll look at non-living things first, and then living.

Pluralizing Non-Living Things - Objects With the verbs we‟ve used and seen thus far, we‟ve had three different forms that express pluralization on verbs: /de-/ or /d-/ on Present Tense verbs, /di-/ or /d-/ on Immediate Command Tense, and /ti-/ or /t- / on /h-/ Set A „You‟ (one person) Immediate Command Tense forms. With non-verbs, where you pluralize will be in the same “place,” that is, on the front of the word.

Many nouns also use /di-/ to pluralize, but you will also see /de And in some cases we use /di-/ or /d-/ so those should be familiar. However, in some other cases, we will use a completely different sound, /j-/, so that will be entirely new. We‟ll take it one step at a time. Let‟s look at the /di-/ and /d-/ forms first.

Pluralization of Nouns: /di-/, /d-/, and /j-/ Forms We use /di-/ or /d-/ on “things” (there are some exceptions where /j-/ is used, but those will be covered in the section where we look at /j-/ plural forms). Basically, if it‟s an “object,” you‟ll use /di-/ or /d-/ (again with a few exceptions which will be covered later). Keep in mind that this is trial and error process because there are many words in Cherokee that don‟t pluralize so even if it‟s a thing, it just may not pluralize. These forms, as they relate to our vocabulary, will be noted here as well.

The first thing you should know is that /di-/ is used when the noun begins with a consonant, and it is also used when the noun begins with the vowel /a/. /di-/ deletes /a/ on any word so keep that in mind. The next thing you should know is that /di-/ is by far the most common way you‟ll pluralize objects so if you just use /di-/ on things, you should be alright (noting exceptions along the way). So again, you will use /di-/ as your basic form when pluralizing objects.

So let‟s look at some plural forms using /di-/ or /d-/.

gohweli „paper‟ gasgilo „chair‟ gasgilv „desk‟ or „table‟ sgwatlesdi „ball‟ aditasdi „a drink‟ adehloqwasdi „lesson‟ jola‟ni „window‟ sdudi „door‟

di-gohweli „papers‟ or „book‟ di-gasgilo „chairs‟ di-gasgilv „desks‟ or „tables‟ di-sgwatlesdi „balls‟ di-aditasdi „drinks‟ (Note /a/ is deleted) di-adehloqwasdi „lesson‟ (Note /a/ is deleted) di-jola‟ni „windows‟ di-sdudi „doors‟


adayvlatvsgi „television‟ adana‟nv‟i „store‟ adanehlv‟i „supply‟ adanelv‟i „building‟ adeyohv‟i „curve‟ adlesgv‟i „turn-off (road)

di-adayvlatvsgi „televisions‟ (Note /a/ is deleted) d-adana‟nv‟i „store‟ d-adanehlv‟i „supplies‟ d-adanelv‟i „buildings‟ d-adeyohv‟i „curves‟ d-adlesgv‟i „turn-offs (road)

There are actually patterns to these forms which tells you when you would use /di-/ and when you use just /d-/. However, the information needed to understand those patterns deals with verb forms and ideas not yet covered. For now, it‟s enough to know that the two prominent forms for “object” pluralization will be either /di-/ or /d-/.

But there are some words that pluralize using /de-/ instead of /di-/.

kanvsulv‟i „room‟ gahljotv‟i „tent‟ gahya‟dlv‟i „collar‟ galanvdv‟i „street‟

de-kanvsulv‟i „rooms‟ de-gahljotv‟i „tents‟ de-gahya‟dlv‟i „collarsde-galanvdv‟i „streets

Note that all of these forms begin with /ka-/ or /ga-/, but that is not to say that all /ka-/ and /ga-/ noun objects pluralize with /de-/. Most use /di-/ on them. These forms are the exceptions. There is no specific reason why these forms use /de-/.

Some of our vocabulary words do not pluralize. Here are those that don‟t.

ama „water‟ nigada „all‟ or „everyone‟ gadu „bread‟ didehloqwasdi „class‟ digwenvsv‟i „my home‟

adladidla‟i „car‟ or „cars‟ ditlinohehdi „phone‟ or „phones‟ kahwi „coffee‟ junilawisdi‟i „church‟ or „churches‟ digilvhwisdanhdi „my work‟

digohwelohdi „pen‟ or „pencil‟ These objects just don‟t pluralize, either because the word would sound strange if you tried or because it‟s already marked as pluralized (even though it may only be “one” thing).

There‟s one other form we need to look at before moving on, /j-/ as a plural marker on things. On

objects, /j-/ isn‟t often used. In fact, you‟ll never see it used with “things” unless the vowel after it is /u/. Even in this situation, not all objects that begin with /u/ use /j-/ as a plural marker. Some forms use /d-/ on them. Those that use /d-/ were given in the /di-/ or /d-/ section, but some will be repeated here for further clarification. Here are the /j-/ forms from our vocabulary as well as some other nouns that use /j-/ on them. After these, the /d-/ forms will be given.

uweji „egg‟ ugaloga „leaf‟ udanehv‟i „puddle‟ udanvhnv‟i „row‟

j-uweji „eggs‟ j-ugaloga „leaves‟ d-udanehv‟i „puddles‟ d-udanvhnv‟i „rows‟

There aren‟t many of these forms so it may just be easier to memorize them individually rather than

learn any pattern. However, there are some forms that use /j-/ all the time, but these are nouns derived from specific verbs. These “nominalized” forms have one basic thing in common they all have /u-/ as the first VOWEL in their form. So the easy way to remember the forms in this set will be to see if the word has /u-/ as the first vowel. If so, it uses /j-/. If not, it uses /di-/.

di-agwenvsv‟i „my home‟ di-agilvhwisdanhdi „my work‟ di-agwadehloqwasdi‟i „my school‟

j-uwenvsv‟i „his/her home‟ j-ulvhwisdanhdi „his/her work‟ j-udehloqwasdi‟i „his/her school‟


So our basic rule is this: Pluralize with /di-/ or /d-/ on object nouns before all consonants and vowels EXCEPT for the vowel /u/. Before the vowel /u/, you will use either /j-/ or /d-/. A very small number of object nouns pluralize with /de-/, but these are isolated forms.

Pluralization of Adjectives and Adverbs: /di-/ and /j-/ Forms Now we‟re getting somewhere. It‟s not just nouns that will have to be marked for plurality, but any other word (if it‟s able) that applies to the concept. So if adjectives and/or adverbs are used, these two will have to be marked for plurality. It won‟t be that difficult since the same forms we used for nouns are used with adjectives and adverbs too. The same sound rules that applied to nouns hold true for these forms here as well (meaning that /di-/ before /a-/ will delete the /a-/ and you‟ll have only /di-/ on the word). Note that most adjectives and adverbs that begin with the vowel /u-/ take the /j-/ plural marker.

This is not an absolute, though, since several adjectives and adverbs may use /d-/ before /u/, or they may not have any plural marker before /u/.

usdi „small‟ utana „big‟ uwoduhi „pretty‟ usganoli „slow‟ gajanuli „fast‟ gigage‟i „red‟ ije‟iyusdi „green‟ so‟i „another‟, „other‟ udawadisgv‟i „in the shade‟

j-usdi „small‟ (plural) j-utana „big‟ (plural) j-uwoduhi „pretty‟ (plural) j-usganoli „slow‟ (plural) di-gajanuli „fast‟ (plural) di-gigage‟i „red‟ (plural) di-je‟iyusdi „green‟ (plural) di-so‟i „others‟ (plural) d-udawadisgv‟i „in the shades‟ (plural)

In these forms, note that colors are marked for pluralization. There are some adjectives and adverbs that

refer to living things only which will be covered later that do not follow the patterns given here.

Just as with some nouns, though, there are a few adjectives and adverbs that do not mark for plurality. This means that they stay the same regardless of number.

sdaya „hard‟, „loud‟

ahida „easy‟

sagwu „one‟

agvyi „first‟

ta‟lisgohi „twenty‟ Note that when pertaining to inanimate objects (non-living things), that numbers do not pluralize (this is

important because when dealing with animate objects, numbers will pluralize).

Here, our rule is much easier. Pluralize with /di-/ before all consonants and all vowels EXCEPT the vowel /u/. In most cases use /j-/ before the vowel /u/, but note that /d-/ is used on some forms as well.

Pluralization of People:

In most cases, forms dealing with people are pluralized using /ani-/.

asgaya „man‟

ani-sgaya „men‟

agehya „woman‟

ani-gehya „women‟

agehyuja „girl‟

ani-gehyuja „girls‟

achuja „boy‟

ani-chuja „boys‟

But there are another set of forms that are “persons” that will look different because they require, as part of the word, the use of /di-/ on the front. These nouns are derived from verb forms that have /d-/ on them, and they retain this marking on the noun form. When these forms are pluralized, the sound that is put is often just /-n-/. Note the following forms.

di-adehloqwasgi „student‟ di-adehyohvsgi „teacher‟

di-n-adehloqwasgi „students‟ di-n-adehyohvsgi „teachers‟


But /di-/ becomes /j-/ when applied to forms that begin with the vowels /o/, /e/, and /u/.

oginali‟i „my friend‟

j-ogali‟i „my friends‟


j-osdadanvtli „my brother‟ (man speaking)


j-osdadalvli „my sister‟ (woman speaking)

uweji „his child‟

j-uw-eji „his/her children‟

What you should note is that the same word may use /di-/ on one form, when the word begins with a consonant or the vowels /a/ or /i/, but then it uses /j-/ on other forms, when the word begins with any other vowel. What we see is that the PRONOUN PREFIX that is used will determine whether you use /di-/ or /j-/.

di-g-adeloqwasgi „I am a student‟ di-adehloqwasgi „S/he is a student‟ di-id-adehloqwasgi „We are all students‟ j-oj-adehloqwasgi „They and I are students‟ j-osd-adehloqwasgi „S/he and I are students‟

di-ji-nogisgi „I am a singer‟

t-adehloqwasgi „You are a student‟ (/di-h/=/t/) di-an-adehloqwasgi „They are students‟

j-osdi-hnogisgi „S/he and I are singers‟

The rule here is that we use /ani-/ before nouns of “people” THAT ARE NOT DERIVED FROM A VERB unless the noun begins with the plural marker /di-/. When /di-/ is part of the noun, we use /-n-/ or /-ni-/ after /di-/. For NOUNS DERIVED FROM VERBS, you use /di-/ before all consonants and the vowels /a/ and /i/. Before the vowels /o/, /e/, and /u/, you will use /j-/ as the plural marker.

Living Things and Adjectives and Adverbs:

Earlier we went over pluralizing adjectives and adverbs when applied to “things.” Just as with “things,” we pluralize the same adjectives and adverbs if we are dealing with living things (especially people). However, the process is a little more complicated than when dealing with just “stuff.”

With living things, there are two possible forms that will be used. The easy one applies to adjectives and adverbs that begin with a consonant or ANY vowel other than /u/. These adjectives and adverbs pluralize for living things by simply using /ani-/ or /an-/.

ayanuli „fast‟

ani-yanuli „fast‟ (living plural)

asamadi „smart‟

ani-samadi „smart‟ (living plural)

Keep in mind that we can use pronoun prefixes on these forms, and when we do, the pluralization pattern will change. When this happens, you will just see the pronoun prefix on the word.

sdi-yanuli „You two are fast‟ iji-samadi „You all are smart‟

osdi-yanuli „S/he and I are fast‟ oji-samadi „They and I are smart‟

The other form is more complicated. On this form, which begin with the vowel /u/, you will use the

plural marker /j-/ like you did with non-living things, but we add yet another marker, either /uni-/ or /un- / to the word. These forms, then, are doubled marked for plurality.

usdi „small‟ utana „big‟ usganoli „slow‟ ulsgeda „important‟

j-un-sdi „small‟ (living plural) j-un-tana „big‟ (living plural) j-un-sganoli „slow‟ (living plural) j-un-alsgeda „important‟ (living plural)

Again, what you see in these forms is a double marking for plurality where you use /j-/ AND /un-/ on the word. Also note that some sound rules are in effect here as well. The form for plural living things that are „small‟ /j-un-sdi/ and „big‟ /j-un-tana/ drops the /i/ of /ni-/ before the consonants /s/ and /t/.


But these forms can be made in such a way that you may have to use /di-/ on the word instead of /j-/. This happens when you use a pronoun prefix that begins with a consonant or the vowel /i/. On all /u/

initial adjectives and adverbs, the pronoun set you use will be Set B. However, if the Pronominal is a consonant or /i/, then you use /di-/ to pluralize. If the Pronominal begins with /u/ or /o/, you use /j-/. Look at the following forms for examples of this.

usdi „small‟

di-sd-asdi „You two are small‟

j-og-asdi „They and I are small‟

utana „big‟

de-(i)j-atana „You all are big‟

j-og-atana „They and I are big‟

usganoli „slow‟

di-(i)gi-sganoli „We are all slow‟

j-ogi-sganoli „They and I are slow‟

Note that in this process the adjectives become pluralized even though the pronoun marker already indicates “plurality.” Even so, you must put /di-/ or /j-/ on adjectives and adverbs of this nature.

As mentioned earlier, though, there are some adjectives and adverbs that begin with /u/ that do not

pluralize with /j-/ on the front. These forms pluralize by only adding /-n-/ after the initial /u/ to give you /un-/ on the form.

udajatdi „reckless‟

u-n-adajatdi „reckless (plural)

Finally, there is one adjective that begins with /e/ - /egwa/ „large‟ or „huge.‟ This word has two plural forms, one for non-living things and one for living things.

egwa „large‟ (singular)

j-egwa „large‟ (plural non-living)

j-an-egwa „large‟ (plural living)

Pluralizing adjectives and adverbs as they relate to living things, as shown here, may not seem to be a predictable process, but it actually is. The basic concept you need to know is this: If the adjective or adverb begins with /u/ and it can be used on both living and non-living things, then you double mark the word with the /j-/ on the front and /-n/ after /u/ which gives you /jun-/. However, if the word really only applies to something alive (things like “snobbish,” “reckless,” etc.), then you only need to use /-n-/ after the /u/ which gives you /un-/ on the word.

For adjectives and adverbs that do not begin with the vowel /u/, you pluralize with /ani-/.

And finally, you can use pronoun prefixes on adjectives and adverbs as well. Pronoun prefixed adjectives and adverbs will follow the rules given above; if the word can apply to non-living things, it will often be marked for plurality with /di-/ before consonants and the vowels /i/ and /a/, and with /j-/ before the vowels /e/, /o/, and /u/.

Using /di-/ or /j-/ only applies if the pronoun prefix is a plural form (meaning that more than one person is involved). If the pronoun prefix is a singular form such as “I” or “You” or “S/he” then you do not pluralize since, by the very nature of being “singular,” there is no plurality to the concept. In other words, you cannot say /Di-agw-atana/ which means „I am bigs (plural)‟ since this does not make any sense. You can only say /agw-atana/ „I am big.‟


We‟ve covered a lot of forms and information here so let‟s put all of this together in some sentences so you can see the ideas as they work rather than just isolated in the forms like they are above.

/Ani-gehyuja j-un-tana, asehno doyu ani-yanuli/ „The girls are big, but they are really fast‟

/j-og-asdi, asehno oji-samadi oj-osda oj-alasgalisgi/ „They and I are small, but they and I are smart and good ballplayers‟

/Uni-tsgwisdi j-un-sdi waka de-ji-gohwtiha/ „I see a lot of small cattle‟


This may seem to be so complicated that there‟s no easy way to think about how to do this. However, there is a way to break this all down in such a way that it‟s not as difficult as it appears. Here‟s what you need to know:

(1) Animate versus Inanimate The first thing you have to know is whether you are dealing with something living or non-living.


If it‟s living, then you use /ani-/ on nouns, adjectives, and adverbs UNLESS the word begins with /u/.


If it‟s living, but the word begins with /u/, then you use /j-uni-/ or /j-un-/ as your plural marker. For adjectives and adverbs that begin with /u/ which can only apply to people or living things, then you just use /uni-/ or /un-/.


It it‟s inanimate (non-living), then the plural marker you use depends upon whether the word

begins with a consonant or vowel. (2) Part of Speech After figuring out (1), then determine if the word is a noun, adjective, or adverb.

(3) Nouns: Type of Noun – If the word is a noun, you need to know what “kind” of noun it is. This means, is the noun derived from a verb or not, and if so, what is the initial sound on the noun?


Nominalized Nouns (Nouns taken from verbs) If the initial sound is a consonant or the vowels /i/ or /a/, then in most cases you use /di-/. Some /a/ nouns use /d-/ though. If the initial sound is the vowels /u/ or /o/ then you use /j-/ in most cases. However, some forms use /d-/ before /u-/.


Other Nouns Nouns that are not derived from verbs will use /di-/ on them. But there are

some nouns that use /j-/ before the vowel /u/, but some nouns will use /d-/ before /u/. Since there are not many /u/ nouns that ARE NOT nominalized nouns, it is easiest to just remember the plural marker on these forms as “stand alone” ideas. (4) Initial sound on Word for Adjectives and Adverbs After determining animate versus inanimate, then look at the first sound of the word, is it a vowel or a consonant.


Animate forms, as stated in (1), use /ani-/ or /j-uni-/ or just /uni-/.


Inanimate forms use different plural markers, and the one you use all depends upon the first

sound of the word. /di-/ is used before all consonants and the vowels /a/ and /i/. /j-/ is used before the vowels /o/, /u/, and /e/. (5) Pronoun Markers After figuring out (1) and (2), then you need to see if the word is using a “pronoun marker” with it. Although the pronoun marker will not change how the word pluralizes (the initial sound determines that), you need to know whether or not you use Set A or Set B

markers. For words that in the “s/he” or “it” form begin with any sound other than /u/, you use Set

A. On /u/ forms, you use Set B.

So let‟s look at this all again, but by having all the information in one chart so you can see better how this all works. Animate (Living)

Noun Derived Noun /ani-/ before consonants /an-/ before the vowels /a/ /juni-/ if word begins with /u/ /uni-/ on some /u/ forms

Non-derived Noun /di-/ before consonants and vowels /a/, /i/ /j-/ before vowel /o/ /j-/ or /d-/ before vowel /u/


*Note: Some verbs are innately plural such as “teaching,” “learning (as applied to school), and “working.” On these forms, the “noun” form will already be marked with the plural marker. The marker on these will either be /di-/ before consonants and the vowels /i/ and /a/ and /j-/ before the vowels /u/, /e/, and /o/.

Adjective-Adverb Pronominal Prefix is „they‟ /ani-/ before consonants and all vowels except /u/ /juni-/ if word begins with /u/ and can be used with living AND non-living things /uni-/ if word begins with /u/ and can only be used with living things Pronominal Prefix is plural, but not „they‟ /di-/ before consonants and the vowel /i/ /j-/ before the vowels /u/ and /o/

Inanimate (Non-Living)

Noun Derived Noun /di-/ before consonants /di-/ before vowel /i/, /a/ /d-/ before /a/ on some words /j-/ before vowels /o/, /e/ /j-/ before vowel /u/

Non-derived Noun /di-/ before consonants /di-/ before vowels /a/, /i/ /j-/ or /d-/ before vowel /u/ /j-/ before vowels /o/, /e/

Adjective-Adverb /di-/ before consonants and vowels /a/ and /i/ /j-/ before vowels /u/ and /e/ /d-/ on some vowels that begin with /u/


There are no adjectives or adverbs that begin with the vowel /v/ and there are only two

that begin with the vowel /o/, /osda/ and /osi/.

Finally, to help in this process, two appendices are provided that give a basic range of adjectives and adverbs as marked for plurality. One gives the forms when used with “things” (non-living), and the other when the forms are used with “living.” A third appendix is provided that lists common verb derived nouns next to common non-derived nouns. All three appendices include markings for pronoun usage as well.

DF: Page 333 Adjectives/Adverbs listed