John Sullivan idiez at
Tue Jan 15 22:52:15 UTC 2013

Piyali notequixpoyohuan,
	What I said about nehnemi is a bit tangent to this discussion, but it goes for most verbs in present tense, whether or not they are reduplicated. Here are some examples.
Nitlacua, "I am eating." Mohmoztlah nitlacua, "I eat everyday."
Nicpohua ce amoxtli, "I'm reading a book." Axquemman nicpohua amoxtli, "I never read books."
	I asked the macehualmeh what the difference was between the "present" tense (nitlacua) and the present progressive (nitlacuahticah) and they have a hard time distinguishing them. The provisional idea to describe the progressive is that of "cenyahtoc", a verb placed before another verb to emphasize that the second action is happenning in an intense and uninterrupted fashion. So, using the example of a video we just made, Molini atl, "the water is boiling". Cenyahtoc molini atl, or, Molinticah atl, "The water is boiling (in an intense and uninterrupted fashion?)".
	Whenever I come across these kinds of things, I wonder if the classical (and some of the more recent) grammarians were perhaps oversimplifying some of their descriptions, due to comparisons with models based on European languages. Or perhaps, in some variants (past and present), for example, Nitlacua does mean just "I eat." And Nitlacuahticah means "I am eating."

On Jan 15, 2013, at 12:43 PM, Magnus Pharao Hansen <magnuspharao at> wrote:

> But Joost and John
> That definition of "stative" is semantic, and it defines "statives" as a
> semantically defined subclass of intransitive verbs. IN contrast, several
> Mesoamerican languages including Maya, Totonacan and Otomian have been
> analyzed as having a *syntactic *class of stative verbs that behave
> morphosyntactically different from other verbs and which also tend to
> include semantic content about properties or states. That is what my
> analysis of Nahuatl wordclass suggests is a useful way of understanding and
> describing the morphological and syntactic behavior of words like "kwalli",
> "weyi" and "yolik", "chichiltik".
> Lots of verbs have a stative meaning, but as long as they behave the same
> as all other verbs there is no reason to set them apart as a wordclass. The
> specific reason the verb *nehnemi *has a stative like meaning (actually I
> would consider it progressive and not stative) is that it is a reduplicated
> form that has been lexicalized, and reduplication was historically used to
> form the frequentative aspect.
> best,
> M
> On 15 January 2013 13:00, <nahuatl-request at> wrote:
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>>   1. Re: Nahuatl word classes (John Sullivan)
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: John Sullivan <idiez at>
>> To: Joost Kremers <joostkremers at>
>> Cc: nahuatl discussion list <nahuatl at>
>> Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 13:10:58 -0600
>> Subject: Re: [Nahuat-l] Nahuatl word classes
>> Piyali Joost,
>>        But if this is the case, then, at least in Modern Huastecan
>> Nahuatl, the present tense is inherently stative. "ninehnemi", for example
>> doesn't mean "I walk", it means "I am walking". To get it to mean "I walk"
>> you have to add an adverb. For example, "Mohmoztlah ninehnemi", "I walk
>> everyday". I still don't understand the difference between, "ninehnemi" and
>> ninehnenticah". I'll have to run this by the macehualmeh here at IDIEZ.
>> Best,
>> John
>> On Jan 6, 2013, at 6:16 AM, Joost Kremers <joostkremers at>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi John,
>>> Though I can't comment on your Nahuatl examples in particular, there is
>>> a working definition of statives that might help. In general, a verb is
>>> stative if it describes a situation or property without specific
>>> duration. That is, if you can split up the event being described into
>>> smaller subevents and these subevents can still be described by the same
>>> verb form, then the verb form is stative.
>>> So "He is sleeping" is stative because if the sleeping lasts for say
>>> eight hours, and you consider any subinterval of those eight hours, you
>>> can describe each correctly with "he is sleeping". On the other hand,
>>> "he fell asleep" is not stative, because if the falling asleep takes 10
>>> minutes, then any subinterval does not constitute a falling asleep
>>> event.
>>> HTH
>>> Joost
>>> On Fri, Jan 04 2013, John Sullivan <idiez at> wrote:
>>>> Piyali listeros,
>>>>     I'm a little confused with how the word stative is used (in
>> linguistics?). Would all of these words be considered stative?
>>>> 1. Cuaciyah tlachihchihualli. "It's a hand-made chair".
>> Tlachihchihualli is a noun formed from the passive form of a verb, and
>> refers to the result of an action.
>>>> 2. Cuaciyah chichiltic. "It's a red chair". Chichiltic literally means
>> "it has become a very red chilli". This seems to me to be the relationship
>> of a metaphor, in other words, chair is identified with a chilli, it is not
>> in a certain state.
>>>> 3. Eliazar ihcatoc. "Eliazar is standing". Ihcatoc is literally "he
>> stands up and has rested in that state."
>>>> 4. Eliazar mocehuihtoc. "Eliazar is seated." Mocehuihtoc is literally
>> "He sits down and has rested in that state."
>>>> John
>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> --
>>> Joost Kremers
>>> Life has its moments
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> -- 
> Magnus Pharao Hansen
> PhD. student
> Department of Anthropology
> Brown University
> 128 Hope St.
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