pentl’ach motion auxiliaries: From legacy materials to a preliminary analysis

  • Erin Hashimoto University of Victoria


The purpose of this project is to develop a preliminary understanding of pentl’ach motion auxiliary verb forms, functions, and constructions for the contemporary, community-led pentl’ach language reclamation.The project began by creating a format of the stories that is searchable, editable, and sortable from existing digital Boas legacy materials (Boas, ca. 1910) which revealed two motion verbs/auxiliaries: çō/çū meaning ‘go’ and meaning ‘come’. A comparative approach was incorporated to determine these verbs’ possible functions in an auxiliary position. Additional examination of the contexts and translations in the stories was also used to develop an idea of the grammatical information motion auxiliaries might contribute in pentl’ach, and to present an overview of how other information is attested as part of, or in co-occurrence with, pentl’ach auxiliary constructions. Preliminary patterns trend toward using çō/çū to indicate future action or motion away from the speaker, and to express ‘becoming’ or motion toward the speaker, as occurs in other sister languages; however, these stories also provide examples of potentially distinct uses of these two motion auxiliaries.