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Mohican Possession

On our parts of the body and kinship terms worksheets, you may notice that all the Mohican words begin with N. N- is a Mohican prefix that means "my." Possessive prefixes can be used with almost any noun in Mohican. The possessive prefixes are n-, k-, and o- before most nouns that start with consonants, and nt-, kt-, or ot- before most nouns that start with vowels.

maksen (a shoe) nmaksen (my bag) kmaksen (your bag) omaksen (his or her bag)
achegan (a knife) ntachegan (my knife) ktachegan (your knife) otachegan (his or her knife)

However, certain nouns (including most body parts and kinship terms, and some words for personal objects like clothing) have inalienable possession in Algonquian languages like Mohican. That means you must use a possessive prefix with one of those words. You cannot say *keck, "a mother," or *enes, "a head." It isn't grammatically correct.

For these words, the possessive pronouns are slightly different. The prefixes are usually n-, k-, and o- before a noun that starts with a consonant, and n-, k-, and w- before a noun that starts with a vowel.

*ooch (root noun, not used alone) nooch (my father) kooch (your father) oocha (his or her father)
*enes (root noun, not used alone) nenes (my head) kenes (your head) wenes (his or her head)
*keck (root noun, not used alone) nkeck (my sister) keck (your sister) okecka (his or her sister)
*nachk (root noun, not used alone) nachk (my hand) knachk (your hand) onachk (his or her hand)

Two things to take note of:

1) When animate words use the third person form ("his or her"), there is not only a prefix (w- or o-) but also a suffix (-a) at the end of the word. This is not true for inanimate words.

2) Not every Mohican noun will exactly fit this pattern. Notice, for example, that the w is not pronounced before the oo in oocha. Every language, including Mohican, has irregular words. If you make a mistake, a Mohican speaker would probably still understand you, just like an English speaker understands a person who says "fighted" instead of "fought."

Click here for a pronunciation guide.
Click here for more Mohican language resources.
Learn more about the Mohican tribe.

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