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as they have all the same variations and declensions of other verbs. To walk will be acknowledged to be a verb. This verb is declined thus; npumseh, I walk ; kpumseh, thou walkest; pumissoo, he walketh ; npumsehnuh, we walk; kpumsehmub, ye walk; pumissoouk, they walk. In the same manner are the words in question declined; npehtuhquisseh, I am tall; k pehtuhquisseh, thou art tall ; pehtuhquissoo, he is tall; npehtubquissehnub, we are tall; kpehtuhquissehmub, ye are tall; pehtubquissoouk, they are tall
. Though the Mohegans have no proper adjectives, 12
they have participles to all their verbs: as pehtuh
quisseet, the man who is tall: paumseet, the man who walks ; waunseet, the man who is beautiful ; oieet, the man who lives or dwells in a place; oioteet, the man who fights. So in the plural, pehtuhquisseecheek, the tall men ; paumseecheek, they who walk, &c.
It is observable of the participles of this language, that they are declined through the persons and numbers, in the same manner as verbs; thus, paumse-uh, I walking; paumse-an, thou walking; paumseet, he walking ; paumseauk, we walking ; paumseauque, ye walking; paumsecheek, they walking.
They have no relative corresponding to our who or which. Instead of the man who walks, they say, the walking man, or the walker. *
As they have no adjectives, of course they have no comparison of adjectives ;t yet they are put to no difficulty to express the comparative excellence or baseness of any two things. With a neuter verb expressive of the quality, they use an adverb to point out the degree : as annųweeweh wnisson, he is more beautiful; kahnuh wnissoo, he is very beautiful. Nemannauwoo, he is a man; annuweeweh nemannauwoo, he is a man of superiour excellence or courage; kahnuh nemanpauwoo, he is a man of extraordinary excellence or courage.
Beside the pronouns common in other languages, they express the
pronouns, both substantive and adjective, by
[See Note 6. EDIT.]
+ [See Note 7. EDIT.]
affixes, or by letters or syllables added at the beginnings, or ends, or both, of their nouns. In this particular the structure of the language coincides with that of the Hebrew, in an instance in which the Hebrew differs from all the languages of Europe, ancient or modern. However, the use of the affixed pronouns in the Mohegan language is not perfectly similar to the use of them in the
Hebrew : as in the Hebrew they are joined to the ends of words only, but in the Mohegan, they are sometimes joined to the ends, sometimes to the beginnings, and sometimes to both. Thus, tmohhecan is a hatchet or axe; ndumhecan is my hatchet; ktumhecan, thy
13 hatchet; utumhecan, his hatchet; ndumhecannuh, our hatchet; ktumhecanoowuh your hatchet; utumhecannoowuh, their hatchet. It is observable, that the pronouns for the singular number are prefixed, and for the plural, the prefixed pronouns for the singular being retained, there are others added as suffixes.
It is further to be observed, that by the increase of the word, the vowels are changed and transposed; as tmohecan, ndum hecan; the o is changed into u and transposed, in a manner analogous to what is often done in the Hebrew. The t is changed into d, euphoniæ gratia.
A considerable part of the appellatives are never used without a pronoun affixed. The Mohegans can say, my father, nogh, thy father, kogh, &c. &c. but they cannot say absolutely father. There is no such word in all their language. If you were to say ogh, which the word would be, if stripped of all affixes, you would make a Mohegan both stare and smile. The same observation is applicable to mother, brother, sister, son, head, hand, foot, &c.; in short to those things in general which necessarily in their natural state belong to some person. A hatchet is sometimes found without an owner, and therefore they sometimes have occasion to speak of it absolutely, or without referring it to an owner. head, hand, &c, naturally belong to some person, and they have no occasion to speak of them without referring to the person to whom they belong ; so they have no words to express them absolutely. This I presume is a
But as a
peculiarity in which this language differs from all languages, which have ever yet come to the knowledge of the learned world.*
The pronouns are in like manner prefixed and suffised to verbs. The Mohegans never use a verb in the infinitive mood, or without a nominative or agent; and never use a verb transitive without expressing both the agent and the object, correspondent to the nominative
and accusative cases in Latin. Thus they can 14
neither say, to love, nor I love, thou givest, &c. But they can say, I love thee, thou givest him, &c. viz. Nduhwhunuw, I love him or her; nduhwhuntammin, I love it; ktuhwhunin, I love thee; ktuhwhunoohmuh, I love you, (in the plural) nduhwhununk, I love them. This I think, is another peculiarity of this language.
Another peculiarity is, that the nominative and accusative pronouns prefixed and suffixed, are always used, even though other nominatives and accusatives be expressed. Thus they cannot say, John loves Peter ; they always say, John he loves him Peter ; John uduhwhunuw Peteran. Hence, when the Indians begin to talk English, they universally express themselves according to this idiom.
It is further observable, that the pronoun in the accusative case is sometimes in the same instance expressed by both a prefix and a suffix; as kthúwhunin, I love thee. The k prefixed, and the syllable in, suffixed, both unite to express, and are both necessary to express the accusative case thee.
They have no verb substantive in all the language.t Therefore they cannot say, he is a man, he is a coward, &c. They express the same by one word, which is a verb neuter, viz. nemannauwoo, he is a man. Nemannauw is the noun substantive, man : that turned into a verb neuter of the third person singular, becomes nemannauwoo, as in Latin it is said, græcor, græcatur, &c. Thus they turn any substantive whatever into a verb neuter :I as kmattannissauteuh, you are a coward, from
[See Note 8. EDIT.]
[See Note 9. Edit.] [See Note 10. Edit.]
matansautee, a coward : kpeesquausooeh, you are a girl, from peesqausoo, a girl.*
Hence also we see the reason, why they have no verb substantive. As they have no adjectives, and as they turn their substantives into verbs on any occasion; they have no use for the substantive or auxiliary verb.
The third person singular seems to be the radix, 15 or most simple form of the several persons of their verbs in the indicative mood : but the second person singular of the imperative seems to be the most simple of any of the forms of their verbs; as meetseh, eat thou : meetsoo, he eateth : nmeetseh, I eat: kmeetseh, thou eatest, &c.
They have a past and future tense to their verbs; but often, if not generally, they use the form of the present tense, to express both past and future events: as wnukuwoh ndiotuwohpoh, yesterday I fought; or wnukuwoh ndiotuwoh, yesterday I fight: ndiotuwauch wupkoh, I shall fight to morrow; or wupkauch ndiotuwoh, to-morrow I fight. In this last case the variation of wupkoh to wupkauch denotes the future tense; and this variation is in the word to-morrow, not in the verb fight.t
They have very few prepositions, and those are rarely used, but in composition. Anneh is to, ocheh is from. But to, from, &c. are almost always expressed by an alteration of the verb. Thus ndoghpeh is I ride, and Wnoghquetookoke is Stockbridge. But if I would say in Indian, I ride to Stockbridge, I must say, not anneh Wnoghquetookoke ndoghpeh, but Wnoghquetookoke ndinnetoghpeh. If I would say, I ride from Stockbridge, it must be, not ocheh Wnoghquetookoke ndoghpeh, but Wnoghquetookoke nochetoghpeh. Thus ndinnoghoh is, I walk to a place: notoghogh, I walk from a place : ndinnehnuh, I run to a place : nochehnuh, I run from a place. And any verb may be compounded, with the prepositions anneh and ocheh, to and from.
* The circumstance that they have no verb substantive, accounts for their not using that verb, when they speak English. They say, I man, I sick, &c.
+ [See Note 11. Edit.]
It has been said, that savages have no parts of speech beside the substantive and the verb. This is not true concerning the Mohegans, nor concerning any other tribe of Indians, of whose language I have any
knowledge. The Mohegans have all the eight parts of speech, to be found in other languages; though prepositions are so rarely used, except in composition, that I once determined that part of speech to be wanting. It has been 16
said, also, that savages never abstract, and have no
abstract terms, which, with regard to the Mohegans, is another mistake. They have uhwhundowukon, love; seekeenundowukon, hatred; nsconmowukon, malice; peyuhtommauwukon, religion, &c. I doubt not but that there is in this language the full proportion of abstract to concrete terms, which is commonly to be found in other languages.*
Besides what has been observed concerning prefixes and suffixes, there is a remarkable analogy between some words in the Mohegan language and the correspondent words in the Hebrew. -In Mohegan Neah is I; the Hebrew of which is Ani. Keah is thou or thee : the Hebrews use ka the suffix. Uwoh is this man, or this thing; very analogous to the Hebrew hu or hua, ipse. Neaunuh is we: in the Hebrew nachnu and anachnu.
In Hebrew ni is the suffix for me, or the first person. In the Mohegan n or ne is prefixed to denote the first person: as nmeetseh or nemeetseh, I eat. In Hebrew k or ka is the suffix for the second person, and is indifferently either a pronoun substantive or adjective. K or ka bas the same use in the Mohegan language: as kmeetseh or kameetseh, thou eatest'; knisk, thy hand. In Hebrew the vau, the letter u and hu are the suffixes for he or him. In Mohegan the same is expressed by u or uw, and by oo: as nduhuhunuw, I love him, pumissoo, he walketh. The suffix to express our or us in Hebrew is nu ; in Mohegan the suffix of the same signification is nuh ; as noghnuh, our father; nmeetsehnuh, we eat, &c.f
* [See Note 12. EDIT.]
+ [See Note 13. EDIT.]