The Reflexive in Wyandot


When linguists use the term voice the usual reference is to the distinction between active, with the subject being the doer, and passive with the subject being the one to which the activity of the verb is done.  There is also the middle voice which typically involves the subject as doer and receiver.  This along with passive are two voices expressed with voice markers in Wyandot, the reflexive and semi-reflexive.


Reflexive Voice -atate-

The reflexive voice can have several functions: reciprocal (which is the most common), passive, and middle voice.



The reflexive often takes on the meaning ‘each other’

ažatatenǫhǫh       We two are related (speaking of a relative).


až-                   1st person exclusive dual agent – we two

atate-             reflexive

nǫhǫ-              verb root – be related

-h                     stative aspect


tetsikyatateyęˀ       We two will see each other again.


t-                      dualic

-e-                    future

-tsi-                  repetitive

-ky-                  1st person inclusive dual agent – we two

-atate-             reflexive

-yę-                  verb root – see

-ˀ                      punctual aspect



hutanditęhstandih He is pitiable.


hu-                   masculine singular patient – he

tand–              reflexive

-itę-                  verb root – have pity, compassion

-st-                   causative-instrumental root suffix

-and-                dative root suffix

-ih                    stative aspect


Middle Voice


huwaˀtakyaweh    He is paddling himself, swimming.


huw-                masculine singular patient – he

aˀtak–             reflexive

-yawe-             verb root – paddle

-h                     stative aspect




This entry was posted in Language. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.