Tlingit Verb Dictionary

Part 1: Introduction

The Contents of the Dictionary
The starting point in the compilation of this dictionary was the listing of the Tlingit verb expressions in Part 2. Therefore only those English words needed to give the main sense of a Tlingit verb expression will be found as headings in Part 1.

Tlingit verbs (or verb expressions) are most usually translated by English verbs or adjectives. Occasionally, however, when much of the meaning of a Tlingit verb is carried by a noun in the English translation, an English noun is listed; for example: make a set, put on a belt. In addition, expressions having reference to some natural phenomena are grouped under nouns; for example: sun, tide, daylight.

Different Senses
English words that are listed in this dictionary with two or more senses are distinguished by raised numbers following the words. Lie is an example: lie1 is to be understood in the sense of saying what is false and deceiving others; lie2 is to be understood in the sense of remaining in a particular (often horizontal) position.

Form of the Entries
In Part 1, each entry consists of the following parts:

  1. an English heading in bold face type, usually a single word, which may be shared by more than one entry and which may carry a reference to another English word;
  2. English meanings, which convey the main sense of the Tlingit verb expression;
  3. a representation of the Tlingit verb expression (in diagrammatic form) (see the Introduction to Part 2 and Appendix section 3.1 for a fuller explanation of this);
  4. one or more examples, in Tlingit and English.

(Note: very occasionally the third part of the entry has been omitted. There are also cases where the representation is in parenthesis; then the expression is not listed in Part 2 of the dictionary).

The following is an example of an entry:

concern, see also care, worry
  concern, trouble, be on mind of: tu-ka-ya-deen
    daa sá kwshé gé ee tukaawadín? What is on your mind/what is troubling you?
  Be concerned, feel troubled: tu-ka-di-deen
    xat tukawdidín I am concerned/I have no peace of mind/I dont feel good (about something)

In this example, three English phrases have been used to give some feel for the sense of the Tlingit verb expression tu-ka-ya-deen. None of the phrases is to be taken in a sense that contradicts the sense of one of the other phrases; for example: tu-ka-ya-deen does not mean be on the mind of in the sense of remember simply.

In some cases, one phrase given as the meaning may define in what sense another is to be understood; for example: under the heading blow up1 is found ka-ya-.oox blow up, inflate. This verb expression means blow up in the sense of inflate (the way a seal stomach is blown up); it does not mean blow up in the sense of explode.

The form tu-ka-ya-deen is a diagrammatic representation of a verb; it is not a full word. One of the uses of the examples is to give normally pronounceable Tlingit forms. These examples may also illustrate some point of grammar such as showing that the Tlingit verb is transitive. Ideally, each example would also contribute to the understanding of the sense of the Tlingit verb expression. This ideal has not been reached in many cases and it is hoped that readers of the dictionary who are also Tlingit speakers will themselves supply improved examples where good ones are at present lacking.

Sometimes two Tlingit verb expressions are given for the same English meaning when it has not been possible to distinguish between them. In these cases, the two Tlingit expressions are labeled (1) and (2), and it will sometimes be found that one expression has also been labeled (rare); this is when the other expression occurs much more frequently and in the speech of most individuals.

A similar case occurs when two Tlingit expressions only differ in their reference to a singular or plural subject or object. The following is an example:

  escape, flee, run away (on foot)
  singular subject: kei a-ya-di-goot1
    kei ayawdigút he escaped
  plural subject: kei y-ya-di-.aat1
    kei s ayawdi.át they escaped
  escape by boat: kei a-ya-di-koox1
    kei s ayawdikúx they escaped in a boat

It will be found that headings in Part 1 are of two kinds. The most frequent are those so far illustrated, under which an entry is made and an example of a Tlingit verb expression is given. Under such a heading there may also be a reference to another English word; for example: concern, see also care, worry. The second kind of headings are those under which no entry is made but instead reference is made to another English work; for example: bear in mind, see remember; assault, see attack, beatup1.

This corresponds to what is found in Part 2 (Tlingit-English) as follows. In Part 2, one or more words may be used to give the sense of a Tlingit verb expression. One of the English words is underlined and it is under that word in Part 1 (English-Tlingit) that an illustration of the Tlingit expression will be found; for example: in Part 2 there is the following entry under deen:

tu-ka-ya-deen (tr): concern, trouble, be on mind of
tu-ka-di-deen (st): be concerned, feel troubled

The words underlined in Part 2 are those which are headings of the first kind in Part 1, that is, headings under which an entry is made; the underlining of concern in Part 2 refers to the entry in Part 1 under concern which was quoted above. The cross-references in Part 1 are constructed from the words used to give the senses of the Tlingit verb expressions in Part 2 that are not underlined; for example: there is a cross-reference trouble, see also concern.

Giving the Sense in Translation
Complete consistency will not necessarily be found between the English words used to give the sense of a Tlingit expression in Part 2 and to give the sense of the same expression in Part 1; for example: under seek1 in Part 2 is the entry:

ka-li-seek (tr): be bashful of, shy, backward, hold back from people
The underlined word is bashful, and under bashful in Part 1 is found:

bashful, see also shy
be bashful of, shy, timid, wish to avoid people, hold back: ka-li-seek1

at yátxee kukwliseek children are bashful/timid with people

It can be seen here that the English words used to give the sense of ka-li-seek1 in Part 2 under the entry seek1, and in Part 1 under the entry bashful, are not exactly the same.

That there are differences is quite general; no attempt has been made to make identical the English words chosen to give the sense in the two parts, even though in most cases they may be found to be the same. One English word may be appropriate in translation in one context, and another in a different context. No two languages have a one-to-one relationship between their words; consequently the meaning of an expression must be understood in the wider context in which it is used. For this reason, in the translation of examples, quite frequently more than one translation is given and sometimes the translations are quite free. Sometimes only one English word has been given for the meaning, but it is likely that this is actually inadequate.

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