Focus Constructions

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Focus Constructions
stem? lhwet? ’een’thu! nuwu!….
What? Who? Me! You!….

1. Conversation

A: lhwet kw’u ni’ kwunut lhunu snuhwulh?
Who took my car?
B: nilh lhu Mary ni’ kwunut lhun’ snuhwulh.
It’s Mary who took your car.
A: nutsim’ ’alu?
B: ni’ nem’ tl’tawun tl’shhwimelu.
She went to town to the store.
A: stem ’a’lu kw’u ’iluqutus tse’?
What will she buy?
B: stl’i’s kws ’iluquts kw’s’ulhtun tst.
She wants to buy food for dinner.

2. Vocabulary

stem ‘what’
lhwet ‘who’
stem ’a’lu ‘what(ever)’
lhwet ’a’lu ‘who(ever)’
nutsim’ ‘why’
nutsim’ ’a’lu ‘why(ever)’
nilh ‘it’s ….’
nilh thu Mary ‘it’s Mary who….’

3. Pronouns Review

singular plural
1st person ’een’thu I lhnimulh we
2nd person nuwu you lhwulup you (pl)
3rd person nilh he, she, it ne’ullh they
(1) ’een’thu ni’ t’ilum.
I’m the one who sang.
(2) nuwu ni’ t’ilum.
You’re the one who sang.
(3) lhnimulh ni’ t’ilum.
We’re the ones who sang.
(4) lhwulup ni’ t’ilum.
You’re the ones who sang.
(5) nilh thu Mary ni’ t’ilum.
It’s Mary who sang.
(6) ne’ullh ni’ t’ilum.
They are the ones who sang.

4. Focus Constructions

plain sentence: ni’ t’ilum lhu slheni’. The woman sang.
focus: slheni’ lhu ni’ t’ilum. A woman is the one who sang.
clarification: nilh lhu slheni’ ni’ t’ilum. It’s the woman who sang.


(7) lhwet kw’u ‘i kwun’e’t tthu spe’uth?
Who is holding the bear?
(8) ’een’thu ’i kwun’e’t tthu spe’uth.
It’s me who’s holding the bear

5. Some Verbs for Playing the Picture Game

kwunut ‘take it’
kwun’et ‘hold it’
lemut ‘look at it’
le’lum’ut ‘looking at it’
qp’ast ‘turn it face down’
tsuluw’t ‘turn it over’

6. Focus Constructions and Transitive Verbs

(9) ni’ tsun kwunut tthu spe’uth.
I took the bear.
(10) spe’uth tthu ni’ kwunuteen’.
The bear is what I took.
(11) nilh tthu spe’uth ni’ kwunuteen’.
It’s the bear that I took.

Subordinate Subject suffixes

Paradigm for kwunut ‘take it’

singular plural
lst person kwunuteen’ ~ kwunutun’ kwunutut
2nd person kwunutuhw kwunutulup
3rd person kwunutus kwunutus (‘eelhtun)


(12) stem tthu ni’ kwunutuhw?
‘What did you take? (visible)’
(13) tsiitmuhw tthu ni’ kwunutun’.
‘The owl is what I took.’
(14) stem tthu ’i le’lum’utuhw?
‘What are you looking at?’
(15) spe’uth tthu ’i le’lum’utun’.
‘The bear is what I’m looking at.’
(16) stem tthu ’i kwun’e’teen’?
‘What am I holding?’
(17) ma’uqw tthu ’i kwun’e’tuhw.
‘The duck is what you are holding.’
(18) stem tthu ni’ qp’astuhw?
‘What did you turn face down?’
(19) stseelhtun tthu ni’ qp’asteen’.
‘The salmon is what I turned face down.’
(20) stem tthu ni’ tsuluw’tuhw?
‘What did you turn over?’
(21) ‘es-hw lhu ni’ tsuluw’teen’.
‘The seal is what I turned over.’
(22) stem kw’u ni’ kwunutut?
‘What did we take? (unknown)’
(23) stem ’al’u kw’u ’i le’lum’utulup?
‘What are you all looking at? ‘
(24) stem tthu ni’ kwunutus?
‘What did she take? ‘
(25) yuxwule’ tthu ni’ kwunutus.
‘The eagle is what she took.’
(26) stem ’a’lu tthu ’i kwun’etum’ ’utl’ Mary?
‘What is Mary holding?’
(27) stem kw’u ni’ kwunutus ‘eelhtun?
‘What did they take? (unknown)’