|Nuapaten akunishkueun.||I see a hat.|
|Uapatamᵘ akunishkueunńu.||S/he sees a hat.|
The ending or suffifix -ńu on akunishkueunńu is the OBVIATIVE. The non-obviative form akunishkueun is called the Proximate. Only one third person in a discourse can be proximate. All other third persons must be obviative.
Obviation is a grammatical category that distinguishes between multiple third persons, where at least one is animate.
|Uapameu matsheshua ne auass.||The child sees a fox.|
|Uapatamᵘ akupińu ne auass.||The child sees a coat.|
The form auass is PROXIMATE, while matsheshua and akupińu are OBVIATIVE.
For animate nouns, the obviative suffix is -a, as in matsheshua. The distinction in number is erased: matsheshua can refer to one or many foxes.
For animate nouns, the obviative singular has a different suffix: –(i)ńu. The obviative plural is the same as the proximate plural.
In the following sentences, Mani is proximate and Puna is obviative (marked with the suffix -a).
|Uapameu Mani Puna.||Uapamiku Mani Puna.|
|Mani sees Pun.||Pun sees Mani.|
Regardless of the word order, the agreement between the noun and verb forms indicates which noun (Mani or Pun) is the subject/agent of the sentence. With the direct form uapameu, Mani is the subject/agent, and with the inverse form uapamiku, the subject/agent is Pun (Puna).
See TA Verb Inflection: direct and inverse
Animate nouns possessed by a third person are always obviative.
|a scarf||her/his scarf / their scarves|
Inanimate nouns possessed by a third person do not take a visible obviative marking, but this hidden obviative becomes visible on the verb with which it agrees.
|a book||her/his book|
|Tshishpakau mashinaikan.||The book [proximate] is thick.|
|Tshishpakańu umashinaikan.||Her/his book [obviative] is thick.|
See Possessed Nouns. (page in progress)
See also Dependent Nouns.