Skip to content







Nouns table

gloss layer sg pl
cat lexeme duus dikduus
cat prefix zero CVk
dog lexeme haas hashaas
dog prefix zero CVC
butcher knife lexeme t’u’usk t’ut’u’usk
butcher knife prefix zero CV
belly lexeme ban g̲aban
belly prefix zero g̲a
summer lexeme suunt gyiksuunt
summer prefix zero gyik

Tsimshian notes

  • Reduplicative plural marking is also found on verbs, where it agrees with the intransitive subject or transitive object.
  • Reduplicative prefixation involves the initial consonant of the stressed syllable and a vowel which is usually predictable on the basis of that consonant -- there are however many exceptions where this prediction does not hold, and the vowel must (presumably) be lexically specified.
  • Dunn (1995) describes five types of reduplication, three of which are illustrated here. Of the remaining two, one of them (CVx- reduplication) appears from the examples given to be restricted to verbs (diilmx ~ daxdiilmx 'answer'), while the other (-CV suffixation) appears to be associated with a variety additional stem changes or affixation, so we construe it here as irregular (i.e. it does not directly opposed to the pure reduplication represented by the other types).
  • Suppletive plural formation exists as well.
  • Dunn (1995) characterizes g̲a- as a distributive plural prefix, used for things or people connected individual persons, such as body parts, kin terms, tools, clothing -- though note that this is not automatic (e.g. some body parts and kin terms form their plural by reduplication). The gyik- prefix is originally an adverbial element meaning 'again', and is used for units of time.


Dunn, John Asher. 1995. A Reference Dictionary and Grammar for the Coast Tsimshian Language. Seattle: University of Washington Press, and Juneau: Sealaska Heritage Foundation.