Apisa Tahlapi

"Lesson Five"
Okpulot Taha





tobi apa li na tachi ishpa tuk

I ate beans and you ate corn

Back in lesson 4 you learned of possessive personal pronoun markers sorted by blood relationship and physical ownership. I make mention of some special  pronoun markers  and I advise you to stay away from those!





"I ate beans and you ate corn" serves as a perfect example of why I want you to stay away from complex comparative sentences and why I am keeping you at a basic beginner level. Your grammar might be imperfect but you will be understood. What you are learning is "Broken Choctaw" much like "Broken English".

You enjoyed an endearing story of Cravin Ashalintubbi, a hard drinking, knife fighting Choctaw elder who later became one of the most exemplary community members around Eagletown, Oklahoma. His children, grandchildren on down became some of the most successful people of our small rural farming community. Cravin often admonished us to attend school and to learn English well. Cravin was an exceptionally wise man who could see into our American Indian future. One of his blood line became an outstanding citizen, became our school board president and continued Cravin's legacy of this importance of education. This boy is Kenny Ashalintubbi, a man both loved and respected by all.

This endearing story is of Cravin, many decades back, catching his beautiful daughter, Bessie, in bed with a really nice Choctaw boy named Levi. Lovely Bessie, Kenny's great-aunt, and Levi are in bed doing the delightful naughty which is in keeping with our sacred tradition of giving life discussed on a private page which all of you read although warned of adult content. Bessie and Levi are sweating out their love for each other leading to decades and decades of happy marriage. Cravin walks in on those two, becomes flustered then shouts, "You pusha my daughter, you marry my daughter!"

Levi is lucky Cravin did not beat the crap out of him!

Cravin used "Broken English". You are learning "Broken Choctaw".

tobi apa li na tachi ishpa tuk

I ate beans and you ate corn

Follow along closely and with great attention. I will take apart my sentence and this will become complex right quick! Come on now, keep up with me! When constructing a complex comparative sentence using one of those special personal pronoun markers this often requires not only using one of those markers but also modifying some nouns or verbs!

1 [tobi]   2 [apa]   3 [li]   4 [na]   5 [tachi]   6 [ishpa]   7 [tuk]

1 [beans]   2 [I eat only this]   3 [compared to]   4 [and this]   5 [corn]   6 [you eat only this]   7 [immediate past]

Trick words are 3 [li] and 4 [na] and 6 [ishpa].

Use of "li" is in English, "comparing you and me".

Use of "na" is in English, "and these things are compared".

Use of "ishpa" is in English, "you eat only this certain food".

Here is the complex magic of my comparative sentence.

Use of "li" places an inferred "I" (capital i) at sentence beginning.

Our "apa" is to eat a single type of food like corn. Our "impa" is to eat a variety of foods, corn, beans and potatoes.

Use of "ishpa" is modifying "apa" or "impa". Our "ish" is a special pronoun marker for "you are doing this action". For either "apa" or "impa" first letter or letters are removed, "a" or "im" and replaced with "ish" to create "you are eating this". Another aspect is my use of "apa" up front infers my "ishpa" is "apa" modified - you eat a single item of food just like I am eating a single item of food, but a different food - beans compared to corn.

Using a comparative often sets two or more verbs to the same verb although phonetic spelling, how those verbs are said, does change. In my sentence "apa" is there twice but the second is said "ishpa". This is a difficult concept for native English speakers to learn, this is adding a personal pronoun to a verb, kinda like a prono-verb! I did not misspell "porno" there and we have no words like this in English. Most close type of word in English is an adverb, a combination of an adjective and a verb to create a "modified verb".

Not Too Much, Too Soon

There are other silent inferences in my example sentence but you are not to take too much, too soon! Often what is NOT said in Choctaw becomes very important. This is  inference  at play just like Coyote at play. This is a hidden meaning which is hinted by use of certain words.

What you will do is continue to avoid complex sentences lest your girlfriend give you a zillioneth black eye! You will simply say, "tobi apa" then point at your girlfriend's supper plate and say, "tachi apa". She will understand you are saying "I eat beans. You eat corn." This is boring dialog, ain't exactly pitching a woo, but keeping this simple is much safer than trying to show off and accidently saying, "I eat beans and you eat my corncob." POW! Black eye.

There you are, a lot of complex information which is quite a mouthful to chew, and "food" is your topic for now.

Our supper table during my farming childhood is like a modern picnic table but much longer. Big rough wood plank table turned gray from being washed a million times, long picnic table like benches smoothed and polished by squirming butts of us children. Grandpa sits at table head in his special "captain's" chair, really just an ordinary creaky old pine missing-a-slat straight back chair with no armrests.

"Grandpa, done pass me a biscuit, please." Have to say "please" or grandpa will lecture you on proper talking and proper manners. Grandpa grabs a biscuit and food is kept near grandpa because he is the bread winner, he grabs a biscuit and tosses this biscuit to you. Never misses, grandpa always lands your biscuit smack-dab in the middle of your gravied mash potatoes splattering your face with chicken gravy. Grandpa is right ornery. No complaining, this ain't proper table manners, and don't you dare get up and fetch a biscuit because grandpa will lecture you about leaving a supper table before all are finished eating; bad table manners. Always leave your supper plate spit shined clean, never waste a morsel of food, ain't fittin' table manners, insults grandma who slaved over her wood burning stove for an hour to fix you a decent supper.

By-the-by, Okies say "smooth" nasalized at beginning. Crinkle your nose, nasalize out "sssmew" followed by normal "ooth". There you are, you can say "smooth" like you done be an Okie!

  tobi apa li na tachi ishpa tuk 

Leave off "tuk" and you say, "I eat beans and you eat corn" instead of past tense "ate".


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