Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Richard S. Pittman


Certain frequent long words in the Kogi (Aruakan) language of Colombia, South America, were regularly translated by the first linguists who worked in the area as meaning 'and so' or 'afterwards', in spite of the fact that the words were highly variable, and complicated in structure.

When the author and his wife began working on the language, the only additional clue available to them was the information, from one of the previous scholars, that one syllable in the words marked indicative mood.

Prom this point on intensive scrutiny was made of text recorded by the author and transcribed from his tapes in order to find recurrent partials which might match comparable sequences in the "mystery” words.

Bit by bit some of the components were found to represent tenses, some to indicate aspect, others auxiliary verb stems, and still others pronoun referents. Each word was, in fact, a string of verbal modifiers, but since the main verb itself is never a part of the string, and since several of the constituents lack simple Spanish equivalents, translation of the words was unusually difficult.

It was found, additionally, that some of the words occur in independent clauses, while others have structures appropriate to participial functions in dependent clauses. The author has labelled the latter "participial auxiliaries," and the others "terminating auxiliaries" because they occur at the end of independent clauses.

The final description includes a transformational paradigm, a phrase-marker (tree) diagram, and remarks on the function of the auxiliaries in discourse.

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