This/These and That/Those

There are three basic terms in Otoe-Missouria for this/these and that/those.  In English, we have two.  We have “this” (and its plural counterpart, “these”) and “that” (and its plural counterpart, “those”).  Otoe-Missouria has two versions of “that/those.”  One refers to something away from the speaker but near the listener, and the other refers to something away from both the speaker and listener.


this/these (near the listener) – je’e

that/those (near the listener) – se’e

that/those (away from both the speaker and listener) – ga’e


These terms can also be contracted to their first syllable.  For example:


this/these (near the listener) – je

that/those (near the listener) – se

that/those (away from both the speaker and listener) – ga


Each of these three terms go AFTER the term they are working with.  For example:


this car (near me, the speaker) – namanyi je’e

that car (near you, the listener) – namanyi se’e

that car – namanyi ga’e


These terms not only cover ideas of “this” and “that,” but also their plural versions “these” and “those.”  How can we tell the difference?  Just like with nouns, we won’t know if we are looking at singular or plural until we get to the verb.  The verb let’s us know.  For example:


Do you see that house? – Chi ga’e arasda?

Do you see those houses? – Chi ga’e warasda?


Here, it is the verb telling us “that” or “those” with the verb prefix “wa-” indicating “them.”


These terms are also used as pronouns.  As such, they take the same placement in sentences as regular nouns, where the noun comes before the verb.  For example:


What is this? – Je’e dagure?


The terms ga’e and se’e are often used to express abstract ideas.  In English, we say things like, “he said that.”  Otoe-Missouria does the same thing.  Ga’e and se’e are both used, but ga’e (or simply ga) is used more frequently.  For example:


say/tell that – ga ige

think that – ga irayį


Notice that “that” here is also being used as a noun and therefore comes before the verbs ige and irayį.


These terms also work as definite articles (“the”) much in the same way they do in English.  For example:


Bring me that book. – Wawagaxe ga’e anyi gu re.

Bring me the book. – Wawagaxe ga’e anyi gu re.


In Otoe-Missouria, as in English, the idea of “that” and “the” are serving the same purpose here.  The speaker has a specific book in mind.