Link to enlarge K6042 (Las Bocas - Ceramic Vessel) THE FOUNDATION RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

A Grammar of the Yucatecan Mayan Language
by David & Alejandra Bolles


Other Parts of Speech Derived from Verbs

105.  Verbs and verb roots can become other parts of speech by various methods.

Nouns from verbs and verb roots: In some cases the general form of the intransitive conjugation of a verb is also a noun as has been noted in the chapter on nouns, Section 23.

hanal (to eat) hanal (food)
hucħ (to grind) hucħ (ground corn)
meyah (to work) meyah (work)
pocħil (to insult) pocħil (insult)
ximbal (to walk) ximbal (walk)

Some verb roots are also nouns in themselves as noted in the chapter on nouns in Section 24.

cah (to inhabit) cah (town)
cotz (to cut) cotz (piece)
miz (to sweep) miz, mizib (broom)
xul (to end) xul (end)

Adjectives from verbs and verb roots: as was noted in Section 56, adjectives are formed from verbs and verb roots by adding one of various suffixes.

-aan, -en: Adjectives can be formed from verbs by taking the third form of the intransitive verb and using it as an adjective. As noted in Sections 56 and 83, the third form suffix is usually -aan. There are however rare examples of the suffix -en.

bon (to paint) bonaan (painted)
boc (to stink) bocaan (stinking)
cim (to die) cimen (dead)
xoc (to count) xocaan (counted)


bonaan pak "painted wall"
cimen chuc "dead embers" = charcoal

-Vcnac / -lac: Adjectives can be formed by appending the suffixes -Vcnac / -lac to the verb root to form what would be considered a participle in English. The vowel "V" in -Vcnac agrees with the vowel in the last syllable of the verb root. -Vcnac is the singular form and -lac is the plural.

ak (to moisten) akacnac, aklac (moist, greasy)
yap (to put on makeup) yapacnac, yaplac (groomed)
yip (to overflow) yipicnac, yiplac (overflowing)
thon (to humiliate) thonocnac, thonlac (humiliated)

Examples of usage:

akacnac luum "moist earth"
Yapacnac u pol cħuplal. "The girl's hair is groomed."

-Vcbal: The suffix -Vcbal is appended to the verb root to form what would be considered a participle in English. The vowel "V" agrees with the vowel in the last syllable of the verb root. Unlike the adjectives derived by appending the previous suffixes, it seems that the adjectival participle resulting from the use of this suffix cannot be used directly tied to the noun it is modifying, but rather is used as part of a modifying participial phrase.

chil (to recline) chilicbal (reclining)
nic (to pile) nicicbal (piled up)
noc (to turn over) nococbal (turned over)
thuch (to squat) thuchucbal (squatting)

Examples of usage:

le mac, chilicbal tu kaano    "the man, laying in his hammock"

le buul, nicicbal te moyo    "the beans, piled up in the corner"

-ci: Adjectives can be formed from verb roots by reduplicating the first consonant and vowel of that word and suffixing -ci onto the resulting word. The equivalent for -ci in English is "-able" or "-y". Examples:

cach (to break) cacachci (breakable)
kux (to chew) kukuxci (chewy)
moch (to twist) momochci (twistable)
tak (to stick) tatakci (sticky)

These adjectives are usually not joined to the nouns they modify but rather are part of a predicate in a sentence which describes a noun. In the Mayan language in sentences using predicate adjectives the predicate normally comes first and is followed by the subject:

Cacachci le ticin uaho.    "The dry tortilla is breakable."

-bil: Adjectives and adverbs can be formed from verbs by adding the suffix -bil, or in the case where the verb root ends in b, just the suffix -il. As noted in Sections 56 and 91, this is a passive participle.

alcab (to run) alcabil (quickly, fast)
buth (to fill) buthbil (filled)
dzib (to write) dzibil (written)
hucħ (to grind) hucħbil (ground)
pib (to roast) pibil (roasted)
tzah (to fry) tzahbil (fried)

Examples of usage:

Hach ci tin chi pibil nal.    "I like roasted corn very much." (Literally: "Very delicious to my mouth roasted corn.")

Dza ten tzahbil he.    "Give me fried eggs."

-Vn-: Some intensified adjectives and adverbs can be formed by reduplicating the root word around the particle -Vn-:

cħuy (to hang) cħuyencħuy (densely hanging)
yal (to melt, pour) yalunyal (intermixed)


Cħuyencħuy u kaan am ti le bucil na.    "The spider webs are densely hanging from the ceiling."

-Vl-: A somewhat similar reduplicating device is achieved by placing -Vl- in the middle of the reduplicated root:

ppit (to jump) ppitilppit (jumping up and down)
zut (to return) zutulzut (round and round)


Zutulzut tu bin le palobo.    "The children are going round and round."


There is a group of verbs which form other parts of speech by taking the verb root, either VC or CVC, and adding a suffix -VC, where the vowel V is the same as the vowel in the verb root, and the consonant C in the suffix is the same as the consonant place between the verb root and the transitive verbal suffix. The consonants and either t or l, and thus the transforming suffix is either -Vt or -Vl:

auat (scream) autic (to scream)
bohol (searched) bohlic (to search)
hayal (flatten, stretched) haylic (to stretch out)
mucut (hidden) muctic (to hide)
mulut (pile) multic (to pile)
pacat (look, face) pactic (to look)
picit (fan) pictic (to fan)
ppulut (incense) ppultic (to incense)
tohol (thrown out) tohlic (to throw out)
tucul (thought) tuclic (to think)
tumut (consideration) tumtic (to consider)
tzacal (examined) tzaclic (to examine)
zipit (loose) ziptic (to let loose)

It seems that several of these verbs are irregular in their third forms, in which the consonant t or l is dropped:

muctic, muctah, mucma, mucte
multic, multah, mulma, multe
pictic, pictah, picma, picte
tohlic, tohlah, tohma, tohle
tzaclic, tzaclah, tzacma, tzacle
ziptic, ziptah, zipma, zipte

At least one of these verbs, tohol, has an alternative transitive verb formation:

toholtic, toholtah, toholma, toholte

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