Lesson 2 – At School


Lesson Overview and Goals

By the end of Lesson 2, you should be able to

  • ask someone how to say/write different words in Unangam Tunuu,
  • recognize the structure of basic verbs,
  • understand basic differences in word order between Unangam Tunuu and English, and
  • soften a request or command, much like saying ‘please’ in English.


headphonesTunun / Vocabulary  

Listen to  the vocabulary words and helpful phrases- Sound Lab Lesson 2  Tracks 1-2. Work on learning the words by sound and by sight. See also the vocabulary flip cards in the ‘Test Your Knowledge’ section.

If the audio above does not play, Download mp3 file

alqutax̂‚ what
kalikax̂‚ book, paper
lax̂‚, lakaayax̂‚ boy, son
ayagaadax̂‚ girl
asxinux̂‚ daughter
uchiitilax̂‚, uchiitalax̂‚ teacher
tunux̂‚ language, word
qilax̂‚ morning
qam agalaa afternoon
angal(i)kingax̂‚ evening
ix̂‚talix to say
tunux̂‚talix to talk
ukuchx̂‚ilix to show
aqatalix to know
qalax̂‚talix to mean
ama, amaya, amayux, amay and
tataam again

Helpful Phrases

If the audio above doesn’t play, download the .mp3 file

Qilam ix̂‚am(a)naa! Good morning!
Qam agalaa! Good afternoon!
Angal(i)kingam ix̂‚am(a)naa! Good evening!
tunux̂‚taax̂‚tan let’s speak
Unangam Tunugan ilan, Unangam ilan in Unangam Tunuu
Amirikaanchim Tunugan ilan, Amirikaanchim ilan in the English language, in English
Amilaayam Tunugan ilan, Amilaayam ilan in the English language, in English
Alqutax̂‚ inga(ya)? What is this/that?
Wan tunux̂‚ alqutax̂‚ qalax̂‚talix? What does this word mean?
Wan tunux̂‚ alqutalix alux̂‚sxa(da)lix? How do you write this word?
Kum tataam ix̂‚takatxin ee? Can you say it again?
Tataam … ix̂‚taadada. Please say … again / Please repeat …
Nung … ukuchx̂‚ida. Please show me …
Aqatal(a)kaqing I don’t know.
Aqatal(a)ka(ĝ‚i)ng I don’t know (it).

Vocabulary notes

In St. George, the term lax̂‚ ‘son’ is generally not used in ordinary conversation to refer to one’s son. It sounds formal. You will often hear lakaayax̂‚ ‘boy’ used instead, much the same way we hear people say ‘my boy’ in English. In other dialects of Unangam Tunuu, however, as well as in some of the traditional texts, the more common term is lax̂‚. In Unit 1, we will introduce both terms; in the following Units, we will generally use the preferred term in the Pribilofs, lakaayax̂‚, in this meaning.

The term kalikax̂‚ is used by some speakers to mean ‘book,’ but by others to mean ‘paper;’ for the latter speakers, the plural form kalikan refers to ‘book.’

Expand your vocabulary

Once you have mastered the vocabulary given in this lesson, learn the following additional vocabulary, for the purposes of the exercises. The words can be found in the Lexicon at the end of the textbook:

student, visit, dog, cat, eat, drink,

Practice saying them, and record them. They will be used in the exercises in the rest of this lesson.


headphones  Pronunciation

Listen to Sound Lab Lesson 2 Tracks 3-6

If the audio above doesn’t play, download the .mp3 file

If the audio above doesn’t play, download the .mp3 file

If the audio above doesn’t play, download the .mp3 file

If the audio above doesn’t play, download the .mp3 file

Special orthographic characters, vowel length, and stress

Some letters in Unangam Tunuu represent different sounds than the same letters in English. For a more complete description of this, read the introductory chapter on sounds and the Unangax̂‚ alphabet. In this lesson and the following two lessons in Unit 1, we will practice the pronunciation of sounds or combinations of sounds in Unangam Tunuu that are likely to be difficult for English speakers. In this lesson, we review the sound [x̂‚] and practice a very similar sound, [x].

There are sounds with no equivalent in English:  [x̂‚], which you practiced in Lesson 1, is one such sound.  There is a very similar sound, [x], also not found in English, and the two are often hard to distinguish.  We will focus on these two sounds here.

In addition to having sounds that have no English equivalent, there are sounds with English equivalents but very different orthographic conventions. Notice, for example, that Unangam [d], as in adax̂‚ ‘father, priest’ sounds like English [th], as in ‘father.’ In loanwords from Russian or English, however, [d] sounds like the English [d], as in Fiyuudurax̂‚. And finally, you will notice that vowels may be written with one letter (e.g. [a]) or two letters, e.g. [aa]): the length of a vowel is important in Unangam Tunuu; replacing a short vowel with a long one can change the meaning of a word. For example, amax (more frequently amgixÌ‚) means ‘night’ whereas aamax means ‘blood.’

In general, Unangan words have a primary stress on the second to last (called penultimate) syllable of a word. For example, the word kalikax̂‚ has the main stress on the second syllable [li]. There is also a secondary stress on the first syllable. We can symbolize these stresses as follows:

k -l­-kax̂‚                 ‘book’

However, long vowels are generally stressed, and this can change the basic stress pattern:

¬x̂‚-t¡a-da-d      ‘please say’

pr¡a-ni-kax̂‚       ‘cookie’

In addition, a combination of stress, voicing, and the dropping of some sounds in rapid speech can affect the perception of the length of the vowel, so that language learners may have difficulty in distinguishing a short stressed vowel from a long vowel. Many of the Russian loanwords, including names, seem to be problematic in this regard:

¡-lax alternates with ¡a-lax                                   ‘two’

Di-m­-trix̂‚ sounds like Di-m­i-trix̂‚               ‘Dimiitriy’

We will discuss stress and other related matters more in the following lessons and in Unit 2.

(Stress in Unangam Tunuu has been studied by several linguists, but numerous features remain to be clarified. For more on stress in Unangam Tunuu, see Bergsland 1997:30ff; Oshima 1994; Taff 1997.)

speakerSelf-Study Oral exercises  


Practice speaking these words. Record yourself and listen to how you sound using the recording device below.

  1. Practice the following words (for the sound [x̂‚]):
  • ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚
  • kalikax̂‚
  • ix̂‚taadada
  • tunux̂‚
  • ukuchx̂‚ida
  1. Practice the following words (for the sound [x]):
  • ukid(i)gilix
  • alqutalix
  • qalax̂‚talix
  • aslixsxaan
  1. Practice the following words (focus on d):
  • adax̂‚
  • ayagaadax̂‚
  • ix̂‚tada
  • ukuchx̂‚iidada
  • ix̂‚tadatxin
  1. Practice the following words (for the long vowel aa):
  • ix̂‚am(a)naa
  • qaĝaalakux̂‚
  • ix̂‚taadada
  • braatax̂‚
  • Amirikaanchax̂‚

Recording Tool

If you cannot see the recording tool below, click here.
[iframe src=”https://vocaroo.com/?minimal” width=”525″ height=”250″ frameborder=”0″]

Grammar I - Structure of Nouns and Verbs


Listen to Sound Lab Lesson 2 Tracks 7-14

If the audio above doesn’t play, download the:

The structure of Unangan words: nouns and verbs

Look at the following words:

  • adaada-x̂‚ – ‘father’
  • anaada-x̂‚ – ‘mother’
  • ix̂‚am(a)na-ku-x̂‚ – ‘it’s fine’
  • asax̂‚ta-ku-x̂‚ – ‘he/she is called…’

Nouns and verbs (words which describe actions or states) in Unangam Tunuu are made up of several parts. The first part of the word is called the root or stem, and it gives the primary meaning of the word. The stems of the words given above are in boldface.

Nouns and verbs in Unangam Tunuu rarely consist of a bare stem; they generally have an ending, called an inflectional suffix, that indicates several types of grammatical information. In Lesson 1, we introduced the noun ending —x̂‚. This is the most simple noun ending, and the ending most commonly used for citation forms of nouns. We will look at noun endings in more detail in Unit 2.

Verbal inflectional suffixes include a component that indicates mood as well as, in most cases, one that indicates the person(s) involved in the action of the verb. In the vocabulary, you have seen verbs ending in lix. This is a verb mood known as the conjunctive; it has many functions, one of which is its use as a citation form in grammars and dictionaries, and another of which is its use in questions. Another mood you have seen is the indicative ku-, followed by person endings such as x̂‚ ‘he, she, it…’ (note that this is not the same ending as x̂‚ on nouns). A third one is the imperative da used in commands. We will discuss verb moods and person endings in more detail in Lesson 3.

Grammar II - Word Order

What does the following sentence mean?

Kalikax̂‚ nung ukuchx̂‚iidada

Here is a breakdown of the sentence:

Kalikax̂‚             nung                ukuchx̂‚iidada
The/a book           to me                             please show

There are several things to notice. First, some Unangan words translate as several words in English: kalikax̂‚ = ‘a book’ or ‘the book’; nung = ‘to me’; ukuchx̂‚iidada = ‘please show’. Sometimes, one Unangax̂‚ word translates as several words in English, and sometimes, one English word translates as several words in Unangam Tunuu.

Second, the word order of an Unangax̂‚ sentence is generally different than the word order in the equivalent English sentence (as in the example above, with the English translation ‘(Please) show me the book’). For example, while in English, verbs tend to be placed in the middle of a sentence, in Unangam Tunuu, the verbs are almost always at the end of a sentence. (There are, of course, exceptions in both languages, but we will leave those alone for now.) The order of the nouns preceding the verb is important too: the noun that describes the person or thing doing the action, called the subject, is first, as in anaadang ‘my mother’ in the example below; the noun that describes the person or thing undergoing the action, called the direct object, comes next, as in ting ‘I, me’ in the example below; and finally the verb, as in guustikux̂‚ ‘he/she is visiting:’

Anaadang ting guustikux̂‚. ‘My mother is visiting me.’

The subject does not have to be expressed as a separate word; it is simply indicated by the verb ending. In the following examples, the inflectional endings on the verb indicate that the subject is 3rd person in the first case and 1st person in the second:

Chitaayakuqing. ‘I am reading.’
Ting guustikux̂‚. ‘He/she is visiting me.’
Kalikax̂‚ nung ukuchx̂‚ikux̂‚. ‘He/she is showing me the/a book.’

The direct object need not always be expressed explicitly in Unangam Tunuu, but in this case there may be some effects on the structure of the sentence; we will not discuss this further in this book.

Some verbs require two objects: the direct object, and a noun that describes the person or thing receiving or benefitting from something, called the indirect object. In this case, the order is subject – direct object – indirect object – verb. In the sentence Stipaanax̂‚ kalikax̂‚ nung ukuchx̂‚ikuxÌ‚ ‘Steven is showing me the/a book,’ the subject is Stipaanax̂‚ ‘Steven’ the direct object is kalikax̂‚ ‘the/a book,’ and the indirect object is nung ‘to me.’

This word order remains important when asking a question with question words such as alqutax̂‚ and kiin ‘who’ (the word guustilix in the following sentences means ‘to visit’):

Paavilax̂‚ alqutax̂‚ malix? ‘What is Paul doing?’
Stipaanax̂‚ kiin guustilix? ‘Who is Steven visiting?’
Kiin Stipaanax̂‚ guustilix? ‘Who is visiting Steven?’

Note: In Unangam Tunuu, question words do not automatically come at the beginning of a sentence as they do in English; rather, they maintain the position of the word they replace. In a few of the recorded conversations or texts in this textbook, perhaps due to English influence, you will hear a different word order, e.g. Alqutax̂‚ Paavilax̂‚ malix? ‘What is Paul doing?’ While we have consistently used traditional word order in the exercises, we do not always have consistency in the recorded texts. For the purposes of learning Unangam Tunuu, it is best to practice the more standard word order.

Third, the words ‘the’ and ‘a’ do not translate directly into Unangam Tunuu. These English words indicate definiteness, or whether or not a word is known from previous context. Using the definite article ‘the’ in the phrase ‘the book,’ assumes that the book in question is known to the speaker and listener: ‘show me the book’ refers to a specific book. Using the indefinite article ‘a’ in the phrase ‘a book’ does not: ‘show me a book’ refers to any object that fits the description of a book. In Unangam Tunuu, definiteness is understood from context. The sentence kalikax̂‚ nung ukuchx̂‚ida can have two meanings; the listener will generally know which of the two meanings is meant by what else has been said in a conversation:

Kalikax̂‚ nung ukuchx̂‚ida. = ‘Show me the book.’ and ‘Show me a book.’

One way to emphasize that a specific object is meant is to use the deictic, or pointing, words wan or ingan.

Wan kalikax̂‚ nung ukuchx̂‚ida. ‘Show me the/this book.’

Culture Notes - Saying 'please'



Listen to Sound Lab Lesson 2 Tracks 11 and 13.

Download Track 11 .mp3

Download Track 13 .mp3

In the conversations for this lesson, the teacher requests the students Paul and Mary to do certain things. Simple command forms are used:

ukuchx̂‚ida               ‘show!’
ix̂‚tada                             ‘say!’

This is appropriate in a classroom; but in everyday life, these simple commands may not be appropriate. We often have to make requests or commands; but without some way of showing politeness, requests or commands can sound harsh. In Unangam Tunuu, there is no separate word ‘please’, as there is in English. Instead, to soften the request or command, the diminuative suffix ada- can be added before the imperative ending; it is the same suffix that we saw in Lesson 1 for endearments of personal names:

ukuchx̂‚ida                                       ‘show!’
ukuchx̂‚i-ida-da                       ‘please show’
ix̂‚tada                                                     ‘say!’
ix̂‚ta-ada-da                                     ‘please say’

Note: sometimes, this suffix is ida- and sometimes it is ada-; there are no diphthongs in Unangam Tunuu. If a word ends in a consonant or an [a], then the suffix is ada-; if it ends in an [i], then the suffix is ida-; and if it ends in a [u], then the suffix is uda-. The vowel that begins the diminuative suffix changes depending on the sound that precedes it. For more on this, see the notes on pronunciation in Lesson 3.

Test Your Knowledge

Understanding Conversations

Watch the video below and try to translate the conversation. What would you say differently?  


write13Self-Study Written Exercises

Written exercises (Lesson 2 Self-Study Exercises – will open in a new tab in a Google Doc.)



[qdeck random=“true’] [q]alqutax̂‚
[a]book, paper
[q]lax̂‚, lakaayax̂‚
[a]boy, son
[q]uchiitilax̂‚, uchiitalax̂‚
[a]language, word
[q]qam agalaa
[a]to say
[a]to talk
[a]to show
[a]to know
[a]to mean
[q]ama, amaya, amayux, amay
[q]book, paper
[q]boy, son
[a]lax̂‚, lakaayax̂‚
[a]uchitilax̂‚, uchiitalax̂‚
[q]language, word
[a]qam agalaa
[q]to say
[q]to talk
[q]to show
[q]to know
[q]to mean
[a]ama, amaya, amayux, amay


[qdeck random=“true’] [q]Qilam ix̂‚am(a)naa!
[a]Good morning!
[q]Qam agalaa!
[a]Good afternoon!
[q]Angal(i)kingam ix̂‚am(a)naa!
[a]Good evening!
[a]let’s speak
[q]Unangam Tunugan ilan, Unangam ilan
[a]in Unangam Tunuu
[q]Amirikaanchim Tunugan ilan, Amirikaanchim ilan
[a]in the English language, in English
[q]Amilaayam Tunugan ilan, Amilaayam ilan
[a]in the English language, in English
[q]Alqutax̂‚ inga(ya)?
[a]What is this/that?
[q]Wan tunux̂‚ alqutax̂‚ qalax̂‚talix?
[a]What does this word mean?
[q]Wan tunux̂‚ alqutalix alux̂‚sxa(da)lix?
[a]How do you write this word?
[q]Kum tataam ix̂‚takatxin ee?
[a]Can you say it again?
[q]Tataam … ix̂‚taadada.
[a]Please say … again / Please repeat …
[q]Nung … ukuchx̂‚ida.
[a]Please show me …
[a]I don’t know.
[a]I don’t know (it).
[q]Good morning!
[a]Qilam ix̂‚am(a)naa!
[q]Good afternoon!
[a]Qam agalaa!
[q]Good evening!
[a]Angal(i)kingam ix̂‚am(a)naa!
[q]let’s speak
[q]in Unangam Tunuu
[a]Unangam Tunugan ilan, Unangam ilan
[q]in the English languagein English
[a]Amirikaanchim Tunugan ilan, Amirikaanchim ilan
[q]in the English language, in English
[a]Amilaayam Tunugan ilan, Amilaayam ilan
[q]What is this/that?
[a]Alqutax̂‚ inga(ya)?
[q]What does this word mean?
[a]Wan tunux̂‚ alqutax̂‚ qalax̂‚talix?
[q]How do you write this word?
[a]Wan tunux̂‚ alqutalix alux̂‚sxa(da)lix?
[q]Can you say it again?
[a]Kum tataam ix̂‚takatxin ee?
[q]Please say … again / Please repeat …
[a]Tataam … ix̂‚taadada.
[q]Please show me …
[a]Nung … ukuchx̂‚ida.
[q]I don’t know.
[q]I don’t know (it).

Test Yourself – Grammar 2 – word order

Written exercises (Lesson 2 Self-Study Exercises – will open in a new tab in a Google Doc.)

In-Class Group Exercises


 Group Conversation Exercises

These exercises will be completed during synchronous class time and led by your instructor. You will  be graded on attendance and participation.

1. Vocabulary
For these exercises, stay in Unangam Tunuu; if you or your partner(s) don’t understand something, say aqatalaka(ĝ‚i)ng ‘I don’t know it;’ or say Kum tataam ix̂‚takatxin ee? ‘Can you say it again?’

  1. Review last week’s lesson by greeting each participant appropriately, with the greeting for the time of day and with their name.  Be sure to use the new greetings, such as Qam agalaa!  ‘Good afternoon!’ If you don’t remember someone’s name, ask for his or her name.  Ask people how they are are.
  2. If you have access to a video connection,
    1. Use props such as a family of dolls to ask each other or tell each other what their names are, who they are within the ‘family.’  
    2. Ask class participants to show you a particular famiy member
  3. If you do not have a video connection, assume a family of multiple generations
    1. Class members take turns assigning ages, names, and relationships.
    2. If you don’t hear or understand someone, be sure to use the new phrases in this lesson, such as tataam ix̂‚taadada ‘please say it again’
  4. Discuss the video in the ‘Test your knowledge’ section.  Were you able to understand the conversation?

2. Comprehension test: Listen to the conversations and answer the questions that follow as a group.

Tunusax̂‚ 1 / Conversation 1 (Sound Lab Lesson 2 Tracks  15-16)

If the audio above does not work, download the .mp3 file

If the audio above does not work, download the .mp3 file

  • M–Qilam ix̂‚am(a)naa, Stipaanax̂‚. Kiin ingay(a)?
  • S–Waya lang Dimiitrix̂‚. Dimiitrix̂‚, Unangam tunugan ilan ‘Hello’ ix̂‚tada!
  • D–Aang!
  • M–Ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚! Dimiitrix̂‚, Unangam tunugan ilan ‘Goodbye’ ix̂‚tada!
  • D–Wan tunux̂‚ aqatalakan.

Answer the following questions:

  • Ingan lax̂‚Ì‚, alqutax̂‚ asax̂‚talix?
  • Dimiitrix̂‚ alqutax̂‚Ì‚ Unangam tunugan ilan ix̂‚talix?
  • Dimiitrix̂‚ alqutax̂‚Ì‚ Unangam tunugan ilan aqatal(a)kan?

Tunusax̂‚ 2 / Conversation 2 (Sound Lab Lesson 2 Track 17)

If the audio above does not work, download the .mp3 file

  • T–Qilam ix̂‚am(a)naa, Mariiya(x̂‚) amay(a) Paavil(ax̂‚).
  • M–Qilam ix̂‚am(a)naa, Uchiitilax̂‚.
  • P–Qilam ixam(a)naa, Uchiitilax̂‚.
  • T–Unangam Tunugan ilan tunux̂‚taax̂‚tan. Mariiyax̂‚, “Unangam Tunuu’ ix̂‚tada.
  • M–Unangam Tunuu.
  • T– Ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚, Mariiyax̂‚. Paavilax̂‚, “Aslixsxaan ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚’ ix̂‚tada.
  • P– Aslixsxaan ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚.
  • T–Ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚, Paavilax̂‚. Maariiyax̂‚, “Tayaĝux̂‚’ ix̂‚tada.
  • M–Tayaĝux̂‚.
  • T– Ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚, Mariiyax̂‚. Kum tataam ix̂‚takatxin eh?
  • M–Tayaĝux̂‚.
  • T–Ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚. Paavilax̂‚, tataam “Aslixsxaan ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚’ ix̂‚tada.
  • P– Aslixsxaan ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚.
  • T–Aang, ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚! Qaĝaalakux̂‚. Mariiyax̂‚, Paavilax̂‚ nung ukuchx̂‚ida.
  • T–Paavilax̂‚, nung kalikax̂‚ ukuchx̂‚ida. Tataam kalikax̂‚ nung ukuchx̂‚ida.
  • T–Mariiyax̂‚, alqutax̂‚ inga(ya)?
  • M–Kalikax̂‚ wa(ya) akux̂‚.
  • T–Aang, ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚.

Answer the following questions:

  • Uchiitilax̂‚ Unangam Tunugan ilan tunux̂‚talix ee?
  • Kiin ‘Asxlixsxaan ix̂‚am(a)nakux̂‚’ ix̂‚talix?
  • Mariiyax̂‚ alqutax̂‚ ix̂‚talix?
  • Paavilax̂‚ alqutax̂‚ uchiitilam-(ng)aan[1] ukuchx̂‚ilix?
  • [1]  uchiitilam-aan ‘to the teacher’


Lesson Assignment

Open this  Google Doc, save the doc to your Drive,    and complete. When finished, save as a .docx file  and upload the file to the Assignment Upload area for Lesson 2  in the UAF Blackboard course shell (https://classes.uaf.edu – log in with your UA username and password). If you have problems with the assignment or with uploading the file, please contact your instructor right away for help.