Forming A Negative Sentence

Using Negation Words

To form a negative sentence in Cherokee we place either ᎨᏍᏗ "gesdi" and Ꮳ “tsa” (Eastern) or Ꮭ "tla" (Western) before the verb to be negated, then we add the correct form of the negative prefix "yi-" to the front of the verb form.

When used before a consonant this prefix stays as "yi-".


ᎦᏚᏍ ᏣᏚᎵᎭ? gadus tsaduliha? - Do you want [some] bread?
ᎦᏚᏍ Ꮭ ᏱᏣᏚᎵᎭ? gadus tla yitsaduliha? - You don't want bread?

ᎪᎸᏍᏓᏅ ᎩᎾᏚᎵᎭ. golvsdanv ginaduliha. - You and I want [some] cola.
ᎪᎸᏍᏓᏅ ᎨᏍᏗ ᏱᎩᎾᏚᎵᎭ. golvsdanv gesdi yiginaduliha. - You and I don't want cola.

When used on a verb form that begins with a vowel, the "i" is dropped from "yi-" and the "y" is added directly in-front of the vowel.


ᎠᎹ ᎤᏚᎵᎭ. ama uduliha. - S/he, it wants [some] water.
ᎠᎹ ᎨᏍᏗ ᏳᏚᎵᎭ. ama gesdi yuduliha. - S/he, it doesn't want water.

ᎧᏫ ᎠᏆᏚᎵᎭ. kawi agwaduliha. - I want [some] coffee.
ᎧᏫ Ꮭ ᏯᏆᏚᎵᎭ. kawi tla yagwaduliha. - I don't want coffee.

ᎤᏅᏗ ᎣᎩᎾᏚᎵᎭ. unvdi oginaduliha. - S/he and I want [some] milk.
ᎤᏅᏗ ᎨᏍᏗ ᏲᎩᎾᏚᎵᎭ. unvdi gesdi yoginaduliha. - S/he and I don't want milk.

ᎧᏫ ᎨᏍᏗ ᏳᏚᎵᎭ. Kohwi gesdi yuduliha. - S/He doesn't want coffee.
ᏣᎳᎩ ᎨᏍᏗ ᏱᎦᏬᏂ. Tsalag gesdi yigawoni. - S/He doesn't speak Cherokee.
ᏓᏆᎴᎷ ᎨᏍᏗ ᏯᎩᎭ. Dagwalelu gesdi yagiha. - I don't have a car.
ᎤᏅᏓᏢᎢ ᎨᏍᏗ ᏱᏍᏗᎪᏩᏘᎭ. Unvdatlvi gesdi yisdigow(a)tiha. - You two don't see the mountain.
Ꮭ ᏱᎪᏩᏘᎭ. Tla hyigowatiha. - You don't see it.
ᎭᏗ, ᎨᏍᏗ ᏯᏆᏚᎵᎭ. Hadi, gesdi yagwaduliha. - No, I don't want it.
ᎨᏍᏗ ᏯᎾᎵᎮᎵᎦ. Gesdi yanaliheliga. - They are not happy.
Ꮭ ᏱᎪᎢᎦ. Tla yigoliga. - I don't understand.

Using Negation Words with Nouns and Adjective

In a sentence that points out a noun or an adjective in Cherokee, the verb "to be" is not used. However, if the sentence is negated, then special forms of the verb "to be" is used to complete the negation. The most common ones are ᏱᎩ "yigi" for present, ᏱᎨᏎᎢ "yigesei" for past, and ᏱᎨᏎᏍᏗ "yigesesdi" for future.


ᎯᎠ ᏪᏌ. Hia wesa. - This is a cat.
ᎯᎠ ᎨᏍᏗ ᏪᏌ ᏱᎩ. Hia gesdi wesa yigi. - This is not a cat.

ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒᎢ. Osda gesv'i. - It was good.
ᎨᏍᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᎩᏎᎢ. Gesdi osd yigisei. - It wasn't good.

Ꮎ ᎩᎵ ᎡᏆ. Na gili egwa. - That dog is big.
ᎯᎠ ᎩᎵ Ꮭ ᎡᏆ ᏱᎯ. Hia gili tla egwa yigi. - The dog isn't big.

ᎯᎠ ᎦᏍᎩᎶ. Hia gasgilo - This is a chair.
ᎯᎠ ᎨᏍᏗ ᎦᏍᎩᎶ ᏱᎩ. Hia gesdi gasgilo yigi. - This is not a chair.

ᎯᎠ ᎤᏁᎬ. Hia unega. - This is white.
ᎨᏍᏗ ᎤᏁᎬ ᏱᎩ. Gesdi unegv yigi. - It isn't white.


hia - this
wesa - cat
osda - good
unvdatlvi - a mountain
unegv - white

Language Tasks