*This chart shows the forms for saying “don‟t” as a command in Cherokee. Columns one, two, and three give the verbs in their
command form. Column One is the verb in English, Column Two has the verbs in Cherokee phonetics, and Column Three has them
in the Syllabary. Columns four through six give the verb in the “don‟t” form. Column Four has the “don‟t” verb in English,
Column Five in English phonetics, and Column Six in the Syllabary. Note that Column One
(the “command” verb in English) has only one form, but Columns Two and Three (the “command” verb in
Cherokee) have two verbs given in each box. This is because you have two different command forms in Cherokee, one for a
command “now” and one for a command in the future. So it is different in Cherokee to say “go” now versus “go” later. The form on
top in the box is the present command form, and the form on bottom is the future command form. In all verbs, the future command form will end in /-
Columns five and six, you will also notice that there are two verb forms for the “don‟t” commands in Cherokee. The “don‟t” commands in Cherokee mean the SAME thing; the only difference is one of choice. Saying “don‟t” as a command in Cherokee does
tter if it is “now” or in the future. Cherokee just has two equal, but different, ways you can say “don‟t” with verbs.
Now let‟s look at making these two forms. Again, there are two ways you can express the concept of “don‟t” in Cherokee, and b
oth ways w
ork just as well so you can use whichever one you want. Here‟s what you do:
Use the verb form that is the “Remote Past.” If you aren‟t sure what form this is, just find the one that would go in a stat
like “You did it yesterday” with the verb in the place of “did.” So if your verb is “buy” then make the sentence “You bought it yesterday.” For us here in Oklahoma, that sentence would be /Svhi jigesv‟i jahwasv‟i/ „Yesterday it was
bought it.” Some
speakers will make the form /ji-jahwa
sv‟i/ as their verb. That beginning /ji
-/ you see is a marker saying this action took place at a
specific time in the past. I mention it because if you ask a speaker how to say “You <VERB> yesterday” then you will probabl
y get the /ji-/ on the verb. For
what we‟re doing here, just take that off of the verb. We want what we call the “base form” which
only has the verb without anything on it.
So now we have /jahwasv‟i/. If the verb has the pronoun marker /ja
-/ or /j-
/ meaning “You” (to one person), then
all you have to do is put /hesdi/ or /hlesdi/ before it.
/hesdi jahwasv‟i/ „Don‟t buy it!‟
Method 2: But there is another way you can make this form, but it is more complicated. You are using basically the same form, but there are changes you need to make to the form. This is harder because you need to know your two basic verb forms, Set A or Set B. If
the verb is Set B, this is a little easier. If it‟s Set A, it‟s not as easy, but it‟s not hard if you understand what you need to do. Let‟s
do this for Set B first and then Set A next.