His, Her, Its

Mitla Ruina

Languages of Mexico are sometimes clearer than English. English has three third-person pronouns to indicate the owner of an object, his, her, its; but Villa Alta Zapotec has four, e', bo', ïb, ïn. In Zapotec, these pronouns follow their nouns.

lidx   e' ‘his or her home’ (owner is person of respect)
lidx   bo ‘his or her home’ (owner is a familiar friend)
lidx   ïb ‘its home’ (owner is an animal)
lidx   ïn ‘its home’ (owner is an object, like a doll)


In Isthmus Zapotec, ca- is added to the beginning of a noun to make it plural. And this same word ca- is added to pronouns to make them plural.
lidxi calidxi ‘home, homes’
lidxi be lidxi cabe ‘his or her home, their home’ (of people)
lidxi me lidxi came ‘its home, their home’ (of animal)
lidxi ni lidxi cani ‘its home, their home’ (of object)