č- elevative

Prefix č-, is locational indicating an elevated position and/or a specialization as opposed to a generalization. It directs the act indicated by its stem at, toward, or upon the object. It elevates the act/object or notion above/forward a norm. By elevating, it indicates a specialization out-of/above/forward a generalization.

Generalizations are derived from the inherent worldview of the language. They are an important aspect of understanding meaning. Within the philosophical foundations of Nselíšcn is a hierarchical system of control and of the capacity to act. Prefix č- is a component of this system. An example of this is the designation of č- indicating people. See below for more on how people fit within this hierarchical system.

This prefix has the following two patterns. It either elevates the act/state/change-of-state in the stem-word or it elevates the specialization indicated by the lexical suffix.


When affixed to a stem-word it elevates its act, state, or change of state from a norm to a specialization that’s culturally understood or indicated through context.

The Nselíšcn hierarchical system of control and of the capacity to act in holds a worldview that humans have a high level of control and the highest capacity to act. This view is revealed in the use of č- to designate people among all other things. Others report that the prefix designating people is a different prefix.

The example below illustrate this concept. In the world there are things in general. When inquiring about the quantity of some group of things you ask, k̓ʷinš, /How many are there?. Isolated from any context, one is inquiring about the quantity of some unspecified things. In context or when specified like, k̓ʷinš ɬu sc̓eɁek̓ʷ, /How many flowers are there?/, the inquiry is specific but general, or un-elevated.

In the worldview of Nselišcn, people are special. People have the highest capacity to act and a high level of control. In the world of things, people are viewed in an elevated position. Prefix č– is used to indicate people when counting. The indicates people have an elevated status above all things countable. In this example k̓ʷinš is reduplicated as you would not inquire about number of people if there were thought to be fewer than two.

The next example illustrates how stem-word’s act/state/change-of-state is elevated. The root word, k̓ʷul̕, means work, effort to produce or accomplish something. This word is all inclusive of every thing that falls in the category of ‘effort to produce or accomplish something.’ It is a generalization.

In the example above, prefix č– elevates the ‘effort to produce or accomplish something’. Elevated work in Nselišcn worldview means to adorn or ornament something. This is the specialization of work. This elevated work is understood to refer to the act/work of beading.

In this example, q̓ʷlew̓-m refers all forms of fruit harvesting by hand. Adding the prefix indicates an elevation of act, q̓ʷlew̓-m, hand-harvest fruit/pick berries. The only elevated option of this act is locational. A tree is an elevated location to harvesting fruit. As fruit harvesting goes there are ground fruit, bush fruit, and tree fruit. Prefix č- indicates the elevated/highest option/form. In a hypothetical world, čq̓ʷlew̓-m, could be used to indicate the harvest of some highly specialized/rare and magical berries. In the real world it indicates picking fruit/berries from up in a tree.

The word puʕus, heart, thought, derives the act, pusəm, to think on/at/about something or someone, to have the heart on something or someone.

This example shows the elevation of heart/thought from an internal position to an external position. To think about something, is an internal/inward activity. Making a comparison or judgement is an external activity, elevating and externalizing thoughts about something. In this case prefix, č- elevates the inward thought act to and outward ‘airing’ of the thought act.

The elevative element in this example makes use of the literal and figurative use of the word. Most words have a literal and a figurative meaning. In this case the elevated literal meaning of čšin includes medicine or other beneficial additive. The root is locative and directive and conveys a meaning similar to the prefix, č-. In this sense a doubling effect is achieved. This elevated position is where a ‘beneficial additive’ resides. The same effect of a ‘beneficial additive’ in an elevated position is achieved in the figurative sense. The elevated figurative meaning is the benefit of not going alone. Going alone is viewed as inferior or in a lower position than going together.

č-/stem-word/-lexical suffix

č-/ /-min, the reason why; It does for/to. This affix co-occurrence indicates the tool for doing/being, or the reason to do/be, where ‘do’ is a function of the stem-word. Prefix, č- elevates

č-/ /-tin, the reason why; It does for/to it/him/her. This affix co-occurrence indicates the tool for doing to/for one, or the reason why one does. Prefix, č- elevates the instrumental use of the root along with suffix, -tin from tool to the force of the tool.

č-/ /-ew̓s, elevated relation, up high

Prefix, č– elevates, while suffix, –ew̓s, establishes the relationship between the higher form and the general form. To elevated in relation to a norm. The ‘form’ is the shape/act of the stem-word.

č-/ /-épleɁ, elevated authority

č-/ /-asq̓t, sky, in the sky, on the day

Both affixes must co-occur to indicate the sky. Without č-, suffix –asq̓t indicates day.

The perceptive senses of taste, sight, smell, and hearing are indicated by suffixes. Prefix č- elevates taste and sight specifically to the experience of each.

The next two sections show examples with affix co-occurrence č-/ /-aqs and č-/ /-us are provided.

č-/ /-aqs, elevated taste, experience taste

Suffix -aqs is categorizing/classifying as embodied by both a literal and figurative narrowing/tapering feature. In a directional sense it has forward motion. It is most recognizable as the co-occurring affixes, n-/ /-aqs, in referencing the nose or road/path (vanishing point). When co-occurring with prefix, č-, it indicates a special class of taste in the experience of the stem-word.

č-/ /-us, elevated source, experience sight

Suffix -us has an ‘outwardness’ reference, an emergence into existence, to be the origin/source. It is used to indicate the literal and figurative concepts, among these are: eye, face, berries, fire, vision, family, etc.

č-/ /-qin, on/of the top.

This co-occurring affix pair, prefix, č-, elevative, and suffix, -qin, on/of the top, reference a specialization of the top or extent of the act in the stem-word.

Suffix, -qin is a reference to the top or to the extent. Prefix, č- elevates the quality of the top or of the extent it does. This affix co-occurrence is often used to indicate a mountain.

Cross-dialectical Relations

Nselíšcn – Nqlispelíšcn

č– prep. of movement towards…; before original substantives remaining substantives it means to, towards…; before substantives derivated from a verb ending in -ten it means the reason, the object of the verb itself…; before substantives verbified it means to be after, to go for…; prefixed with compound verbs in many cases it imparts a peculiar meaning to the affixed particle…; with verbs it means to, at, towards, or, nearly in all pages…; prefixed to the verb implying movement or situation and giving it the instrumental conjugation, means near, by, lat.” Giorda, 1877-79.

č– towards, upwards, to go after.” Speck, 1977.


“Directional prefix, č-, after, is very limited in distribution. It usually occurs with derived transitive stems formed from bases with intransitive roots expressing some type of motion.” Carlson, 1972


t-, on and a part of; č-, on, attached to but not part of, at a point; čet-, on a surface or object broader than subject, above, over; čs-, after, behind, in pursuit of, for a purpose.” Reichard, 1938

“Locative, čet-, on; t-, on; čic-, toward here. Doak, 1998

čet-, on a surface; above, over. Brinkman, 2007.


“The directive prefix is /k– /, with an allomorph [t-] before roots beginning with a velar. The meaning of bases so derived is an extension of the meaning of the root.” Mattina, 1973.


Positional prefix k-, quoting Kinkade, ‘on or against something vertical.’ Willet, 2003

Positional prefix t-, quoting Kinkade, ‘attached to, cover.’ Willet, 2003

Positional prefix kat-, quoting Kinkade, ‘on a flat surface, over.’ Willet, 2003


The prefix, nə-, in Thompson’s, The Thompson Salish Language, has a similar use as Nselíšcn prefix, č-.

“Localizer /-/ signals localization or a more abstract specialization, as opposed to vaguer or more usual references of unmarked forms.” Thompson, 1992.


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