Forms of the Noun
There are two basic noun forms, those ending in a vowel and those ending in a consonant.  The nouns ending in consonants are typically the triconsonant form of nouns.  The table below shows the suffixes added to the noun in Miwok depending on how the noun is used in a sentence.

Table 1:  Suffixes for Nouns

Suffix for Miwok Noun
Ending in Vowel
Suffix for Miwok Noun
Ending in Consonant
Example - Leeka, stick
Example - Issak, he she it

-әәŋ leekaŋ
locative definite
-әt or -too
issakәt or issaktoo
locative indefinite
-әm or -mә'
issakәm or issakmә'
-sә -sәә
leekas issaksәә


Subjective (-'):

The subjective case (suffix - ' ).  This is the form in which a noun is spoken when it is devoid of context.  To the question “How do you say ‘man’?” the answer is “naŋŋa?.”   Nouns functioning as the subject of most verbs are in the subjective case (nominative case in Catherine Callaghan), also nouns or pronouns in apposition to the subject of such verbs.  Apposition means 1) a grammatical relation between a word and a noun phrase that follows; "`Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer' is an example of apposition"; or 2) the state of two nouns or pronouns, put in the same case, without a connecting word between them; as, I admire Cicero, the orator. Here, the second noun explains or characterizes the first.

    kocat                  -   my house
    iikah naŋŋa'      -   that man
    әpelŋee leeka'     - the tree is growing

Possessive (-ŋ):

Possessed nouns are followed by a possessive series suffix (genitive case in Catherine Callaghan).  Subjects of some relative clauses, as well as verbs in the potential and simple past, also take the possessive case. 

Relative clause is a clause that modifies a noun in a sentence, or a noun phrase, is a relative clause; for example "The woman that has just left the shop didn't buy anything. ('that has just left the shop' modifies the noun 'woman' by telling us which woman the speaker is referring to)."


English Miwok
pine nut's meat ochukusu sakkuŋ
the lady's daughter ossaŋ tuunesә
the horse kicked him kawaayuŋ kalaŋŋe'sә
I can come. әәnәnniṭ kanәŋ
If the weather is good. kuchi'ka'sә uc'uŋ

Objective (-y):

The objective case is used for nouns that are the object of the verb. 

It can also occur in certain adverbial expressions.  Adverbial expressions are expressions that modify the underlying verb and refer along with the verb to a manner relation. Examples of such patterns are: several times as fast, as much as 60% faster, louder than ever, all around, etc.


English Miwok
The dog is barking at something. tinnәy cuku' konaasәә
last year hoy'ay umuucay
He is watering the lawn. olkii chookiṭay
They are building a roundhouse. okyep haŋiy

Locative Definite (-t, -to, -tto):

The locative definite (Allative case in Catherine Callaghan) in the english form mean to, in, on, into, at, during, with reference to definite place or time.  The final vowel of a noun stem is lengthened, preceding the locative suffix.  Generally, it expresses location and motion toward the referent of the noun it marks.  In final position, the suffix is -t, when it is followed by certain other suffixes (always possessive pronouns), it is -to. 

Examples of (-t):
kawәәlәәt   -   during the night
lemeet   -   to the mountains
wәkeet   -   in the fire

Examples of (-to):
chiikeleetoos   -   in his pack-basket
kocaatook   -   to their house
hayyeetoon   -   near thee (in thy vicinity)

Used with demonstrative or locative stems, this locative suffix (-tto) has a syllable form in all the dialects, and the initial consonant of the suffix is long.

Examples (-tto):
minnitto'   -   at what place?
okatto'      -   right there
nettoo      -   right here
iikattoo         -   at the place mentioned

Locative Indefinite (-m, -mmә or -mә'):

The indefinite locative (Locative case in Catherine Callaghan) in english is in the form of to, at, in, into, with reference to space that is not definitely limited.  It expresses general location and apparently is not used with persons.  In final position in nouns, the suffix is ordinarily (-m), when followed by a possessive pronominal suffix, the locative suffix is (-mmә), or by vocalic harmony (-mmu) if there is a rounded vowel in the stem.  Since the initial consonant of the suffix is long in its syllabic form, the final vowel of the stem is not lengthened.  In Northern Miwok, there is a tendency to make a slight distinction in the meaning between the two suffixes, especially the inesseive case.  The inessive case is a case that expresses a location within the referent of the noun it marks

Examples (-m):

English Miwok
in the ground walliim
in the brush poochaam
in the water kikkәәm
in the open haleem
over there nom
He is throwing it on the ground. wikaasәә wallim
He is putting it in his mouth. wiikә 'awwomsu
He is putting it in the fire. wәkem wiikәә

Examples (-mmә):
kochammәәs   -   at his camp
haŋimmәәk   -   in their ceremonial house

Used with tri consonantal noun stems, this locative suffix has a syllabic form (-mә or -mu') also in final position.  The final vowel of the stem disappears, and the suffix follows a consonant directly, thus losing the length of its initial consonant.

Examples (-mә or -mu'):
tookosmu'   -   in the ear
kәnatmә'      -   on the buttocks
wakalmә'   -   at the stream
ollolmu   -   at the spring

tatta' hepŋee wakaalmә'   -   The leaves are floating on the creek.
heṭeeyakkam wakaalmә'   -   I saw him at the river.
әnәnnәnakkam wakaalәm   -   I dropped it in the river.

Ablative (-mmә):

The ablative case indicates motion from or out of something.  It is always followed by -' (subjective case).

Examples (-mmә):
әәnәm luupayәmmә'   -   I am coming from the hill.
homoomayә' ṭeweeyәә kannimmә'   -   A fly is crawling away from me.
talŋem yaaŋammә'   -   I am getting out of bed.

Instrumental (-s or -sә):

The instrumental case indicates that a noun is the instrument or means by which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action. The noun may be either a physical object or an abstract concept.  It is rare with persons.  In final position, the suffix is (-s); when the possessive pronoun follows, it is (-sә).  The final vowel of the noun stem is lengthened.

Examples (-s or -sә):

He's signalling with a flag.
wanteelaasә aniiwәә
She is swimming hard. huwwaasә әpsәә
with a blanket tonniis
with an awl chәllaas
with a seed basket
with thy foot hatteesәәn
with my cane siyaasәәt
with his tail suukiisәәs

The instrumental case is used a great deal, and in many expressions that would hardly be conceived of as instrumental in character.  This is partly owing to the fact that there is no dative case in Miwok, no indirect object.  And all such expressions as to roast meat for someone, to give a present to someone, are put in the form to roast for someone by means of meat, to give to someone by means of a present, etc. 

hina' 'im tinnәәs   -   with what shall we cook?
keŋŋes paypus 'ammәәp   -   they present him with one arrow
wәkkene' 'anәs semmilaas   -   he had them make a fire with bark
siilitәәsәs peluuyaa haŋiiy   -   with his saliva he sealed up the ceremonial house
ha'atnә sawaas   -   she throws at him with a stone

Vocative (-*):

The vocative case is the case used for a noun identifying the person (animal, object, etc.) being addressed and/or occasionally the determiners of that noun. A vocative expression is an expression of direct address, wherein the identity of the party being spoken to is set forth expressly within a sentence. For example, in the sentence, "I don't know, John.", John is a vocative expression indicating the party who is being addressed.


әpәә!   -   Father!
ossaa   -   Wife!
hewwasәә   -   Mother-in-law!

Miwok Noun Ending in Vowel
Example - Leeka, stick
Example Phrase
ne'ii leeka' or

leekaŋ tatta
ṭokokki leekay taswa
Locative Definite

Locative Indefinite




Table:  Example sentences with nouns in the present tense.

short stick or The stick is short.
chaaputti leeka
The house on the left.
chayamuwey kochat
The birds nest.
heesasә toloochiŋ
The blackwidow bit him on the testicle.
saatalmә yullusesә pokkomu
The blackwidow bit the egg belonging to him.
pokkomu yullusesә haŋŋuysә
The blackwidow bit on the egg.
pokkomu yulla haŋŋum
It bit his, the blackwidow, on the scrotum the little one on the right.
yullusesә pokkomu saatalmә weyyatti
he is climbing tree after you
onpuu miini chәәmә leekay
this man washing sand out of his eye
naŋŋay ney wiskala uchuu sәttәmsә mulaakepuksu
he has something in his eye
naŋŋay ney tinnәy uchuu sәttәmsә