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Ólhstexwes á:lhtel lám te sléxwelhs

Illustration for 'they load it into their canoes'

Ólhstexwes á:lhtel lám te sléxwelhs means ‘They put it in their canoes‘. You could also translate it as ‘They load it into their canoes‘.

Audio: Elizabeth Herrling

Vocabulary and Structure

This phrase has the following structure:

Illustration showing structure of 'they put it into their canoes'


  • ólhstexw‘to put (it) on board’
  • -es here required because the subject (‘doer’) of the action, á:lhtel (‘they‘) is a ‘third person’ (neither me nor you). Certain verbs require the –es ending whenever they have a third person subject.
  • á:lhtel‘they, them’.
  • lám – usually this means ‘to go’, but here it is used as a preposition, in this case with the interpretation ‘into’ (when you use it as a preposition, it can also mean ‘to‘)
  • tethe
  • sléxwelhcanoe (this is technically the singular form, but you use sléxwelh also for plural canoes; the full plural form would be slexwléxwelh, but Elders don’t usually use this)
  • -s – here the –s ending is marking that the canoe is possessed by some understood third person (linguists call this ‘third person possession’ abbreviated 3POSS). In this case, the understood possessor is they, giving the meaning their canoes. (Note: this –s is not a plural marker.)

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