I was feeling a little harried at work today, so I pulled down my
copy of _Kwakiutl String Figures_ and spent half an hour destressing.
I then "discovered" one of the terms for string figures in

pate lukempi  ["paD1 "luG1m%bi:]
pate         luke  -mpi
continuously weave -on the hand

The construction is a complex predicate. The first part _pate_ hosts
the proclitic string; it is an adverbial which lends the aspectual
notion of continuative to the construction, but it is not strictly
speaking an aspect marker. The second part _luke_ is inflected for
number and phase as appropriate. The suffix _-mpi_ refers to activity
done with or on the hand. So to say something like "I'm making the
Sage Hen" you'd have

wapate lukkempi atipukan  ["waBaD1 "lukkem%bi: a"tSiBu%ka:~]
wa= pate         lukke   -mpi           a=   tipukan
1=  continuously weave:U -with the hand DET= sage.hen

with _luke_ unbound in phase to show action viewed at a moment
instead of in its totality.

(The Sage Hen is a string figure I adapted from an Inuit original
"The Ptarmigan" -- see for
instructions on how to make the Inuit figure, which is the last of a
series; my adaptation removes all of the intermediate figures, and
has slightly different crossings in its final extension. I'll be
happy to send instructions (in English!) privately.)

Dirk Elzinga                  [log in to unmask]

Man deth swa he byth thonne he mot swa he wile.
'A man does as he is when he can do what he wants.'

- Old English Proverb