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Dictionary forms

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 14, 2000, 23:03
I've discovered that in dictionaries verbs are typically given in the
1st person singular forms, regardless of whether it makes sense (no
aspect and no tense markers are used, so it means "immediate past") -
so, for instance, láwu, "I have just been eaten"!  :-)  Obviously, in
actual use, first person singular with that verb is highly unlikely
without the antipassive voice (sláwu, I have just eaten).  The reason
for using that form is that some verbs have stems that are inexpressible
in the native syllabry, like _vulík-_ (go).  Syllables cannot end in
stops.  There's no problem when the ending is -u (first person singular)
or a geminating ending (1st person dual, 3rd singular irrational, 3rd
dual irrational), but in the other endings the stop changes.  P, b, t,
and d become corresponding fricatives (kuníp-/sukuníftai, "break/we few
break"; su- is antipassive), while k and g disappear and cause the
preceding vowel to lengthen (vulík-/vulíitai; "go, we few go")

An infinitive does exist, however.  It's used with auxiliaries.  In
these cases, the stem is used, but with the same changes as listed
above, e.g., suníuki kuníf, "I want to break [something]".  But, it's
impossible to predict from that form what the first person singular
would be, *kunífu would be a perfectly possible form, it just doesn't
happen to be a verb.

"If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men
believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of
the city of God!" - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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