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Heichi: Verbs

From:Tommaso R. Donnarumma <trd@...>
Date:Friday, January 26, 2001, 14:42

Last time, we talked about Heichi nouns.  Today, it's time for
the verbs...


Heichi verbs do not inflect for tense, person or voice.  Instead, they
have five forms with different aspectual or modal meaning, plus a
special sixth form which never appears on its own.  The six forms are:

- Aorist.  Aorist indicates an action or accomplishment _per se_
   (punctual aspect).  It encompasses past and present tense.
- Imperfect.  It indicates an open-ended action, an ongoing process
   or an habitual action.  It also encompasses past and present tense,
   and it is also employed for general, "timeless" statements.
- Subjunctive.  It replaces both aorist and imperfect in embedded
   clauses.  It is sometimes found in ungoverned clauses with the
   meaning of an exclamation (desire, wish, fear).
- Conditional.  It is for "virtual" actions, ranging from the
   possible to the irrealis.  Conditional is also employed as a milder
   form of imperative and in polite requests.
- Imperative.  As the name implies, this is the form of command.
- Supine.  Never employed on its own, supine only appears as the
   first element of compounds.  It can have both active and
   passive meaning, depending on context.


Heichi verbs split into two inflectional groups, named the O
conjugation and the AMI conjugation after the suffix for the aorist
form.  Note that the same verb stem can appear in both the
conjugations, usually with different meaning (for example, the verb
stem d- forms _do_ and _dami_, both meaning "to do, to make", but
only the latter is employed as a causative auxiliary).

Here is the listing of the suffixes, together with the paradigm of

Aorist       -o       do
Imperfect    -onna    donna
Subjunctive  -etta    detta
Conditional  -ere     dere
Imperative   -oumi    doumi
Supine       -uku     duku

Verbs whose stem ends in /a/ or /u/ have alternate contracted form,
which are especially widespread in informal, low-register speech.
The paradigms of _sarao_ ("to like, to enjoy") and _akuo_ ("to be
able to, to be allowed to") are given below:

Aorist       saruu, sarao         akuu, akuo
Imperfect    saronna              akunna
Subjunctive  saritta, saraetta    akitta
Conditional  saraare, saraere     akiire, akuere
Imperative   saroomi              akuumi
Supine       sarooku              akuuku

As an exception, verbs ending in /yu/ never take the contracted form
of the conditional.  For example, the conditional of _ryuo_ ("to start,
to begin") is always _ryuere_, not _*ryiire_.

The negative is formed with the adverb _ii_ ("not"):  _matto_ ("need"),
_ii matto_ ("need not").


The AMI conjugation has two sets of suffixes, one for the affirmative
and one for the negative polarity.  Below I give the listing of
suffixes as well as the paradigm of _dami_:


Aorist       -ami    dami
Imperfect    -eman   deman
Subjunctive  -atta   datta
Conditional  -ara    dara
Imperative   -oo     doo
Supine       -aw[*]  daw

[*] In front of words beginning with /u(:)/ and /w/, this suffix
reduces to -aa.


Aorist       -emu     demu
Imperfect    -omanan  domanan
Subjunctive  -entaa   dentaa
Conditional  -amar    damar
Imperative   -amou    damou

There is no separate negative supine.

In colloquial speech, it is common to reinforce the negative
forms with the adverb _ii_:  _anam akemu_ ("I cannot", formal)
vs. _anam ii akemu_ ("I can't", colloquial).

Verbs whose stem ends in /aj/ also have contracted forms.  The
paradigm of _sayami_ ("must") is given below:

Aorist       saami, sayami         saamu
Imperfect    saaman                soumanan
Subjunctive  saitta, sayatta       saentaa, sayantaa
Conditional  saara, sayara         saamar, sayamar
Imperative   seoo, sayoo           saamou
Supine       sooku, sayuku, sayaw  ---

The contracted supine is based upon the suffix of the O
conjugation.  Uncontracted supine is equally formed with the
proper suffix from the AMI conjugation or the one from the O
conjugation.  Forms like _sayaw_ are subject to reduction
according to the rule given above.


A handful of verbs, when taken as the head of verb + verb
compounds, have come to be grammaticalised as a way to encode
modality or other categories (such as future and causative).
I'll deal with compounding in my next message.

Among the most common modal verbs are found:

_genmao_ ("to want")
_naamo_ ("to wish")
_sayami_ ("must", "to have to")
_matto_ ("must", "need")
_uudo_ ("to be compelled to")
_akuo_ ("can, may")
_akami_ (idem)
_mikami_ ("to be able to, to be in position to")
_heido_ ("to have permission to")
_ryuo_ ("to begin, to start")
_kotto_ ("to end, to finish, to quit")
_atsuo_ ("to quit," usually without completing)

When the subject of the modal verb is coreferent with the subject
of the "semantic" verb, a compound of the two verbs is formed:

anam fuaw-naamo
anam fu-aw    -naam-o
I    go:SUPINE:wish:AORIST
"I wish(ed) to go" (lit. "I going-wish")

on fuaa-uudo
on  fu-aw    -uud         -o
you go:SUPINE:be.compelled:AORIST
"You are (were) compelled to go"

When the two subjects are distinct, a plain embedded clause is

anam naamo on fuatta
anam naam-o      on  fu-atta
"I wish(ed) that you (would) go"

Other verbs often grammaticalised as auxiliaries with various
meaning are:

- dami ("to do, to make. to act") forms causatives:

anam on no fuaw-dami
anam on  no  fu-aw -d   -ami
I    you ACC go:SUP:make:IMPF
"I make (made) you go"

When the embedded verb is transitive, a double object
construction is employed:

anam on no aahou aterooku-dami fare
anam on  no  aahou atera-uku-d   -ami  fare
I    you ACC river pass: SUP:make:IMPF across
"I make (made) you cross the river

- do ("to do, to make, to act") is often used in colloquial speech
as a pleonastic auxiliary with no real meaning:

anam fuami
"I go (went)", formal

anam fuaw-do
"I go (went)", colloquial

- fuami ("to go, to come"), atsuko ("to take"), ryuo ("to start")
are all employed to supplement for future tense:

anam aahou aterooku-atsuko fare
"I will cross the river", or "I'm going to cross the river"

- tatami ("to consent"), sarao ("to like, to enjoy"), genmao ("to
want") are employed as onorific auxiliaries, when addressing to
or speaking about important people:

reikoo fuaw-tatami
"the king goes (went)" (lit. "the king consents (consented) to go")

That's all about verbs.  Tomorrow, heichi compounds!

Happy conlanging,


        GLOSSOPOIESIS, "The hidden art of tongue making"
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  E-mail: ICQ: Glossopoietes (#24209008)