9D –  A Constructed Language

9D Morphology

Word Classes and Derivation

The content words are divided into nouns and verbs, the latter including quantifiers, adjectives, prepositions, and some adverbs.

Compounds are head-modifier.

An ordinal number is formed from the corresponding cardinal number by prefixing ms, e.g. pere "one", mspere "first".



A relational noun (such as a body part or kinship term) must take a personal suffix specifying the possessor. Other than that, nouns are not inflected. The personal suffixes include most of those under Patient in the table Pronominal Affixes.

"my mother"
mom -k
mother -1S

However, the definite article h and the genitive case marker t are proclitic and often attach to the noun, since the noun is usually the first content word in a phrase.

"of the cat"
 t- h- keht
Gen-Def- cat


Verbs are classified according to aspect type (covered later) and argument structure, the primary distinction being the valence (one, two, or three). Verbs are inflected for aspect, subject, and object. Argument inflection is A-V-P for bivalent and trivalent verbs and V-S for univalent verbs (with the exception of the active verbs, which have S-V forms as well as V-S). The personal affixes are:

Pronominal Affixes
Singular Plural Description
Tag Agent Patient Tag Agent Patient
1S k- -k 1P ko- -ko 1st person
2S s- -s 2P so- -so 2nd person
ND m- -m NP mo- -mo inclusive person
3S o- -o 3P ho- -ho 3rd person
HA te- -te # host agent
HP po- -po host patient
Att e- -e attributive
U 0 0 unspecified
Rfx # -r ? reflexive

The effects of passive and antipassive are achieved by leaving the appropriate argument unmarked.

Explanation of Pronominals

The inclusive person includes both speaker(s) (1st person) and addressee(s) (2nd person). The affix under Singular is technically dual, since 1 speaker + 1 addressee is referred to. Note that 1st person plural excludes any addressees.

Unlike the personal affixes, those in the last 5 rows of the table don't distinguish number. Unspecified means that the verb is impersonal with regard to the agent and/or patient. The reflexive suffix marks the patient as having the same referent as the agent. The appearance of an attributive affix indicates that the verb is used as a noun modifier. The remaining affixes are coreferential and mark secondary predicates; host agent means that the argument has the same referent as the host verb's agent and host patient means that the argument has the same referent as the host verb's patient.

Aspects and Action Types

There are 6 aspect total (stative, perfective, progressive, retrospective, prospective, and semelfactive), but no verb has all 6. How each aspect is formed varies according to the verb's action type, of which there are 4 (S, P, Q, and R).

Static verbs all belong to action type S, while dynamic verbs are divided among the others. Verbs of each type have a particular aspect when not marked; the addition of an aspect-changing prefix produces a different aspect.

Action Types
Type Unmarked Aspect Notes
S stative all static
P perfective dynamic
Q progressive dynamic
R retrospective dynamic

Type S verbs are stative when not otherwise marked; the addition of an aspect prefix effectively derives a dynamic verb with that aspect.

Type P verbs are perfective when not otherwise marked and mostly specify simple actions, such as tomk "kick".

Type Q verbs are progressive when not otherwise marked and mostly specify actions which have no inherent termination and can be broken down into steps, such as kors "walk". Only these verbs can take the semelfactive prefix.

Type R verbs are retrospective when not otherwise marked and mostly specify processes with a built-in termination and a resulting state, such as rpot "broken".

The aspect-changing prefixes occur immediately before the root. The prefixes are:

Aspect-Changing Prefixes
Tag Prefix Aspect Notes
Prf- sk- perfective  
Prg- mt- progressive  
Ret- rh- retrospective  
Pro- hm- prospective  
Sem- ts- semelfactive type Q only

Note that stative is never marked.


Action Nominals

The definite article may attach to a finite verb, creating an action nominal.

"the search"
  h-0-mt- sork -0
Def-U-Prg- find -U

Note that either or both pronominal arguments can be included as well as the aspect. If no other patient is present, a non-referential noun representing the type of patient may be incorporated.

Participant Nominals

Unlike an action nominal, a participant nominal can't incorporate aspect. The incorporated argument roles which are allowed depend on the particular kind of nominal. Incorporated pronominal arguments take their usual positions, but an incorporated nominal is suffixed regardless of its role. The following table shows the common nominalizers:

Participant Nominals
Tag Prefix Nominalized Roles
AgtN- kes- agent Pat
PatN- sop- patient Agt
PrdN- tom- product Agt
InsN- tre- instrument both
LocN- ???- location both
TmpN- ???- time both

"writer of books"
 kes- kres -pok
AgtN- write -book

"my glasses" (etc.)
 tre- k- sek -0
InsN-1S- see -U

Note that active verbs take the agent nominalization rather than the patient.

page started: 2011.Dec.03 Sat
current date: 2012.Jun.02 Sat
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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