Aug06 –  A Constructed Language

Aug06 Morphology

Morpheme Classes

Type of Morphemes

There are four types of morphemes: roots, prefixes, particles, and special.

A word consists of either one or more prefixes followed by a special morpheme, one or more prefixes followed by one or more roots, two or more prefixes, or a particle.

Root Classes

There are three classes of roots: verbs, adjectives, and common nouns. Roots can be homophonous; a given root may have a denotation in any or all classes; these denotations may also be unrelated to each other. The denotation in effect for a given word is determined by the prefix immediately preceding the root.

Adjective Prefixes

There are four adjective-marking prefixes:

Adjective Prefixes
Prefix Tag Name
lu- Pos- positive (comparison)
mo- Cpr- comparative
pi- Equ- equative
do- Sup- superlative

Each of these forms a predicate stem which is equivalent to a univalent static verb root.

Noun and Pronoun Morphology

Common Noun Prefixes

A common-noun denotation is marked by either a determiner or a copular prefix.

Common-Noun Prefixes
Prefix Tag Name Type
da-, 0- Def- definite determiner
se- S- indefinite singular
ba- P- indefinite plural
ne- NR- non-referential
cu- CQ- content question
ji- DC- definite complement copular
fo- IC- indefinite complement

The copular prefixes form predicate stems which can take some of the verb prefixes while the determiners may be preceded by case markers, after which the definite prefix is unmarked.

Proper Nouns

A proper noun always uses the prefix li- (PN-) immediately before the special morpheme. This may be preceded by either the definite copular ji- (DC-) or an appropriate case marker.

Case Markers

The noun cases are shown in the following table:

Case Markers
Prefix Tag Name Basic Usage
xi-, 0- Nom- nominative subject
0- Acc- accusative direct object
be- Ins- instrumental instrument
i- Dat- dative indirect object
su- Gen- genitive possessor etc.
ja- Par- partitive whole
o- Voc- vocative addressee
di- Tmp- temporal time when

The unmarked form of the nominative is used on inanimate nouns while the prefix appears on animate nouns. The partitive is used only on mass nouns and plural count nouns.

Personal Pronouns

Pronouns are constructed from prefix morphemes and are inflected for case. The following table shows the stem (accusative case) of each personal pronoun:

Personal Pronouns
Stem Tag Description
mi- 1S- 1st person singular
gami- 1XP- 1st person exclusive plural
gawa- 1NP- 1st person inclusive plural
wa- 1ND- 1st person inclusive dual
tu- 2S- 2nd person singular
batu- 2P- 2nd person plural
ka- 3AS- 3rd person animate singular
baka- 3AP- 3rd person animate plural
ki- 3IS- 3rd person inanimate singular
baki- 3IP- 3rd person inanimate plural
ku- 3M- 3rd person mass

As with nouns, the personal pronouns are preceded by the case prefixes.

When unstressed and immediately following the verb, enclitic forms of the nominative singular personal pronouns may be used. In these, the nominative case prefix is reduced to x. For the inanimate and mass pronouns, the stem form is used as the enclitic. Similarly, when unstressed and immediately following the possessum, enclitic forms of the genitive singular personal pronouns may be used, with the case marker reduced to s. These contractions may also occur with the 1st person inclusive dual forms.

Other Pronouns

The other pronouns are also inflected for case. They include:

Other Pronouns
Stem Tag Description
na RP relative pronoun
cuka CQA content question, animate
cuki CQI content question, inanimate

Verb Inflections

The verb class is indicated by the lack of a distinguishing noun or adjective prefix. The order of verb prefixes is:

Mode- Subject- Aspect- Polarity- Object- Derivation- Root

Mode Markers

Mode is a fusion of syntactical function and mood.

Prefix Tag Mood Function
e- Fac- factual main
a- Ctf- contafactual
ce- FPQ- factual polar question
ca- CPQ- contrafactual polar question
sa- Imp- direct command
qo- Jus- indirect command, wish, etc.
yu- Opt- hypothetical subordinate
xo- Sub- actual
ya- Rsl- actual resultative
po- Dep- actual depictive
hu-, 0- Att- actual attributive

The attributive is marked only if no other prefix appears.

Subject Marking

The subject is either xa- (SS-, same subject), or unmarked (different subject). If different subject is indicated, the subject appears as a phrase in the nominative case.

The term same subject means that the subject is implicit and coreferences either the subject of the preceding clause or the agent of the matrix clause. If the mode is depictive or resultative, the SS- prefix isn't used, since the the subject must coreference an argument of the host clause.

Aspect Markers

The possible aspects depend on the verb's action type. If the verb is dynamic, the aspects are future, present, perfect or aorist, the last being unmarked. If the verb is static, the aspects are future, present, or perfect, the present being unmarked.

Prefix Tag Name Description
bu- Fut- future The situation always occurs after the time reference.
fi-, 0- Prs- present The situation is always in progress at the time reference.
te- Prf- perfect The situation always occurs before the time reference.
0- Aor- aorist The situation time depends on the mode.


If an object or other prefix appears between it and the root, the polarity prefix acts like the root of a separate word but if no prefix appears, it does act as a prefix, connecting directly to the root.

Polarity Markers
Marker Tag Name
0   positive (polarity)
nno Neg negative
?? Aff affirmative

Object Marking

The object marker is either the accusative form of a personal pronoun, the accusative form of the relative pronoun, a grammatical voice prefix, or null. The grammatical voice prefixes are all valence-decreasing, so an accusative object phrase can appear only if the object marker is null and the verb is bivalent. If the verb is univalent, the object marker must be null.

Grammatical Voice Marking
Prefix Tag Name Description
0-   active subject acts on object
we- Ant- antipassive subject acts on indefinite patient
go- Pas- passive subject is acted on by indefinite agent
qe- Rfx- reflexive subject acts on self

Probably, the reflexive voice prefix is really a reflexive pronoun.

Derivational Morphology

Some derivation, primarily those that can apply to adjectival forms, is done by prefixes.

Derivational Roots
Root Tag Name Derives Applies To
?- Inch- inchoative dynamic verb static verb
?- Hab- habitual static verb verb

Regular Derivation

These derivational morphemes are roots rather than prefixes. As with other roots, they can derive a common noun, adjective, or verb, depending on the determining prefix. Unlike other roots, a derivational morpheme (once its class is determined) determines the class of the following root.

Derivational Roots
Root Tag Name Derives Applies To
??- Pot- potential static verb verb
??- Agt- agent animate noun verb
??- PtA- patient animate noun verb
??- PtI- patient inanimate noun verb
??- Prd- product inanimate noun verb
??- ?- instrument inanimate noun verb
??- ?- location inanimate noun verb


A compound consists of two (or more) roots; its meaning is lexicalized and only the class of the first root can be determined.

Time-When Adverbs

A time-when adverb is a compound consisting of the temporal case prefix Tmp-, a time-units noun, and an identifying modifier root. This could be something like Tmp-day-sun = "sunday".

page started: 2013.Aug.09 Fri
current date: 2013.Aug.12 Mon
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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