Sep08 –  A Constructed Language

Sep08 Verb Morphology

Legend: Definitions, Terms, <Text>, [IPA], -Tags-, and "Glosses".

Morphology Overview

The morphological word classes are verbs, cardinal numbers, nouns, pronouns, determiners, adverbs, conjunctions, postpositions, and particles. Most of these may be involved in derivation; verbs, nouns, and pronouns are inflected. Many verbs, including the quantity verbs, are also scalar, being used for scales of comparison.

Verb Classification

The 2 main properties of verb roots and stems are the action type and the argument structure class.

Action Types

The action types are shown, along with their labels and descriptions, in the following table:

Action Types
Label Name Description Group
VS_ Scalar static and can be scale of comparison State
VB_ Binary other static
VH_ Habitual multiple occasions or long-term Process
VU_ Unitizable can be divided into steps
VC_ Culminating terminates in transition into state
VE_ Event treated as single transition Event

Argument Structure Classes

The argument structure class descriptions, along with their labels and names, are shown in the following table. Parentheses indicate that the argument can be omitted without marking the verb intransitive.

Argument Structure Classes
Label Name Subject Object Locational
V_P Descriptive - Descriptee -
V_R Relational - Locatee (Location)
V_A Actional Actor - (Route)
V_L Labile Experiencer (Stimulus) -
V_T Transitive (Agent) Patient -
V_D Ditransitive (Donor) Theme (Recipient)

Verb Morphology

Verb Structure

There are 3 types of verb forms: finite, imperative, and participial, all of which have the following structure:

Verb Form Structure
# Name Description
1 Directional allative or ablative
2 Scalar Adverb scalar stems only
3 Secondary Verb Root * at least 1 required
4 Primary Verb Root *
5 Stage
6 Polarity negative
7 Type and Role

Verb Stems

A verb stem consists of either a primary verb root, secondary verb root, or both, in which case, a compound verb stem is formed. The secondary verb root is typically a static verb root while the primary verb root is typically dynamic. The action type of a compound verb stem is that of the primary verb stem. The argument structure class of a compound verb stem is the union of the 2 classes.


A directional prefix changes the role of the locational argument. The prefixes are shown in the following table:

Directional Prefixes
Prefix Tag Name Description
nu- All- Allative location becomes destination
pa- Abl- Ablative location becomes place of origin

Scalar Adverbs

Scalar Adverb Prefixes
Prefix Tag Description Group
kyal- LP- loose Precision
- TP- tight
pyo- SQ- interrogative Function
- SSat- satisfactive
- SAbs- absolute positive
- SMax- absolute superlative
- Norm- normative


The stages, which depend on the verb stem's action type, are shown in the following table:

Stage Suffixes
Suffix Tag Name Applies to Produces
Durative state, process (same)
Culminative event event
-i -Cul process event
-an -Inc Inceptive process, event event
-do -Con Conative process, event state
-gyu -Sem Semelfactive habitual, unitizable event
-kwi -Hab Habitual non-habitual? habitual
-usla -Ctu Continuative state, process (same)
-is -Prf Perfect process, event state
-ot -Pro Prospective process, event state
-ba -Pot Potential (any) state


Negative polarity is marked by the suffix -kho -Neg; positive polarity is unmarked.

Type and Role

The suffixes are shown in the following table. An asterisk (*) indicates that the suffix vowel combines with a preceding vowel. The suffix -o appears after consonants and the suffix -r appears after vowels.

Type & Role Suffixes
Suffix Tag Description Type
direct Finite
-mi -Inv inverse
-so -Uns impersonal
-u * -ImpS imperative (2nd person) singular Imperative
-ulo * -ImpP imperative (2nd person) plural
-usu * -HorP hortative (inclusive person) plural
-ik * -CoS coreference subject Participial
-o, -r -CoO coreference object
-cha -CoL coreference location
-tu -CoI coreference instrument

Verb Stem Examples

zol kozet nisil -an
Prf carry in -All
"have carried into"

Verb Form Examples

no- xal- cixot -an -si
2- Neg- give -All -1S
"I — not give you"

xatak -it
break -Pat
"broken" (inanimate)

Special Verbs

The copula Cop has a locatee argument, which is marked on the verb as inverse voice subject, and a location argument, which isn't. It lacks stages and has no imperative order.

Quantity Verbs

The non-numeric quantities dasl "many", - "few", - "much", and - "little" are descriptive scalar verb roots.

The corresponding quantity words are derived form them by appending i.


Cardinal Numbers

A cardinal number is a sequence of 1 or more digits, starting with the most significant. The final a of the last digit (appearing in the citation form) is replaced, e.g. -a-a-i "642" (whole number).

Value Word Value Word
0 -a 1 -a
2 -a 3 -a
4 -a 5 -a
6 -a 7 -a
8 -a 9 -a

The final i of a number word is characteristic of a whole number. The value "0" always takes this ending.

A positive exponent is derived by replacing the final i of a whole number with -?? ShL and a negative exponent is derived with -?? ShR. An exponent always follows the whole number or fraction it modifies.

The denominator of a fraction is derived by replacing the final i of a whole number with -?? -Div. The denominator follows the numerator.

A negative number is formed by replacing the final i of the numerator with -?? -Min while a positive number is formed by replacing the final i of the numerator with -?? -Plu.

Example: - "-400/3".

Ordinal Numbers

The ordinal numbers are verbs derived from the corresponding whole numbers by replacing the final i with the suffix -?? -Ord.

Nominalized Quantity Words

A quantity word is nominalized by replacing the final i of a whole number with one of the following gender suffixes:

Nominalizing Suffixes
Suffix Tag Description
- -I Instrumental
- -L Locational
- -E Everything else

The quantity nouns for "much" and "little" produce mass nouns, so they take singular suffixes. The cardinal number for "1" also takes singular suffixes while the word for "0" may take either singular or plural suffixes. All other quantity nouns take plural suffixes.

page started: 2018.Sep.19 Wed
current date: 2018.Sep.19 Wed
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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