Innocence Seekers: The Black Rose – Verbs in Namari

My second post on the Namari language, this post will detail the overhaul of the Namari verbal system. The original system is found on the wiki; however, I’ve decided to change many things with regards to conjugation.

It is not clear what verbal system Proto-Japonic possessed, but a few things can be figured out, based on the evidence from modern languages. From my own reconstructions (again, take them with a grain of salt), the following inflectional suffixes were present:

  • Infinitive/verbal noun: *-i
  • Predicative form: *-u/*-i (*-ʉ?)
  • Attributive form: *-ruCa? → *-rua? → *-ro
  • Imperative form: *-ryə
  • Participle: *-i-tay?

Thus, example paradigms are as follows (including evolution to Old Namari):

  • Stem: *kak-, *ankay-, *sunkoy-, *mi-
  • Inf: *kaki → kaki, *ankay → age, *sunkoy → sugi, *mii → mi
  • Pred: *kaku → kaku, *ankau → *anko → *ago → agu, *sunkou → sugu, *miu → *miʉ → mi
  • Attr: *kakrua → *kakro → kako, *ankairua → *ankaurua → agoro, *sunkoirua → *sunkourua → suguro, *mirua → miro
  • Imp: *kakryə → *kakya → kake, *ankairyə → *ankairə → agerə, *sunkoiryə → *sunkoirə → *sugirə, *miryə → mirə
  • Ptc: *kakitay → kakite, *ankaitay → agete, *sunkoitay → sugite, *miitay → mite

Note that only pre-Old Namari texts show predicative -o (attested only twice, as indo and ako). By the Old Namari period, all predicative forms have levelled to -u, with the exception of the irregular monograde and r-irregular classes, whose predicative forms end in -i.

For comparison, here are some irregular verbs:

  • Stem: *se-, *kə-, *ar-
  • Inf: *sey → si, *kəy → ki, *ari → ari
  • Pred: *seu → su, *kəu → ku, *arʉ → ari
  • Attr: *serua → *seurua → suro, *kərua → *kəurua → kuro, *arrua → aro
  • Imp: *seryə → serə, *kəryə → kəyə, *arryə → *arya → are
  • Ptc: *seytay → site, *kəytay → kite, *aritay → arite

If you haven’t noticed, Old Namari did not have two bigrade conjugational classes. Instead, what is in Old Japanese and Modern Namari the lower bigrade class is in Old Namari the trigrade class.

These are the only suffixes I’ve reconstructed for Proto-Japonic. Attempts to reconstruct more suffixes have been fruitless (even the otherwise-ubiquitous -ta forms in the Japonic languages may be a case of parallel evolution). However, two derivational verbal suffixes, the passive *-raryai- and the causative *-sasai-, may be reconstructible.

Anyway, enough with the history lesson. Traditionally, Namari verbs, like their Japanese counterparts, were held to have six “stem forms”. However, in the modern language this is seen to be inadequate due to sound changes. Now Namari verbs are described using only two principal parts, the conclusive and the imperative.
For reference, the stem forms of kaku (“to write”), an quinquegrade verb, are as follows:

  • Imperfective: kaka- (from PJ *kak-)
  • Infinitive: kaki (from PJ *kaki)
  • Conclusive: kaku (from PJ *kaku)
  • Attributive: kako (from PJ *kakrua)
  • Perfective: kake (from PJ *kakruagi)
  • Imperative: kake (from PJ *kakryə)

And for sugu (“to (sur)pass”), an upper bigrade verb:

  • Imperfective: sugi- (from PJ *sunkoy-)
  • Infinitive: sugi (from PJ *sunkoy)
  • Conclusive: sugu (from PJ *sunkou)
  • Attributive: suguyo (from PJ *sunkourua)
  • Perfective: sugue (from PJ *sunkouruagi)
  • Imperative: sugiyo (from PJ *sunkoiryə)

Lower bigrade verbs conjugate identically, except with /e/ replacing /i/.

Not listed is the participle (kaite and sugite), whose form may seem irregular but can be regularly derived for almost any verb.

However, the interesting thing about Namari verbs is their potential for recursive conjugation. Nearly all verbal suffixes have, at the very least, a conclusive, an attributive and a perfective, to facilitate their use in predicates, relative clauses and emphatic sentences. Many also have imperfective and infinitive forms.

But before I go into the details on conjugation, the irregular verbs.

The following are the forms of a typical monograde verb, mii (“to see”):

  • Imperfective: mi- (from PJ *mi-)
  • Infinitive: mi (from PJ *mii)
  • Conclusive: mī (from PJ *miu)
  • Attributive: miyo (from PJ *mirua)
  • Perfective: mie (from PJ *miruagi)
  • Imperative: miyo (from PJ *miryə)
  • Participle: mite

The r-irregular category consists only of three verbs: the two existentials ai (for inanimates) and oi (for animates), and the copula ya.

  • Imperfective: aya- (from PJ *ar-)
  • Infinitive: ai (from PJ *ari)
  • Conclusive: ai (from PJ *arʉ/*ari)
  • Attributive: ayo (from PJ *arrua)
  • Perfective: ae (from PJ *arruagi)
  • Imperative: ae (from PJ *arryə)
  • Participle: atte

The copula conjugates identically to ai, except the -i is omitted from the conclusive. What is notable about ai and ya is that they have irregular negatives (nān and yān respectively). These negatives conjugate as if they were quinquegrade verbs nau and yau respectively, except that they always take the negative.

The following are the forms of (“to come”):

  • Imperfective: ko- (from PJ *kə-)
  • Infinitive: ki (from PJ *kəy)
  • Conclusive: kū (from PJ *kəu)
  • Attributive: kuyo (from PJ *kəurua)
  • Perfective: kue (from PJ *kəuruagi)
  • Imperative: koyo (from PJ *kəryə)
  • Participle: kite

The following are the forms of (“to do”):

  • Imperfective: se- (from PJ *se-)
  • Infinitive: shi (from PJ *sey)
  • Conclusive: sū (from PJ *seu)
  • Attributive: suyo (from PJ *seurua)
  • Perfective: sue (from PJ *seuruagi)
  • Imperative: seyo (from PJ *seryə)
  • Participle: shite

The first thing I will discuss in this post is tense and aspect. I’ve looked at a number of grammars of Japonic languages to see how they handle tense and aspect, and I’ve noticed a few things. Most, if not all, languages I’ve investigated feature at least a past tense and a present tense. However, Japanese and the Ryukyuan languages handle aspect differently. Aspects in Japanese include the aorist (unmarked aspect) and the progressive (there is also a stative, which is inherently passive); the perfect is conflated with the past tense. Okinawan has the aorist (perfective), imperfective, perfect and progressive aspects, and all except the aorist can take either the non-past or the past tense (the aorist only takes the past tense in Modern Okinawan, with the lemma of an Okinawan verb being the imperfective non-past). Interestingly, in Okinawan, the negative is treated as an aspect, and verbs that do not conjugate for aspect either form their negatives analytically or have suppletive negatives.
However, in general, Ryukyuan languages rely more on aspect than Japanese; in fact, the creation of a marked imperfective aspect is the reason why I believe that the original aorist has all but disappeared in the Ryukyuan languages (in Okinawan, the only non-defective verb that retains the aorist non-past is the animate existential wun; an imperfective non-past form *wuin does not exist, however).

I have mentioned before that Namari has borrowed the Nodaimese nine-tense system. However, because of the nature of recursive conjugation in Namari, this system has morphed into a more complex sixteen-tense system. In addition, the progressive and the perfect can be combined, yielding a total of twenty tense-aspect combinations.

The final five endings of a Namari verb in the indicative are set in the order aspect-politeness-polarity-tense-agreement (irrealis moods work differently). Agreement endings (which only appear in predicate forms) are not in all Namari dialects; they are typically a part of periphery dialects such as the Haguya dialect (as virtually all other languages in Likkra have subject-verb agreement), and can be found in the Yaezora dialect as well as an optional ending. However, they are a part of the standard language, and their forms depend partially on tense.
In my original system, the past tense was marked by attaching -i to the perfective stem. However, I’ve changed this, and now it uses the -ta form. Anyway, here are the possible tense forms (the order given is 1s, 2s, 3s, 1p-excl, 1p-incl, 2p, 3p; for dialects without agreement, the 3s forms are used):

  • Past: -tan, -tari, -ta, -tawa, -tama, -taira, -taji
  • Future: -min, -miri, -mi, -miwa, -mio, -mira, -miji
  • Posterior future: -mittan, -mittari, -mitta, -mittawa, -mittama, -mittaira, -mittaji

The origins of the agreement markers are as follows:

  • First person singular: -n comes from a Likkran language form.
  • Second person singular: -ri is a weakened version of -ti, originating from a Likkran language. The -e form is a representation of /i/, found in Sema as -i.
  • Third person singular: This is the original form.
  • First person exclusive plural: -wa is derived from the first person pronoun wae.
  • First person inclusive plural: -ma is an extension of the singular -n (originally -m), by analogy with -wa.
  • Second person plural: -ra is an extension of the singular -ri, by analogy with -wa.
  • Third person plural: -ji was borrowed from an unknown Indo-European language (whose form was most likely -nti).

The past tense forms are derived from the participle (hence kaita and sugita), while the future and posterior future forms attach to the imperfective stem (kakami, sugimi). Note that I haven’t given present forms in the list above; they are actually dependent on conjugational class:

  • Quinquegrade: -un, -ue, -u, -uwa, -uma, -ura, -uji
  • Bigrade: -un, -uri, -u, -uwa, -uma, -ura, -uji
  • Monograde: -in, -iri, -i, -iwa, -ima, -ira, -iji
  • “to come”/”to do”: -un, -uri, -ū, -uwa, -uma, -ura, -uji
  • Copula: yan, yari, ya, yawa, yama, yaira, yaji
  • Animate existential: oin, ori, oi, oiwa, oima, oira, oiji
  • Inanimate existential: ai, aiji
  • Negative: -zun/-nun, -zue/-nue, -n, -nuwa, -numa, -nura, -nuji
  • Kakari-musubi: -on, -oe, -o, -owa, -oma, -ora, -oji
  • Emphatic: -emme, -ede, -eme, -ewame, -eome, -eda, -enji

Note that the inanimate existential is defective with regards to agreement; only third person forms exist for semantic reasons.

For reference, the infinitive, attributive and perfective forms of the tense endings are as follows:

  • Past: -tai, -tayo, -tae
  • Future: -mī, -miyo, -mie
  • Posterior future: -mittai, -mittayo, -mittae

Of the four basic aspects, three are marked. Using kaku as an example, the five aspects are listed below, with their six stem forms and their participles:

  • Aorist: kaka-, kaki, kaku, kako, kake, kake, kaite
  • Imperfective: kakyoya-, kakyoi, kakyoi, kakyoyo, kakyoe, kakyoe, kakyotte
  • Perfect: kaiteya-, kaitei, kaitei, kaiteyo, kaiteyae, kaiteyae, kaiteite
  • Progressive: kaitoya-, kaitoi, kaitoi, kaitoyo, kaitoe, kaitoe, kaitotte
  • Perfect progressive: kaiteitoya-, kaiteitoi, kaiteitoi, kaiteitoyo, kaiteitoe, kaiteitoe, kaiteitotte

Some tense-aspect combinations have special names:

  • Imperfective + past: imperfect
  • Perfect + past: pluperfect

The aorist present is often used as a gnomic tense/aspect, to represent universal statements. Otherwise, it is not used as much outside of stative verbs, existentials and the copula, with the imperfective present largely having taken its role as a general present tense.

The marked aspects follow the same pattern as the animate existential with regards to agreement markers. Most verbs accept all aspect markers; however, stative verbs (i.e. verbal adjectives, which will be described later) and the three r-irregular verbs only have the aorist, perfect and (in the past tense) imperfective aspects (oi can take the progressive; however, it is equivalent to the imperfective in the past tense and the aorist in the other tenses). In all three r-irregular verbs, the imperfective past is formed irregularly:

  • Animate existential: oita, önda
  • Inanimate existential: aita, ända
  • Copula: yauta, yånda

The final thing to mention out of the verb endings is the negative. The negative has an unusual conjugation when compared to the aspect markers, as it lacks an imperative and possesses two attributive forms. Its stem forms and participle are listed below:

  • Imperfective: -ze-, –
  • Infinitive: -zu, –
  • Conclusive: (-zu), -n
  • Attributive: -zuyo, -n
  • Perfective: -, -ne
  • Participle: -nde

Note that there are two sets of endings. The /z/ endings are derived from the combination of -n with , while the /n/ endings are older. In general, they only overlap in the attributive (conclusive -zu is archaic), with -zuyo used in kakari-musubi constructions and -n used as an adnominal.

Now that I’ve finished talking about tense and aspect, it’s time to move on to moods. Each mood has its own tense endings, and may not take all tenses (although all aspects other than the desiderative can use each mood). The unmarked mood, and the only realis mood in Namari, is the indicative, whose endings I’ve just described. The irrealis moods include the optative, the imperative/hortative, the conditional, the desiderative, the interrogative, and the subjunctive (the last being in very limited usage).

The optative represents a statement the speaker desires to be true. It only possesses two tenses (present and past), and both are formed differently from their indicative counterparts:

  • Present: imperfective + -bakai
  • Past: perfective + -bakai

Neither ending accepts agreement markers, and their attributive and perfective forms are -bake and -bakē respectively. Their negative is -baken.

The imperative and hortative moods indicate either an order or a statement of intention. These moods do not conjugate for tense, and their agreement is more limited. They are listed below:

  • First person: imperfective + -(ya)mu
  • Second person: imperative
  • Third person: imperfective

The first person forms actually depend on the conjugational class of the verb, with only vowel stem verbs (including and ) taking the -yamu form, and only in the aorist. They also have attributive and perfective forms (-mo and -me respectively). The second and third person forms do not inflect.

The imperative does not take a normal negative. Instead, prohibitives take a different set of endings:

  • First person: attributive + -makai
  • Second person: attributive + -na
  • Third person: imperfective + -na

The first person form conjugates as a verbal adjective. Like with the imperative, the second and third person forms do not inflect. Second person forms that would otherwise end in -yona instead end in -nna.

The conditional represents a statement that would be true if a conditional statement is also true. The mood does not take tense, but does take the full set of agreement markers. Its ending is -gayu, a quinquegrade suffix that attaches to the infinitive of verbs and the bare stem of verbal adjectives.

The desiderative indicates a statement of desire by the subject. It takes all tenses and the full set of agreement markers; however, due to the nature of its conjugation, it is considered a stative verb, and hence its use of aspect is limited. It is the only mood whose marker occurs before aspect markers, and the only mood that can combine with other marked moods. The desiderative is marked by combining -takai with the infinitive. It also has a special form for verbal adjectives (stem + -kaitakai).

Historically, the desiderative was marked by combining -maoshi with the imperfective. This is still occasionally seen in the modern language.

The interrogative represents a direct question. It is marked very simply, by adding -ka to the corresponding indicative kakari-musubi form. The interrogative is also notable in that it affects the agreement markers of verbal adjectives.

The copula is unusual in that it is completely omitted in the aorist present interrogative; only the -ka remains. However, the copula remains in other tenses and/or aspects.

The subjunctive mood is of very limited use in Modern Namari. It does not take tense, and does not take agreement markers other than the third person plural -ji (which is extended to all plural forms). Its forms are listed below:

  • Imperfective: imperfective + -mase
  • Conclusive: imperfective + -mashi
  • Attributive: imperfective + -mashi
  • Perfective: imperfective + -mase

Unlike other mood markers, it occurs after the negative marker. Hence one would have -zemashi for the negative subjunctive.

Historically, the subjunctive was used as a general irrealis mood, indicating statements the speaker knows not to be true. In the modern language, it is only used in formal and poetic language, its role having largely been replaced by the indicative. However, its effect on the agreement of verbal adjectives remains.

The politeness marker in Namari is -yabei, and it conjugates as an r-irregular verb. Despite the atrophy of the once-powerful honorific system, the politeness marker remains in use. Dialectally, it is primarily used in the Chiyohara, Haguya and Yaezora dialects and virtually nowhere else. The actual form of a polite verb depends on the conjugation (which actually corresponds to the imperfective aspect form [ya → yo, e → yo, ä → ë]):

  • kaku (quinquegrade) → kakyabei
  • matu (quinquegrade) → machabei
  • sugu (upper bigrade) → sugebei
  • agu (lower bigrade) → agäbei
  • mī (monograde) → miyabei
  • kū → kebei
  • sū → säbei
  • ai (r-irregular) → ayabei

Verbal adjectives form their polite forms by adding -kayabei to the bare stem.

Now, let’s move on to verbal adjectives. I’ve chosen to cover this separately, because even though they behave like verbs, they possess some important differences from normal verbs. Notably, their use of agreement is dependent on mood. With the original subjunctive having all but disappeared from casual conversation, often the only marker of the subjunctive is the absence of agreement markers (other than the plural) on the verbal adjective.

The following agreement markers are used for verbal adjectives of the ku-conjugation (conclusive forms only):

  • Default: -kai, -kari, -kai, -shiwa, -shima, -kaira, -kaiji
  • Interrogative: -kaika, -shirika, -kaika, -shiwaka, -shimaka, -shiraka, -kaijika
  • Subjunctive: -shi, -shi, -shi, -shiji, -shiji, -shiji, -shiji

For the corresponding kakari-musubi forms:

  • Default: -ke, -keri, -ke, -kewa, -kema, -kera, -keji
  • Interrogative: -keka, -kerika, -keka, -kewaka, -kemaka, -keraka, -kejika
  • Subjunctive: -ke, -ke, -ke, -keji, -keji, -keji, -keji

For the corresponding emphatic forms:

  • Default: -kēme, -kēde, -kēme, -kēwame, -kēome, -kēda, -kēnji
  • Subjunctive: -kēme, -kēme, -kēme, -kēnji, -kēnji, -kēnji, -kēnji

For the shiku-conjugation, the conclusive forms are shown below:

  • Default: -shi, -shikari, -shi, -shiwa, -shima, -shikaira, -shiji
  • Interrogative: -shika, -shirika, -shika, -shiwaka, -shimaka, -shiraka, -shijika
  • Subjunctive: -shi, -shi, -shi, -shiji, -shiji, -shiji, -shiji

The kakari-musubi forms and the emphatic forms are identical to that of the ku-conjugation, except with the addition of -shi-.

As shown above, there are actually two classes of verbal adjectives. In general, shiku-conjugation adjectives conjugate identically to their ku-conjugation counterparts, except in the conclusive; in all other respects, the former is simply the latter with a stem ending in -shi-.

The stem forms and participle of a ku-conjugation adjective are listed below:

  • Imperfective: -ke, -kaya
  • Infinitive: -ku, -kai
  • Conclusive: -shi, -kai
  • Attributive: -ke, -kayo
  • Perfective: -kē, -kae
  • Imperative: -, -kae
  • Participle: -kute

Note that there are two sets of stem forms. The first set is defective, lacking an imperative form, while the second is derived from combining the infinitive of the first set with the inanimate existential. Being stative verbs, they are limited in the aspects they can take (only the aorist, imperfective and perfect, and for the imperfective only in the past tense), and their negative and past are formed differently in the aorist aspect. The negative, past, future and aspect forms are listed below, using takakai as an example:

  • Negative: takapan
  • Past: takakatta
  • Future: takakemi
  • Perfect: takakutei
  • Imperfect: takakotta
  • Negative imperfect: takakonda

These forms take normal agreement markers except in the subjunctive (see above) and the first person singular (which is instead identical to the third person singular).

Another notable difference from verbs is that verbal adjectives, instead of possessing subject-verb agreement, actually possess experiencer-verb agreement. Grammatically, this is the same, as the experiencer is in the nominative and the described object is in the accusative; however, semantically it is a lot different, and one of the unique things about Namari, as often the experiencer is implied to be the speaker and thus omitted (contributing to the syncretism between the first person and third person singular forms), and placing the described object in the accusative is in casual language only obligatory in relative clauses.

There is only one irregular verbal adjective with respect to conjugation, ei (“good”). While it has a regular alternant yokai, the form ei is more commonly used. Its conclusive and attributive (adnominal only) are ei, and the conclusive form ei does not take agreement regardless of mood. This alternant is also defective; it only has two forms (the conclusive and adnominal ei, and the kakari-musubi form eke, neither of which take agreement).

Verbal adjectives have special properties when compared to verbs. First, their infinitives in -ku can be used directly as adverbs, whereas normal verbs require infinitives to be in the dative to act adverbially. Second, they have dedicated forms denoting degree, the measurable degree form -sa (for shiku-conjugation adjectives, the -shi- is instead replaced with -sha) and the immeasurable degree form -mi (note that ei has yosa, but not *yomi).

Finally, with regard to verbal adjectives, are their comparative and superlative forms. In the vast majority of cases, the comparative and superlative are formed by the following suffixes attached to the stem:

  • Comparative: -kumoi
  • Superlative: -kumotakakai

The comparative form is a shortening of -ku-mo ai (combining the adverbial with the -mo clitic followed by the inanimate existential), while the superlative is derived from -ku-mo takakai (similar, but with takakai “high” instead of the existential). Two verbal adjectives are irregular with respect to comparatives, namely ei and wayukai (“bad”):

  • ei → mottoi → mottomokai
  • wayukai → nawai → ōinawakai

Regardless of the form, the comparative conjugates as an r-irregular verb (following ai/oi with regards to the imperfect) and the superlative as a verbal adjective.

Now that I’ve finally finished talking about verbal adjectives, it’s time to move to voice. Namari has five voices, of which four can be combined in different ways with each other. The active voice is the default and unmarked voice of a verb, with the marked voices being the passive, causative, potential and reciprocal. Of the marked voices, the passive and reciprocal (the latter being a form of middle voice) are mutually exclusive. Otherwise, the voice markers occur in the order of causative, passive, potential, reciprocal. All voice markers occur before any aspect and mood markers.

The causative is marked with -(s)asu, and conjugates as a lower bigrade verb. The passive is another lower bigrade suffix, with the form -(y)ayu. The potential voice is marked with -ō(w)u, yet another lower bigrade suffix. Finally, the reciprocal is marked with -(i)au, which is a quinquegrade suffix.

The following lists the five voices for kaku, sugu and :

  • kaku, kakasu, kakayu, kakōu, kakiau
  • sugu, sugisasu, sugiyayu, suguyōu, sugiau
  • sū, sasu, sayu, deku, shiau

The causative and passive attach to the imperfective, and begin with either a vowel or a consonant depending on whether the verb is athematic (quinquegrade or r-irregular; begins with a vowel) or thematic (bigrade, monograde, “to come”; begins with a consonant). The potential is a simplification of Old Namari -o wo u, where u means “to get” (Classical Japanese used the exact same construction, except that its attributives ended in /u/). Thus, the potential uses the attributive stem. The reciprocal is simply au (“to meet”) attached to the infinitive.

Except for the reciprocal, has special forms for each voice. While sasu and sayu are simply contractions of *sesasu and *seyayu, the form deku (an upper bigrade verb) is suppletive.

All of these forms are considered “voice” because of their effects on how the verb takes arguments. Typically, for a transitive verb, there is a nominative argument, the agent, and an accusative argument, the patient. In the causative, the agent is instead a dative (i.e. oblique) argument, while the causer is the new nominative argument. In the passive, the agent is either omitted or demoted to a dative argument (or even marked with the postposition -yoi, which takes the dative and should not be confused with the comparative case), while the patient becomes the nominative argument. The potential is unusual in that it is the main reason Namari is a split-ergative language. For transitive verbs only, the agent is declined in the genitive case, while the patient becomes the nominative argument like in the passive (note that in other Japonic languages, the potential either has passive traits, like in Japanese, or is conflated with the passive, like in Okinawan). In the reciprocal, there is no patient; the two (or more) agents act on each other, and hence both (or all) are nominative arguments.

Intransitive verbs work differently with voice. Causatives demote the original subject to an accusative argument, instead of a dative. Passives, if they exist, are impersonal, and only take oblique arguments. The potential for intransitives is not a proper voice, unlike with transitive verbs, as it does not change the relationship between the verb and its arguments. And in general, the reciprocal voice is impossible with intransitive verbs.

Unlike normal verbs, verbal adjectives cannot conjugate for voice. For obvious reasons, they do not have passive and reciprocal forms. However, semantically causatives and potentials are possible, and in Namari are formed analytically. The causative is formed by using the adverbial form with sasu (e.g. pō aoku sasetan “I turned the fire blue”), with the described object being in the accusative. The potential works differently from the active voice in verbal adjectives. In the verbal adjective potential, which is formed by using the adverbial form with the potential of nayu (“to become”), nayōu, the described object is in the nominative case, and there is no experiencer (e.g. pī akaku nayōweta “the fire was able to be red”). This is because nayu is inherently intransitive (technically, it takes a dative direct object, rather than an accusative), and intransitive verbs do not treat the potential as a voice.

The last thing I will mention in terms of inflection is the set of verb-final suffixes. These are suffixes that attach to the end of a verb. Generally, they are split into finite and non-finite suffixes, with only the former attaching to a fully inflected verb. Alternatively, they may be split into nominal, verbal, adverbial and terminal categories, depending on their syntactic role.

Two verb-final suffixes already mentioned above are the prohibitive -na (non-finite terminal, attached to the attributive or imperfective) and the interrogative -ka (finite terminal). While a comprehensive list of verb-final suffixes is beyond the scope of this post (that’ll have to wait until I get the time and resources to create a reference grammar), I will mention some of the other verb-final suffixes.

First off, the gerund. The gerund is marked with a non-finite nominal suffix -no attached to the attributive, and generally has the same meaning as the English gerund. The gerund is somewhat unusual in that it has identical nominative and genitive forms in the formal language due to haplology.

The provisional is marked with a non-finite adverbial suffix -ba attached either to the imperfective or the perfective. This marks a conditional clause (e.g. wae kakaba “if I write”, wae kakeba “if I wrote”), and the meaning is different depending on whether the suffix is attached to the imperfective or the perfective. Note that this form is actually the base for the optative mood; the optative is a contraction of -ba yokai.

Indirect evidentiality is marked with a finite nominal suffix -sō attached to the attributive. This indicates that the speaker does not fully know the statement to be true, but instead inferred it based on second-hand information. This suffix cannot be used in the subjunctive. Note that as a nominal suffix, it must be combined with the copula if used predicatively (when used for indirect evidentials, the form used is always -ya, -yayo or -yaeme).

Situational possibility (i.e. permission to perform an action), as opposed to having the ability to perform an action (which is covered by the potential), is marked with a non-finite verbal suffix -kai, which is attached to the participle. A contraction of -te(-mo) yokai, it conjugates as a verbal adjective. It occurs after aspect and mood markers (not including the interrogative), and takes all tenses.

That will be it for now. I would mention the many auxillary verbs, but that will have to wait until another post. In any case, here’s my attempt at determining the maximal inflectional synthesis of a Namari verb:

  • かかせやゆよーゑていとってかやべやぜみったんか
  • kakaseyayuyōweteitottekayabeyazemittanka
  • kak-ase-yay-uyōw-etei-tot-tekay-abey-az-emit-ta-n-ka
  • write-CAUSPASSPOTPFTPROGPOSPOLNEGFUTPST-1s-INTERROG
  • Would I not have been allowed to be able to be made to write?

As you can see above, there are twelve different inflectional suffixes, representing thirteen different bits of meaning, all attached to the verb.

P.S. I’ve tried my hand at reconstructing the Proto-Japonic words for the four seasons. I’ve managed to reconstruct all four words for the seasons (spring: *paru, summer: *natu, autumn: *aki, winter: *puyu), and for winter, I’ve tentatively decided that it has a medial */u/ instead of */o/, based on what little evidence I’ve gotten from Ryukyuan (particularly Miyako). Finding Ryukyuan cognates for Japanese aki proved a little difficult, especially since the Ryukyu archipelago does not experience a proper autumn. In fact, the Okinawan word for autumn is not even used in spoken language. I haven’t been able to reconstruct the word for autumn back to Proto-Japonic, as my main resource for Ryukyuan words does not have any words with that meaning. However, looking at the possible etymology of Japanese aki, it is possible that the Proto-Japonic form is *ak-i, considering that the root *ak- does have cognates in the Ryukyuan languages (used for, among other things, “red” and “light”). (Edit: Instead of using the Japanese-dialect search for aki, I did a dialect-Japanese search for achi, and surely enough, I found my cognate for autumn. For reference, the Okinawan words for the seasons are faruharu, nachi, ‘achi and fuyu.)

Also, I will describe transitive-intransitive verb pairs in a later post.

Edit (2019-03-18): Replaced oku (“to rise”) with sugu (“to (sur)pass”); the former I’ve decided should be a lower bigrade verb. For the record, I reconstruct Proto-Japonic *sunko- based on Japanese (sugoi, sugosu) and Okinawan (shijiyun) evidence.

Edit (2019-04-28): Editing some verb forms.

Edit (2019-06-18): Editing some verb forms.