Innocence Seekers: The Black Rose – Verb pairs in Namari

As I mentioned before, Namari has pairs of related transitive and intransitive verbs, such as agu (“to raise”, lower bigrade) and agayu (“to rise”, quinquegrade). This post will detail some of the morphological features used to make these verb pairs, none of which are productive in the modern language.

While I won’t detail every single verb pair in Namari in this post (this isn’t a dictionary), I can refer you to a comprehensive list of Japanese verbs that are part of a verb pair on Wiktionary. However, verb pairs are formed in many different ways. This forms a transitive verb (with active meaning), and an intransitive verb (with mediopassive meaning). In some cases, a third verb, a causative, is derived.

But before that, I should mention the case of (“to see”, monograde). Because this verb is considered by Namari grammarians to be irregular, it does not necessarily fit in with the normal ways of forming verb pairs. The derived verbs are the mediopassive miyu (“to be seen”, lower bigrade) and the causative misu (“to show”, lower bigrade). Their possible Proto-Japonic forms are as follows (again, my reconstructions may not be accurate):

  • Root: *mi-
  • Active: *mi-u
  • Mediopassive: *mi-ryai-u
  • Causative: *mi-sai-u

Note that these verbal suffixes actually derive from the now-productive suffixes *-raryai- and *-sasai-. While not exactly identical, the pair kisu (“to put (clothes) on someone, to coat”) and (“to put (clothes) on”) is part of the same category.

Now, let us look at the different categories of verb pairs.

The first is the example I gave in the very beginning of this post. Its possible Proto-Japonic forms are given below:

  • Root: *anka-
  • Active: *anka-i-u
  • Mediopassive: *anka-r-u

In this category, the active is formed with the verbal suffix *-i-, and the mediopassive with *-r- (the latter is possibly related to the passive). Other verb pairs in this category include tomu (“to stop (something)”) and tomayu (“to stop (oneself”), sagu (“to lower”) and sagayu (“to fall, to descend”), and oshiu (“to tell, to teach”) and oshiayu (“to be taught”).

The second category is exemplified by the pair kaesu (“to send back”, quinquegrade) and kaeyu (“to return”, quinquegrade). Its possible Proto-Japonic forms are given below:

  • Root: *kapai-
  • Active: *kapai-s-u
  • Mediopassive: *kapai-r-u

It is similar to the first category, except the active uses *-s- instead (this is possibly related to the causative).

The third category is exemplified by the pair yaku (“to cook, to grill”, quinquegrade) and yaku (“to be cooked”, lower bigrade). Its possible Proto-Japonic forms are given below:

  • Root: *yak-
  • Active: *yak-u
  • Mediopassive: *yak-(ry)ai-u

The fourth category is similar, except the active and mediopassive are swapped. This is exemplified by the pair sodatu (“to raise (someone), to rear”, lower bigrade) and sodatu (“to be raised (by someone)”, quinquegrade). Its possible Proto-Japonic forms are given below:

  • Root: *swa(?)dat-
  • Active: *swa(?)dat-ai-u
  • Mediopassive: *swa(?)dat-u

The fifth category is the first of the upper bigrade categories. It is exemplified by tasu (“to add”, quinquegrade) and tayu (“to suffice”, upper bigrade). Its possible Proto-Japonic forms are given below:

  • Root: *ta-
  • Active: *ta-s-u
  • Mediopassive: *ta-r-(r)o-i-u

Note that a quinquegrade tayu with the same meaning also exists, meaning that the group of verbs also falls into the second category; however, the quinquegrade variant is not in common use. Note that the *-(r)o- could be anything that would result in Old Japanese -i2 when combined with *i; in this case I assume that the attributive form was the basis of the mediopassive.

The sixth category is exemplified by okosu (“to bring about, to wake up”, quinquegrade) and oku (“to wake up, to appear”, upper/lower bigrade). Its possible Proto-Japonic forms are given below:

  • Root: *əkə-
  • Active: *əkə-s-u
  • Mediopassive: *əkə-i-u

Note that okosu also belongs to the second category, being paired with okoyu (“to occur”). In addition, the conjugational class of oku actually depends on dialect, due to the differing outcome of Proto-Japonic *əi in Namari dialects (Chiyohara consistently has /i/, Haguya consistently has /e/, while Yaezora lies right in the middle of the line separating the two dialect groups). However, the standard language largely places bigrade verbs in this category in the lower bigrade.

The seventh category is exemplified by mazu (“to mix”, lower bigrade) and majiyu (“to mix with, to join”, quinquegrade). Its possible Proto-Japonic forms are given below:

  • Root: *mans-
  • Active: *mans-a-i-u
  • Mediopassive: *mans-ir-u

Note that mazu is also a part of the first category with mazayu (“to be mixed with”).

The eighth category is exemplified by amayakasu (“to pamper, to spoil”, quinquegrade) and amayu (“to be spoiled, to be shy, to be naïve”, lower bigrade). Its possible Proto-Japonic forms are given below:

  • Root: *amay-
  • Active: *amay-a-kas-u
  • Mediopassive: *amay-a-i-u

Note that *amay- is not actually a root, but derived from *ama- (“sweet”, whence Japanese and Namari ame “candy”). This is actually a rather unusual category; as of writing I don’t know what the etymology of *-kas- actually is.

The ninth category is exemplified by pusagu (“to obstruct”, quinquegrade) and pusagayu (“to be blocked”, quinquegrade). Its possible Proto-Japonic forms are given below:

  • Root: pUsank-
  • Active: *pUsank-u
  • Mediopassive: *pUsank-ar-u

The tenth category is exemplified by māsu (“to spin (something)”, quinquegrade) and māyu (“to turn around”, quinquegrade). Its possible Proto-Japonic forms are given below:

  • Root: *map-
  • Active: *map-as-u
  • Mediopassive: *map-ar-u

There are more categories, but I think I should stop at this point. However, the general pattern is that verbs with protoforms in *-s- tend to be active and those in *-r- tend to be mediopassive, which generally corresponds to the productive causative and passive suffixes. Those with protoforms in *-i- may be either.