Chlouvānem/Positional and motion verbs

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→ This page treats the uses of verbal forms. See Chlouvānem morphology for the actual verbal morphology.

Positional and motion verbs are a semantically and syntactically defined category of Chlouvānem verbs that constitutes one of the most complex parts overall of Chlouvānem grammar, as a (relatively) small number of roots is used for most meanings related to state and movement in space and time, meanings which are specified with the use of many different prefixes, most of which are analogues to English prepositions. Other Lahob languages (including also Chlouvānem's own daughter languages) possess similar systems, even if time has modified and, often, simplified the original system; the Chlouvānem system is essentially the same as the one reconstructed for Proto-Lahob.

Positional verbs (jalyadaradhūs, pl. jalyadaradhaus) translate verbs such as "to stay", "to be seated", and "to lie", (as well as their middle and causative forms) with prefixes that are semantically comparable to English prepositions. Motion verbs (duldaradhūs, pl. duldaradhaus) are more similar to English, being satellite-framed (the satellite, in the Chlouvānem case, being the prefix), but there is an added complexity because motion verbs can be monodirectional (emibugirdaradhūs, -aus) or multidirectional (tailgirdaradhūs, -aus), and most verbs come in pairs, each member of a pair being used in different contexts.

Positional verbs (jalyadaradhaus)

Positional verbs are semantically static verbs (dynamic in their causative and interior forms) that are formed by a base root that never appears alone otherwise and a prefix; the root denotes three basic states of position (to be upright, to be seated, to lie), while 24 different prefixes convey the meaning of placement (on, over, under, near, far...).

The complete list of Chlouvānem positional verbs follows:

Prefix To stay (tyā-/tim-) To be seated (mirt-) To lie (ut-)
Generic position (ta-) tatyāke tamirte tokte
On, over, above (ān-) āntyāke āmmirte ānukte
Under, below (šu-) šutyāke šumirte šūkte
In the middle of, between (khl-) khlatyāke khlumirte khlukte
Together with, among (gin-) gintyāke gimmirte ginukte
Within inside (nī-) nītyāke nīmirte nyukte
Near (ū(b)-) ūtyāke ūmirte ūbukte
Far (bis-) bistyāke bismirte bisukte
Physically attached; mounting an animal/a bike (tad-) tandiāke tadmirte tadukte
Hanging from; upside down (įs-) įstyāke įsmirte įsukte
In(to), inside (na(ñ)-) natyāke namirte nañukte
Outside, outwards (kau-) kautyāke kaumirte kavukte
Opposite to; somewhere else (viṣ-) viṣṭyāke viṣmirte viṣukte
Around (kami-) kamityāke kamimirte kamyukte
Behind (pri-) prityāke primirte pryukte
In front of (mai-) maityāke maimirte mayukte
In a corner; on a border; at the limits of (vai-) vaityāke vaimirte vayukte
Next to; alongside (sāṭ-) sāṭṭyāke sāṭmirte sāṭukte
In the center of (lā(d)-) lātyāke lāmirte lādukte
On the left (vyā-) vyātyāke vyāmirte vyaukte
On the right (māha-) māhatyāke māhamirte māhokte
Facing; towards (pid-) pindyāke pidmirte pidukte
Facing inside; near the center; mot.: convergent (nal-) naltyāke nalmirte nalukte
Facing outside; far from the center; mot.: divergent (vād-) vāndiāke vādmirte vādukte

As for conjugation, -mirt- and -ut- are regular class 2 athematic roots, e.g.:

  • āmmirte "to be seated on": āmmertē, āmmirtek, ānimirta
  • ānukte "to lie on": ānotē, ānutek, ānuɂuta

-tyā- is a vocalic root with the -yā-~-im- alternation in the present indicative and in the subjunctive:

  • āntyāke "to stand on": āntimē, āntyāk, ānatyā; SUBJ.IMPF. āntimī, SUBJ.PF. āntimēt

Meanings of forms

The basic (exterior non-causative) forms of these verbs all have a static meaning and are always intransitive:

tatimu – I am standing.
kamilire læjle āmmertē – (s)he is sitting on the blue chair.
phēcam eṇāt švotē – the cat is lying under the table.

The interior forms have a dynamic, middle-voice meaning:

tatyairu – I stand up.
kamilire læjlom āmmertire – (s)he is sitting down on the blue chair.
phēcam eṇom švotire – the cat is lying down under the table.

The causative exterior forms have a dynamic, causative meaning, while the causative interior ones are morphologically possible but practically never used:

kåmbu tatetyaildu – I put the bag down [in a standing position].
samin tatemairtildede – they two seat the baby down.
kåmbu tatayautildu – I put the bag down [in a horizontal position].

The English verb "to remain" is translated by lįnake (class 2 thematic). For the -tyā- verbs, it is used alone (with the appropriate prefix), while for the other two columns it is used as an auxiliary together with the infinitive of the positional verb:

lęnu – I remain [standing].
kamilire læjle āmmirtelęnē – (s)he remains sitting on the blue chair.
phēcam eṇāt švuktelęnē – the cat remains lying under the table.

Case usage

Case usage depends on a mostly semantic criterion that distinguishes two possible position types: absolute (or real) position (in Chl. dhusmire tajalya) and relative position (pritimē tajalya). Absolute position is denoted by the locative case, while relative position is denoted by the exessive.
The criterion is semantic, as shown by a sentence like jñūmat ūnime primertu "I'm sitting in the street, behind the tree", where the prefix in the verb primirte (to sit behind) refers to being behind the object marked for relative position (jñūm, tree), while absolute position marks the overall place (ūnima, street).

In some cases, the two may contrast with relative position marking non-inclusion in the place, see e.g.:

dvārme vaimertu – I'm sitting in a corner of the room. (absolute position)
dvārmat vaimertu – I'm sitting in a corner outside the room. (relative position)

With the ān- prefix, the two different cases often have the same difference in meaning that English expresses with "on" vs. "over, above":

eṇē ānotē – it lies on the table.
eṇāt ānotē – it lies over the table.

Distances from one point to another are expressed using the essive case:

jāryakūraṇa līlasuṃghāṇat vælknihælęs vyaṣojręs bistimē.
Jāryakūrana.DIR. Līlasuṃghāṇa-EXESS. 6012-ESS. vyaṣojrā-ESS.SG. stand_far_from.IND.PRES-3SG.PATIENT.EXTERIOR.
Jāryakūraṇa is 72 vyaṣojrai (~80 km) away from Līlasuṃghāṇa.
Essive arguments

Essive case arguments may be used to state what kind of thing the trigger is. Practically, this is an alternate way of expressing otherwise copular sentences such as "X is a(n) Y in Z". Compare the following examples:

lāltaṣveya aṣasārjaiṭe marta vi.
Lāltaṣveya.DIR. Aṣasārjaiṭa-LOC. city.DIR.SG. be.IND.PRES.EXP.3SG.PATIENT.EXTERIOR.
Lāltaṣveya is a city in Aṣasārjaiṭa.
lāltaṣveya aṣasārjaiṭe tatimē marta vi.
Lāltaṣveya is a city, located in Aṣasārjaiṭa.
lāltaṣveya martęs aṣasārjaiṭe tatimē.
Lāltaṣveya.DIR. city-ESS.SG. Aṣasārjaiṭa-LOC. be_located.IND.PRES-EXP-3SG.PATIENT.EXTERIOR.
Lāltaṣveya is a city located in Aṣasārjaiṭa.

Such constructions are more useful when verbal prefixes are needed, as the bare copular sentence (as in the first one) is not possible. The second following example is, in fact, the most common employed strategy:

nunaihauba līlasuṃghāṇat emibe ga dore ūtimē marta vi.
Nunaihauba.DIR. Līlasuṃghāṇa-EXESS. one.DIR. ADP. road-LOC.SG. stand_near_to.IND.PRES-EXP-3SG.PATIENT.EXTERIOR. city.DIR.SG. be.IND.PRES.EXP.3SG.PATIENT.EXTERIOR.
Nunaihauba is a city close to Līlasuṃghāṇa on Road 1[1].
nunaihauba martęs līlasuṃghāṇat emibe ga dore ūtimē.
Nunaihauba.DIR. city-ESS.SG. Līlasuṃghāṇa-EXESS. one.DIR. ADP. road-LOC.SG. stand_near_to.IND.PRES-EXP-3SG.PATIENT.EXTERIOR.
Nunaihauba is a city close to Līlasuṃghāṇa on Road 1.
Positional prefixes as derivational affixes

Positional prefixes are commonly used as derivational affixes, often with only a figurative representation of the positional meaning. Some examples:

  • mai- (in front of) is often used for something done in advance, or to someone. It is also used for iteratives (e.g. maimilge "to keep hearing" (but also "to hear in advance"))
  • ān- (above) and na(ñ)- (in, inside) may be used as intensives (but cam- is more common) or inceptives.
  • šu- (down, below) (and also kau (outside), especially for states) may be used with a terminative meaning.

The root męly- (to give) is a good example for this: from the basic verb męlike we can find derivations such as primęlike (to give back (exterior), to return (interior)), maimęlike (to prepare), āmmęlike (to dedicate oneself (mentally) to), namęlike (to dedicate oneself (physically) to), or šumęlike (to renounce). An inceptive/terminative pair is pugle (to sleep) → nampugle (to fall asleep) and kaupugle (to wake up).

Positions without positional verbs

Positional prefixes may be used to express positions without position verbs. There are three possible strategies.

The morphologically easiest is to simply attach the positional prefix in front of the verb and express that position with the locative, so for example we have:

lilǣ dvārme nateyašu.
I read in my room.
lilǣ dvārme natekilmim.
We talk in my room.

Such structures are very common, and still distinguish relative and absolute positions:

jāyīk grembātatālunaih keike kitat priteħildāhai.
girl-DIR.PL. hide_and_seek-ACC.PL. garden-LOC.SG. house-EXESS.SG. play.behind.IND.PRES-3PL.EXTERIOR-AGENT.
The girls are playing hide-and-seek in the garden behind the house.

However, while always correct, there may be some ambiguities because of the use of positional prefixes as derivational ones: the second example of the first set shows one of these ambiguities, as nakulke means both "to talk (in somewhere)" and "to begin to talk/speak". Another strategy, very common in speech, is to use the appropriate positional verb followed by the action verb. This has the advantage of showing the type of position:

lilǣ dvārme nañotu yašute.
I read while laying in my room (= on my bed).
lilǣ dvārme namermim kilmiṃte.
We talk while sitting in my room.
jāyīk kitat pritimāhai keike grembātatālunaih ħildāhaite.
girl-DIR.PL. house-EXESS.SG. garden-LOC.SG. hide_and_seek-ACC.PL. play.IND.PRES-3PL.EXTERIOR-AGENT.
The girls are behind the house; they play hide-and-seek in the garden.

A third strategy, correct but more proper in formal writings than in speech is to put the position as the derived noun (in -timas / -mirtas / -utis) in the locative and the location in the genitive:

lilyai dvārmi nañutye yašute.
1SG.GEN-GEN. room-GEN.SG. lying_position_inside-LOC.SG. read.IND.PRES-1SG.EXTERIOR-AGENT.
I read while laying in my room. (lit.: "in a lying position in the inside of my room")
lilyai dvārmi namirte kilmiṃte.
1SG.GEN-GEN. room-GEN.SG. sitting_position_inside-LOC.SG. talk.IND.PRES-1PL.EXTERIOR-AGENT.
We talk while sitting in my room.

Note that some locations are often expressed with the last one anyway, especially if they're idiomatic — a notable example being yųljavyī ūtime/ūmirte "standing/sitting in the kitchen", as yųljavyāh originally meant "fire for [cooking] food" and while it later was extended to "kitchen" the location is still expressed as such ("in the kitchen" = "near the fire").

Motion verbs (duldaradhaus)

Motion verbs, in Chlouvānem, are furthermore divided into two categories: monodirectional (emibugirdaradhūs, -aus) and multidirectional (tailgirdaradhūs, -aus) motion verbs.
There is a total of 18 meanings for which motion verbs are used: 16 are pairs while two only have a monodirectional verb. Historically, multidirectional verbs were iteratives (as shown by their formation with the Proto-Lahob *-re- infix), but today they have a larger set of uses.

Meaning Monodirectional verb (root) Multidirectional verb (root)
to go, to walk lulke (lun-) peithake
to go with a vehicle (trans.)
(except small boats, bikes, and airplanes)
vaske pūrṣake
to ride, to mount (trans.) nūkkhe (nūkh-) nærkhake
to go towards, to be directed to (monodir.)
to move (multidir.)[2]
girake dulde (duld-)
to run mṛcce mālchake
to swim lįke lærṣake
to fly mugdhe (mudh-) mordhake
to float in the air
to go with a balloon or zeppelin
yåjyake yējrake
to float on water
to go with a small boat, to row
uṭake arṭake
to run (trans.)
(e.g. river, water)
to roll pṝke pārlake
to climb nittake nērpake
to jump mųke mårṣake
to crawl ñulge (ñug-) ñoerake
to fall sturake
to carry, bring (on foot) (trans.) dumbhake dårbhake
to carry, bring (using a vehicle) (trans.) tulje lerjike
to pull (trans.) khulike kharliake

As far as morphology is concerned, most of them are regular class 1 or 2 verbs, except for:

  • lulke is highly irregular, with the irregular present singular lå, lin, liven, suppletive past (dām-, dāmek) and perfect (elīs-, elīsa) stems, as well as the irregular optative stem lau-.
  • peithake has the contracted 3S past pat.
  • mṛcce is a regular class 2 verb except for the suppletive past stem pañc-, pañcek.
  • lįke and mųke are irregular vocalic stems, behaving as *lis- and *mus- in the present (ablauted in both) and past.
  • yåjyake is class 5 (yåjyē, ejyek, ayåjya).
  • ñoerake is irregular in the indicative present singular - ñoergu, ñoergi, ñoergē - but regular everywhere else.
  • sturake is irregular (starē, (stārau) stāṭ, ustura).

Ways of "going"

To Chlouvānem ears, the English verb "to go" is extremely wide, as it is used as the translations for many different Chlouvānem verbs. Most notably, in Chlouvānem there is a consistent differentiation of verbs used with different means of transport: using flulke and specifying that one is going by car is simply a mistake - something the synonymous translation "*to walk by car" hints at.

Three verbs are used for different ways of going without any external mean:

  • to go, walk = lulke (mono), peithake (multi)
  • to run = mṛcce (mono), mālchake (multi)
  • to swim = lįke (mono), lærṣake (multi)

These three verbs are also used to describe the movements of most land and sea animals.

Five more verbs are used when going with something more than one's own body:

  • vaske (mono), pūrṣake (multi) is used for all vehicles except those that move in the air, small boats, submarines, and bikes.
  • nūkkhe (stem nūkh-; mono), nærkhake (multi) is used for bikes and animals (horses, lalāruṇai, elephants...).
  • mugdhe (stem mudh-: mono), mordhake (multi) is used for all air vehicles except balloons and zeppelins. Means "to fly" and is used this way with animals.
  • yåjyake (mono), yējrake (multi) is used for balloons and zeppelins. Means "to float in the air" and is used this way with animals and things (like e.g. falling leaves or other things moved by the wind).
  • uṭake (mono), arṭake (multi) is used for small boats. Means "to float on water" and is used this way with animals (including e.g. ducks, swans...) and floating things.
    • Its derived verbs šūtake, švarṭake are used for submarines.

One verb pair is independent of means of transport, and is composed by girake (monodirectional, translated as "to go towards, to move in the direction of") and dulde (multidirectional or adirectional, translated as "to move"). These are also used when the means of transport is unknown, but in the future intentional it is often used interchangeably with "to go" (igirālta vs. elīsālta; multidirectional verbs are rarely found in this tense).

Three verbs denote transport of something and the on foot/in a vehicle contrast is still meaningful:

  • dumbhake (mono), dårbhake (multi) refers to carrying or bringing something on foot.
  • tulje (mono), lerjike (multi) refers to carrying or bringing something in or using a vehicle.
  • khulike (mono), kharliake (multi) refers to pulling something (no matter how).

The remaining six verbs denote different kinds of movement: buñjñake (to run (water only)) pṝke, pārlake (to roll), nittake, nērpake (to climb), mųke, mårṣake (to jump), ñulge, ñoerake (to crawl), sturake (to fall). Some grammarians also include mūmikke (to dance), despite it not having a mono/multidirectional distinction.

Case usage

Motion verbs behave differently depending on whether they are prefixed and, if they have a prefix, whether it is ta- (or its ablative form tų-).

Unprefixed and ta-prefixed verbs form the easiest class: they are mostly intransitive verbs that take at most three complements:

  • destination is expressed by the dative case (typically ending in -om in the singular) or by putting the verb in dative-trigger voice.
  • source is expressed by the ablative case (typical singular ending )
  • state is expressed by the locative case (typical singular ending -e) or by putting the verb in locative-trigger voice.

Most verbs are used with either destination or source or both; state is used more rarely, and more often with multidirectional verbs.

The pairs for "to fly", "to float in the air", "to float on water", "to carry by vehicle", and "to pull" state the means of transport with the instrumental case; "to ride, mount" and "to go with a vehicle" do the same if the goer is not leading/driving the vehicle or animal him/herself. "To jump" also uses the instrumental case if the means of transport is paimpai (pogo stick).

If the goer is leading the animal or driving the vehicle him/herself, the "to go with a vehicle" and "to ride, to mount" pairs have the means of transport as a direct object.

All other prefixes cause the verb to become transitive and with no marked agent-trigger voice: they are agent-trigger by default and no change is used on the verb if it is used as patient-trigger. In these cases, either the destination or the source becomes the transitive object of the verb, depending on the type of prefix used (for example lative ān- promotes the destination as a transitive object, while ablative yana- promotes the source).

Those verbs which are transitive even in the unprefixed form can effectively have two different objects:

ñaryū naviṣyu āndimbhu "I, on foot, bring the book up the mountain"
martu cūllu kamipūrṣu "I regularly drive by car around the city"

While this is often clear by context, there is a popular way to change the original transitive object (in these two cases, "book" and "car" respectively) to something else: if it's the thing driven, the instrumental case (or trigger) is used - cf. martu cūllap kamipūrṣu -; if it's the thing being brought, carried, or pulled, the (with) particle is used - cf. ñaryū naviṣyęs lā āndimbhu. In this latter case, lenta (together with) is usually used for the comitative sense - cf. ñaryū naviṣyęs lā lilyai buneyi lenta āndimbhu "I, on foot, bring the book up the mountain with my sister".

Complements such as "from one X to another" are rendered by repeating the same term twice, first in the ablative and then in the dative, and the verb typically gets the prefix sam- denoting movement towards the next object in a set:

ogin junyų junyom sammodhē "the honeybee flies from flower to flower"

Uses of verbs

Prefixed and unprefixed motion verbs differ not only in their case usage but also in their meanings: for unprefixed verbs, the monodirectional expresses movements in a single direction or when the destination is the focus; multidirectional verb are habitual, gnomic or potential, denote movement inside a single place, or completed movements (to and back from). Multidirectional unprefixed verbs can also have frequentative forms with the meaning of "to go there and back many times"; monodirectional verbs have no frequentatives, as the multidirectional are already used for that meaning anyway.
On the other hand, prefixed monodirectional verbs are not specifically aspectually marked (and the concept of mono- vs. multidirectionality is not meaningful), while prefixed multidirectional verbs are habitual and/or frequentative in meaning, and there are no meaningful frequentative derivations.

As mentioned before, (unprefixed) monodirectional verbs express a movement in a single direction:

jāyim tarlāmahom liven – the girl goes/is going (walks/is walking) to school.
keikom såtap vasau – I took the subway to the park.
lilyā ñæltai kitom jaje janāyų iliha – my sisters have [just] swum home in the igarapé from the port.

Note, in the last example, all three locative complements: the use of the locative case means that the whole action developed in the same place - concretely, that the igarapé was the way they followed home from the port.
See also this example for a (maybe more familiar) movement on land:

hælinaika taite junyāmiti lārvājuṣų saṃryojyami lātimom vasau – I took Line 2 [of the Līlasuṃghāṇa Subway] from the Blossoming Temple [station] to Central Saṃryojyam [station].

The four main uses of multidirectional verbs are:

  1. Habitual actions:
    jāyim tarlāmahom peithē – the girl goes (walks) to school (regularly, every schoolday)
    saminą lilyā ñæltai jaje lærṣaika – when they were children, my sisters regularly swam in the igarapé.
  2. Movement inside a specific location (often expressed with locative-trigger voice), without any specified direction.
    jaja lærṣērā – as for the igarapé, someone is swimming in there. (literally "the igarapé, it is being swum")
    marte peithmim – we walk around the city. (cf. Russian phrases with по as in мы ходим по городу)
  3. Gnomic or potential meanings (the latter are usually not marked with the potential junia if it's a natural trait - see second example):
    gūṇai mordhāhai – birds fly.
    sūrṣirāhe lalāruṇai pāmvyų lilų nanū dårbhāhaite – large lalāruṇai [can] carry more than three people.
  4. In the past and in both future tenses, they can mark completed movements, that is, movement to a place and then back again. The perfect has roughly the meaning of " have just come back".
    lilyā buneya ajāƾilbādhyom mordhek – my older sister went (flew) to Ajāƾilbādhi [and came back].
    lilyā buneya ajāƾilbādhyom mudhek – my older sister went (flew) to Ajāƾilbādhi [and she was still there at the time relevant to the topic] – as a monodirectional verb, it may also mean "she was flying/going to Ajāƾilbādhi".
    lilyā buneya ajāƾilbādhyom umudha – my older sister has gone (has flown) to Ajāƾilbādhi [she's still there].

Prefixed motion verbs

Pluri-prefixed motion verbs


  1. ^ Road 1 here implies Nanašīrami Road 1, an important diocesan-level road in Nanašīrama.
  2. ^ Causative forms of both verbs are "to move" (transitive) with the mono/multidirectional distinction kept.
  3. ^ In Chlouvānem, rivers run a territory, not in nor through a territory.