Note to the reader: To view this page you need to have a font with phonetic characters installed. If you are on Linux or Windows Vista you probably already have. If not I recommend the DejaVu fonts. I also suggest reading/reviewing the Phonology.pdf (there is, or will be, a link on the main Contents page


Much of Prevli morphology is based on metathesis of underlying forms in one direction or the other, as has already been mentioned. There are also a number of prefixes and particles, one infix, and suffixes to mark tense, subject agreement, possession, and plurality; plus a diminutive suffix and a few other "affective" suffixes and particles.

2.1. NOUNS. Most nouns bases, like verbs, are /CVCV/ or metathesized CVCCV < underlying /CVCVC/; a very few are monosyllablic /(C)V(C)/ or /CVV(C)/ forms. Since there is a preference, in speech, for a CVCCV(C)CVCCV... rhythm (clusters greater than CC are forbidden), CVCV forms often drop their final V, and CVCCV forms may on occasion revert to unmetathesized CVCVC. There are no hard-and-fast rules for this; it seems to depend on the speaker's feelings as to what is most euphonious. Loanwords, some compounds and personal names are usually invariant and phonologically irregular--not subject to vowel-harmoney, vowel-dropping or metathesis. Note: C-final monosyllables have an underlying final /a/, which appears in certain combining forms; it is not subject to vowel-harmony, e.g. /laŋ(a)/ 'child'.

Stress is always on the penult of regular nouns, and remains there when a possessive suffix is added, and is not indicated. In some cases (mostly plurals), if another full-syllable -CV(C) suffix (e.g. diminutive, or a possessive) is added to plural -ta, then stress does shift to -ta-- as, /laŋ(a)/ laŋa 'child' pl. lák/ta or possessed laktáśte 'their children'; or diminutive láŋa/tsi 'little child', pl. lak/tá/tsi 'little children' (but lak/tá/tsi/śte 'their little children').

Some forms--regular irrealis verbs-- have final stress; otherwise it is irregular. In both cases it is indicated with the acute accent (like regular okráv irrealis of /kodab/ 'to run'; irregular avá (interj.) 'watch out!' or borrowed kaśék 'movie').

Nouns have no inflectons for case; pronouns, however, do have special "oblique" forms in certain constructions, as will be discussed below.

2.1.1a. Plurals. Noun plurals are formed with the suffix /-t(a)/-- it is -t following a sincle C, provided the next word begins with a V, also -t following a V, provided the next word begins with a V or single C; otherwise -ta (next word begins with CC-, or, usually, in clause or sentence final position). It is usually attached to the metathesized CVCCV form; CVCV forms may or may not drop the final vowel for euphony. When /-t(a)/ is suffixed to a final consonant, that C will undergo the same changes as those of final VC metathesis (Table 2 above). Neither plural final -t, nor the -a of -ta, are subject to voicing/V-harmony resp.

The "simple pronouns" (see §2.2.1) are also pluralized with /-ta/, but 3rd person pl. is irregular.

2.1.1b. Diminutive suffix -tsi, usually added to nouns without stress-shift in the singular, implies some affectionate feeling and usually-- but not necessarily-- smallness; it is especially common when talking to or about children. Examples: /laŋ/ 'child' laŋatsi 'little child (up to perhaps 3-4 years); /mena/ mene 'friend' menetsi 'dear friend'. If the noun is plural, -tsi follows the plural suffix, with stress shift: laktá/tsi, mentá/tsi; possessive suffixes follow -tsi-- mentatsi/k 'my dear friends'. There are also several fossilized compounds (often with irregular changes), where -tsi or some form thereof simply means 'a little/smaller version of X'-- e.g. /hodi/ hore 'river', hodzi 'stream, brook'; /nimis/ 'to drink', nidzi (nu...) 'a sip (of...)'; /titi/ 'baby' tidzi- 'toddler (to 1-2-years)' -- and a few others. Since these are fixed, lexicalized forms, plural /-ta/ is added at the end: hodzit, nidzit, tidzit-.

2.1.1c. There is an old prefix, no longer productive, that formed agent nouns ("person who VERBS, VERB-er"), to wit /gi-/, probably < /gila/ 'person'. All such forms are now lexicalized, sometimes irregular, and refer mostly to occupations that were/are important or common in the culture. Thus from /bili/ 'speak', we have irreg. /gibil/ givli 'speaker (formal), orator'; from /dona/ 'give', /gidon/ giron girno 'giver'; /panin/ 'hunt', /gi-panin/ gipande 'hunter', among others. If the base begins with a V, /gi-/ > g, = [dž], as in /adak/ arka 'distilled liquor' > /gi-adak/ g,arka ['džarka] 'distiller of arka' (now illegal without a license), “moonshiner, bootlegger”; and colloquially before initial /h-/: /honid/ 'hear' /gi-hon-ta/ formal gihonta [gi'onta] ~ colloq. g,onta ['džonta] 'audience (hearers)'

2.2.1. PERSONAL PRONOUNS. There are two types: (1) simple pronouns of 1st, 2nd and 3rd person, singular and plural-- possessive and “oblique” forms are derived from these, and (2) compound pronouns that indicate person and number of both the subject and direct object of transitive verbs.

2.2.1a. Simple pronouns are as follows:

--1sg. kan(a) 'I'
--2sg. min(i) 'you-sg.' (mil(i) also occurs, but is more formal and somewhat archaic)
--3sg/anim. zek(e) 'he, she'; when necessary to specify "she" rare zekis ~zeksi can be used. 3 sg.inanim. 'it' has no form, demonstrative o is used when necessary
--1pl. kant(a) 'we'
--2pl. milt(a) 'you-pl'
3pl. zet(a) 'they' --both animate/inanimate, but plural ot(a) is more often used for the inaminate; a recent innovation for the feminine pl. is zetit ~zetsi

2.2.1b. There are corresponding possessive suffixes:

--1sg. -k(a) 'my'
--2sg. -m(i) 'your-sg.'
--3sg. -z(a) (-sa after voiceless C) 'his, her, its' (and a special passive suffix -zi ~ -si, §...)
--1pl. -n(a) (somewhat more formal -nt(a)) 'our'
--2pl -l(i) (somewhat more formal -lt(i)) 'your-pl.'
--3pl. -zet (-set after voiceless C) ~ -śte 'their' (after V, and often elsewhere when possible)

In addition to showing possession (see also 2.2.1c. next) these are also used as pronominal subject suffixes with intransitive (and passive) verbs, and transitive verbs without an object. The simple forms may also be used, for euphony or, more often, for emphasis-- cf. korvå/z 'he runs' vs. korvå zek 'he runs'. No subject-suffix is used if the subject is a single noun (sing. or pl.)-- korvå o sipe 'the woman runs', zize ot lopot 'the lopas eat'; but with multiple subjects, the suffixes or full forms are usually used: korvåśte (~korvåzet) yän te garo 'Yän and Garo run' (korvå yän te garo is very informal/colloquial and cosidered "wrong" by many). In one special case (plural pronoun objects) the simple forms can occur as direct objects-- this will be discussed in the Syntax, §....

Since the possessive forms are suffixed to nouns and verbs, C-clusters can result, which undergo the same changes seen in final-VC metathesis (Table 2 above).

On the two types of possession in Prevli, see below, §2.2.6.

2.2.1c. The simple forms undergo initial-CV metathesis (some are irregular) and stress-shift to form (1) possessive pronouns, and (2) "oblique" objects of prepositions--

--1sg. agná 'mine; me'
--2sg. iblí 'yours; you'
--3sg. eśké 'his, hers' ('hers' eśkí); him, her
--1pl. agnát(a) 'ours; us'
--2pl. iblít(a) 'yours (pl); you'
--3pl. eśtá 'theirs; them'

When used elliptically as nouns, the possesives are preceded by o ~ ot 'the (sg/pl)' or a demonstrative ik(ta)/ok(ta) 'this/'that (sg/pl)'-- el o agná 'it is mine', yeme o agná ~...ot agná 'mine is blue, ...are blue', okt iblit 'those (things) of yours(pl.)'.

As objects of prepositions:

--with ni, which marks the agent in passive sentences, and su 'for (benefactive)' the pronoun's initial vowel is elided: nigná me, niblí you, niśké him/her, (niśkí (specific) her, nignát, niblít, niśtá; and sugná, sublí, suśké etc.

--in other cases, the preposition's final vowel elides, as--
--k(i)- 'to; dative indirect object': kagná, kiblí, keśké 'to him/her', kagnát, kiblít, keśtá 'to them' (this prep. has the form ki- elsewhere (usually prefixed to proper names but rare with common noun IOs), e.g. kitämni 'to Tämni', ki ok sipe 'to that woman'). (Additional uses/variants of this preposition will be discussed under “Prepositions” §2.7.1) --/i/ 'at (location)': (> y-) yagná, yeśké etc. but irreg. 2d pers. forms: /i-iblí(t)/ > žiblí(t)
--bak 'from'-- irreg. bagná 'from me' and bagnát 'from us' but others are regular-- bakiblí, bakeśké etc.

Other vowel- or consonant-final prepositions do not undergo, or cause, any changes: bal/agná 'with me', bal/eśké 'with him', oz/iblí 'on you'; /iba/ ive 'in..., inside...' or ivri 'into...': > iv-, ivr-: ivagná etc., ivragná etc.

2.2.1d. Compound pronouns are used with transitive verbs when a direct object is present or known from context; they reference both the subject and the object, agreeing in number with both. In the following table, it will be noted that some of the forms violate vowel harmony and/or clustering rules, and as with the other pronominal forms, the parenthesized/optional final vowels are inserted for euphony or to avoid a 3- or 4-consonant cluster. Stress is always on the penult (ignoring the optional final V).



Object ↓















zetak ~zetka








zetal ~zetla




zehen, ośko





































- neut.








Reflexive forms (same subject-object) are printed above in bold/italic, as in "I injured myself" or "he saw himself in the mirror". (There are no 3d pers.-neuter reflexives--in the rare cases where they might occur, animate ośko (sg.) or eśte (pl.) are used.) Otherwise, the forms involving 3d pers. subject/object refer by default to different parties in the discourse, i.e. papkar zehen '[3d pers.A] hit [3d pers.B]'.

Compound forms may also indicate subject + indirect object with a few intransitive verbs in indirect speech (mainly 'say, tell, ask' etc.), cf. e.g. normal semir-k u... 'I said that...' vs. semir kaz u... 'I said to/told him/her that...'-- more discussion of this in the Syntax, §....

They may also be used optionally after some of the auxiliary (aspectual) verbs when these stand alone-- e.g. uśtuvnü ko 'I can't [do it]', tean ko 'I have to [do it]'-- but treating hese as intransitive, with a simple pronoun suffix--e.g. uśtuvnük, teŋka--is also acceptable though less common.

2.2.2. DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS/ADJECTIVES. The principal ones are /iki/ 'this' (nearby, by me) and /oku/ 'that' (over there, by you)-- their surface forms are the same whether used pronominally or adjectivally, though the final vowels may be dropped for euphony. The plurals are ikit ~ikta and okut ~okta. In correct usage they should, like all adjectives, agree in number with the noun they modify, but this is often overlooked in everyday usage, and e.g. both ikit/ikta sandot or ik/iki sandot 'these shamans' are acceptable.

Presumably an old derivative of /oku/ is /o/, plural /ot(a)/, used as (1) the definite article 'the' and (2) the neuter (subject) pronoun 'it/they'. Whether used as the definite article or verbal subject, it does agree in number-- ot lomuk(ta) sandot 'the old shamans'. When used as a subject, it may, but need not, replace the final vowel of realis verbs--e.g. /patis/ patse 'white': patse o ~patso 'it is white', patse ot ~patsot 'they are white'.

2.2.3. INDEFINITE PRONOUNS. Among these are /gila/ gile 'someone, anyone' (it also means 'person'); kakaŋ 'something' (< /kaŋ(a)/ 'thing'); olta ~kantól 'everything'; giltól 'everyone'. Many can be modified/compounded with suffix /-lá/ approx. ' all': gidlá 'whoever, anyone at all', kaŋalá ~kaglá 'whatever, anything at all'; likewise the interrogatives (see next)-- sigilá 'whowever? who on earth...?' and formal sikaglá, colloq. siŋalá 'whatever? what on earth...?' (NB suffix /-lá/ can be added to a wide variety of words to give a sense of indefiniteness, often slightly pejorative.)

2.2.4. INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS. (Note: In correct speech, questions require a verb in the irrealis mode, since the speaker is presumably seeking information he does not know; colloquially, however, this rule is sometimes ignored. And when the interrogative refers the direct object, the verb must be in the passive voice-- more on this in the Syntax.) The interrogative pronouns that can refer to people and things are: /sigi/ 'who?', /sikaŋ/ sikäŋ siŋ:ä (but commonly siŋä ['siŋæ]) 'what?' and /sibi/ sivi 'which?'. (All Prevli interrogatives begin with the syllable /si-/, surely < the introductory question particle /si/.) and always occur first in the sentence. They are also used in indirect questions (as "I don't know who that is, ...what it is"). Plural forms exist-- sigit ~sikta, siŋ:ät ~siŋät, sivit ~sifta -- but are rarely used in everyday speech, except /sibi-ta/-- sivit ye:mmí niblí? (lit., which-pl. PASS-IRR-want by-you) 'which (ones) do you want?' (colloq. sivit mee mizenta? (lit. which-pl. ACT-REAL-want you-them); or very informally and incorrectly sivit meem? with the verb treated as intransitive) and in combination with pronoun suffixes-- sivitli 'which (of you-pl)...?' sivitna 'which of us...?' An interrogative adjective is /silib/ siliv silvi. Metathesized silvi (+Noun) asks 'what kind/sort of NOUN?'; in simple present-tense questions (“what sort of X is that?”) /el/ or more often /on/ may but need not be used as copula: silvi pêd (on) oku? 'what kind of fruit is that?'. The copula must be used in the other tenses. (When /el, on/ is not used, there is a pause in the intonation after the noun, indicated in writing with a comma-- silvi pêd, oku?). In other cases, normal question structure is followed: silvi padze yärvútla nignát i ok purán? 'what kind of food will we get at that restaurant?' (yärvút- is irrealis passive of /dabut/ 'get, obtain').

Unmetathesized siliv is used almost exclusively with personal names and human nouns in simple questions to ask "what's X like, what sort of person is...", again, with optional irrealis /on/-- siliv (on) garo? 'what's Garo like?', siliv onda bapam? 'what was your father like?'. More complex questions usually require silvi-- silvi taro yäfníbra niśkí? 'what sort of man did she marry?' (though one could say, rather more formally, siliv onda taro od yäfníbra niśkí?, using a relative clause: 'what was the man like that she married?' (/panim/ 'to marry', irreal. afním, pass. yäfním)

To ask, e.g. “what is [common noun] like?”, one generally uses /sikél/ 'how (condition)', regarding which see below §2.5 on interrogative adverbials of manner.

2.2.5. RELATIVE PRONOUN. It is /odi/ ore ~or and is used with all antecedents, animate or inanimate, thus 'who, which, that'. Further discussion of its use will be given in the Syntax §....

2.2.6. POSSESSION. Inalienable and alienable possession are distinguished. Inalienable includes body parts (human and animal), kin terms, names, "intrinsic" parts of some things (roots of plants, structural parts of a house [posts and beams, doors, floor, walls, roof but not rooms]; and a few others e.g. the clan longhouse, items that one has made or inherited (but not bought), weapons/hunting implements, clothing, etc. While base forms for these items exist, in practice they almost always have a possessive suffix. Also, many items such as tools, domestic animals, fields, gardens and crops (and even some clothing) are communal property, thus are inalienable with the plural poss.suffixes, but not with sing. suffixes-- loptanta, loptaśte 'our (clan's) lopas, their lopas' but kan diek lopo(t) 'my lopa(s) (that I take care of, slaughtered etc.)'. Alienable possession, essentially, covers everything else. Alienable: Pronoun/noun possessor + /dia/ die+poss.suffix + possessed e.g. kanta dien pfande 'our hunt', tämni diez vunzå 'Tämni's fish-poison'. While the poss.suffix usually has to agree in number with the possessor, it is common usage in 3d to use the sing.suffix -z(a), especially if the possessor is pronominal (e.g. zet diez näki 'their car' (for zet dieśte näki). (NB /dia/ die occurs only in this construction, and is possibly related to /nedik/ 'to have, own'.) Inalienable: (a) PRONOUN possessor-- In all but very formal speech, the consruction is: possessed noun + poss. suffix e.g. perek ~ perka 'my tongue', ernil 'your(pl) arms'. Formally, one preposes the correct possessor pronoun: kan perek, milti ernil.
(b) NOUN possessor-- possessed+poss.suffix + possessor noun, e.g. perez garo 'Garo's tongue', loptaśte yagnat 'the lopas of the Yagans (a clan)' Possessives in questions: When asking “whose X...?, if X is an inalienable noun, the "formal" contruction (with preceding pronoun) must be used: sigi titiz (el, on) iki? 'whose child is this?'; the reply may echo, el kan titik 'it's my child' (with extra stress on kan) or el o agná 'it's mine'; el titiz eŋka 'it's Enka's child' or el o eŋka 'it's Enka's'.

Alienable nouns are treated in the usual way: sigi diez näki yäprídlan? 'whose car shall we use?' (the verb here is passive irrealis), sigi diez peak (on) iki? 'whose knife is this?'. Correct responses could be: parnel zeknäto kan diek näki (...tämni diez näki) 'we'll use my car (...Tämni's car)', or parnel zeknät o agná (...o tämni) 'we'll use mine (...Tämni's)'; or el tämni diez peak ~el o tämni 'it's Tämni's knife ~it's Tämni's, or even nerkiz kitämni 'it belongs to Tämni'. In those cases when one might speak of inalienable nouns in generic statements, or where the possessor is unknown or unidentifiable, one can use the base form without possessive suffix, e.g. elda duklü ŋ;ilüd i o hore 'there was a corpse floating in the river' (lit., there-was corpse float[gerund] in the river), or ha! el tidzi ivo ratu! 'hey! there's a toddler in the road!'. In these cases one still might use the -z(a) suffix, or one could specify possession with indefinite /gila/ gile 'person; someone'-- duklüz gile, tidziz gile 'someone's corpse, someone's toddler'. Animal body-parts/internal organs as food are used generically-- uśpato ozak sako 'I don't like liver'; but not if the animal is specified-- uśpato ozak sakoz lopo 'I don't like lopa liver'. There is one case where alienable nouns are treated as inalienables, namely, when used in the compound prepositions, like isér 'in front of...', bavúr 'from behind....' Some of these location-nouns derive from names for body-parts, and are thus inalienable, and would not be used as such with inanimate nouns; but in these constructions in modern usage, they are all treated as inalienable and are marked with the 3rd pers. sing. possessive -z(a), and the noun that is the logical object of the prep. simply follows-- e.g. isérz o hupon 'in front of the (our) longhouse', bavúrz o haŋe 'from behind the tree'. In olden times, one had to say e.g. bak haŋe diez vuri, i hupon diez sere, but such constructions are now archaic, seen only in traditional texts. (It is likely this prep+noun+poss + noun (logical object of prep.) arose through the influence of Kash, where it is the usual construction, e.g. ri kandi/ni puna (LOC front+its house) 'in front of the house'.) When a compound prep. has a pronoun object, speakers are unevenly divided as to whether they say, e.g. ivúr agná 'behind me' or ivúrka-- the former is definitely the native usage and still heard among the more isolated tribes, while the latter appears to be, again, modeled on Kash usage, and is more common among those tribes who live nearer the towns and have more occasion to use the Kash language in dealing with merchants and administrators. (Note that when /buri, seda/ et al. are used in their actual body-part meanings, the full form of the word is used-- bak burik 'from (off of) my back', i serem 'at your face'.) Ownership. Whereas temporary possession (i.e. something possessed but not necessarily owned, merely available for use) is expressed with /el, on/ + one of the possessive constructions (alternatively, more formally, /el,on/ + noun + dative--probably a Kash-ism), permanent possession ~ownership is expressed with the verb /nedik/ 'to have, own, possess'. Contrast--

--el zek diez peag 'he has a knife (that he can use)'--alienable
--nerki hen garo ok peagza 'Garo owns that knife'--inalienable
--el kan diek nôm lopot 'I have ten lopas (that I take care of)'--alien.
--nerki zehenta ma:men lag lisit lopot 'our clan has/owns 200 lopas'--inalien.

The passive of /nedik/ -- n,e:rki ['nje:rki]-- can be translated as either 'is owned by...' or 'belongs to...'--thus, n,e:rki okta lopot ni ma:men 'those lopas are owned by/~belong to/ our clan.'

2.3. ADJECTIVES. When used predicatively (e.g. *quot;X is big/is green*quot; etc.) they function as stative intransitive verbs, and may be realis or irrealis, with some or all of the aspectual forms. Those that may be trasitivized (essentially, made causative) by using the compound pronouns, and may be passivized-- e.g. /abit/ 'tight': afte o 'it is tight' (stative, intrans.); after ko 'I tightened it' or passive yäfter nigná 'it was tightened by me' or (pass. irrealis) tun yä:fít o 'it may have has been tightened'.

When used descriptively (e.g. "a big NOUN, the green NOUN") they simply precede the noun they modify-- usually in CVCCV (or CVCV, CVV(C)) shape-- and can have no verbal derivations (no irrealis, no passive, no aspects-- for these senses, a relative clause with verbal form must be used). In correct usage, they should agree in number with a plural noun-- e.g. formal lopkut sandot 'old shamans', ot lopkut sandot 'the old shamans', but speakers vary considerably, and a singular form is common and acceptable lopku sandot, ot lopku sandot.

In general practice, no more than three adjectives may precede a noun; additional ones are put into a relative clause. But it is not a hard-and-fast rule. 2.3.1. Companison of adjectives. The comparative is formed by prefixing tav- ~taf- (or tab- only before initial /b/; it is < /tabu/ 'more')-- e.g. tabvulgu (tab+buluŋ) 'more (dark) green', taftate 'more beautiful', tavmazma 'harder', tavafte 'tighter', tavzala 'worse'. /tavu/ itself is the irreg. comparative of /hobin/ 'much'; /tabuk/ tavok tafko 'better' is also irreg., an old compd. of tav + muko 'good'.

In comparative constructions, the particle man 'than' introduces the thing compared-- taftate lüsi man eŋka 'Lüsi is more beautiful than Enka'; manu must be used if a clause or sentence follows. Comparative constructions will be discussed further in the Syntax §....

The superlative is formed by prefixing nus- (irreg. nu- in a few cases; it is < /nusu/ 'most')-- nuś';tate 'most beautiful', nuśmazma 'hardest', nusafte 'tightest', irreg. nuzala 'worst', nuZvulgu 'most (dark) green'. Note also irreg. numuk 'best'. zil- (< /zili/ least).

Comparative/superlative sentences may optionally begin with el ~on-- taftate o or (el, on) taftate 'it is prettier' or el taftate lüsi man eŋka 'Lüsi is prettier than Enka'; (el,on) daśmuko manu kiridak 'it's worse than I thought'.

2.4. ADVERBS. Many are independent, invariant forms, and generally precede the verb or adjective they modify: e.g. /muhu/ pronounced [mu:] 'very'-- muhu saptaz 'he's very sick'; o muhu sapta lagza 'the very sick child'. Others include 'also, ever, never, always, today, already, not yet' al. Manner adverbs based on adjectives (e.g. quickly, slowly) usually use the metathesized form of the adjective and may be in comparative/superlative; in some cases--sentential modifiers, for example--the unmetathesized form (gerund) is used. Adverbial prepositional phrases are placed in the sentence according to the element they modify.

2.5. INTERROGATIVE ADVERBIALS e.g. of place, time, manner etc. include:

where? /silim/ silim silmi-- but preferably combined with locational indicators: silmíí 'at where?', silmir 'to where?', silimba 'from where?' (these two have colloquial forms sildí, silvá resp.), silmiv 'in where?'
when? /situs/ sitsu- always has past/future suffix: sitsur when? (past), sitsul when? (future).
how? (manner) sifár(e) (ult. < si+p-padi < /padin/ 'to use') -- sifar n,äGa o how is that done? sifar naGar mo how did you do that?.
how? sikél (“like”, condition) sikél panen? 'how was the hunting?', sikél o halde? 'how was the festival ~what was it like?'; sikél garo? 'how is Garo?' (asking after his health).
how much/how many? /siti/ siti morez? lit. how-much its-price = how much does it cost? what's its price? Often, the partivive /nu/ is used: siti nu (~sitnu) toe... 'how much money...?, siti nu lopot... 'how many lopas...? (ult. < /tia/ 'quantity, amount, number').
why? /sipud/ sipür siprü-- siprü kovorza 'why did he go?'

2.6. NUMBERS AND OTHER QUANTIFIERS. These function in the same way as descriptive adjectives-- they precede the noun. In a few constructions, they may follow the noun, for emphasis or other senses.

2.6.1. Numbers. The Lañ-lañ use a decimal system; some surviving and archaic forms indicate it was originally a quinary system. Some of the native words for higher numbers have been replaced by loans from Kash.

2.6.1a. The basic cardinal numbers are:

one: nam(a) six: /panam/ panam ~pamna
two: /lagu/ laGo ~laG seven: /palak/ palag ~palka
three: /tin(a)/ eight: /kot(a)/ ~kod
four: /sai/ sae [saʔe] nine: nandas
five: /ulat/ ulåd ~ultå ten: /noam/ nôm

(For 'zero', duŋu ~duŋ is used-- it also means 'nothing, none, no...')

Of interest are the forms for six and seven (and archaic patin 'eight' no longer used)-- evidently remnants of the quinary system, in which 'five' was /pak/, an old word for 'fist' (just as modern /ulat/ is probably related to /hula/ 'hand'). 'Nine' is a compound of 'one' + /dasi/ 'less'.

As mentioned above, numbers precede the noun they modify; nouns are not marked for plural, though in older usage that is sometimes seen--modern lag nazro 'two worms', older lag nazrot.

The teens are compounds, sometimes irregular, of ten+unit--

eleven: nondam sixteen: nobnam
twelve: noblag seventeen: noplag
thirteen: nontin eighteen: noŋkod
fourteen: notsae nineteen: nondas ~notsa
fifteen: noblåd

The decades are compounds of unit+ten, also sometimes irregular--

twenty: lagnom sixty: pandom
thirty: tindom seventy: plandom
forty: senom eighty: kodnom
fifty: ulnom nineteen: ninety: nanom

Intermediate quantities are expressed with -te 'and': lagnopte nam 'twenty-one', kodnopt ultå 'eighty-five' etc.

(One) hundred is (nam) lisit ~liśti (oroŋgo < Kash roŋgo is also used); in most cases, the unit does not combine or undergo sandhi (though as shown, lisit may metathesize); 200 lag lisit, 300 tin lisit, 400 selisit, 500 udlisit, 600 pnam lisit, 700 plak lisit, 800 kod lisit, 900 nas lisit. (/lisit/ was originally, and still is in most related languages, /lisut/ liśtü, or a development thereof.)

Formerly, 'thousand' was nobliśti (ten 100s): nam nobliśti, lag nobliśti etc.; 10,000 was liśliśti (a hundred 100s), and the system apparently went no higher than 99,999, as there is no evidence that e.g. nom liśliśti (10 10,000s = 100,000) or higher numbers were ever used. Nowadays for thousand(s) almost all speakers use Kash amba -- namba, lagamba, tinamba, seʔamba, ultamba, panamba, plakamba, kotamba, nandamba; nomamba is 10,000, lagnom amba 20,000 etc. -- and for higher numbers when needed, adapted Kash terms for 'million' abrák (Kash ambraka), 'billion (thousand million)' apabrák (Kash apambraka), et seq. Beyond 'billion' actual Kash forms (themelves borrowed from Gwr) are used.

"Hundred+decades" and "thousands+hundreds" etc. also use /te/ 'and'-- lisitse tindom '130', ambat selisitse kodnopt ultå '1,485'. In the case of "hundreds/thousands+unit" use of /te/ is optional, used mostly for euphony-- e.g. lisit palag 'one hundred seven' ~lisitse palan 'one hundred and seven'; lagamba ultå 'two thousand five' ~lagambat ultå 'two thousand and five'.

2.6.1b. Ordinals: are formed with the prefix (a)m+C/V- (sandhi applies) or ma+CC-, e.g. amnam 'first', ablaG 'second', antin 'third', apse 'fourth', multå 'fifth', mapnam 'sixth', maplag 'seventh' apkod 'eighth', amnandas 'ninth' amnom 'tenth', abliśti 'hundredth', mamba 'thousandth', and as needed with the very high numbers, e.g. abliśtit nom '110th'.

NB: When giving dates, the unsuffixed numbers are used, postposed: teo ultå 'fifth day (of the month)' vs. multå teo 'fifth day in any sequence of days'; śurak tin 'third month (of the year)', vs. antin śurak 'third month in any sequence', e.g. o antin śurak däiZ:a the third month of (her) pregnancy (/dais+za/). Similarly when telling time: aro nam/lag etc. 'one/two etc. o'clock' vs. nam aro, lag aro 'one hour, two hours etc. (in duration)' or o amnam/ablag aro 'the first/second hour (e.g. of an event)'.

2.6.1c. Other derivative number forms include:
(a) partially reduplicated forms (invariant): nanam 'each/every one', lalag 'each/every two; each couple'-- titin 'each/every three (group of three)'; but usually only up to ten: sase, uhultå, papnam, paplak, kokod, nanandas, nonom. Above ten (also optionally with the lower numbers), one forms phrases or compounds with /neku/ 'each, every'--neknam, neklag etc.; and with higher numbers like neku nondam ~neknondam 'every eleven', neku liśti ~nekliśti 'every hundred) etc. When used with human/animate nouns, these denote “a group of”; they are not used with most common nouns or abstracts, except with time-words, where they mean “every NUM or...nth (hour, day, month, year” and in this sense are equivalent to /neku/ + ordinal--see (b) next below.

There are full reduplications of the lower numbers used in sequential statements-- namnam 'first (of all), firstly...', laglag 'secondly, next...', tintin 'thirdly...' and so on as needed, though in practice rarely beyond sasae 'fourth(ly)' or ultultå 'fifth(ly)'.

Also in use are hyperbolic lisi-lisit 'hundreds of..., by the hundreds', (or the Kash loan oroŋgo-roŋgo), amamba (~amba-amba) 'thousands of..., by the thousands' (somewhat irregular, since it is still recognized as a loan), ababrak 'millions of...' (note non-lenition of the first /b/, again because it is a known loanword.)

(b) /neku/ may also co-ocur with the ordinals: neku ablag 'every second...', neku antin 'every third...'. Here, when used with human/animate nouns, they denote every second (alternate) or third etc. member of a group (as when a group counts off to form teams or subgroups). In some older material, when used with common nouns they could indicate fractions-- e.g. selmir neku antin lope 'every third canoe sank' i.e. a third of the canoes sank.

(c) in combination with /oal/ ôl ~ol-: odlág 'both', oltín, olsé 'all three/four' resp., commonly up to about ten; then only as needed with high numbers. (The unit-number form carries the stress.)

(d) compounded with -tús (ult. < /toas/ 'time, moment'): naptús 'once, one time', laktús 'twice', tintús 'thrice, three times' and so on as needed. Occasional hyperbolic forms: lisi-liśtús 'hundreds of times', ambatús 'thousands of times'. Forms with lower numbers are used to express simple multiplications-- laktús ultå (~ulatsús lag) 'two time five ~five times two', but in more complex calculations, tus stands apart: plandopte lag tus lisitse lagnopte tin '72 times 123'.

(e) conjoined with /te/ 'and': nap te nam 'one by one', lak te lag 'two by two, by twos', tin te tin 'by threes' etc.; used with higher numbers as needed. These are somewhat idiomatic. (((fractions etc???)))

2.6.2 Quantifiers. These include such words as /oal/ ôl 'all', /neku/ neku 'each/every', /hobin/ hovön hovnö 'much, many, a lot (of)', /napid/ naped, napte 'some, several, a few' (indefinite number), /deit/ de:t 'few' (small number), /duŋu/ duŋ(u) 'none/no', /tabu/ tavu 'more', /nusu/ nusu 'most', /dasi/ dase 'less', /dei/ dee 'little, a little' among others. Some are invariant-- mahóv 'too much'. They may take the partitive particle /nu/. Like other adjectives, they precede a noun; they may combine with the possessive suffixes to form expressions like olta/zet ~olta/śte 'all of them', duŋu/n(ta) 'none of us'. However, when a Quant+Noun/Pronoun is in subject position, complications arise, as will be discussed in the Syntax.


2.7.1. PREPOSITIONS. Some prepositions have already been mentioned in connection with the use of pronoun objects, and the various vowel-deletions and other irregularities that occur-- dative ki- 'to', passive-agent ni- 'by', benefactive su- 'for' (which are used mainly with animate/human objects), ablative bak- 'from', locative i- 'at'. But when used with noun objects, there are no irregularities; generally in writing, vowel-final preps. are joined to their object (e.g. kitämni 'to Tämni', yenze kaftu 'at Kavatu-city'), but consonant-final preps. are written separately, though the final-C (especially /s/) may undergo sandhi with the following initial (thus, bak o (~bako) enze 'from the city', bak gibaz (rare bag gibaz) 'from his nose' but frequent kaś kuślå for kas kuślå 'through the assembly-hall'.

We should emphasize that ki- is used almost exclusively with human objects, with dative sense. It may be used with directional sense-- e.g. kovorza kibapa untu toe 'he went to his father for money', or korvådza kilüsi 'he ran to Lüsi'-- but some argue that this is incorrect. The usual word for “to (directional)” with common nouns is /di/-- dio enze [djo...] 'to the city', hence one should correctly say ...dibapa, dilüsi. Conversely, a common noun will occur with dative ki- only in very rare cases (e.g. “he donated money to the town”).

Other common prepositions include:

--/bal/ 'with' (accompanying) ult. < /dabal/ 'accompany'
--nifár 'with, by, by means of (ult. < pfare 'use' (noun) < /padin/ 'to use') ~nifru if followed by a sentence or clause. Not generally used with human pronouns/nouns
--/kas/ 'through' (related to /pakas/ 'penetrate')
--/dasi/ dase ~das 'without' (also means 'less')
--/ut/ 'about, concerning'
--/men/ 'like, similar to', which combines with the demonstratives for idiomatic meŋki, meŋko 'like this, like that', and with particle /-pV/ > mempe 'just like...' Note, however, that 'look like..., resemble' is a separate lexical item, /menug/.
--/untu/ ~unt 'for, for the purpose of...,'-- also, as a conjunction, introduces purpose clauses, 'so that, in order to...'
--/iba/ ive, iv 'in, inside' and compounded /iba+di/ ivri, ivr 'into'
--/oz/ oz, os 'on', note zo 'on the...(sg.)', zot 'on the ...(pl)'
--/epi/ 'above; up' with compds. epri 'up to', epí 'up at..., up in...'; bakep 'from above...'

As some of the examples show, prepositions can sometimes compound with each other. Locational preps., in addition, may compound with location-nouns (usually contracted), e.g. /buri/ 'back (side, surface)' > divúr 'to the back of, behind', ivúr 'at/in back of, behind', bavúr 'from behind'; or /seda/ 'front, face' > disér 'to the front of...', isér 'at/in front of...', zosér 'on the front of....'

2.7.2. CONJUNCTIONS. The most common are:

--/te/ te, et (or simply t if the environment permits) 'and', for simple conjoining of items whose ordering is irrelevant
--yate 'and then/next' for conjoining things in a sequence
--/ili/ 'or' and ili...ili... 'either...or...' and negative uśli...uśli 'neither...nor...' They may be used pronominally i.e. 'either one' o ili, 'neither one' o uśli.
--/ŋok/ 'but'
Usually restricted to joining clauses and sentences are the following (among others):
--/tus/ 'when/, tuslá 'whenever'
--pfuru 'because, since' (also used as preposition 'because of...', note introductory pfurók 'therefore' (because of that)
--tehús 'and...not/neither...'; metathesized teśú may be used in brief expressions, like kan teśú 'me neither; neither (do, did, will) I'
--/mezi/ ~mez 'while, during
/pun/ 'if, whether', and mempun 'as if'

2.7.3. PARTICLES. Among others that have been, or will be, mentioned, are:

--a the personal direct-object marker, mostly to prevent ambiguity with pers.names and animate nouns, but frequently extended to include all DOs. (before a vowel an; pl. at ~ta)
--/adá/ ará hortatory, 'come on..., let's....', and, expressing impatience, arará
--/dola/ dolo past time, 'used to..., formerly..., earlier...'
--/ha/ 1. (preposed to name) vocative; 2. postposed to reduplicated verb, surprise; 3. used alone, to call attention (“hey!)
--/ke/ ~ke:, ya, and keya hesitation forms; also used with fronted constituents
-- -lá can be added to many nouns, adjectives, adverbs etc. to give the sense 'any..., whatever... all'
--/man(a)/ 'than' in comparative constructions
--/nehe/ narrative part., 'and so, and then...', mainly in formal texts
--nu for the “partitive genitive”
--nuntu ~nunt 'to have just..., just now'
--/odi/ ore ~or relative pronoun-- 'who, which, that'
--/-pu/ ~-p+echo vowel 'only..., just...' (limiting)
--/si/ question part.-- introducing yes-no questions
--/tun ~tu/ to indicate perfect tenses
--tufél doubting: 'perhaps, could be, it's possible...'-- usually stands alone as an indef. statement or reply, since the sense is otherwise conveyed by irrealis verbs
--/u/ introduces subordinate clauses/sentences, e.g. kirik u... 'I think that...'
--/unut/ ~untu introduces purpose clauses, 'so that..., in order to...'

2.8. VERBS. We have already shown the two principal verbs forms-- realis with final -VC metathesis (or simple CVCV/CVV(C) bases) and irrealis with initial CV- metathesis. Transitive verbs can be either active or passive. All verbs forms can be further marked for tense-- present is unmarked, past is /-da/ realized as -d(a) or -r(a), future /-la/, and conditional irrealis /-sa/ (the /a/ of these suffixes is not subject to vowel harmony, unless by occasional oversight in fast speech; in any case, it is often dropped). In addition, most verbs-- semantics permitting-- can have up to 10 aspectual derivations.

2.8.1. IMPERATIVE. There is also, of course, an imperative mood (always realis, and active). It utilizes the basic stem (unmethasized, without V-harmony, with lenition of voiced stops only) with reduction/deletion of the penult vowel and addition of stressed /-á/; thus /tasup/ taspo 'quick, fast' > təsupá 'be quick! hurry!'. The reduced [ə] is usually deleted entirely when stop+r/l or s+C sequences will result-- provided they are considered “pronounceable”, which is sometimes a matter of individual taste. Thus, /kodab/ korvå 'run' > imper. kravá. /CVCV/ verbs follow the same procedure (and do not delete the ə), but insert [ʔ] before the ; some speakers simply replace a base-final /a/ with -- /ziza/ 'eat' > zəzá, but this is done only with the most common verbs, and as a general rule, one tries not to modify the verb base excessively. The negative imperative employs the particle/prefix /daza/ daza, daz- whose /-z/ can undergo slightly irregular changes according to the following sound (> s-, ś-, or ž- etc.) but here too, non-prefixed daza can be used to avoid undue modification of the form.

Intrasitive (and objectless transitive) imperatives require no 2nd pers. pronoun, unless for emphasis or to clearly indicate plurality, thus təsupá or emphatic təsupá min; transitive imperatives with an object, however, require the appropriate 2nd pers+obj. compound form-- thus, zəzá imlitso ikt aplet 'eat (you-pl) these apels (a fruit)!' ~zəzá imlitso 'eat them!'.

2.8.2. REALIS VS. IRREALIS. These two modes reflect the speaker's certainty/uncertainty, respectively, about the action/state expressed by the verb. Thus in realis, the speaker believes or knows the action did occur, is occurring or will occur; whereas in irrealis, the speaker is uncertain about its occurence-- compare la:ter kaz 'I saw him' (and I did) vs. ahlétra kaz 'I (probably, maybe) saw him'. Irrealis can also be used to show reticence, and in polite requests-- there are many subtleties.... Realis forms are always used after verbs like 'to know, be sure'; but irrealis is required after those verbs in the negative. Irrealis is also required after verbs of doubt, questioning, fear, and in hypothetical expressions with “if, whether, supposing that...” etc. (in this sense it resembles the subjunctive of Latin or the Romance languages). In correct usage, irrealis is required in questions, but this is often overlooked colloquially. Irrealis is also often used in the future tense, since the realis future implies a definite commitment or intention.

Interestingly, traditional stories, myths and legends are narrated in realis, just as if one were describing yesterday's events, even though they may deal with things that never really happened.

Formation of the irrealis by initial-CV metathesis (with stress-shift to the ultima) was discussed above, Phonology §1.8, but to recap here: CVCV and CVCV(C) > VCCV(C); vowel-initial forms VCV(C) metathesize their “hidden” /h-/, > VhCV(C); while CVV(C) forms metathesize the initial CV- but geminate the now-medial C > VC:V(C).

A single, but very common, verb has a suppletive irrealis form: /el/ realis el 'there is' (existential and other uses)-- irrealis on. (See §2.8.4 below.) A handful of verbs have slightly irregular irrealis forms, but they are usually clear variants of the base form.

2.8.3. The tense markers are /-da/ 'past', /-la/ 'future' and /-sa/ irrealis-conditional. They are suffixed to the verbal form; when added to a C-final form, the final C in conjunction with -d/r, -l and -s undergoes the same sandhi changes as seen in Final-VC metathesis (Table 2 above). Past /-d(a)/ lenits > -r(a) following final vowels, or course; and likewise after stops and /s, z/ but remains -d(a) after nasals (which > vd.stops) and /-l/, as Table 2 shows. There is one idiosyncratic constraint on /-da/: if there is a /d/ d ~ r onset to the final syllable (i.e. /CVC(dr)V-/ or /CVrV-), or a d/r+C cluster in medial position (i.e. /CV(dr)CV-/, then the -d(a) form is used (NB-- the preceding -d- in these cases must be < /d/, not the sandhi variant of some other phoneme).

The /-l/ of the future suffix undergoes no changes, nor are there restrictions on its occurrence (as there are for /-da/). It combines without change with all the pronoun suffixes. The conditional tense suffix /-sa/ likewise has no restrictions on occurrence, but in combination with (irrealis) base-final /s, z/ it shifts to -śa, -z:a resp. When a person-suffix is added to such a form, its -a reappears, e.g. /minis/ 'to drink' irreal. imnís, cond. /imnís+sa/ imníś(a); with e.g. 1st suffix /-k/, > imníśak '(if) I would drink' (here the -ś- adds its final /-a/ because, -ś-being derived from two consonants, adding -k would create an impermissible 3-consonant cluster). Compare the outcome of /semi/ 'to say', irreal. eśmí, cond. eśmís(a) > eśmísak ~ eśmíśka '(if) I would say...'. Most speakers avoid the combination -s/ś+z (3d pers. subj.), preferring e.g. eśmísa-z 'would say...' (though eśmíz:a is possible) but always imníśa-z 'would drink' (since ś+z, again, creates an impermissible cluster.)

Perfect tenses use the particle /tun ~tu/ preceding the verb-- tun always before a vowel, tu before initial CC-, elsewhere either form by choice for euphony. The main verb form carries any tense markers-- tu(n) zize 'has eaten', tu(n) zizer 'had eaten' etc. Some examples of past tense forms:
(a) With preceding d/r:

--/seŋud/ realis segrö 'knock down', past segröd(a); irreal. /esŋúd/ ežgúr, past esŋúda
--/madin/ realis marne 'look at', past marned; irreal. /amrín/ abrín/da
(b) Without preceding d/r:
--/lomuk/ realis lopku 'old', past lopkur; irreal. olmúk, past olmúkra
--/dinin/ realis dindi 'cold' (where pre-final -d- is not < /d/), past dindir; irreal. idnín, past idnínda

Perfect tense forms:

--tu(n) segrö 'has knocked down'; tu(n) segröd 'had knocked down'; irreal. tun ežgúr 'may have knocked down'
--tu marne 'has looked at'(tu not tun to avoid n-m sandhi); irreal. tun abrínda '(perhaps) had looked at'

One additional restriction is also commonly observed: since /CVCV/ forms can drop the final V, a verb like semi 'to say' could theoretically have a past tense "sebra ~sebda" (< sem+da)-- it rarely does; speakers seem to avoid such forms, and semir is far more common. The motivation here seems to be, to avoid too-radical a change to the base, and also to avoid possible confusion of these CVCCV forms with simple present tense (even though the lack of vowel harmony would be a clue). However, contracted forms can be used for euphony, and past/future helda/hedla < /heli/ 'to be', especially, are frequently seen.

2.8.4a. Pronominal subject suffixes. Intransitive and passive verbs, and objectless transitives, usually indicate a pronoun subject either with the same suffixes used for possession, or with the simple forms; see the lists at §2.2.l above). The simple forms tend to occur mostly in short subject+verb expressions, or they can be emphatic; the suffixes are more common in more "complex" sentences. Examples:

--/kodab/ to run, realis korvå: korvå kan ~korvåk 'I run'; korvå min ~korvåm 'you run' etc.
--/ziza/ to eat, real. zize: teteo zize kant(a) ~teteo zizen ~zizent(a) 'we eat every day' (choice of suffix in this case depends on one's sense of euphony; and in this particular case, the adverb teteo 'every day' could come at the end: zizen teteo).

The personal suffixes follow the tense marker: past /kodab-d-k/ korvådka ~ korvåd kan 'I ran', (In polysyllabic realis forms like korvådka, stress remains (unmarked) on the original penult of the verb base, kor- in this case; in irrealis forms, e.g. /okráv-d-k) okrávdak the stress is always on the ultima of the base, and will be marked, as a reminder. The final /-a/'s of the tense or pronoun may appear for euphony, or to avoid -CC#C... or -C#CC... sequences. Thus one may hear (intrans.) lopkurz, lopkurza, or lopkuraz(a) 'he/she was old' depending on what follows in the phrase. Transitive verbs followed by a compound pronoun allow less variety: e.g. only segröd zeknät 'we knocked them down' can occur.

When an intrans. verb has a noun subject, no pronoun marker is used: korvå yän 'Yän runs', tun zize ot lopot 'the lopas have eaten'; muhu lopku ok sipe 'that woman is very old'.

2.8.4b. Transitive verbs with an object must use one of the compound pronoun forms in all cases. These indicate the person and number of both subject and object, as given above in §2.2.1d.; they directly follow the verb, always written as a separate word-- nayá la:tel zehim 'he will see you tomorrow'. When the subject is a noun, it immediately follows the compound pronoun. Examples:

--/lahet/ to see, real. la:te, la:te kaz 'I see him', la:te ko 'I see it', la:te kame 'I see you'; nayá la:tel zehim o sando 'the shaman will see you tomorrow'.
--zizer ko apel 'I ate an apel', zizer hento yän aplet 'Yan ate apels'

To indicate clearly that the subject/object noun is definite, the definite marker /o/ pl. /ot/ is required-- zizer ko o apel (spoken [...koʔo apel]) 'I ate the apel', zizer hento ot laktaz ot aplet 'the children ate the apels'.

Since there could be potential ambiguity in 3d person subj/obj. forms when one is a pronoun, the other an animate noun, e.g. la:te zehen garo could mean either 'he sees Garo' or 'Garo sees him'. In this case the personal object marker /a ~an/ (plural /ta ~at/) is required; thus la:te zehen garo can only mean 'Garo sees him' while 'he sees Garo' is la:te zehen a garo. When both S and O are animate nouns, even though word order, or the pronoun form, makes clear which is which, use of the object marker has been extended to that case as well:

--la:te zehen Yän a Lüsi 'Yän sees Lüsi', la:te zehenta yän at lakta 'Yän sees the children'
--la:te zehenta garo at lopot 'Garo sees the lopas'
--/papik/ to bite, real. papke-- papker zehen o lopo a yän 'the lopa bit Yän'

When the subj. is 1st or 2nd person, no such ambiguity can occur, but many speakers use the object marker anyway: la:te kaz (a) yän 'I see Yän', si la:ter mizent (at/ot) lopot? 'did you see the lopas?'.

Many speakers insert the object marker before every direct object, regardless of animacy-- e.g. menilmä hen a näki 'he wants to buy a car'. It is considered incorrect, but usually ignored.

2.8.5a. Other uses of the compound pronouns.
Several common intransitive verbs-- stative adjectives-- rather than using the derived causative, may be made transitive (in effect, causative) simply by using the compound pronoun forms: /kabit/ 'empty': stative kafte o (~kafto) 'it is empty' but transitivized kafte ko 'I empty it'. The imperative form of such verbs must be construed as transitive (e.g. kəvitá mo 'empty it!'-- it would be odd, though of course not impossible, to command, say, a bucket "empty!") . Other such verbs are full~fill, tight~tighten, loose~loosen, angry~to anger, among others established by usage. True derived causative forms exist, and must be used in the various aspects-- teaŋka apkafto 'I must empty it'-- but by themselves are considered formal and overly elaborate (thus kafte ko 'I empty it' is preferred over apkafte ko in ordinary usage).

2.8.5b A few intransitive verbs that can take an indirect object (e.g. “talk/speak/say to...”) may use the compound pronouns, even though they properly indicate a direct object--e.g. vilil kaz 'I'll talk to him'. This is especially the case with verbs that take a clausal complement-- "I asked him to.../why..., I told him that..., I talked to him about..." etc. Thus the difference between monor ko mbono (kiblí) 'I asked (you IO) a question' and monor kame pun... 'I asked you whether...'; and note also the reflexive mono kaŋka... (lit. I ask myself) 'I wonder....'

2.8.6. PASSIVE VERBS. So far, most examples have been given in active voice, both realis and irrealis. But for purposes of emphasis, focus, stylistics, etc., transitive verbs may also have passive voice forms, in which the DO (patient) is shifted to subject position, and the original subject (agent) is moved into a prepositional phrase-- just as in English and many other languages. There can also be passive sentences without an overt agent, like "all the food was eaten", as well as passives where the "agent" is actually an inanimate instrument, as "the door was opened by the wind" or "...with a key". Prevli also, like English, allows an indirect object (most often of 'give') to become the subject of a passive verb, as "she was given a ring by her fiancé". Aside from this case (which requires a special suffix -zi on the verb), passive verbs are formally intransitive, and take the simple pronoun forms as subject, with the agent, if present, introduced by ni-.

In two cases, the passive voice is required -- (1) obligatorily in certain relative clauses, and (2) correctly, in questions-- these will be discussed in the Syntax.

The passive is formed by infixing /-i-/ after the initial C of the base, or prefixing it (as y-) to an initial V-- this produces changes to both the initial C (palatalization) and to the following V (fronting or lengthening). When palatalized, most consonants simply add a palatal element [j], but /t d/ also have a slight [s,z]-like offset, more or less [tsj, dzj]; while /k g/ become affricates [tš, dž]; /s/ becomes fricative ś [š], /y+i+V/ > [ž+V] except before /i/, which becomes [ži:], but /z/ > [žj] with slight palatal offglide. Except for "ś" all are written here with a following comma, "t, k, z, b," etc. The back V /u o a/ are fronted > [ü ö ä], while front V /i e/ are lengthened > [i: e:] (this e: is pronounced with an i-offglide [ei]). Examples:

--/lahit/ to see: pass /l-i-ahit/ l,ä:te ['ljæ:te] 'be seen'; irrealis act. /alhí:t/ [a'l̥it], pass. /i-älhít/ yählít [jæ'l̥it] '(may) be seen'
--/ziza/ to eat: pass. /z-i-iza/ z,i:ze ['žji:ze] 'be eaten'
--/yuri/ to write, pass. /y-i-uri/ y,üuri ['žüri] 'be written'; irrealis act. /uyrí/ ürí, pass. ürí '(may) be written'
--/seŋud/ to knock over/down: pass. /s-i-egrö/ śe:grö 'be knocked over'; irrealis act. ežg&uacut;r, pass. ye:žgúr '(may) be knocked over'
--/papak/ to hit, to fight: pass. /p-i-apak/ p,äpka 'be hit'; irrealis pass. /i-apfák/ yäpfák '(may) be hit'

In the rare cases where passive prefix /y-/ occurs before base-initial /i/ (written yi:-), speakers vary between (1) [ji:-] or (2) [ži:-], or (3, not preferred) simple long [i:], as in the irrealis /izzá/ [i'dza] of /ziza/ to eat: irrealis pass. /i-izza/ yi:zzá [ji:'dza ~ži:'dza ~ i:'dza] '(may) be eaten'.

2.8.6a. Subject nouns/suffixes, as usual, follow a passive verb: active papkar zehen tämni a yän 'Tämni hit Yän' > passive p,äpkar yän ni tämni 'Yän was hit by Tämni; or papkar zehen 'he(A) hit him(B)' > passive p,äpkarza neśké 'he(B) was hit by him(A)'. For contrast or emphasis, a noun/pronoun passive subject may be fronted: yän p,äpkar ni tämni 'Yän was hit by Tämni', zek p,äpkar neśké 'he was hit by him'.

2.8.6b. The dative-passive suffix -zi. Most commonly with /dona/ 'to give', the indirect object of a trivalent verb may be promoted to subject: active donor sehak bapak toe kigná 'my father gave me some money'--normal passive d,önor toe kigná ni bapak 'money was given to me by my father' or dative-passive: d,önorzi kan toe ni bapak 'I was given some money by my father'. Here the subject noun/pronoun either follows the verb directly or may be fronted (kan d,önorzi...), and -zi is used with all persons/numbers-- d,önorzi min... 'you were given...', d,önorzi zet/ot laktaz...'they/the children were given...', d,önorzi kant(a)... 'we were given...' etc.

2.8.7. NEGATION. Sentences are negated with the particle /usu/-- usu occurs before initial CC clusters (rare); otherwise us, and the -s > z before voiced stops and /z-/, ś before all other initial C, and remains as s before V: uś/korvå 'doesn't run', uś/la:te 'doesn't see', uz/zize ([ud'zize]) 'doesn't eat', uz/dono 'doesn't give', us/arto 'isn't dead' etc. It can also combine with the simple pronouns (which carry the stress), in elliptical expressions with the sense "not me, it wasn't me, I don't/didn't/won't"-- uśkan; uśmin 'not you', uzzet 'not them', , and occasionally with nouns-- uśnênza 'not his mother', uś/poporiŋ ner!? [uš'poporig'ner] 'not popo-meat again!?', us/ok lope! 'not that boat!'

There is a reduplicated emphatic form usus meaning ' all'-- usuśpato ko! 'I don't like it at all!

Negative /us(u)/ is required before the verb if there is another negative modifier in the sentence, particularly /duŋu/ 'no, none', duŋgil 'no-one', usil...usil 'neither...nor...'--e.g. uśmitsir ko dum pore 'he drank no wine (~he didn't drink any wine)' or uśkovol usil yän usil garo 'Neither Yän nor Garo will go'.

Related to /usu/ is the negative reply to statements or questions /hus/, e.g. si mezizem? --hus ~ hus, uśmeek 'do you want to eat? --No ~No, I don't want (to)'. It too has a reduplicated form husús 'certainly not; not at all', which can also be used as a very emphatic "surprise" form huhús há! (pronounced [huhu'ša]), colloq. hhuśá [xu'ša], 'absolutely not; no way!'

2.8.8. ASPECTUAL DERIVATIONS. These are forms whose meanings in many other languages are expressed with auxiliary modal verbs + infinitive or similar constructions with other quasi-modal verbs-- for example in English, “I want to go, you should eat, he must/has to come” or “the sky cleared ~became clear, he began to eat, I'm about to sing”, etc. The governing factor is that the subject of both the auxiliary and main verb is the same-- as opposed to e.g. “I want you to go”. In Prevli, these same-subject expressions are handled with derived verbal forms, a prefix indicating the derivation. Most of the prefixes are contracted forms of verbs that can occur in their own right under other circumstances. The realis/irrealis, active/passive bases may combine (with sandhi, and semantics permitting) with the following ten aspect markers:

a. inchoative: /in-/
b. causative: /ap-/; the passive is /i-ap-/ yäp + active form of the verb-; all other apectual forms use the passive form of the base. Note too, these two prefixes are not derived from other verbs and have no other use in the language. The remaining prefixes are from contracted forms of verbs.
c. inceptive /nom-/ < /nomi/ nome 'to begin'
d. desiderative /me-/ < /mei/ mee 'to want'
e. prospective /hat-/ < /hati/ hate 'to be about to...'
f. obligative /ten-/ < /tian/ tean 'to have to; must'
g. debitive /bor-/ < /boad/ bôr 'ought to; should'
h. intentive /dis-/ < /disak/ diśkä 'to be going to...'
i. potential /tub-/ < /tubin/ tuvnü 'be able; can'
j. progressive /nag-/ < /naga/ naga 'to do, act' =

The various -C+C- clusters resulting from these prefixes undergo the same changes (with some exceptions) as those seen in initial CV-metathesis (Phonology, Table 3). The exceptions are: (1) causative -p and (2) prospective -t merely voice before /b d g, m n ŋ, z/, and -b, -d lenit > v, r, but -g does not lenit.

The various derivatives are mutually exclusive, i.e. from inceptive /nom-ziza/ nobzize 'begin to eat', one cannot form e.g. desiderative+inceptive+VERB, e.g. */me-nom-ziza/ *menobzize 'want to begin to eat'-- such cases require modal verb + derived-form periphrasis, e.g. meek (u) nobzize 'I want to begin to eat' (more on this in the Syntax).

2.8.7.THE VERBS /heli/ 'to be' AND EXISTENTIAL /el(a)/ 'there is'. /heli/ is used almost exclusively in statements of identity and is rather formal-- heli kan 'it is I, it's me', helir (~helda) zek bi&#c015b;ü sando 'he was a wise shaman'. Its irrealis is regular, /ehlí/ [e'l̥i]. Its inchoative /in-heli/ intheli (literally more or less “become to be”) has the sense 'to happen, to occur'; the causative /ap-heli/ (“cause to be”) is rarely used except in traditional lore, with the sense '(magically) create..., transform s.t./s.o./oneself (into s.t. else)'; other aspectual forms occur, or at least are possible, but not all are widely used.

Existential /el(a)/ is used in a wide variety of constructions that will be discussed in the Syntax. Its irrealis is suppletive /on(a)/-- both /el/ and /on/ have regular tense forms; they lack the aspectual derivations, and where they might occur, paraphrases are used, e.g. on diśkä grumpak 'there's probably going to be a thunderstorm'. /el/, in addition, has two irregular past and future realis forms-- er and la resp.-- that are used only to add tense to “surprise” forms (regular tenses of /on/ are used if irrealis)-- er (la) tataŋá há! 'it was (will be) really big!' but onda (odla) tataŋá há! 'it probably was (will be) really big!'

Further discussion and examples of all these forms will be given in the next section, Syntax.

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