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4.3  Preverbs, predicative adjectives

Kymna has no adpositions. To make up for it, preverbs are widely used. That is, instead of saying ’go around the house’ Kymna says ’the house-dat around-go’. Some of the preverbs are:

Note that atelic verbs thus usually become telic.

To say something like ’it is above’ or ’it was inside’ one can just verbalize preverbs (sic!) with the zero-root verb um, p.t. ende. As an exception, stress lies on the ultimate syllable. For example porū́m ’above-is’, porénde ’above-was’, poré ’above-being’ (inconclusive) etc. Noun phrases like ’in the water’ correspond to verbal phrases in Kymna: salmes torue ’being in the water’.

One suspects that this zero-root verb actually once was the copula *gum ’to be’, from the vowelless root √g (whence guma ’alive’, gumate ’men, human beings’ (pl. only) and T. agó ’state of existence’, ugí ’state of non-existence’) being agglutinated to the preverb and eventually losing medial -g-. Hence *paru gum > *paru(h)úm > porūm.

A relative clause like ’who is inside’ is formed by putting the zero-root verb into the attributive with -una: porūna, torūna. Due to a common confusion of the attributive -na and attributive/genitive -ma it is also possible to attatch -ma to the preverb: poruma, toruma.

The zero-root verb um is also used for predicative adjectives. Adjectives all end in -a and the predicative form is always -ōn with stress on the ultimate syllable (ālana ’good’, ālanṓn ’is good’, tysta ’small’, tystṓn ’is small’, tramna ’big’, tramnṓn ’is big’). See the proverb Nanas vymen tramne, se doure temnōn ’The field is large and there is much work for me [to do]’ (with the accusative affected expressing adversity, see 2.3.1).
This is probably a dissimilated form coming from -ma adjectives, later substituted by analogy for all others. Hence for example *khjul-mo gum > *hylma(h)ún > hylmōn ’is light (of weight)’.

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