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2.4  Verbs and states

2.4.1  Overview

Verbs in Talmit have the following principal endings (either timeless or in the present) which are explained further below:

2.4.2  Attributive

The attributive form is used to qualify count nouns or states and is the counterpart to relative clauses or participles in Indo-European:

2.4.3  Conjunctive

The conjunctive form is very similar to the te-form of Japanese. It is time- and aspectless and signals addition – another sentence or just another verb may follow. The described processes may take place simultaneously or consecutively, according to the context. The last verb is in the conclusive form. For example:

Repeating the same verb denotes a prolonged action, e.g.:

2.4.4  Compound

The compound form is used in verb-verb or verb-noun compounds, for example:

In terms of verb framing, verb-verb compounds indicate the manner of movement (e.g. bárun ’feel with feet’, gánun ’to go’ → báren-gánun ’to walk’); while prefixes indicate the path (táru ’inside’ → báren-tarugánun ’walk inside, enter walking’).

2.4.5  Verbal state, negative verbal state, and negative adverbial

Continuously doing something is a state, for which the verbal state is used:

Another possibility, which also allows tense, is a compound with de ’action, state of doing something’ (see 2.5.1).

Not doing something is also a state and is expressed by the negative verbal state, usually combined with pa ’state’. For example:

Finally, the negative adverbial form expresses that an action was carried out without doing something else before (Jap. -zu):

Historically, this is a compound of -in with one of the many variants of √mul∼√muj∼√muq ’nothing’, with metathesis *-in-mui > -ímnui.

2.4.6  Eventive state

The eventive is formed by the a-grade of the verbal state ending -on > -a(h)on (where h can be inserted for the ease of pronunciation). It describes an event which has a fixed duration in time, with a clear beginning and end. Hence:

It is close in meaning to the e-grade (1.2.3), but properly describes an uncontrolled, chaotic action (in particular forces of nature), while the e-grade stands for a deliberate, ordered process. Hence:

2.4.7  Signum of verbs

Verbs can have signum, but rather than being associated with a scale, it marks the direction of an action, if such is understood. There are two major groups:

  1. verbs of movement:
  2. verbs of ingestion/egestion (or acquiring/losing) in a very broad sense:

In terms of aspect, signum-verbs are semelfactive (expressing a single action). Superposition of the signum markers conveys the idea that an action has been carried out once in one direction and than immediately in reverse, hence:

Iterated action is expressed by reduplication:

2.4.8  Formation and classes

One can divide verbs in Talmit into the following classes:

  1. Root verbs add -(n)un in the conclusive form (-nun after a vowel) and change the ending according to the list in 2.4.1. The consonants l and s geminate after a stressed vowel.


    ”Light” roots ending in a vowel may also append -un, -una directly to the stem which then causes u-mutation 1.1.3:

  2. Associated verbs are derived from nouns or states and have a new, impredictable meaning. They add -(a)run in the conclusive form (dissimilated -(a)lun if the root has r). If required, the intensive can be expressed with -(e)mun and the mollitive with -urun/-ulun (forming a diphthong with the preceding vowel). The e-umlaut of the mollitive form is preserved by analogy. The ending is then changed just as above.


    Root verbs denote the action ’as such’. Associated verbs derived from the corresponding a-grade, on the other hand, describe a semelfactive action, or a telic action involving the achievement of a goal, so e.g.:

  3. Destative verbs are extensively used whenever a process is characterized by the change of one state on its scale. When the subject itself changes its state, s- is prefixed to the root (z- before voiced stops) and -(n)un is appended. When the change is enforced upon an object (causative verb), sar-/sal-/san- (< *saR-) is prefixed and -(n)un affixed. Intensive/mollitive states are again distinguished by using -(e)mun and -urun/-ulun.


    One can also form an indirect causative with the help of the reduplicated prefix sassar-. It denotes that something was not directly manipulated, but caused indirectly, hence for example sassarιχállun ’get someone killed’. It can also be used in the sense ’allow so. to do sth.’, e.g. sassalparússun ’allow to rise’.

  4. Activity verbs are regarded as intermediary between states and events/actions. They are formed by a compound of a state of activity and the verb sun ’to do, carry out’ (cf. Jap. suru-verbs):

There is a slight difference between spirússuin ’descended’ (past tense, see below) and pirús-mére ’changed into a state of being positioned below’ – a destative verb is preferred when the action is volitional or at least in some way controlled, the construction with mére for natural happenstances. Hence pirús-mére might be rather translated by ’came down, fell, collapsed’, mulprús-mére ’fell to the ground’. Similarly zdilóinun ’went to sleep’, dilón-mére ’fell asleep’.
This distinction does not exist in the present and is just a tendency rather than a general rule, motivated by a desire to dissociate overlapping forms (like English heaven acquiring a different meaning from sky). The state of doing something has the form spirússon, zdilónon both for volitional and non-volitional actions.

2.4.9  Past and future tense

There are three tenses of verbs and states in Talmit: present (rather ’habitual’ for verbs), past and future.

If there is a consonant cluster after the root vowel, the verb or state is weak. For verbs, the past and future are formed by altering the suffix -un. For states, one forms a compound with the general word pa ’state’. The past tense is formed by i-infixion and the future tense by u-infixion (1.1.3):

Thus for example tébnun ’to think’, trámne ’state of large size’:

If there is only a single consonant after the root vowel, the verb or state is strong, so that the past and future tense are formed by i- or u-infixion into the root itself. For example, gánun ’to go’, kas ’burning state’:

Words geminating l and s in the present are also strong, as gemination does not appear after a diphthong:

Associated and destative verbs are weak when derived with -emun, -arun, -urun/-ulun (the root syllable is antepenultimate or has a diphthong), but strong when derived with -mun, run/-lun, -un e.g.:

If the predicate involves a verb as well as a state, both are put into the past or future, e.g. pirúis-mére péinun ’changed into a past state of being positioned below’.

The i- and u-infixions originally denoted evidentiality in Proto-Tallic, whereby i-infixed forms stood for ascertained events and u-infixed ones for uncertain. But since the former tend to occur in the past, while the latter tend to occur in future, this simple evidentiality pattern became a marking of tense. In Hadam, on the other hand, i-infixed forms became the first person singular inflection, as personal experiences are more certain than those of other people; and u-infixion correspondingly became the third person inflection. Verbal inflections for person did not appear in Proto-Tallic and neither do they in Talmit and Kymna.

2.4.10  Imperative

The imperative for verbs is formed with -ere attached to the present stem. A polite imperative was originally formed by attaching -ere to the future tense, but the ending of weak verbs, -ίunere, was later substituted for both classes:

For states, the imperative is expressed on the postposition:

The variants with a single initial consonant are used after final consonants, those with an initial cluster after vowels: halán-nóire! ’be good!’, twímne-mzére! ’[do it] quickly!’. Used with the future tense of a state, one can express a more polite request, as in the greeting halíos-nóire! ’rejoice!’ (cf. Greek χαῖρε, χαίρετε) (< halís ’state of happiness’ < √khlis).

The corresponing cohortative form is -ίire, for verbs and postpositions alike:

2.4.11  Passive

The passive is formed by -ússun replacing -un. Passive verbs are always weak:

2.4.12  Reduplicated verbs, quantified action

Reduplication is applied to semelfactive verbs to express that an action is iterative, i.e. carried out multiple times one after another. The rules of reduplication are the same as for states and nouns (2.1.6): The first syllable is repeated with the root vowel. Spirants are reduplicated as stops while stops may become spirantized medially.

Hence kórdalun means ’move once in a circle’ and its reduplication kokórdalun, koχórdalun means ’revolve, rotate, move many times in a circle’. Témbarun ’to think once’ describes a single thought or idea popping into one’s mind while an active thought process over some problem would be described by tetémbarun, teθémbarun.

Other examples:

Another possibility to express iterated action is the prefixing the greater plural marker mi- or the paucal marker jo- (2.1.1). Hence:

Similarly, one can prefix mne- to describe a forceful action and we- (with e-umlaut 1.1.3 of the following vowel) for an unforceful one:

and so on.

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