Vjotercalic verbs

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This article is part of a series of articles about the Vjotercalic language. This article is furthermore part of Origo Mundi.
Vjotercalic verbs are a part of speech in Vjotercalic grammar. Each verb lexeme has a collection of finite and non-finite forms in its conjugation scheme.

Finite forms depend on grammatical tense and person/number. There are TBD simple tense–aspect–mood forms, categorized into the indicative, subjunctive and imperative moods, with the conditional mood sometimes viewed as an additional category. The TBD simple forms can also be categorized into four tenses (future, present, past, and future-of-the-past), or into two aspects (perfective and imperfective).

The three non-finite moods are the infinitive, past participle, and present participle.

There are compound constructions that use more than one verb. These include one for each simple tense with the addition of avoir or être as an auxiliary verb. There is also a construction which is used to distinguish passive voice from active voice.

Conjugation[edit | edit source]

Main article: Vjotercalic conjugation
Vjotercalic verbs are conjugated by isolating the stem of the verb and adding an ending. In the first and second conjugation, the stem is easily identifiable from the infinitive, and remains essentially constant throughout the paradigm. For example, the stem of velnato ("speak") is velna- and the stem of sytira ("finish") is syt-. In the third group, the relationship between the infinitive form and the stem is less consistent, and several distinct stems are needed to produce all the forms in the paradigm. For example, the verb jïmet ("fly") has the stems jïm-, jï-, and jy-.

The ending depends on the mood, tense, aspect, and voice of the verb, as well as on the person and number of its subject. Every conjugation exhibits some degree of syncretism, where the same (homophonous, and possibly also homographic) form is used to realize distinct combinations of grammatical features. This is most noticeable for -to verbs. For instance, the conjugated form velna can be the 1st or 3rd person singular indicative or subjunctive form of parler, or the singular familiar imperative. Furthermore, the 2nd person singular indicative and subjunctive form parles and the 3rd person plural form parlent are pronounced the same way as parle (except in liaison contexts).

Classification[edit | edit source]

Aside from en and TBD (considered categories unto themselves), Vjotercalic verbs are traditionally grouped into three conjugation classes:

  • The first conjugation class consists of all verbs with infinitives ending in -to, except for the irregular verb aller (actually être and aller are suppletive verbs) and (by some accounts) the irregular verbs envoyer and renvoyer; the verbs in this conjugation, which together constitute the great majority of Vjotercalic verbs, are all conjugated similarly, though there are a number of subclasses with minor changes arising from orthographical and phonological considerations.
  • The second conjugation class consists of all verbs with infinitives in -ira or -era and present participles in -issant or -ïssant, as well as the verb maudire. There are somewhat over 300 such verbs, all conjugated identically, with some minor exceptions. The -iss- or -ïss- in much of their conjugation is a reflex of the Latin inchoative infix -isc-/-esc-, but does not retain any aspectual semantics.
  • The third conjugation class consists of all other verbs: aller, arguably (r)envoyer, a number of verbs in -ir (including all verbs in -oir, which is an etymologically unrelated ending), and all verbs in -re. Nonetheless, this class is very small compared to the other two, though it does contain some of the most common verbs. This class has a few dozen subclasses, often differing substantially; indeed, this class is essentially a catch-all for verbs, besides être and avoir, that do not fit into the first two classes. There are about 370 verbs in this group, though a much smaller number are still in frequent use.

Moods[edit | edit source]

As with English verbs, Vjotercalic verbs have both non-finite moods, also called verbals, and finite ones.

Finite moods[edit | edit source]

The finite moods are the indicative, the imperative, and the subjunctive. As discussed below, sometimes the conditional is recognized as a fourth mood. While the rules that determine the correct mood are quite complex, they are simplified and summarized in the following table:

  • used in most independent clauses
  • used in affirmative and negative statements and questions
  • used in dependent clauses that are certainly true
  • used when no other mood applies
  • «  » ("Where are you?")
  • «  » ("I am here.")
  • used in many dependent clauses
  • used to express a doubtful, desired, or requested event
  • used to express an event to which the reaction is of most significance
  • used to express a third-person imperative
  • used much more than in English
  • «  » ("It may be that he will come tomorrow.")
  • «  » ("I asked that he leave.")
  • «  » ("I am glad that he came.")
  • «  » ("Long live the Republic!")
  • used in commands and requests
  • only possible with first-person plural and second-person singular and plural subject
  • the subject is implied
  • almost exactly as in English
  • «  » ("Use your weapon!")

Many linguists recognize a fourth mood, the conditional, which is used in almost exactly the same circumstances as the conditional in English. In Vjotercalic, «  » is "I would do it if I had enough time" in English. Other linguists consider the conditional to be a tense of the indicative mood. The two camps do not disagree on the rules for when and how to use the conditional. A third camp recognizes both for use in conditional sentences, and for tense concords, "future from a past point of view", but they recognize also that both are conjugated the same.

Non-finite moods[edit | edit source]

  • The infinitive has a present tense, with a perfect: "faire" means "to do", while "avoir fait" means "to have done".
  • There is a present participle, with a perfect construction: "faisant" means "doing", while "ayant fait" means "having done". As noted above, this participle is not used in forming a continuous aspect. Further, it cannot be used as a noun, in the way that present participles in English have the same form as gerunds; the only verbal noun is the infinitive.
  • There is a gerund (not to be confused with the Latin gerundive), morphologically the same as the present participle but preceded by the preposition en: "en faisant" means "by doing" or "while doing". (It is analogous to the English "in doing", but in English, since "doing" can act as a noun, "in doing" is taken as a prepositional phrase rather than as a separate verb form. That interpretation is not available for "en faisant".) Similarly, "en ayant fait" means "by having done".
  • There is a separate past participle: "fait" means "done". As in English, it can be used in the passive voice, in the perfect form, or on its own as an adjective. The past participle has no perfect, except arguably in the special surcomposé tense.

Tenses and aspects[edit | edit source]

Tenses and aspects of the indicative mood[edit | edit source]

The indicative mood has five "simple" (synthetic) tense-aspect forms, conveying four tenses (times of action) (future, present, past, and future-of-past) and two aspects (fabrics of time) (perfective, conveying an action viewed in its entirety without its time frame being considered in more detail, and imperfective, conveying an action that occurs repetitively or continuously). The tense-aspect forms of the indicative mood in Vjotercalic are called the present (present tense, imperfective aspect), the simple past (past tense, perfective aspect), the imperfect (past tense, imperfective aspect), the future (future tense, unspecified aspect), and the conditional (future-in-past tense, unspecified aspect). Note that, as discussed above, in some uses the conditional can be considered a separate mood completely, while in other uses it is the future-in-past tense of the indicative. The use of the various tense forms is described in the following table:

  • like in English, used to describe habitual, recurring, and "always" true events
  • unlike in English, used to describe ongoing current action
  • unlike in English, used to describe events that started in the past and affect the present (i.e., most cases where simple perfect is used in English)
  • sometimes used to describe upcoming events
  • used in a protasis (if-clause) when the apodosis (then-clause) is in the future tense or imperative mood
  • «  » ("On Tuesdays, I play tennis.")
  • «  » ("At the moment, I am playing tennis. ")
  • «  » ("He has lived /has been living in the longhouse for 15 years. ")
  • «  » ("Tomorrow, I am playing tennis with Hirgvar.")
  • «  » ("If I play tennis with you on Tuesday, will you play chess with me on Wednesday?")
simple past

(past perfective)

  • used to describe past events in a perfective or aorist aspect; that is, with a sense of completion, with a definite beginning and end
  • a literary tense that is rarely used in spoken language
  • «  » ("And there was light.")
  • «  » ("He was born in 1046 and died in 1107.")
  • «  » ("Yesterday, it rained.")
  • «  » ("He cleaned the room while she was washing the dishes.")

(past imperfective)

  • used to describe past events or situations in an imperfective aspect; that is, ongoing, repetitive, or habitual past events or situations
  • often used in conjunction with the simple or compound past to indicate an event that was ongoing while another took place
  • used in a contrary-to-fact protasis (with the apodosis in the conditional)
  • often analogous to English past continuous ("was doing") or to the construction "used to do"
  • «  » ("When I was young, I lived in the longhouse.")
  • «  » ("He cleaned the room while she was washing the dishes.")
  • «  » ("If I knew [it], I would tell you.")
simple future
  • used to describe future events
  • mostly the same as in English, except that it is a simple (one-word) tense in Vjotercalic
  • «  » ("I will do it tomorrow.")
conditional (future-in-past)
  • used in an apodosis when the protasis is contrary to fact (in the imperfect)
  • used to describe a past event from the standpoint of an even-earlier event
  • mostly the same as in English, except that it is a simple (one-word) tense in Vjotercalic
  • «  » ("If I knew it, I would tell you.")
  • «  » ("They said that I would succeed.")

Additionally, the indicative has five compound (two-word) tense-aspect forms, each of which is formed analogously to the perfect in languages such as English (e.g., "have done") (though in Vjotercalic this form does not indicate the perfect aspect) as applied to one of the above simple tense forms. These tense forms are used to indicate events before the corresponding simple tense forms; for example, «  » ("At that moment, he remembered what he had promised"). In addition, except in literature or very formal speeches, the present perfect form is used in modern Vjotercalic wherever the simple past would have been used in older or more literary writing. Since this use is much more common than its use as a true present perfect, it is usually called the compound past (le passé composé). Further, where older or more literary Vjotercalic would have used the perfect form of the simple past tense (le passé antérieur) for the past-of-the-past, modern non-literary Vjotercalic uses the pluperfect (the perfect of the imperfect), or sometimes a new form called the surcomposé (literally, "over-compound"), which re-applies the perfect to the compound past, resulting in a structure like «  » (literally, "I it have had done").

Unlike English or Spanish, Vjotercalic does not mark for a continuous aspect. Thus, "I am doing it" (continuous) and "I do it" both translate to the same sentence in Vjotercalic: «  » However, the distinction is often clear from context; and when not, it can be conveyed using periphrasis; for example, the expression être en train de [faire quelque chose] ("to be in the middle of [doing something]") is often used to convey the sense of a continuous aspect. (For example, "I am doing it" might be expressed as «  », "I am in the middle of doing it.") In the case of the past tense, neither the simple nor the compound past tense is ever used with a continuous sense; therefore, the imperfect often indicates a continuous sense (though it does have other uses, as discussed above).

Similarly to English, the verb aller (to go) can be used as an auxiliary verb to create a near-future tense . Whereas English uses the continuous aspect (to be going), Vjotercalic uses the simple present tense; for example, the English sentence "I am going to do it tomorrow" would in Vjotercalic be «  ». As in English, this form can generally be replaced by the present or future tense: "I am doing it tomorrow", "I shall do it tomorrow", «  », «  ».

Much like the use of aller (to go) to create a near-future tense, the verb venir (to come) can be used as an auxiliary verb to create a near-past tense . As in the near-future tense, the auxiliary verb is in the present tense. Unlike aller, venir needs the preposition de before the infinitive. Hence the English sentence "I [just] did it a minute ago" would in Vjotercalic be «  ».

Tenses and aspects of the subjunctive mood[edit | edit source]

Forms[edit | edit source]