Sinampaiton verbs



Verbs in Sinampaiton are put together from several parts. For now, you only need to know about three of them:

The verb stem

The verb stem in Sinampaiton always ends in a vowel. For example, ogo is the stem of a verb meaning to write. For reasons which will be explained later, the stem is rarely written this way. Instead, an -n is added at the end of the stem: ogon 'write'. It's important to remember that the final -n isn't actually part of the stem.


The tense of a verb is indicated by a suffix that's added to the verb stem. Actually, the present tense doesn't require any tense suffix at all. Just as in many natural languages, there are a few different verb "conjugations"--in other words, not all verbs act exactly alike. Sinampaiton doesn't have nearly as many irregularities as most European languages do, however.

There are four principal tenses in Sinampaiton. Each tense locates the "verbing"--the action or state indicated by a verb--in time.

Tense Suffix(es) Use
Present none The verbing is located at the present time.
Past definite -vo, -no, -lo, -o The verbing is located at a definite (specified or already known from context) time in the past.
Past indefinite -nka The verbing is located at an indefinite (unspecified and unknown) time in the past.
Future -nai, -lai The verbing is located in the future.

The difference between the past definite and past indefinite tenses is explained in more detail here. The past definite tense has the richest morphophonology (i.e., it's the most common cause of irregularities).


If a verb's subject or direct object is a pronoun, then that pronoun is normally attached directly to the verb, after the tense suffix. If neither the subject nor direct object is a pronoun, then the "placeholder" suffix -n is added instead.

Putting them together

The verb stem, tense suffix (if any), and pronoun(s) (or -n) are put together in that order to form a complete verb form. (There are actually a few more "slots" in addition to these three, but we won't cover the rest of them till later.)


This first example shows all three of these parts of the verb:

(1) Menovongala dziun omotekobo.
meno -vo -ngala dziun omotekobo
sleep past definite we for three hours
stem tense subject
We slept for three hours.

This next example shows a verb whose direct object is a pronoun:

(2) Ogonaingo ku ndzophote.
ogo -nai -ngo ku ndzophote
write future it the mayor
stem tense direct object
The mayor will write it.

A pronoun is attached to the verb no matter whether it denotes the subject or the direct object.

Here's an example that illustrates how the "placeholder" suffix -n is used when neither the subject nor the direct object of the verb is a pronoun:

(3) Ogovon ku chone ni suen.
ogo -vo -n ku chone ni suen
write past definite the boy the book
stem tenseplaceholder
The boy wrote the book.

In this next example the subject and direct object, both pronouns, are attached (in that order) to the verb. Note that this example is in the present tense, so no tense suffix is needed:

(4) Athekenge se?
athe -ke -nge se
see you me question marker
stem subject direct object
Do you see me?


In a nutshell, this is the way a complete verb is put together:

Verb = stem + int-aux + asp + tense + val-alt + pron
always ends in a vowel internal auxiliaries --
see Chapter 6
for more information
aspect --
see Chapter 6
for more information
present, past def. (-vo, -no, etc.), past indef. (-nka), future (-nai, -lai) valency-altering suffix --
see Chapter 6
for more information
or -n


The tutorial continues with an Introduction to Nouns.

Last modified Sunday, April 25, 2004 at 09:33:28 GMT -0500