Classical Gluonic Topic

Finite Verbs

Keywords: verbs

Verbs in Classical Gluonic carry no mandatory information about tense, aspect or mood. Tense and aspect can be optionally specified with adverbs, and mood is handled using coverbs, which are beyond the scope of this article. They do, however, show their transitivity and voice. Transitive verbs have active, passive and antipassive voice, and all of transitive and intransitive voices can have an additional applicative voice. Verb radicals are black and opaque but have suffixes that allow them to agree with all their core arguments in colour.

Classical Gluonic is a satellite-framing language when it comes to verbs. The verb itself encodes manner of motion, for example, while the satellite encodes path of motion. In this regard, it is similar to English. Compare the English verbs "go in," which is native, versus "enter," which is borrowed from French. Romance languages are verb-framing and encode information about the path of a motion in the verb itself. English, and Classical Gluonic, are satellite-framed languages and encode information about path in a separate word. Classical Gluonic goes further than English in preferring satellite framing.

The "verbal satellite" of Classical Gluonic is not always referring to this idea of "satellite framing," however, as CG uses the grammatical satellite more often as a kind of radial derivation to determine different shades of meaning of the verb.

Structure of the Finite Verb

There are two kinds of transitivity, transitive and intransitive. Ditransitives are often handled with applicatives or prepositional phrases for the recipient of the action, and higher order valence requires prepositional phrases. Avalent verbs like atmospherics are managed with intransitives with dummy subjects.

Transitive Verbs

Finite transitive verbs have the following basic structure:

[adverbs] ... ROOT-agent-patient-[applicative] [adverb(s)] ... [adverb(s)] [SATELLITE]

Items in [square brackets] are optional. ROOT is the black radical of the verb. It is followed by a mandatory agent (subject) agreement marker and a patient (object) agreement marker, and optionally may take an applicative marker. Then the rest of the sentence goes after the verb, and finally, the last element of the sentence is the verbal satellite, a special kind of adverb that adds extra semantic information to the verb and is used as a kind of radial derivation. Other adverbs may go to the beginning of the sentence, immediately follow the verb, or immediately precede the satellite.

The following table gives the subject, object and optional applicative suffixes for all verbs, using Sanderson notation.

Finite Verb Suffixes (Bourque in Brackets)
Colour Agent Patient Applicative
Blue -su (-ab) -lo (-pb) -mu (-lb)
Red -si (-ar) -le (-pr) -mi (-lr)
Green -sa (-ag) -ly (-pg) -ma (-lg)
Black -(y)q (-a0) -(a)n (-p0)  

The black forms are used for the reduced-valence passive and antipassive voices. There is no black form for the applicative.

Active Voice

In the active voice, both an Agent and a Patient suffix is required, in that order, and the suffix must agree with its referent in colour - a coloured suffix form is required.

Passive Voice

To make the passive voice, use the black form of the Agent suffix with a coloured form of the Patient suffix. The agent can then be optionally mentioned periphrastically using a prepositional phrase introduced with the preposition "tam," "from."

Antipassive Voice

To make the antipassive voice, use the black form of the Patient suffix with a coloured form of the Agent suffix. The patient can then be optionally mentioned periphrastically using a prepositional phrase introduced with the preposition "tam," "from."

Intransitive Verbs

Finite intransitive verbs have the following basic structure:

[adverbs] ... ROOT-agent|patient-[applicative] [adverb(s)] ... [adverb(s)] [SATELLITE]

They are structured like a transitive verb except that in the agreement suffix position, there is room for only one suffix and Agent or a Patient. The suffix agrees with the subject of the intransitive verb in colour. The agent suffix is used if the subject undertakes the action voluntarily and intentionally, and the patient suffix is used if the subject undergoes the action without intent. This represents a "split intransitive" morphosyntactic alignment.

The intransitive uses exactly the same suffixes as the transitive, except the black forms are never used with finite intransitive verbs.

Applicative Voice

The applicative voice can use used with transitive or intransitive verbs and can be used in addition to passive or antipassive voice. It adds one additional core argument to a verb which, if present, has the preferred position as the last core argument, but may participate in free movement like any other core verb argument. The exact interpretation of the applicative is idiomatic to each particular verb. For example, in ditransitive verbs of giving it is typically the recipient, and in verbs of motion, it is often the destination or goal. It is also commonly a beneficiary of the action. Every use of the applicative typically has a periphrastic alternative using a preposition.

To make the applicative for any transitivity or voice, just add the applicative suffix that agrees with the applied object in colour.


We'll introduce the following actors and assume they have been mentioned in conversation before, so they will not require colour clitics:

  • gorano - the child (blue)
  • veppehe - the ball (red)
  • gawmy - the dog (green)
  • hyyloy - night (green)

The verbs "kwaj," "throw" (transitive) and "meeta," "sleep" (intransitive) will be used.


Kwajsule gorano veppehe.

"The child throws the ball."

Transitive with Applicative

Kwajsulema gorano veppehe gawmy.

"The child throws the ball to the dog."

This same applicative could be added to either of the passive or antipassive examples that follow.

Transitive Passive

Kwajyqle veppehe.

"The ball is thrown."

Transitive Antipassive

Kwajsun gorano.

"The child throws."

Intransitive Agentive

Meetasu gorano.
sleep-AGT.BLUE child-SG.ABS.BLUE

"The child goes to sleep."

This sentence would need a gloss like "goes to sleep" because the agentive suffix signals intent.

Intransitive Patientive

Meetalo gorano.
sleep-PAT.BLUE child-SG.ABS.BLUE

"The child sleeps."

This patientive form either implies an ongoing state with no clear intention either way, or something that happens unintentionally - this could also be translated as "the child falls asleep."

Intransitive Patientive with Applicative

Meetaloma gorano hyyloy.

"The child sleeps the night."

Idiomatically, the applicative on "meeta" usually means a duration of time the sleeping takes place.


Related Topics

Related Literature