This blog is about a few tweaks to Diinlang’s verb system, intended to make it simpler but more versatile.
The core of the verb system use the verb infinitive, modifying it with a preverbal as necessary. This system is used in many conlangs and creoles and can also be found in some non-creole natlangs.
“Gon” and “wen” indicate future and past tense. “Nou” (“now”) can be used to emphasise an action is in the present. Preverbals to distinguish something is just about to happen or has just happened in the recent past may be useful. The past preverbal may be changed to “te”, which is used in many French-based creoles. This has some symmetry with using “-t” to create single word past forms of verbs.
“Dun” is used to create a clause with a completed or “perfect” aspect. This can be combined with tense preverbals for a past perfect or future perfect clause. Tense preverbals are placed before those of aspects.
“Ge” is used to make a clause in a passive voice. This can also be combined with tense preverbals. In the past I have treated “ge” as a prefix placed on the verb infinitive. Changes to the verbal system make this a preverbal.
“Zou” is used for subjunctive and/or conditional clauses.
Another preverbal will be used to form clauses of habitual actions.
An example of a basic clause would be:
PRO PVB(s) INF.
In a previous post I suggested that it would be useful to be able to create an alternate form of past that was a single word. This is achieved by adding “-t” to the verb infinitive. With this system in place it is no longer necessary for there to be a separate one word form for the perfect aspect. English regular verbs use the same word for both the simple past and the perfect form. This is achieved by using the verb “to have” as an auxiliary verb.
Simple Past: PRO PASTFORM
Perfect: PRO have/had/has PASTFORM
The tense of the perfect form is indicated by the tense of the auxiliary verb. Perfect construction in Diinlang can also be formed using “av” (“to have”) as an auxiliary. A preverbal is used to tense the auxiliary if necessary. Some languages form a perfect construction by using a “to have” verb with the infinitive of the main verb. This can also be done in Diinlang. It is the presence of the preverbal “dun” or “av” as an auxiliary that determines if a clause is perfect aspect. Thus, there are four ways to form a perfect aspect in Diinlang
PRO dun INF
PRO av INF
PRO dun PASTFORM
PRO av PASTFORM
A passive voice in Diinlang can also be formed by using “ge” with the PASTFORM. Using the PASTFORM with the verb “bi” (“to be”) used as an auxiliary also forms a passive construction. Logically, PRO wen bi INF is also passive. The present tense construction “PRO bi INF”, however, is ambiguous and should be avoided. Since the main verb lacks the continuous/progressive prefix such a construction should probably be regarded as passive.
This brings us to the continuous/progressive form of the verb. Most dynamic verbs in English use their PROG/CONT form more often than their simple present. It can be argued that many such verbs are inherently progressive (in present tense) and that the verb does not therefore need marking. In Diinlang the PROG/CONT form is marked by a prefix. This is currently “is-“ but this may be changed. Many French creoles used “ap” or “ape” before the verb. Others use “pe”, “ke” of “ki”. The use of a prefix allows the “-t” suffix to be used to make a past PROG/CONT construction. In English a continuous/progressive construction is accompanied by “to be” as an auxiliary. In Diinlang this is optional, the presence of the prefix being adequate. PRO bi is-INF has the same meaning as PRO is-INF.
This leaves us with non-verb uses of verb forms. When a verb is used as an adjective, adverb or a noun a single word form is used. Active adjectives are made with the PROG/CONT form, passive adjectives made with the PASTFORM. Nouns are made from the INF, PROG/CONT or PASTFORM.