a) The Verb: the preterite
Concerning the past, it is important to distinguish between transitive and intransitive verbs. Transitive verbs are verbs that take on one or more objects, like goraš/gurš- (grëš-) ܓܳܪܰܫ ܇ ܓܘܪܫـ (ܓܪܷܫـ) “to pull something”. Intransitive verbs do not allow a direct object, like domax/dëmx- (damëx-) ܕܳܡܰܟܼ: ܕܷܡܟ݂ـ (ܕܰܡܷܟ݂ـ) “to sleep”.
The preterite base of transitive verbs only appears in one form (e.g. grëš- ܓܪܷܫـ ‚to pull‘), the preterite base of intransitive verbs, however, can appear in two forms (damëx-/damix- ܕܰܡܷܟ݂ـ ܇ ܕܰܡܝܟ݂ـ ‚to sleep‘).
1. Transitive verbs
In order to indicate the grammatical persons, the following suffixes are appended to the preterite base of transitive verbs grëš- ܓܪܷܫـ:
‘Ce’ of the 3rd person plural means that the final consonant of the preterite base is doubled and /–e/ is added. Therefore, /C/ represents the respective consonant.Applied to grëš- ܓܪܷܫـ the 3rd person plural is grëšše ܓܪܷܫܫܶܗ „they pulled“.
As opposed to the present and future tense, transitive verbs in the preterite do not distinguish between masculine and feminine in the 1st person, but they do distinguish gender in the 2nd and 3rd person singular.
The preterite of transitive verbs is formed as follows:
Examples for transitive verbs in the preterite:
2. Intransitive verbs
In order to indicate the persons the following suffixes are appended to the preterite base of intransitive verbs damëx- ܕܰܡܷܟ݂ـ / damix- ܕܰܡܝܟ݂ـ:
These suffixes are identical with those in the present tense (cf. Grammar 7a). Hence, it is to be distinguished in the singular between masculine and feminine in the 3rd and 1st person, but not in the 2nd person.
Using the example of damëx ܕܰܡܷܟ݂ـ /damix- ܕܰܡܝܟ݂ـ „to sleep“ the preterite of intransitive verbs is formed as follows:
Examples for the preterite of intransitive verbs:
b) The numerals
The cardinal and ordinal numerals are introduced under paragraph ‘Counting – Bnoyo ܒܢܳܝܐ” in this lesson. It is important to note that both the cardinal and the ordinal numbers from 1 to 10 have a feminine and a masculine form. The feminine form precedes feminine nouns and the masculine form precedes masculine nouns. From two on, that, which is counted, is always in the plural.
For 21-29, 31-39, 41-49 etc. the order is unit-and-ten: ḥa w cësri ܚܰܐ ܘܥܷܣܪܝ „twenty-one“. Because the unit agrees in gender with that, which is counted, it appears either in the masculine or the feminine form.
As for ordinal numbers, the first, the second etc., Surayt has one general series consisting of d ܕ + article (cf. Grammar 3a) for all numbers and one series restricted to the numbers 1-10. Both series are listed below.