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Grammar 8

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:

  Singular Plural
3rd Person (m.) -le ـܠܶܗ -Ce ــܶܗ
3rd Person (f.) -la ـܠܰܗ
2nd Person (m.) -lux ـܠܘܟ݂ -xu ـܟ݂ܘ
2nd Person (f.) -lax ـܠܰܟ݂
1st Person -li ـܠܝ -lan ـܠܰܢ

‘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:

  Singular Plural
3rd Person (m.) grëšle he pulled ܓܪܷܫܠܶܗ grëšše they pulled ܓܪܷܫܫܶܗ
3rd Person (f.) grëšla she pulled ܓܪܷܫܠܰܗ
2nd Person (m.) grëšlux you (m.) pulled ܓܪܷܫܠܘܟ݂ grëšxu you (pl.) pulled ܓܪܷܫܟ݂ܘ
2nd Person (f.) grëšlax you (f.) pulled ܓܪܷܫܠܰܟ݂
1st Person grëšli I pulled ܓܪܷܫܠܝ grëšlan we pulled ܓܪܷܫܠܰܢ

Examples for transitive verbs in the preterite:

Saro zwënla čanṭa Saro bought a bag ܣܰܪܐ ܙܘܷܢܠܰܗ ܫ̰ܰܢܛܰܐ
hënne nqëlle lu bayto ḥaṯo they moved into the new house ܗܷܢܢܶܐ ܢܩܷܠܠܶܗ ܠܘ ܒܰܝܬܐ ܚܰܬ݂ܐ
šrëḥle u mede dë ršëmle he explained what he was drawing ܫܪܷܚܠܶܗ ܐܘ ܡܶܕܶܐ ܕܷܪܫܷܡܠܶܗ
u aršitakt ršëmle plan the architect drew a plan ܐܘ ܐܰܪܫܝܬܰܟܬ ܪܫܷܡܠܶܗ ܦ݁ܠܰܢ
u Aday ftëḥle rastorant Aday opened up a restaurant ܐܘ ܐܰܕܰܝ ܦܬܷܚܠܶܗ ܪܰܣܬܳܪܰܢܬ

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:

  Singular Plural
3rd Person (m.) -- - -i ـܝ
3rd Person (f.) -o ـܐ
2nd Person -at ـܬ -itu ـܝܬܘ
1st Person (m.) -no ـܢܐ -ina ـܝܢܰܐ
1st Person (f.) -ono ـܳܢܐ

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:

  Singular Plural
3rd Person (m.) damëx he slept ܕܰܡܷܟ݂ damixi sie schliefen ܕܰܡܝܟ݂ܝ
3rd Person (f.) damixo she slept ܕܰܡܝܟ݂ܐ
2nd Person damixat you slept ܕܰܡܝܟ݂ܰܬ damixitu ihr schlieft ܕܰܡܝܟ݂ܝܬܘ
1st Person (m.) damëxno I (m.) slept ܕܰܡܷܟ݂ܢܐ damixina wir schliefen ܕܰܡܝܟ݂ܝܢܰܐ
1st Person (f.) damixono I (f.) slept ܕܰܡܝܟ݂ܳܢܐ

Examples for the preterite of intransitive verbs:

šafëc mëdde d šato approximately one year passed by ܫܰܦܷܥ ܡܷܕܕܶܐ ܕܫܰܬܐ
šamici i tašciṯo they heard the story ܫܰܡܝܥܝ ܐܝ ܬܰܫܥܝܬ݂ܐ
ayko yalifat Holandoyo? where did you learn Dutch? ܐܰܝܟܐ ܝܰܠܝܦܰܬ ܗܳܠܰܢܕܳܝܐ؟
qadër maxlaṣ ruḥe he could rescue himself ܩܰܕܷܪ ܡܰܟ݂ܠܰܨ ܪܘܚܶܗ
aḥna yalifina u lišono we learned the language ܐܰܚܢܰܐ ܝܰܠܝܦܝܢܰܐ ܐܘ ܠܝܫܳܢܐ

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.

Cardinal numbers:

f. m.
ḥḏo aṯto a woman/one woman ܚܕ݂ܐ ܐܰܬ݂ܬܐ ḥa gawro a man/one man ܚܰܐ ܓܰܘܪܐ
tarte niše tow women ܬܰܪܬܶܐ ܢܝܫܶܐ tre gawre tow men ܬܪܶܐ ܓܰܘܪܶܐ
tlëṯ niše three women ܬܠܷܬ݂ ܢܝܫܶܐ tloṯo gawre three men ܬܠܳܬ݂ܐ ܓܰܘܪܶܐ

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.

 

Ordinal numbers:

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.