The Verbal System
The Surayt verbal system comprises three active and three passive verb stems, labeled in the following lessons as I, II, III, and Ip, IIp, and IIIp. The active verb stems of Surayt continue the old Aramaic stems Pʿal ܦ݁ܥܰܠ (= I), Paʿʿel ܦܰ݁ܥܶܠ (= II) and Afʿel ܐܰܦܥܶܠ (= III) The passive verb stems will be discussed in the Grammar section of Chapter 14.
a) The active verb stems
The verbs which have been introduced in the grammar to this point belong to the Verb Stem I class, that is also called the “basic stem”. The bases of the verbs in the first stem class are formed from tri-consonantal regular verbs and their corresponding vowels. These three consonants constitute the root of the verb and carry its basic meaning, as can be observed in the example dmx ܕܡܟ݂ „to sleep“ and grš ܓܪܫ „to pull“:
dmx ܕܡܟ݂ „to sleep“:
domax – damёx ܕܳܡܰܟ݂ – ܕܰܡܷܟ݂ „to sleep“; damixo ܕܰܡܝܟ݂ܐ, f. damёxto ܕܰܡܷܟ݂ܬܐ, pl. damixe ܕܰܡܝܟ݂ܶܐ „asleep“; dmoxo ܕܡܳܟ݂ܐ „sleep, sleeping“; madmax – madmaxle ܡܰܕܡܰܟ݂ - ܡܰܕܡܰܟ݂ܠܶܗ „to let sleep, put to sleep“.
grš ܓܪܫ „to pull“:
goraš – grёšle ܓܳܪܰܫ - ܓܪܷܫܠܶܗ „to pull“; garošo ܓܰܪܳܫܐ, f. garašto ܓܰܪܰܫܬܐ, pl. garoše ܓܰܪܳܫܶܐ „pulling (ptc. act.)“; grošo ܓܪܳܫܐ „traction, pulling (inf.)“ magraš – magrašle ܡܰܓܪܰܫ - ܡܰܓܪܰܫܠܶܗ „to have (sth.) pulled, drawn out, steeped“; mёgrёš - griš ܡܷܓܪܰܫ - ܓܪܝܫ „pulled“.
The principle of conjugation is the same for all three stems. Only the respective form of the base for present and preterite varies. The regular verbs in stem II have an m-prefix before the first root consonant, e.g. mḥalaq - mḥalaqle ܡܚܰܠܰܩ - ܡܚܰܠܰܩܠܶܗ „to throw away“, mcayar - mcayarle ܡܥܰܝܰܪ - ܡܥܰܝܰܪܠܶܗ „to set (time)“ mfalaġ – mfalaġle ܡܦܰܠܰܓ݂ - ܡܦܰܠܰܓ݂ܠܶܗ „to share, divide, distribute“ and thus distinguish themselves clearly from Stem I verbs which exhibit no m-prefix.
The Stem III verbs have a syllabic prefix ma-. In this manner Stem III can be easily distinguished from Stems I and II, e.g.:
markaw - markawle ܡܰܪܟܰܘ - ܡܰܪܟܰܘܠܶܗ „to arrange, to compose, to settle“,
maqraṭ - maqraṭle ܡܰܩܪܰܛ - ܡܰܩܪܰܛܠܶܗ „to eat breakfast“,
maltam – maltamle ܡܰܠܬܰܡ - ܡܰܠܬܰܡܠܶܗ „to collect“,
maqlab – maqlable ܡܰܩܠܰܒ - ܡܰܩܠܰܒܠܶܗ „to turn upside-down, to turn, to rotate“.
The following table provides a summary of all of the forms for the present and preterite bases in all of the three active verb stems:
As previously mentioned in G.8a, the verbs in the “intransitive verb” category, such as domax – damёx „to sleep“ are inflected in the preterite form with the help of the present inflectional suffixes.
Only a few verb roots appear in all three stems, that can have different meanings for each stem, such as:
ḥlq ܚܠܩ I: ḥolaq - ḥlёqle ܚܳܠܰܩ - ܚܠܷܩܠܶܗ „to shave; to cut hair“;
ḥlq ܚܠܩ II: mḥalaq - mḥalaqle ܡܚܰܠܰܩ - ܡܚܰܠܰܩܠܶܗ „to throw, to throw away“;
ḥlq ܚܠܩ III: maḥlaq - maḥlaqle ܡܰܚܠܰܩ - ܡܰܚܠܰܩܠܶܗ „to let shave; to have hair cut“.
Usually the first stem carries the base meaning of the verb. The second stem is designated as an intensifier, and in fact, the majority of loan words are formed according to Stem II, even when the base meaning manifests as a verb. In this manner, a Stem II verb can carry the base meaning. The meaning of Stem III verbs is simpler to determine, because they can almost all be included in the category causative verbs. These verbs imply the meaning “to have (sth.) made or done, to cause (sth.) to do”.
Several examples as illustration:
Some verbs exist in the second and third stems with the same meaning:
Indeed, there are also Stem III verbs that are not directly a causative version of Stem I verbs, as is the case in:
qrṭ ܩܪܛ I: qoraṭ - qrәṭle ܩܳܪܰܛ - ܩܪܷܛܠܶܗ „to nibble“
qrṭ ܩܪܛ III: maqraṭ - maqraṭle ܡܰܩܪܰܛ - ܡܰܩܪܰܛܠܶܗ „to have breakfast“
b) The verbal inflection in Stem II
1) Present inflection
In Stem II the present base has the form mḥalaq- ܡܚܰܠܰܩـ or mḥalq- ܡܚܰܠܩـ, on which the rest of the inflectional suffixes of the present (see G.7a) are attached, in order to form the inflected base form of the present. mḥalaq- ܡܚܰܠܰܩـ is the base of consonant-initial inflectional suffixes, and mḥalq- ܡܚܰܠܩـ is the base of vowel-initial inflectional suffixes:
Note:As already discussed in G.7a, the present-marker ko- ܟܳـ is used to indicate present in these forms, and the future-marker gёd ܓܷܕ is prefixed to indicate future.
Example sentences for the present in Stem II:
Example sentences for the future in Stem II:
2) Preterite inflection
The preterite has the base mḥalaq ܡܚܰܠܰܩ in Stem II just as the present. The inflectional suffixes of the preterite, the so-called L-suffixes, attach to this. Thus, the preterite paradigm in Stem II follows the example of mḥalaq- ܡܚܰܠܰܩـ:
In contrast to Stem I, there is no distinction in Stem II between transitive and intransitive verbs.
Examples for the preterite in Stem II: