Tatari Faran Grammar


We've already seen basic verb constructions in the previous sections. Now we describe how verbs can be modified by various markers.


Verb negation is formed by placing the postposition be in adverbial position, and dropping the finalizer:

huu sa tapa be buara na.
I did not walk to the volcano.

The same process is used for negating adjectival statements or statements of equivalence. For example:

tara' sa teinin be.
He is not smart.

Strong denial can be expressed by retaining the finalizer and prefixing it with bei:

huu sa tapa be buara na beibata.
I did not walk to the volcano!
(Lit., I did not walk to the volcano, didn't even get there!)

The negated finalizer strengthens the denial.

This device is also used in adjectival statements to express strong negation:

tara' sa teinin bei'tipai.
He is not smart at all!

In statements of equivalence, the negative finalizer bai is used to express negation:

tara' sa bata' bai.
He is not the chief.

In the imperative mood, placing the postposition be in adverbial position expresses prohibition. E. g.:

tapa be buara na.
Do not walk to the volcano!

tsana be tse ka.
You are not to speak.

Note that the finalizer is omitted when the verb is negated with be, unless one wishes to express strong prohibition:

tapa be tse sa buara na beibata.
Do not ever walk to the volcano!

When there is no argument NP between the verb and its finalizer in a strong prohibition, be is dropped in favor of bei-:

tsana bei'aniin.
Do not speak!


Adverbs follow the verbs they modify. This position is called adverbial position. Some adjectives, such as tsat (“fast”), can be placed in adverbial position to give them an adverbial meaning.

tapa tsat tse sa bata' na.
(You) go quickly to the chief!

baan kei tsana duru aniin.
The old woman spoke slowly.

Temporal Adverbs

Temporal adverbs indicate the time in which an event occurs. They also function as tense markers. For example, the adverb kana means “now” or “immediately”:

tapa kana tse sa buta' na.
Go to the house immediately!

It can also function as a present or present continuous tense marker:

huu sa tapa kana misanan dei bata.
I am walking to the village.
(Or, I am walking to the village now.)

The temporal adverb nara marks past tense:

huu sa tapa nara misanan kei bata.
I walked from the village (yesterday).

Note that nara is usually only used to emphasize the past tense; normally it is not used when the past tense is already understood from context. Also, it is often used for events at least a day past, as it also means “yesterday”:

huu na hamra mubun nara tsaritas ko aram.
Yesterday I saw a monkey.

Literally, mubun nara means “last night”, but it is used to refer to the past day as well.

The temporal adverb hara marks future tense:

huu ka tsana hara bata' na aniin.
I will speak to the chief.

As with nara, hara is usually used only to emphasize the future tense, and is omitted when the future tense is already understood from context. It is also normally used only for events at least a day in the future, as it has the literal meaning of “tomorrow”:

kiran ka surat baran hara pireis nei tarian.
The young man will search for the chanterelles tomorrow.

Literally, baran hara means “tomorrow morning”, but it idiomatically also refers to the next day.

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs are often used where the English would employ auxilliary verbs. For example, the English verb “to try” is translated not by a verb, but by an adverb:

diru nei arap pera bura sa ikat.
The girl tries to pick up the large rock.

The main verb in this sentence is not “to try”, as the English would seem to indicate; rather, the main verb is arap, “to pick up”, modified by the adverb pera, which is the equivalent of the English “to try”.

Adverbs are employed in this manner to describe such actions as starting, stopping, or continuing. The adverbs ha (to begin), irei (to continue), and bat (to stop), are used instead of an auxilliary verb construction as in English:

diru nei arap ha bura sa ikat.
The girl begins to pick up large rocks.

diru nei arap irei bura sa ikat.
The girl continues to pick up large rocks.

diru nei arap bat bura sa ikat.
The girl stops picking up large rocks.

Imperatives may also employ these adverbs:

tapa ha.
Start walking!

tsana bat.
Stop talking!

surat irei.
Keep searching!

Notice that the English translations use an auxilliary verb with a participle, but the Tatari Faran uses a verb with an adverb of manner.

Verb Conjugations

Tatari Faran verbs are used in root form when acting as the primary verb in the main clause. In conjoined clauses, relative clauses, infinitive clauses, and gerundive clauses, they conjugate.

Subordinative Conjugations

Verbs in a relative clause or a purpose clause conjugate for the 3 core noun cases. These forms are called the subordinative forms of the verb. The usage of subordinative forms is described in the section on Subordinate Clauses and Gerunds. Here, we show how they are formed.

The Gerund

The gerund form of a verb is formed by suffixing -i for consonant-final verbs, and -'i for vowel-final verbs. For example:

hamra → hamra'i

duum → duumi

Gerunds are marked for case in the main clause using a neuter case clitic. The usage of gerunds is further described in the section on Subordinate Clauses and Gerunds.

The Conjunctive

When conjoining a clause in which the topic NP is elided, if temporal succession is not indicated, a conjunctive verb is employed instead of using hena followed by the case particle of the elided NP.

The conjunctive verb is simply a verb with a conjunctive prefix, which indicates the function of the elided NP. The following table lists these prefixes.

Conjunctive prefixes Originative Conveyant Receptive
Masculine ka- sa- na-
Feminine ki- si- ni-
Neuter ko- so- no-

Historically, these prefixes developed from the same pronouns that the case clitics developed from; hence, they closely resemble each other.

If the verb stem is vowel-initial, vowel changes occur. If the initial vowel on the verb is long vowel or a glide, the prefix loses its vowel. For example:

ki- + aipam → kaipam

Otherwise, the following changes occur:

Prefix vowel Initial verb vowel
a e i ue o u
a aa e ai ue au au
i ia e ii ue o u
o ua e ui ue o u

Notice that e and ue absorb the prefix vowel unchanged, and likewise with o and u except when the prefix vowel is a.

Summary of Conjugations

The following table summarizes the possible verb conjugations and their functions:

Verb Conjugations Vowel-initial Consonant-initial
Vowel-final Consonant-final Vowel-final Consonant-final
Subordinate originative -kan a- -kan a-
conveyant -s -as, -satas i- i-
receptive -n -an -n -an
Gerund -'i -i -'i -i
Conjunctive originative k- (with mutations) ka-, ki-, ko-
conveyant s- (with mutations) sa-, si-, so-
receptive n- (with mutations) na-, ni-, no-

The usage of these forms are explained in the section on Subordinate Clauses and Gerunds.

Last updated 23 May 2013.

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