Modern Tzuman 3
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The Tzuman verb is in origin agglutinative, but sound changes have obscured this to the point of the system now being fusional. Sandhi runs rampant in the verbal system, and combined with the stress vowel shift (not to mention the vowel deletions that can spawn), different forms of a verb can bear little resemblance. The personal endings are transparently derivatives of the singular personal pronouns; there is no number distinction in verbs, a relic of the situation in Macro-Kanaši subclauses. Tzuman verbs are broadly divided into two categories, those whose stems end in vowels, and those in consonants. Both are subdivided into further categories, ē-, i-, a- and u-stems for vowels, and several different categories for consonants.

Intr/Tr subject: Nominative
DO Tr: Accusative
IDO: Dative

A morpheme breakdown of the Tzuman finite verb:


The diagram shows the basic order, and the original forms (in their Modern Tzuman 'roots'). The vowels of the personal forms frequently merge and collapse with other vowels in conjugation; this occurs in nearly all forms, by contact of affix vowels with the personal endings. Two of the most frequent are -eyhn and -ēihn, those being respectively the future/conditional and reflexive merges of the tense/aspect/mood markers and -ĕhn. The most marked ending is the reflexive first person, which switches the vowel-glide of the active to glide-vowel, namely ˊ-uy ~ -ávi, á being the stressed form of the reflexive marker -ē-.

Verb Stems

Tzuman verbs have several stems, the present stem, the infinitive stem, and the extended stem. The present stem is simply the present tense stripped of person and mood markers. This is the stem which determines what category and subtype the verb belongs to; it also is the basis for the imperative.

The infinitive stem is simply the infinitive with -ov shaved off, which in many cases is also reached by removing the stem vowel from the present stem. There is a closely-related form, the u-infinitive, which is simply the infinitive stem with -u- appended. This form is actually the Ancient Tzuman infinitive -owu used as a stem for further finite forms that for historical reasons do not use the present stem, subjected to sound changes (-owu > -ou > -u). The u-infinitive stem is used to form the perfective, another form, and something else too.


Tzuman has a highly developed system of vowel contraction in verbs, in complement with and in addition to the general system of syllable loss in quadrisyllabic (or larger) words (for which many pre-contraction verb forms qualify). Grammars of the language have rules for this, and the forms are generally predictable when the Ancient Tzuman protoforms are taken into account, but in learning the language it is easier to learn them as separate forms (though there are some patterns that are taught). A table of contractions is useful (but by no means exhaustive):

y-axis = initial vowel, x-axis = final vowel
– = no contraction
a-stemaavēaviavĕā > oay

*occurs primarily in the reflexive preterit subjunctive forms, a reduction of ēya to shorten the form to comply with syllable number restraints.
**the three forms are morphologically conditioned (1st, 2nd and 3rd person respectively).

Consonant stems

Consonant stems are simply that, stems ending in a consonant; where necessary they take a connecting vowel e in the second person to avoid a word-final cluster.
D-stem – Comprises verbs with stem-final dental stops and affricates (t, d, ts, tz). There are some irregularities shown by D-stems in the Conditional, where nasal-stop cluster reorganization brings the dental into contact with historic i, causing affrication in some stems:

stems ending in t shift to ts, it remains when and if stress shifts the i to é.
stems ending in d shift to c, again remaining before é < i.
stems ending in tz and ts do not affricate, already having an affricate.
N-stem – A subset of the C-stems, contains nearly all verbs with nasal-final stems. The only irregularities present are caused by the nasal sonority rules, which can be summarized as m > n > ň.

Vowel Stems

Vowels stems are broadly divided into 2 groups based on whether they take y or v when in hiatus with a vowel-initial morpheme, with two subtypes each, based on what the final root vowel is, (y) having ē i or (v) having a u. Ē-stem verbs are somewhat problematic, given their stem vowel's homophony with the reflexive marker. U-stem verbs sometimes do not take a linking -v-, but instead shift u itself to v.



The unmarked aspect of Tzuman, it is by far the preferred form, if the situation allows it.


The perfective is a restricted form in more ways than one, only occurring in the indicative and subjunctive moods, and its tense system is in reality smaller as well because its future indicative is identical to its present subjunctive. It is also far more marked than the imperfective forms, to the point of being actively discouraged. It takes the u-infinitive and suffixes -ey- (Ancient Tzuman -eway-) before adding the subsequent endings:
Present IndicativePresent Subjunctive/Future Indicative
1tzaocu-ey-uy > tzaocváyuytzaocu-ey-a-uy > tzaocveyóvi
2tzaocu-ey-ǧ > tzaocváyeǧtzaocu-ey-a-ǧ > tzaocváyaǧ
3tzaocu-ey-ĕhn > tzaocváyĕhntzaocu-ey-a-ĕhn > tzaocveyóvĕhn
Past IndicativePast Subjunctive
1tzaocu-ey-cuy-uy > tzaocváycuytzaocu-ey-a-cuy-uy > tzaocveyócuy
2tzaocu-ey-cuy-ǧ > tzaocváycuiǧtzaocu-ey-a-cuy-ǧ > tzaocváicuiǧ
3tzaocu-ey-cuy-ĕhn > tzaocváyceyhntzaocu-ey-a-cuy-ĕhn > tzaocveyóceyhn

The contact of u and ey in the Perfective is one of the few exceptions to the hiatus-breaking glide-insertion rule.


The synthetic tenses of Tzuman are few, only Present, Past, and Future. In the imperfective they use the present stem.


The past formant -cuy- is relatively straightforward, with the only oddity being its vowels' merger with the personal ending in the first person:
yem-cuy-uy > yáncuy 'I had (owned/possessed) [smthg]'
yem-cuy-ĕhn > yencíyĕhn 'she had (owned/possessed) [smthg]'

zgojad-cuy-ǧ > Ĕhnah zg(oj)ójduiǧ 'you converted her last week.'
Its usage is that of past time, continuing relevance, namely a past imperfective.


The future of Tzuman is closely related to the Subjunctive, and some rustic Itece dialects (as well as Eghri), do not distinguish the two. It is formed, pre-sandhi, with -ay-:
yem-ay-ǧ > Ehátzah yámaiǧ 'you will have bread.'


As in most languages, the moods of Tzuman are used for special conditions and meanings. It has three synthetic moods apart from the indicative, the Subjunctive, the Conditional, and the Imperative.


The Subjunctive appears in the present and past only, the future subjunctive having transformed into the (indicative) future tense. It is marked by -a-, though this is frequently obscured by contraction with the personal endings (and the stress sound shift).

Ǧi flisvaš áyaǧ. 'You should go now.' (pre-sandhi ē-a-ǧ)

iset-ay-ĕhn 'move-fut-3pers' > Isáteyhn 'she will move'

The a of the present subjunctive frequently contracts with other vowels; it only appears consistently in the second person, e.g. eimóhtaǧ 'you may buy' (pre-sandhi eimaht-a-ǧ) versus irǧvóvĕhn '(if) she makes' (pre-sandhi irǧu-a-ĕhn).


The conditional stem is formed by appending -ňiy-, with various exponents due to contraction, most frequently it reducing to simple -ň-. It distinguishes two tenses, present and future, though their forms are homophonous outside of the first person. The past conditional does not occur.
iset-ňiy-ay-ē-ĕhn 'move-cond-fut-refl-3pers' > zet-ň(iy)-(ay)-ēihn:
Cenašv … zántsēihn 'he would move (himself) to Cenaša, but…'
The present and future conditional third person are homophonous in both voices.


The imperative is the simplest form in the language.

ImpfActive PresentActive Future
Reflexive PresentReflexive Future
PerfActive PresentActive Future


Tzuman has two synthetic voices, active and reflexive (marked by -ē-), and a periphrastic passive construction.

Irregular Verbs

The verb yámov translates best as 'to have', and in that meaning is relatively straightforward: Ehátzah yáncuy 'I had (owned/possessed) bread'. However it also represents the closest thing to a coupola Tzuman has:

Gétse víyah/ǧéyah/ĕhnah yámĕhn.
Life has me/you/it (animate)

<keep with yámov> Questions and statements which would use a cupola in other languages usually lack a verb in Tzuman, with Uy ǧi/tzay šan? 'How are you?' (uy being the interrogative particle) and:

FizáyešFriend-pl vuyéyi1sg-poss behógivhappy-dat víyosI-gen tzēǧiyávodead-dat bayin!negative
'My friends, I am so pleased you are not dead!'.

One case where a verb is used is familial relations, with the (always reflexive) verb báflov:

Mašáto báflēihn. 'he is my father' father-dat