Anthologica Universe Atlas / Universes / Emily / Transemilian / Morphology / Verbs


Like nouns, verbs in Transemilian are inflected (conjugated) by means of various affixes. The primary conjugations appear as suffixes, while certain modifiers take the form of prefixes.


Unlike most European languages, Transemilian verbs do not conjugate for person or number. They conjugate for tense, aspect, and mood, as well as certain other modifications.

Subject modifiers

A certain class of suffixes, called here "subject modifiers" for lack of a better term, change the understanding of the subject of the verb, and sometimes the object as well. There are two such suffixes, which immediately follow the verb. The suffixes cannot be combined; a verb may have one, or neither, but not both. For reasons which will become obvious, these suffixes only appear on verbs whose subjects are plural.

The first is the reciprocal suffix -гур /gur/, which roughly translates as "each other". Яр эіштамцо "the animals are eating" thus contrasts with яргур эіштамцо "the animals are eating each other". While this suffix typically replaces what in English would be a direct object, it can also refer to an indirect object (лівагур крацо кацігарэтацове "we are buying cigarettes for each other"); it can even replace other cases when context makes it clear, particularly if the verb is intransitive (e.g. танцагур цэуцо "they are dancing with each other", where the suffix "replaces" a comitative noun phrase). The suffix is always required when the meaning "each other" is intended, even when it might be obvious without it: пучагур цэуцо "they are kissing (each other)", never *пуча цэуцо.

The second suffix in this class is the distributive suffix -зін /zin/. This suffix, which can often be translated "each", indicates that the subjects performed the verb individually rather than as a group. It should be noted that the lack of this suffix does not necessarily imply that the action isn't being performed individually; rather, it leaves it ambiguous. Thus, while кэур цэуцо эіфрэмне нунюр and кэурзін цэуцо эіфрэмне нунюр can both be translated "they are driving home", the first example is ambiguous about whether they are driving together or each taking separate cars, while the second example explicitly indicates that they are taking separate cars (though still going to the same house that they both share).


Following a subject modifier (if any) is a suffix that indicates aspect. This suffix is distinct from the tense suffix, which indicates when an action occurs; the aspect suffix refers, roughly, to how "complete" an action is. Transemilian has a number of different aspects.

The perfective suffix /(j)ɛ/ (softens preceding variable consonants) is used when referring to an action as a discrete event; regardless of how long the action may have taken place, the perfective is used to grammatically refer to it as one "point". The perfective may be used to refer to past or future events, but not present, as an action that has begun and ended is by definition not currently happening.

The inceptive suffix -сам /sam/ is used to refer to the beginning of an action, state, or event. In English, it can usually be translated by "start" or "begin": муінсам цэу эісцауве "she's starting to read the book", офтріулсам кра "I'm beginning to understand". However, in many instances the Transemilian inceptive is translated by a completely different verb in English. For example, цусам цэу сталве, which literally means "it is starting to be red", would normally be translated "it is becoming red" or "it is turning red".

The resumptive suffix -шу /ʃu/ is similar to the inceptive, but specifially refers to the resumption of an interrupted state or activity: танцашу кра "I am starting to dance (after being interrupted)". This suffix does not soften preceding variable consonants; after н or л, therefore, it is spelled -ъшу (муінъшу цэу эісцауве "she is resuming reading the book ", стулъшу цэу "it is starting to grow again").

The progressive aspect is indicated by the lack of an aspect suffix. It indicates that an action or state is currently in progress (that is, "current" to whatever time frame is being spoken of, whether past, present, or future). This can refer to an action that has begun but not ended (муін кра "I am reading"), or to a general state that is unchanging or not expected to change (цу эімауто ілюр сталве "your car is red").

The habitual suffix -ір /ir/ (-ир /jir/ after vowels) indicates that an action happens often, regularly, or repeatedly: муінір кра "I read (regularly, often)", as opposed to муін кра "I am reading (right now)". When combined with the past tense it is often translated with the construction "used to" (танцаиршэ кра "I used to dance"; see below for information on the past tense), though unlike English it does not necessarily imply that the action no longer continues (e.g. I very well may still dance regularly today).

The cessative suffix /o/ refers to the end of an action or state. It is important not to confuse this with the perfective; while both are used in reference to an action that has been completed, the perfective is used to discuss the action as a whole, while the cessative is used to refer specifically to the completion of the action. Thus, муінӭшэ цэу эісцауве "she read the book" uses the perfective, while муіношэ цэулэ эісцауве "she finished reading the book" uses the cessative.

Finally, the pausative suffix -коі /koi/ refers to an action that has been interrupted, or stopped prematurely. It can be used to indicate that an action has ended without being completed (чоункоішэ цэуцо эіфрэмве "they stopped building the house" vs. чоуношэ цэуцо эіфрэмве "they finished building the house"), or to indicate that an action has been put on hold but is still intended to resume (муінкоішэ цэу зау цраняімӭшэ "he stopped reading and took a nap", implying that he resumed reading after he woke up, or at least intended to). It thus acts as a natural counterpart to -шу, the resumptive suffix.


After the aspect suffix comes the tense suffix, which indicates the point in time an event happened. Transemilian distinguishes three tenses: past, present, and future.

The past tense is indicated with the suffix -шэ /ʃɛ/ (softens preceding variable consonants). This refers to any action taking place in the past, whether completed or not.

The future tense is indicated with the suffix -ал /al/. This refers to any action taking place in the future.

The present tense is indicated by the lack of a suffix. It refers to any action taking place in the present.

One suffix that falls in this position is not, strictly speaking, a tense suffix. The imperative suffix -ка /ka/ is used for commands or requests: вемка щенӭлканве кракъӭл "give me that apple". The imperative is never combined with a tense suffix. It is also never combined with the perfective suffix; omitting an aspect suffix when using the imperative can indicate either the progressive or perfective aspect, depending on context.

Imperative verbs have an implied second-person subject, which is usually left out. Imperatives can also have first- or third-person subjects, however, which must be explicitly indicated. These forms are roughly analagous to English constructions beginning with "let". A first-person plural imperative, for example, is basically the same as "let's". A first-person singular imperative can be translated as "let me"—not in the sense of "permit me to do it", but more in the sense of "I'm not sure, let me go check and I'll call you back". It is also commonly used as an emphatic declaration of intent: кэурка кра "I'm driving (and that's that!)". Similarly, a third-person imperative isn't "allow him/her/them to do it" but "have them do it"; it can be used for toasts and curses (ғданка цэу кахэлдемне "may he fall down a well"), and to relay commands to a person not present.

Despite the fact that the English translations of these is typically "let" followed by an object pronoun, the subject of a Transemilian imperative is always nominative: ярка крацо "let's eat", not ярка крацове, which is a command saying "eat us"!.


In addition to suffixes, Transemilian verbs can also have grammatical prefixes. The two types of prefixes are the negative and auxiliaries.


The negative prefix is фі- /ɸi/. It negates the verb, translating as English "not", "doesn't", "don't", etc. It always precedes auxiliaries, if present.


Depending on how you look at it, auxiliaries in Transemilian are either prefixes or compound verbs. Most of them correspond to regular verbs with similar or identical pronunciation and the same meaning; for example, the prefix каум- "want to" is the same as the verb каум "want". Though only a limited number of verbs see common use as prefixes, other verbs are sometimes brought into use as prefixes as well, usually for humorous effect.

Common auxiliary prefixes include:
  • каум- /kaum/ "want to"
  • зді- /zdi/ "like to, enjoy"
  • пяр- /pjar/ "can"
  • трэун- /trɛun/ "need to, must"
  • жге- /ʒge/ "should, ought to"
  • џла- /dʒla/ "might, could, may"
  • вол- /βol/ "try to"
  • цмо- /tsmo/ "may, be allowed to"
  • фтур- /ɸtur/ "know how to"
  • тэм- /tɛm/ "learn how to"
  • зӭл- /zjɛl/ "prefer to"
  • џол- /dʒol/ "seem to"
Thus: каумтанцаӭал кра ілкя "I want to dance with you", фіцмокэур інпрін інаутове "children aren't allowed to drive cars", жгеаімсамшэ кра "I should have gone to sleep", фіволярка стінве "don't try to eat that ".

We can see from these examples that the aspect and tense conjugations generally match those of the verb rather than the prefix.

Auxiliary prefixes can also be compounded: каумволцраняімӭшэ кра "I wanted to try to take a nap", жгетэмѕэлсамал ілцо эікоредачу "you should start learning how to speak Korean".