The inflectional verbal morphology of Old Inggirian divides itself, albeit not neatly, into three sets of forms: bound forms, nominal forms and finite forms. Finite forms are those forms that carry personal marking, and nominal forms are those which may head the body of a relative clause. The finite forms, apart from being the only ones to carry personal marking, may only appear at the end of a sentence or clause. The nominal forms, although frequently employed, especially in later texts, as medial verb forms to the (progressively rarer) finite forms ending a sentence, all have nominal or adnominal functions to some degree. The remaining forms all essentially act as adverbs, and thus are called bound forms.
The Finite Forms
The finite forms essentially occupy a 2x2 matrix:
|No f. reference||-∅||-ki|
The precise meaning of these categories, although convenient for analysis, requires explanation.
The aorist is the unmarked form. Its semantic value is simply the assertion of some state or action. Pragmatically, what this means depends on the inherent aspect of the verb: with perfective verbs, this means a past occurrence, whereas with imperfective verbs, it is most often a future or present interpretation. The aorist can be used where the use of the "present" -ne
is rendered superfluous by context, but this is rarely done. It has no aspectual interpretation.
The subjunctive, similar to the aorist, has no fixed temporal reference, but simply indicates full or partial non-assertion. Its use is therefore very wide. It occurs in complement phrases, especially to verbs of quotation or fearing. It can indicate that the speaker is unsure, for instance because he has inferred the information being communicated. Finally, it can indicate a state of potentiality.
The Present (which is quite misleadingly named) is an asserted form that carries fixed reference to some point of time. When context does not specify a time period, the default interpretation is essentially the inverse of the Aorist: present/near future for perfective verbs, and past for imperfective ones. However, it is grammatical also to use this form in any other time context. In these situations, its use over the aorist is usually conditioned by the presence of a subclause that refers to a different time.
The conditional is the non-asserted counterpart to the present, and derives its name from the unusual counterfactual construction of Old Inggirian, in which the protasis is a finite verb in the conditional and the apodosis a nominalization in the infinitive. On its own it may fulfill similar functions as the subjunctive, but with a marked time reference (such as a sort of potential-in-the-past).
The Personal Desinences
Old Inggirian has a very pedestrian set of finite personal endings, distinguishing three persons and two numbers. A specialty is that there are two different sets of endings for positive and negative verbs.
The Nominal Forms
The nominal forms, in the earliest texts, are still largely limited to functioning as nouns. They begin to take over as a sort of loosely bound converb or even medial verb in later texts.
The most basic nominal form during the Old Inggirian stage, the infinitive ends in -yuku
for stems with an even number of feet and in -ku
for stems with an odd number of feet. The infinitive is an abstract noun in the earliest texts, and later becomes the participial version of the aorist: yorwayuku
, "to see", "seeing", "the one who sees".
The participle, much like the infinitive, has two metric allomorphs: -nagun
. It acts as a nominal variant of the present: yorwanagun
, "the one who saw".
This form, with the metric allomorphs -basu
, acts in all respects like -(yu)ku
, except that it can attach only to perfective verbs. Here it takes over the function of a past participle, leaving -(yu)ku
to take on a specifically abstract meaning or take on nominal function for imperfective interpretations of the same verb. For example, raku
"to die" has the perfective nominalization rakubasu
, "who is dead/died" and the imperfective rakuyuku
, "to die; who is dying". The form rakunagun
, meanwhile, refers to someone who is about to die, or who lay dying in the past.
The Bound Forms
The bound forms essentially act as converbs; they are adverbial modifiers to other clauses. It is worth noting that, while for purposes of illustration these are often translated with the English converb -ing
, the tight temporal binding they express is most often rendered in English with "and".
The sequential converb
This morpheme, invariantly -tol
, expresses that an action was completed immediately prior to the modified clause. Rodmo dagi cagujaku woldatol betelwag̃ samyobag̃o galpadeg̃
: "He caught on a stone and fell on the ground", literally "having become caught on a stone, he fell on the ground".
The simultaneous converb
Metric variants -g̃apa
. Expresses the simultaneous occurrence of the action and the modified clause. Nacaleag̃o-g̃i cobug̃apa buk gir jamo g̃endagay wedawa
, "walking around in my garden I suddenly saw a small squirrel".
The causal converb
This converb takes the forms -tolpa
. It is a straightforward combination of the two basic converbs, and expresses causality. Rodmo dagi cagujaku woldatolpa betelwag̃ samyobag̃o galpadeg̃
: "Because he caught on a stone, he fell to the ground".