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Comparative Grammar of the Argeyazic Languages
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This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 23 Jul 2023, 22:37. Editing of this article is shared with Argeyaz Bay.

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Menu 1. Morphology and Phonology 2. Word Order 3. Nouns 4. Pronouns 5. Verbs 6. Adjectives and Adverbs 7. Particles and Conjunctions 8. Adpositions
[edit] [top]Morphology and Phonology

Proto-Argeyazic was a nominative-accusative agglutinative language characterized by a strong preference for suffixing. However, some inflections, such as the thematic vowels that mark gender in nominal suffixes or the repetition of the vowel in the verb tense suffix to mark imperfectivity, suggest prior systems of ablaut and reduplication. Both verbs and nouns inflect for multiple categories, while other parts of speech—adjectives, particles, etc.—have little or no inflection. Algaz and Hemeshi both share these general traits, though to a much weaker degree, with Algaz especially having a tendency towards fusion.

Grammatical and morphological suffixes typically varied little in form, with the exception of thematic or repeated vowels. Consonant clusters not otherwise allowed could occur at morpheme boundaries, though vowel hiatus remained disallowed, requiring the insertion of a glottal stop /ʔ/ or elision of one of the vowels.

Stress in Proto-Argeyazic was most likely consistently stem-final. Both of its living descendents maintain regular stress, albeit with different placement: on final syllables in Algaz and on penultimate syllables in Hemeshi.

[edit] [top]Word Order


Proto-Argeyazic likely had free word order with a preferance for SOV, the order used by its descendants. Direct and indirect objects, marked by the accusative and dative cases, could appear in either order in the object position, as in Hemeshi; this is no longer the case in Algaz outside of literary contexts. Head directionality in Proto-Argeyazic is typically reconstructed as being predominantly head-initial, with verbs being head-final. Adpositions, then, may have taken the form of postpositions when modifying a verb and prepositions elsewhere. Algaz has become much more strongly head-initial, with phrases characterized by the use of prepositions or genitive or locative markers. Hemeshi, by contrast, (does something else).

Proto-Argeyazic nouns were marked for five cases, two numbers, and six genders.

The gender system consisted of a two-way contrast between masculine, feminine, or neuter and physical or nonphysical. These were indicated by thematic vowels that appeared in case and number suffixes, though nominative singular was typically unmarked. These vowels are as follows:

This contrast was largely preserved in Hemeshi; the development of vowel harmony in Old Hemeshi, however, caused the loss of the neuter genders, which merged with masculine physical and feminine nonphysical. The loss of the central vowel also caused the erosion of the feminine physical; it lacks a marking vowel, with case and number suffixes being appended directly to the noun stem, often replacing final consonants (eg. aswit "language", aswin "languages"). The gender vowels in Hemeshi are as follows:

Classical Algaz, by contrast, saw the merger of the masculine and feminine physical genders into a single common gender. This common-neuter-nonphysical system was evidently reanalyzed over the course of the Hafsighi period into an animacy-based one contrasting animate, inanimate, and abstract nouns, possibly as a result of Adzamic influence. Texts from the late Hafsighi period often show reassignment of words' gender or incorrect inflection based on meaning, particularly with regards to animate and inanimate nouns. The boundary between inanimate and abstract nouns was far less clear, however, and semantic drift has caused these two categories in modern Algaz to seem somewhat arbitrary at times. Algaz gender markers are as follows:

In Proto-Argeyazic, the plural suffix *-n precedes case suffixes; both are preceded by the vowel for the noun's gender (represented by V in the table below), though vowels between the plural and case suffixes appear to have been frequently elided. The reconstructed forms are as follows, though the reconstruction of the genitive suffix as *-Vë remains controversial. The accusative and possibly dative were likely restricted to definite or specific objects, as is the case in Hemeshi.

Hemeshi largely preserves the Proto-Argeyazic cases; case endings have simplified, however, and the accusative and dative plurals have merged. As mentioned previously, the accusative and dative cases are mostly restricted to definite or specific objects, though they can also be used when word order has been changed. The genitive was lost as a case, though it persists in the use of gender vowels without number marking to form adjectives of origin or relation (as in Hemese, "Hemeshi (language)"). Possession is expressed with the locative.

The use of the accusative for definite direct objects led to the eventual conversion of the nominative and accusative forms into indefinite forms in modern Algaz. The definiteness, number, and gender suffixes have also undergone some degree of fusion, likely driven by elision of earlier vowels. Case affixes are appended onto this "base" gender/number/definiteness suffix; they are not themselves marked for number, although most remain marked for gender.

The remaining cases also underwent substantial changes. The original Argeyazic instrumental case merged with the dative during the development of Classical Algaz; because many Proto-Argeyazic transitive verbs used the instrumental to add an additional argument, this created a single secondary object case. Algaz has since also developed an instrumental case derived from the adverbial marker *-olsuʔ and an optional accusative or primary object case for animate patients derived from the locative. The latter is principally used when the agent of the verb is inanimate, when word order has been changed, or in null-subject sentences.
Secondary Object-adh-edh-idh

Noun Formation

[edit] [top]Pronouns

Personal Pronouns
Proto-Argeyazic personal pronouns were likely declined in roughly the same manner as singular nouns, albeit without marking for gender; vowels from the stem were reduplicated when necessary. The reconstructed forms are as follows:
Case1st Person2nd Person3rd Person

In Hemeshi, the reflexes of these pronouns remain in use, and maintain mostly regular cases:
Case1st Person2nd Person3rd Person

Algaz preserves this system to a lesser degree. The original third-person pronouns are restricted to animate referrants; in addition to nouns of the animate gender, this includes nouns of other genders such as plants, groups of people or animals, and institutions or organizations, particularly when other nouns in the sentence are semantically inanimate. Like nouns, the original accusative has been lost and replaced with an optional accusative or primary object case derived from the locative. Inanimates use the pronouns i/in, derived from the Proto-Argeyazic demonstrative, which have developed an instrumental case like that used on nouns.
Case1st Person2nd Person3rd Person AnimateCase3rd Person Inanimate
Secondary Objectıdhıdhyudhidhkidhkırıdhawdhvadh Secondary Objectidhinidh

Demonstratives, Determiners, and Indefinite Pronouns

Only two demonstratives have been reconstructed for Proto-Argeyazic: *Ɂi “this/that” and *ti “here/there,” as well as an additional interrogative *eh (likely related to the particle *ef).

In Algaz, a distal/proximal contrast was created through reuse of the earlier adposition *yor “far from” to mean “there” and subsequent compounding with *Ɂi, yielding si “this” and yarı “that.” These function both adjectivally and nominally, with the locative used to express “here” and “there” The reflex of *Ɂi, i, is used as an inanimate personal pronoun. It also enjoyed some use as a definite article in Classical and Middle Algaz, but is now largely obsolete and appears only in proper names. Additionally, determiners (including the particles used as such) have been nominalized with the addition of gender suffixes to create indefinite pronouns. Demonstratives, determiners, and indefinite pronouns in Algaz are as follows:
Determinereysi *ti + *ʔiyarı Proto-Argeyazic *yor "far from" + *ʔiakivum
Personya ey + animate suffixsiyayaraakaivauma
Thing (inanimate)eysiyeyareakeiveume
Thing (abstract)siyiyariakiiviumi
Time (discrete)yuli yu "where" + li "then" (Classical Algaz "at (time), when")
yarvifrom yarı avi, lit. "that time"
akvifrom ak avi, lit. "no time"ivwifrom iv avi, "some times"umwifrom um avi, "every time, all times"
Time (continuous)hawmfrom Classical Algaz hūm, "soon"lifrom Proto-Argeyazic *le, "at (time), when"ashkarfrom Classical Algaz ak tsī ak yar, "neither now nor then"shivarfrom Classical Algaz ev tsī ev yar, "maybe now, maybe then"sinyarfrom Classical Algaz um tsī, um yar, "always now, always then"
Placeyu *eh + locativesu *ti + locativeyar Proto-Argeyazic *yor "far from"aku *aq + locativeivu *ef + locativeum *um + locative
Reasoneydh *eh + dative
ij *ʔi + dative
Mannereys *eh + instrumental
yes *ʔi + instrumental

In Hemeshi, these demonstratives have been repurposed as relative pronouns i “that, who, which,” and ti “where, in which, that.” The former, which is also still in use as a demonstrative and indefinite pronoun, is used when the modified noun is the agent of the relative clause (including copular verbs and verbalized adjectives), while the latter is used when the noun is a patient or the object of an adposition within the clause (eg. kuɁ i pázuɁáráh “the woman who gave birth” vs wákweh ti pázuɁáráh “the baby she gave birth to”). Ete, ele, and oz also serve as relative pronouns or conjunctions, meaning "where," "when," and "of which," respectively.

efzenfrom Proto-Argeyazic *sern, "whole, entire"
Personyon e + on
i on
áon + on on from Proto-Argeyazic *hoṃ "person"omon um + on
i, i tem
átem + tem temfrom Proto-Argeyazic *tyemiy, "thing"ontem um + tem
Timelefrom Proto-Argeyazic *le, "at (time), when"tilifrom Proto-Argeyazic *tile, "during,"ikwifrom Proto-Argeyazic *ekle, "before"; used for events in the past or previously in a narrative or sequenceolifrom Proto-Argeyazic *amle, "after"; used for events in the future or later in a narrative or sequenceatʔi + *ti ule ef + le zenle zen + le
Placeete e + *ti titu *ti + tu
tu *ti + locative
ále + le ule ef + *ti zinti zen + *ti
Quantityyoz e + oz
ozfrom Proto-Argeyazic *ols, "such, so (many/much), X many/much"
Qualityyum e + um
umfrom Proto-Argeyazic *hulm, "near, close to, like"

Argeyazic verbs are highly inflected. The structure of a finite verb form in Proto-Argeyazic is:


Each of these features is outlined below.


All three voices remain in use in both Algaz and Hemeshi, with passive and reflexive suffixes descended from those in Proto-Argeyazic. Though largely consistent, the passive suffix in Algaz can appear variously as -vn-, -vın-, or -fın- depending on the context. Addtionally, Hemeshi has developed a causative voice marked with -uʔ-, from the earlier transitive verbalizer -ilq.


Proto-Argeyazic also featured a subjunctive mood marked with -ki- after the tense suffix; this has fused with tenses in both Algaz and Hemeshi. Both languages use the subjunctive for conditionals, to indicate willingness, to express wishes or desires, or to describe events that the speaker assumes to be likely.

The original perfective/imperfective contrast was lost in Hemeshi as a result of sound changes, leaving only two tenses: past, marked with -(y)ár-/-yar-, and non-past, marked with -(y)it-/-(y)et-. These must be marked on any verb. An imperfective aspect has since reemerged through the verbalization of participles. An inchoative aspect, marked with -ot-/-ut-, also developed from the earlier intransitive verbalizer -ont.
SubjunctivePast-(y)arki / -(y)ark--(y)árke / -(y)árk-
Non-Past-(y)izki / -(y)izk--(y)ezke- / -(y)izk-

Algaz, by contrast, has fused tense markers with those for aspect and as well as the subjunctive and has developed an unmarked simple present, yielding the following system:
IndicativeSimple Past-(y)er-
Past Imperfect-eyer-
Simple Present(unmarked)
Non-Past Imperfect-iz-
SubjunctivePast-(y)etshı / -(y)etsh-
Non-Past-(y)ısshı / -(y)ıssh-

The imperfective tenses are used to indicate reapeated, sustained, and habitual actions; the non-past imperfect cn refer to an action that is underway or about to begin. The simple past and present imply single, undivided or instantaneous actions, but are also used to describe states and general truths.

In Algaz, the subjunctive must be used in clauses beginning with the conjunctions ten “if” and men “for, so that, in order to” (from Proto-Argeyazic malm “plan, intend to”). Additional moods are formed with the verbs shik “can, be able to" (with indicative) and "can, could" (with subjunctive), khawdh “want,” and nawt “need, must, ought;” these can appear as finite auxiliaries or non-finite clitics or particles before subjunctive or indicative verbs.


Both Algaz and Hemeshi preserve the Proto-Argeyazic person and number markings.

The suffix -s, placed after the tense suffix, forms participles. This, too, has merged with tenses in both Algaz and Hemeshi, yielding the following participial affixes:
 Algaz Hemeshi
Past Participle-(y)aysh-(y)as-(y)ás
Non-Past Particple-ıs-itz-etz

Participles in Algaz can only be used as adjectives; in Hemeshi (especially in informal contexts), they may be conjugated as verbs, indicating an imperfective aspect.

Proto-Argeyazic did not differentiate much in its intransitive and transitive verbs; they shared all inflections but the passive and reflexive voices, and transitive verbs could be used without an explicit object. The treatment of ditranstive verbs was somewhat more complex. While most ditransitives marked the recipient with the dative case, many verbs treated the recipient as the direct object, putting it in the accusative case with an optional patient/theme in the instrumental. This phenomenon is likely a product of Baredan influence, and indeed many of these verbs appear to be Baredan in origin, such as *fuyt in the example below:

Iz ätersär qofras zältyärem
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
bone-NNeuter (gender)
neutral or neuter
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
dog-MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
.DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
give-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I

"I gave the dog a bone" (emphasis on giving of a bone)

Iz qofrar fuytyärem ätersäz
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
dog-MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
give-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
bone-NNeuter (gender)
neutral or neuter
.INSTInstrument (gender/class)
tool, machine
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity

"I gave the dog a bone" (emphasis on giving to the dog)

This has largely disappeared in Hemeshi, though there are some vestigial verbs that treat a semantic recipient as a direct object. In Algaz, however, the merger of the dative and instrumental cases has created one marked secondary object case. Some verbs assign the theme/patient to the (largely unmarked) role of primary object with the recipient as the secondary object, while others treat the recipient as primary and the theme/patient as secondary. These assignments are fixed for each verb and generally bear little semantic significance beyond emphasizing one argument over the other.

Verb Formation
Despite the lack of transitivity distinction in Proto-Argeyazic, both a transitive (-ilq) and an intransitive (-ont) verbalizer have been reconstructed. These suffixes likely had additional uses, expressing repetition or impersonality. Both suffixes remain productive derivational morphemes in Algaz (as -ik and -ut), though they have largely been displaced as verbalizers by light verbs. In Hemeshi their roles have shifted to the grammatical (see "Conjugation" above). Verbs in Hemeshi are therefore typically created by simply appending the relevant conjugations directly to the root, with transitivity determined by context or convention:

woj n. “house” → woj v. “inhabit, live in/at”
Woj iju tu “My house is here” → Tu/tir wojitim “I live here”

[edit] [top]Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives in Proto-Argeyazic were relatively unmarked, lacking no agreement with the nouns they modified. They could, however, be marked with the diminutive and augmentative suffixes *-sih “slightly, kind of” and *-kun “very” to indicate more or less intensity. These were reduplicated to create the comparative suffixes *-sisih “less” and *-kukun “more, -er.”
Some words could function as adjectives or adverbs, while others were exclusively one or the other. Adverbs could be derived from adjectives of this type with the suffix *-olsuʔ. The reflexes of this suffix, Hemeshi -ozo/-uzu and Algaz -uthaw are both still used for this purpose; the latter, as -thaw, is also used to mark the instrumental case.

In both Algaz and Hemeshi, numerals are placed before the noun to indicate quantity and after the noun to indicate order or rank. In informal Algaz, the latter are typically marked like genitive nouns.

In Proto-Argeyazic, genitive nouns functioned as normal adjectives, despite marking number and gender. The Hemeshi locative, which is used to indicate possession due to the loss of the genitive, is treated similarly. In Algaz, however, genitive nouns have developed agreement in number, gender, and definiteness with their head noun, possibly due to a superficial resemblance to gender and number endings in Classical Algaz. The result is a system of partial suffixaufnahme in which genitive nouns (except for the indefinite singular) bear two sets of gender, number, and definiteness markers, both for the noun itself and for its head, rather than an explicit genitive marker. This remains the case when genitives are embedded, eg. bedher hadumaner Eninen, (house-INInanimate (gender/class)
for non-living things
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
friend-ANAnimate (gender/class)
alive, moving
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
a nonspecific referent
-INInanimate (gender/class)
for non-living things
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
Enin-ANAnimate (gender/class)
alive, moving
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
a nonspecific referent
) "Enin's friends' house," where haduman is marked with an inanimate singular definite ending -er to agree with bedher and Enin is marked with the animate plural indefinite ending -en to agree with haduman. Additionally, a genitive's head noun can be definite or indefinite, each carrying a different implication, eg. taksha kıra "your child-INDEFIndefinite
a nonspecific referent
(one of several or an unknown quantity)" vs. takshar kırar "your child-DEFDefinite
(your only child, or the one already specified)". Genitives/denominal adjectives can also be considered a separate class of "noun-like" adjectives, in contrast to a class of unmarked adjectives inherited from Proto-Argeyazic or borrowed from other languages.

[edit] [top]Particles and Conjunctions

The particles *aq and *ef expressed negativity and uncertainty, respectively, and had a number of uses. Most notably, they were used before verbs to indicate these negativity and potentiality/uncertainty, and as the coordinating conjunctions “(and/but) not” and “or.” They may also have been used to refer to quantities “none” and “some,” as evidenced by the use of a grammatical number to indicate negativity in Algaz. This negative number is marked with the suffix –k, derived from *aq. In Hemeshi, both particles survive as prefixes indicating negative (aʔ-/äʔ-) and potential (ef-/if-/u-) moods. Both languages also use conjunctions descended from these particles: ak and iv in Algaz and e in Hemeshi.

[edit] [top]Adpositions

A complete list of reconstructed adpositions can be found in Appendix I. These were certainly used as prepositions, but may have been used as postpositions when an adpositional phrase modified a verb.

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on 02/06/22 23:46+84[Deactivated User]word order
on 30/05/22 01:42+25[Deactivated User]fixed tags
on 30/05/22 01:40+1613[Deactivated User]verbs
on 19/05/22 03:01+72[Deactivated User]small updates
on 05/05/22 22:45+161[Deactivated User]noun tweaks
on 02/05/22 23:08+2352[Deactivated User]subjunctive, participles, numerals, new adverbializer
on 28/12/20 05:16+1443[Deactivated User]tweaked nouns, added ditransitives
on 28/12/20 04:13+737[Deactivated User]tweaked nouns
on 22/11/20 01:53+1031[Deactivated User]Updated Algaz nouns and pronouns
on 22/11/20 00:46+562[Deactivated User]Updated Algaz nouns and pronouns
on 09/04/20 03:41+8528[Deactivated User]Added demonstrative/indefinite pronouns
on 29/12/19 01:31+1652[Deactivated User]Hemeshi noun cases, Algaz genitives
on 06/10/19 01:22+4607[Deactivated User]tables
on 14/09/19 23:34+2520[Deactivated User]added word order, adjectives + adverbs, and demonstratives
on 24/08/19 02:560[Deactivated User]updating tags
on 01/07/19 01:27-195[Deactivated User]....
on 01/07/19 01:26+317[Deactivated User]...
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