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Kisaangan TAMNE
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Tense, aspect, mood, negation, and evidentials
This public article was written by severy, and last updated on 1 Jan 2017, 18:19.

[comments] Menu 1. Overview of forms 2. Realis evidentials 3. Imperatives 4. Syntactic moods 5. Irrealis evidentials 6. Standalone and interrogative moods 7. Simple aspects 8. Standalone tenses and tense/aspects This article is focused on providing a fairly in-depth explanation of the forms, meaning and usage of the TAMNE system used in Kisaangan. For a more basic overview of all Kisaangan verb morphology, including polypersonal pronouns and little v devices, see here.

For reference, the ordering of verbal elements is:

TMNE - M - A - T - AGR - INCO.OBJ - ROOT - v - M.Q - ADV

The first element is for fused tense-mood-negation-evidential morphemes. These are usually called TMNE or evidentials for short. After that follow the standalone moods, aspects, and tenses. A subset of standalone moods can also appear at the end of the verb.

[top]Overview of forms

NPSTPOS øu-sli-úx-t'-i/y-nój-ŧe-j'-jua-hak-
NEG su-su-hu-sux-ts'-si-nó-ŧu-N/AN/AN/A
PSTPOS a-N/Aáoh-yo-ya-anó-aŧ-j'-jua-
NEG la-lux-so-slii-lún-laŧ-N/A

There are three realis evidentials (nonvisual sensory, visual, and inferential), two imperatives (basic and wtiness), two syntactic operators (serial and consequential), and three irrealis evidentials (conditional/hypothetical, dubitative/questioning, and semblative). Note that the (basic) imperative can also be considered a polypersonal prefix.

CAP ze--ni ? HAB tlú- FUT yúy-
OPT uw--nwá ? PROG qua- ANT nók-
NEC 'kih--n'kih ? INCEP slís- AFT any-
CESS ŧai-

QM here stands for Question Mood, or interrogative mood. These forms appear as suffixes instead of prefixes.

[top]Realis evidentials

The INFR Inferential is the most basic form, and its nonpast positive is the unmarked form. It indicates that knowledge is inferred, guessed, or assumed, and is generally used for common knowledge situations.

VSL Visual reports information learned by seeing, sometimes including information learned by reading.

NVSL Nonvisual sensory refers to any information gained any other way ; this includes the other senses (hearing, smelling, touch), as well as the reportative and quotative (knowledge passed on through a secondary source).


IMP Imperative is used to issue commands or requests (this is not considered rude and is not usually hedged).

IMP.WIT Is a specific subtype of imperative wherein the speaker is commanding that the listener view, look at, or otherwise witness something that is occurring. For instance, "look at me!" could take the simple imperative (u-kit-tsu IMP-1>2-see) but with the witness imperative can be used to introduce another clause or action, as in "look at me run!" (sli-lu-zra IMP.WIT-2.INTR-run).

  • In neither imperative is the second person treated as a subject. It is ungrammatical to include a second person subject pronoun in an imperative, except in a reflexive situation.
  • With the witness imperative, the pronoun is used to indicate the performer of the witnessed action, and not to the person being commanded (except, again, in reflexives).

[top]Syntactic moods

SRL Serial verbalizer can be used to link two clauses together with a sense of 'and' or simultaneity, or one action directly leading to another. In order to use SRL, the verbs in the upper and lower clause must share the same evidential, subject, and direct object. The serial verbalizer can be considered a little v device, but it occupies the TMNE slot.
CNSQ Consequential, like SRL, is more of a little v device than a mood, but occupies the TMNE slot nevertheless. It indicates that the action of this verb has occurred as a consequence of a previous verb. It can therefore be read roughly as "therefore."

[top]Irrealis evidentials

COND Conditional is used to mean "if," or sometimes "would, could."
DUB Dubitative is used to express doubt about either the veracity of a statement, or the likeliness that something will occur in the future. It is also used to mark yes/no questions.
SEM Semblative indicates that something seems to be true, or seems plausible but has no known factual basis.

[top]Standalone and interrogative moods


[top]Simple aspects


[top]Standalone tenses and tense/aspects

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