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Tnaaq derivation
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Tnaaq derivational morphology
This public article was written by xroooox, and last updated on 24 Mar 2017, 21:37.

[comments] Menu
1. Nominalization
2. Noun derivation
3. Noun composition
4. Verbalizers
5. Verb derivation
6. Verbal composition

This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.


Agent nominalizations
Verbs can be turned into nouns that code the subject of intransitive verbs and the agent of transitives. They're formed by the gender/number prefixes in the verb root. Some verbs can be inflected for the patient, such as kinship verbs, but this is mostly non-productive now. Some others now use a suffix -iu, if their patient is tipically human. When nominalizing a verb that requires a clitic it is suffixed to the verb. This position is fixed, unlike a conjugated verb.
(Agent nominalizations are one of the few contexts were a nominative alignment can be seen)

Tasarau/Nasarau/Uasarau: male/female/indiferent or plural-writer
Tusuusnarauq/Nusuusnarauq/Uausuusnarauq/Ausuusnarauq: a coward man/woman/person-people/thing
Tasnqan/Nasnqan/uasnqan: my father/mother/parent(s)

Patient nominalizations
These also use the gender/number clitics. The verb is suffixed with -t. Some of this nominalizations have a prefix n- before the verb stem. Different nouns can be derived in this way.

Uanqataht: an engraving
Tanusant: a murdered man
Ansaraut: letter
Asaraut: text

Instrument nominalizations
An instrument can be marked by the habitual form of the verb (reduplication of the first syllable) and the gender prefixes. They can also be formed with an active nominalization with a suffix -taq from a fixed instrumental clitic:

asasarau: pen, writing tool.
arahquttaq: blowgun (lit. the thing which you blowgun-shoot with.)

There is also a resultative patient nominalization. It is made with the suffix -tn. The extent on which this suffix competes with the prefixation of a nominalizer varies according to the period of the writing. Current use accepts both versions most of the time, but there might be a shade of formality associated with some of the forms, being the suffix more informal most of the cases and the emerging form.

qataht: engrave
qatahtn: engraving

Activity and abstract nominalizations
Nouns for the activity itself are derived with the preffix a- and the verb stem. These sometimes are ambiguous with other nominalizations. Abstract nouns are formed in this way, but they also add a prefix tna- (see below).
Anau: eating
Ausant: murder

[top]Noun derivation

Nouns can be made from other nouns using a nominalizer prefix. The noun base refers to a quality of the new noun. This construction comes from a reduced predicative sentence, and can be understood as "S/he of the X".

skinauqa: horn
taskinauqa: bull

[top]Noun composition

Nouns can be formed with two or more noun roots.
The most usual composition comes from a fossilized possesive phrase. The first noun is the posessed and the second the posessor. Finally there is a suffix -a that comes from the genitive clitic =a. Some of the combinations are lexicalized, like nar-a (child of) used for various purposes.

qaassana: glasses
naruntihqa: steel

Other suffixes are also used. -ran refers to material and -tar to origin. The last one is used for nationalities.

nurqiihkran: chain

There are also noun+verb stems. They are formed with a noun and a modifying verb that is most of the time unconjugated. Some of them include a connector -q- like V+V composition. These are mostly instrumentals.

quttanaih: school
qaasqsan: lens
(Note that in qaassana san is a noun root, in qaasqsan is a verb root)


There are several affixes that can make a noun root have verbal inflection. The prefixes come from former verb phrases. If the prefix attaches to a nominalization this retains the gender-number prefix.

tna- : to make X

qut: house
tnaqut: to camp

Abstract nominalizations use to have this preffix

tan haih: learn
atanaih: learning
atnatanaih: education

-ha : X-like, to have x

iuu: person
iuuha: populated, crowded

tnasu- be made by X

iuu: person
tnasuiuu: man-made
tnasuiuutn: artificial

qau-: to feel x (sensorial)

ruu-: give X

qut: house
ruuqut: host

-kni: to lack

skin: tooth
skinkni: to be toothless

ihk-become x

uainak: expert
ihqainak: practise,

[top]Verb derivation

These affixes don't change the category of the root they attach, but add a different meaning.

-raq: easy to x

RED-X-ha: pretend to x, try to x

san-: intend to x

-aris: too much x

nats-: un-x, opposite

nyyrahq: even, fair
natsnyyrahq: uneven, unfair

knau-: causative of nats-

nqa: conceive
knanqa: abort

ntanqa: be fertile
knantanqa: esterilize, castrate

qunt: be born
knanqunt: perform a rite of passage

-qntaka: hard to x

-qqaih seem to x, pretend to x

[top]Verbal composition

Verb stems can be composed from two roots (more than two is rare). They usually are linked by an interfix which indicates the relation between both verbs.
Verbs formed with -q- ligatures are resultative or purposive. The second verb shows the result obtained or intended for the first.
Verbs with -n- are thought to happen simultaneusly. This form of composition tends to depart from the original meaning of the verb roots in it.
Some affixes from the verbal morphology come from independent roots, such as the directionals -ihk and -at.
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