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The verb morphology of Tornaysan is very limited, and many aspects and moods are expressed through helping verbs and gerunds. This page covers:

Verb Morphology

When the oblique stem would require the genitive declension, the imperfect gnomic ending is -en.
The perfect stem is formed by removing -č... onward from the plural stem.
The gerund is formed by simply affixing noun endings to the verb stem.

Primary Aspect


The English language is very concerned with tense. In fact, English cannot form a sentence without it. This is not so in Tornaysan, where, for example, numan źerar may mean I am eating, I ate, or I will eat. The tense distinction may be made simply by adding a time, e.g. yesterday, or by relating one event time to another. This is the function of aspect. The verb in perfect aspect 'frames' the event, providing a reference point around which verbs in imperfect aspect can be placed. For example:

Ĝosos mivpar, numos nalčešyar mano topar.

When the sun rises, I will have to leave you and When the sun rose, I had to leave you are both valid translations of this sentence. The important thing is that the rising of the sun and the need to go are connected in time. Context is necessary to tell whether the named sunrise is in the past or future.


Tornaysan is also concerned with the difference between simple aspect and gnomic aspect. This is the difference between actions that take place at a particular time, or that take place as a general rule, habit, or state. Consider two short exchanges with a writer:

1. The writer's friend enters their study.

AŽŇEVAN:Nalos topar e?
FRIEND:Are you busy?
ŠEČEVAN:Numan taykosenšyos numže šetar.
WRITER:I'm writing (my) treatise.

2. The writer is having a drink in a roadhouse.

ARCEVAN:Tohcena dakos cičin?
TRAVELER:How do you make your living?
ŠEČEVAN:Numan taykosenšyos numže šečin.
WRITER:I'm writing (my) treatise.

In the first example, the treatise-writing is happening at the moment of speech. In the second, the writing is a general feature of the writer's life.

The Perfect Gnomic

The perfect gnomic is used to compose 'if/then' statements. For example:

Nalan jenos maypen, nokos gambevo ceršin.
If you care for the child, e will grow strong.

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Secondary Aspect

A further two aspects, the retrospective and prospective, can be expressed in a variety of ways. The most basic is an auxiliary verb combined with a gerund in a particular case. For the retrospective, benar 'stand' plus the ablative; For the prospective, šiźyan 'aim' plus the allative.

Ĝosos mivpar numan nalčešyar maňšyar benar.

When the sun rises, I will have (already) left you and When the sun rose, I had (already) left you are both acceptable translations. Topic time can also be given using a simple time word like 'yesterday' or 'tomorrow'. With no topic time specified, these aspects can function simply as a past and future tense.

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As described in the section on Agentive-Patientive alignment, Tornaysan grammar is very sensitive to the volition, or intent, of the agent. That section explained that some verbs are inherently non-volitional; this one explains how volitional verbs are made non-volitional.

With primary aspects

The verb taxar 'fall, stumble' is used with a gerund in the allative case, while the noun takes the patientive case. The literal meaning becomes something like "stumble into [verb]". For example:

Goxlovos goxos ongwivo tuňvo taxar.
Goxlovan accidentally leads the army into a swamp.

With secondary aspects

Different helping verbs and/or case marking are used to express the non-volitional secondary aspect: For the retrospective, nočyar 'be' plus the ablative; For the prospective, šiźyan 'aim' plus the allative. In both aspects, the non-volitonal agent takes the patientive case.

Goxlovos xayvo šiźyar naynos gośže nečmar.
Goxlovan is going to get the whole army killed.

Direct-Inverse Alignment

Notice that the non-volitional construction leads to a problem: we have two morphologically patientive arguments and no overt way of telling which one is acting as unwilling agent. This sentence could technically read Goxlovan is led by the army into a swamp, accidentally. In this case it is assumed that the argument more capable of volition is the agent. Among nouns that can take the agentive case, the expected order is as follows:

  1. First person pronoun numos
  2. Second person pronoun nalos
  3. Persons
  4. Collectives of persons (nation, army, party, etc.)
  5. Salient animals (corvids, eusocial insects, pack-hunting mammals)
  6. Collectives of salient animals (pack, hive, etc.)
  7. Nonsalient animals

When a noun higher on the hierarchy non-volitionally affects a noun lower on the hierarchy, the sentence can be left as already described. Otherwise, replace the verb taxar with ǵeščyar "slide off".

Pernaro avenar goxos lovos mun źaros naxčin kašśivo ǵeščyar.

Pernaran believes that the army is getting fucked over by a wolf with a sword.

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Multiple verbs

Often a sentence requires more than one verb, such as xaar 'cause', imbesar 'want', or šilar 'counsel'. These trigger the beginning of a new clause.

Pernaran šilar Goxlovan goxos sarfičvo tunar.
Pernaran counsels that Gochlovan (should) lead the army to the castle.
Goxlovan imbesar goxos źentomažeňšyar nasmar avžina.
Goxlovan wants to meet the Yentish army quickly.

Note that there are fewer true intransitive verbs in Tornăesos than there may seem: a verb like ixtar, conventionally translated 'sleep', always carries the potential meaning 'cause to sleep' which is triggered by the presence of an agentive or instrumental noun. The verb xaar is used when a verb with an agentive subject is caused by another agent.


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