Archive for the ‘lezgi-grammar’ Category

Verbs weak and strong

May 6, 2009

I’m going to talk about Lezgi verbs in the next couple of entries, so let’s start from the basics.

Lezgi verbs can be divided into two groups: so-called “strong” and “weak” verbs. The latter are much more numerous and in fact new weak verbs can be formed any time (weak verbs are thus an open class). What is the difference between them and what consequences does it have?

For starters, the strong verbs have a thematic vowel while the weak verbs don’t. Thematic vowel is stressed and forms the three verb stems (called Masdar, Imperfective and Aorist; each of them may have a different vowel) from which all the other verbal forms are made. As the weak verbs have no thematic vowel they are stressed on the stem itself, which stays the same in Masdar, Imperfective and Aorist forms.

Examples (pay close attention; SV – strong verb; WV – weak verb):

kisun (WV) ‘fall asleep’

base: kis
Masdar: kisun (base + Masdar ending for WV: -un) 
Imperfective: kisiz (base + Imperf ending for WV: -iz)
Aorist: kisna (base + Aorist ending for WV: -na)

fin (SV) ‘go’

base: f
Masdar: fin (base + vowel: -i + Masdar ending for SV: -n) 
Imperfective: fiz (base + vowel: -i + Imperf ending for SV: -z)
Aorist: fena (base + vowel: e + Aorist ending for SV: -na)

raxun (SV) ‘talk’

base: rax
Masdar: raxun (base + vowel: -u + Masdar ending for SV: -n) 
Imperfective: raxaz (base + vowel: -a + Imperf ending for SV: -z)
Aorist: raxana (base + vowel: -a + Aorist ending for SV: -na)

As you can see, the thematic vowels differ both between verbs and between stems of one strong verb.  In fact, they’re unpredictable, you have to learn them by heart for every strong verb (they are affected by vowel harmony, which limits the choices, but we’ll talk about it later). Fortunately, as we’ve said, there’s only limited number of strong verbs.

Lezgi syntax trivia. Subjects and participles.

May 3, 2009

Now that I’m done with “reading lezgi” I thought I’d share with you two bits of info on Lezgi syntax (ie. sentence-forming). Or rather not, I’ll just show you some things, withholding any comments until you ask some questions.

I. The subject (or the doer/experiencer).

Руш кIвализ хтана.  The girl returned home.
Гада кIвализ хтанач. The boy didn’t return home.
Гада кIвале авач. The boy is not home.
Рушаз гада акуна. The girl saw the boy.
Гададиз руш акунач. The boy didn’t saw the girl.
Бубади гада кIвализ ракъурна. Father sent the boy home.
Гадади рушаз ич гана. The boy gave the apple to the girl.
Руша гададиз ич ганач. The girl didn’t give the apple to the boy.

II. Participles. Do you know any other language which makes the following possible?

рушаз ич гайи гада – the boy who gave the apple to the girl
гадади ич гайи руш – the girl whom the boy gave the apple
гадади рушаз гайи ич – the apple which was given by the boy to the girl