Some grammar and structures - part 12

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nighean-neonach
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Some grammar and structures - part 12

Postby nighean-neonach » 2007-03-28, 22:19

DISCLAIMER: As I have said before, I am not going to "teach" anything here. I strongly suggest that if you are interested in learning Greenlandic you get some of the materials listed in the other topic.

A first glance at some AFFIXES

As you may have noticed, Greenlandic works a lot with basic word roots which are transformed by various endings added to them. From a European perspective this is nothing too weird as far as personal verb endings or case endings in nouns are concerned. But in Greenlandic almost every bit of meaning in a sentence is conveyed by some sort of ending to one of the core words - so quite often a sentence which might contain 10 or 15 words in a European language will consist of 2 or 3 looooooooooong words in Greenlandic :) Okay, this might look frightening at first, but of course it can only be tackled step by step.

So far we have met several sorts of word endings, like -nngilaq for negation, -qarpoq for possession, -ippoq for being in a location, as well as personal and possessive markers. They can only be learned through practice, so please use the existing topics to practice each topic, and make sure you understand how the various endings are put to the core words.

In this topic I will introduce some common and very useful affixes which can be added to verbs.

-sinnaavoq = is able to / can / may
-lerpoq = begins to / is about to / is ...ing
-tarpoq = does usually (this is obligatory if you want to express an action which happens more than once - the basic form of the verb expresses a singular action)
-ssaaq * = will do / is going to do
-rusuppoq = would like to / wants to (polite)
-reerpoq = has finished / has done as supposed

* -ssaaq has the following set of personal endings:
-ssaanga
-saatit
-ssaaq
-ssaagut
-ssaasi
-ssapput


The other ones work like normal -voq, -rpoq and -ppoq verbs.

All these affixes, apart from -sinnaavoq and -tarpoq, are simply set to the core of the verb, which means, after taking away the -voq / -rpoq / -ppoq part of the basic form.

-tarpoq is special in that it sometimes becomes -sarpoq after a verb core ending in -i (like e.g. sulivoq -> sulisarpoq).

-sinnaavoq and -tarpoq also keep the -r at the end of an "-rpoq" verb core, and assimilate the final consonant of an "-ppoq" verb core to -ss- and -tt- respectively (sinippoq -> sinissinnaavoq = can sleep / -> sinittarpoq = usually sleeps).

Hmmmm, I think I'm going to write some nice examples tomorrow, but I'm tired now - massakkut qasuvunga ;)
Writing poetry in: Scottish Gaelic, German, English.
Reading poetry in: Latin, Old Irish, French, Ancient Greek, Old Norse.
Talking to people in the shop in: Lithuanian, Norwegian, Irish Gaelic, Saami.
Listening to people talking in the shop in: Icelandic, Greenlandic, Finnish.

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nighean-neonach
Posts: 2440
Joined: 2007-01-14, 22:39
Real Name: Mona
Gender: female
Location: eadar cuan is teine

Postby nighean-neonach » 2007-03-29, 8:17

So, for illustrating how this works, I will take the verbs for some of my favourite activities ;)

atuarpoq - read
nerivoq - eat
sinippoq - sleep

with -ssaaq this looks like this:

atuassaaq - he/she/it will read
nerissaaq - he/she/it will eat
sinissaaq - he/she/it will sleep

Please keep in mind that the basic form of the verb carries a present and past meaning, so for everything that refers to the future or to a possibility, you have to use -ssaaq or another affix, not just the basic form.

With -lerpoq it looks like this:

atualerpoq - he/she/it is about to read
nerilerpoq - he/she/it is about to eat
sinilerpoq - he/she/it is about to sleep

As explained above this affix carries various meanings in the range of "has begun", "does just now", "prepares to", etc.

As you can clearly see from the above examples, these affixes are set to the core verb after removing the -voq / -rpoq / -ppoq part.

With -sinnaavoq it looks slightly different:

atuarsinnaavoq - he/she/it can read
nerisinnaavoq - he/she/it can eat
sinissinnaavoq - he/she/it can sleep

Alright, as I pointed out in my first posting, -sinnaavoq is an assimilating affix, that means the -voq / -rpoq / -ppoq part of the core verb is not simply cut off.
Well, with -voq verbs it's always simple, as you can see.
With -rpoq verbs the r remains.
With -ppoq verbs the last consonant is assimilated, which means it becomes -ss- here. One of the grammar books I have explained this class of verbs quite nicely, I can't find it at the moment: It said something like you have to imagine an "underlying" -XX- consonant (which means, whatever consonant) at the end of the stem of these verbs. Depending on the ending or affix that is added, this consonant "emerges" in a certain form. In the basic present/past verb form it emerges as -pp-, and with -sinnaavoq it emerges as -ss-
Does that make any sense to you? ;) Actually, it's all practice...

So, let's look at -tarpoq / -sarpoq:

atuartarpoq - he/she/it usually reads
nerisarpoq - he/she/it usually eats
sinittarpoq - he/she/it usually sleeps

The meaning of this is basically a repeated action. This is important because in for example English a regular or repeated action would normally not be marked but you use the simple present tense: I read the newspaper every morning. But the basic form of the Greenlandic verb does not contain this meaing, so everything you do regularly or usually or repeatedly has to be marked with this affix.

In the above examples you can see that it is an assimilating affix, just like -sinnaavoq. The "underlying consonant" in sinippoq emerges as -tt- here.
Bjørnum's grammar says it is -sarpoq with all -voq verbs. The German book says it is -sarpoq sometimes after -i. I'll have to check this out.
Writing poetry in: Scottish Gaelic, German, English.
Reading poetry in: Latin, Old Irish, French, Ancient Greek, Old Norse.
Talking to people in the shop in: Lithuanian, Norwegian, Irish Gaelic, Saami.
Listening to people talking in the shop in: Icelandic, Greenlandic, Finnish.


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