Valdyas is a fictional country in a fictional world. Ilaini is an invented language. I invented it for my own enjoyment and that of anybody else who enjoys it. It has no scholarly pretensions. Please don't make a fool of yourself by using my language pages for your linguistics case-work.

Ilaini has only one class of verbs, which is regular except for contractions. Undoubtedly some irregular verb forms exist, but I haven't encountered them yet.

Disclaimer: I'm an amateur linguist, and this is a rough overview. Some grammatical terms may not be entirely correct, but I hope it's clear what I mean. If you spot any obvious mistakes, please feel free to send me mail and correct them.

As an example, I will use the transitive verb chala "to see", unless some other verb is clearer in the context. Chalyna has a "fossilised" punctual aspect marker and usually means "to look (at), to have a look".

Overview

Aspect: imperfective perfective inceptive punctual
- -en- -es- -yn-
Tense:  
present -a- chalan chalenan chalesan chalynan
I see I have seen I'm about to see I look
past -u- chalun chalenun chalesun chalynun
I saw I had seen I was about to see I looked
future -i- chalin chalenin chalesin chalynin
I will see I will have seen I will be about to see I will look
irrealis -e- chalen chalenen chalesen chalynen
that I see, I would see that I had seen, I would have seen that I were about to see, I would be about to see that I look, I would look
imperative   chalay, chalaye - chalesay, chalesaye chalynay, chalynaye
see!   (go and) see! look!
infinitive   chala chalena chalesa chalyna
to see to have seen to be about to see to look

My old notes have a full set of participles as well (adjectives of Class II in -as), but in practice they turn out to be very rare and archaic. Where they exist at all, they serve as nouns or adjectives made from the verb.

Verbs are marked for aspect (or at least that's the closest term I can apply to it), tense and person/number.

The order of markers is (prefix)-STEM-aspect-tense-person/number. Prefixes, of degree or negation, are a matter of word-formation and will not be discussed here.

Aspect

The unmarked form is the imperfective: chalan "I see" or "I am seeing". Note that Ilaini has no forms with exclusively progressive meaning, though the imperfective may imply that.

Perfective, inceptive and punctual are formed with infixes.

The perfective aspect is marked with -en-. It is used for actions which are already completed, or will be completed by the time indicated by the verbal tense: chalenan "I have seen", chalenin "I will have seen". Some perfective forms of verbs have taken on a meaning of their own, such as le rada "to decide", le radena "to be determined".

The inceptive aspect, marked with -es-, indicates that an action is just beginning or about to begin: chalesaye "you-plural are about to see" (for instance when announcing a performance), daysesut or, rather less colloquially, lea daysenesut "it started to rain".

The punctual (or non-progressive) aspect is marked with -yn- and indicates that an action takes place suddenly, momentarily, or only once. This can change the meaning so much that it's considered a separate verb: layna "to speak", laynyna "to say". If such a verb needs the punctual aspect, it can't get a second infix, so the meaning has to be expressed by adverbs. Other aspect infixes (-en- or -es-) do occur with these verbs, and the verb is then treated as though the stem ends in -yn-.

When verb forms get very long they're likely to be contracted by eliding parts of weak syllables or dropping them altogether. Notoriously weak syllables are unstressed -en- and-yn-. In this way, laynynenan "I have said" becomes laynyenan, chalesaye "you-plural are about to see" becomes chalsaye.

Tense

There are three tenses: present, marked with -a-, past, marked with -u-, and future, marked with -i-. The use of the tenses is straightforward: chalan "I see", chalun "I saw", chalin "I will see". The present tense is also used as "narrative present" when a story has already been set in time by starting with the past tense, as in the story of Grandpa and the Dragon.

The irrealis (or subjunctive) is formed like a tense, though it's more like a mood. The marker, which goes in the tense-infix slot, is -e-.

Person and number

Verbs have first, second and third person singular and plural. Inclusive or exclusive first person plural (which can be marked in the pronouns) makes no difference for the verb forms. Dual subjects use the plural. Collective plural subjects use either the singular or the plural depending on context. There are also singular and plural imperatives for the second person: the imperative uses the second-person present tense forms.

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