How to say “I am going to…”?

As you perhaps recall, in one of the previous posts I have listed various verbal forms used in Lezgi. They were many, but they were not all there is. In the upcoming series of short posts I will deal with the remaining forms and meanings.

For a start the “going to” or immediate future form. Its ending is -dajwal added to the imperfect stem of the verb (eg. qachudajwal ‘going to take’; ghidajwal ‘going to bring’ zhedajwal ‘going to be’).

This form is usually used with forms of the verb “to be”, as in following examples:

Gila kyn chi chkadal zhedajwal ja = Now, you are going to be in our place.

I xabar adaz c’iji ymyr ghidajwal ja = This news is going to bring him a new life

With past forms of ‘to be’ it corresponds to the English “was going to…”

Za waz ewer gudajwal tir = I was going to call you

Qe chun ekskursijadiz fidajwal tir, amma marf qwana = We were going to go for a trip today, but it started to rain

Lezgi verbal forms

This is yet another post on Lezgi verbs. I feel it is needed, because a thorough knowledge of the Lezgi verbal forms is needed if one wants to achieve a minimal level of proficiency in Lezgi. On the surface it looks plain and simple, as Lezgi verbs don’t inflect (change) for person, gender and number, but once you take a closer look, you see that there is a bewildering variety of forms, some of them quite unfamiliar (so-called ‘converbs’ for instance.

I will start with listing (as always with the help of Haspelmath’s grammar) all main forms of the verb fin ‘to go’. Later on I will add explanations and examples to this list, for now let’s just marvel at how many different forms are there. Sorry for all the big grammar words, I’ll try to explain them later.

Masdar: fin ‘going; to go’; tefin ‘not going; not to go’
Optative: firaj ‘may it/you go’ tefiraj ‘may it/you not go’
Imperative: alad ‘go!’

Infinitive: fiz ‘to go’; tefiz ‘not to go’
Imperfective: fizva ‘is going’; fizvach ‘is not going’; fizvaj ‘the going one’; tefizvaj ‘the not going one’
Past Imperfective: fizvaj ‘was going’; fizvachir ‘was not going’
Continuative Imperfective: fizma ‘still going’; fizmach ‘not going anymore’; fizmaj ‘the still going one’; tefizmaj
Past Cont. Imperfective: fizmaj ‘was still going’; fizmachir ‘was not going anymore’
Future: fida ‘will go; usually goes’; fidach ‘will not go; usually doesn’t go’; fidaj ‘the one who will go’; tefidaj ‘the one who won’t go’
Past Future: fidaj ‘was going to go; would go’; fidachir ‘wasn’t going to go; wouldn’t go’
Hortative: fin ‘let us/me go’; tefin ‘let us/me not go’
Prohibitive: fimir ‘don’t go!’
Posterior converb: fidaldi ‘until he goes, before he goes’
Graduative converb: firdavaj ‘as was going’
Immediate-Anterior converb: fizmaz ‘as soon as he goes’

Aorist: fena ‘went’; fenach ‘didn’t go’; feji ‘the one who went’; tefej ‘the one who didn’t go’
Past Aorist: fenaj ‘had gone’; fenachir ‘hadn’t gone’
Perfect: fenva ‘has gone’; fenvach ‘hasn’t gone’; fenvaj ‘one who has gone’; tefenva ‘one who hasn’t gone’
Past Perfect: fenvaj ‘had been gone’; fenvachir ‘hadn’t been gone’
Cont. Perfect: fenma ‘is still gone’; fenmach ‘isn’t gone anymore’; fenmaj; tefenma
Past Cont. Perfect: fenmaj ‘was still gone’; fenmachir ‘wasn’t gone anymore’
Aorist converb: fena; tefena
Immediate-Anterior converb: fenmazdi ‘as soon as he went’; tefenmazdi ‘he didn’t manage to go yet when’

Converbs are verbal forms used in complex sentences and demanded by the sentence structure and other verbs being used. Apart from the ones mentioned above there are also some endings which create other converb forms:

Temporal: -la ‘when doing sth’
Immediate-Anterior: -valdi ‘as soon as’
Conditional: -t’a ‘if’
Interrogative: -ni ‘?; forms question when added to the verb form’
Purpose/Manner: -val ‘ so that’
Causal: – vilaej ‘because of’

Lezgi verbs of perception (UPDATED)

If you read carefully one of the previous posts, entitled “Lezgi syntax trivia” you may have noticed that the sentences with the verb ‘to see’ looked a bit strange. I’ll repeat them now for the record:

Рушаз гада акуна. The girl saw the boy.
Гададиз руш акунач. The boy didn’t saw the girl.

What’s so strange about them? The fact that they seem to be constructed “backwards”. The noun representing the person who sees has an ending while the noun representing the person who is seen stands in its dictionary form.

That’s because a certain set of verbs, mainly related to perception,  but also to feelings, behave in Lezgi in a peculiar way. You may think of Lezgi way of saying “the boy saw the girl” as something along the lines of “to the boy the girl was seen”. More adequately, you can compare this with syntax of the verb “to like” in many languages (cf. Italian mi piace and Russian мне нравится).

Incidentally, the Lezgi verb ‘to like’ – кIан (you’ve met it before, it means also ‘to love’ and ‘to want’) uses the same arrangement, so Рушаз гада кIанзава means “the girl loves the boy” and not the other way around.

Another useful verb behaving this way is ‘to know (a fact)’ – чида. ‘I don’t know’ is in Lezgi Заз чидач

An incomplete list of other verbs using this construction:

жугъун ‘to find’; ава (only in the meaning ‘to have’); бегенмиш хьун ‘to like’; бизар хьун ‘to be fed up with’; такIан хьун ‘to hate’; шад хьун ‘to be happy’; гьайиф хьун ‘to be hurt’

In some cases the construction is more complicated as none of the nouns/pronouns in the sentence stand in the dictionary form:

киче хьун ‘to be afraid’ Ваз захъай киче жемир! ‘don’t be afraid of me’
регъуь хьун ‘to be ashamed’ Ваз захъай регъуь жемир! ‘don’t be ashamed of me’
бейкеф хьун ‘to be angry’ Ваз закай бейкеф жемир! ‘don’t be angry at me’

There’s a group of verbs formed with the aid of verb атун ‘to come’ using this construction.
хъел атун ‘to be angry’ – адаз хъел атанва ‘he is angry’ lit. ‘anger has come to him’
шел атун ‘to feel like crying’
гьайиф атун ‘to be sorry; to regret’
хъвер атун ‘to be happy; to feel like laughing’
хуш атун ‘to be glad about something; to like something’

Lastly, this construction is used in verbs made from adjectives like гишин ‘hungry’ or мекьи ‘cold’

адаз гишинзава ‘he is hungry’
мекьизавани ваз? ‘are you cold?’

Verbs weak and strong

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.