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

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.

Lezgi syntax trivia. Subjects and participles.

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