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D'ni has two types of participle, the participle in -ahl, and the participle in -in. These are usually said to be "present" and "passive" participles respectively (as per the entries in Khrees' dictionary). While this is valid for the passive participle, I don't believe this is wholly accurate for the putative "present" participle, given that this really means "active" participle. Let's review the attestations:

  • meesahl "speaking"
  • repoytee tsoidahl "the glowing bulbs"
  • pradteegahl "rock-working"
  • deyjee fahlah'ahl "folded path, labyrinth"
  • nekisahl "bent, twisted, distorted"
  • tseemahahl "[needed , necessary]"
  • rahnahl "various (varied? varying?)"

As fahlah'ahl and nekisahl show, this participle can seemingly take on a passive meaning. However, the examples display a curious pattern - all the unambigously transitive verbs take on a passive sense. The seeming exception of pradteegahl is certainly due to the explicit presence of its direct object - teeg "work" is inherently ambitransitive. This distribution is actually paralleled in Hittite, where the nt-participle is generally active for intransitive verbs, and passive for transitive ones. Like D'ni, this pattern isn't perfect, with some transitive verbs sometimes having active nt-participles, other times having passive nt-participles.

Which brings us to the question of the value of this participle. I suggest we can find this by comparing the senses of "passive" participles in -ahl with those in -in. Here are the attestations of the latter participles:

  • rekor oshahnin "the lost book"
  • toomin "[pressed?]"
  • pirin "[rubbed?]"
  • d'nee riltahgahmin "unknown D'ni"
  • bahvahnin "hidden"

After comparison and consideration, I have concluded that the quality the participles in -in share, but is lacking in those in -ahl, is that of an implicit agent. Clearly, someone lost the book. The Rime crystals must be pressed and rubbed by the Stranger. The D'ni did not know the surface. Kadish hid his vault. On this basis, I would propose that the participle in -ahl be described as a stative participle, rather than present/active. Funnily enough, the derivative -ahloth of this participle is described as a "Noun-forming suffix for one who endures an action or state." Extending this analysis back to the participle in -in, it's entirely possible that its core value is that of dynamicity, rather than passivity.

Curiously, both participles have a predilection for an intransitive sense, evidently being the unmarked sense. I wonder if the "dynamic" participle would be translated as active in a compound. I also wonder how "the distorting Bah'ro" would be translated, given that "the distorted Bah'ro" would be rebah'ro nekisahl. Perhaps the transitive meaning can only be elucidated via compounding an explicit direct object, so then you'd have rebah'ro dilnekisahl, literally "the thing-distorting Bah'ro".


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August 30, 2015 at 9:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 96

There is actually a third participial form in -ij, though it is not (yet) attested in use as an attributive adjective, but does occur (apparently) as the predicate adjective/participle, as e.g. in:


kenen gor khrezithahthtee b’ken elonij ‘it is time for the [lowest] ones to be [raised]’



rilbokehneht vehrehnij ‘we will not be [hindered (?)]’


This is parallel in syntactic construction with one example of the -in participle:


to met kenen bahvahnin gah bojikhahen bahvahnin ‘this place is [hidden] and will [remain] [hidden]’


Note that Kadish is here indeed implying that there was a past “dynamic” event by which he performed actions to hide the Vault. But what the participle bahvahnin is used for here is to describe the “state” resulting from that past event. This is clear from his assertion that it will remain hidden, i.e. claiming that the state of being hidden (not being found) will continue.


If there is indeed a three-way distinction, then perhaps we should take the description of -ahl as a formative of the “present participle / adjective” at face value, and entertain a theory that -in is a past participle / adjective formative suffix, and by extension that -ij is a future participle / adjective formative suffix. Where these are used to form adjectives that somehow characterize nouns, the “tense” is probably relative to the time-frame implicit in the context; so another way to look at the distinction is in terms of concurrent vs. prior vs. potential (or hypothetical) actions that characterize nouns.


That the present or concurrent participle is usually translated by an English active, but the past or prior participle by an Englsh passive, might be just be due to the fact that where a typical “transitive” verb involves a subject performing an actifity that results in a change in the state of the object, then the noun most strongly characterized by the nature of the action while it is occurring is the subject, but after the action is finished the noun most strongly characterized by its nature is the direct object.


On the distinction between -in and -ij note that we can presumably rephrase Kadish’s sentence by:


to met kenen bahvahnin gah bokenen bahvahnin tsahn ‘this place is [hidden] and will be [hidden] forever’


while in contrast we could probably also say:


kohooret to met gah tsahnril bokenen bahvahnij preniv ‘we found this place and it will never be [hidden] again’


The lack (so far) of an adjectival use of the -ij formative may be circumstantial. If we think of this as being appropriate when a noun is characterized by a future action (but not a concurrent or past action), an example might be something like: *ahno glahsij = ‘water (to be) drunk, drinkable water’.


November 21, 2015 at 9:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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