Auxiliary Aspects

Talossan has a number of non-simple aspects, which are formed using auxiliary verbs that introduce another verb. The most established auxiliiary aspects are the perfect, imperfective, retrospective, manitive, prospective, and continuative aspects.

The Perfect Aspect

Talossan creates the perfect aspect very much like it is formed in English. The perfect aspect in English is seen in phrases like “I have eaten”, “you must have heard me say this before”, “she had departed”, and “they will have seen you”.

In brief, the perfect aspect is created in English using a form of the verb “to have” followed by the past participle of another verb. And it is formed exactly that same way in Talossan, using a form of the verb tirh (= to have) followed by the past participle of another verb.

For example, téu menxhat (= I have eaten), tu tent auscultat qe zíu acest avant (= you have heard me say this before), a tignhova zespartat (= she had departed), and os te tischent videscu (= they will have seen you).

Notice that the past participle used in the perfect aspect is never made feminine, even if the subject is feminine. That is, it would be improper to say a tignhova zespartada for “she had departed”; zespartat (or zespartescu) is proper.

The past participle also is not made into its plural form in this construction, even if the subject is plural. For example, it would be improper to say os te tischent videschti for “they will have seen you; videscu (or víut) is proper.

The Imperfective Aspect

The imperfect aspect is used when indicating habitual or ongoing action that is not a single specific activity. In English, such concepts are expressed either using the simple present tense (as in “I swim at the lake”) or, for past customs, phrases like “used to” (as in “I used to swim at the lake”). In Talossan, the expression of such a concept is done by a conjugation of the verb estarh (= to be) followed by the infinitive form of another verb, using one of the linking prepositions (à or da).

For example, éu sint à naxharh àl lac (= I swim at the lake) and éu füt à naxharh àl lac (= I used to swim at the lake).

Notice that, as usual, the use of the linking preposition da (rather than à) indicates that the action of infinitive verb is denied rather than indicated. For example, éu sint da naxharh àl lac (= I do not swim at the lake) and éu füt da naxharh àl lac (= I used to not swim at the lake).

The Prospective Aspect

Talossan has a prospective aspect, which is used to indicate actions that will take place in an unspecified future. This aspect can be compared to the English “going to” (often colloquially shortened to “gonna”) and the Spanish ir a (as in voy a comer = I am going to [will] eat).

There are two forms that the Talossan prospective aspect can take. One form uses a conjugation of the verb façarh (= to do/make) followed by an infinitive verb form, with a linking preposition indicating the positive or negative nature of the active verb. For example, façéu da menxharh (= I am going to avoid eating; that is, I will not eat). The second, more colloquial, method uses a conjugation of the verb of motion irh followed by an infinitive verb form without a linking preposition. For example, véu menxharh (= I am going to [i.e., will] eat). The phrase va estarh (= is going to be) is sometimes contracted to va’starh.

Constructions in tenses other than the present may also be used. For example, ieiri façevás da dialarh-la, oxhi façás da dialarh-la, es demà façarhás da dialarh-la; imrè façás da dialarh-la, mas la dialás ca’scu ziua (= yesterday you were not going to telephone her, today you are not going to telephone her, and tomorrow you will be not going to telephone her; you are always not going to telephone her, but you telephone her everyday). Notice that the prospective aspect differs from the future tense in that while tenses may not be “piled” onto tenses in a single phrase, the prospective aspect may (as shown here) be combined with the future tense, to indicate a “future future”.

The Retrospective and Manitive Aspects

Actions that have just been completed or that are just about to begin are expressed in Talossan using the retrospective aspect and the manitive aspect, respectively. Both of these aspects are created using a form of the verb viénarh (which is used only for this special purpose) followed by the infinitive form of another verb. The choice of the linking preposition à (= to) or da (= from) determines whether the action is about to begin or has just completed.

For example, éu viens à menxharh (= I am about to eat) and éu viens da menxharh (= I just ate).

Constructions in these aspects can of course be cast into other tenses, moods, and voices. For example, o veneva da menxharh (= he was just finished eating), o venarha da menxharh (= he will be just finished eating), and ¡qe non venadréu da menxharh! (= [would] that I had not just finished eating!).

The verb viénarh originally meant “to come” but this meaning (and many of the conjugated forms of viénarh) has been appropriated by the verb irh (originally only “to go”), which now is the “verb of motion”, meaning both “to go” and “to come”. The fact that these two verbs share some conjugated forms does not cause any confusion, however, since only viénarh is used with a governed infinitive. For example:

  • veneveu dinarh is a conjugation of irh since it is followed by an ungoverned infinitive. As explained above, this is the Talossan prospective aspect (akin to English “gonna”), and so this sentence means “I was going to [gonna] dine”.
  • veneveu da dinarh is a conjugation of viénarh since it is followed by a governed infinitive verb; this phrase has the meaning “I was just finished dining”.
  • veneveu del dinarh sees veneveu followed by a prepositional phrase, not a governed infinitive. Here, dinarh is used as a gerund (a noun), meaning “supper”, and thus veneveu is a form of the verb of motion, irh, and the meaning of this phrase is “I came from the supper”.

Of course, the similarity of the above examples to each other is quite rare, since there are very few verbs in Talossan that also are used unchanged as common gerunds. The verb dinarh (= to dine) and its gerund form (meaning “a supper”) is a rarity.

The Continuative Aspect

The verb restarh (= to remain) is used as an auxilliary verb to indicate the continuative aspect (akin to the English “still”, “yet”). For example, restéu amarh-la (= I still love her; I continue to love her), o resteva esvitarh-me (= he was still avoiding me; continued to avoid me), and a restarha non menxharh-en (= she will still not eat it).

This aspect can also be represented using the present participle of the active verb (rather than infinitive form). This is rather unique in Talossan phraseology. For example, restéu aprendind (= I am still learning) and a en resta non menxhind (= she is still not eating it).