The Past Tense

Just as with the present-tense conjugations discussed in the previous lecture, there are simple rules to conjugate verbs into the past tense. You will use past-tense verb conjugations whenever you want to talk about something that was formerly true or had happened. For example, the English phrase “I loved baseball” includes the past tense form of the verb “to love”.

Conjugation of Regular Verbs

As you recall, the infinitive form of most Talossan verbs ends with the letters -arh. To form the past-tense conjugations, that ending is replaced by one of the endings shown in the table below. The Talossan verb amarh (= to love) is used for the examples.

  • ameveu (= I loved)
  • amevás (= you loved)
  • ameva (= he/she/it loved)
  • amevent (= we/they loved)
  • amevetz (= y’all loved)

These simple word-ending changes apply to all Talossan verbs except those (listed below) that have irregular past-tense conjugations.

Notice that the form for the “I” subject is not -evéu; it is -eveu, without an accent on the e.

Just as with the present tense, if the infinitive form of a verb ends with -carh, then the letter h is introduced in spelling into the past-tense endings, to preserve the hard pronunciation of the letter c. For example, the verb pecarh (= to sin) has the forms pecheveu (= I sinned), pechevás (= you sinned), pecheva (= he/she/it sinned), pechevent (= we/they sinned), and pechevetz (= y’all sinned).

As in English, verbs can appear in present tense form in statements that concern the past. For example, you may hear an English sentence such as “So yesterday, I go to the doctor and he tells me I should exercise more” — although the verbs in the sentence are expressed in present tense, the sentence is obviously in the past tense, due to the specified time frame. This same thing can be done in Talossan: sa ieiri, véu àl medico, es o me zía qe éu fost palaistrarh pü.

Irregular Past Tense Verbs

Eight Talossan verbs have irregular past-tense conjugations. Those verbs are listed below and these exceptions simply need to be memorised:

  • creatarh (= to create) has the irregular forms creavéu (= I created), creavás (= you created), creava (= he/she/it created), creavent (= we/they created), and creavetz (= y’all created)
  • credarh (= to believe) has the irregular forms crevéu (= I believed), crevas (= you believed), creva (= he/she/it believed), crevent (= we/they believed), and crevetz (= y’all believed)
  • estarh (= to be) may be conjugated regularly (esteveu, estevás, esteva, estevent, and estevetz) or may use the irregular forms füt (= I/you/he/she/it was/were) and füvent (= we/they/y’all were), which are often chosen for use following vowels.
  • irh (the verb of motion; “to come/go) and viénarh (the manitive and retrospective aspect auxiliary) both conjugate into the past tense as if from the infinitive venarh, giving veneveu, venevás, veneva, venevent, and venevent
  • moártarh (= to die) conjugates into the past tense as if from the infinitive mortarh, giving morteveu, mortevás, morteva, mortevent, and mortevetz
  • pevarh (= to be able to [can]) conjugates into the past tense as if from the infinitive pognharh, giving pognheveu (= I was able to), pognhevás (= you were able to), pognheva (= he/she/it was able to), pognhevent (= we/they were able to), and pognevetz (= y’all were able to)
  • scríuarh (= to write) conjugates into the past tense as if from the infinitive scrivarh, giving scriveveu (= I wrote), scrivevás (= you wrote), scriveva (= he/she/it wrote), scrivevent (= we/they wrote), and scrivevetz (= y’all wrote)
  • tirh (= to have) has the irregular forms tignhoveu (= I had), tignhovás (= you had), tignhova (= he/she/it had), tignhovent (= we/they had), and tignhovetz (= y’all had)