Observation
Pien nanitam ui pushu. Peter always wants to leave by boat.
Shikatimitishu, eukuannu uet akushit. He took a chill, that’s why he is sick.

The words ui and uet in the above examples are called preverbs. They are placed just before the verb. Preverbs mark tense, aspect or mood.

  • Future: nika, tshika, tshe
  • Conditional: nipa, tshipa
  • Subordinate: e (present), ka (past)
  • Completed action: tshi
  • Futur accompli: tshetshi
  • Passé accompli : katshi
  • Cause, origin: ut, uet (changed form of ut)
  • Volition: ui
  • Possibility: tshi

When the conjugation has personal prefixes, they attach themselves to to the preverb. We can even use several preverbs. If there are many, the prefix attaches itself to the first preverb. In the examples below, we see the combinations of the preverb ui (volition) or tshi (possibility) with the future -ka, or with the conditional tshipa:

Nui nipan. Nika ui nipan.
I want to sleep. I will want to sleep.
Tshika nipan. Tshika ui nipan.
You will sleep. You will want to sleep.
Shash tshipa ui nipan. You should already be asleep.
Tshika tshi uapamau a? Will you be able to see him/her?

Preverb Order

Some preverbs are only used in the independent, others only in the conjunct, and other still are used in every order, including the imperative. Some conjugations can combine with many preverbs, such as 01 and 11. The aspect preverbs can only be combined with certain verbs. When many preverbs are used, their order is fixed:

  1. conjunct order preverbs
  2. tense preverbs
  3. modal preverbs
  4. aspect preverbs

The aspect preverbs are the ones placed closest to the radical; some act either as a preverb or as an initial element (of the radical). Here is a summary of our observations on the order of preverbs:

PREVERB ORDER
1 2 3 4 VERB
Conjunct Tense: Mood: Aspect RADICAL suffixes
  future volition Quality    
  past possibility      
  Conditional