Home > Rhean Language > Verbs


    Simple Verb Tenses
        Present Tense
        Past Tense
        Future Tense
    Negation & Interrogation
    The Adverbial Participle
    The Passive
    The Imperative
    To Be
    The Infinitive as a Noun
    Hypothetical Mood
    Compound Tenses
        With the Participles
        With the Simple Tenses
    Auxiliary Verbs
        Differences in Negation
    Verbs from Nouns

Simple Verb Tenses
Kinoksoi Keir Jodonir

    In Rhean, all verbs end in -ak or -ek in their infinitive (dictionary) form, and these verbs conjugate for their subject and tense. Tenses fall into one of two moods: the real and the hypothetical (the imperative is also a mood, but is not split into tenses). First, let's look at the three simple tenses in the real mood. 


Rhean has only one simple present tense, which can correspond in English to both "he does" and "he is doing". In the present tense, the conjugations are:

PRESENT -ak verbs -ek verbs
ya -am -im
loz -at -it
ta* -aš, -a -iš, -e
yez -amu -imu
liz -aǩ -iǩ
tiaz -az -iz

So from verbs like ravowak 'to work' and olamek 'to drink', we get forms like: ravowam 'I work (am working)', ravowaš 'he/she/it works', ravowaz 'they work'; and olamit 'you drink (are drinking), olamiǩ 'you (pl.) drink', olame 'he/she/it drinks', olamimu 'we drink'.
*The third person singular has two endings here. The -aš/-iš ending is the full ending, and is still the only one used when any suffix is added after these conjugations. But as the final verb in a sentence, it is more common to use the -a/-e ending. In proper public-speaking, newsreader language, -aš/-iš is always used.

Skijie olam.
too-much drink-2SG
You drink too much.
Tocet i mačikom ravow.
dad in town-INST work-3SG
Dad works in town.

The present tense also covers events that are not tied to any specific moment in time, such as habitual actions or ongoing states. So where in English we might say "I have been working here for a long time", in Rhean this would be:
Zde nagya kronon todom ravowam.
through long time-ACC here-INST work-1SG

Or "I am working here a long time".

A few irregular -ek verbs, called the erzakstva* verbs (most of which are auxiliaries) retain the -e- in the present tense endings:

Er mu asmem.
that(-ACC) NEG think-1SG
    I do not allow that.

* "e-keeping"


This simple past tense has a shade of the perfective to it, so it can be used for things like "he ate" and also "he has eaten". The conjugations for the past tense are:

PAST -ak verbs -ek verbs
ya -aim -iom
loz -ait -iot
ta -aiš -ioš
yez -aimu -iomu
liz -aiǩ -ioǩ
tiaz -aiz -ioz

Lon miriom.
you-ACC saw-1SG:PAST
I saw you.
Kina jambin lakyem snanaiš.
yesterday legs-ACC both break-3SG:PAST
He broke both legs yesterday.


In Rhean it is rare (but not unheard-of) to use the present tense for future events, as we often do in English: "I'm leaving tomorrow" is davgarat deštirma "I will leave tomorrow". The future tense conjugates like this:

FUTURE -ak verbs -ek verbs
ya -irma -irmi
loz -irta -irti
ta -ir(a) -ir(i)
yez -irva -irvi
liz -irǩa -irǩi
tiaz -irza -irzi

Notice the final vowel of -ira/-iri in parentheses. These are almost never used except in very formal speech. All other times the future third person singular for both conjugations is -ir.

I'll fight!
Emže ekzit ftukirvi.
soon station-DAT arrive-1PL:FUT
    We will arrive at the station soon.
Davgarat vöš jiterminir.
tomorrow world self-end-3SG:FUT
The world will end tomorrow.

Negation & Interrogation
Minasacek ki Jarhek

Any verb can be negated simply by placing mu directly in front of it:

Zank mu danisioš.
law(-ACC) NEG defy-3SG:PAST
didn't break the law.
Ürok mu tafirma.
dog(-ACC) NEG eat-1SG:FUT
I won't eat dog.
Yai draaz mu kunim.
my house(-ACC) NEG like-1SG
    I don't like my house.

Yes/no type questions can be made with the particle ču, whose use is explained further in the section on questions. Inverted question marks are used, as in Spanish, to mark the beginning of a question.

Tian šiznim.
them-ACC know-1SG
    I know them.
żTian ču šiznit? / żČu tian šiznit?
them-ACC QU know-2SG / QU them-ACC know-2SG
    Do you know them?
żČu mu börirti?
QU NEG fight-2SG:FUT
    Won't you fight?

The inverted question mark can also be used in the middle of a longer sentence that includes a question:

Yai draaz mu kunim, żču kunit?
my house(-ACC) NEG like-1SG , QU like-2SG
    I don't like my house, do you? (lit. do you like?)

ču is also used when giving a choice:

żČu anduirta li unteǧirta?
QU walk-2SG:FUT or drive-2SG:FUT
    Are you walking or driving?


The participles are used as adjectives, and there is one for each simple tense:

-ak verbs -ek verbs
PAST -ov -iv
PRESENT -ar -er
FUTURE -i -u

    The past participle carries no passive meaning, but instead means "which has done..." or "which did..."

ftukiv lekužad
arrive-PTP train
the train which has arrived
krod ekirov čeno
book(-ACC) write-PTP woman
the woman who wrote a book

Note: the object (krod) of the verb (ekirak) remains in the accusative.

    The present participle means "which is doing..." or "which does...", the connotation being that the subject is in the middle of doing something.

vaurar ürok
bark-PRP dog
the dog that is barking (the barking dog)
afton unteǧar otoǩ
car-ACC drive-PRP man
the man driving a car

    The future participle means "which will do...", "which is going to do...", with a connotation of "ready to do..." or "just about to do..." A note: this form is stressed on the final syllable.

dešti telovukro
leave-FTP airship
the airship which is going to leave
böru punkarnoki
fight-FTP boxers
    the boxers who are going to fight

These participles are frequently used in the compound tenses. For the sentences given above, especially when there is an object, relative clauses are preferred.

The Adverbial Participle

    This form used as an adverb, meaning "while doing", "in doing", or "by doing". This is formed by replacing -ak with -adve and -ek with -idve (erzakstva verbs in -edve).

Unteǧadve aftozritud miriomu.
drive-AVP car-accident(-ACC) see-1PL:PAST
    While driving, we saw a car accident.

Toya royus magridve lekutaren eklültimat.
this knob(-ACC) turn-AVP electricity-ACC disengage-2SG
    You turn the power off by turning this knob.

    The adverbial participle can also connect verbs which are performed by the same subject but not necessarily simultaneously, for example when someone does one thing and then another:

Vadan fugridve ekopiradve öhöraiš.
window-ACC open-AVP out-lean-AVP vomit-3SG:PAST
    He opened the window, leaned out, and vomited.

The Passive

    The passive, like the participles, turns the verb into an adjective. The -ak verbs form the passive with -abza, and the -ek verbs with -ibza. The erzakstva -ek verbs use -ebza. This form is commonly used with the verbs for "to be".

krakibza tayek
break-PASS plate
    a broken plate

Maǧlabza čem.
defeat-PASS be:1SG
    I am defeated (have been defeated)

żRoc ču cemuie olamibza?
wine QU all-ADV drink-PASS
    Has the wine all been drunk? (notice omitted "is" če)

Er mu asmebza.
that NEG permit-PASS
    That is not permitted.

    Rhean does not use nap to show the agent in the passive voice the way English uses "by". You can be hit 'nap' a hockey stick, but you cannot be hit 'nap' your brother. This latter example sounds like someone picked your brother up and swung him at you. In fact, Rhean usually avoids the passive if an agent is specified at all. There is an exception: a preposition zize which puts nouns in the accusative case:

Milicia yan gzacioš.
police me-ACC arrest-3SG:PAST
    The police arrested me.
Zize milician gzacibza ašem.
"by" police-ACC arrest-PASS be:1SG:PAST
    I was arrested by the police.

The word zize is a contraction of zizidve, from the verb zizek meaning "to be under the effects of..." or "to suffer the actions of...", hence the accusative case. This construction is interesting because it reverses the cases of the agent and patient. But it fell out of common use in the last century and sounds as dated as English t'is.

The Imperative

    The imperative is the command-form of a verb used to tell somebody to do something. It is formed, like the other tenses, by adding a suffix to the verb stem. Rhean has an imperative for each of the six personal forms:

IMPERATIVE -ak verbs -ek verbs
ya -yem -yam
loz -yet, -ye -yat, -ya
ta -yeš -yaš
yez -yemu -yamu
liz -yeǩ, -ye -yaǩ, -ya
tiaz -yez -yaz

And having forms for all persons, Rhean uses its imperative differently than many languages. The second person imperative is the straightforward command to a listener:

Get out!
Er kanjeryet.
    Think about that.
Skijie olamiot, mu unteǧyet.

too-much drink-2SG:PAST , NEG drive-2SG:IMP
    You drank too much, don't drive.

The second person singular and plural have an identical alternate form. This -ya / -ye can be used for singular or plural commands.

Sit. (to one person)
Sit. (to a group of people)
Sit. (one or a group)

Commands can be made into more polite requests with kraza 'please', which can come before or after.

Melunie palbyet, kraza.
Speak slowly, please.
Kraza suvya.
    Please sit.

The "he, she, it" and "they" forms (-yeš / -yaš , -yez / -yaz) are best described by English let or may. This sounds very literary in English, but is common in Rhean.

Let them fight.
    Let them enter.
Eya ürok šinyaš!
    May that dog die!
Cemuie kaečyeš.
    May it all fall down.

The "we" form (-yemu / -yamu) is like English let's...:

Mu böryamu.
    Let's not fight.
Davgarat strečyamu.
    Let's meet tomorrow.
Eya pökin menuzyemu.
    Let us punish those people.
    Let's go.

And using ču to make it a question, it offers a suggestion:

żČu yuryemu?
    Shall we go?
żČu ižyemu?
    Should we go in?
żČu unteǧyemu li anduyemu?
    Should we drive or walk?

The "I" form (-yem / yam) is almost never found on its own, because people seldom boss themselves around verbally. However, used with ču it becomes a suggestion as above, but for what one person could do.

żČu milician mošyam?
    Should I call the police?

All of these imperative forms are used in some very strange ways when it comes to indirectly quoting commands, or saying what one has told another to do.

Radaiš du melunie unteǧyem.
tell-3SG:PAST THAT slowly drive-1SG:IMP
    He told me to drive slowly.
Zduaiš du u laǩudu yuryet.
say-3SG:PAST THAT to hell-DAT go-2SG:IMP
He said you can go to Hell.
Ža u laǩudu yuryeš radye!
then to hell-DAT go-3SG:IMP
    Then tell them to go to Hell!

This is more fully explained here.

To Be


    In Rhean, "to be" is ček, and is one of the very few irregular verbs. It is the most irregular verb in the language, but its forms follow a fairly reasonable pattern:

ya čem ašem yerem čam
loz čet ašet yeret čat
ta če aše yere čaš
yez čemu ašemu yeremu čamu
liz čeǩ ašeǩ yereǩ čaǩ
tiaz čez ašez yerez čaz

PAST ašov
 Adverbial: aze

Like other verbs, ček comes at the end of the phrase:

Yai kaš izute če.
my mother doctor be-3SG
    My mother is a doctor.
Dioǩi i cumzhernokom čez.
drinks in refrigerator-INST be-3PL
    The drinks are in the fridge.
Kina i mačikom ašemu.
yesterday in city-INST be-1PL:PAST
    We were in the city yesterday.
Dioǩi cumez yerez.
drinks cold be-3PL:FUT
    The drinks will be cold.
Lai peši ot bocom ašez!
your feet upon table-INST be-3PL:PAST !
    Your feet were on the table!

Often, ček is omitted, especially in the third person present tense:

Er čevez, po tori yaril.
that expensive , BUT these cheap
    That one is expensive, but these are cheap.


Negation of ček is never expressed as * mu ček (not even, as far as anyone knows, in any backwards provincial dialect). There is a separate verb for "not be", deǧek. This is an erzakstva verb: deǧem, deǧet, deǧedve but deǧioz, deǧirvi etc.

Ǩodo deǧeš!
child not-be-3SG
    He's not a child!
Kina todom deǧiot.
yesterday here-INST not-be-2SG:PAST
    You weren't here yesterday.

There is a particle de (reduced from deǧedve) which means "not being" and can be used to say "not X, but Y..."

Sen de Čarad kuraiš.
Sen NOT Charad come-3SG:PAST
    Charad came, but not Sen.

Nap lekužadom de telovukrom ftukiomu.
by train-INST NOT airship-INST arrive-1PL:PAST
    We arrived by airship, not by train.

Ačiga de glüp čet!
genius NOT idiot be-2SG
    You're not a genius, you're an idiot!


As seen in previous examples, like Dioǩi cumez yerez, the verb ček can be used with adjectives. There is also an alternative: adding -igek to any adjective turns it into a verb meaning "to be ...". This verb conjugates regularly in all tenses.

to be cold
cumez če / cumezigiš
it is cold
cumez deǧe / mu cumezigiš
it is not cold
cumez yere / cumezigir
it will be cold
cumez deǧioš / mu cumezigioš
it was not cold

This suffix can also be used with the passive form of verbs. The final -a of -(a/i)bza drops, giving -(a/i)bzigek:

Myol viom cemuie olamibzige.
beer already all drink-PASS-BE-3SG
    All the beer has already been drunk.

802-žul Osikar Mezüzemir krošibzigioš.
802-year Ossica-GEN president kill-PASS-BE-3SG:PAST
The president of Ossica was killed in the year 802.

The use of -igek with the passive seems to be the only case where its use is not decreasing among speakers in the Capital. Elsewhere, it is being replaced by ček and deǧek.


To say things like 'there is...' or 'there were...' the irregular verb anček, which conjugates exactly like ček (think of it as an + ček), is used:

Ot pölom šula anče!
upon floor-INST water exist:3SG !
    There's water on the floor!
żČu kina amöz anaše?
QU yesterday rain exist:3SG:PAST
    Was there rain yesterday?

    This is also the verb for "to have". Rhean has verbs like dovruak 'possess, own' and glamak 'hold' which may be used, but the most common way to express "X has Y" is to say "with X there is Y". In this construction, the possessor is in the instrumental case, without any preposition, and the thing possessed is the subject of anček.

Otoǩom ürok anče.
man-INST dog exist:3SG
    The man has a dog.
żLoǩem ču afto anče?
you-INST QU car exist:3SG
    Do you have a car?
Sai že. Yaǩem lak ančez!
yes EMPH . me-INST two exist:3PL !
    Yes! I have two.

This word anček has other useful functions, including its use in the compound tenses.

The Infinitive as a Noun
Menza Dalam Čarakei

    The infinitive, though it is the way every verb is listed in a dictionary, actually behaves like a noun. A verb left in the infinitive is a noun meaning "the act of..." or "...-ing"

żČu yoguek kunit?
swim-INF(-ACC) like-2SG
    Do you like to swim?
Telokia toya piǩom unteǧak ǧalam.
weather-GEN this kind-INST drive-INF(-ACC) hate-1SG
    I hate driving in this kind of weather.
Börek tomyeǩ!
fight-INF(-ACC) stop-2PL:IMP !
    Stop fighting!
Aften štikak sekelzeč.
cars-ACC fix-INF difficult
    Fixing cars is difficult. (notice omitted če)
Nap hažakom staliom.
by run-INF-INST get-tired-1SG
    I got tired from running.

    Used in the accusative, the infinitive can work with auxiliary verbs like rek 'can do' fadek 'must do' zdubek 'should / ought to do' etc. This construction is explained here.

Hypothetical Mood
Numanni Sinaf

-ak verbs -ek verbs
ya -om -öm
loz -oč -öč
ta -or -ör
yez -omu -ömu
liz -ož -öž
tiaz -ori -öri

    The hypothetical mood is used to talk about things which do not actually happen as if they do. In English we say would or would have for such hypothetical situations. Usually this mood is used in a conditional "if" or "when" construction; it contrasts with the real mood which might also be used in if/when sentences. Look at the difference:

żAdis miryad lerekbaš mišk bulm ba kuin her?
IF ten-thousand lerek-full bag(-ACC) find-2SG:HYP COND* what-ACC do-2SG:HYP
    If you found a bag with ten thousand lereks** in it, what would you do?


żAdis miryad lerekbaš mišk bulmat ba kuin herirta?
IF ten-thousand lerek-full bag(-ACC) find-2SG. COND what-ACC do-2SG:FUT
    If you find the bag with ten thousand lereks** in it, what will you do?

In the first example, the speaker is asking about a purely hypothetical situation, regardless of whether it is likely at all that you might find a bag with ten thousand lereks in it ("supposing..." or "if you were to..."). In the second example, it sounds as if there really is a bag full of a thousand lereks that you are looking for, and the speaker is asking what you will do with it if you find it.

* this ba closes a conditional clause. More on that here.
** the lerek is the monetary unit of Rhea.

    Remember that the present tense is also used for events that are not tied to any moment in time, so the hypothetical present tense can be used for most "if you ever"... and "he would..." senses. But there are also a past and future hypothetical forms. These are formed by a past or future suffix between the verb and the hypothetical ending: -al- for the past, -ir- for the future. These suffixes can also be used as alternates for the past and future in the real mood -- olamalim for olamiom etc. (the Ftomarinz dialect uses this all the time). The past hypothetical is used when speculating about how things might have been:

Adis erkie kuraloč ba mu ofkepalöč.
    If you had got here early, you wouldn't have missed it.
Ki dorod miralöč ba, nar driknit dahkalöč.
and WHEN see-PAST-2SG:HYP COND , until unconscious-DAT laugh-PAST-2SG:HYP
    And when you saw it, you would have laughed till you passed out.

    Speculation about the future can use the real mood because there still remains the possibility that it could happen. The future hypothetical is very difficult to translate, and is rarely used. Rhean grammarians only include this redundant form for the sake of 'symmetry'.

Adis davgarat amöz anyerör ba ǧufarvo mu heriromu.
IF tomorrow rain exist:FUT:3SG:HYP COND barbecue NEG do-FUT-1PL:HYP
Adis davgarat amöz anyere ba ǧufarvo mu herirva.
IF tomorrow rain exist:3SG:FUT COND barbecue NEG do-1PL:FUT
    If it rains tomorrow, we won't have the barbecue.

The hypothetical forms of the irregular verb ček are predictable from the real mood forms. Simply add the hypothetical conjugations to č- for the present, - for the past, and (in theory) yer- for the future.

Compound Tenses
Iksložeč Keir

    The compound tenses use anček to add more shades of meaning to verbs. For example, while a simple past tense verb like tafait "you ate" can also mean "you were eating", the compound version tafar anašet stresses that you were in the middle of eating, and tafov anašet stresses that you had finished eating. You will often see this kind of construction used with dorod ... ba "when ... happened / is happening / etc."

So Garazkeirom

    Remember that the participles turn verbs into adjectives meaning "in the middle of doing", "having finished doing" or "about to do". Using anček with these makes a verb like "I was in the middle of doing" "I have just finished doing" etc. This can get a bit tricky since anček in any tense can be used with any of the participles.
With the present participle:
tafar anče is (in the middle of) eating
tafar anaše was (in the middle of) eating
tafar anyere will be (in the middle of) eating

With the past participle:
tafov anče has eaten
tafov anaše had eaten
tafov anyere will have eaten

With the present participle:
tafi anče is about to eat
tafi anaše was about to eat
tafi anyere will be about to eat

The meanings in Rhean do not exactly match the English phrases I've given, but this should give you a sense of how this anček works. And how about this one: tafi anašöm "I would have been just about to eat".

So Kinoksoi Keirom

Here, a whole phrase complete with a conjugated verb in a simple tense is combined with anček in the third person singular. This looks like it says "there is (the fact that) ..." With the present tense, it expresses habitual actions:

U toya güüjadrözu knaštem kuramu anče.
to this restaurant-DAT often come-1PL exist:3SG
    We come to this restaurant often.
U toya güüjadrözu knaštem kuramu anaše.
to this restaurant-DAT often come-1PL exist:3SG:PAST
    We used to come to this restaurant often.

With the past tense, it indicates past experiences, things which you have done at one time or another.

żČu krupan unteǧait anče?
QU tank-ACC drive-2SG:PAST exist:3SG
    Have you ever driven a tank?

Auxiliary Verbs
Jodnomaš jodoni

    Rhean auxiliaries include:
rek* - can (do)
zdubek* - should (do)
fadek - must (do)
smak - may (do)
*erzakstva verbs

These take objects in the accusative case, whether that object is a noun or another verb:

Er rem.
that(-ACC) can-1SG
    I can do that.
Yoguek reš.
swim(-ACC) can-3SG
    He can swim.
Telovukron profsek rem.
airship-ACC operate-INF(-ACC) 
    I can fly an airship.

Tor fadit.
this(-ACC) must-2SG
    You must do this.
żČu tor tafak fadim?
QU this(-ACC) eat-INF(-ACC) must-1SG
    Do I have to eat this?

Since the infinitive, the act-of-doing, is the object of the auxiliary, there is no structural difference between these verbs and others like 'like (to do)', 'hate (to do)', 'stop (doing)' etc.

afton štikaš he fixes the car
afton štikak reš he can fix the car
afton štikak zdubeš he should fix the car
afton štikak smaš he may fix the car
afton štikak fadiš he must fix the car
afton štikak hošaš he wants to fix the car
afton štikak kuniš he likes fixing the car
afton štikak ǧalaš he hates fixing the car
afton štikak tomaš he stops fixing the car

Minasacekni Faarir

    The negation particle mu negates only what comes directly after it. And so, there is a difference between putting mu before the infinitive and putting it before the auxiliary. This is the difference between "can't do" and "can not-do", or "must not do" and "don't have to do".

Mu börek fadiǩ.
NEG fight-INF(-ACC) must-2PL
    You must not fight.
Börek mu fadiǩ.
fight-INF(-ACC) NEG must-2PL
    You don't have to fight.

Nasfek mu rem!
breathe-INF(-ACC) NEG can-1SG
    I can't breathe!
Zde nagya kronon mu nasfek rem.
through long time-ACC NEG breathe-INF(-ACC) can-1SG
    I can go without breathing for a long time.

So yezem yurak mu smat.
with us-INST go-INF(-ACC) NEG may-2SG
    You may not go with us.
So yezem mu yurak smat.
with us-INST NEG go-INF(-ACC) may-2SG
    You do not have to go with us. (you may "not-go")

Verbs from Nouns
Kra Menzir Jodonin

Some nouns can be compounded with a verb-maker, like herak 'do' or sacek 'make', to form a verb:
ǩaba 'bath' --> ǩaba-herak 'bathe, take a bath'
lenk 'argument' --> lenk-sacek 'argue'
Sometimes you may see these run together as one word: burhatsacek 'confess', or separated without a hyphen: burhat sacek. Regardless of how it's written, this is a true compound and no other words can be put between burhat and sacek.

Back to the index.
Back to prepositions.
On to adjectives.