Gotevian Morphosyntax


There are two conjugations of verbs in Gotevian: verbs in consonantal endings (the majority) and verbs in vowels.

The consonantal endings are far more common, making up a great percentage of verbs.

All verbs are infinitives in their default form:
‘sing’ (1st conjugation, consontantal ending)
The few common vowel stems (from the 2nd conj.) are these:
‘fall asleep peacefully’
‘gain, get’
‘fix, cure’


There are four tenses in Gotevian: far past, past, present, and future. Each tense is formed by adding a suffix directly after the infinitive form of the verb. Very often the suffixes for the first and second conjugations are different for morphophonological reasons.


The past tense is formed for the first conjugation with –ok:
hɛnɛn → hɛnɛnok
For the second conjugation, it is –k.
hi → hik

Far Past

The far past contrasts with the past in two main ways: it can be used as a pluperfect, indicating a time longer ago relative to the time referred to by the past. It can also be used as a historical past, used to recount stories or events that occurred in a time that the speakers wants to emphasize as “very long ago”.

For the first conjugation, the far past suffix is –in.
hɛnɛn → hɛnɛnin
irfɛn → irfɛnin
For the second conjugation, the suffix is –xa.
hi → hixa
naena → naenaxa


For the first conjugation, the present tense is created by the addition of the suffix –o.
hɛnɛn ‘sing’ → hɛnɛno
The second conjugation forms in the present with –m.
hi ‘wail’ → him


The first conjugation makes the future tense with the suffix -ie attached directly to the verb stem.
nairan ‘linger’ → nairanie
The second conjugation adds –r to the infinitive form:
naena ‘swim’ → naenar


The place and role of a noun (and, if applicable, whatever adjective(s) describes it) are determined using a case system.

There are five cases: nominative, genitive, ablative, dative and accusative.
The nominative case is used for whatever is the subject of a sentence or clause: “The woman gave a flower to her son.”
The accusative is used for the direct object: “The woman gave a flower…”
The dative signifies the indirect object: “The woman gave a flower to her son.”
The ablative is the case of means, the adverbial case, and the case used with most prepositions.
The genitive is used for relations or possessions by nouns, such as “the man’s hat, the hat of the man.”

There are three contemporary declensions in Gotevian, each with suffixes signifying a different case marker to be attached to the word. The nouns of the three conjugations are separated by their final phone; the first declension includes nouns ending with approximates, liquids, stops, and trills. The second declension is for nouns ending in any vowel, and the third declension is for nouns ending in fricatives and nasals.

1st Declension (nouns in approximates, approximates, trills, and stops, such as -r, -w, -l, etc. and -p, -k, -t, etc.)
Nominative – (default form)
Genitive – om
Dative – ai
Ablative – e
Accusative – ɛn
2st Declension (all nouns ending in vowels)
Nom. – (natural form)
Gen. – no
Dat. – na
Abl. – ne
Acc. – n
3rd Declension (nouns ending in fricatives and nasals, such as –θ, -ð, -s, -v, etc. and -n, -m, -ŋ)
Nom. – (default form)
Gen. – im
Dat. – u
Abl. – i
Acc. – ad


Gotevian follows a SOV (Subject-Object-Verb) word order. Depending on the degree of formality of the speech and the region in which it is spoken, nouns in various non-subjective cases may be placed in different orders. Because of the case system, sentence structure in general is fairly free, but some occasions require a stricter order as symbolization of formality.

In the north of Quarios the casual order of a middle-class citizen is Nom.-Acc.-Gen.-Dat.-Abl.-Verb. This is also the norm in most of Ei. Going west into former Romlin the more common order is Nom-Abl.-Acc.-Gen.-Dat.-Verb. South of Aiida Kisor the common order is Nom-Dat.-Abl.-Acc.-Gen.-Verb.

In formal situations (or in verse or literature prior to 3000 e.k.) a special order was used, generally being Nom.-Abl.-Acc.-Gen.-Verb.-Dat. This was never used in Ei amongst speakers of Gotevian, only on the Quarosian continent.


In Gotevian there are four participles: present (active), past passive, past active, and future. Participles function as adjectives, but there are derived from verbs. When a participle is applied as a modifier to a noun, it expresses the semantic quality of the verb.

Present participle

Add the suffix –ae to the end of the infinitive.

narm ‘walk, wander’ → narmae ‘walking, wandering’

siɛr ‘smile’ → siɛrae ‘smiling’

Past Passive participle

The suffix for the passive participle for verbs in the first conjugation is –olin, to be added directly to the end of the infinitive. For the second conjugation it is simply –nolin..

When used with the verb ‘to be’, the passive participle is the sole way of creating the passive voice in modern Gotevian.

All adjectives are put after the noun they describe. So are passive participles.

mikfa wɛndolin ‘the wielded sword’
hilja kaerolin ‘ruined palace’
When used with the verb ‘to be’, this creates the passive voice.
vaxlanolin varɛk ‘I was swathed’

Past Active

This participle describes that which was done in the past, but it does not create the passive voice. For 1st conjugation verbs, the suffix is –in.

For the 2nd conjugation it is –bin.
dan ‘finish’ → dannin var ‘I am/have finished’
naena ‘swim’ → naenabin var ‘I swam’

Future Participle

This could be translated into English using “about to”, as in “She is about to sing”: it is being on the verge of acting.

For the verbs in the first conjugation, the suffix is -air, or alternatively (the latter being used in a more formal fashion) -ael.

For the second conjugation verbs -nɛl is the suffix.

Derivational Bound Morphemes

These are the morphemes that cause stems to change parts of speech, such as a verb changing to an adjective, a noun to a verb, etc. Most derivational morphemes are suffixes.

Adjectival Morphemes

Some of these include -i, -nur, -al, -jal, -tas
ɛril ‘charm’ → ɛrili ‘charming’
kilaen ‘snow’ → kilaeni ‘snowy’

-nur is generally applied to nouns that have a genitive-type relation to the root word of the adjective, i.e. irrnur = “related to fire” as opposed to irri = “fiery”.

The Gotevians’ word for their own language itself, for example, is gotɛvinur ‘of Gotevi’. Take note that this is not the actual genitive case marker for “Gotevi”. To say in a literal fashion “of Gotevi”/”Gotevi’s”, would be gotɛvino.

The suffix -jal is used when the adjective is a denominalized form of an original noun-root and indicates “full of x” (where x = noun-root)

If the word ends in a consonant, the empty morph -i- is added before the suffix -jal.

For example:
rɛfdɛm ‘pain’ → rɛfdɛmijal ‘painful’

Adverbial Morphemes

-lo/-olo is the main adverbial suffix for creating adverbs of adjectives. -lo applies only to words ending in vowels, as -olo is exclusively for words ending in consonants.

Other adverbs not derived from adjectives may have any form, but common ones are: -jo, -va, and –tɛn.

Derivational Morphological Processes

Nouns into verbs: A suffix of -ɛn, -an, or -n is added; generally –n is for nouns with final vowels. Sometimes, however, a noun may be shortened first before the suffix is added, as with the first two below.
jɛttɛr ‘help (abstract noun)’ → jɛttɛn ‘help’
ɛdo ‘death’ → ɛdɛn ‘die’
kima ‘life’ → kiman ‘live’
brak ‘complain’ → brakɛn ‘complain’
ɛnt ‘ship’ → ɛntɛn ‘sail’
kinidain ‘an attempt’ → cinidainɛn ‘attempt, try’

Verbs into nouns: -a … briv → briva

Verbs into adjectives: -al … linnɛm ‘bounce’ → linnɛmal ‘bouncy’

Nouns into adjectives: -al, -nur … kilaen ‘snow’ → kilaenal ‘snowy’; ama ‘person’ → amanur ‘pertaining to people’

Adjectives into adverbs: -lo/-olo … urr ‘slow’ → urrolo ‘slowly’

Gerund into a single act: -tan … hɛnɛnit ‘singing (the general act)’ → hɛnɛnittan ‘an single act of singing’

Here, a “single act” indicates an instance of a verb happening or being done. Thus, hɛnɛnit means “singing” in general, but hɛnɛnittan is a specific act of singing performed at a certain time. E.g., hɛnɛnittanad diɛnairaga ‘she will be singing’ (Literally, “She will perform an act of singing.”)

Agent of a verb:

-nir ‘one, one person’
naeglia ‘ocean’ → naeglinir ‘mariner’
fer ‘wood, forest’ → fernir ‘huntsmen’
A similar but not synonymous suffix is –tɛm. This is usually used when the agent is a craftsperson or worker of some sort.
dɛr ‘bread’ → dɛratɛm ‘baker’
or ‘stone’ → oratɛm ‘mason’

If the word ends in a consonant, -a- is added as an empty morph before the addition of –tɛm or –nir.

Suffixes and prefixes of size and quality

-bo, -vo ‘large’
-ni, -nin ‘small’
laer- ‘great, big, important, much, many’
sual- ‘high, sublime, lofty, great’
-darr ‘long, trailing, extended, more’
mai- ‘good’
hor- ‘bad’


For words ending in consonants, -ae is the regular suffix for plurals. There is an older and more formal variation on this, -ea, which is usually only used in ceremonial contexts or in official governmental documents.
hon ‘king’ → honae, honea ‘kings’
For words ending in a vowel, the final vowel is removed and replaced with -ae or -ea:
forna ‘queen’ → fornae ‘queens’
There are some slight exceptions. For example, the word baa:
baa ‘Baa individual’ → bae ‘Bae individuals’
For words ending in –ae/ai, the plural suffix is -a:
mae ‘mind’ → maea ‘minds’
However, words of direct Baen origin are pluralized thus:
ɛllɛm → ɛllɛmɛθ
osa → osai

So the rules for plurals carried from Baen are: words with final consonants take a plural of -ɛθ. Words with final vowels add -i.

There are also a few irregular plurals that are applied to specific nouns. The following are the most common in Gotevian speech:


This is applied to many monosyllabic words ending in –l and –ll. Note that if the word ends in a double –ll, the second l is removed before the plural suffix is attached.
drɛll ‘cup’ → drɛljo ‘cups’
kwall ‘cliff’ → kwaljo ‘cliffs’
rɛl ‘bowl’ → rɛljo ‘bowls’
kroll ‘box’ →kroljo ‘boxes’


This is applied to frequently used nouns ending in -n:
lofvon ‘woman’ → lofvonmi ‘women’
mainɛn ‘lord’ → mainɛnmi ‘lords’

Less common nouns (lɛrin, fonin, sɛnɛn) in –n are pluralized in the standard way of -ae/-ea.


Personal Pronouns

fei/fai — 1st person sg.
θan — 1st person pl.
tei — 2nd person sg.
sai — 2nd person pl.
lit — 3rd person sg. feminine
gor — 3rd person sg. masculine
va — 3rd person pl. fem./masc.
The personal pronouns are declined according to their own special irregular declension. Those ending in vowels are declined as shown below:
fai — nom.
fain — gen.
faini — dat.
fainei — abl.
fainɛn — acc.
gor and lit are declined thus:
gor — nom.
gorɛn — gen.
gorni — dat.
gorei — abl.
gorɛn — acc.
θan is declined thus:
θan — nom.
θanne — gen.
θani — dat.
θanei — abl.
θanɛn — acc.

Impersonal Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns:
nortɛm, ɛrtɛm ‘someone’
ɛreim ‘some time’
ɛdim ‘something, anything’
nolai ‘somewhere, anywhere’
noin ‘some reason’

Note: ɛreim and nolai can both be used as adverbs when affixed with –lo/-olo.

Demonstrative pronouns:
hei ‘this’
mei ‘that’
korir ‘there’
lalon ‘here’
sɛnɛd ‘thus, for this reason’
Interrogative pronouns:
laizwe ‘where?’
koa ‘what?’
kion ‘who?’
kwi ‘how? in what manner?’
inje ‘why?’

Relative pronouns corresponding to the above can either be identical to the interrogatives or suffixed with -si.

Definite Article

The definite article ma is used to refer to nouns that have already been mentioned in a given discourse. For example, when first speaking of irm ‘a feather’ for the first time to someone, the definite article would not generally be used unless it was understood what feather exactly was being spoken of. It is not used for most proper nouns or when the possessive pronoun is applied to the noun.

ma can be applied to all nouns, always directly before them. For nouns beginning in vowels, it is shortened to m- and prefixed to the noun.
ma fonja ‘the book’
ma mɛnni ‘the room’
mikfa ‘the sword’ (ma → m- + ikfa)
mirm ‘the feather’

Pronominal Endings

In order to express number and person on verbs, pronominal suffixes added, always to the very end of the verb. The second option of each below (those without the initial “a”) are for use in words where the last letter is already a vowel.
First person singular: “I” -ava, -va
First person plural: “we” -ara, -ra
Second person singular: “you” -ata, -ta
Second person plural”: “you (all)” -aka, -ka
Third person singular: “he, she, it” -aga, -ga (Note that this suffix itself is not marked for gender.)
Third person plural”: “they” -ama, -ma
There are also three dual pronominal suffixes, wherein the persons are the same as those of the plural and singular, but here the number is specifically two.
Third person dual: “they (two)” -aba, -ba
Second person dual: “you (two)” -ala, -la
First person dual: “we (two)” -asa, -sa

Gerunds and Abstract Nouns

The regular suffix for creating abstract nouns from verbs and adjectives is -ɛl
ninlain ‘sad’ → ninlainɛl ‘sadness, sorrow’
aidoia ‘joyful’ → aidoiɛl ‘happiness’
-ɛl has the equivalent of English “-ness”, in some cases.
-ɛl can also make a gerund from a verb:
brakɛn ‘complain’ → brakɛnɛl
dɛrnM ‘cook’ → dɛrnɛl ‘cooking’

If there is a vowel other than i the end of a word, it is removed before adding this suffix.

Imperative Mode

The imperative mode is used for commands and hortative clauses. There are different imperative morphemes depending on the person and number of the addressee(s). These morphemes are suffixed to the infinitive form of the verb.

Addressing the 2nd person singular, addition of -um.
kai ‘run’
kaium ‘run!’
Addressing the 2nd person plural, addition of -umna.
kaiumna ‘run, you guys!’
1st person singular, addition of -ɛŋga.
kaiɛŋga ‘let me run!’
1st person plural, addition of -ɛlka.
kaiɛlka ‘let’s run!’

Subjunctive Mode

The subjunctive mode expresses that which is not part of reality. This could be a wish/desire/regret, a contrafactual conditional, an obligation or necessity, or even a statement of something that is possible but improbable.

The different conjugations can be morphologically marked with a subjunctive morpheme. For the 1st conjugation, the marker is either -min- or -goi-. The difference between these markers is degree of improbability. If one means to indicate that there is some lesser degree of improbability of the verb’s reality, -min- is used. -goi- indicates a comparatively great degree of improbability. In the case of hortative clauses (‘let it be that…’), using -goi- implies that the probability of the verb actually happening is relatively very small.

The subjunctive mode can be used in conjunction with several verbs that relate specifically to ideas of irrealis:
sas ‘should, ought’ (obligation)
moi ‘can; could’ (ability; probability)
hallɛn ‘be likely’ (probability)
These are used with the infinitive of another verb, which takes no other subject, sharing the subject of the auxiliary.
sasva kai kall ‘I should run now’
fe θenominaga, moiga van lalon kall ‘if she wants, she could come here now’

Note: past and future tense of all the above verbs are formed with -oθ and -ie being added as suffixes. moi is also frequently used in the indicative mode.

Relative clauses

These are created usually with the word kjɛl which covers all relative pronouns. It is declined like all other nouns and pronouns of the first declension. The relative clause generally precedes the main clause.
ma lofvon kjɛl aidoiɛnoga ‘the woman who is laughing’
ma lofvonad kjɛlɛn aidoiɛnoga irfɛnova ‘I see the woman who is laughing’

The relative clause refers back to the antecedent, in this case, the subject. Sometimes in colloquial speech kɛ is used.

The Verb ‘To Be’

The verb ‘to be’; is highly irregular, being conjugated unlike any other verb in Gotevian, although it is not considered suppletive, but rather has its own forms of conjugation.

Infinitive: θita (to be)

Present tense:
lar – it is
mar – we are
sar – they are
kar – you are
nar – you (pl.) are
var – I am
Future tense:
lael – it will be
mael – we will be
sael – they will be
kael – you will be
nael – you (pl.) will be
vael – I will be
Past tense:
Far past: