Lesson 3 — Doing things to stuff.

So far we've used only intransitive verbs, talking about how someone is doing something but not about how they're doing something *to* anything. gjâ-zym-byn has several different postpositions for marking the object of a verb, depending on exactly how it's logically related to the action of the verb.

swyŋ sin tyn-van kyl.
The box is on the desk.

swyŋ son kyl ĥy-i tyn-zô.
I put the box onto the desk.

kjĭ ĥy-i vâ-oŋ-zô râm.
The cat eats the mouse.

{ĥy-i} is one of the most common postpositions, marking the *patient* of a sentence; that is, a thing that already existed before the action described by the sentence, and which is physically affected in some way by that action.

Note also the difference between {tyn-van}, to be in a place, and {tyn-zô}, to put in place. There are a fair number of stems for which the {-van} verb is intransitive and the {-zô} verb is transitive.

Not all verbs involve physically affecting their objects:

num kâ-i rĭm-zô râm.
The cat is watching the wren.

râm pe num kâ-i rĭm-van.
I see the cat and the wren.

twâ-cu kâ-i lju-zô.
I am reading a book.

For objects of verbs of thinking, perception and feeling, we use the postposition {kâ-i}. With some verbs like this, the use of {-van} or {-zô} shows whether the perception is deliberate or just happens — like the difference between "see" and "look, watch, observe" here.


tĭw comfy chair
tĭw-mwĭl bed
kyl box, jar, bottle; any rigid container
pwĭm water
twâ-cu book, written work
tyn-zô to put in place
rĭm seeing, vision
rĭm-van to see
rĭm-zox to look at
lju reading
lju-zô to read
kjĭ mouse
ĥy patient, thing acted on
ĥy-i patient postposition
kâ-i object of attention postposition


Translate into English:

  1. tĭw θo ruŋ-zô kjĭ.
  2. kyl iŋ tyn-van pwĭm.
  3. pwĭm ĥy-i vâ-oŋ-zô râm.
  4. tĭw-mwĭl son ruŋ-zô terij-ram.

Translate into gjâ-zym-byn:

  1. Ursula is in the comfy chair.
  2. Ursula is reading a book in the comfy chair.
  3. There are jars in the store.
  4. There is an oak tree in front of the house.

Here are some more root words. Would you ordinarily expect to use {-zô} or {-van} to make these into verbs? If you would normally use one, what do you think it might mean if you used the other?

ƴâ walking, running; moving with constant slight course corrections
ŝum floating (in air or on water, e.g.)
ku hearing
lym smell, taste
tru finding
frâ question
jĭlm open, turned on, active

Onward to Lesson 4...

Main {gjâ-zym-byn} index
Syntax and inflectional morphology
Derivational morphology
My conlang page
My home page

Last updated November 2015.