Georgian Verb Paradigm
Georgian verb conjugation remains a tough subject even for the people who have been studying the language for a while. Even after studying over hundreds of verbs, one may still encounter a new verb whose conjugation deviates from what the person has learnt. This is not to say that the verbs are irregular, rather, to state that verbs in Georgian do not tend to conform to a "universal" conjugation system like in most other languages. Even native speakers may disagree on some verbs' conjugations. In verb conjugation, there are some important factors to keep track of:
- Georgian has four classes of verbs: transitive, intransitive, medial and indirect verbs. Each class has its own set of rules of conjugation for all screeves. What makes it even more difficult is that there are numerous verbs in Georgian that do not seem to conform to the conjugation of one class (see irregular verbs below).
- Preverb. Although preverbs may have directional meanings, most of the time it is totally arbitrary which verb takes which preverb. In addition, there are many verbs in Georgian that have a common verb stem. Since preverbs are absent in the present screeves, these verbs are identical in the present series, and differ in the rest of the series, because different preverbs are prefixed to the verb stem. A learner of the language has no choice but to learn the preverb of each verb.
- Versions. The versioners in Georgian establish the language's polypersonalism. Although each version vowel has a specific meaning, most of the time, like preverbs, they have arbitrary meanings. Therefore when learning a new verb, the version vowel the verb employs should also be learnt.
- Thematic suffix. Thematic suffixes are the stems that follow the root of the verb. They are used in the present and future screeves and are mostly (though not always) absent in the aorist and perfective screeves. Like preverbs and versions, thematic suffixes are not only arbitrary, but they also determine the conjugation in the aorist and perfective screeves for transitive (class 1) verbs. There are nine thematic suffixes in Georgian, and almost all the verbs have a specific thematic suffix. Again, when learning a new verb, the thematic suffix has to be learnt together with the other elements.
- In addition, one also has to take into account which suffixal nominal marker is to be used for each verb. This is, however, not arbitrary. The use of appropriate suffixal nominal marker depends on the thematic suffix (as stated above). For each thematic suffix, there are set of rules whether the conjugation is strong or weak for the aorist series and the perfective series of screeves. These set of rules for each thematic suffix have to be mastered.
- Georgian has many irregular verbs. It is not possible to give an exact number, because there are different levels of irregularities. Some verbs have different verb roots in different screeves and, thus, are considered irregular. Some other verbs use the same verb root throughout all the screeves, but their conjugations deviate from the normal paradigm of the verb class that they belong to. In addition, some indirect verbs (class 4) are also considered irregular, because they only behave like indirect verbs in the present screeves, and behave like transitive verbs (class 1) in the rest of the screeves.
Read more about Georgian Verb Paradigm: Class 1 (transitive Verbs), Class 2 (intransitive Verbs), Class 3 (medial Verbs), Class 4 (indirect or 'inversion' Verbs), Direct and Indirect Objects, Preverbs
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