User:Erimeyz/Beginners' Guide: Lesson Six - Verb Tenses

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Note: This beginner's guide is a work in progress. There is still a lot to be done before it gets released. Feedback from everyone is welcome, including from beginners and experienced Na'vi learners. Please add your comments on the Beginners' Guide talk page, or post to one of the Beginners' Guide threads on the Learn Na'vi forum (such as the Letters and Sounds thread), or send a forum PM to Erimeyz.

[Introductory text goes here, maybe]

All This Has Happened Before

Consider the following sentences:

Neytiri hahaw. Neytiri sleeps.
Neytiri hamahaw. Neytiri slept.
Swirä tul. The creature runs.
Swirä tamul. The creature ran.
Tsu'teyìl swirät taron. Tsu'tey hunts the creature.
Tsu'teyìl swirät tamaron. Tsu'tey hunted the creature.

The second sentence in each pair is in the past tense. More precisely, it's the verb that's in the past tense: slept, ran, hunted. To put a verb in the past tense, Na'vi does something unusual: it uses infixes, which just means that it adds something in the middle of the verb instead of at the beginning or end. The infix here is <am>. (Note: infixes are sometimes written with angle brackets like these <> around them, just to make it clear that they are infixes and not suffixes like -it or prefixes like ay-.)

We'll explain exactly where in the middle of the verb <am> goes, but for now just look at some examples:

eyk lead
ameyk led
rol sing
ramol sang
zong save
zamong saved
yur wash
yamur washed
lonu release
lamonu released
kurakx drive out
kamurakx drove out
pähem arrive
pamähem arrived
teswotìng grant
teswamotìng granted
kllkulat dig up
kllkamulat dug up

Here's the rule: for verbs with one syllable, the past tense infix <am> is inserted immediately in front of the vowel in that syllable; for verbs with two or more syllables it is inserted immediately in front of the vowel in the second-to-last syllable.

Read that rule again, carefully, then go back through the list of verbs above and see how it applies to each one.

Got it? Good! On to the future!

All This Will Happen Again