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Appendix:Lower Sorbian conjugation

Lower Sorbian, like most Slavic languages, has a relatively complex system of conjugation. Some forms are inflected, while others are built periphrastically.

PresentEdit

The present tense is formed by inflection. The endings found in the present tense are as follows:

Person Singular Dual Plural
1st -m, -u -mej -my
2d -tej -śo
3d -tej -u, -e

There are four conjugation classes, defined by the final letter of the third-person singular:

  • o-conjugation, e.g. wuknuś (to learn), third-person singular present wuknjo
  • i-conjugation, e.g. groniś (to say), third-person singular present groni
    The i-conjugation includes those whose third-person singular present ends in y, e.g. licyś (to count)licy.
  • a-conjugation, e.g. cytaś (to read), third-person singular present cyta
  • j-conjugation, e.g. dejaś (should, ought to, must), third-person singular present dej

PreteriteEdit

The preterite is found only in the literary language, and is formed by inflection. The endings found in the preterite are as follows:

Person Singular Dual Plural
1st -ch -chmej -chmy
2d -šo (imperfective)
(perfective)
-štej -šćo
3d -šo (imperfective)
(perfective)
-štej -chu

PerfectEdit

The perfect is formed periphrastically by means of the present tense of byś plus the past active participle (or ł-form) of the main verb. It can have either a present perfect or a simple past meaning, e.g. ja som studował (I studied; I have studied). The participle agrees with the subject for number (singular, dual, or plural) and, in the singular only, for gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter). The perfect of wuknuś (to learn), for example, is:

Person Singular (masculine) Singular (feminine) Singular (neuter) Dual Plural
1st ja som wuknuł ja som wuknuła ja som wuknuło* mej smej wuknułej my smy wuknuli
2d ty sy wuknuł ty sy wuknuła ty sy wuknuło* wej stej wuknułej wy sćo wuknuli
3d wón jo wuknuł wóna jo wuknuła wóno jo wuknuło wónej stej wuknułej wóni su wuknuli
*Theoretical form, unlikely to occur in natural language.

The perfect is the ordinary past tense of the colloquial language.

PluperfectEdit

The pluperfect is found in the literary language and is formed with the preterite of byś plus the past active participle (or ł-form) of the main verb. The pluperfect of wuknuś (to learn), for example, is:

Person Singular (masculine) Singular (feminine) Singular (neuter) Dual Plural
1st ja běch wuknuł ja běch wuknuła ja běch wuknuło* mej běchmej wuknułej my běchmy wuknuli
2d ty běšo wuknuł ty běšo wuknuła ty běšo wuknuło* wej běštej wuknułej wy běšćo wuknuli
3d wón běšo wuknuł wóna běšo wuknuła wóno běšo wuknuło wónej běštej wuknułej wóni běchu wuknuli
*Theoretical form, unlikely to occur in natural language.

FutureEdit

The future is formed periphrastically by means of the future tense of byś (one of the few verbs to have an inflected future) plus the infinitive of the main verb. For example, the future of cytaś (to read) is:

Person Singular Dual Plural
1st ja buźom cytaś
ja budu cytaś
mej buźomej cytaś my buźomy cytaś
2d ty buźoš cytaś wej buźotej cytaś wy buźośo cytaś
3d wón(a/o) buźo cytaś wónej buźotej cytaś wóni budu cytaś

Besides byś, the verbs hyś, jěś, and měś have inflected futures, formed by adding a prefix (pó- for the first two, z- for the third) to the present tense.

ConditionalEdit

The conditional is formed periphrastically by means of the invariable verb form by plus the past active participle (or ł-form) of the main verb, e.g. the conditional of groniś (say) is as follows:

Person Singular (masculine) Singular (feminine) Singular (neuter) Dual Plural
1st ja by gronił ja by groniła ja by groniło* mej by groniłej my by gronili
2d ty by gronił ty by groniła ty by groniło* wej by groniłej wy by gronili
3d wón by gronił wóna by groniła wóno by groniło mej by groniłej my by gronili
*Theoretical form, unlikely to occur in natural language.

ImperativeEdit

The imperative is formed only in the second person. The endings are as follows:

Person Singular Dual Plural
2d -j (after a vowel)
(after a single consonant)
-i (after two consonants)
-tej -ćo (after a sibilant consonant)
-śo (in all other cases)

PassiveEdit

The passive voice can be formed in a variety of ways. The most common methods are to use the reflexive pronoun se, as in Dom se pśedajo (The house is being sold, literally The house is selling itself), or to use the third-person plural impersonally, as in Su pśedali dom (The house was sold, literally They sold the house).

In a highly literary style, the passive of byś can be combined with the past passive participle of the main verb to form a past-tense passive, for example Dom bu pśedany (The house was sold). The complete table of forms is as follows:

Person Singular masculine Singular feminine Singular neuter Dual Plural
1st ja buch pśedany ja buch pśedana ja buch pśedane* mej buchmej pśedanej my buchmy pśedane
2d ty bu pśedany ty bu pśedana ty bu pśedane* wej buštej pśedanej wy bušćo pśedane
3d wón bu pśedany wóna bu pśedana wóno bu pśedane wónej buštej pśedanej wóni buchu pśedane
*Theoretical form, unlikely to occur in natural language.

In a very casual, colloquial style, the any tense of verb wordowaś (to become) can be combined with the past passive participle of the main verb, for example Dom wordujo pśedany (The house is being sold), Dom jo wordował pśedany (The house was sold), Dom buźo wordowaś pśedany (The house will be sold). This practice is a calque of the German passive construction with werden.

ParticiplesEdit

Lower Sorbian has three participles:

  • Present participle, formed by adding -cy to the third-person plural present form, e.g. cytaju (they read)cytajucy (reading).
  • Past active participle, also called the ł-form, formed by replacing the of the infinitive with , cytaś (to read)cytał (having read).
  • Past passive participle, formed by replacing the of the infinitive with -ny or -ty chytaś (to throw)chytany (thrown), znaś (to know)znaty (known).

Verbs whose infinitive does not end in form the past active and past passive participle in various irregular ways.

InfinitiveEdit

The infinitive is the lemma form of the verb; most verbs have an infinitive ending in , though some end in -sć or -c. The infinitive is chiefly used in conjunction with modal verbs, e.g. ja dejm hyś (I ought to go).

SupineEdit

The supine, which is found in the spoken language only in dialects spoken north of Cottbus, and otherwise only in the literary language, is formed by replacing the , -sć, or -c of the infinitive with -t, -st, or -ct respectively. The supine is used after verbs of motion or where motion is implied, e.g. Jědu k nanoju woglědat (They’re going [in a vehicle] to visit their father), Smej nakupowat (We [two] are (going) shopping).

Verbal nounEdit

The verbal noun is formed by replacing the of the infinitive with -nje or -śe, e.g. spiwaś (to sing)spiwanje (singing), znaś (to know)znaśe (knowing, knowledge). In some cases, both types are attested for the same verb, often with different meanings gójś (to heal)gójśe (healing) and gójenje (cure).

NegationEdit

Verbs are generally negated by means of the prefix nje-, which attaches to finite forms, e.g. wuknjo ((s/he) learns)njewuknjo ((s/he) does not learn). The verbs byś (to be) and hyś (to go) take the variant njej- (njejsom (I am not), njejźom (I do not go)); the verbs móc (can) and měś (to have) take the variant nja- (njamógu (I cannot), njama ((s/he) does not have)); and the verb kśěś (to want) takes the variant njo- (njoco ((s/he) does not want)). The verb hyś (to go) takes njej- also in the imperative: njejźi (don’t go). The other verbs all take nje- in the imperative.