Chechen/Grammar

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Main Parts of Speech in Chechen

Noun

Noun <n>

Noun Class

We use the "six noun-classes" distinction from A Grammar of Chechen by Zura Dotton & John Wagner here [1].

  • v.class <cl_v> :all v.class nouns are masculine, including all biologically masculine nouns.
  • кӏант<n><cl_v><abs><sg> "boy"
  • j.class <cl_j> :it includes all biologically feminine animate nouns and many load words from Russian.
  • йоӏ<n><jc_j><abs><sg> "girl"
  • j.class II <cl_j2> :idiosyncratic
  • пхьагал<n><cl_j2><abs><sg> "rabbit"
  • d.class <cl_d> :it includes all the most common nouns and are used for the citation form of the classed adjectives and classed verbs in Chechen dictionaries, also including
  • наж<n><cl_d><abs><sg> "oak"
  • b.class <cl_b> :idiosyncratic
  • малх<n><cl_b><abs><sg> "sun"
  • b.class II <cl_b2> :idiosyncratic
  • Ӏаж<n><cl_b2><abs><sg> "apple"

I might use something more like <cl_v> etc for clarity, though it's not that important. -JNW

Number Feature

  • Singular <sg>
  • кӏант<n><cl_v><abs><sg> "boy"
  • Plural <pl>
  • кӏантий<n><cl_v><abs><pl> "boys"

Case

We use the "ten case" distinction from A Grammar of Chechen by Zura Dotton & John Wagner as well [2].

  • Absolutive case <abs> : uninflected form or citation form
  • лом<n><cl_d><abs><sg> "lion"
  • Ergative case <erg> : mark the subject of a transitive verb
  • лоьман<n><cl_d><erg><sg> :
  • Genitive case <gen> : mark the possessor of another object
  • лоьмана<n><cl_d><gen><sg>
  • Dative case <dat> : mark recipient of an action or the indirect object and thematic experiencer of a given verb
  • лоьмо<n><cl_d><dat><sg>
  • Allative case <all> : describe the goal or destination of a given verb, theme of a transitive causative verb and the subject of a verb in potential mood.
  • лоьме<n><cl_d><all><sg>
  • Instrumental case <ins> : mark the instrument of a given verb
  • лоьмаца<n><cl_d><ins><sg>
  • Lative case <lat> : denote the source or origin of an action or other nouns, topic or theme of certain verbs and cause or reason of an event.
  • лоьмехь<n><cl_d><lat><sg>
  • Comparative case <cmp> : exclusively frame a comparative statement
  • лоьмал<n><cl_d><cmp><sg>
  • Inessive case <ine> : describe static location
  • лоьмахь<n><cl_d><ine><sg>
  • Ablative case <abl> : denote the physical source or direction of a given verb
  • лоьмара<n><cl_d><abl><sg>
  • Oblique Case <obl>: all other cases except the absolutive one

PropNoun

PropNoun<np> Family Name <fam>

Pronoun

Pronoun <prn>

Personal Pronoun <pers>

Number Feature

  • Singular <sg>
  • хьо<prn><pers><p2><sg><abs> "you(singular)"
  • Plural <pl>
  • шу<prn><pers><p2><abs><pl> "you(plural)"

Person Feature

  • 1st person <p1>
  • со{tag|prn}}<pers><p1><abs><sg> "I"
  • 2nd person <p2>
  • хьо<prn><pers><p2><abs><sg> "you(singular)"
  • 3rd person <p3>
  • иза<prn><pers><p3><abs><sg> "he/she/it"

Case Feature

  • See the case section in noun category.
  • со<prn><pers><p1><abs><sg> "I"
  • сан<prn><pers><p1><gen><sg>
  • суна<prn><pers><p1><dat><sg>
  • ас<prn><pers><p1><erg><sg>
  • сох<prn><pers><p1><lat><sg>
  • сол<prn><pers><p1><cmp><sg>
  • соьга<prn><pers><p1><all><sg>
  • соьгахь<prn><pers><p1><ine><sg>
  • соьца<prn><pers><p1><ins><sg>

I would use the same lemma for each of these, e.g. со.

Additional Feature

Only in 1st person plural:
  • inclusive <inc>
  • тхо<prn><pers><p1><inc><abs><pl> "we(inclusive)"
  • exclusive <exc>
  • вай<prn><pers><p1><exc><abs><pl> "we(exclusive)"

Demonstrative Pronoun <dem>

Deictic Feature

  • proximal <prx>
  • хӏара<prn><dem><prx><sg> "this"
  • distal <dst>
  • дІораниг<prn><dem><dst><sg> "that"

Interrogative Pronoun <itg>

  • мила<prn><itg><abs> "who(m)"

Verb

Verb <v> Infinite Form <inf>

Transitivity

  • Transitive <tv>
  • Intransitive <iv>

Tense

  • Present <pres>
  • Past <past>
  • Future <fut>
  • Potential Future <ptn>
  • Compound Future: the most widely used future tense and therefore we do not assign another tag for it.
  • Future Continuous: actually using participle

Aspect

  • Imperfective <imf>
  • Perfective <pf>
  • Progressive <prog>
  • Recent <rec>
  • Remote <rem>

Mood

  • Imperative <imp>
  • Polite imperative <plt>
  • Immediate imperative <imd>
  • Tasked imperative <tsk>
  • Categorical imperative <ctg>
  • Causative <caus>

Evidentiality

  • Witnessed <wit>
  • Unwitnessed <uwit>

Other Verb forms

  • Masdar <dnm>: verbal denominal
  • Case & Number
  • Relative Clausal Participles <rcp> : verb form used to modify
    • Tense: See tense section in verb category

Examples

  • дада<v><iv><pres> to run
  • малуш<v><tv><pres><prog>
  • мелла<v><tv><pres><pf> : to drink
  • мели<v><tv><past><rec><wit>
  • додур<v><iv><fut><ptn>
  • оьцун<v><tv><pres><rcp>

Postposition

Postposition <post>

  • хьалха<post> "before, in front of"

Adjective

Adjectives <adj>

Qualitative (standard) adj

the most common adj type and therefore do not assign tag separately

  • дика<adj>

Relative adj

  • It has the same morphological form as above and therefore do not have separate tag as well

Class adj <cls>

agree in noun-class of the head noun it modifies

  • деза<adj><cls><cl_d>

Comparative adj<comp>

  • Extended comparative <ext>
  • хазах<adj><comp> "more beautiful"
  • хазахо<adj><comp><ext> "much more beautiful"

Substantivized adj <sub>

  • Independent <idp>
  • Case & Number
  • Dependent <dp>
  • Examples
  • кӏайниг<adj><sub><idp><abs><sg>
  • кӏайнчу<adj><sub><dp>

Adverb

Adverbs <adv>

  • Time <tmp>
  • хӏинца<adv><tmp> "now"
  • Place <loc>
  • цигахь<adv><loc> "there"
  • Manner <man>
  • муха<adv><man> "how"
  • Reason <rea>
  • хӏунда<adv><rea> "why"
  • Quantifying <quan>
  • дукха<adv><quan> "a lot"
  • Descriptive <des>
  • дика<adv><des> "well"

Numeral

Numeral <num>

Cardinal<car>

  • 4 and its derivatives agree in noun-class with the counted noun when in prenominal form
  • 1,2,3,4,5 have an absolutive/oblique case distinction
  • цхьаъ<num><car><abs> "one"
  • диъ<num><car><dc> "four"

Ordinal<ord>

  • хьалхара<num><ord> "first"

Conjunction

Conjunction <conj>

  • а<conj> "and"

Plural

Chechen displays two categories for grammatical number: singular <sg> and plural <pl>.

Regular change

  • add plural morpheme «-(а)ш» to the augmented base of the noun
  • кор<n><cl_d><abs><pl> ↔ кораш with an augmented base «кор-» : window(s)
  • гала<n><cl_d><abs><pl> ↔ галнаш with an augmented base «гална-» : noodle(s)
  • add plural morpheme «-ий» to the augmented base of the noun, which is frequently used for nouns referring to animals, plants, insects and group of people or kinship terms
  • хьаша<n><cl_j2><abs><pl> ↔ хьеший with an augmented base «хьеш-»: guest(s)
  • моз<n><cl_d><abs><pl> ↔ мозий with an augmented base «моз-» : fly, flies

Exceptions

  • add allomorph «-й» to noun ending in the substantivizing suffixes «-ло» «-чо» and «-о»
  • ламаро<n><cl_j2><abs><pl> ↔ ламарой: mountainer(s)
  • for nouns ending in «-р», «а» in deleted in «-аш»
  • патар<n><cl_d><abs><pl> ↔ патарш: leaf, leaves
  • for nouns ending in historical «-л» «-р», «-аш» triggers gemination of the final «-л» «-р»
  • кол<n><cl_j2><abs><pl> ↔ коьллаш with an augmented base «коьл-»: bush(es)

Plural for PropN

  • add «-гӏар» to refer to a collective group
  • Сатуев<np><fam><abs><pl> ↔ Сатуевгӏар : Satujevs

Irregular

  • йоӏ<n><cl_j><abs><pl> ↔ мехкарий: girl, girls
  • стаг<n><cl_j2><abs><pl> ↔ нах: person, people

Case Suffixes

The main case suffxes used in Chechen include the following:

case name tag suffix лом "lion"
Absolutive <abs> - лом<n><cl_d><abs><sg> ↔ лом
Ergative <erg> -о, -(a)c лом<n><cl_d><erg><sg> ↔ лоьмо
Genitive <gen> -(a)н лом<n><cl_d><gen><sg> ↔ лоьман
Dative <dat> -(a)на лом<n><cl_d><dat><sg> ↔ лоьмана
Allative <all> -е, -(a)га лом<n><cl_d><all><sg> ↔ лоьме
Instrumental <ins> -(a)ца лом<n><cl_d><ins><sg> ↔ лоьмаца
Lative <lat> -(a)х лом<n><cl_d><lat><sg> ↔ лоьмах
Comparative <cmp> -(a)л лом<n><cl_d><cmp><sg> ↔ лоьмал
Inessive <ine> -(а)хь лом<n><cl_d><ine><sg> ↔ лоьмахь
Ablative <abl> -(а)ра лом<n><cl_d><abl><sg> ↔ лоьмара

Are you sure <sg> doesn't make more sense after the case tags? Consider the order of the morphemes here (or if sg isn't marked with an overt morpheme, then for <pl>).

Ergative Case

  • Usually add «-о» to the augmented base of noun
  • лом<n><cl_d><erg><sg> ↔ лоьмо
  • When «-о» is added to a noun that ends in a vowel, a buffer consonant «-н» is inserted between the final vowel and the case ending
  • ахгӏайре<n><cl_j2><erg><sg> ↔ ахгӏайрено
  • When «-о» is added to a noun that ends with «-a» that is generally unpronounced, «-о» replace «-a».
  • кулинарка<n><cl_j><erg><sg> ↔ кулинарко

Allative Case

  • Usually add «-гa» to an augmented base with a possibility of a buffer vowel
  • ахгӏайре<n><cl_j2><all><sg> ↔ ахгӏайрега
  • Add «-e» mainly for Russian load words, masdar verb forms and idiosyncratically determined nouns.
  • школа<n><cl_j><all><sg> ↔ школе
  • лом<n><cl_d><all><sg> ↔ лоьме

Verbal Morphology

Verbs do not inflect for person (except for the special d- prefix for the 1st and 2nd persons plural), only for number and tense, aspect, mood. [3].

Simple Present Tense

When the infinite form (citation form) transfers to the simple present tense form, the verb stem usually goes under the process of vowel alternation as below and adds suffix «-у» to the end.

  • a -> o / «a» turns into «o»
  • дада<v><iv><pres> ↔ доду "run/runs"
  • мала<v><tv><pres> ↔ молу "drink/drinks"
  • кхарза<v><tv><pres> ↔ кхорзу "fry/fries"
  • ie -> oe / «е» or «э» turns into «oь»
  • зен<v><tv><pres> ↔ зоь "examine/examines"
  • лен<v><iv><pres> ↔ лоь "talk/talks"
  • эца<v><tv><pres> ↔ оьцу "buy/buys"
  • (u)o -> u(u) / «о» turns into «у»
  • тоса<v><iv><pres> ↔ тусу "feel/feels"
  • дохка<v><tv><pres> ↔ духку "sell/sells"
  • i(i) -> y(y) / «и» turns into «уь»
  • дижа<v><iv><pres> ↔ дуьжу "sleep/sleeps"
  • хила<v><iv><pres> ↔ хуьлу "happen/happens"

Present Perfect Tense

When the infinite form (citation form) transfers to the present perfect form, it is formed by stem vowel alternation and the addition of suffix «-нa».

When stem ends with a geminate consonant, a buffer vowel «-и» is inserted between the stem and suffix.

When stems end in «-л» «-т» «-д» «-х» «-ж», they have geminated stems in stead of an additional suffix «-нa».

  • a -> e / «a» turns into «е»
  • мала<v><tv><pres><pf> ↔ мелла with the stem «мел-» : drink
  • o -> oe / «о» turns into «оь»
  • дотта<v><tv><pres><pf> ↔ доьттина with the stem «доьтт-» : pour
  • a -> ae / «a» turns into «аь» :
  • даккха<v><tv><pres><pf> ↔ даьккхина with the stem «даьккх-» : receive
  • if «е» «и» in the stem, they do not change:
ie -> ie / «е» does not change; i -> i / «и» does not change
  • деша<v><tv><pres><pf> ↔ дешна with the stem «деш-» : read

Recent Past Tense - Witnessed

It is formed by vowel alternation and the addition of suffix «-и».

  • aa -> e / «a» turns into «е»
  • мала<v><tv><past><rec><wit> ↔ мели with the stem «мел-» : drink
  • a -> ae / «a» turns into «аь»
  • даккха<v><tv><past><rec><wit> ↔ даьккхи with the stem «даьккх-» : get
  • ie -> ii / «е» turns into «ий»
  • детта<v><tv><past><rec><wit> ↔ дийтти with the stem «дийтт-»: throw
  • ie -> ie / «е» does not change
  • деша<v><tv><past><rec><wit> ↔ деши with the stem «деш-»: read
  • o -> oe / «о» turns into «оь»
  • дотта<v><tv><past><rec><wit> ↔ доьтти with the stem «доьтт-»: pour
  • uo -> yy / «о» turns into «уь»
  • тоха<v><tv><past><rec><wit> ↔ туьхи with the stem «туьх-»: hit, strike
  • i -> i / «и» does not change
  • дига<v><tv><past><rec><wit> ↔ диги with the stem «диг-»" lead

Remote Past Tense - Witnessed

It is formed by the same alternation as above but with a different suffix «-ира».

  • aa -> e / «a» turns into «е»
  • мала<v><tv><past><rem><wit> ↔ мелира with the stem «мел-»: to drink
  • a -> ae / «a» turns into «аь»
  • даккха<v><tv><past><rem><wit> ↔ даьккхира with the stem «даьккх-и»: to get
  • ie -> ii / «е» turns into «ий»
  • детта<v><tv><past><rem><wit> ↔ дийттира with the stem «дийтт-»: to throw
  • ie -> ie / «е» does not change (environment that triggers the difference remains unknown)
  • деша<v><tv><past><rem><wit> ↔ дешира with the stem «деш-» : to read
  • o -> oe / «о» turns into «оь»
  • дотта<v><tv><past><rem><wit> ↔ доьттира with the stem «доьтт-»: to pour
  • uo -> yy / «о» turns into «уь»
  • тоха<v><tv><past><rem><wit> ↔ туьхира with the stem «туьх-» : to strike
  • i -> i / «и» does not change
  • дига<v><tv><past><rem><wit> ↔ дигира with the stem «диг-»: to lead

Past Imperfective Tense

It is formed by adding suffix «-рa» to the simple present tense forms.

  • a -> o / «a» turns into «o»
  • дада<v><iv><past><imp> ↔ додура: run
  • мала<v><tv><past><imp> ↔ молура: drink
  • кхарза<v><tv><past><imp> ↔ кхорзура: to fry
  • ie -> oe / «е» turns into «oь»
  • деша<v><tv><past><imp> ↔ доьшура: receive
  • o -> u / «о» turns into «у»
  • тоса<v><iv><past><imp> ↔ тусура: to feel
  • дохка<v><tv><past><imp> ↔ духкура: to sell
  • i -> y / «и» turns into «уь»
  • дижа<v><iv><past><imp> ↔ дуьжура: to sleep
  • хила<v><iv><past><imp> ↔ хуьлура: to happen
  • u -> u / «у»does not change
  • дула<v><iv><past><imp> ↔ дулура: to inflate

Past Perfect Tense - Unwitnessed

It is formed by adding suffix «-рa» to the present perfective form, in which «-на-» turns into «-не-».

When stem ends with a geminate consonant, a buffer vowel «-и» is inserted between the stem and suffix.

  • a -> e / «a» turns into «е»
  • мала<v><tv><past><pf><uwit> ↔ мелнера with the stem «мел-»: drink
  • o -> oe / «о» turns into «оь»
  • дотта<v><tv><past><pf><uwit> ↔ доьттинера with the stem «доьтт-»: pour
  • a -> ae / «a» turns into «аь»
  • даккха<v><tv><past><pf><uwit> ↔ даьккхинера with the stem «даьккх-» : receive
  • ie -> ie / «е» does not change
  • деша<v><tv><past><pf><uwit> ↔ дешнера with the stem «деш-»: read
  • e -> ii / «е» does not change
  • детта<v><tv><past><pf><uwit> ↔ деттинера with the stem «детт-»: hit
  • i -> i / «и» does not change
  • дига<v><tv><past><pf><uwit> ↔ дигнера with the stem «диг-»: lead

Potential Future

It is formed by adding suffix «-р» to the simple present tense forms.

  • «a» turns into «у» directly when «a» is word-final
  • a -> o / «a» turns into «o»
  • дада<v><iv><fut><ptn> ↔ додур: run
  • ie -> oe / «е» or «э» turns into «oь»
  • эца<v><tv><fut><ptn> ↔ оьцур: buy
  • o -> u / «о» turns into «у»
  • тоса<v><iv><fut><ptn> ↔ тусур: feel
  • i -> y / «и» turns into «уь»
  • дижа<v><iv><fut><ptn> ↔ дуьжур: sleep

Is person/number not marked on any tenses?

References

  1. https://slaviccenters.duke.edu/sites/slaviccenters.duke.edu/files/file-attachments/chechen-grammar.original.pdf
  2. https://slaviccenters.duke.edu/sites/slaviccenters.duke.edu/files/file-attachments/chechen-grammar.original.pdf
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chechen_language#Verbs