Dhivehi/Grammar

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Main Parts of Speech

The main parts of speech in Dhivehi are nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, and demonstratives. Some parts of speech will be covered extensively below.

Nouns


Nouns in Dhivehi are divided into two subcategories: human and non-human nouns.

  • Human nouns:
  1. މީހާ<n><hum><sg><def><dir> ↔ މީހާ (the person "miihaa")
  2. ފުލުހުން<n><hum><sg><def><dir> ↔ ފުލުހުން (the police "fuluhun")
  • Non-human nouns:
  1. ކަކުނި<n><nhum><sg><def><dir> ↔ ކަކުނި (crab)
  2. ކަފަ<n><nhum><sg><def><dir> ↔ ކަފަ (cotton)

Verbs


Verbs in Dhivehi are extremely complicated. First, they exist as part of a 2-dimension derivational family. The first dimension is valence, which is the number of arguments a particular verb takes. An inactive verb takes 1 argument, an active verb takes 2 arguments, and a causative verb takes 3 arguments. (e.g. "is made", "makes", "causes to make") The second dimension is the plain/honorific distinction, where honorific verbs are used when the subject/speaker is of higher status. Although verbs in a verb family are technically different verbs, they are closely related morphologically and can be derived from one another.

Another way to classify verbs in Dhivehi is by their inflectional classes. Most verbs fall into 2 inflectional classes: the a-stem and the e-stem. Most of the active verbs and all of the causative verbs fall into the a-stem class, while the e-stem class includes almost all of the inactive verbs and a few active verbs. Besides the 2 classes, there are also verbs with "nn" stem and monosyllabic verbs. Since verbs with "nn" stem and monosyllabic verbs often have non-productive morphological alternations, we will treat them as exceptions.

Since the infinitive form of the verbs does not show the appropriate vowel stem, it's conventional for Western linguists to use the present progressive form as the citation form when analyzing Dhivehi. We will follow this convention and use the present progressive form as the lemma. We will mark verbs with <v>. We will also use <pprs> to represent present progressive instead of present participle since there's no "to be" in Dhivehi.

There are also ongoing debates and variations in regards to the second-person forms of verbs. Due to the variability of the second-person form, we will not include it in our analysis. We will mark first-person and third-person forms with <p1> and <p3>.

  • a-stem verbs:
  1. ކުރަ<v><act><pprs> ↔ ކުރަނީ(doing)
  2. ހަދަ<v><act><pprs> ↔ ހަދަނީ(making)
  • e-stem verbs:
  1. ހެދެ<v><pass><pprs> ↔ ހެދެނީ(is made)
  2. ފެށެ<v><pass><pprs> ↔ ފެށެނީ(is begun)

Adjectives


Dhivehi Adjectives are not very interesting. There's little morphology associated with them. They do not inflect on case, and a few has plural forms. The concept of comparative and superlative are both expressed in other ways using nouns and postpositions. We will label adjectives with <adj>.

  1. ތަފާތު<adj> ↔ ތަފާތު (different)
  2. ބޮޑު<adj> ↔ ބޮޑު (big)

Adverbs

Adverbs in Dhivehi are usually derived from adjectives and nouns by adding a suffix. There are three common ways to derive adverbs - add "-n" ( ން ), add "-as" ( އަށް ), and add "-kos" ( ކޮށް ).

The term "derived" means it's derivational morphology. You should probably include these words as distinct words with their own analysis, e.g., މަދުން<adv> ↔ މަދުން. Also, you'll want to remove the spaces from around your tags and '+' signs. -JNW (fixed)

"-n"

  1. މަދުން<adv> ↔ މަދުން (rarely)
  2. ކަށަވަރުން<adv> ↔ ކަށަވަރުން (certainly)
  3. ފަހުން<adv> ↔ ފަހުން (afterward)
  4. ކުރިން<adv> ↔ ކުރިން (before)
  5. މަތިން<adv> ↔ މަތިން (above)

"-as"

  1. ބޮޑަށް<adv> ↔ ބޮޑަށް (greatly)
  2. އަވަހަށް<adv> ↔ އަވަހަށް (quickly)
  3. މައްޗަށް<adv> ↔ މައްޗަށް (upward)

"-kos"

  1. ޚާއްސަކޮށް<adv> ↔ ޚާއްސަކޮށް (especially)
  2. އާންމުކޮށް<adv> ↔ އާންމުކޮށް (generally)
  3. ކުޑަކޮށް<adv> ↔ ކުޑަކޮށް (a little)

Personal Pronouns

We will tag mark informal with <infm>, formal with <fm>, standard with <std>, distal with <dst> and proximal with <prx>

  1. މަ<prn><pers><p1><sg><infm><dir> ↔ މަ ("I" informal)
  2. އަހަރެން<prn><pers><p1><sg><std><dir> ↔ އަހަރެން ("I" standard)
  3. އަޅުގަނޑު<prn><pers><p1><sg><fm><dir> ↔ އަޅުގަނޑު ("I" formal)
  4. ކަލޭ<prn><pers><p2><sg><infm><dir> ↔ ކަލޭ ("you" informal)
  5. ތިބޭފުޅާ<prn><pers><p2><sg><fm><dir> ↔ ތިބޭފުޅާ ("you" formal)
  6. އޭނާ<prn><pers><p3><sg><dst><dir> ↔ އޭނާ ("he/she" distal)
  7. މީނާ<prn><pers><p3><sg><prx><dir> ↔ މީނާ ("he/she" proximal)
  8. އަހަރެމެން<prn><pers><p1><pl><std><dir> ↔ އަހަރެމެން ("we" standard)
  9. އަޅުގަނޑުމެން<prn><pers><p1><pl><fm><dir> ↔ އަޅުގަނޑުމެން ("we" formal)
  10. ކަލޭމެން<prn><pers><p2><pl><infm><dir> ↔ ކަލޭމެން ("you" informal)
  11. ތިމިހުން<prn><pers><p2><pl><std><dir> ↔ ތިމިހުން ("you" standard)
  12. އެމީހުން<prn><pers><p3><pl><dst><dir> ↔ އެމީހުން ("he/she" distal)
  13. މިމީހުން<prn><pers><p3><pl><prx><dir> ↔ މިމީހުން ("he/she" proximal)

You'll need tags for the formal/informal/standard(?) and proximal/distal distinctions.(fixed)

Question Words

  1. ކާކު<itg> ↔ ކާކު ("who")
  2. ކޮން<itg> ↔ ކޮން ("which")
  3. ކޮބާ<itg> ↔ ކޮބާ ("where")
  4. ކީކް<itg> ↔ ކީކް ("what")
  5. ކީއްވެ<itg> ↔ ކީއްވެ ("why")
  6. ކިހިނެކް<itg> ↔ ކިހިނެކް ("how")
  7. ކޮން އިރަކު<itg> ↔ ކޮން އިރަކު ("when")

Are these all pronouns? Check especially "which" (determiner?) "where", "why", "how" and "when". (fixed)

Demonstratives

Demonstratives are functional words that are used frequently in Dhivehi. They could function as determiners, pronouns, and adverbs. There are three degrees of contrast in the demonstratives - first degree is near the speaker (this/these - މި), second degree is near the addressee (that/those - ތި ), and third degree is elsewhere(that/those over there - އެ ). We will mark the degree of the demonstratives with <deg1>, <deg2>, and <deg3>.

When they are prefixed to a noun, they function as determiners. When they are prefixed to a verb, they function as adverbs, taking on a local or temporal meaning depending on the context. For example, the 1st-degree demonstrative adverb could mean "now" or "here", while the 2nd-degree demonstrative adverb could mean "then, afterward" or "there, near you". To function as pronouns, they are prefixed to the word "thing" or "things", with a slight change in pronunciation.

I don't really like the <deg> tags, but there are worse ways to deal with this. Remove spaces around words and '+'. (fixed)

Demonstratives as pronouns

  1. މީތި<prn><dem><deg1><sg><dir> ↔ މީތި(this/it)
  2. ތީތި<prn><dem><deg2><sg><dir> ↔ ތީތި(that/it)
  3. އޭތި<prn><dem><deg3><sg><dir> ↔ އޭތި(that (over there)/it)
  4. މިއެއްޗެހި<prn><dem><deg1><pl><dir> ↔ މިއެއްޗެހި(these/they)
  5. ތިއެއްޗެހި<prn><dem><deg2><pl><dir> ↔ ތިއެއްޗެހި(those/they)
  6. އެއެއްޗެހި<prn><dem><deg3><pl><dir> ↔ އެއެއްޗެހި(those (over there)/they)

Demonstratives as determiners

  1. މި<det><dem><deg1>+ރާޖްޖެ<n><nhum><sg><def><dir> ↔ މިރާޖްޖެ(this country)
  2. ތި<det><dem><deg2>+ފޮތް<n><nhum><sg><def><dir> ↔ ތިފޮތް(that book)
  3. އެ<det><dem><deg3>+ކުއްތާތައް<n><nhum><pl><def><dir> ↔ އެކުއްތާތައް(those dogs over there)

Demonstratives as adverbs

  1. މި<adv><dem><deg1>+އޮތީ<v><ger> ↔ މިއޮތީ(is here)

Pluralization

Pluralization of Dhivehi nouns is different for human and non-human nouns. It is worth noting that non-human beings with rationality, like angels and gods, would be considered as human nouns. Animals could also be considered as human nouns if they are given human characteristics (e.g. animal characters in fables). In addition, there are exceptions for boats (yes, specifically for boats) and personal names/kinship terms.

Non Human nouns

To pluralize non-human nouns, just simply add the suffix "-tak" (ތައް) to the end of the noun as shown below. However, if the plurality of the non-human noun is clear from context, the plural suffix is omitted. For example, when numbers are used with the noun, the plural suffix is omitted.

  1. އާފަލު<n><nhum><pl><def><dir> ↔ އާފަލުތައް (apples)
  2. ފޮތް<n><nhum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ފޮތްތައް (books)
  3. ދޫނި<n><nhum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ދޫނިތައް (birds)
  4. ތަރި<n><nhum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ތަރިތައް (stars)
  5. މަގު<n><nhum><pl><def><dir> ↔ މަގުތައް (streets)

Omitted plural suffix:

  1. ދެ<num>+ފޮތް<n><nhum><sg><def><dir> ↔ ދެފޮތް (two books)
  2. ތިން<num>+ތަރި<n><nhum><sg><def><dir> ↔ ތިންތަރި (three stars)
  3. ހަތަރު<num>+ދޫނި<n><nhum><sg><def><dir> ↔ ހަތަރުދޫނި (four birds)

I would leave out the <pl> tag if there is no marking for plurality. Note that many languages don't indicate plurality when counting nouns using numbers.(fixed)

Human nouns

The pluralization of human nouns depends on the word final. The suffix "-n" (ން) is used after the vowel "i" (އި) or "u" (އު). The suffix "-in" (އިން) is used after any other vowels. The suffix "-un"(އުން) is used after any consonants.

  1. ރަދުން<n><hum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ރަދުނުން (kings) *added "-un"
  2. ޒުވާން<n><hum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ޒުވާނުން (young people) *added "-un"
  3. މުދައްރިސް<n><hum><pl><def><dir> ↔ މުދައްރިސުން (teachers) *added "-un"
  4. ޑޮކްޓަރު<n><hum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ޑޮކްޓަރުން (doctors) *added "-n"
  5. މުސްލިމު<n><hum><pl><def><dir> ↔ މުސްލިމުން (Muslims) *added "-n"
  6. ކަކާ<n><hum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ކަކާއިން (chefs) *added "-in"
  7. ވެރިޔާ<n><hum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ވެރިޔާއިން (leaders) *added "-in"

Boats

Boats in Dhivehi is considered as a semantic category that includes aircraft "airplane" and watercraft "ships". The suffix "-faharu" (ފަހަރު) is used for boats, as shown below:

  1. ނާ<n><nhum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ނާފަހަރު (sailing ships)
  2. މަތިންދާ ބޯޓު<n><nhum><pl><def><dir> ↔ މަތިންދާ ބޯޓުފަހަރު (airplanes)
  3. ބޯޓު<n><nhum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ބޯޓުފަހަރު (boats)

Names/Kinship terms

Personal names and kinship terms are pluralized using the suffix "-men" (މެން).

  1. މަންމަ<n><hum><pl><def><dir> ↔ މަންމަމެން (mothers)
  2. ބައްޕަ<n><hum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ބައްޕަމެން (fathers)

Cases

Cases in Dhivehi could be applied directly after nouns as suffixes. The following are the main cases in Dhivehi:

case name ~meaning tag possible forms Non-human noun: ބަސް "language" Human noun: ކޮއްކޮ "younger sibling"
direct subject, direct object <dir> ބަސް<n><nhum><sg><def><dir> ↔ ބަސް ކޮއްކޮ<n><hum><sg><def><dir> ↔ ކޮއްކޮ
genitive possessor <gen> ގެ | އުގެ | ލުގެ | އިގެ | އެގެ | ބަސް<n><nhum><sg><def><gen> ↔ ބަހުގެ ކޮއްކޮ<n><hum><sg><def><gen> ↔ ކޮއްކޮގެ
locative "at, in, on" <loc> ގައި | އުގައި | ލުގައި | އިގައި | އެގައި | ބަސް<n><nhum><sg><def><loc> ↔ ބަހުގައި
ablative and/or instrumental "from" <ablins> އުން | ލުން | އިން | ން | ބަސް<n><nhum><sg><def><ablins> ↔ ބަހުން
dative "to, for" <dat> ނަށް | އަށް | ލަށް | ޔަށް | ބަސް<n><nhum><sg><def><dat> ↔ ބަހަށް ކޮއްކޮ<n><hum><sg><def><dat> ↔ ކޮއްކޮއަށް
sociative "with" <soc> ނާ | އާ | ލާ | ޔާ | ބަސް<n><nhum><sg><def><soc> ↔ ބަހާ ކޮއްކޮ<n><hum><sg><def><soc> ↔ ކޮއްކޮއާ

Notes

  • Dhivehi does not distinguish subjects and direct objects (nominative and accusative case).
  • Not all cases can occur on human nouns. To apply locative, ablative, and instrumental case on human nouns, non-human nouns will be used to achieve the same meaning; these non-human nouns are usually "side"( ފަރާތުން ), "hand"( އަތުން ), and "body"( ގައިގައި ).
- For example, locative "on father" would be ބައްޕަގެ ގައިގައި, which translates to "on father's body".

Definiteness

Dhivehi nouns can be definite, indefinite, or unspecified. Definiteness inflection also differs for human and non-human nouns. We will mark definiteness of nouns using <ind> and <uns>.

Definite

  • For Non-human nouns, the definite form is just the unmarked form:
  1. ދޮންކެޔޮ<n><nhum><sg><def><dir> ↔ ދޮންކެޔޮ (the banana)
  2. ކަރާ<n><nhum><pl><def><dir> ↔ ކަރާތައް (the watermelons)
  • For human nouns, some take the unmarked form while some are inflected with suffix "-aa" ( އާ ).
  1. ރެފްރީ<n><hum><sg><def><dir> ↔ ރެފްރީ (the referee) *unmarked
  2. މީހާ<n><hum><sg><def><dir> ↔ މީހާ (the person) *Added "-aa"

If you're always marking definiteness (even when there's no overt morpheme), then you need to be consistent and add <def> to all the forms throughout this page! However, I recommend against marking it unless the language does. It might be better to just mark indefinite? (fixed)

Indefinite

For both non-human and human nouns, the indefinite marker is "-ek" ( އެއް ). There are many different cases of stem alternation to indefinite inflections, for both non-human and human nouns. Below are some examples:

  1. ބަދަލު<n><nhum><sg><ind><dir> ↔ ބަދަލެއް (a change) *dropped "u" before adding "-ek"
  2. ޑޮކްޓަރު<n><hum><sg><ind><dir> ↔ ޑޮކްޓަރެއް (a doctor) *dropped "u" before adding "-ek"
  3. ބޮއް<n><nhum><sg><ind><dir> ↔ ބޮކެއް (a frog) *glottal stop އް changed to "-k" ( ކ ) before adding "-ek"
  4. ނަން<n><nhum><sg><ind><dir> ↔ ނަމެއް (a name) * "n" changed to "m" before adding "-ek"
  5. މީސް<n><hum><sg><ind><dir> ↔ މީހެއް (a person) * "s" changed to "h" before adding "-ek"
  6. ދިވެސް<n><hum><sg><ind><dir> ↔ ދިވެއްސެއް (a Maldivian) * exception to 5 - "s" does not change to "h" before adding "-ek"

Definiteness inflections are also independent of plural inflection. Combining both would take on the meaning of "some". However, only non-human nouns can take on the indefinite plural form:

  1. ބުޅާ<n><nhum><pl><ind><dir> ↔ ބުޅާތަކެއް (some cats)
  2. ފޮތް<n><nhum><pl><ind><dir> ↔ ފޮތްތަކެއް (some books)
  3. މެހި<n><nhum><pl><ind><dir> ↔ މެހިތަކެއް (some flies)
  4. ކާށި<n><nhum><pl><ind><dir> ↔ ކާށިތަކެއް (some coconut)
  5. މައްސަލަ<n><nhum><pl><ind><dir> ↔ މައްސަލަތަކެއް (some problems)

Unspecified

The unspecified inflection carries the meaning of "some or other" or "any" in negative contexts. It is represented with "-aku" ( އަކު ). The difference between the unspecified and the indefinite form is that the indefinite form indicates a specified indefinite person or thing, while the unspecified form indicates an unspecified person or thing. An analogous example in English would be "some guy". Examples are below:

  1. ރެފްރީ<n><hum><sg><uns><dir> ↔ ރެފްރީއަކު (some or other referee "refriiaku")
  2. ޤައުމު<n><nhum><pl><uns><dir> ↔ ޤައުމުތަކަކު (some or other nations "qaumutakaku")

Simple Present Tense

One thing to note about simple present tense (and other tenses with inflections) is that Dhivehi does not have plurality agreement in addition to persons. Thus, we will not make the distinction below.

a-stem verbs

  • "make"
  1. ހަދަ<v><act><pres><p1> ↔ ހަދަން
  2. ހަދަ<v><act><pres><p3> ↔ ހަދާ
  • "watch"
  1. ބަލަ<v><act><pres><p1> ↔ ބަލަން
  2. ބަލަ<v><act><pres><p3> ↔ ބަލާ
  • "dance"
  1. ނަށަ<v><act><pres><p1> ↔ ނަށަން
  2. ނަށަ<v><act><pres><p3> ↔ ނަށާ
  • "hit"
  1. ޖަހަ<v><act><pres><p1> ↔ ޖަހަން
  2. ޖަހަ<v><act><pres><p3> ↔ ޖަހާ
  • "do"
  1. ކުރަ<v><act><pres><p1> ↔ ކުރަން
  2. ކުރަ<v><act><pres><p3> ↔ ކުރޭ

e-stem verbs

  • "is begun"
  1. Semantically, first-person of the verb does not exist.
  2. ފެށެ<v><pass><pres><p3> ↔ ފެށޭ
  • "see"
  1. ދެކެ<v><act><pres><p1> ↔ ދެކެން
  2. ދެކެ<v><act><pres><p3> ↔ ދެކޭ
  • "play"
  1. ކުޅެ<v><act><pres><p1> ↔ ކުޅެން
  2. ކުޅެ<v><act><pres><p3> ↔ ކުޅޭ
  • Note: Since "is begun" is an inactive verb, when it takes first-person, it will not trigger any agreement with the subject since the subject would not be acting with agency in this case.

Emphasis in Dhivehi

In Dhivehi, there are suffixes that allow the speaker to emphasize what has been said before. These suffixes could be attached to most types of words, whether they are nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. It also highlights that word in the sentence. Although there are 2 types of emphasis, distinguishing the 2 would require specific contexts. Thus, we will not make further distinctions and mark both with <mod>.

  • To emphasize what you have said before, use the suffix އޭ:
  1. ބުޅާ<n><nhum><sg><def><dir>+އޭ<mod> ↔ ބުޅަލޭ (cat! "bulhaa" + "-ey" = "bulhaley")
  2. ރަށް<n><nhum><sg><def><dir>+އޭ<mod> ↔ ރަށޭ (island! "rash" + "-ey" = "rashey")
  3. ދޫނިތަކެއް<n><nhum><pl><ind><dir>+އޭ<mod> ↔ ދޫނިތަކެކޭ (some birds!)
  • To emphasize what others have said before, use the suffix އޯ:
  1. ބުޅަލެއް<n><nhum><sg><ind><dir>+އޯ<mod> ↔ ބުޅަލެކޯ (a cat!)
  2. ދިވެހިން<n><hum><pl><def><dir>+އޯ<mod> ↔ ދިވެހިންނޯ (Maldivians! *there's reduplication at word end before adding suffix)
  3. އަތް<n><nhum><sg><def><dir>+އޯ<mod> ↔ ތައްޓޯ (arm!)

It might make sense to consider each suffix its own "modal word", and adjoin it to the stem via something like +އޯ<mod>. Also, don't forget to remove extra spaces in your morphTests.(fixed)

Reference