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11 Reduplication and Further Verb Affixation


In several of the preceding chapters we have attempted to des­cribe in detail how the many different types of Palauan verbs are derived. Thus, in chaps. 5 and 6, we showed how certain impor­tant grammatical affixes such as the verb marker, the imperfective marker, the past tense marker, hypothetical pronouns, object pronouns, etc. combine with verb stems to derive action verbs, state verbs, imperfective and perfective verb forms, ergative verb forms, hypothetical verb forms, and the like. In chap. 7, we specif­ically treated the many subclasses of derived state verbs, and in chaps. 9 and 10 we examined the derivational patterns for causative verbs and reciprocal verbs.

Although we have already covered many aspects of Palauan verb derivation, as summarized above, our discussion of it is not yet complete. Therefore, in this chapter we will concentrate on the three major derivational processes which remain to be described. We will focus most of our attention on the process of reduplica­tion, which involves repeating or reduplicating part (or, less fre­quently, all) of a verb stem. The patterns of reduplication are complex and often highly irregular, and we will therefore examine only the most commonly used (or productive) processes, together with the different types of meaning change which result from reduplication. In this chapter we will also discuss two suffixes which are important in verb derivation—the predictive suffix -u, which expresses the speaker’s prediction that the action of the verb is about to happen, and the inchoative suffix -a, which denotes an action or state which has just come about—i.e., which is new or unexpected.

11.1.1. Previous Examples of Reduplication

At several points in the text we have already made passing re­ference 231to reduplicated verb forms, though we did not analyze them in detail. In 7.2, for instance, we noted that certain state verbs referring to size or dimension show a reduplicated part. Thus, kekȩre ‘small’ obligatorily contains the reduplicated initial syllable ke-, while the addition of this same syllable is optional in (ke)kȩmangȩt ‘tall, long’ and (ke)kȩdeb ‘short’.1 Further, in 7.56 we saw that some verbs derived with the prefixes bȩ- and bȩkȩ- require the verb stem to be partially reduplicated, as in bȩchachas ‘sooty’ (from chas ‘soot, ash’), bȩkȩlilangȩl ‘cry a lot’ (from langȩl ‘crying’), bȩkȩsechȩsechȩr ‘get sick often’ (from sechȩr ‘sickness’), etc. Finally, in 10.2.3 we observed reciprocal verbs like kakȩrker ‘ask each other’ (from ker ‘question’) and kasusuub ‘imitate each other’ (cf. mȩsuub ‘study, imitate’), where all or part of the verb stem is (optionally) reduplicated before adding the reciprocal prefix ka-.

In the examples given above, it seems that the reduplication of all or part of a verb stem has no particular meaning or function; rather, this reduplication is a kind of “grammatical device”2 which is applied—quite unpredictably—when we derive state verbs, reciprocal verbs, and the like from certain verb stems. In the majority of instances, however, the reduplication of a verb stem does result in a significant change of meaning. Practically all types of verbs can undergo the process of reduplication, and speakers often do not agree with each other on the correct form or meaning. Therefore, some of the reduplicated forms discussed in the sections below may not be part of your own “active” speech, although you may understand them and hear other speakers use them.


Simple state verbs (i.e., those consisting of a single morpheme or meaning-bearing unit—cf. 7.1) are normally reduplicated by taking the initial consonant of the stem, adding the vowel e (pronounced as the full vowel [ε]), and prefixing this extra syllable to the whole verb stem. If we represent the stem-initial consonant as C1 (where C stands for “consonant” and the subscript numeral 1 identifies the first or initial consonant of the stem), then we can say that the reduplicated forms of simple state verbs are derived by prefixing the sequence C1e to the verb stem. Observe the examples below: 232

(1)   Reduplicated Form   Related Simple State Verb
    bebeot ‘fairly easy/cheap’   beot ‘easy/cheap’
    dedȩkimȩs ‘kind of wet’   dȩkimȩs ‘wet’
    sesȩkool ‘rather playful’   sȩkool ‘playful’
    kekȩdung ‘fairly well-behaved’   kȩdung ‘well-behaved’
    bebubong ‘somewhat senile’   bubong ‘senile’
    sesongȩrengȩr ‘kind of hungry’   songȩrengȩr ‘hungry’

As the English equivalents for the reduplicated forms of 1 show, the function of reduplication with state verbs is to qualify or weaken the meaning of the verb or give it a more tentative or less definite quality. Therefore, the English translations usually contain qualifying words such as ‘kind of’, ‘somewhat’, ‘fairly’, ‘rather’, etc. The use of the reduplicated state verbs of 1 is il­lustrated in the sentences below. Very often, the expression ko ȩr a ‘kind of, somewhat’ precedes the reduplicated verb and gives an added connotation of tentativeness:

(2)   a.   Ng ko ȩr a bebeot a chȩral a klok ȩr a Hong Kong.3
        ‘The prices for watches are pretty low in Hong Kong.’
    b.   Ng dedȩkimȩs a bilek e le ak killii a chull.4
        ‘My clothes are kind of wet because I got caught in the rain.’
    c.   Ak ko ȩr a sesongȩrengȩr e ng di chȩtik ȩl omȩngur.
        ‘I’m kind of hungry but I don’t want to eat.’

11.2.1. Reduplication of Possessed Nouns

The possessed nouns soak ‘my liking’, soal ‘his liking’, etc. and chȩtik ‘my disliking’, chȩtil ‘his disliking’ etc. (see 17.1) can be reduplicated with a similar weakening of meaning. While chȩtikchechȩtik follows the pattern for simple state verbs observed in 11.2 above, soaksosoak involves a repetition of the first syllable of the possessed noun. The use of these words is illustrated in the following sentences:5

(3)   a.   A Droteo a ko ȩr a sosoal ȩl mo ȩr a chei.
        ‘Droteo would sort of like to go fishing.’
    b.   Ng chechȩtik ȩl mȩrael.
        ‘I don’t feel much like leaving.’

Even though words like soak ‘my liking’, chȩtik ‘my disliking’, etc. are nouns, they permit the process of reduplication, which is 233otherwise restricted to verbs. This unusual phenomenon may be due to the fact that these nouns are rather like state verbs in meaning—that is, liking or disliking something is a kind of “state of mind”. Interestingly enough, the possessed nouns under discussion translate into English most naturally as verbs—i.e., soak ‘I like…’, chȩtil ‘he dislikes…’, etc.


State verbs consisting of the verb marker mȩ- and a verb stem (cf. 7.1) are normally reduplicated by adding a syllable of the form C1e. This involves the same pattern as that observed in 11.2 above, except that the verb marker prefix remains at the beginning of the word. A weakening of meaning is also involved, as in the following examples:

(4)   Reduplicated Form   Related State Verb in mȩ-
    mȩtetongakl ‘fairly tall’   mȩtongakl ‘tall’
    mȩkekekad ‘kind of itchy’   mȩkekad ‘itchy’
    mȩchechȩsa ‘kind of busy’   mȩchȩsa ‘busy’
    mȩsesulaul ‘kind of sleepy’   mȩsulaul ‘sleepy’
    mȩchechuu ‘fairly shady’   mȩchuu ‘shady’
    mȩleliliut ‘fairly thin’   mȩliliut ‘thin’
    mȩdedȩnge ‘be somewhat fam­iliar with’   mȩdȩnge ‘know’
    mȩtetitur ‘be rather unfam­iliar with’   mȩtitur ‘not know how (to), not be capable of’

A few intransitive state or action verbs which contain the metathesizcd verb marker after the initial consonant of the stem (cf. 6.2) follow the same rule of adding a reduplicated syllable of the form C1e. In these cases, however, the metathesized verb marker remains within the stem, as in the examples below:

(5)   Reduplicated Form   Related State Verb With  Metathesized Verb Marker
    sesmechȩr ‘kind of sick’   smechȩr ‘sick’
    sesmau ‘sort of used to’   smau ‘used to’
    chechuarm ‘sort of suffer’   chuarm ‘suffer’

The sentences below illustrate the use of the reduplicated forms of 4 and 5: 234

(6)   a.   A Droteo a ko ȩr a mȩchechȩsa mȩ ng diak lsȩbȩchel ȩl mong.
        ‘Droteo is rather busy, so he can’t go.’
    b.   Ak ko ȩr a mȩsesulaul mȩ ak mochu6 mȩchiuaiu.
        ‘I’m kind of sleepy, so I’ll be going to bed.’
    c.   A dȩlal a di sesmechȩr mȩ ng diak loureor ȩr a sers.
        ‘His mother is kind of sick, so she’s not working in the garden.’


Some derived state verbs containing both the resulting state infix -(ȩ)l- and the anticipating state suffix -(ȩ)l (cf. 7.8.2) may be reduplicated, although the resulting forms are not particularly common. Again, a reduplicated syllable of the form C1e is pre­fixed to the derived state verb, as in the following:

(7)   Reduplicated Form   Related Derived State Verb7
    ngengȩltachȩl ‘not well cleaned’   ngȩltachȩl ‘cleaned’
    ngenglȩmodȩl ‘not well mopped’   nglȩmodȩl ‘mopped’
    ngenglȩmull ‘not well cut’   nglȩmull ‘cut (grass)’

As the English equivalents show, the reduplicated forms of 7 exhibit a rather unusual change of meaning: they describe states resulting from the incomplete or inadequate performance of some task.

Some state verbs derived with the prefix bȩkȩ- (cf. 7.6 and 7.6.1) are reduplicated by inserting the syllable ke between the two syllables of kȩ-. The reduplicated forms exhibit a weaken­ing of meaning, as in the following:

(8)   Reduplicated Form   Related State Verb in bȩkȩ-
    bȩkekȩsius ‘rather vulgar in speech’   bȩkȩsius ‘vulgar in speech’
    bȩkekȩtȩkoi ‘rather talkative’   bȩkȩtȩkoi ‘talkative’
    bȩkekȩsȩngorȩch ‘smell rather like a pig’s house’   bȩkȩsȩngorȩch ‘smell like a pig’s house’


As we have seen in the sections above, the relatively simple re­duplicative pattern C1e accounts for the reduplicated forms of quite a few Palauan state verbs. There are some state verbs, however, whose reduplicated forms follow a much more compli­cated pattern, which can be symbolized as C1eC1V(C2). This 235formula indicates that the reduplicated sequence is composed of two syllables: the first syllable—C1e—is equal to the simpler pattern of reduplication with which we are already familiar, while the second syllable—C1V(C2)—represents a new element. The second syllable consists of the initial consonant of the verb stem (C1), followed by some vowel (hence, our use of the cover symbol V for “vowel”), followed optionally by the second consonant of the verb stem (C2). The vowel of C1V(C2) appears as ȩ (schwa) if the verb stem has a single full vowel; if the verb stem has a vowel cluster, however, the vowel of C1V(C2) will normally be one of the vowels found in this cluster. Thus, the reduplicated syllable C1V(C2) shows the effects of vowel reduction (cf. 1.4.4 and 3.4) and vowel cluster reduction (cf. 3.4.3).

The examples below, which are the reduplicated forms of some state verbs in mȩ-, follow this complex but quite productive pattern. Note that the reduplicated sequence is placed after the verb marker and before the full verb stem:

(9)   Reduplicated Form   Related State Verb in mȩ-
    mȩsesusaul ‘kind of tired’   mȩsaul ‘tired’
    mȩdedȩkdakt ‘kind of afraid’   mȩdakt ‘afraid’
    mȩsesisaik ‘kind of lazy’   mȩsaik ‘lazy’
    mȩrerȩngȩringȩl ‘kind of diffi­cult’   mȩringȩl ‘difficult’
    mȩkekȩrkar ‘half awake’8   mȩkar ‘awake’

Let us now isolate the second syllable—C1V(C2)—of the redupli­cated sequence and compare it with the verb stem:

(10)   C1V(C2)   Verb Stem9
    -su-   saul  ‘tiredness’
    -dȩk-   dakt  ‘fear’
    -si-   saik ‘laziness’
    -rȩng-   ringȩl ‘pain, difficulty’
    -kȩr-   kar ‘(state of) being awake’

We can see clearly that a single full vowel in the verb stem is reduced to ȩ in C1V(C2), while a vowel cluster in the verb stem is reduced to a single full vowel in C1V(C2).

The reduplicated forms of 9, which exhibit a weakening of meaning, are used in sentences like the following:

(11)   a.   Ak ko ȩr a mȩsesusaul mȩ ak mochu rȩmei.
        ‘I’m rather tired, so (I guess) I’ll be going home.’ 236
    b.   A ngȩlȩkek a mȩdedȩkdakt a dȩrumk.
        ‘My child is rather afraid of thunder,’


Some intransitive action verbs have reduplicated forms which follow the patterns C1e or C1eC1V(C2) observed for state verbs in 11.25 above. If the intransitive action verb happens to have the metathesized verb marker (cf. 6.2), then its reduplicated form shows this marker as a prefix mȩ-. Observe the following examples:

(12)   Reduplicated Form   Related Intransitive Action Verb
    mȩchechiis ‘keep avoiding/sneaking out’   chȩmiis ‘run away’
    mȩrerȩbȩrebȩt ‘fall one by one’   ruebȩt ‘fall’
    mȩleluluut ‘keep returning’   lmuut ‘return’
    mȩrerorael10 ‘walk aimlessly’   mȩrael ‘walk’
    mȩsesilil11 ‘fool around’   milil ‘play’

While mȩchechiis ‘keep avoiding/sneaking out’ is reduplicated with C1e, the other forms above are reduplicated with C1eC1V (C2). In mȩrerȩbȩrebȩt ‘fall one by one’, the second syllable of the reduplicated sequence shows C2 as b, and for purposes of pro­nunciation a ȩ is inserted between this b and the r of the following verb stem.

As the English equivalents for the reduplicated forms of 12 show, the function of reduplication with intransitive action verbs is different from what we have already encountered for state verbs. In general, reduplicated intransitive action verbs involve actions which are continued or repeated without conscious inten­tion in a habitual, absent-minded, or even compulsive way. It is very difficult to find suitable English translations for reduplicated intransitive action verbs when they are used in sentences; there­fore, the translations given for the sentences below are rather free:

(13)   a.   A rdȩchel a lius a mȩrerȩbȩrebȩt.
        ‘The coconuts are falling one by one.’
    b.   A Moses a di blȩchoel ȩl mȩrerorael a lȩklȩbȩsei.
        ‘Moses is always wandering around at night.’
    c.   Ak mȩrael e ko ȩr a di mȩleluluut a rȩnguk.
        ‘I’m leaving but I don’t know if I really want to (lit., my mind keeps returning).’ 237
    d.   A Toki a di mȩsesilil e a blai a di diak lȩkȩltmokl.
        ‘Toki just fools around and the house doesn’t get cleaned.’

In 7.3 we saw that a few intransitive verbs like mȩkar ‘be awake, wake up’, dȩngchokl ‘sit, sitting’, etc. can function both as state verbs and action verbs since they have past tense forms with the auxiliary mle or with the infix -il-, respectively. Further evidence for the dual role of such intransitive verbs can be found in the fact that some of them exhibit one reduplicated form with the qualifying or weakening meaning characteristic of redup­licated state verbs and another reduplicated form with the repeti­tive or habitual interpretation characteristic of reduplicated in­transitive action verbs. A typical example is the intransitive verb mȩkar ‘be awake, wake up’, which has the reduplicated form mȩkekȩrkar ‘half awake’ (listed in 9 above), as well as the re­duplicated form mȩkȩrkar ‘keep waking up’, which contains only C1V(C2) as the reduplicated syllable. Some intransitive verbs have only a single reduplicated form, but one which can be interpreted in two ways. For example, rȩborb ‘sit (like a man)’ has the reduplicated form mȩdedȩrȩborb12, which can mean either ‘squat (i.e., sit more or less the way men do)’ or ‘sit around’.


So far, we have examined the various forms and meanings which result from reduplicating the stems of (intransitive) state verbs and intransitive action verbs. In this section, we will look at the reduplicative patterns relevant to transitive action verbs, dealing first with their ergative forms and later with their imperfective forms.

The ergative forms of transitive verbs (cf. 5.4) can be redupli­cated according to three different patterns: the first two—C1e and C1eC1V(C2)—are familiar to us from above, while the third—C1V(C2)—is merely the second pattern minus the first syllable. It is impossible to predict which of these three reduplicative patterns will apply to a particular verb stem, and there is some disagreement among speakers as to the correctness of forms. The reduplicated forms of ergative verbs all have the special meaning ‘easy to…’. In the examples below, the reduplicated syllable has the form C1e:

(14)   Reduplicated Form   Related Ergative Verb Form
    mȩchechȩsimȩr ‘easy to close’   mȩchȩsimȩr ‘be/get closed’ 238
    mȩchechȩlebȩd ‘easy to hit’   mȩchȩlebȩd ‘be/get hit’
    mȩtetȩkoi ‘easy to talk to’   mȩtȩkoi ‘be/get talked to’
    mȩsesesȩb ‘flammable’   mȩsesȩb ‘be/get burned’

In the following examples, the reduplicated form is derived with the pattern C1eC1V(C2):

(15)   Reduplicated Form   Related Ergative Verb Form
    mȩdedȩngȩdangȩb ‘easy to cover’   mȩdangȩb ‘be/get covered’
    obebibuid ‘easy to glue’   obuid ‘be/get glued’
    mȩkekikiut ‘easy to clear’   mȩkiut ‘be/get cleared’
    mȩlelȩchȩluchȩs13 ‘easy to write on’   mȩluchȩs ‘be/get written’
    mȩlelȩchȩlechȩt ‘easy to tie’   mȩlechȩt ‘be/get tied’

Notice that, for pronunciation purposes, an extra ȩ must be added between C2 of the reduplicated sequence and the following verb-stem-initial consonant in words like mȩdedȩngȩdangȩb ‘easy to cover’, mȩlelȩchȩlechȩt ‘easy to tie’, etc.

The examples below show ergative verb forms reduplicated with C1V(C2):

(16)   Reduplicated Form   Related Ergative Verb Form
    mȩngingiokl ‘easy to cook’   mȩngiokl ‘be/get cooked (starch)’
    mȩsusuub ‘easy to study’   mȩsuub ‘be/get studied’
    mȩchichuiu ‘easy to read’   mȩchuiu ‘be/get read’
    mȩrȩmram ‘easy to mix’   mȩram ‘be/get mixed’
    obȩlȩbalȩch ‘easy to shoot with a slingshot’   obalȩch14 ‘be/get shot with a slingshot’
    obebeu ‘breakable’   obeu ‘be/get broken’

The reduplicated ergative verb forms listed in 1416 above are used in sentences such as the following:

(17)   a.   Ng kmal mȩchechȩlebȩd a otȩchel a Droteo.
        ‘Droteo’s pitches/throws of the ball are easy to hit.’
    b.   Tia ȩl sers a mȩkekikiut e le ng mla ȩr ngii a chull.
        ‘This garden is easy to clear because there’s been some rain.’
    c.   A kiuid a obȩlȩbalȩch.
        ‘Blackbirds are easy to shoot with a slingshot.’
    d.   Alii. Tilȩcha ȩl butilia a obebeu!
        ‘Watch out—that bottle is breakable!’ 239

The three patterns of reduplication observed above can also be applied to the imperfective forms of transitive verbs, but the resulting forms exhibit much variation from speaker to speaker. The meaning of reduplicated imperfective verbs is similar to that observed in 11.6 above for intransitive action verbs: the action is repeated or continued absent-mindedly or without any con­scious intent.

Many imperfective verbs, when reduplicated, essentially follow the C1V(C2) pattern, except that the imperfective marker (cf. 5.5) appears as -l-, -ng-, or -m- directly before the reduplicated sequence. Thus, in the reduplicated forms below, the imperfective marker is found preceding the reduplicated syllable but not preceding the full verb stem:

(18)   Reduplicated Form   Related Imperfective Verb Form
    mȩlȩbtub ‘keep spitting’   mȩlub ‘spit’
    mȩngȩmkimd ‘keep trimming’   mȩngimd ‘cut (hair), trim’
    mȩngikiis ‘keep digging’   mȩngiis ‘dig’
    mȩngȩlka15 ‘keep eating’   mȩnga ‘eat’
    omeboes ‘shoot indis­criminately’   omoes ‘shoot’
    omebeu ‘keep breaking’   omeu ‘break’
    omȩlȩbalȩch ‘play around with a slingshot’   omalȩch ‘shoot with a sling­-shot’

Whereas an imperfective verb form like mȩlub ‘spit’ has the basic structure

(19) verb marker + imperfective marker + verb stem
  + 1 + tub

the corresponding reduplicated form mȩlȩbtub ‘keep spitting’ has approximately the following basic structure:

(20) verb marker + imperfective marker + C1VC2 + verb stem
  + 1 + tȩb + tub

In 19, the initial consonant t of the verb stem tub ‘spit’ is deleted following the imperfective marker, giving mȩlub. In 20, however, the imperfective marker appears directly before the reduplicated sequence C1VC2 and not the verb stem, and therefore it is the initial consonant t of the reduplicated sequence tȩb which gets deleted, while that of the verb stem remains intact. The different 240position of the imperfective marker therefore accounts for the phonetic form of mȩlȩbtub ‘keep spitting’. The other reduplicated forms of 18 can be explained in exactly the same way.

Some verbs in which the imperfective marker appears as -l-have reduplicated forms derived according to the C1eC1V(C2) pattern, except that the imperfective marker -l- is taken as C1. The reduplicated forms of such verbs will therefore contain three occurrences of the consonant l, as in the examples below:

(21) Reduplicated Form Related mperfective Verb Form
  mȩlelȩmȩlamȩch ‘chew constantly’ mȩlamȩch ‘chew’
  mȩlelȩmȩlimȩt ‘keep bailing’ mȩlimȩt ‘bail’
  mȩleltȩlatȩch16 ‘clean compul­sively’ mȩlatȩch ‘clean’
  mȩlelȩbȩlobȩch ‘keep chopping’ mȩlobȩch ‘chop’

In the reduplicated forms of 21, l appears first in the syllable C1e, then in the syllable C1V(C2), and finally before the verb stem itself (whose initial consonant has been deleted).

Another pattern used for deriving the reduplicated forms of imperfective verbs essentially involves adding a syllable of the form C1e. As in the examples of 18, the imperfective marker is removed from its position before the full verb stem and shifted to a position directly preceding the reduplicated syllable. Unlike the examples of 18, however, the initial consonant of the redupli­cated syllable is not deleted, even though the imperfective marker precedes. This rather unexpected phenomenon is observed in the examples below:

(22) Reduplicated Form Related Imperfective Verb Form
  mȩngchechȩlebȩd ‘keep hitting’ mȩngȩlebȩd ‘hit’
  mȩngchechuiu ‘keep reading, read a lot’ mȩnguiu ‘read’
  ombebȩkall ‘sail/drive around’ omȩkall ‘sail, drive’
  ombibtar17 ‘keep swinging’ omtar ‘swing’

While an imperfective verb form like mȩngȩlebȩd ‘hit’ has the basic structure

(23) verb marker + imperfective marker + verb stem
  + ng + chȩlebȩd 241

the corresponding reduplicated form mȩngchechȩlebȩd ‘keep hitting’ is structured as follows:

(24) verb marker + imperfective marker + C1e + verb stem
  + ng + che + chȩlebȩd

In 23, the verb-stem-initial consonant ch is deleted following the imperfective marker, giving mȩngȩlebȩd ‘hit’. In 24, however, this deletion rule for some reason does not apply to the initial con­sonant ch of the reduplicated syllable, and we simply get mȩngche­chȩlebȩd ‘keep hitting’.

The reduplicated forms of some imperfective verbs are derived like those of 22 above, except that the reduplicated syl­lable C1V(C2) is also added. A couple of examples, including an alternate reduplicated form of mȩnguiu ‘read’, are given below:

(25)   Reduplicated Form   Related Imperfective Verb Form
    mȩngchechichuiu ‘keep reading, read a lot’   mȩnguiu ‘read’
    mȩngkekikiut ‘keep clearing’   mȩngiut ‘clear’
    ombebibail ‘wrap, clothe’   omail ‘clothe’

The reduplicated imperfective verbs listed in 18, 21, 22, and 25 above can be used in sentences like the following:

(14)   a.   A Hermana a mȩrȩchȩrachȩd a rȩngul mȩ ng di mȩlȩbtub.
        ‘Hermana feels rather nauseous, so she keeps spitting.’
    b.   Ng diak a blatong e le a Toki a di omebeu ȩr a bek ȩl sils.
        ‘There aren’t any plates because Toki keeps breaking them every day.’
    c.   Ng di soal ȩl mȩlelȩmȩlamȩch e diak loureor.
        ‘He just likes to chew (betel nut) and doesn’t do any work.’
    d.   Ngara mȩ kȩ di mȩngchechȩlebȩd ȩr a rȩngalȩk?
        ‘Why are you always hitting the children?’


Verbs which contain the prefix ou- (cf. 6.1.1) and verbs derived with the verb marker o- which irregularly lack the imperfective marker (cf. 6.1, ex. 3) have reduplicated forms, but a large variety of patterns is observed. Note, for example, the forms below:

(27)   Reduplicated Form   Related Verb in ou- or o-
    ousesȩchȩlei ‘be sort of friends with’   ousȩchȩlei ‘be friends with’ 242
    oungengȩroel ‘keep scolding (mildly)’   oungȩroel ‘scold’
    ourureng ‘miss, be nostalgic for’   oureng ‘wish for’
    okiklukl ‘keep coughing’   oklukl ‘cough’
    okȩrker ‘ask around’   oker ‘ask’
    osisiu ‘same’   osiu ‘joined’

Whatever the form of the reduplicated syllable in the examples of 27, it is always placed after the prefix ou- or o-. In ousesȩchȩlei ‘be sort of friends with’ and oungengȩroel ‘keep scolding (mildly)’, the reduplicated syllable is C1e. In ourureng ‘miss, be nostalgic for’ and okiklukl ‘keep coughing’, however, the reduplicated syl­lables ru and ki contain totally unexpected vowels (cf. note 17 above). Finally, okȩrker ‘ask around’ and osisiu ‘same’ involve the C1V(C2) pattern of reduplication.

The meanings of the reduplicated forms of 27 are rather difficult to predict. While ousesȩchȩlei ‘be sort of friends with’ shows the weakening of meaning observed for state verbs (cf. 11.25 above), oungengȩroel ‘keep scolding (mildly)’, ourureng ‘miss, be nostalgic for’, okiklukl ‘keep coughing’, and okȩrker ‘ask around’ involve the connotation of continued or repeated action observed for action verbs (cf. 11.67 above). Note, further, that the meaning of reduplicated osisiu ‘same’ is not easily pre­dictable from that of non-reduplicated osiu ‘joined’.

The following sentences illustrate the use of the verbs of 27:

(28)   a.   Ak okiklukl e le ak smechȩr ȩr a tȩretȩr.
        ‘I keep coughing because I’m sick with a cold.’
    b.   Ng di ousesȩchȩlei ȩr a Toki mȩ ng sȩbȩchel ȩl kie ȩr a blil.
        ‘He’s sort of close to Toki, so he can stay at her house.’
    c.   Ak di ourureng ȩr a taem ȩr a Siabal.
        ‘I feel nostalgic about the Japanese times.’


Causative verbs (cf. chap. 9) can also undergo reduplication. Those causative verbs derived with the prefix omȩ(k)- (cf. 9.2.1) show an unusual pattern of reduplication: an extra syllable—ke or ki—is inserted between the ȩ (which may then be deleted) and the k of the prefix. A few examples are given below:

(29)   Reduplicated Form   Related Causative Verb in omȩ(k)-
    omȩkekȩsiu ‘roughly copy’   omȩkȩsiu ‘compare, copy’ 243
    omȩkikdakt ‘frighten…a little’   omȩkdakt ‘frighten’
    omkiksau ‘sort of make… used to’   omȩksau ‘make…used to’

Causative verbs derived with the prefix ol(ȩ)- (cf. 9.2.2) have reduplicated forms which follow the familiar patterns C1e or C1eC1V(C2). The reduplicated portion is added after the causative prefix, as in the following examples:

(30)   Reduplicated Form   Related Causative Verb in ol(ȩ)-
    oltetȩrau ‘sell a little at a time’   oltȩrau ‘sell’
    oltetȩbȩtobȩd ‘keep taking out’   oltobȩd ‘take out’
    olȩkekȩrkar ‘keep trying to wake up (gently)’   olȩkar ‘wake up’
    oltetȩmȩtom ‘keep poking out’   oltom ‘poke out’

As the English equivalents for the reduplicated forms in 29 and 30 show, the function of reduplication seems to differ ac­cording to whether the related causative verb is prefixed with omȩ(k)- or ol(ȩ)-. In the former case, the reduplicated form in­volves a weaker or more tentative connotation, while in the latter case, the reduplicated form involves a repetitive meaning. The following sentences illustrate the use of the above reduplicated causative verbs:

(31)   a.   A Toki a omȩkekȩsiu ȩr a bilel ȩr a bilel a Hermana.
        ‘Toki is making her dress roughly like Hermana’s.’
    b.   Ak di oltetȩrau a iasai e mȩchȩrar a mlik.
        ‘I’m just selling vegetables a little at a time and then I’ll (be able to) buy my car.’
    c.   A ngikȩl a oltetȩmȩtom ȩr a mȩdal ȩr a bad.
        ‘The fish keeps poking his head out of the coral.’


As we saw in 10.2.3, ex. 12, some reciprocal verbs exhibit an optional reduplicated syllable. The majority of speakers cannot recognize any difference in meaning between the reduplicated and non-reduplicated forms of reciprocal verbs; therefore, only a single English gloss is provided for the examples below: 244

(32)   Reduplicated Form   Related Reciprocal Verb
    kadȩkdakt   kȩdakt ‘fear each other’
    kasusuub   kȩsuub ‘imitate each other’
    kasisiik   kȩsiik ‘look for each other’
    karuruul   kȩruul ‘make..for each other, protect each other’
    kakȩrker   kȩker, kaker ‘ask each other’

In the examples of 32, the reduplicated syllable C1V(C2) is added after the reciprocal prefix ka-.


There are many Palauan words—mostly state verbs—whose phonetic form leads us to suspect that they were once derived by processes of reduplication. At earlier stages of the Palauan language, reduplication was probably even more widespread than it is today. Over a long period of time, many words which had originally been derived by reduplication gradually changed in form and meaning. As a result, we have quite a few words today which contain “fossilized” remains of reduplication which many Palauan speakers do not even recognize.

Among simple state verbs, the following seem to contain fossilized reduplicated portions, which we have italicized:

(33)   kikiongȩl ‘dirty’   didai ‘high’
    cheleleu ‘pale’   dȩchudȩch ‘muddy’
    chachau ‘stunted, empty (of nuts)’    

A couple of state verbs in mȩ- whose stems probably have re­duplicated portions include the following:

(34)   sisiich ‘strong’
    kȩlȩkolt ‘cold’
    rȩchȩrachȩd ‘nauseous’

In 4.9.4 we mentioned some of the variant forms of the Palau­an object pronouns. We saw that the 3rd pers. pl. human object pronoun, which is usually -tȩrir, turns up as -titȩrir obligatorily in ngoititȩrir ‘take them’ and optionally in obȩ(ti)tȩrir ‘carry them’. The most plausible explanation for the additional syllable ti is that it is a fossilized trace of reduplication. 245


In this and the following sections, we will examine two different suffixes which when added to verb stems bring about important changes in meaning. The predictive suffix -u is used to designate an action which is about to happen—i.e., one which the speaker judges to be imminent. The inchoative suffix -a makes reference to a new or unexpected action or state, one which has just begun or is in its beginning stages.18 Both of these suffixes are always stressed, with the result that various kinds of vowel reduction (cf. 1.4.4, 3.4, 3.4.13, and 6.4) and vowel blending (cf. 6.3.2) are observed in the verb forms to which they are attached. Further, both suffixes require an additional -ng when they occur in sen­tence-final position (cf. 1.3.3). The predictive suffix -u can attach only to intransitive action verbs and to the ergative and imper­fective forms of some transitive action verbs, while the inchoative suffix -a can attach to these verb types and to state verbs as well. Therefore, any verb form which takes -u can take -a, but not necessarily vice versa.

11.12.1 Predictive and Inchoative Forms of Intransitive Action Verbs

Intransitive action verbs can take both the predictive and incho­ative suffixes, as in the examples below:

(35)   Predictive Form   Inchoative Form   Related Intransitive Action Verb
    sobȩku   ‘about to fly’   sobȩka   ‘starting to fly’   suebȩk   ‘fly’
    rurtu   ‘about to run’   rurta   ‘starting to run’   rȩmurt   ‘run’
    mȩrolu   ‘about to leave’   mȩrola   ‘starting to leave’   mȩrael   ‘leave’
    robȩtu   ‘about to fall’   robȩta   ‘starting to fall’   ruebȩt   ‘fall’
    tobȩdu   ‘about to go out’   tobȩda   ‘starting to go out’   tuobȩd   ‘go out’
    longȩlu   ‘about to cry’   longȩla   ‘starting to cry’   lmangȩl   ‘cry’

In suébȩk ‘fly’ and ruébȩt ‘fall’, we observe the metathesized verb marker -u- (cf. 6.2) adjacent to e in a stressed syllable. In the predictive and inchoative forms sobȩkú ‘about to fly’ and sobȩká  246‘starting to fly’, however, the vowel cluster ue comes to appear in an unstressed syllable. Here, just as in the case of the 3rd pers. sg. object present perfective forms cited in 6.3.2, the metathesized verb marker -u-blends with the following e in an unstressed syl­lable to give the vowel o. (Recall that the vowel triangle shows o to be phonetically halfway between u and e). The same pheno­menon accounts for the predictive and inchoative forms of lmangȩl ‘cry’, except that the metathesized verb marker -m- first changes to -u- in an unstressed syllable (cf. 6.3.2). Thus, we have the following derivation for longȩlú ‘about to cry’:

(36)   mȩ + langȩl + ú   (basic form = verb marker + verb stem + predictive suffix)
    l + mȩ + angȩl + ú   (by metathesis of verb marker)
    l + m + angȩl + ú   (by deletion of ȩ)
    l + u + angȩl + ú   (by change of verb marker to u in unstressed syllable)
    l + ongȩl + ú   (by vowel blending)

The remaining predictive and inchoative forms of 35 above show no unfamiliar phonetic changes. In tobȩdú and tobȩdá, for example, the vowel cluster uo of tuóbȩd ‘go out’ has reduced to a single vowel in an unstressed syllable. And in rurtú and rurtá, the metathesized verb marker has been deleted before the high back vowel u (cf. 6.3.3); thus, we have the following derivation for rurtú ‘about to run’:

(37)   mȩ + rurt + ú   (basic form = verb marker + verb stem + predictive suffix)
    r + mȩ + urt + ú   (by metathesis of verb marker)
    r + m + urt + ú   (by deletion of ȩ)
    r + u + urt + ú   (by change of verb marker to u in unstressed syllable)
    r + urt + ú   (by deletion of verb marker)

Finally, in mȩrolú and mȩrolá, we notice that the ae of the stem ráel ‘road’ has reduced to the single vowel o in an unstressed syllable (cf. note 10 above).

In the pairs of sentences below, we illustrate how the pre­dictive and inchoative forms of 35 are used. Recall that these forms are spelled and pronounced with a final -ng when they occur at the end of a sentence. 247

(38)   a.   A skoki a sobȩkung.
        ‘The plane is about to take off.’
    b.   A skoki a sobȩkang.
        ‘The plane is taking off/starting to fly.’
(39)   a.   Ak mȩrolu er a elȩchang.
        ‘I’m about to leave now.’
    b.   A Toki a mȩrolang.
        ‘Toki is beginning to leave/is just leaving.’
(40)   a.   A ngalȩk a longȩlung.
        ‘The child is about to cry.’
    b.   A Droteo a milȩkekui a ngalȩk mȩ ng longȩlang.
        ‘Droteo teased the child, so he’s begun to cry.’

11.12.2. Predictive and Inchoative Forms of Ergative Verbs

When the predictive and inchoative suffixes are added to the ergative forms of transitive verbs, the resulting words have the expected interpretations ‘about to be/get…’ and ‘has begun to be/get…’, respectively, as in the examples below:

(41)   Predictive Form   Inchoative Form   Related Ergative Verb
    obosu ‘about to be/get shot’   obosa ‘has begun to be/get shot’   oboes ‘be/get shot’
    mȩchȩlȩbȩdu ‘about to be/get hit’   mȩchȩlȩbȩda ‘has be­gun to be/get hit’   mȩchȩlebȩd ‘be/get hit’
    mȩrȩsmu ‘about to be/get sewn’   mȩrȩsma ‘has begun to be/get sewn’   mȩrasm ‘be/get sewn’
    mȩtȩmȩllu ‘about to break down’   mȩtȩmȩlla ‘has begun to break down’   mȩtȩmall ‘break down’

You should have no difficulty identifying the kinds of vowel reduction and vowel cluster reduction which have taken place in the predictive and inchoative forms of 41.

The following pairs of sentences show the use of the pre­dictive and inchoative forms given in 41:

(42)   a.   A bȩlochȩl a obosu ȩr a Droteo.
        ‘The pigeons are about to be/get shot by Droteo.’
    b.   A bȩlochȩl a obosa ȩr a Droteo.
        ‘The pigeons have begun to be/get shot by Droteo.’
(43)   a.   Ng mȩchȩlȩbȩdu a ngalȩk ȩr a dȩmal.
        ‘The child is about to get hit by his father.’ 248
    b.   Ng mȩchȩlȩbȩda a ngalȩk ȩr a dȩmal.
        ‘The child has begun to be/get hit by his father.’

11.12.3. Predictive and Inchoative Forms of Imperfective Verbs

Imperfective verbs which take both predictive -u and inchoative -a include the following:

(44)   Predictive Form   Inchoative Form   Related Imperfective Verb
    mȩlȩkingu19 ‘about to talk’   mȩlȩkinga19 ‘start­ing to talk’   mȩlȩkoi ‘talk’
    omȩkȩllu ‘about to drive/sail’   omȩkȩlla ‘starting to drive/sail’   omȩkall ‘drive, sail’
    mȩngȩsmȩru ‘about to shut’   mȩngȩsmȩra ‘start­ing to shut’   mȩngȩsimȩr ‘shut’
    omrȩchu ‘about to spear’   omrȩcha ‘starting to spear’   omurȩch ‘spear’
    mȩlȩchȩlbu ‘about to wash’   mȩlȩchȩlba ‘start­ing to wash’   mȩlȩcholb ‘wash’

In addition to rules of vowel reduction and vowel cluster re­duction, a rule of vowel deletion (cf. 3.4.1) affects the predictive and inchoative forms in 44. Can you tell which rule applies where?

Some sentence pairs containing the predictive and incho­ative forms of 44 are given below:

(45)   a.   A Droteo a mȩlȩkingu ȩr a dȩmal a Toki ȩl kirel a chȩbȩ­chiiȩlir.
        ‘Droteo is about to talk to Toki’s father about their mar­riage.’
    b.   A Droteo a mȩlȩkinga ȩr a dȩmal a Toki ȩl kirel a chȩbȩ-chiiȩlir.
        ‘Droteo has started talking to Toki’s father about their mar­riage.’
(46)   a.   A Toki a mȩlȩchȩlbu ȩr a rȩngalȩk.
        ‘Toki is about to bathe the children.’
    b.   A Toki a mȩlȩchȩlba ȩr a rȩngalȩk.
        ‘Toki has begun to bathe the children.’

The sentences below contain further examples of the in­choative forms of imperfective verbs. The addition of koȩl20 ‘just’ reinforces the connotation that a new or unexpected action has taken place in the very recent past. 249

(47)   a.   Ak ko ȩl mȩsuba e le ng mla mȩrael a Droteo.
        ‘I’ve finally gotten to study because Droteo has left.’
    b.   Ak ko ȩl rongȩsa a chais.
        ‘I’ve just heard the news.’
    c.   A Droteo a ko ȩl omȩchȩla ȩl mȩsuub.
        ‘Droteo has just begun to study.’

11.12.4. Inchoative Forms of State Verbs

State verbs can generally take the inchoative suffix -a, although they cannot take the predictive suffix -u. The function of -a with state verbs is to show that a change of state is in progress; in most cases, the state in question is unwanted and therefore unexpected. Observe the following examples:

(48)   Inchoative Form   Related State Verb
    mȩkȩlȩkȩlta ‘getting cold’   mȩkȩlȩkolt ‘cold’
    mȩkelda ‘getting warm’   mȩkeald ‘warm’
    songȩrȩngȩra ‘getting hungry’   songȩrengȩr ‘hungry’
    kikȩngȩla ‘getting dirty’   kikiongȩl ‘dirty’
    mȩrȩngȩla ‘getting sore’   mȩringȩl ‘sore’
    mȩchȩrȩchȩra ‘getting salty’   mȩchȩrochȩr ‘salty’
    sochȩra ‘getting sick’   smechȩr ‘sick’
    bȩrȩlma ‘getting watery/flat-tasting’   bȩralm ‘watery, flat-tasting’
    mȩdȩkta ‘becoming frightened’   mȩdakt ‘afraid’
    mȩrka ‘getting ripe’   marȩk ‘ripe’
    mȩkȩrȩnga21 ‘waking up’   mȩkar ‘awake’
    klunga22 ‘getting big’   klou ‘big’
    ungia23 ‘becoming good, improving’   ungil ‘good’
    chȩlla ‘getting rainy’   chull ‘rainy’

Some state verbs take -o or -e as an inchoative suffix instead of -a. This appears to be an unpredictable property of verbs such as the following:24

(49)   Inchoative Form   Related State Verb
    mȩde ‘starting to die’   mad ‘dead’
    dȩchȩro ‘standing up (process)’   dȩchor ‘stand’
    mȩchȩde ‘getting shallow’   mȩched ‘shallow’
    doknge ‘getting together’   dmak ‘together’
    mȩkngte ‘getting bad, worsening’   mȩkngit ‘bad’ 250

The following sentences illustrate the use of the inchoative verbs listed in 48 and 49:

(50)   a.   Tia ȩl delmȩrab a kmal mȩkeldang.
        ‘This room is getting very warm.’
    b.   A chimak a kikȩngȩla mȩ ng kirek ȩl mo mȩlȩbal.
        ‘My hands are getting dirty, so I’ve got to wash them.’
    c.   A ngalȩk a mȩkȩrȩnga ȩr a chȩrrodȩch.
        ‘The child is waking up because of the noise.’
    d.   A bdȩluk a mȩrȩngȩlang.
        ‘I’m getting a headache.’
    e.   A kall a {mȩchȩrȩchȩrang/bȩrȩlmang}.
        ‘The food’s getting (too) {salty/flat}.’
    f.   A eangȩd a ungia mȩ dorael.
        ‘The weather’s improving, so let’s go.’
    g.   Ng mȩde a ngau.
        ‘The fire is (just) dying out.’
    h.   A rȩngalȩk a doknge a rȩngrir.
        ‘The children are starting to get along with each other.’
    i.   Ng chȩlla mȩ lak dorael.
        ‘It’s getting rainy, so let’s not go.’

11.12.5. Predictive and Inchoative Forms of mo

The verb mo ‘go’ has mochu as its predictive form and mocha as its inchoative form; the appearance of -ch- before the suffixes -u and -a is unpredictable.25 Some sentences containing these forms are given below:

(51)   a.   Ak mochu ȩr a mubi.
        ‘I’m about to go to the movie.’
    b.   Ng mochu ȩr ngii a chull.
        ‘It’s about to rain.’
    c.   A tangk a mochu mui.
        ‘The tank is about to get full.’
    d.   Ak mochu mȩrek ȩl mȩsuub.
        ‘I’m about to finish studying.’
    e.   A Toki a mochu omȩngur.
        ‘Toki is about to eat.’
    f.   A Droteo a ko ȩl mocha ȩr a Guam.
        ‘Droteo should just be arriving in Guam.’ 251
    g.   A Droteo a ulȩrrimȩl ȩr a Helen mȩ ng ko ȩl mocha mȩlasȩm ȩl mȩnga a ngikȩl.
        ‘Droteo persuaded Helen to finally try to eat fish.’

Reciprocal verbs, causative verbs, and verbs formed with the prefix ou- do not take either the predictive suffix -u or the incho­ative suffix -a. To express predictive or inchoative meanings with these types of verbs, mochu and mocha, respectively, are required as auxiliaries or “helping” words. Observe the following examples:

(52)   a.   A rȩngalȩk a mochu kaiuȩkako.
        ‘The children are about to start teasing each other.’
    b.   A Toki a mochu omȩka ȩr a rȩngalȩk.
        ‘Toki is about to feed the children.’
    c.   A Romana a mocha oureor.
        ‘Romana is starting to work.’
    d.   Tȩ mocha kaingȩseu.
        ‘They’re starting to help each other.’

11.12.6. The Predictive Word ku

Identical in function to the predictive suffix -u is the independent predictive word ku (kung when in sentence-final position), which can immediately follow any type of verb. Since ku does not cause any kind of vowel reduction or deletion in the verb stem which precedes it, we analyze it as a separate word rather than as a suffix. The use of ku is illustrated in the sentences below; like the predictive suffix -u, its closest English equivalent is ‘about to’.

(53)   a.   Ak mȩnguiu ku ȩr a hong.
        ‘I’m about to read the book.’
    b.   A Toki a olȩkar ku ȩr a rȩngalȩk.
        ‘Toki is about to wake up the children.’
    c.   Ak mȩlim ku e le ng mȩchȩde a rȩnguk.
        ‘I’ll have something to drink (now) because I’m getting thirsty.’
    d.   Kȩ mȩkȩra kung?
        ‘What are you about to do?’
    e.   Alii. A stoa a mȩchȩsimȩr kung.
        ‘Hey! The store’s about to close.’
    f.   Ak mȩsuub ku e le ng ngar ȩr ngii a skeng ȩr a klukuk.
        ‘I’ll be studying now because there’s a test tomorrow.’
    g.   Ak mȩrolu kung.
        ‘I’m just about to leave.’ 252
    h.   A. Toki a mochu omȩngur kung.
        ‘Toki is about to eat.’

As examples like 53gh show, it is possible to have both the pre­dictive suffix -u and the independent predictive word ku in the same sentence. Note further that 53h and 51e are identical in meaning.


Ng ko ȩr a bebeot a rȩngul a   ‘Droteo is rather undecided 
Droteo ȩr a omȩrael ȩl mo ȩr a Hawaii.    about travelling to Hawaii.’
a.     Lak monga ȩr a chull e kȩ mo smechȩr.    ‘Don’t get caught in the rain or you’ll get sick.’
b.   Ak killii a chull mȩ ak mlo smechȩr.   ‘I got caught in the rain, so I got sick.’
a.     Ng kekirek ȩl mong.   ‘I sort of have to go.’
b.   Ng sesȩbȩchek ȩl mȩlȩkoi a tȩkoi ȩr a Siabal.    ‘I can sort of speak Japanese.’

*25. It is possible that the -ch- is inserted between mo and the follow­ing suffixes -u and -a to prevent vowel blending or vowel cluster reduction, which would obscure the identity of the suffix. This pos­sibility was suggested to me by Donald Topping.

1. In other words, for ‘tall, long’ we have either kekȩmangȩt or kȩman­gȩt, and for ‘short’ we have either kekȩdeb or kȩdeb. Addition of the reduplicated initial syllable does not change the meaning in any way.

2. We used the term “grammatical device” in a similar way in 8.3 with reference to the function of the resulting state infix -(ȩ)l- in deriving nouns from intransitive verbs.

3. In the sentence below, the reduplicated form of beot ‘easy’ occurs with a possessed form of reng ‘heart, spirit’ (see 17.4) to yield an expression meaning ‘be undecided (about something), not take (something) seriously’: 506

4. The special expression mȩnga ȩr a chull ‘(lit-) eat the rain’ corre­sponds to English ‘get caught in the rain’. Its use is illustrated in the following additional sentences:

5. Some speakers also use reduplicated forms of the possessed nouns kirek/kirel ‘my/his obligation’, etc. and sȩbȩchek/sȩbȩchel ‘my/his ability’, etc. These reduplicated forms are illustrated in sentences like the following:

6. For a discussion of mochu ‘about to go’, see 11.12.5 below.

7. The related imperfective transitive forms for these verbs are mȩlatȩch ‘clean’, mȩlemd ‘mop’, and mȩlamȩl ‘cut (grass)’.

8. Some of these verbs have additional reduplicated forms lacking the first syllable of C1eC1V(C2). For example, the forms mȩsisaik, mȩrȩngȩringȩl, and mȩkȩrkar are all acceptable, though mȩkȩrkar has a very different meaning, as we shall see in 11.6 below.

9. All of these verb stems can occur independently as nouns.

10. The o in the C1V(C2) syllable of mȩrerorael also occurs in the possessed forms of rael ‘road’—e.g. rolek ‘my road’, rolel ‘his road’, etc. Note also omȩrael ‘trip’—omȩrolek ‘my trip’, etc.

11. The reduplicated form mȩsesilil is unpredictable: possibly the s was part of the verb stem at some earlier stage of the language. Compare mȩiusȩch ‘calm (sea)’ and its reduplicated form mȩsesiusȩch ‘rather calm’.

12. Evidence from this form and from the reciprocal verb related to rȩborb—namely, kadȩrȩborb ‘sit with each other’ (cf. chap. 10, note 14) seems to indicate that the verb stem in question is dȩrȩborb and that, for unknown reasons, the initial syllable dȩ- drops in the sim­ple intransitive form.

13. Some speakers omit C2 when producing this form, giving mȩlelȩlu­chȩs.

14. Some speakers reduplicate this ergative verb form according to the C1eC1V(C2) pattern, giving obebȩlȩbalȩch.

15. Notice the appearance of l as C2 in the reduplicated syllable. This is further evidence that the basic stem for ‘eat’ is indeed kal (cf. 6.5.b).

16. The pattern of reduplication is slightly different here, since the a of mȩlatȩch ‘clean’ has been deleted in mȩleltȩlatȩch ‘clean compulsive­ly’. The a in question is deleted in other forms of this verb as well—note, for example, the derived state verb ngȩltachȩl ‘cleaned’ (cf. 7.8.2).

17. In ombibtar ‘keep swinging’, the reduplicated syllable has the form C1i instead of C1e. This represents a much less common pattern. 507

18. The technical term inchoative is ultimately derived from a Latin verb meaning ‘begin’.

19. The -ng- inserted before the predictive and inchoative suffixes also turns up in tȩkingek ‘my words’, tȩkingel ‘his words’, etc., which are the possessed forms of the related verb stem tȩkoi ‘word, language’ (cf. 3.4.4).

20. For further discussion of this construction, see 15.7.7.

21. The extra -ng- in mȩkȩrȩnga ‘waking up’ is unpredictable.

22. The -ng- occurring before the inchoative suffix in klunga ‘getting big’ also appears in klungek ‘my size’/klungel ‘his size’, etc., which are the possessed forms of kllou ‘size’, a noun derived from klou ‘big’ (cf. chap.8, note 13).

23. Note the unusual loss of the l of ungil ‘good’ before the inchoative suffix.

24. A small number of action verbs also take -o or -e for the inchoative instead of -a. Among them are (mo) mȩrek ‘finish’—mȩrko ‘is just finishing’, omȩngur ‘eat (a meal)’—omȩngro ‘starting to eat’, and omes ‘see’—mȩsȩnge ‘has just seen’.

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