Wenja Grammar: hu-

Past, Present and Future

Here’s an answer to an email we got. If you have suggestions or questions, please let us know!

Wenja are very “present” and not usually concerned with the past or the future. This is also true of their grammar. Wenja has only one verbal tense. Past, present and future are implied from context and/or additional words like adverbs.

Hars gwanam. I kill the bear. / I am killing the bear.
Hars gwanam. I killed the bear.
Gashjas hars gwanam. I killed the bear yesterday.
Shayar hars gwanam. I will kill the bear tomorrow.

The past may be (but doesn’t have to be) marked by adding the perfective unaccented hu– prefix before the verb root. You might use this in ambiguous situations where it is not clear from context that it’s in the past, and where it’s important to indicate that the action has been completed: 

Hars hu-gwanam. I killed the bear.
(It’s over, it’s done with, we don’t need to worry about that bear anymore!)

This type of marker is called an aspectual prefix. It is added to the beginning of a verb to indicate how the action relates to time.