Wenja Grammar: The Causative

As in English, Wenja may use a specific word to indicate the causative, the construction which means “to make do something”.  Wenja uses the infinitive + daha ‘do, put’. This construction can make causatives to both transitive and intransitive base verbs.

Intransitive base verbs (verbs without objects)
                 Mu shnar sasa daha.
                 The man made me sleep
Shnar sasa daham.
I made the man sleep.
Transitive base verbs (verbs with objects)
Mu shnar mara hada daha.
The man made me eat an apple.
Shnar mara hada daham.
I made the man eat an apple.

In PIE proper, causatives weren’t created using the verb ‘to make’; rather, there was a suffix *-eye- that indicated roots as being causatives. While not used all of the time, there’s also a suffix -aya- in Wenja that can mark a root as a causative.  Check out the following pairs of words:

  • nacha ‘lose, be doomed’ ~ nachaya ‘injure, hurt’
  • gala ‘be cool’ ~ galaya ‘make cool, cold; chill; freeze’
  • majish ‘much, great’ ~ mashjaya ‘make great’
  • su ‘good, well’ ~ suwaya ‘make better, improve, upgrade’
  • drama ‘run’ ~ dramaya ‘make run’
  • bala ‘strong’ ~ balaya ‘strengthen’
  • warha ‘speak’ ~ warhaya ‘make talk’
  • gwarma ‘warm’ ~ gwarmaya ‘make, keep warm’

Of course, you can use -aya- with any noun, adjective or verb.  Just making things up here:

  • smarka ‘hello’ ~ smarkaya ‘make say hello’
  • gasuri ‘hungry’ ~ gasuryaya ‘make hungry’
  • langta ‘damned; damnit’ ~ langtaya ‘make damned’

As a productive suffix you can use this until your heart’s content!

6 thoughts on “Wenja Grammar: The Causative

  1. Reofive says:

    Very interesting post! But I don't understand the role of "Nu" in the causative construction…

  2. Andrew Byrd says:

    Ah, good catch. These sentences are from an "earlier" stage of the language — previously all sentences needed to begin with a sentence starter. I've changed the sentences to reflect what the in-game language does.

  3. Reofive says:

    Thanks! Still, although Wenja is an SOV language, it's a bit strange to have a seemingly OSV sentence : "Mu shnar sasa daha". Only the verb conjugation at the end eliminates ambiguity ; but syntactically, it's still odd. Why is it not rather "Shnar mu sasa daha"?

  4. Andrew Byrd says:

    This is also a relict of the "always have a sentence starter" rule. We liked it so much, however, we kept it. Essentially the idea is that clitics (which gravitate to the second position [the Wackernagel position] in the sentence) are 'promoted' to full words and in that promotion they're put in the sentence starter position.

  5. Farting Squirrel says:

    Yep, interesting indeed. 🙂

    Do I get it right that if you use the suffix -aya then the causative is in present simple, and if you use "daha" then it's in past simple?

  6. Andrew Byrd says:

    Smarkaka, pardan mus! Actually there is no tense in Wenja, so both formations are equivalent.

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