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Infinitive and Subjunctive plus Imperative in Ateso

Formation of the infinitive:

The infinitive is formed by adding the prefix ai– or a– (occasionally ei– ) to the start of the verb. As a general rule, start of a syllable take ai-:

  1. Ailip — to ask 
  2. Aiduk — to build

Verbs of more than one syllable in the root take a– as infinitive prefix in the ko class and ai– in the ki class:

  1. Amoun — to look for 
  2. Adukokin — to build for someone
  3. Aimurokin—to forget                    
  4. Aidareun — to wait for

There are, however, a number of simple one syllable roots which take the prefix a-:

  1. Amin — to love 
  2. amej — to hunt

Some verbs add the prefix to the perfect (-it) tense instead of to the root: E.g. Alosit — to go                                    

                                                                                                                             Akerit — to run, to fear

The infinitive form of all verbs is given in the vocabularies.

Uses of the infinitive:

As in English the infinitive is used after certain verbs, particularly verbs expressing ability or desire, to explain or to amplify the meaning of the verb:

  1. Akoto ainyam — I want to eat
  2. Elosi ainyam — He/she is going to eat

It may be used after another verb to indicate purpose:

  1. Alosi eong oiduka agwel amunyu. — I am going to the shop to buy salt.

The infinitive form of a verb may be used after the same verb for emphasis:

  1. Kolot alosit — Just go / Simply go

The infinitive may be used as a noun:

  1. Ejok ainyam —- Eating is good./ It is good to eat.

The infinitive may be used to express an action just completed now or in the past:

  1. Aanyun napena — He/she has just seen it now.
  2. Aanyun ngipengin — He/she/they just saw it.

This use is not confined to one person. The above example could mean “you have just seen it” or “we just saw it”, according to the context.

Formation of the subjunctive/imperative:

The subjunctive/imperative personal prefixes are ka, in the first person singular and plural and ko in all other persons in ko verbs. In ki class verbs they are ke in the first person single and plural and ki in all other persons.

The tense is formed by prefixing the above prefixes to the root of the verb in the singular persons and to the root with the suffix –oto or –ata in the plural persons. –Oto follows roots with “close” vowels, and –ata follows roots with “open” vowels and –a-;  –oto and –ata are frequently abbreviated to o and a.

Note that the first person plural, unlike most indicative tenses in Ateso, has the plural suffixes. The subjunctive/imperative is therefore as follows:

AIDUK (ko) — to build

Kaduk — that I may build / when I build

Koduk — that you may build / build

Koduk — that he may build

Kadukoto — that we may build

Kodukoto — that you may build

Kodukoto — that they may build

Formation of the subjunctive/imperative:

The subjunctive/imperative personal prefixes are ka, in the first person singular and plural and ko in all other persons in ko verbs. In ki class verbs they are ke in the first person single and plural and ki in all other persons.

The tense is formed by prefixing the above prefixes to the root of the verb in the singular persons and to the root with the suffix –oto or –ata in the plural persons. –Oto follows roots with “close” vowels, and –ata follows roots with “open” vowels and –a-;  –oto and –ata are frequently abbreviated to o and a.

Note that the first person plural, unlike most indicative tenses in Ateso, has the plural suffixes. The subjunctive/imperative is therefore as follows:

AILIP (ki) — to ask

Kelip — that I may ask

Kilip —- that you may ask

Kilip —- that he may ask

Kelipata  —-  that we may ask

Kilipata —- that you may ask

Kilipata  —-  that they may ask

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Uses of the subjunctive/imperative

As already noted in paragraph 18 above, the tense provides form used in the past (abu) tense,

Eg.      Abu ngesi koduk etogo —- He built a house

It provides the imperative forms:

Kolot ngesi! —- Let him go! (He must go!)

Kilipata! — Ask!

Kopup! —- Listen!

It expresses purpose:

Alosi eoŋ oduka kagwel amunyu. — I am going to the shop to buy salt

It will be seen from the example in paragraph 33 above that the same idea of purpose can be expressed by the infinitive.

It expresses a wish when used with the verb akot:

Akoto nges kobu —- I want him to come.

The same sense can be supplied by using the infinitive:

Akoto nges abunere. — He wants to come.

Negative imperative:

Prohibition (i.e. a negative imperative) can be expressed in two ways:

By adding the prefix siriki —-  in front of the root of the verb; in the plural the subjunctive/imperative suffix is also added:

  1. Kolot! —- Go! 
  2. Sirikilot! —- Do not go!
  3. Kodukoto —- Build!                        
  4. Sirikidukoto!  —-  Do not build

By using the verb ainyekin (ki)—to stop:

  1. Kinyek alosit! —- Do not go! 
  2. Kinyekis aiduk! —- Do not build!

Vocabulary:

Aidareun (ki) — to wait for

Aibok (ko) — to dig

Aipany (aipanya) —- hole(s)

Eebo —- yes

Kopana —- just now

Exercise:

  • Do not wait for him. He is not coming
  • Is he here? Yes, he has just come.
  • I want him to dig a hole quickly.
  • He must come.
  • I must go now.
  • You (plural) can help me. Carry these beds for soldiers.
  • The woman wants you to look after the things
  • They must not eat meat this month.
  • I cannot ask him because he has just gone.
  • Do not drink milk.