Auxiliaries are a type of verb, however, they are sufficiently different from main verbs for them to be treated separately in this grammar. They are used to mark tense (the time at which an action takes place) and aspect (the nature of the passage of time during the action). The auxiliary can be dropped from a sentence if it is obvious from context, or is the same as that of the sentence immediately prior. They are a closed class.

dynamic stative negative habitual gnomic
past qixa pi qilu taku rusa
present cani ra’u ji na ru
future lanu nagi funi hu ruku


dynamic: qixa

stative: pi

negative: qilu

habitual: taku

gnomic: rusa


dynamic: cani

stative: ra’u

negative: ji

habitual: na

gnomic: ru


dynamic: lanu

stative: nagi

negative: funi

habitual: hu

gnomic: ruku

Auxiliary stacking gives a poetic or archaic nuance.

ʔusu rusarukuru lu’i fu.

.uz / wsw>w / Wi / v.

ʔusu rusarukuru lu’i fu.

1intfirst person intransitive pst;gnopast gnomic-fut;gnofuture gnomic-prs;gnopresent gnomic love 2trasecond person transitive.

“I have always and will always love you.”


The three tenses are past, present and future. In conversation, the tenses tend to mark the time at which the action began or occurred.

On the other hand, narratives are mainly told in present tense. The other tenses are then used relatively, so that past tense is used for things that happened earlier than the narrative present, and the future tense for things that happened later.

Quhu qixa dasi si’apa pada, jimuli cani janni qu, lanu haruqikanni la kiluqu.

.AV / Qx / dS / Sap / pd , JUL / cN / j;N / A , lI / hwQk;N / l / KWA.

Quhu qixa dasi si’apa pada, jimuli cani janni qu, lanu haru-qikanni la kiluqu.

3ani;traanimate third person transitive pst;dynpast dynamic eat meal and_then, outside prs;dynpresent dynamic move and, fut;dynfuture dynamic with-dog do walk.

lit.: She did eat the meal, and then is going outside, and will do a walk with a dog.

“She ate the meal, went outside and walked the dog.”


The aspects of positive polarity can be categorised in two different ways. Each of these has two possibilities, and thus there are four altogether:

episodic generic
activity dynamic habitual
state stative gnomic


episodic: dynamic

generic: habitual


episodic: stative

generic: gnomic

There is a single category of auxiliaries with the opposite polarity — the negative.

Episodic and Generic

The difference between episodic and generic markers is one of extent. Events in episodic sentences take place over a finite duration; generic ones are prototypically unbounded, although this doesn’t literally have to cover all of time.

Pannaxa cani ’ibibu. / Pannaxa na ’ibibu.

.p;nx / n / iBO .p;nx / cN / iBO .

Pannaxa cani ’ibibu. / Pannaxa na ’ibibu.

Warrior prs;dynpresent dynamic complain. / Warrior prs;habpresent habitual complain.

Episodic: “The warrior is complaining now.” / Generic: “The warrior always complains.”

Activity versus State

The difference between activity and state for most verbs is one of focus, ie.: emphasis can be placed on the event itself (activity), or on the results (state).

ʔa’ima cani duci sunu. / ʔa’ima pi duci sunu.

.aim / P / EC / zI. aim / Qx / EC / zI.

ʔa’ima qixa duci sunu. / ʔa’ima pi duci sunu.

Traveller pst;dynpast dynamic possess cloak. / Traveller pst;stapast stative possess cloak.

Activity: “The traveller gained a cloak.” / State: “The traveller owned a cloak.”

Perceptive verbs are treated slightly differently. Here, dynamic and habitual markers act as normal, however, the stative and gnomic are used to denote an ability to perceive a stimulus.

Fu ’usa gufu’iribuma cani? / Filli ’usa gufu’iribuma ra’u?

. F;L / us / <viROm / ru . v / us / <viROm / cN.

Fu ’usa gufu’iribuma cani? / Filli ’usa gufu’iribuma ra’u?

2trasecond person transitive see television prs;dynpresent dynamic? / 2intsecond person intransitive see television prs;stapresent stative?

Activity: “Are you watching the TV?” / State: “Can you see the TV?”


The negative aspect is used for actions, attributes and perceptions which do not occur. These act as the negation of any other aspectual marker. That is, while positive sentences can be classified by aspect, negative sentences all use the same auxiliaries.