Rawàng Ata, unusually, divides its verbs into three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Semantically, these are usually verbs of action, condition and motion respectively, although there are many exceptions. Some verbs may be used as either masculine or feminine.
The species of a verb is significant in four ways: personal agreement, verb ‘controls’, gender agreement, and argument marking. Verbs all agree in person with at least one argument, called its ‘control’. Masculine and neuter verbs take the subject as their control, and agree through prefixes; feminines take the object as their control, and agree through suffixes.
datta rafaringa lònangam (masculine verb)
sailor 3h-kicks pot-ACC
“the sailor kicks the pot”
lònangya moyisara kòma (feminine verb)
“the pot is distasteful to the girl”
“the nobleman travels by litter”
When a female has control of a masculine verb with a male object, an agreement particle must be added. Sometimes this also occurs when the object is strongly associated with a male (an inalienable possession, or a tool, for instance).
datta rafaringa kòman
“the sailor kicks the girl”
kòma kirafaringa dattam
“the girl kicks the sailor”
The marking of agreements for the different species is/will be described elsewhere in more detail, but this table may be of assistance as a summary:
|Subject||Object||Subject||Object||Subject||Object||Subject||Direct Object||Indirect Object|
Note: “Middle” indicates verbs that are not distinguished with respect to transitivity. Bolding marks the control of the verb.