Types of verbs
Stative Versus Dynamic
Most verbs in dothraki have three close related and often used forms: stative, basic dynamic and causative. Though verb morphology reaches far beyond these three, understanding these is essential for correct application of verbs.
Stative verbs express static state. The horse is sick, The jug is full, I know my name. and I love you. are, for example, statements with static verb structure. In english the copula handles a large number of statives, but in dothraki most of things that would in english be expressed with copula are instead expressed with specific stative verbs. Not surprisingly, then, the statives are a big thing in dothraki. All adjectives can be turned into statives, and, all in all, most verbs are in their most basic form statives.
- Hrazef zhikha. — "The horse is sick."
- Heffeof nira — "The jug is full."
- Anha nesak hakees anni. — "I know my name."
- Anha zhilak yera. — "I love you."
Note, that the concept of stative verbs is somewhat different from concept of progressive verbs. Though sometimes it might be sensible to translate dothraki statives to english as progressives, quite as often english progressives best translate to dynamic verbs [explained below], even if there is a stative available. Dothraki has no verb form that would closely reflect english progressives.
- Me drivoe. — "He's dying."
- Me driva. — "He's dead."
- In this context the dynamic dothraki verb drivolat, to die, best translates to english as progressive is dying, while the stative version of the verb, drivat, does not mean to be dying but to be dead.
Dynamic verbs express change; action provoked or actively upheld by the subject. Some verbs are dynamic in their basic form. Many dynamic verbs are derived from stative verbs. The simplest way to do this is to create a verb that expresses to acquire the state. This is done by adding the suffix /-(s)o-/ at the end of the stem of the verb, before the conjugating suffixes.
- Anha shilak yera. — "I know you." → Anha shilok yera. — "I'm getting to know you."
- Anha haqak. — "I'm tired." → Anha haqok. — "I grow tired."
The other way to turn statives into dynamic verbs (and actually also to turn dynamic verbs into other kind of dynamic verbs) is to create a verb that expresses to cause the state to an object. These causative verb forms are derived by geminating the leading consonant, and adding an /a-/ prefix, if the stative didn't already start with a vowel.
- Anha shilak yera. — "I know you." → Anha asshilak yera maan. — "I'm introducing you to him."
- Me driva. — "He's dead." → Anha addrivak mae. — "I'm killing him."
These are only the most basic principles of the verb forms, and there are many caveats. As is common with morphological derivations, some derived verbs have gained specific extra senses that are not readily inferable from the stative. Usually the basic interpretation still also applies.
- In above example Anha shilok yera. was translated as I'm getting to know you, but shilolat has also a specific extented sense to meet, so the sentence might as well be translated as I'm meeting you.
The morphological verb suffix /-(s)o-/ is somewhat multifunctional, and it can be used with verbs that weren't statives even to start with.