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Do verbs have prefixes or proclitics other than S, A or P indexes (do include indexes that also mark TAM or negation)?


These prefixes or proclitics could have a variety of functions, marking TAME, functioning as verbal derivation markers, as inverse markers, relative markers, etc. Only indexes dedicated to core argument marking do not count. The end result has to be a finite verb and cannot, for example, be a deverbal noun or an adverb.


  1. Code 1 if the source mentions a phonologically bound prefix or proclitic on the verb which marks something other than S, A or P.
  2. Code 1 if there is no information on phonological (in)dependence but the prefix or proclitic is orthographically bound to the verb. Add a comment that your analysis is based on orthography here.
  3. Code 1 if you identify a phonologically bound prefix or proclitic in the examples/texts provided in a source.
  4. Code 0 if the outcome of affixation is not a verb.
  5. Code 0 if a source mentions that there are no prefixes or proclitics on the verb.
  6. Code ? if there are examples that contain potential markers but their analysis remains inconclusive.


Pnar (ISO 639-3: pbv, Glottolog: pnar1238)

Pnar only has prefixes according to Ring (2015: 72), who describes prefixes such as the durative marker li- but does not describe any relevant suffixes in the section on verbs (Ring 2015: 145–153). Pnar is coded 1 for this feature.

Siamou (ISO 639-3: sif, Glottolog: siam1242)

Siamou is one of many languages with a strong preference for suffixes.

In its chapters on aspect, Toews (2015: 99–243) describes six suffixes. Nowhere does the author mention prefixes marking the categories we are interested in. It is coded 0 for this feature.

Abkhaz (ISO 639-3: abk, Glottolog: abkh1244)

Abkhaz (Chirikba 2003: 38–39) has both prefixes and suffixes. Non-volitional mood/modality, for example, is marked with a prefix on the verb, while iterative aspect is marked by a suffix. It is coded 1 for this feature.

Further reading

There is interesting work on the reasons why suffixation appears to be more prevalent than prefixation. So far the best statistics is Dryer (2013) and a potential explanation is given in Himmelmann (2014).

Dryer, Matthew S. 2013. Prefixing vs. suffixing in inflectional morphology. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Himmelmann, Nikolaus. 2014. Asymmetries in the prosodic phrasing of function words: Another look at the suffixing preference. Language 90(4). 927–960.


Chirikba, Viacheslav A. 2003. Abkhaz. (Languages of the World: Materials, 119.) Munich: Lincom Europa.

Ring, Hiram. 2015. A grammar of Pnar. (Doctoral dissertation, Nanyang Technological University)

Toews, Carmela I. P. 2015. Topics in Siamou tense and aspect. (Doctoral dissertation, University of British Columbia)

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