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Is there directional or locative morphological marking on verbs?


This question concerns a phonologically bound verbal marker that signals the direction or location of the event/state/action. A marker that indicates that something happens in multiple directions does not count here.


  1. Look up the section on verbal morphology.
  2. If no such section exists or if the grammar does not provide specific information on verbal morphology, search for the terms 'direction’, 'goal', 'go’, 'come’, and 'location’.
  3. If the language has no way to mark location or direction on the verb, code as 0.
  4. If the verb can carry a bound marker that indicates direction or location on the verb, code 1.


Makuwa (ISO 639-3: vmw, Glottolog: makh1264)

Makuwa has an applicative marker that can derive directional/locative verbs, as well as benefactive and instrumental verbs. Makuwa is coded 1 for this feature.

ni-n-thámá       onakhálá     ni-n-thám-élá             onhípíti
1PL-PRS.CF-move  17.Nacala    1PL-PRS.CJ-move-DIR.APPL  17.Ilha
‘We move from Nacala to Ilha.’ (van der Wal 2009: 72)

(Abbreviations:  CJ = conjoint)

Further reading

Haspelmath, Martin & Thomas Müller-Bardey. 2004. Valency change. In Geert E. Booij, Christian Lehmann, Joachim Mugdan & Stavros Skopeteas (eds), Morphology: An international handbook on inflection and word-formation, vol. 2, 1130–1145. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Peterson, David A. 1999. Discourse-functional, historical, and typological aspects of applicative constructions. Berkeley: University of California. (Doctoral dissertation.)

Polinsky, Maria. 2013. Applicative constructions. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.


Pawley, Andrew. 2018. A short grammar of Wayan. unpublished grammar sketch.

van der Wal, Johanna. 2009. Word order and information structure in Makhuwa-Enahara. Leiden: Leiden University. (Doctoral dissertation.)

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