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Is there overt morphological marking on the verb dedicated to mood?


This question is concerned with phonologically bound marking on the verb that indicates grammatical mood. Grammatical mood is concerned with (1) the relationship between an event/state/action expressed in a clause and its actualization in reality (e.g. realis or irrealis) and/or (2) the speaker’s attitude towards the actualization of this event/state/action. This feature covers all grammatical moods, including declarative. The mood marker may be polysemous with other markers.

While negation or interrogation can be considered grammatical moods, they are not covered by this feature.


  1. Code 1 if mood is marked on the verb or on auxiliaries by an affix, suppletion, tonal marking or reduplication.
  2. Code ? if mood is not described at all and the grammatical description is not comprehensive.
  3. Code 0 if mood is not described at all and the grammatical description is comprehensive.


Martuthunira (ISO 639-3: vma, Glottolog: mart1255)

Martuthunira has a suffix that denotes unrealized events, also known as irrealis. Martuthunira is coded as 1.

Ngawu, ngayu    puni-lha   nyina-lu    ngurrinyu-tha, kurnta-yaangu
Yes    1SG.NOM  go-PST     sit-PURP    swag-LOC       shame-IRR
‘Yes I went to sit on that swag, [I] ought to have felt shame.’ (Dench 1994: 151)

Further reading

Bybee, Joan, Revere Perkins & William Pagliuca. 1994. The evolution of grammar. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Dahl, Östen. 1985. Tense and aspect systems. Oxford: Blackwell.

Palmer, Frank R. 2001. Mood and modality. Cambridge Univ. Press.

Narrog, Heiko. 2012. Modality, subjectivity, and semantic change: A cross-linguistic perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Dench, Alan. 1994. Martuthunira: A language of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. (Pacific Linguistics: Series C, 125.) Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.

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