Grammatical Voice

The voice of the verb describes relationship between the verb and the roles (agent or patient) of it's arguments (subject and object). Nûrlâm has two distinct voices: Active and Passive.

Active voice

Active voice is used most frequently. In active voice the agent of action is the subject of the sentence. The verb is not specially marked for active voice.

Passive voice

In Passive voice the patient (receiver, underdoer) of an action expressed by verb becomes the subject of the sentence. There are 4 ways of expressing passive voice in Nûrlâm:

  1. by adding passive voice marker -âk- before markers of verb's tense; this is mostly done with passive past tense.
  2. use the participles for present and past tenses, this way should be used for so-called stative passive, describing the state or characteristic.
  3. using gerundive for future tense similarly to participles. However direct translation of gerundives back from Nûrlâm to English will be passive infinitives with tone of intention or purpose.
  4. active impersonal constructions, used when agent of an action is not specified or is unknown, thus not a passive strictly speaking. The patient is usually put into Dative case in such sentences. It can be rather said, that sometimes passive voice is expressed syntactically by impersonal clauses instead of special grammatical forms.

In first three variants the subject (= patient) is not marked with case ending (remains in Nominative case), the agent of action is put in Instrumental case and thus strictly speaking becomes an adverbial instead of object.


Tense Active Passive with verb suffix Passive with nonfinite verb forms Impersonal
Past Orc killed an elf Elf was killed by an orc Elf was killed
Uruk doguzâ ash golug Golug dogâkuzâ urukirzi Golug kuzâ dogaga urukirzi Doguzâ golug
Present Orc is killing an elf Elf is being killed by an orc Elf is being killed
Uruk dogâ ash golug Golug dogâkâ urukirzi Golug kulâ dogag urukirzi Dogâ golug
Future Orc will kill an elf Elf will be killed by an orc Elf will be killed
Uruk dogubâ ash golug Golug dogâkubâ urukirzi Golug (kulâ/kubâ) dogat urukirzi Dogubâ golug
English Nûrlâm Explanation
This ring is stolen Za nazg kulâ orskaga here passive means that “stolen” is ring's attribute, so verb “kul-” (to be) with participle is used
The ring was stolen by orcs Nazgum orskâkuzâ urukirzi here passive swaps the role of subject and object, it may be refrased to “orcs stole the ring”, so verb's passive suffix was used
The ring was stolen Orskuzû nazgum as agent of action is unknown, impersonal sentence without grammatical passive was used; “the ring” was subject in English sentence, but became an object in Nûrlâm's translation, therefore it was placed after verb, archaic accusative suffix -ish may be added to leave word order the same: “Nazgumish orskuzû”.


When reflexive pronoun -îm (self) is added to the verb as clitic it may be treated as Reflexive voice. Similarly, postposition “-sha” (with) may be added as clitic adverb (together), thus Cooperative voice (attested in real-world Manchu, Classical Mongolian, probably Old Japanese, and mixed with reciprocal in Turkmen). Due to their rarity in majority of real-world languages, and little impact on grammar and syntax, these terms are almost never used in Nûrlâm.

See also

grammar_voice.txt · Last modified: 2023/09/07 19:38 by