from the PALI edition of the Marshallese-English Dictionary
(in which references to the MRG have been updated)
3. The Grammatical Key
The grammatical information referred to in section 2 is given in the form of a key containing various coded numbers. The information given for a typical entry may look something like the following:
|2, 3(inf, tr -ik), 4, 6(-i).|
Notice that there are numbers given in order, but with some missing, and that some of the numbers are followed by material enclosed in parentheses, while others are not. The meanings of each of the numbers used in the key, those from 1 to 11, and of the material that may follow them within parentheses are discussed in order below.
Code 1. [n. inal.]
This means that the headword of the entry may be used as an INALIENABLE NOUN (MRG 3.2.2 on page 123), combining with some or all of the POSSESSIVE PERSONAL PRONOUN SUFFIXES. The material in parentheses following the 1 shows the stem vowel that must be added to the headword in order for it to combine with these suffixes, or it may show the whole combining form if it differs from the headword by more than the addition of a vowel.
|āt. 1(-i). Eyebrow. |
āt. 1(eta-). Name.
These are portions of two different entries that have identical headwords, both of which may be used as inalienable nouns. The combining stem for 'eyebrow' is formed by adding the high stem vowel i to give yati-, so that the word for 'his eyebrow', with the 3s pronoun suffix -n is (ātin (yatin). The combining stem for 'name' is as given in parentheses following the 1: eta- (with a different first vowel, so that the word for 'his name' is etan (yetan).
The hyphen following a headword indicates that it (as an inalienable noun) does not occur without one of the possessive suffixes (indicated by the Code 1):
|daa-. 1. Portion of pandanus.|
No additional vowels need to be added to such headwords before attaching the suffixes. Thus daan means 'his portion of pandanus'.
Note however that headwords occurring without a hyphen and having the Code 1 need to add a vowel before attaching the possessive suffixes. This vowel PHONEME is shown in parentheses following the Code 1, as in the following examples:
|mọọr. ||1(-e). ||Bait.|
Note that the vowel phoneme shown in the parentheses may be spelled in different ways, depending on which suffix is added: ñatūṃ, 'your palate' but ñatin 'his palate', mọọrō 'my bait' but mọọreer 'their bait', ñilepa 'my molar' but ñilepān 'his molar', etc. The consonants on either side of this vowel phoneme (the last consonant of the headword and the first consonant of the suffix) determine the spelling of the vowel according to the rules given in MRG 2.3. The vowel phoneme shown after the Code 1 serves to show whether the various suffixed forms of the inalienable noun are spelled according to the I-STEM, E-STEM, SHORT A-STEM, or LONG A-STEM patterns shown in MRG Tables 3-2–5 on page 128.
Code 2. [v. intr.; v. tr.]
This means that the headword of the entry may be used as a VERB (MRG 3.3 on page 150), combining with some or all of the SUBJECT PERSONAL PRONOUN PREFIXES (MRG Table 3-10 on page 151).
maroñ. 2. Be able.
This portion of an entry containing the number 2 as part of the grammatical key indicates that the headword maroñ may be used as a verb and combined with subject pronoun prefixes such as the 3s e-, as in emaroñ 'he is able'.
When both the INFINITIVE and the TRANSITIVE forms of verbs may be derived from the same headword, this is shown in the material in parentheses following the number 2.
ṃwijṃwij. 2(inf, tr ṃwijit). Cut.
This portion of an entry containing the number 2 as part of the grammatical key with the abbreviations INF and TR in parentheses following the number illustrate this type of headword. The abbreviation "inf" followed by a comma (rather than by a Marshallese form) indicates that the headword of the entry is the infinitive form. Thus the infinitive form of this entry is ṃwijṃwij, as in eṃwijṃwij 'he cut(s)'. (If the infinitive form were different from the headword, it would be given in the key after the abbreviation inf and before the comma.) The transitive form of this headword is given after the abbreviation tr: ṃwijit, as in eṃwijit 'he cut(s) something'. The only other information sometimes given in parentheses following the Code 2 concerns those few verbs that have different transitive forms for singular and plural objects.
meme. 2(inf, tr sg. obj. me, pl. obj, mei). Chew.
This indicates that the following would be the 3s transitive forms:
|eme yemey|| 'he chewed it'|
|emei yẹmẹyiy ||'he chewed them'|
Code 3. [v. caus.]
This means that the headword of the entry may be combined with the CAUSATIVE PREFIX ka- to form causative verbs (MRG pages 157–60). When the resulting form of the causative verb is different from the prefix joined to the headword (ignoring vowel changes in the prefix), this form is given in the material enclosed in parentheses following the number 3. When both infinitive and transitive causative verbs may be formed, this is also indicated in the parentheses, just as described for verbs that are not causative under Code 2 above. When a special STATIVE CAUSATIVE verb may be derived, this is shown in the same way.
jook. 3(st inf kajjookok, tr kajook). Shame.
This portion of an entry shows that both stative infinitive causative and transitive causative verbs can be formed from the headword, and that their shapes with the 3s subject prefix would be as follows:
|ekajjookok ||yekajjewekwek ||'it is shameful'|
|ekajook ||yekajewek ||'he humiliated (someone)'|
A simpler entry of which the following is a portion indicates that a causative verb can be formed by adding ka- (or one of its variant forms: ke-,kō-, kọ-) to the headword.
|jerbal. 3, 4.|
|Wōn ṇe ej kōjerbal eok. |
'Who is employing you?'
Occasionally the parentheses following a Code 3 contain the abbreviation "reflex" to indicate that a causative form is used only reflexively, that is, with the object of the verb referring to the same individual as the subject of the verb:
|perper. 1(-i), 2(inf, tr pere), 3(reflex only). Doubt.|
|Kwōn jab kaperpere eok bwe kwōj naaj etal wōt.
'Stop balking (doubting yourself) because you're destined to go.'
The same abbreviation may appear after the Code 2 of causative verbs that are headwords:
|kakōl. 1(-i), 2(inf, tr reflex kakile). Be spoiled.|
|Aolep ajri raṇ, nājin lieṇ rōkakileik er. |
'All her children are spoiled.'
Code 4. [n. pers.]
This means that the headword of the entry may be combined with the person prefix ri- to form PERSON NOUNS (MRG 3.2.4 on page 139). The 4 following jerbal above shows the possibility of deriving:
rijerbal rijerbal 'worker'
Code 5. [v. distrib.]
This means that a DISTRIBUTIVE verb (MRG page 162–66) may be formed from the headword. The form of the distributive verb is shown in parentheses following the number 5.
|ek. ||5(ike). ||Fish.|
|maroro. ||5(mmaroro). ||Green.|
|lokjak. ||5(llokjakjak). ||Be busy.|
These portions of three different entries show the possibility of forming the following distributive verbs: ike 'be teeming with fish', emmaroro (W), memaroro (E) 'be greenish', and ellokjakjak (W), lelokjakjak (E) 'be continually tied down'. The special meanings of the distributive verbs thus formed are often brought out by an example sentence included in the entry.
Code 6. [n. constr.]
This means that a CONSTRUCT noun (MRG 3.2.6 on pages 143–45) may be formed from the headword by adding the construct suffix -n together with the stem vowel shown in the following parentheses. Irregular construct nouns are spelled out fully in the parentheses.
|bao. ||6(bawūn, bawōn). ||Bird.|
|ṃanit ||6(ṃantin). ||Custom.|
|koot. ||6(-i). ||Goat.|
These portions of three different entries show the following construct forms: bawūn or bawōn 'bird of', ṃantin 'custom of', and kootin 'goat of'.
Code 7. [v. dir.]
This means that the DIRECTIONAL POSTPOSITIONS (MRG 5.3 on pages 219–31) may be used following the headword when it is used as a verb in one of its Code 2 forms. The three postpositions are:
|tok ||teq ||'hither'|
|waj ||waj ||'toward you'|
|ḷọk ||ḷaq ||'thither'|
|kōkajoor. ||2, 7. ||Excursion.|
|lukor. ||2(inf, tr -e), 7. ||A food.|
|ṃṃōkaj. ||2(inf, tr -e), 7. ||Precede.|
These portions of three different entries show the possibility of forming sentences such as the following:
|Kwōn lukor tok kijerro. |
'Make some lukor for us.'
Koṃro eṃṃōkaj waj bwe eboñ.
'The two of you go on ahead before it gets dark.'
Kōmro ar kōkajoor arḷọk.
'The two of us took an excursion to the shore.'
Codes 8 and 9. [v. compar.; v. super.]
These mean that the COMPARATIVE and SUPERLATIVE POSTPOSITIONS respectively ḷọk 'more' and tata 'most' (MRG on pages 227–28) may be used following the headword when it is used as a stative verb.
kūk. 1(-i), 2, 3, 8, 9. Unripe.
This portion of an entry shows the possibility of forming sentences such as the following:
|Ekūk ḷọk mā ṇe jān mā e.
'That breadfruit is less ripe than this one.'
Ekūk tata mā eṇ.
'That breadfruit is the ripest.'
Code 10. [perf.]
This code is used to show special PERFECTIVE (MRG [6-80] on pages 313–14) forms of certain headwords. (Perfective verbs are a special type of stative verb.)
pinej. 2(inf, tr (-e)), 10(penjak). Conceal.
This portion of an entry shows that pinej may be used as an infinitive or as a transitive verb (with an optional e at the end of the transitive form), and it also shows the related perfective verb penjak. The following two sentences illustrate the transitive and perfective verbs:
|Ear pinej ṃaanū.
'He obstructed my view.'
Epenjak wa eo.
'The boat is out of sight.'
Code 11. [stat. adj.]
This code is used to show special ADJECTIVAL forms of STATIVE verbs (MRG 6.4.2 on pages 295–96). These forms are used within noun phrases, coming in the position after the noun they modify but before the demonstrative that belongs with the noun.
bat. 2, 11(batbot). Slow.
This portion of an entry shows that the headword may be used as a (stative) verb (Code 2), and that it has the special postpositional form batbot (Code 11). Following is an example sentence for each:
|Ebat wa eṇ.
'That canoe is slow.'
Kwōlo ke wa batbōt eṇ?
'Do you see that (very) slow canoe?'
Occasionally the grammatical key shows two code numbers connected by a plus sign:
baru. 3, 6(-i), 3+7. Crab.
The 3+7 code indicates that this word may be followed by the directional postpositions tok, ḷọk, or waj (signified by Code 7) only if the word is also preceded by the causative prefix (signified by the Code 3): kōbaru tok 'find and bring crabs'. Following is an example of a grammatical key containing several combination codes:
bale. 3, 4+3, 5(bbalele), 3+7, 5+8, 5+9. Starry flounder.
The forms signified by each of these codes are as follows:
|3 ||kobale ||'fish for starry flounder'|
|4+3 ||rukobale ||'flounder fisherman'|
|5 ||ebbalele (W) |
|'teeming with flounder'|
'teeming with flounder'
|3+7 ||kobale tok ||'catch and bring flounder'|
|5+8 ||ebbalele ḷọk ||'more plenteous in flounder'|
|5+9 ||ebbalele tata ||'most plenteous in flounder'|
The 4+3 code indicates that the person prefix ri- (ra) (Code 4) combines
with bale only when the causative prefix ka- (kō-) (Code 3) is also combined. (The numbers are combined with pluses in the code in the same order as their respective prefixes occur in the word: the 4 prefix precedes the 3 prefix.) The 3+7 code means the same as it does for baru above. The 5+ 8 and 5+9 codes indicate that the comparative (Code 8) and superlative (Code 9) postpositions are used only with the distributive (Code 5) form of bale.