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ya for verbs




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This post, we're taking a brief detour from other projects to talk about something slightly more mundane: Is there something in the Matoran Language that marks verbs as verbs and distinguishes them from non-verbs? I would like to propose that there is at least one verb-marker expressed as a suffix (or "derivative particle") -ya.


What's the evidence? Admittedly, there is only one canon piece of evidence, since we have only one confirmed verb in Matoran: zya "to attack". This verb occurs in the phrase Manas zya! "Attack the monster!" The verb is technically in the imperative (command) form, and so one might argue that it is a special form and shouldn’t be representative of what verbs in Matoran look like overall. However, making use of some insights from human language, this argument may be countered:


Imperative verb-forms frequently represent the basic, unmodified state of verbal-morphology (witness English "Go!" same as present tense "They go" and infinitival "to go"). It stands to reason that the Matoran Language could follow the same pattern for purely functional reasons (e.g. commands must be transmitted quickly and efficiently). For this reason, I will assume that zya does in fact reflect the basic form of the Matoran verb.


Back to the proposal: How can we apply the postulated verb-marker -ya elsewhere? Does it provide us with any insights? Enter voya:


voya "journey" (cf. Voya Nui "Great Journey")


This word is presented as a noun; however, it isn't unreasonable to allow the possibility that voya could be a deverbal noun derived from an older verb vo-ya. This is indeed what I propose, as exemplified by the following entries from the Matoran Dictionary:


vo-ya |v.| to conduct energy, flow (along); to journey [From vo “elemental lightning” and the verb-marker -ya]

voya-nui |n.| great journey [From voya “journey, current” (nominalized from the verbal complex vo-ya) and nui “great, significant”]


So, the application of -ya in this case has provided us with some interesting insights into the history of voya (notice the fortuitous incorporation of the elemental stem vo "elemental lightning/electricity"). Where else can we go with this? For the purposes of this post, I will simply list several sets of words that might provide further support for the -ya proposal, with comments:


amaya (a Ga-Matoran)

maglya (a Ta-Matoran)

zemya (an Onu-Matoran)


Based on the proposal, all of these words could also be analyzed as verbs (or deverbal nouns derived from older verbs). Check out their respective dictionary entries for some possible etymologies.


The words in the next set do not directly exhibit -ya, but could potentially contain a spelling variant -ia (once again, see corresponding dictionary entries for proposals):


pelagia (a Ga-Matoran)

zaria (a Toa of Iron)

xia (a placename for the island inhabited by the Vortixx species)

daxia (a placename for the island where the Order of Mata Nui has its primary base)


The words in this final set all contain ia word-internally (either in stressed or unstressed position), but because of other factors the possibility that this is an example of -ya is even more remote. Hopefully they are helpful as reference:


radiak (a Shadow Matoran, formerly Av-Matoran)

spiriah (a Makuta)

varian (a Toa of Psionics)

chiara (a Toa of Lightning)

niazesk (an swarming insect-Rahi)

piatra (a Po-Matoran)


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It makes a great deal of sense that Matoran, who were intended to be nonsapient components in a greater machine, would have their individual designations ('names') within the system originate as purpose-verbs (eg, construct, analyze, record) rather than anything else. We could even look to more ancient Spherus Magnan concepts from which the Great Beings presumably drew their language of construction; Glatorian may share that element if it refers to "someone whose purpose is to fight" or similar.

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