Serial verb

From The Toaq Wiki

A serial verb (or serial) (Toaq: jeotoachue) is created when two or more verbs are placed together. This process is called serialization.

NOTE: this article has only partially been updated for Toaq Delta, some parts are outdated


Serial verbs are a powerful construct in Toaq grammar:

  • Any verb with a “property” or “event” slot can essentially act as an auxiliary verb.
  • With other verbs, the result is like “adjective-noun”, or “verb-object”.

Here is a list of examples to demonstrate the sort of thing serial verbs let you express in Toaq.

Serial verb examples
deq koı can walk
pu nuo did sleep
sheo fıeq regret inventing
leo kuaq try expressing
guaı kaı work on writing
tua cuaı make wet
jaq chuı very early
bu suao be not important
joe suaq be skilled at singing
taq loı self- hate
sao meı be a big mountain
joaı haq seek food

Merging definitions

When joining two verbs together into a serial, their definitions are merged according to the serialization algorithm.

Verbs that are treated the same in this algorithm are said to belong to the same “serial frame”.

All of the behaviors in the table above arise from a handful of rules:

Property slot: “merge-away”
leo ___ tries to satisfy property ___
baı ___ builds ___
leo baı ___ tries to build ___
Event slot: “merge-into”
le it is probable that ___
guq ___ is underneath ___
le guq ___ is probably underneath ___
Transitive verb: “merge-with-baq
cho ___ likes ___
rua ___ is a flower
cho rua ___ likes flowers
Adjective: “describe”
sao ___ is big
paq ___ is a part of ___
sao paq ___ is a big part of ___

Long serials

For more than two verbs, this merging process is right-grouping:

sheo (leo kuaq)
regret (trying to express)

le (haı (luı (ceo guaı)))
probably (already (have (started working)))


The result can be used as a verb by saying each word in falling tone:

Ma deq koı súq?
Are you able to walk?

Bu suaojıe jí ní da.
I don't care about that.

Sheo leo ruo huaq caq jí nháo da.
I regret trying to act more strong than them.

Only the first word is conjugated for tone, and everything else stays in falling tone.

táq loı
the self-hater

sáo meı
the big mountain

bû jaq de
not very beautifully