Having spent most of my conlanging time recently working on WSL, and
with all the recent discussion of loglangs and such, I find myself
getting kinda tired of languages without verbs. Let's swing the
pendulum the other way- *all* verbs! (Or close to it, anyway.)

I'm taking a lot of inspiration from Salish languages, but not exclusively.

The only open-class roots are basically verbs, divided into basic
transitives and basic intransitives.
Verbs show polypersonal agreement on suffixes, and also have
subject-marking proclitics (used when an explicit subject phrase is

Noun phrases (or determiner phrases) are formed from an article or
other determiner (e.g., demonstrative) followed by a relativized verb;
a relativised verb in turn is a verb with a relative subject
proclitic. This implies that only subjects can relativised, so we need
some yummy argument-structure-rearranging operations.

There are two de-transitivizing suffixes, which apply before subject
and object agreement- one which removes the object (roughly equivalent
to saying that the object is "something", and that it is irrelevant),
and a passive. There is one transitivizing suffix, which adds a
causative subject; when applied to intransitives, this does just what
you'd expect; when applied to transitives, it demotes the original
subject to object position, and demotes the object to an *oblique*.
The causative can be chained with either of the detransitivizing

The language has only one preposition, used to mark obliques. Some
verbs (like passivized transitives, or natural semantic ditransitives
like "give") assign a specific role to at least one oblique argument,
but extra oblique arguments can be added just about anywhere as long
as they "make sense"- e.g., for time or locative expressions. If, for
example, there were two obliques in a passive clause, one of which
refers to a person and one of which refers to a building, nobody's
going to be too terribly confused about which one is the demoted agent
and which one is the locative.

Two mechanisms are available to achieve greater specificity: lexical
suffixes, and applicatives. Lexical suffixes are a closed class of
bound roots that can be productively added to verb roots to derive new
verbs (probably historically derived from incorporated objects) which
have an assortment of functions like specifying a type of location, a
specific instrument, a certain class of object, etc. For example,
there could be lexical suffixes for "in water", "with a tool" (as
opposed to "by hand"), or even specifying a particular tool, like
"with a knife", or for specifying that the object of the verb is a
person. Lexical affixes do not, generally speaking, modify the arity
of the original verb.

Applicatives prefixes with mostly adposition-like meanings which (in
the case of intransitives) add an object with a particular role, or
(in the case of transitives), add an oblique argument with a
particular role, displacing any natural oblique argument that may have
been originally lexically specified for semantic ditransitives.

There is one additional argument-structure-changing suffix: the
inverse, which just swaps the subject and object. I'm sorta-kinds
thinking about introducing an animacy hierarchy to make the inverse
suffix show up more frequently, but ignoring that for the moment it's
primary uses would be to allow sharing subjects between conjoined
clauses, demoting the discourse importance of an original subject but
not as much as a passive would, and allowing for the relativization of
applicative obliques. Passivizing an applicativized verb will demote
the subject to oblique position, while turning the oblique argument
into the new object. You can't passivize twice, but you can add an
additional inverse suffix to swap the original-oblique into subject
position, which can then be relativized. I'm also thinking maybe the
passive historically derives from a fusion of the inverse followed by
object-drop suffixes.

Natural ditransitives (like "give") that imply a certain oblique
argument already do *not*, however, automatically turn that oblique
into an object when passivized. Thus, when relativizing oblique
arguments of those verbs, they must first gain a conventional
applicative prefix.

In addition to the parts of speech already mentioned (verbs,
determiners, and one preposition), there are also adverbs, including
some basic adverbs and some that are morphologically derived from
verbs. Adverbs always come before the main verb in a clause, and any
explicit arguments follow- core arguments first, then obliques;
explicit arguments formed from relativized clauses, however, can
themselves contain further embedded relativized clauses, so the
surface ordering of a complex sentence might actually have an oblique
(of a nested clause) apparently inserted between two core arguments.

And, that's pretty much it. I still need to make decisions about
tense/aspect (I'm thinking maybe slavic-inspired lexical aspect), and
more details of derivational morphology (how exactly can adverbs be
derived?). And decide what kind of distinctions will be made in the
pronouns and agreement affixes. And, of course, actually make up
actual words for it. I think I will make use of the
Salish-inspired-but-not-actually-very-Salish-like phonology that I
played around with a while back. But I think that's all the important
structural bits.