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Expressing haste or brief actions in Mongolian: The verb suffix "-аадах (-оодох-, -ээдэх-, -өөдөх-)"

9 May 2017 (draft)

At the Mongolian imperative we looked at the second person imperative form -аадах (-оодох, -ээдэх, -өөдөх), which is used to urge haste or express impatience. As pointed out at that page, this is not a separate imperative form: it is, in fact, just the plain imperative of the suffix -аадах- (-оодох-, -ээдэх-, -өөдөх-). Like other verbal suffixes, such as -чих- (completed action) or -лц- (communal action), it can be used with a number of verb forms expressing commands, requests, or desires, as well as forms expressing past actions.

The suffix -аадах (-оодох-, -ээдэх-, -өөдөх-) is commonly used in spoken Mongolian but is largely ignored by Mongolian grammarians. It is used in two major senses:

The difference is determined by the politeness of the request and the context. When requesting a favour, the meaning is likely to be "Could you just ... for a moment". Where the request is couched in more familiar terms, the sense is likely to be "Hurry up and...".


1. Use in imperative and related forms
2. Use with Verb Tenses
3. Use in Expressing Unrealistic Desires
4. Note

1. Use in Imperative and Related Forms

This refers to verb-forms listed by Kullmann and Tserenpil under the category of Person-bound Terminating Suffixes (PTS⇪).

Examples listed by Mongolian Language for Intermediate Students by Bayarmaa Khalzaa all belong to this group. Bayarmaa gives the following examples of -аадах- for the first, second, and third person forms respectively:

However, these are not the only forms that can be used with this suffix. The following table sums up the main forms.

Person / form Ordinary form With -аадах
1st person (intention) би харъя
'I'll look'
би хараадахъя
'I'll have a quick look'
2nd person (command) чи хар
'Look'
чи хараадах
'Hurry up and look'
2nd person (command) чи хараач
'Look'
чи хараадахаач
'Hurry up and look'
2nd person (demand) чи хараарай
'Please have a look'
чи хараадахаарай
'Please have a quick look'
2nd person (demand) чи харахгүй юү
'Please have a look'
чи хараадахгүй юү
'Please have a quick look'
3rd person (permission) тэр хараг
'Have/let him have a look'
тэр хараадахаг
'Have/Let him hurry and have a look'
3rd person (hope) тэр хараасай
'I hope he/she looks'
тэр хараадахаасай
'I hope he/she gives a quick glance (look)'

When the verb is followed by an auxiliary verb, it is the auxiliary verb that carries the suffix:

Person / form Ordinary form With -аадах
1st person (intention) би оролдоод үзье
'I'll look'
би оролдоод үзээдэхье
'I'll try quickly'
2nd person (demand) чи аваад эхэл
'Please start getting it'
чи аваад эхлээдэх
'Please hurry and start getting it'
2nd person (command) чи хараад өгөөч
'Look'
чи хараад өгөөдөхөөч
'Please try having a quick look'
2nd person (demand) чи хараад өгөөрэй
'Please have a look'
чи хараад өгөөдөхөөрэй
'Please have a quick look'
3rd person (permission) тэр аваад өгөг
'Get him/her to get that'
тэр аваад өгөөдөхөг
'Get him to get that quickly'
3rd person (hope) тэр бичээд өгөөсэй
'I hope he/she writes (to me)'
тэр бичээд өгөөдөхөөсэй
'I hope he/she writes something (to me)'

2. Use with Verb Tenses

The suffix -аадах (-оодох-, -ээдэх-, -өөдөх-) can also be used with other verb tenses, classed by Kullmann and Tserenpil as Tense-bound Terminating Suffixes (TTS⇪). These include:

Tense Ordinary form With -аадах
Past би харсан
'I looked'
би хараадахсан
'I quickly looked'
Past би харлаа
'I just looked'
би хараадахлаа
'I just quickly looked'
Past тэр хараажээ
'(I found out) he looked'
тэр хараадахжээ
'(I found out) he had a quick look'
Future би харна
'I'll look'
би хараадахна
'I'll have a quick look'
Habitual тэр хардаг
'He usually sees'
тэр хараадахдаг
'He usually catches a glimpse'

3. Use in Expressing Unrealistic Desires

The suffix -аадах (-оодох-, -ээдэх-, -өөдөх-) can be followed by the modal construction -хсан expressing unrealistic desires or imaginings. This can also be used as the past tense form (see previous).

The ending -сан in this construction can be regarded as short for -юмсан, which has a similar meaning and function.

The significance of using -аадах (-оодох-, -ээдэх-, -өөдөх-) here is to emphasise that the speaker would be happy if the wish could be granted even just one time. For example:

Би зүүдэндээ ч болов ээжтэйгээ улзаадах юмсан.
I wish I could meet my mother, even it is only in a dream.

4. Note

This suffix is somewhat similar in meaning to the suffix -чих-, which signals 'completion'. However, -аадах (-оодох-, -ээдэх-, -өөдөх-) cannot be used together with -чих-. Thus the two following forms exist separately but cannot be combined together:

Орчуулчих.
Translate it / Get it translated.
Орчуулаадах.
Hurry up and translate it.
TTS: Tense-bound Terminating Suffix (traditionally known as an 'indicative suffix') is a category in the Kullman/Tserenpil grammar. The 'true' TTS's include the verb endings -жээ (-чээ), -в, -лаа (-лоо, -лээ, -лөө), and -на (-нэ, -но, -нө). They are known as 'terminating' because they can terminate sentences.

A TTS expresses real actions that have happened, are happening, or will happen, indicate a specific tense, can be followed by particles but not copulas. They do not modify following nouns and, depending on the suffix, are restricted in forming negatives or interrogatives.

In addition, the Noun-Determining Suffixes -сан (-сон, -сэн, -сөн), -даг (-дог, -дэг, -дөг), and -аа (-ээ, -оо, -өө) can also be used as TTS's, due to their ability to terminate sentences.
PTS: Person-bound Terminating Suffix is a category in the Kullmann/Tserenpil grammar. PTS are used to express the subjective attitude or the wish of the speaker towards an action that has caused by himself or another person. They are bound to one of the three persons. While they do not express a tense, they are usually future-oriented. They cannot be used in interrogatives. The category includes the verb endings -я (-ё, -е), -г, -сугай (-сүгэй), -аач (-ээч, -ооч, -өөч), -тугай, -аарай (-ээрэй, -оорой, -өөрэй), -аасрай (-ээсэй, -оосой, -өөсэй), -уузай (-үүзэй), and -гтун (-гтүн).