Number of verbal inflectional categories

Verbal inflectional categories are grammatical features marked by the use of a distinct verb form, [1] triggered at least in part by the grammatical environment.[2] Grammatical features can be expressed through the use of independent words, which is known as an analytic strategy, or affixes, which is known as a synthetic strategy. Synthetic strategies rely on morphological, rather than syntactic, relations between their components.[3]

This parameter considers the number of independent verbal inflectional categories in the given language, not the number that can simultaneously appear on a single verb form.


ConjCat=0: The language does not have verbal inflection.

ConjCat=x: Number of verbal inflectional categories is x.


[1] For this parameter, synthetic morphemes simultaneously expressing person and number should be counted as two separate grammatical features, since distinct forms are required to express any change in person or number.

[2] The most common verbal inflectional categories are person and number; time, aspect, and mood; agreement, evidentiality (evidentiality vs. reportativity and/or mirative), status (realis–irrealis), polarity (affirmative–negative) illocution (declarative, interrogative, imperative), and voice. Less frequently occurring inflectional categories include nominalization, collective marking, inversion, honorifics, target quantification, focus, transitivity, reciprocity (as a feature of agreement), argument markers, object classifiers, non-specific referent marking, scope, deixis, movement, causatives (if relevant to the context). TAM should only be counted as a single unit if these features are not grammatically distinct in the given language.

[3] It is possible for a verbal inflectional morpheme to be classified as synthetic despite consisting of phonologically distinct “words,” provided that the unit expressing the grammatical categories does not display syntactic independence. Syntactic relations are characterized by (1) the ability of their components to appear independently, (2) belonging to syntactically distinct nodes, (3) the lack of a fixed order among the given components, (4) the ability of these components to appear independently in order to mark focus, and (4) the presence of agreement among these components. If these criteria fail to be met, the presence of either independent stress or prosodic independence (consisting of more than one mora) may also indicate that a word is syntactically independent.