The Verbal Particles.
It should be noted that this is a common characteristic of all Melanesian tongues to mark tense and mood ; in some others, but not in Mota, number and person, by particles coming before the Verb. In nothing is the variable character of the Melanesian speech more conspicuous than in the variation in the several dialects of these particles, with the universal employment of them.
In Mota these particles are we, me, te, qe, ta, ti, and they undergo no change to signify number or person. The use of ti is double, as it comes before or after the verb.
The Particles may be divided into temporal and modal. The temporal are we, me, te, ti; the modal are qe, ta, ti.
The present is signified by we, the past by me, the future by te. This is not to be understood as if the time fixed by these particles is always the same as that which tenses in English would convey; but what is of the present time, or of the past, or of the future, as it comes before the speaker's mind is represented in speech accordingly by these particles.
We.—If I say, Nau we pute we raverave, "I am sitting writing," the particle we conveys completely the present time. If, in a narrative, I say that some one came in and saw me sitting and writing, Wa si sei me mule pata ma me ilo inau we pute we raverave, the particle me conveys the sense of past time in the person's coming in; but toe conveys the notion that what I was doing was present at the time spoken of. In this way a verb with we in Mota commonly stands in place of an adjective. Again, if two verbs are closely connected in a phrase which conveys something of a compound action, and not two successive stages in the action, if me or te mark the time as past or future for the first verb, the