THE PAST PARTICIPLE
To our current knowledge, there exist two suffixes that appear to form past participles in Díni: -ihn and -ihj. The examples we have of these suffixes in use are quite limited, at times contradictory, and largely withhold any significant insight. Take -ihn for example:
rehkor oshahnihn okh pahtstee oglahn
the lost book of ancient cities
.loymaht tehrehlihn rihl kodobahrehlehn
Although contact wasnít madeÖ
In the first example, oshahnihn functions exactly as we would expect. It is an adjectival past participle, modifying the noun kor just like any other simple adjective. In this sense, it is correlative to the present participle suffix -ahl. If we look to the second example, though, tehrehlihn is not an adjective but a noun, the subject of this introductory clause. Is this perhaps an authorís error, where tehrehlihn should actually have been tehrehltahv? Or can the past participle at times function as a noun?
When we look at the examples of -ihj, the questions become even more intractable. Our primary source of -ihj participles is written in a strict stylistic parallelism, and uses a wealth of vocabulary we simply do not understand yet. One of the more legible sentences is
.kehnehn gor khrehzihthahtee bíkehn ehlonihj
It is time for the Least to be raised.
All nine instances of the -ihj suffix in this document occur in a similar fashion, as the adjective complement of a form of kehn. While most of these occur as passive infinitives, three conjugate kehn and become functional passive verbs. Are these to be understood as true passives, or as predicate complements, or as something else? How do they compare to -ihn participles in similar constructions (tomeht kenen bahvahnihn, for example)? For now, we have no good answers. Further complicating the issue is the only other instance of -ihj that we have, which, like tehrehlihn for -ihn participles, contradicts what we would expect of this past participle suffix. The well-known saying
.khahpo rehzuhnuh rihl dolgehlenihj gahth
Perhaps the ending has still not been written.
does not use the -ihj participle adjectivally, but as a fully functional, independent verb, with the participial suffix appended after the actor suffix. Of course, this flies in the face of assumed participial function and construction and raises the larger question of whether -ihj and -ihn form more than just participles.
What is more, if we look to the present participle for clues, we find that the two participial affixes in the present tense have significant differences that dictate their function and use. The -ahl suffix is for simple adjectives, which do not need to indicate number or person, while the do- prefix permits for a semi-functional verbal that can be conjugated and used phrasally. Where speculatively kodo- might function similarly for phrasal past participles, -ihj, which seems to be more versatile in its verbal capacity, could potentially fulfill this role, too.
We are left trying to distinguish between the proper use of -ihn and -ihj. Though in large part due to the overal temporal import of the source texts, it has been noticed by more than one student of D'ni that -ihj verbs tend to be used with reference to future events; in light of this and the rigor with which D'ni reflects past, present, and future times in its verb conjugation, it has been thus suggested that -ihj could indicate a future participle foreign to English. Others have suggested that -ihn and -ihj form two different kinds of past participles, though opinion on what that difference is, exactly, has varied widely. The most convincing of these is that -ihn forms a "statal" past/passive participle, emphasizing the state in which the modified noun exists (rehkor oshanihn, where lostness is the book's defining quality), and that -ihj forms a "true" past/passive participle, emphasizing the acted-upon-ness of the modified noun (bokehneht ehlonihj, where the act of our being raised by another power is most important). Again, this difference could be attributable to the import of source texts, such that when the difference between rehkor oshanihn and rehkor oshanihj is asked, the distinction between statal and true past participles begins to melt away.
We are left, once again, with no real clear answer.