Andative and venitive

In linguistics, andative and venitive (abbreviated and ) are a type of verbal deixis, verb forms which indicate 'going' or 'coming' motion in reference to a particular location or person, respectively. Other terms sometimes seen are itive and ventive, or translocative and cislocative. They generally derive historically from the verbs go and come being reduced to auxiliary verbs or verbal affixes, and may in turn be grammaticalized to aspectual morphemes. Many languages of California, West Africa (such as Akan), the Caucasus-Mideast-North Africa (Akkadian, Sumerian), and Oceania have such verb forms.

A language with andative and venitive forms may also use them with a verb to carry, for example, to create the meanings of "bring" (venitive) and "take (away)" (andative). In the Turkic Tofa language, the verb kılaşta- means to go on foot. Kılaştap bar means to go on foot, and kılaştap kel to come on foot.


Proto-Polynesian is reconstructed as having four directional particles used for verbs, venitive *mai, andative *atu, upwards (uphill, inland) *hake, and downwards (downhill, seawards) *hifo.

In the Tokelauan language, the Polynesian venitive and andative particles mai and atu have evidential uses, and are used in aspectual constructions, mai for continuative aspect ("going on") and atu for inchoative aspect ("coming to be").

The Vanuatu language Lenakel has not only a venitive suffix, but also a suffix that indicates that the action is directed towards the person addressed, as well as a neutral suffix that indicates that the action is directed neither towards the speaker nor towards the person addressed.

ieramɨra r-armwiɡ m-ɨni-pa to kat-lau
chief 3sg-rise and-say-ven dative inclusive-we-dual
"The chief rose and spoke to both of us."


While the so-called conjugational prefixes of Sumerian have been interpreted in different ways, one of the most common views involves the following analysis:

lugal im-ĝen-Ø
king prefix(*)-ven-go-3sg.subj
"The king came"


lugal ì-ĝen-Ø
king prefix(*)-go-3sg.subj
"The king went (away)"

(*) The prefix ì- has no grammatical or lexical meaning. It is used, because each finite verb form must have at least one prefix.

The venitive prefix is also frequently used with verbs that do not express a movement:

lugal-e é mu-n-ŕú-Ø
king-erg temple ven-3sg.agent-build-3sg.patient
"The king built the temple (up)"

Currently sumerologists use the variant term ventive rather than venitive.


  • Robin Hooper. 2002. "Deixis and aspect: The Tokelauan directional particles mai and atu." Studies in language 26 (2):283–313.
  • Edzard, Dietz-Otto: A Sumerian Grammar, Brill Academic Publishers, 2003, ISBN 90-04-12608-2.
  • Lynch, John: A Grammar of Lenakel. (Pacific Linguistics Series B No. 55) The Australian National University, Canberra 1978.
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