Jul23/C6 –  A Constructed Language

Jul23/C6 Scalar Morphosyntax

Legend: Definitions, Terms, <Text>, [IPA], -Tags-, and "Glosses".


In addition to all the morphosyntax involving scalar predicates, this chapter covers the ordinal and partitive constructions.

Scalar Morphology

Scalar Affixes

Scalar roots are modified using 3 affix slots adjacent to the root: direction, function, and precision.

Scalar direction is marked by the 1st suffix immediately after the scalar root. It could be considered derivational, since the root + direction combinations are mostly translated by different words, e.g. "hot", "cold", and "temperature" or "tall", "short", and "height". The directions also include absolute, which is unmarked.

Scalar function is marked by the 2nd suffix immediately following the direction suffix. The functions also include normal, which is unmarked.

Scalar precision is marked by the prefix immediately before the scalar root. Medium precision, which is unmarked, is also included.

The affixes are summarized in the following table:

Scalar Affixes
Affix Tag Name Slot
.T TP- Tight Precision
.L LP- Loose
.B BP- Bounded
.Q QP- Interrogative
= -EQ Equal (to standard) Direction
< -LT Below (standard)
> -GT Above (standard)
.C -Cpr Comparative Function
.S -Sup Superlative
.E -Sat Satisfactive

Affix Combinations

Scalar Affix Usage


The possible directions are explained as follows:


Interrogative precision is used to elicit the degree of comparison.

Tom;$ .Q"height".f
Tom-; $ .Q-"height" .f
Tom-Nom=Def QP-height=Fin
"How tall is Tom?"

Tight precision narrows down the interval of values which could be called normal or identical, while loose precision expands it some and bounded precision expands it to the largest possible interval. Medium precision is between tight and loose. The words used in translating precision depend on the scalar function and direction:


The functions are syntactically significent; there are special constructions for the comparative, superlative, and satisfactive function, covered elsewhere in this chapter. Normal comparison is when the standard of comparison is implicit and appropriate to the subject of comparison.

Degree of Comparison

As noted above, the degree of comparison appears as either a precision prefix or an adverbial degree phrase. The latter consists of a predicate-derived adverb denoting the unit of measurement preceded by a quantity word.

"wall"&7 *5 "foot".D "height" 1See)7.f
"wall" & 7 *-5 "foot"-.D "height" 1-See-)-7 .f
wall=Ind=3E N-"5" foot-Deg height 1-see-Pst-3E=Fin
"I saw a 5 foot tall wall."

A degree phrase can also appear without any scalar:

*3 "mile".D "walk")1:.f
*-3 "mile"-.D "walk"-)-1-: .f
N-"3" mile-Deg walk-Pst-1-P=Fin
"We walked 3 miles."

Special Constructions

The components of a scalar construction are the scale of comparison (the scalar root), the direction of comparison (the direction suffix), the subject of comparison, the standard of comparison, and the degree of comparison. The subject and standard of comparison each may appear as phrases, index references, or personal affixes, or they may be implied. The degree of comparison may appear as an adverbial degree phrase or as a precision marker. The scale, direction, and subject of comparison are used in all scalar constructions; if no subject of comparison is apparent, it's either contextual (in a phrase) or impersonal.

Absolute Scale Constructions

In an absolute scale construction, the direction is absolute; the degree of comparison may also appear, but only as an adverbial phrase specifying the absolute value. In an interrogative scale construction, the precision is interrogative. For either of these constructions, the scale can't be attributive or a phrase head.

Tom;$ 6 "foot".D "height".f
Tom-; $ 6 "foot"-.D "height" .f
Tom-Nom=Def "6" foot-Deg height=Fin
"Tom is 6 feet tall."

Normal Scale Constructions

In a normal scale construction, the direction may be above, below, or equal. The standard of comparison is implicitly a norm whose value is one appropriate to the subject of comparison. The degree of comparison can appear only as a precision marker. Normal constructions appear in all syntactical positions.

Pie} .L"heat"<.f
Pie } .L-"heat"-< .f
pie=Prox LP-heat-LT=Fin
"This pie is very cold."

Implicit and Explicit Comparatives

A comparative form can appear with or without an explicit standard of comparison. In the former case, the subject of comparison appears in the same clause as the scale of comparison. In the latter case, an adjunct clause is used whose head is the predicate sc (Std), whose object is the standard of comparison, and whose subject is the subject of comparison. If the subject of comparison is a phrase, it must be assigned an index, which is referenced by the clause containing the scale of comparison. Note that the scale of comparison can appear as a clause head, an adverb, or as part of a phrase.

Pie$3 "cake"$ sc "heat">.C3.f
Pie $ 3 "cake" $ sc "heat"->-.C-3 .f
pie=Def=3A "cake"=Def Std heat-GT-Cmp-3A=Fin
"The pie is hotter than the cake."

Dog$4 Cat$ sc "speed">.C.M 4Run%.f
Dog $ 4 Cat $ sc "speed"->-.C-.M 4-Run-% .f
dog=Def=3B cat=Def Std speed-GT-Cmp-Man 3B-run-Hab=Fin
"The dog runs faster as the cat."

"woman"$5 Man$ sc qt=.C "potato"& 5Eat.f
"woman" $ 5 Man $ sc qt-=-.C "potato" & 5-Eat .f
woman=Def=3C man=Def Std qty-Eq-Cmp potato=Ind 3C-eat=Fin
"The woman ate as many potatoes as the man."

qt>.C "tomato"&6 "potato":& sc "child"$ Eat6.f
qt->-.C "tomato" & 6 "potato"-: & sc "child" $ Eat-6 .f
qty-GT-Cmp tomato=Ind=3D potato=Ind Std child=Def eat-3D=Fin
"The child ate more tomatoes than potatoes."

Satisfactive Sentences

A satisfactive sentence consists of a satisfactive clause and a result sentence. The satisfactive clause is one containing a satisfactive form.

Partitives, Superlatives, and Ordinals

The partitive, superlative, and ordinal constructions are all clauses rather than phrases.

Partitive Clauses

The head of a partitive clause is a form of the partitive predicate pt (Par). The Y argument specifies the whole from which the part is selected. The X argument represents the cardinality of the part and is marked indefinite. Partitive constructions are typically correlative clauses with an index assigned to the cardinality of the part.

"book":} *3&7 pt 1"read"]7.f
"book"-: } *-3 & 7 pt 1-"read"-]-7 .f
book-P=Prox N-"3"=Ind=3E Par 1-read-Prf-3E=Fin
"I've read 3 of these books."

The translation of "each" is a quantity word used in the partitive construction:

Man:$ ea&3 pt 8See)3.f
Man-: $ ea & 3 pt 8-See-)-3 .f
man-P=Def each=Ind=3A Par Rfx-see-Pst-3A=Fin
"Each man saw himself."

The translation of "most" is a scalar stem also used in the partitive construction. It can also be "majority" and, with different suffixes, "minority" and "half".

Cat:{ mm>&4 pt Age<4.f
Cat-: { mm-> & 4 pt Age-<-4 .f
cat-P=Medi MM-GT=Ind=3B Par age-LT-3B=Fin
"Most of those cats are young."

Cat:{ .Lmm=&5 pt "greys"<5.f
Cat-: { .L-mm-= & 5 pt "greys"-<-5 .f
cat-P=Medi LP-MM-Eq=Ind=3C Par greyscale-LT-3C=Fin
"Roughly half of those cats are black."

Ordinal Clauses

The head of an ordinal clause is the ordinal number. The Y argument specifies the whole from which the part is selected and the X argument is the subject of the clause. When the ordinal clause is correlative, the subject, to which the index is assigned, is typically an indefinite (?) generic phrase.

"sing"\ Man:$ "John";$ #1).f
"sing"-\ Man-: $ "John"-; $ #-1-) .f
sing-Aor man-P=Def John-Nom=Def Ord-"1"-Pst=Fin
"John was the 1st man to sing."

If the whole is represented by a definite phrase not containing a quantity word, the ordinal number can precede the phrase instead of using a separate clause:

#1 "book"$ Age>.f
#-1 "book" $ Age-> .f
Ord-"1" book=Def age-GT=Fin
"The 1st book is old."

Superlative Clauses

The head of an superlative clause is the superlative form of the scalar predicate. The superlative form adds an argument to the normal predicate. Assuming that the normal predicate is univalent, the Y argument specifies the whole from which the part is selected and the X argument is that of the normal predicate (subject). However, if the normal predicate is bivalent, the whole is specified by the Z argument instead, so that the Y argument has its normal usage (subject) along with the X argument (location). When the superlative clause is correlative, the subject, to which the index is assigned, is typically an indefinite (?) generic phrase.

1th Dog:$ gn} Age>.S.f
1-th Dog-: $ gn } Age->-.S .f
1-have dog-P=Def GN=Prox age-GT-Sup=Fin
"This is the oldest of my dogs."

Note: GN is a generic inherent count predicate.

2 Cat$ gn$6 "size"<.S "hungry">6.f
2 Cat $ gn $ 6 "size"-<-.S "hungry"->-6 .f
"2" cat=Def GN=Prox=3D size-LT-Sup hungry-GT-3D=Fin
"The smaller cat is hungry."

If the whole is represented by a definite phrase not containing a quantity word, the superlative can precede the phrase instead of using a separate clause:

Age>.S Cat$ "greyscale"<.f
Age->-.S Cat $ "greyscale"< .f
age-GT-Sup cat=Def greyscale-LT=Fin
"The oldest cat is black."

page started: 2015.Jul.29 Wed
current date: 2015.Sep.04 Fri
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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