Oct19A –  A Constructed Language

Oct19A Scalar Morphosyntax

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

Scalar Morphology

A scalar root by itself is absolute; suffixes are required for relative and all other forms. The suffixes are shown in the following table. A given scalar root is either labile, allowing a target to be specified, or univalent.

Scalar Suffixes
Suffix Tag Name Direction Function
Absolute absolute absolute
-co -CQ Question absolute interrogative
-ta -GTN Positive positive relative
-ni -LTN Negative negative
-ze -EqN Normative neutral
-ma -GT More Than positive comparative
-bi -LT Less Than negative
-fe -Eq Equative neutral
-ra -Max Maximal positive maximal
-ri -Min Minimal negative
-ha -GTSup Most positive superlative
-hi -LTSup Least negative
-ga -GTSat ? positive satisfactive
-gi -LTSat ? negative

Scalar Syntax

The components of a construction involving comparison include a scale of comparison, a subject of comparison, a standard of comparison, a direction of comparison, a comparison function, a degree of comparison, and a precision of comparison.

The scale of comparison is the root specifying the quality that's used for comparison. The subject of comparison is the root specifying the process that's compared to the standard of comparison, whose form varies.

The direction of comparison determines if the comparison is one of equality (i.e. the subject matches the standard) or inequality. For the latter, the positive is used when the subject exceeds the standard and the negative when the standard exceeds the subject. The comparison function determines the type of construction to be used. Both direction and function are specified by the scalar suffix, so the scale, direction, function, and subject of comparison all appear in the same clause.

A comparison of inequality also may have a degree of comparison specifying the difference between the subject of comparison and the standard of comparison (the degree appears as an absolute value). It consists of a units word and a (usually numeric) quantity word.

The optional precision of comparison modifies either the degree of comparison if that appears or the function. There are 2 precision words: tight precision TP and loose precision LP; medium precision isn't marked. The English translations vary quite a bit depending on the construction they appear in.


An interrogative construction is a content question where the requested information is the degree of the scale as applied to the subject of comparison. As such, a degree clause must not appear, although precision is possible. Normally, no standard of comparison appears, but if it does, information relative to the standard is requested.


An absolute construction either specifies some absolute degree of comparison or simply indicates that the scale applies to the subject of comparison (when no degree clause appears). There's no standard, but precision may modify the degree.


In a relative construction, the implicit standard specifies the norm appropriate for the kind of process the subject of comparison belongs to. The positive form translates the named scale while the negative translates its opposite, e.g. xista "hot" and xisni "cold". The neutral form refers to the norm. A positive or negative clause may have a degree phrase unified with it specifying the degree of difference form the norm. Precision may also appear.

Comparatives and Equatives

The comparative construction requires a clause containing a comparative form of a scalar word (this includes equatives, which are comparisons of equality).

A comparative has an explicit or implicit standard of comparison. An implicit standard typically refers to an earlier stage of the subject of comparison. An explicit standard is a clause containing the root Std; it's unified with the clause containing the scale form.

The degree clause, if it appears, is also unified with the clause containing the scale.

The typical clause order is ComparativeClause(=U StandardClause)(=U DegreeClause)=evidential.


A maximal construction indicates that the subject of comparison has the most extreme degree possible for the subject of comparison. No standard or degree may appear; precision is rare.


A satisfactive construction indicates that the degree is sufficient for some other process to occur (which is specified by another sentence).


Superlative constructions are semantically partitive; the preceding section of the clause specifies a set or whole of which the superlative specifies the subset or part. Because of this, the superlative can also be modified by a numeric quantity word; the default cardinality of the part is 1 while that of the whole is plural. The implicit standard refers to the other members of the set. Degree is possible; precision can only modify degree.

page started: 2016.Nov.01 Tue
current date: 2016.Nov.02 Wed
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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