9D –  A Constructed Language

9D Syntax, Part 1


The order of words in a phrase is

(Case) (Determiner) (Quantifier) Noun (Attributives) (RelativeClause)
*** The position of the Quantifier may change! ***

hmkos horte
"the old house"
 h- mkos hort -e
Def- house  old -Att

Partitives, Ordinals, and Superlatives

A partitive construction consists of a quantifier followed by a genitive phrase.

pere thser
"one of the men"
per -e   t- h- ser
  1 -Att  Gen-Def- man

An ordinal construction consists of the following:

Determiner (Quantifier) OrdinalNumber GenitivePhrase

hmspere thtem
"the 1st woman"
 h- ms- per -e  t- h- tem
Def-Ord-  1 -Att  Gen-Def- woman

The proclitic definite article h is also used before adjectives to form the superlative. The superlative construction consists of a such a superlative adjective placed before a genitive noun phrase, which must have a determiner here.

hkorpe thkeht
"the heaviest (of the) cat(s)"
 h- korp -e  t- h- keht
Def- heavy -Att  Gen-Def- cat

hhorte tkete kopt
"the oldest of these rocks"
 h- hort -e  t- ket -e kopt
Def- old -Att  Gen- this -Att  rock


The order of phrases within a clause is

Tense/Mood (Agent) (Polarity) Verb (Patient) (Theme) (Secondary)

Agent and Patient are indexed on the verb (3S or 3P); Theme isn't.

Polarity is koe if negative (Neg) and unmarked if positive.

Tense and Mood Marking

Tense/Mood normally consists of either a tense marker or a conjunction, to which an enclitic mood marker may be attached. The tenses and conjunctions are:

Tag Form Description Clause Type
Prs pm present tense main
Pst pk past tense
Fut ps future tense
And pr and/then conjunct
If om while/when/if adjunct
Aft ok after
Bef os before

A clause introduced by pr is called a conjunct clause; its host is the preceding conjunct clause if any or the main clause (which is introduced by a tense form).

The mood enclitics are:

Mood Enclitics
Tag Enclitic Mood
-Act -0 actual
-Hyp -me hypothetical
-Ctf -ke contrafactual

The imperative mood particle se is used instead of Tense/Mood. Normally, only transitive verbs and active verbs can be used with the imperative, with the latter taking the S-V forms instead of the usual V-S forms. The 2nd person agent prefix is normally omitted for imperative usage.

se koe tomko hkeht!
"Don't kick the cat!"
se koe tomk -o  h- keht
Imp  Neg  kick -3S  Def- cat

Secondary Predicates

There are two kinds of secondary predicates: resultatives and depictives; both use coreferential verb forms.

A resultative is marked with HP, and specifies a situation resulting from the action denoted by the host clause.

pk hser otomko kopt pokoro hmkos.
"The man kicked a rock into the house."
 pk -0  h- ser  o- tomk -o kopt  po- kor -o  h- mkos
Pst -Act  Def- man  3S- kick -3S  rock HP- in -3S  Def- house

A depictive is marked with either HP or HA, and specifies a situation current with respect to the action denoted by the host clause. In 9D, depictives with HP are limited to either those whose hosts are stative verbs or comparison clauses. Note that depictives with active verb hosts take HA.

Comparative and Equative Clauses

Both comparative and equative clauses use the positive form of the quantity word with a secondary predicate providing the standard of comparison. The verb mos is used for comparatives and the verb sem for equatives. Note that the person prefix indicates whether the agent or patient is the subject of comparison.

pm horto hkopt pomoso hkeht.
"The rock is older than the cat."
 pm -0 hort -o  h- kopt  po- mos -o  h- keht
Prs -Act  old -3S  Def- rock HP- Cmp -3S  Def- cat

Location, Possession, and Existence

Location words are verbs, so no host verb is needed for predicate locatives.

pk hkeht okoro hmkos.
"The cat was in the house."
 pk -0  h- keht  o- kor -o  h- mkos
Pst -Act  Def- cat 3S- in -3S  Def- house

For predicate possession, the verb top "have" is used, regardless of the definiteness of the patient.

pm ktopo keht.
"I have a cat."
pm -0  k- top -o  0- keht
Prs -Act  1S- have -3S  Ind- cat

pm ktopo hkeht.
"The cat belongs to me."
pm -0  k- top -o  h- keht
Prs -Act  1S- have -3S  Def- cat

The same verb is used without an agent for existence:

ps topo hete mkos.
"That house will exist."
ps -0 0- top -o het -e mkos
Fut -Act  U- have -3S  that -Att  house

Definition and Identity

Clauses of definition and identity have no verb (0-copula); the subject is followed directly by the complement, except that the negative polarity particle koe may appear. The tense is normally present.

pm mete keht [koe] kopt.
"This cat is [not] a rock."
pm -0 met -e keht  [koe]  0- kopt
Prs -Act  this -Att  cat [Neg] Ind- rock

The participant nominalization prefixes may be used as generic nouns:

pk hkes roh?
"Who did it?"
pk -0  h- kes roh
Pst -Act  Def- AgtN  who

ps htom pok.
"The result will be a book."
ps -0  h- tom pok
Fut -Act  Def- PrdN  book


Polar questions place the PQ particle rh before the Tense particle.

rh pm stopho keht?
"Do you have cats?"
rh pm -0  s- top -ho keht
PQ  Prs -Act  2S- have -3P  cat

A content question contains one of the CQ words, currently roh "who(m)", reh "what", and ret "which", "where". The question phrase isn't fronted.

pk shsko reh?
"What did you hear?"
pk -0  s- hsk -o reh
Pst -Act  2S- hear -3S  what

pm reto hkeht tek?
"Where's my cat?"
pm -0 ret -o  h- keht  t- ek
Prs -Act  where -3S  Def- cat Gen- 1S

page started: 2011.Dec.03 Sat
current date: 2011.Dec.16 Fri
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

table of contents