Apr28 –  A Constructed Language

Apr28 Verbal Morphosyntax

Verbal Morphosyntax


Polar questions are indicated by the presence of the polar question particle PQ.

PQ Exi melon-i 2S-Ret-buy-i? "Have you bought any melons?"

Content questions are indicated by the presence of one of the content question words, such as CQ.

2S-Prg-eat CQI? "What are you eating?"

Comparative Constructions

Comparatives and equatives are also formed using the prefixes Cmp and Equ, respectively.

An explicit comparison uses an additional relational verb (equivalent to "than") to mark the standard of comparison along with the comparative or equative form of the adjective. The prefix marks the subject of comparison while the suffix marks the standard of comparison.

PN Tom-i PN John-j j-Cmp-heavy j-than-i. "John is heavier than Tom."
Dem dog-i i-Equ-small i-than NR cat. "That dog is as small as a cat."

A temporal comparison compares the subject of comparison to its former self and uses no explicit standard of comparison.

PN Mary Cmp-light. "Mary is (has gotten) lighter."

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner are created from verbs using the affix Man in place of the index. They usually appear near the appropriate verb.

PN John leave angry-Man. "John left angrily."

Non-temporal Conjunctions

The conjunction appears at the start of the conjoined clause. The conjunctions include the coordinating conjunctions "and", "ior", etc. and subordinating conjunctions for circumstances (Cir), reason (Rsn), cause (Cau), means (Mns), and purpose (Pur).

Def man-i [1] melon-j i-buy-j and i-eat-j.
"The man bought a melon and ate it."
Def man-i Def melon-j i-eat-j Rsn i-Ret-buy-j.
"The man ate the melon, because he'd bought it."

Temporal Morphosyntax

Most of the examples in this section assume past time, which must be indicated somehow, by the absolute past tense adverb if nothing else.

Temporal Conjunctions

The basis for all temporal relations is the set of 4 temporal conjunctions: ga (Aft "after"), bu (Bef "before"), ji (Dur "during"), and de (Tmp "when"). They all take index arguments referring to the adjunct clause to which the time of the host clause is relative. The adjunct clause begins with the nominalizer Nom, whose index is used, unless the clause immediately follows the conjunction (in which case the index is 0 and Nom is omitted). Aft and Bef can also take another index argument referring to the degree of temporal displacement, expressed as a phrase where the noun denotes temporal units.

PN Mary arrive Aft-k i-eat PN John-i [2] hour-k.
"Mary arrived 2 hours after John ate."
Nom-i PN Mary eat j-leave PN John-j Dur-i
"John left while Mary was eating."

Temporal Pronominals

There are also the temporal pronominals -xu/x (-O "now") and -na/n (-T "then"), which appear on the conjunction in place of the clause index, and the temporal pronominal -ké (SD "the same day"), which appears in place of the degree index. These can be used to construct temporal adverbs, such as:

dæx Tmp-O "now"
dæn Tmp-T "at that time"
box Bef-O "in the past"
gax Aft-O "in the future"
boxké Bef-O-SD "earlier today"
ganké Aft-T-SD "later the same day"
box al kær Bef-O [1] day "yesterday"
gax al kær Aft-O [1] day "tomorrow"


When the clause index is 0, the conjunction ji (Dur) can be replaced by the progressive aspect prefix ji- Prg on the adjunct verb. When both the clause index and the degree index are 0, the conjunctions ga (Aft) and bu (Bef) can be replaced by the prefixes ga- (Ret, retrospective) and bu- (Pro, prospective), respectively.

PN John leave, PN Mary Prg-eat "John left while Mary was eating."
PN Mary arrive, PN John Ret-eat. "Mary arrived after John ate."

Verbs marked for aspect can also be used outside of temporal adjuncts.

Tmp-T PN Mary Prg-eat. "(At that time,) Mary was eating."


Conditional Sentences

A conditional sentence consists of a condition clause and a conclusion clause. The conclusion is preceded by either the conditional particle Con or the contrafactual particle Ctf. The condition begins with a conjunction. In Apr28, there's no specific word for "if"; instead one of the conjunctions for specifying time, cause, reason, or circumstances is used.

Con Def chair-i break-i Cir PN John sit-i.
"If John sat on it, the chair broke."
Ctf Def chair-i break-i Cir PN John sit-i.
"If John had sat on it, the chair would've broken."

If neither Con nor Ctf appears, a factual relationship between the clauses is involved, not a conditional one.

Def chair-i break-i Tmp PN John sit-i.
"When John sat on it, the chair broke."

Satisfactive Sentences

A satisfactive sentence consists of a satisfactive clause and a result part. A satisfactive clause is one containing a word or affix of sufficiency or excess. The result part is a conditional sentence or, more often, just the conclusion. It can be actual, conditional, or contrafactual.

PN John heavy-Sat, Def chair-i break-i.
"John is so heavy, the chair broke."
PN John heavy-Sat, Con Def chair-i break-i.
"John is heavy enough for the chair to break."
PN John heavy-Sat, Ctf Def chair-i break-i.
"John is so heavy, the chair would've broken."

The satisfactive is expressed differently depending on the type of adverb.

  1. Degree:
    The degree pronominal -tó (-Sat) is used on the adjective.
  2. Time When:
    The clause pronominal -tá (-S) is used on the conjunction de (Tmp).
  3. Manner:
    The verb SatV is used with the manner affix (Man).
  4. Duration, # Iterations, and # Occasions:
    The quantity word SatQ is used with the appropriate unit noun.

page started: 2013.Apr.29 Mon
current date: 2013.May.10 Fri
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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