Aug28 –  A Constructed Language

Aug28 Phrase and Clause Syntax

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


The syntactical word classes are verb, quantity word, noun, pronoun, adverb, determiner, conjunction, and particle. The nouns include the participial order forms of verbs and other nominalizations.

A 3rd person coreference uses primarily null, secondarily a 3rd person pronoun, and if necessary an anaphoric noun phrase.

A verb phrase consists of a verb form of either finite order or imperative order.

Nominal Phrases

A nominal phrase is either a simple phrase or a compound phrase. A simple phrase is either a pronoun or a noun phrase. A noun phrase always contains at least 1 noun form; multiple nouns must agree in number and case. It may also contain a determiner or genitive phrase and/or a quantity word before the noun(s), with the determiner or genitive phrase first. Note that partitive and superlative constructions are noun phrases. A nominal phrase may be replaced by a form of the correlative pronoun Cor followed immediately by an internally-headed relative clause.

A genitive phrase is a nominal phrase in which the noun(s) or pronoun take the genitive case. Genitive phrases have both possessive and non-possessive uses.

If neither a determiner or a genitive phrase appears, the nominal phrase is either non-referential or non-specific indefinite.

Participles tend to precede other nouns.

Nominal Phrase Examples

qeku xazanasu tonaqu
ek xazanas tonaq
ek xazan-as tonaq
D3 heavy-Obv man
"the heavy man" (singular ergative)

sizu nesexituco xatakituco locezuco
siz nesexitco xatakitco locezco
siz nesex-it-co xatak-it-co locez-co
D1 old-Pat-PLoc break-Pat-PLoc chair-PLoc
"these old broken chairs" (plural locative)

nazo ziqohuta
nazo ziohta
nazo zioh-ta
many edible_fruit-PAbs
"many edible fruits" (plural absolutive)

Partitive and Superlative Phrases

A partitive phrase represents a subset of some whole. It consists of a nominalized quantity word denoting the cardinality of the subset preceded by a genitive phrase denoting the whole.

qeku silaquko nazasuzo
ek silaqko nazaszo
ek silaq-ko nazo-as-zo
D3 woman-PGen many-A-PErg
"many of the women" (plural ergative)

A superlative phrase represents a subset of some whole selected according to some scale of comparison. It consists of a superlative noun specifying the scale and direction of comparison and a genitive phrase denoting the whole. It may also contain a quantity word specifying the cardinality of the subset and/or an ordinal number following the noun (used in such phrases as "the 2nd oldest of us").

Compound Phrases

A compound phrase is a sequence of simple phrases separated by instances of one of the phrase conjunctions, which are shown in the following table:

Phrase Conjunctions
Word Tag Description
- - Agg Aggregative
- - Alt Alternative


A clause always contains a verb phrase. The verb may be imperative in some types of clauses; otherwise, it's indicative. The clause may also contain a nominal phrase for each required or optional argument of the verb, postpositional phrases, and adverbial constituents of various types. Each of these constituents precedes the verb except when focused; in that case, the focused constituent follows the verb.

Temporal adjunct clauses must be used for depictive secondary predicates and compound verbs for resultative secondary predicates, except where there's a corresponding postposition.

A vocative case nominal phrase, identifying the addressee(s), may be inserted before or after any constituent.

Argument Phrases

Each argument phrase represents one of the verb's (formally) 3rd person arguments: ergative, absolutive, and/or locative. The order of the argument phrases is flexible (the most topical tends to appear first).

If a required argument (see the argument structure classes) is 3rd person and has no nominal phrase, it must be coreferential. The verb affixes and/or the cases of the other argument phrases should disambiguate the case of the null argument.

Postpositional Phrases

A postpositional phrase consists of a nominal phrase in the locative case followed by a postposition. There are only a few postpositions, such as ax qaku Cmp ("compare") and Ins ("use"). Postpositional phrases appear before any required or optional argument phrases with the phrase most relevent to the postposition appearing immediately after the postposition (unless the argument is focused or marked on the verb).

Adverbial Constituents

An adverb is either a particle, an adverb of manner, or an adverbial phrase.

An adverb of manner consists of a scalar verb placed immediately after the matrix verb.

Adverbial phrases are used for specifying scalar precision, duration, the number of iterations or occasions, and the time when the situation occurs. Except for time when phrases (which are treated along with tense in the Temporal Syntax and Lexicon chapter), no determiner is used.

In a number of iterations phrase, the adverbial iteration noun Itr is used. In a number of occasions phrase, the adverbial occasion noun Occ is used. These usually don't occur with singular quantities.

A duration phrase consists of a quantity word and a time-unit noun. If the quantity is omitted, "1" is assumed. Duration phrases are equivalent to scalar precision phrases accompanying absolute positive constructions where the scalar verb denotes duration. The uses of scalar precision phrases are given in the scalar section.

page started: 2018.Aug.29 Wed
current date: 2018.Sep.03 Mon
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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