Aug28 –  A Constructed Language

Aug28 Temporal Syntax and Lexicon

Legend: Definitions, Terms, <Ts3>, {}, [IPA], -Tags-, and "Glosses".

Temporal Lexicon

This temporal scheme was adapted from those of TW3, Jul24, and Aug18A.

Temporal Units

The names and relative values of the temporal units are shown in the following table:

Temporal Units
# Base Unit Unit Name Description
~0.6 second per - - basic temporal unit
100 - - - - "minute"
64 - - - - "hour"
20 - - zekoh zekohu "day"
~50 zekoh zekohu - - "season"
8 - - - - "year"
100 - - - - "century"

Temporal Entities

The names of specific "hours of the daytime" and "hours of the night" are derived from the digits 0 through 9 by appending -sel selu and -tak taku, respectively.

The terms for "days of the season" are constructed from "day" + a compound number. There's an extra day in one season most years with a 2nd extra day every 5 years.

The names of the seasons are shown in the following table:

# Word Name
0 - - "spring"
1 - - "pre-summer"
2 - - "summer"
3 - - "pre-autumn"
4 - - "autumn"
5 - - "pre-winter"
6 - - "winter"
7 - - "pre-spring"

The temporal units within each "hour" and the "years of the cycle" are identified using ordinal numbers plus the name of the temporal unit.

Other Temporal Words

The following table lists some other temporal words:

Other Temporal Words
Gloss Word Tag Name Notes
os qosu D0= Non-anaphoric Definite determiners used with time units
this siz sizu D1= Proximal
that ek qeku D3= Anaphoric
what cat catu Q= Interrogative
some in qinu Ind Indefinite
every lah lahu Uni Universal Quantifier
daytime seloh selohu some adverbial nouns
night takoh takohu
now - - Prs Present tense particles
then =i qi =Pst Past
=a qa =Fut Future

Temporal Syntax

The tense markers are extraclausal and absolute (i.e. relative to the time of utterance). The tense doesn't need to be specified for every clause and sentence; it's assumed that the tense remains the same if not specified in some manner. The tense is initially implicitly present.

The syntax for temporal phrases and expressions is shown in the following table:

Temporal Phrases & Expressions
# Name Description
1 Relation iff expression
2 Determiner
3 Quantity Word displacement or # occasions
4 Time Noun unit or phase
5 Tense or Expression
6 Genitive for composite phrases

Single Occasion Phrases

A single occasion phrase uses a temporal determiner other than D0 or Uni. No quantity word appears. Either a time unit noun or time phase noun is used. If the determiner is D1, the tense is present (implicitly); otherwise, the tense is past =Pst or future =Fut. The tense word Prs "now" is a special case.

Sample Single Occasion Phrases
Phrase Relation Det. Quant. Noun Tense Gloss
siz zekoh - D1 - day - "today"
- - D1 - day#2 - "this Tuesday*"
eki/eka - D3 - - =Pst/=Fut "then"
ek takoh[i/a] - D3 - night =Pst/=Fut "that night"
cati/cata - Q - - =Pst/=Fut "when?"
- - Q - hour =Pst/=Fut "what hour?"
- - Ind - week =Pst/=Fut "some week"

Multiple Occasion Phrases

A multiple occasion phrase uses a temporal determiner other than D0 or D1; the determiner may also be null (non-specific). A quantity word (other than "0" or "1") appears denoting the number of occasions (unless the determiner is Uni). The noun is either a time unit, a time phase, "occasion" Occ, or "iteration" Itr. The tense may be past =Pst, future =Fut, or present (implicitly).

Sample Multiple Occasion Phrases
Relation Determiner Quantity Noun Tense Gloss
- D3 4 night =Pst/=Fut "on those 4 nights"
- Ind 5 year =Pst/=Fut "in 5 different years"
- Uni - day#2 - "every Tuesday*" (present)
- Uni - day#2 =Pst/=Fut "every Tuesday*" (non-present)
- - 2 occasion =Pst/=Fut "on 2 occasions"

Time Displacement Phrases

The determiner of a time displacement phrase is D0. A time unit noun is used. The quantity word denotes the number of units displaced in time ("0" isn't used). If no quantity word appears, the quantity is 1. The tense may be absolute past =Pst, absolute future =Fut, or a relative time expression.

Sample Time Displacement Phrases
Phrase Relation Det. Quant. Noun Tense Gloss
os takohi - D0 - night =Pst last night
os keto zekoha - D0 2 day =Fut "the day after tomorrow"

Relative Time Expressions

A relative time expression begins with either "before" or "after". This is followed by a single occasion phrase.

Sample Relative Time Expressions
Relation Determiner Quantity Noun Tense Gloss
after D1 - day#2 - " from this Tuesday*"
before D3 - year =Pst/=Fut " before that year"


qeki qosu xazanasu tonaqu qosu nesexituqi locezuqi tehoku.
eki os xazanas tonaq os nesexitqi locezqi tehok.
e=ki os xazan-as tonaq os nesex-it-qi locez-qi tehok
D3=Pst D0 heavy-Obv man D0 old-Pat-SLoc chair-SLoc sit
"The heavy man sat on the old chair."

qeku tiqahuti qina qosu nekoqu cixotu.
ek tiahti ina os nekoq cixot.
ek tiah-ti in=a os nekoq cixot
D3 fish-SAbs Ind=Fut D0 cat eat
"As for the fish, the cat will eat it at some point."

Composite Temporal Phrases

In a composite temporal phrase, the component phrase with the larger unit appears before one with the smaller unit and its noun takes the genitive case.


The enclitic contrafactual particle =Ctf follows any tense particle or time-when adverbial. It's used for contrary-to-fact conditions and conclusions and also for the complements of wishes.

page started: 2018.Aug.29 Wed
current date: 2018.Sep.04 Tue
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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