MNCL6 –  A Constructed Language

MNCL6 Scalar Morphosyntax

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

Scalar Components

The possible components of a scalar construction are the scale of comparison, the direction of comparison, the subject of comparison, the standard of comparison, the degree of comparison, the precision of comparison, and the comparison function.

The comparison function determines the type of construction to be used.

The scale of comparison is the quality according to which the comparison is made.

The subject of comparison is the entity being compared and the standard of comparison is the entity that the subject of comparison is compared to.

The direction of comparison specifies how the subject of comparison relates to the standard:

The degree of comparison is either the amount of difference between the subject of comparison and the standard of comparison or an absolute amount. It doesn't apply to comparisons of equality. Note that what is traditionally called the degree is handled by the comparison function here.

The precision of comparison modifies the degree and is either tight, medium, or loose. The English translations vary quite a bit depending on the construction they appear in.


The scale of comparison is represented by the scalar verb. The direction of comparison is either fused with the scale (positive and negative) or fused with the comparison function medial (neutral and absolute). Each scalar verb is inherently positive or negative; scalar verbs tend to come in pairs of opposites, e.g. ? "heavy" (positive) and ? "light" (negative). In cases where the distinction between positive and negative isn't significant, the positive scalar root is most often used. The subject of comparison is represented by a phrase. How the standard of comparison is represented depends on the specific construction. The degree of comparison is represented by a quantity along with the appropriate unit noun in the instrumental case. The precision of comparison is fused with the comparison function medial.

Scalar Morphology

The tags for tight and loose precision are TP and LP, respectively; no tag is used for medium precision.

Functions & Precision
Precision Function
Tight Medium Loose Tag Name
-uuth -ooth -aath -Sup superlative
-Cpr comparative
-und -ond -and -Equ equative
-urv -orv -arv -Norm normative
- - -akhr -Extr extreme value
-iiz -eez -aiz -Sat satisfactive
-inch -ench -anch -QDeg question degree
-ilk -elk -alk -ADeg absolute degree

Scalar Syntax

Comparatives and Equatives

The subject of comparison appears first and is followed by the standard of comparison in the locative case, after which the rest of the clause appears. The scale of comparison can appear anywhere except within the standard.

izho taika uzhai mikuuthe.
izh-o taik-a uzh-ai mik-uuth-e
Prox-Att cat-Abs Medi-Loc young-TP.Cpr-Fin
"This cat is a little younger than that one."

botaami bojaanai pake da zufaathe.
bo-taam-i bo-jaan-ai pak-e d-a zuf-aath-e
N-Tom-Erg N-John-Loc run-Fin SCT-Loc fast-LP.Cpr-Fin
"Tom ran a lot faster than John."

bojaani botaamai sarootho poteeta beshe.
bo-jaan-i bo-taam-ai sar-ooth-o poteet-a besh-e
N-John-Erg N-Tom-Loc many-Cpr-Att potato-Abs eat-Fin
"John ate more potatoes than Tom."

sarootho poteeta so tomeetai bojaani beshe.
sar-ooth-o poteet-a s-o tomeet-ai bo-jaan-i besh-e
many-Cpr-Att potato-Abs P-Att tomato-Loc N-John-Erg eat-Fin
"John ate more potatoes than tomatoes."

Every comparative or equative must have an explicit standard of comparison. When comparing to a prior state of the subject of comparison, an aspect-marked form of the reflexive pronoun can be used:

lo dashi yukai khajoothe.
l-o dash-i y-uk-ai khaj-ooth-e
3-Att woman-Erg Rfx-Prf-Loc angry-Cpr-Fin
"The woman is angrier than ever before."

Implicit Norm Comparisons

Use of unmodified scalars, as well as use of normatives, involve an implicit norm in lieu of an explicit standard; the norm is one appropriate to the subject of comparison.

Questions and Absolutes

uzho taika fogenche?
uzh-o taik-a fog-ench-e
Medi-Att cat-Abs old-QDeg-Fin
"How old is that cat?"

uzho taika duzo valdis fogelke?
uzh-o taik-a duz-o vald-is fog-elk-e
Medi-Att cat-Abs "3"-Att year-Ins old-ADeg-Fin
"That cat is 3 years old."


A satisfactive involves the degree being sufficient for some purpose, which must be specified:

daishokh jiraffa zufiize.
day-sh-okh jiraff-a zuf-iiz-e
succeed-Nom-Dat giraffe-Abs fast-TP.Sat-Fin
"A giraffe is just fast enough."

khuushokh lo taika zuf-aiz-e.
khuv-sh-okh l-o taik-a zuf-aiz-e
fail-Nom-Dat 3-Att cat-Abs slow-LP.Sat-Fin
"The cat is way too fast."


The extreme value comparison (traditionally the "absolute superlative") involves the maximal possible degree appropriate to the subject of comparison, or minimal if the verb is negative.

botaami khajakhre.
bo-taam-i khaj-akhr-e
N-Tom-Erg angry-Extr-Fin
"Tom couldn't be angrier."

A superlative of selection construction consists of a partitive-case phrase, as covered in the syntax chapter, followed by a superlative word, which may be accompanied by a quantity word specifying some non-singular cardinality. Alternately, a superlative word may be used without the partitive, if the cardinality of the whole isn't to be specified. Superlative constructions are automatically definite.

lo mikootho taika
l-o mik-ooth-o taik-a
3-Att young-Sup-Att cat-Abs
"the youngest cat"

Special Morphosyntax

Before and After

The following table lists some temporal scalars; the 1st 4 are usually accompanied by degree phrases specifying time units (the rest may be). They're all used as auxiliary predicates.

Temporal Scalars
Word Glosses Notes
inest· ago, already time before present
inokhm· from now, not yet time after present
ulest· before, early time before definite
ulokhm· after, late time after definite
chest· time before when (question)
chokhm· time after when (question)
kest· time before when (relative)
kokhm· time after when (relative)


botaami kale da nano valdis ineste.
bo-taam-i kal-e d-a nan-o vald-is inest-e
N-Tom-Erg sing-Fin SCT-Abs "4"-Att year-Ins ago-Fin
"Tom sang 4 years ago."

The scalars est· "before, early" and okhm· "after, late" are relational, although the genitive location argument is hardly ever used. Instead, the comparative construction is used:

botaami lo so kuchai kale da sovo valdis estoothe.
bo-taam-i l-o s-o kuch-ai kal-e d-a sov-o vald-is est-ooth-e
N-Tom-Erg 3-Att P-Att boy-Loc sing-Fin SCT-Abs "2"-Att year-Ins early-Cpr-Fin
"Tom sang 2 years after the boys did."

page started: 2017.Jan.06 Fri
current date: 2017.Jan.08 Sun
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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