A Constructed Language
Topic and Focus
Generic and Indefinite Phrases
- A noun phrase lacking a determiner is either indefinite or generic
- Although generic phrases are identical to indefinite phrases, they
actually function as a subtype of the definite phrases.
- Purely indefinite phrases never appear before the verb.
- Generic phrases can appear only before a finite verb. If the verb is
non-finite, they appear after it, but before any indefinite phrase.
- When a generic phrase appears, the verb is usually either habitual or
stative, but there are exceptions.
- Topics are always definite.
- Naisek has two mechanisms for
identifying topics. One mechanism is similar to what's used in English;
The other is covered below.
- The word or construct identifying the topic must be a component of the
main clause, not part of a subordinate construct. It may be a core
argument, an oblique argument, a prepositional phrase, an adverb, or a
- With this mechanism, the component serves both to identify the topic and
to play its usual role in the clause; there are no topic-only phrases.
- Any component serving to identify the topic appears at the start of the
- In the first example following, gofo serves as both generic
topic and indefinite object while in the second, it serves only as an
|Gofo mentaki besso.
||- "As for dogs, I saw one today."|
|Mentaki gofo besso.
||- "I saw a dog today."|
- Ce, ga, and he can be used to
make a particular phrase focused by placing the particle in front of the
phrase. The whole phrase usually appears last in the clause.
|Xarsani ce Johan?
||- "Was it John you heard?"|
|Sta jangok he har kattor.
||- "It's the cat that's eating."|
- Ga and he are used contrastively to get the
effect of "but". Whichever is more emphasized comes last.
|Mentaki ga nam gofo he otelpa gofo.
||- "It wasn't your dog I saw but some other."|
- If a 1st person or 2nd person subject pronoun is focused, it doesn't
usually agree with the verb in person; instead, the verb takes the 3rd
person form. The verb and subject still agree in case and may agree
|Sator poltok ga ka.
||- "It wasn't me that was running."|
page started: 2008.Jul.02 Wed
last modified: 2008.Jul.03 Thu
content and form originated by qiihoskeh
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