Nov19 –  A Constructed Language

Nov19 Syntax

Verb Complex

The verb complex may consist of

ContentVerb - Auxiliaries - Epistemic/Evidential - PolarQuestionParticle

The epistemic/evidential particle and the polar question particle (which usually don't appear together) appear only in main-level clauses.

The polar question particle is (PQ).


Protoform Word Tag Description
* - EP epistemic possibility
* - EN epistemic necessity
*0 0 Wit direct evidential
* - Hrs indirect evidential
* - Ctf contrafactual


Types of adverbials include temporal adverbs, adverbs or manner, and degree of comparison constructions. The last consists of a quantity word preceding a degree adverb (unit noun with the suffix -Deg).


The order of components in a basic noun phrase is as follows:

RelativeClause - Determiner - Quantity - Participles - Noun

Participles are always marked for gender agreement with the noun or implied noun. Determiners and cardinal numbers take gender suffixes only when final in the phrase (not counting relative clauses). Case is marked only once.

Determiners and Quantities

The quantity words include the cardinal numbers, the singular and plural markers, and words such as "many" and "few". The determiners are as follows:

Protoform Word Tag Description
*njt nit Prox proximal demonstrative
*kwt kut Medi medial demonstrative
*trk tak Dist distal demonstrative
*tje ce CQ content question
*khet xot Uni universal quantifier
*phj fi- PN- proper noun prefix

The quantifiers preclude quantity words.

The demonstratives act strictly as demonstratives when a quantity is also present; otherwise, they mark the phrase as anaphoric. The demonstratives combine with the following singular or plural marker.

Demonstrative and Number Combinations
Word Tag Description Singular Plural
*njt Prox proximal demonstrative nisi ?
*kwp Medi medial demonstrative kufi ?
*trk Dist distal demonstrative taxi ?

Partitive, Superlative, and Ordinal Phrases

A partitive phrase consists of a cardinal number following a noun phrase or pronoun in the genitive case. The cardinal number is inflected for gender and case in this construction.

A superlative phrase consists of the comparative form of an adjectival verb optionally preceded by a cardinal number and a noun phrase or pronoun in the genitive case preceding that. The comparative form is inflected for gender and case in this construction.

A ordinal phrase consists of an ordinal number optionally preceded by a cardinal number and a noun phrase or pronoun in the genitive case preceding that. The ordinal number is inflected for gender and case in this construction.

In all three constructions, the genitive phrase is implicitly or explicitly definite and plural.

Noun Negation

A noun may be negated (or affirmed) by placing the polar auxiliary after it. If the noun is acting as the head of a predicate, the auxiliary takes verb endings; otherwise, the participle of the auxiliary is used and case is marked on the auxiliary.


A clause consists of a verb complex and possibly a number of other components. The order of components in a clause are:

Agent - ObliquePhrases - SecondaryPredicates - Patient - VerbComplex

kusi xan tâdi tigo!
kut-hi xan tâdi tig-e
Medi-S fish cook Neg-Imp
"Don't cook that fish!"

Note: Where do adverbs appear?

Vocative phrases (preceded by Voc) may appear before or after any clause constituent.

Secondary Predicates

A secondary predicate is a coreferential clause occurring in addition to the host clause's arguments. A depictive secondary predicate specifies the state of the coreferenced host argument at the time of the host situation while a resultative specifies the state resulting from the host situation. For resultatives, the coreference is limited to patient and subject arguments while a depictive may coreference an agent as well.

Temporal Adjuncts

A temporal adjunct specifies the time of the host clause relative to that of the adjunct clause. It's a tenseless clause followed by one of the temporal conjunctions "after", "before", nis "while", or "when". The host clause may be a statement, question, or command.

nit xande numa tô xwibik.
nit xande numa xwib-ik
Prox fish-Erg sing-3A after sleep-1S
"After the fish sang, I slept."

Complement Clauses and Infinitives

A complement clause is a tenseless finite clause that replaces the patient argument of the matrix clause. It precedes any other clause components.

An infinitive clause is a coreferential clause that replaces the patient argument of the matrix clause. It precedes any other clause components.

While coreferential matrix clauses are SOV, non-coreferential matrix clauses must be OSV.

fittamide xan tâdi hasahê.
fi-ttami-de xan tâdi has-a-hê
PN-Tom-Erg fish cook want-3A-Prs
"Tom wants to cook fish."

fimâçade xan tâja fittamide hasahê.
fi-mâça-de xan tâj-a fi-ttami-de has-a-hê
PN-Marsha-Erg fish cook-3A PN-Tom-Erg want-3A-Prs
"Tom wants Marsha to cook fish."

Definition and Identity

Clauses of definition and identity consist of a subject followed by a predicate, the latter being definite in identity clauses and indefinite in definition clauses. The subject is an absolutive noun phrase or pronoun (or null; see below). The predicate is also an absolutive noun phrase except that 3rd person verb endings are attached to the noun. Note that a participle or other modifier in head noun position simply becomes a verb. If the subject is a personal pronoun, the subject phrase is null and the 3rd person suffix is replaced by the appropriate person and number suffix.

fimâça kut numa tiga.
fi-mâça kut num-a tig-a
Marsha Medi sing-Ani Neg-3A
"Marsha isn't the singer."

kut numa xana.
kut num-a xan-a
Medi sing-Ani fish-3A
"The singer is a fish."

Relative Clauses

A relative clause begins with a form of the relative pronoun RP, which takes the gender of the head noun of the containing phrase. The verb of the relative clause is marked for tense, independently of the matrix clause. A relative clause can't be the only component of the phrase, a head word is needed, although this may be a very generic noun.

kâ xan tigahê numa iktâja.
xan tig-a-hê num-a ik-tâj-a
RPA fish Neg-3A-Prs sing-Ani 1S-cook-3A
"The singer that's not a fish cooked for me."


A comparison clause contains an adjectival verb, not necessarily the main one. In a comparison of inequality, the comparative form of an adjectival verb is used. In a comparison of equality, the equative form of an adjectival verb is used. In a comparison with an explicit standard of comparison, the standard is the object of the secondary predicate of "surpass" for inequalities and of "match" for equalities. If no such secondary predicate appears, the implicit standar of comparison is the subject of comparison at an earlier time. A comparative clause may also contain a degree of comparison, denoting the degree of difference between the subject of comparison and the standard of comparison.


Conjoined Clauses

Clauses may be conjoined by intervening coordinating conjunctions, such as "and" and "or".

There's no pivot; instead, the same subject pronominal SS is used. The referent for SS is the subject of the preceding clause if that clause doesn't contain SS. Otherwise, SS keeps the same referent from clause to clause.

There's no topical case; an existence clause is sometimes used to introduce the referent for SS.

Conditional Sentences

The condition is an independent (main-level) clause followed by the conjunction "if". There are 3 types of conditional sentences:

  1. both condition and conclusion are contrafactual
  2. both condition and conclusion are possible
  3. the condition is possible and the conclusion is a command
Except for type 3, the conclusion may be a statement or a question. With type 1, both condition and conclusion are marked with the contrafactual particle Ctf. With type 2, the conclusion is marked with the epistemic necessity particle EN.

Satisfactive Sentences

A satisfactive sentence consists of a satisfactive part followed by a result part. The satisfactive part is an independent clause containing a satisfactive word. The result part is an independent statement and may be a conditional sentence. The result part may also be contrafactual, in which case a condition is at least implied.

page started: 2013.Nov.22 Fri
current date: 2013.Nov.25 Mon
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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