The Jul13 Constructed Language

Jul13 Syntax


A phrase is either a noun phrase or a pronoun. The order of noun phrase constituents is:

(Determiner)   (QuantityWord)   (Participles)   Noun   (Case)

The QuantityWord is either a cardinal number or some other word specifying quantity, such as "many". The Case is an enclitic postposition, most of which are adnominal.


For indefinite phrases, no determiner is used. The proximal demonstrative may be used to indicate that an indefinite phrase is specific instead of indicating nearness to the speaker. The distal demonstrative is used for entities not present.

Determiner Tag Description
do Def definite article
mii Prox proximal demonstrative
duu Medi medial demonstrative
laa Dist distal demonstrative
ce CQ content question
paaro Uni universal quantifier

In place of the determiner, a genitive or partitive case phrase (which may have its own determiner) may appear.

Partitives, Ordinal Numbers, and Superlatives

A partitive case phrase denotes the whole from which a part is selected. When one appears, the containing phrase is either a superlative, ordinal, or partitive construction, denoting the part. In each type, no participle may appear after the partitive case marker.

The noun denoting the part (indefinite, ordinal, or superlative) has the same gender as the noun denoting the whole, which is either plural or a mass noun.


Core Constituents

The order of the core clause constituents is:

Objects   Verb   Subject

where Subject is (if it appears) a phrase representing a subject, agent, or donor and Objects is (if it appears) 1 or 2 phrases representing a location, patient, recipient, and/or theme. Where both object phrases appear, either order is possible.

Usage of the Aspects

The following table shows the tenses implied by the aspects in different kinds of clauses. The secondary clauses include participial and infinitive clauses, temporal adjunct clauses, and complement clauses except for direct reported speech. The primary clauses include main clauses, relative clauses, and direct reported speech. A conjunct clause has the same kind of usage as the clause it's conjoined to.

Aspect Usage
Tag Aspect Secondary Primary Command
Dur Durative relative present absolute present* future durative
Aor Aoristic relative present definite past immediate
Prf Retrospective relative past indefinite past future retrospective
Fut Prospective relative future either future future prospective (rare)
Hab Habitual relative present absolute present* future habitual
* But must be non-present with most temporal adverbs.

The habitual represents a series of events, rather than a simple situation.

Temporal Adjunct Clauses

A temporal adjunct clause is terminated by the enclitic particle (Tmp). The aspect of the adjunct verb determines the temporal relationship between the adjunct situation and the host situation. The usual host verb aspect is also shown.

Temporal Adjunct Aspects
Tag Aspect Relationship Host Aspect
Aor Aoristic adjunct during host habitual or durative*
Dur Durative host during adjunct aoristic, future, or habitual
Prf Retrospective host after adjunct
Fut Prospective host before adjunct
Hab Habitual host during adjunct aoristic or future
* This is a case of the durative being non-present in a main clause.

If a core argument of the adjunct clause coreferences one of the host clause, an infinitive is used instead of a finite verb. There's no special syntax for depictive secondary predicates; a temporal adjunct clause with aspect unmarked on the infinitive is used.


Infinitive clauses are also used for resultative secondary predicates. A resultative always coreferences the host clause's semantic patient (which may be the agent of an agentive verb).

Complement Clauses

A complement clause replaces the patient or theme of its matrix clause, appearing first. The matrix verb is 0-marked with respect to the argument replaced, unlike a phrase. The possible matrix verbs include modal auxiliaries, aspectual auxiliaries, perception and mental state verbs, and verbs of reporting or asking.

Modal Particles

The modal particles are originally verbs, but have the form of particles, so the logically subordinate clause is not a complement clause. However, the modal particle follows the clause, just as an auxiliary verb would.

Modal Particles
Word Tag Description Glosses
? Wit direct evidential, such as witnessed
? Hrs indirect evidential, such as hearsay
? EN Epistemic Necessity must
? EP Epistemic Possibility might
? SN Social Necessity supposed to

Coreferential Auxiliaries

There are 2 types of coreferential auxiliaries: modal and aspectual. The complement verb is an infinitive with neither polarity nor aspect marked; the auxiliary verb marks polarity and aspect along with the remaining argument, as subject to the auxiliary.

Coreferential Auxiliaries
Verb Tag Description Glosses Type
? NN Natural Necessity inevitable modal
? NP Natural Possibility can, able to
? Inc? inceptive begin process phase
? Pau? pausative pause
? Res? resumptive resume
? Com? completive finish
? Cont? continuative continue other aspectual
? Iter? iterative repeat

Other Modal Auxiliaries

The deontic and volitive may also be coreferential, but when they aren't, the complement verb is finite. Polarity and aspect are marked on the auxiliary verb, along with a subject representing the requirer, permitter, desirer, or accepter. Note that negation here may be, depending on the gloss, different from English; in all cases, the auxiliary is negated not the complement. Translation may require the following logic:

Necessity (not X) <=> not Possibility (X), Possibility (not X) <=> not Necessity (X).

Other Modal Auxiliaries
Verb Tag Description Glosses
? DN Deontic Necessity require, must
? DP Deontic Possibility permit, may
? VN Volitive Necessity want
? VP Volitive Possibility accept

Other Matrix Verbs

With other matrix verbs, both auxiliary and complement verbs can be fully inflected.

Verbs of perception are evidentially direct when the complement verb's aspect is durative or aoristic and evidentially indirect when the complement verb's aspect is retrospective or prospective.


Polar questions are marked by the enclitic polar question particle (PQ) placed at the end of a primary clause.

page started: 2014.Jul.15 Tue
current date: 2014.Jul.18 Fri
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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