The Jul21 Constructed Language

Jul21 Syntax


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

(Genitive)   (Determiner)   (QuantityWord)   (ParticipialClauses)   Noun

Genitive here is a genitive case phrase representing a possessor.

The QuantityWord is either a cardinal number or some other word specifying quantity, such as "many". Note that Noun here includes participial clauses lacking subject phrases, since these may be marked for number and case.


For definite 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
Prox proximal demonstrative
Medi medial demonstrative
Dist distal demonstrative
CQ content question
Ind indefinite article
para Uni universal quantifier
dale Sat satisfactive

A partitive case phrase may appear in place of the determiner (and may have its own determiner).

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 additional participial clause 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.

In clauses of definition and identity, the complement precedes the subject. The copula h (Cop) is used only with cardinal number complements.


Certain kinds of adverbs, including temporal adverbs, adverbs of specific degree, and the manner adverb bon, are actually lexically oblique noun phrases. In addition to the absolutive forms, the genitive forms may be used. These phrases can't be used as core arguments.

Attributive Participial Clauses

The specified core or oblique argument of the participial clause coreferences the head noun of the phrase.

Usage of the Aspects

The following table shows the tenses implied by the aspects in different kinds of clauses. The secondary clauses include attributive participial 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

The verb of a temporal adjunct clause is a temporal participle if the clause is coreferential and a temporal action nominal if not. 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.

Secondary Predicates

There's no special syntax for depictive secondary predicates; a temporal adjunct clause with durative aspect on the participle is used.

Participial clauses with aoristic aspect are used for resultative secondary predicates. A resultative always coreferences the host clause's semantic patient (which may be the agent of an extended verb).

Complement Clauses

A complement clause replaces the patient or theme of its matrix clause, appearing first. The possible matrix verbs include modal auxiliaries, aspectual auxiliaries, causatives, perception and mental state verbs, and verbs of reporting or asking.

The basic function of an action nominal is to make its clause into a (definite) noun. However, it substitutes for a finite verb in order to mark a verb with a 3rd person subject non-coreferential.

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
dok EN Epistemic Necessity must
? EP Epistemic Possibility might
gex SN Social Necessity supposed to

Coreferential Auxiliaries

There are 2 types of coreferential auxiliaries: modal and aspectual. The complement verb is a participle with positive polarity and aoristic aspect; 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 either finite or an action nominal. Polarity and aspect are marked on the auxiliary verb (the complement verb always has positive polarity and aoristic aspect), 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
leb 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 polar question particle ci (PQ) placed at the end of a primary clause.

Content questions are distinguished by the presence of a content question word, such as the content question determiner (CQ).

Conditional Sentences

A conditional sentence consists of a condition followed by a conclusion. The verb of the condition is a conditional form. The conclusion and condition are either possible, containing the epistemic necessity particle dok (EN), or impossible, containing the social necessity particle gex (SN).

Satisfactive Sentences

A satisfactive sentence consists of a satisfactive part and a result part. The satisfactive part must contain one of the satisfactive words, such as dayô "so, enough". The result part may be a conditional sentence; however, the condition is usually omitted. It may instead be a sentence with an expressed or implied "when" clause.

Other Syntax


A comparative clause contains a scale of comparison, a direction of comparison, a subject of comparison, a standard of comparison, and a degree of comparison.

The scale of comparison is an adjectival verb preceded by an adverb specifying the direction of comparison (hai more than, less then, or equal to). The scale of comparison doesn't have to be the main verb of the clause; it can also be an adverb of manner, a participle, or a secondary predicate.

The subject of comparison represents what's being compared and isn't necessarily the subject of the clause. What it's compared to is represented by the standard of comparison which is either implicit or a phrase followed by the verb form idaq. If implicit, the subject of comparison is possibly being compared to its former self.

The degree of comparison is an optional element specifying how much the subject of comparison differs from the standard. It's expressed in terms of either a quantity word plus a noun designating a unit or as a non-specific quantity, such as "very". A degree of comparison expression could also be applied to a superlative or to an absolute positive.

page started: 2014.Jul.22 Tue
current date: 2014.Jul.27 Sun
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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