cws
Greetings Guest
home > library > journal > view_article
« Back to Articles ✎ Edit Article ✖ Delete Article » Journal
Mîrkšam syntax
1▲ 1 ▼ 0
A summary of Mîrkšam syntax.
This public article was written by Uzhdarchios, and last updated on 8 Nov 2014, 04:53.

[comments]
[Public] ? ?
Menu 1. Noun phrases 2. Adpositional phrases 3. Verb phrases 4. Adverb order 5. Embedding 6. Coordination 7. Negation 8. Questions 9. Quotation and paraphrase 10. Comparatives, superlatives, and equatives 11. Reciprocal constructions 12. Evidentiality 13. Tree structures Mîrkšam is a strongly right-branching language; the heads of phrases almost always come first in their phrases, so that noun phrases begin with nouns, verb phrases begin with verbs, and so forth. In accordance with this, the basic word order of a Mîrkšam sentence is VSO — verb-subject-object — and the general order of a Mîrkšam noun phrase is noun-modifier-relative clause. Similarly, Mîrkšam adpositional phrases ordinarily begin with the adposition, so that Mîrkšam adpositions are universally prepositions rather than postpositions.

[edit] [top]Noun phrases


A noun phrase, like practically any other phrase, is constructed head-first. Noun phrases have the general order

noun—participial—numeral—determiner—genitive—relative clause—prepositional phrase—degree word.

This order is far from invariant; degree words in particular can be inserted at any level depending on how much of the noun phrase they are intended to modify.

Apposition

Apposition of noun phrases is expressed by the use of a particle, ‹ńaj›, intervening between the noun phrases in apposition. The head nouns of the phrases are declined in the same case, and, in most circumstances, though not necessarily, the same number.

[edit] [top]Adpositional phrases


Adpositions, as the heads of their phrases, always come first in the phrase. This means they usually directly precede their objects.

[edit] [top]Verb phrases


The verb phrase in Mîrkšam comprises the majority of any given clause in the syntactic deep structure. However, in the surface structure, the object moves from the complement of the verb phrase to the specifier of CP, thus appearing after the subject, which itself ends up in Spec(IP). In both the deep structure and the surface structure, the verb precedes both of these, coming first in the verb phrase. In any given clause it is only underlyingly preceded by the heads of IP and CP, the former of which forms the inflectional prefixes on the verb, and the latter of which is empty in independent clauses and filled by ‹sja› in relative clauses (and other complementizers in other clauses). After movement occurs, adverbs may also precede the verb; see below.
Because the subjects and objects of a verb are marked variously for case, their word order can be and sometimes is changed from the basic VSO order for emphasis or effect as desired where this would not cause confusion.

[edit] [top]Adverb order


Verb-modifying adverbs are found in a place—manner—time order, usually immediately following the verb (before even the subject). However, this order may be changed for emphasis or from literary considerations. Adverbs may thus be found in different orders relative to each other, and even relative to the verb where this would create no ambiguity; one moderately common placement is before the main verb of a sentence. Older or archaizing Mîrkšam works may treat this as a syntactic break and require the appropriate punctuation (—) before the verb in such cases, but even later prescriptive grammars do not maintain this rule.
Degree words follow the adjectives they modify. Sentential adverbs are similarly found at the ends of the clauses they modify.

[edit] [top]Embedding


Entire clauses can take on the roles of various lexical categories and be embedded in other clauses. The result is one of several kinds of subordinate or dependent clause, which is placed in exactly the same position as its ordinary word counterpart in the sentence would be. These clauses are formed with the aid of complementizers, which always precede the clause of which they are the head, and which vary depending on the type of clause.

Complement clauses

Complement clauses are rare in Mîrkšam because situations that can be expressed with them are usually expressed via the use of an infinitive verb with various modifying nouns and prepositional phrases. When they are used, they are structured identically to independent clauses, but with a complementizer ‹ûš› preceding them.
Complement clauses used as the objects of certain prepositions such as ‹anîn› and ‹neh› can ellipse their complementizers. As these prepositions only take clauses as objects, such ellipsis is unlikely to cause confusion.

Relative clauses

Relative clauses in Mîrkšam are externally-headed, so that the noun the clause denotes (the head of the clause) is found outside the clause. They are typically framed by the complementizer ‹sja› and the particle ‹ûrt›, the former preceding the clause and the latter following it. However, ‹urt› or a series of ‹urt›s may be ellipsed when appearing at the end of a sentence. In addition, if there are multiple coordinated nouns being modified by the relative clause, ‹sje› is used instead of ‹sja›. In terms of the linear order of the relative clause, it universally follows the head, as well as any participials, numerals, determiners, and genitives modifying it, but precedes modifying prepositional phrases. Relative clauses use resumptive pronouns, which can be modified or coordinated.

Adverbial clauses

Adverbial clauses in Mîrkšam are almost identical to relative clauses, being constructed with the same complementizer and particle and word order, etc. However, instead of modifying a noun, they modify and follow a pro-adverb or adverb; in this case, ‹sja› restricts the meaning of the (pro-)adverb to the domain specified by the conditions of the adverbial clause, and there need be no resumptive pro-form in the clause. If there is a resumptive pro-form, it is a pro-adverb with the adverb modified by the clause as its antecedent. Thus, clauses modifying a time can use a resumptive pro-adverb of time, and analogously for place and manner. Otherwise, there are no differences between adverbial clauses and relative clauses.

[edit] [top]Coordination


Coordination is accomplished differently for different syntactic elements. Clauses are coordinated via one of a moderately small set of coordinating conjunctions, which is interposed between the clauses. Some common members of this set include ‹orm› “and”, ‹aš› “and, but”, ‹îš› “but”, ‹za› “but rather”, ‹hwat› “either… or”, ‹izi› “… or… or both”, ‹hjan› “resulting in, then”, ‹hwi› “for the motivating reason that, because”, ‹śa›, “logically implies that”, ‹ńug› “from the cause that, because”, and ‹pfâ› “so that”.
In a series of coordinated clauses, the prefix ‹uj›- can be added to these conjunctions after the first one to indicate that the clauses that follow are on the same branching level as the clause following the first conjunction: thus

‹ârośorf ńug [x] ujńug [y].› INCLInclusive (person)
speaker and listener
-SGVSingulative (number)
'one piece of the whole'
-[INDIndicative mood (mood)
a common form of realis
-PRSPresent tense (tense)-IPFVImperfective (aspect)
'interrupted or incomplete'
]speak because [x] and-because [y] “I speak because [x] and because [y].”
— as opposed to
‹ârośorf ńug [x] orm [y].› INCLInclusive (person)
speaker and listener
-SGVSingulative (number)
'one piece of the whole'
-[INDIndicative mood (mood)
a common form of realis
-PRSPresent tense (tense)-IPFVImperfective (aspect)
'interrupted or incomplete'
]speak because [x] and [y] “I speak because [x], and [y].”
or
‹ârośorf ńug [x] ńug [y].› INCLInclusive (person)
speaker and listener
-SGVSingulative (number)
'one piece of the whole'
-[INDIndicative mood (mood)
a common form of realis
-PRSPresent tense (tense)-IPFVImperfective (aspect)
'interrupted or incomplete'
]speak because [x] because [y] “I speak because [x] because [y].”
Coordination of noun phrases, of verb phrases, and of heads of phrases in general, by contrast, is accomplished via simple juxtaposition (asyndeton), with no intervening conjunction. To express semantic relations and nuances among the coordinated elements, particles may be added after the elements. To explain this, we can posit the existence of a null coordinating conjunction, for which these particles serve as a modifier. Among these particles is ‹i›, which makes the relation between the coordianted elements an inclusive “or”. There is one exception to the general use of asyndeton for noun phrases: the conjunction ‹zem› “excepting” can take the place of the null conjunction and intervene between two nouns representing a set and another set subtracted from it. It can even coordinate coordinated noun phrases, so that there are multiple juxtaposed phrases before and after it. Often, when verbs are coordinated, only the first is conjugated fully, with the rest making use of the tense anaphor ‹ćńe›-.
[edit] [top]Negation
Standard negation of verb phrases is expressed through the negative mood. Noun and pronoun phrases can be negated by prepending the prefix ‹kza›- to the head noun or pronoun; this same prefix can also be used to negate pro-adverbs. Another negation strategy for verb phrases is the use of the pro-adverb ‹kzapasfir› “never”, wherewith the modified (head) verb is not used in the negative mood. Double or multiple negation, in the rare instances when it takes place, is generally interpreted as a negation of a negation (of a negation…, etc.), so that the end result is negative if there are an odd number of negations but positive otherwise.
[edit] [top]Questions
Polar questions are formed by prepending an interrogative particle to the part of the statement that is being questioned, or to the verb if the statement as a whole is being questioned. There are three different such interrogative particles depending on the expectations of the questioner: one particle ‹zaj› for an expected positive answer, one particle ‹ku› for an expected negative answer, and one neutral particle ‹ka› with no specific expectation of either answer. An alternative but less common means of forming a polar question is as a declarative question, which is unchanged from a declarative statement except in intonation (and punctuation, in writing). Declarative questions are neutral, with no stated expectation or implication of either answer. Polar questions are answered by echoing the questioned word to which the interrogative particle is prepended, either negated or not negated according to the answer given. The particle itself is not echoed. To answer declarative questions, one echoes the verb (again, possibly negated, depending on the answer). An informal interjection ‹kzu›, deriving from the negative prefix of an echoed verb, exists to answer polar questions negatively, but while its use is widespread, it is frowned upon in formal writing. A comparable informal practice for positive answers is to echo the verb without its inflectional affixes. Content questions (wh-questions) are constructed identically to declarative statements, with the word inquired after simply filled by the appropriate pro-form. The pro-forms remain in situ — in their normal place in the sentence. They are answered by providing the word inquired after. Choice questions are formulated as declarative questions and answered by echoing the selected choice.
[edit] [top]Quotation and paraphrase
Direct quotations are generally introduced by the particle ‹šam› “saying”, which directly follows the noun phrase or pronoun referring to the speaker. If the speaker is ellipsed as a null subject, ‹šam› can instead simply be placed where the subject would be if it were not ellipsed (so long as this does not place it immediately after a different noun or pronoun):
‹Śorf šam mereśrep am.› [HPHypothetical (person)
generic or hypothetical person; 'one'
-TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
-INDIndicative mood (mood)
a common form of realis
-PRSPresent tense (tense)-IPFVImperfective (aspect)
'interrupted or incomplete'
]speak saying OBVObviative (person, proximity)
not near/visible/important
-SGVSingulative (number)
'one piece of the whole'
-[INDIndicative mood (mood)
a common form of realis
-PRSPresent tense (tense)-IPFVImperfective (aspect)
'interrupted or incomplete'
]live end_quote “It is said, ‘That one lives’.”
The quotation continues until the particle ‹am›, which marks its end. Quotations can be used with any verb in the sentence or any other structures; they depend only on the noun that refers to the speaker, which the quotational clause with ‹šam› as its head it considered to modify. Paraphrasal clauses, representing paraphrased speech, are constructed analogously except that the particle ‹pûm› is used instead of ‹šam›; they, too, are ended by ‹am›. Paraphrases may alternatively be handled using complement clauses as objects of verbs of speech; see “Complement clauses” above for how these are constructed.
[edit] [top]Comparatives, superlatives, and equatives
Comparatives are formed using a combination of a degree word and an adverbial prepositional phrase modifying the degree word with ‹neh› as the preposition. Common degree words used with comparatives are ‹hom› “more” and ‹śet› “less, fewer”. If the degree word modifies a noun or the modifier of a noun, then the object of ‹neh› is always a noun being compared to the modified noun; many comparative constructions are formed by having a relative clause in turn modify this object. If the degree word modifies a verb, ‹neh› instead takes a complement clause with the complementizer ellipsed as an object; indeed, more of the complement clause may also be ellipsed if it is identical to its counterpart in the clause in which it is embedded, and to which it is being compared. Ellipsis is frequent in all types of comparative prepositional phrases where this would not cause confusion. Superlatives are simply formed with a degree word, which can modify an adverb, a noun modifier, or a verb. Common degree words used with superlatives are ‹mus› “most” and ‹fin› “least”. Equatives are syntactically analogous to comparatives, commonly with ‹swa› “as much” as a degree word.
[edit] [top]Reciprocal constructions
Mîrkšam uses a non-iconic reciprocal construction ‹ôst tosmorok, tosmor› “each other”, literally meaning “human to human”, with certain transitive verbs to render a meaning that the members of the subject set are doing the action of the verb to each other. It cannot be found with a singulative subject.
[edit] [top]Evidentiality
A reportative particle ‹em› exists as an evidential to indicate that the statement it appears in is hearsay, but evidentiality is not a distinct grammatical category that must be expressed; it is merely optional. When the reportative particle is used, it immediately follows the verb, preceding both the subject and any modifying adverbs.
[edit] [top]Tree structures
Putting all of this together, we can diagram even the most complex Mîrkšam phrases and sentences using syntactic tree structures. Thus:
‹Ćantan kzapapzi šraćûk ânîn mîrêzêîfmêjk kîtê sja muzokjâm ûrt fes, ânîn mirezeifhej ńi antjûôk, estit manôjutsuśajôk, per šwašwakirmôk, fes ês tehešek śimjenek.› [HPHypothetical (person)
generic or hypothetical person; 'one'
-TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
-INDIndicative mood (mood)
a common form of realis
-PRSPresent tense (tense)-IPFVImperfective (aspect)
'interrupted or incomplete'
]know NEGNegative (polarity)
not
-INDFIndefinite
a nonspecific referent
-HPHypothetical (person)
generic or hypothetical person; 'one'
.TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
[NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
] [TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
]answer-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
to PROXProximal (proximity)
close to speaker
-SGVSingulative (number)
'one piece of the whole'
-[INDIndicative mood (mood)
a common form of realis
]PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-PFVPerfective (aspect)
completed action
-win_game_of_chance at_time.OBVObviative (person, proximity)
not near/visible/important
such_that PROXProximal (proximity)
close to speaker
-[TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
-INDIndicative mood (mood)
a common form of realis
]PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-[IPFVImperfective (aspect)
'interrupted or incomplete'
]play clause_end [TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
]what[NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
] to PROXProximal (proximity)
close to speaker
-SGVSingulative (number)
'one piece of the whole'
-[INDIndicative mood (mood)
a common form of realis
]PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-PFVPerfective (aspect)
completed action
-move within [TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
]mist-DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
up_to [TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
]Mana_Yood_Sushai-DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
before [TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
]PRProper
marks a noun as referring to a unique entity
-inception-DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
[TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
]what[NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
] from_among [TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
]fate-DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
[TRNTransnumeral (number)
number is unspecified
]chance-DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
“Who it was that won the cast, and whether it was Fate or whether Chance that went through the mists before the Beginning to Mana-Yood-Sushai — none knoweth.”


Here the head-first typology of the language is apparent, as are the underlying structures of many of the constructions discussed above.
✎ Edit Article ✖ Delete Article
Comments (0)
privacy | FAQs | rules | statistics | graphs | donate | api (indev)
Viewing CWS in: English | Time now is 05-Jul-22 16:08 | Δt: 115.4289ms