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Qgam Basic Syntax
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This public article was written by clawgrip, and last updated on 20 Jan 2019, 12:56.

[comments]
1. article
7. letter
20. temp
22. vocab
Menu 1. Word Order 2. Postpositions 3. Verbal Spacial Prefixes 4. Definiteness 5. Relative Clauses 6. Negation
?FYI...
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.

Just some brief grammatical notes on the  Qgam Dzwo language.

[top]Word Order

Word order in Qgam is SOV, though an auxiliary verb for marking TAM always comes after the subject.

伊得肉於賣
Ĝwa do qtlea 'm ĝea.
/ŋwʌ dɔ əʔtleə m ŋeə/
3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
meat ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
sell
He sells meat.

女子欲犬於獲
Kjuoĝ mdza çtea 'm saa.
/kd͡ʑɨəŋ md͡zʌ çteəm sɑ:/
girl DEFDefinite
"the"
want.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
dog ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
get
The girl wants to get a dog.

女子欲犬於飼
Kjuoĝ mdza çtea 'm dwo.
/kd͡ʑɨəŋ md͡zʌ çteəm dwɔə/
girl DEFDefinite
"the"
want.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
big dog ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
keep
The girl wants to keep a dog.

女子欲大犬於飼
Kjuoĝ mdza wam çtea 'm dwo.
/kd͡ʑɨəŋ md͡zʌ wʌm çteəm dwɔə/
girl DEFDefinite
"the"
want.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
big dog ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
keep
The girl wants to keep a big dog.

伊犬了離跑
Ĝwa çtea wea rimbaaĝ.
/ŋwʌ çteə weə ɻimbɑ:ŋ/
3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
dog PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
away-run
His dog ran away.

芳伊犬了離跑
Swear ĝwa çtea wea rimbaaĝ.
/sweəɻ ŋwʌ çteə weə ɻimbɑ:ŋ/
Swear 3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
dog PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
away-run
Swear's dog ran away.

Qgam retains vestiges of the Hux Kham-Ame V2 structure. When sentences do not allow for the auxiliary verb to come directly after the first phrase in a sentence, the dummy auxiliary çe appears in its place. In subject relative clauses, to be explained below, this is necessary even in subordinate clauses.

Compare:

那乃得不可能也
Qhwam ta do ??? yam.
/əʔxwʌm tʌ dɔ ??? jəm/
there NNeuter (gender)
neutral or neuter
PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
impossible COPCopula
used to link the subject of a sentence with a predicate

That is impossible.
今其那乃得不可能也
Now çe qhwam ta do ??? yam.
/nu: çɛ əʔxwʌm tʌ dɔ ??? jəm/
now TOPTopic (syntactic)
the topic (key reference point) of a sentence
there NNeuter (gender)
neutral or neuter
PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
impossible COPCopula
used to link the subject of a sentence with a predicate

That is impossible now.


[top]Postpositions

Nouns take various postpositions to mark their roles in sentences, while the subject is unmarked, but is always followed by an auxiliary verb.

A selection of postpositions:
am, 'm(accusative)
šwowith; by; using (instrumental)
dito; toward; at (dative, locative)
yimin; at (locative)
至(往)tadias far as (delimitative)
gwofrom; out of (ablative)
toof (inalienable possessive)
與(的)etowith (comitative)


The accusative postposition contracts to 'm after words ending with vowels, and becomes a clitic:

營於team am/teəm ʌm/a camp; a station (ACC)
犬於çtea 'm/çteəm/a dog (ACC)


Some postpositions are in fact nominal, and can be identified as such both by the fact that those postpositions may function as independent nouns, and by the positioning of the definite article ar:

店㇉往ĝdea 'r di/ŋdeəɻ di/to/at the store
店後㇉ĝdea gwaa 'r/ŋdeə gwɑ:ɻ/the back of the store / behind the store


[top]Verbal Spacial Prefixes

Postpositions are rather limited in number when compared to languages such as English, as direction is generally marked via verbs and verbal prefixes:


店㇉往徂
ĝdea 'r di aĝ
/ŋdeəɻ di ʌŋ/
store DEFDefinite
"the"
to go
go to the store
店㇉往込徂
ĝdea 'r di stqaĝ
/ŋdeəɻ di stʔʌŋ/
store DEFDefinite
"the"
to in-go
go into the store


A selection of directional verbal prefixes:
st-moving between inside and outside
hm-moving past
沿jit-moving along
ors-near; close to
was-far from
ļaa-stationary or remaining within a given location


note that several of these prefixes, such as jit-, are phonologically impossible as independent syllables; the final consonant of the prefix becomes part of the onset of the preceding syllable, e.g. jitguo is analysed as ji.tguo.

Prefixes acquire an epenthetic q- when affixed to verbs that begin with vowels:


gwo /gwɔə/
walk
越走 hmguo /xmgʊə/
walk past
/ʌŋ/
go
越徂 hmqaĝ /xmʔʌŋ/
go past


Prefixes may be used in conjunction with postpositions to create more complex meanings:


店後㇉越走
ĝdea gwaa 'r hmgo
/ŋdeə gwɑ:ɻ xmgɔ/
store back DEFDefinite
"the"
past-walk
walk past the back of the store
店側㇉沿走
ĝdea pea 'r jitguo
/ŋdeə peəɻ d͡ʑitgʊə/
store side DEFDefinite
"the"
along-walk
walk along the side of the store


[top]Definiteness

All subjects in Qgam are definite by default and thus take no explicit marking for definiteness. However, unlike other Hux Kham-Ame languages, Qgam does has an explicit definite article, ar, (derived from a  Nuar demonstrative adjective) which may be used for any argument of the predicate. Its position is after the noun, after nominal postpositions, but before true postpositions. The definite article replaces the accusative postposition.

When following a vowel, ar contracts to 'r and becomes a clitic, just as occurs with the accusative postposition.

indefinitedefinite
足板於
to plam am
/tɔ plʌm ʌm/
a table (ACC)足板㇉
to plam ar
/tɔ plʌm ʌɻ/
the table (ACC)
木於
mduo 'm
/mdʊəm/
a tree (ACC)木㇉
mduo 'r
/mdo:ɻ/
the tree (ACC)
足板後
to plam gwaa
/tɔ plʌm gwɑ:/
behind a table足板後㇉
to plam gwaa 'r
/tɔ plʌm gwɑ:ɻ/
behind the table
木往
mduo di
/mdʊə di/
to/at a tree木㇉往
mduo 'r di
/mdo:ɻ di/
to/at the tree


[top]Relative Clauses

Qgam employs differing strategies for forming relative clauses depending on whether it modifies a subject or an argument of the predicate.

Relative clauses are internally-headed, with no gap or relative pronoun. When the head noun is the subject of the relative clause, the auxiliary, which normally appears immediately after the subject, instead comes after the main verb and is followed by the particle ta, and its original position is filled by the relative particle çe:

男得魚於喰
Snaa do myaa 'm klea.
/snɑ: dɔ mjæ:m kleə/
man PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
fish ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
eat
The man eats fish.
男其魚於喰得乃老
Snaa çe myaa 'm klea do ta hlear.
/snɑ: çɛ mjæ:m kleə dɔ tʌ xleəɻ/
man fish ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
eat PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
NNeuter (gender)
neutral or neuter
be.old
The man who eats fish is old.


Other examples:

女子其魚㇉持來已乃了去
Kjuoĝ çe myaa 'r dzaa šraa ey ta wea naa.
/kd͡ʑɨəŋ çɛ mjæ:ɻ d͡zɑ: ɕɻɑ: e: tʌ weə nɑ:/
girl RELRelative fish DEFDefinite
"the"
.ARTArticle
indicate the type of reference being made by the noun
hold come EMPHUnknown code NNeuter (gender)
neutral or neuter
PFVPerfective (aspect)
completed action
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
leave
The girl who brought the fish left.

那其圭葉及誦了刁泳魚骨㇉看
Qhwa çe Kea Yaw two Juoĝ Ri wiy yaar myaa klaar ar taar.
/əʔxwʌ çɛ keə jəw twɔə d͡ʑɨəŋ ɻi wi: jæ:ɻ mjæ: klɑ:ɻ ʌɻ tɑ:ɻ/
there RELRelative Kea Yaw and Juoĝ Ri PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
swim fish bone DEFDefinite
"the"
.ARTArticle
indicate the type of reference being made by the noun
see
Kea Yaw and Juoĝ Ri saw the swimming fish bone there.

The head noun may also be the direct or indirect object of the relative clause. In some cases, the passive will be used to promote the object to subject position:
魚其女子用持來被已乃途湖内㇉在泳
Myaa çe kjuoĝ šwo dzaa šraa sa ey ta qaam çaa la 'r yim yaar.
/mjæ: çɛ kd͡ʑɨəŋ ɕwɔə d͡zɑ: ɕɻɑ: sʌ e: tʌ ʔɑ:m çæ: lʌɻ jim jæ:ɻ/
fish RELRelative girl by hold come PASSPassive voice (valency)
be verb-ed
NNeuter (gender)
neutral or neuter
CONTContinuative (tense/aspect)
continuous or durational action
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
lake inside DEFDefinite
"the"
.ARTArticle
indicate the type of reference being made by the noun
LOCLocative (case)
'in, on, at' etc
swim
The fish which the girl brought is swimming in the lake.

Less commonly, the accusative particle (or definite article) will be moved after the verb, instead of the auxiliary, and its position similarly filled by the relative particle:
男得魚其喰於乃
snaa do myaa çe klea 'm ta
/snɑ: dɔ mjæ: çɛ kleəm tʌ/
man PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
fish RELRelative eat ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
NNeuter (gender)
neutral or neuter

The man eats fish.

[top]Negation

Negation occurs on auxiliary verbs with the negative particle ma. For many auxiliary verbs, this is simply contracted to m' :

affirmativenegative
do不得m' do
qaam不途m' qaam
wiy不了m' wiy
šroy不將m' šroy
ey不已m' ey
meaĝ不可ma meaĝ
mdzaa不欲ma mdzaa
cam不令ma mcam


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