Grammar

Nouns

Compared to verbs, nouns are relatively simple, although there are still a wide range of possible forms to be aware of.

Number

Plurality as it is understood in European languages is not marked, but nouns can take a variety of suffixes indicating groups, parts, or various reorganizations of the whole. Plurality can also be implied by certain verb forms, although it need not be marked at all.

Possessive Prefixes

The set of possessive prefixes is given below. Note that, as is the case for all nominal and verbal agreement, number is distinguished only in the first person.

1s iz-
12 me(y)-
1p xu-
2 vo-
3 ha-
Indefinite li-
Someone else ori-
Universal ede-
Negative khe-

Obligatorily possessed nouns require a possessive prefix. You don't typically see them with a negative possessor, but that is definitely possible, even if it would frequently have a meaning that would be less than useful in the real world.

Nominalized sentences cannot take possessive prefixes. To mark the possessor of a nominalized sentence, you have to either place the possessive prefix on a univerbal noun in the sentence, or, if this doesn't make sense, use a different construction, such as a relativized expression meaning "own".

Qualitative Suffixes

There will be a pejorative suffix, probably -shoq. This suffix is new enough that it retains a syllable-initial consonant in which voicing contrasts; it's not yet clear what it's etymology is.

Diminutives and Augmentatives

TODO

I want to be able to derive "stale breadcrumbs" from _olav_ at some point.

Case Marking

The case system is relatively simple, distinguishing only three cases: Nominative, Ergative and Locative/Oblique. They are marked as follows:

Nominative Ø
Ergative -ang
Locative/Oblique -z

Of these, the Ergative has only a fairly limited range of uses: it is used to mark the subject of a transitive verb with two 3rd person arguments when said subject is in the focused position (i.e. immediately after the verb), where it would otherwise be interpreted as an object. It is not used to mark a subject located in topic position or elsewhere in the sentence. If the subject is located in focus position, but its subject-hood is clear due to verbal agreement, the Ergative is possible, but its use is optional and somewhat disprefered by most speakers.

The Locative/Oblique has two main uses, corresponding to the two parts of its name. The first is to mark a locative adjunct present in any sentence, regardless of the valency of the verb. Bear in mind that if the location is a core argument of the verb, it will not be marked with this case, and that many locative functions indicated with prepositions in European languages are fulfilled by verbs in this language. It is likely that the Locative/Oblique case attached to the name of a person and used as an adjunct will imply being at the home of that person.

The second usage of the Locative/Oblique case is to mark the original direct object of a transitive verb that has been modified with an applicative or causative suffix. This argument is usually not required, although specifying it is not particularly rare either.

Demonstratives

The main demonstrative pronoun is _noh_, which as such is not marked for deixis (there might be additional deictic markers that one might attach to it).

Verbs

TODO

Conjugation for subject and direct object.

I sort of want -oog- to be a tense marker of some sort, placed before the inflectional endings of the verb, but I'm not sure about that. Past tense?

There is a volitional marker _-ivul-_. It probably goes in the tense slot?

I'm also thinking that object marking will only be present on _positive_ verbs; the verbal negative marker will take its place. There will probably be standalone pronouns that can be used to mark the object if absolutely necessary, although I have to assume they will be rare.

We can also probably replace the _subject_ with a negative marker as well, but there will be no way to negate a verb that shows both subject and object without a nominalizing construction of some sort.

In multipartite verbs, where all parts but the last are gerunds in -e, object inflections are always attached to the final verb. This may not be the case in ad-hoc pairings. But perhaps some of them are starting to feel like verbs in their own right? This may change.

Person and Number Markers

Subject Endings

1s -en
12
1p -(a)d (-C + -d > -ad, -Cy + -d > -id, -Cw + -d > -ud)
2(s?) -on
3 -a
Indefinite -u
Someone else -oor
Universal -ede
Negative? -egad
Imperative -ig (is this just singular?)
Converb/gerund -e

TODO: is there another gerund in -ung? For constructions "my act of X-ing" used to nominalize sentences?

Object Prefixes

These are identical to the possessive prefixes found on nouns, possibly with a couple of exceptions.

Negation of Verbs

There is _probably_ no separate negative marker that doesn't go into either the subject or object slot, and thus only intransitive verbs can be negated without losing information unless you want to resort to an awkward construction. But how often do you really need to do that?

Valence Changing Suffixes

TODO, there are a variety of these as well.

Applicatives only add additional _core_ arguments. Instruments yes, comitatives and locatives no. Or probably not at least.

Aspectual Markers

There are a variety of these.

TODO

Syntax

Word order is Verb - Focus; the Topic can either precede or follow this constituent. I'm not yet sure which is default, but probably following (or possibly topics precede, and constituents that are neither topics or focuses follow the focus).

If agreement is not sufficient to determine which argument is the subject and which the object, generally the focused argument is assumed to be the object. If the focused object is the subject, or it is otherwise impossible to determine which is which, the Ergative marker is used to disambiguate.

Modifiers prefer to be adjacent to heads, but whether they precede or follow them is determined more by pragmatic concerns than by strict syntactic rules. Generally, a modifier will only come between the verb and focused noun if it is itself also focused; if it is not it will either precede the verb (to modify the verb) or follow the noun (to modify the noun).

Misc

The suffixes -iiz and -aag will refer to the left and right instances of a particular body part that has complimentary left and right versions (eyes, ears, arms, legs, etc.). There will probably be another singulative suffix of sorts that can be used for things like this (-ladz?).

I suspect that _shiinhladz_ means 'nostril'.

Body parts that come in pairs and for which the members of the pair can be said to work together (i.e. eyes, legs, etc) have a single word referring to both members of the pair, which then takes the singulative suffix to refer to a single one. However, body parts that don't work together (even though they may normally come in pairs), such as elbows, knees, etc, simply get an ordinary word.

Object suffixes are only used for definite objects. Indefinite objects take no agreement, and are not marked for case unless they already would be for some other reason. Lexicalized sentences/predicates don't necessarily follow these rules exactly, as sometimes part of the lexicalized predicate or sentence will be changed, but the rest won't be updated to match due to it being sufficiently frozen. TODO

The interrogative marker _pe_ goes at the beginning of the sentence.