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Nominal groups

The nominal group template can be presented as follows:

-3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3
A prepositive demonstrative A genitive (with or without dependents) or a prepositive relative clause An adjective (with or without dependents) The head noun The postpositive demonstrative (and/or other appositions) An adverbial particle or a noun in oblique case used attributively A postpositive relative clause

It is very usual to construe a noun denoting a possessor not as the usual genitive but as substantivized genitive put in apposition. This option is especially common when the genitive has its own attributes, and obligatory if any of such attributes are postpositive.
All dependents of an adjective are put before it:

Mjunkima₁ njunta₂ pir₃. 'A₀ ditch₃ full₂ of₍₁₎ water₁.'
Liloi₁ mjunkima₂ njunta₃ pir₄. 'A₀ ditch₄ full₃ of₍₂₎ black₁ water₂.'

This is also true of comparative constructions:

Sajurnjun₁ tsera₂ sunol₃ nontai₄. 'A₀ man₄ stronger₃ than₂ others₁.'

An adjective cannot be separated from its head noun except by another adjective, which cannot normally have any arguments of its own.
To obviate the restrictions on word order, an adjective is often replaced with a relative clause based on the adjective and the copula verb nini 'to be':

Nontai₁ fylli₂ sajurnjun₃ tsera₄ sunol₅ nini₆. 'A₀ man₁ (who₂ is₆) stronger₅ than₄ others₃.'

Note that personal pronouns have relative freedom of taking all the types of attributes allowed with the regular nouns, e. g.:

Situn₁ ei₂ wo₃ tituli₄ njau₅. 'Stupid₁ me₂, I₂ did₍₄₋₅₎n't₃ know₄₋₅ (that₀)'.

Relative clauses

Since in their internal structure the relative clauses of Affanonic present no peculiarities compared to main clauses, it is more convenient to consider them in the section on nominal groups.

Prepositive relative clauses

The easiest way to construe a relative clause in Affanonic is simply to put the predicate (with or without its arguments) immediately before the head noun. This option is especially common when the predicate has no dependent nouns. The head noun fills an argument valency of the predicate. However, by itself this construction provides no information on the specific argument role of the head noun, which therefore remains to be retrieved from the context. With intransitive verbs, there is a tendency to interprete the head noun as filling the subject valency, e. g.:

Tsjurin₁ nontai₂. 'The₀ man₂ who₀ came₁ (has come)'.
Cf.: Nontai₁ tsjurin₂ 'The₀ man₁ has₍₂₎ come₂'.

With transitive verbs, the head noun often fills the valency for direct object:

Føref₁ øfja₂. 'The₀ horse₂ that₀ has₍₁₎ been₍₁₎ killed₁'.
Cf.: Øfjawes₁ føref₂. '(Somebody₀) killed₂ the₀ horse₁'.

However, the head noun can in principle correspond to any other role, e. g. expressed by a spatial case:

Ei₁ jeke₂ fei₃. 'The₀ house₃ where₀ I₁ live₂'.
Cf.: Ei₁ a₂ fewiry₃ jeke₄. 'I₁ live₄ in₍₃₎ his₂ house₃'.

Some disambiguation is achieved if the relative clause has an explicit argument; then the head noun can fill only a remaining argument valency:

Øfjawes₁ føref₂ nontai₃ li₄ ri₅. 'This₄₋₅ man₃ who₀ killed₂ the₀ horse₁'.
Nontai₁ li₂ ri₃ føref₄ øfja₅. 'The₀ horse₅ killed₄ by₀ this₂₋₃ man₁'.
Cf.: Nontai₁ li₂ ri₃ øfjawes₄ føref₅. 'This₂₋₃ man₁ killed₅ the₀ horse₄'.

A more powerful means of disambiguation is provided by the use of the role-switching marker whose case indicates the role to be filled by the head noun:

Lili₁ føref₂ nontai₃. 'The₀ man₃ who₍₁₎ killed₂ (somebody₀)'.
Cf.: Nontai₁ li₂ ri₃ lili₄ føref₅. 'As₍₄₎ for₍₄₎ this₂₋₃ man₁, he₍₄₎ killed₅ (somebody₀)'.

Pipyry₁ ei₂ jeke₃ fei₄. 'The₀ house₄ in₍₁₎ which₍₁₎ I₂ live₃'.
Cf.: Fei₁ li₂ ri₃ pipyry₄ ei₅ jeke₆. 'As₍₄₎ for₍₄₎ this₂₋₃ house₁, I₅ live₆ in₍₄₎ it₍₄₎'.

However, the use of the role-switching marker may cause some problems, too. Specifically, the role-switching marker can be understood as part of the main clause rather than the relative clause. Thus, a sentence like:

Lili føref nontawis hunti.

- has two possible interpretations:

 (a) Lili₁ ((føref₂ nontawis₃) hunti₄).
'(Somebody₍₁₎ already₍₁₎ mentioned₍₁₎) saw₄ the₀ man₃ who₀ had₍₂₎ been₍₂₎ killed₂'.

 (b) ((Lili₁ føref₂) nontawis₃) hunti₄.
'(Somebody₀) saw₄ the₀ man₃ who₍₁₎ had₍₂₎ killed₂ (somebody₀ else₀)'.

Another problem common to all types of prepositive relative clauses is that basically they occupy the same slot in the nominal group template as genitives. Indeed, if put before the genitive, they are naturally understood as depending on the noun in genitive rather than its head:

Føref₁ nontol₂ øfja₃. 'The₀ horse₃ of₍₂₎ the₀ man₂ who₀ was₍₁₎ killed₁' (rather than **'The man's killed horse').

For this reason, prepositive relative clauses depending on a genitive's head noun are allowed to precede only the genitives of personal pronouns, e. g.:

E₁ myffawis₂ rissjun₃ a₄ miti₅. 'His₄ daughter₅ who₀ washed₃ my₁ cloak₂'.

On the other hand, if the relative clause has any explicit nominal arguments, a preceding genitive will be naturally understood as part of the relative clause:

E₁ øfjawes₂ haf₃ u₄. 'The₀ dog₄ that₀ bit₃ my₁ horse₂' (rather than **'My dog that bit the horse').

For this reason, genitives depending on the head noun can precede a relative clause only if the latter has no explicit nominal arguments, e. g.:

To₁ fje₂ tsalami₃ nyral₄ miti₅. 'Your₁ daughter₅ who₀ sings₃₋₄ beautifully₂'.

To avoid the restrictions associated with prepositive relative clauses, other types of relative clauses can be used.

Postpositive relative clauses

These are formed using the relative pronoun fylli which indicates the role of the head noun explicitly, e. g.:

E₁ rarkanal₂ kispju₃ fylli₄ e₅ myffawis₆ rissjun₇. 'My₁ brother's₂ wife₃ who₄ washed₇ my₅ cloak₆.'

To₁ kommufal₂ fei₃ fyppyry₄ toi₅ jeke₆. 'Your₁ husband's₂ house₃ in₄ which₄ you₅ live₆.'

Postpositive relative clauses often have a pronoun (especially the cataphoric ri) as their head:

Ri₁ fylli₂ ajurys₃ suffi₄ tsjurin₅ lili₆ e₇ kommu₈ nini₉ jawa₁₀. 'He₁ who₂ has₍₄₋₅₎ brought₄₋₅ them₃ will₁₀ be₉ my₇ husband₈'.

The above example illustrates another peculiarity of postpositive relative clauses: to avoid their predicate's being perceived as forming a serial construction with the predicate of the main clause, the role-switching marker (lili in this example) is inserted after the relative clause; it refers to the topic of the sentence, which may coincide or not with the head noun of the relative clause.

A restriction associated with postpositive relative clauses is that nouns in genitive cannot take any postpositive attributes, including relative clauses. This problem can be solved, as usual, by substantivizing the genitive and construing it as an apposition:

Fei₁ li₂ to₃ mitisalli₄ fylli₅ fje₆ tsalami₇ nyral₈. 'The₀ house₁ (which₂ is₂) of₍₄₎ your₃ daughter₄ who₅ sings₇₋₈ beautifully₆.'

The postpositive relative clauses can be extraposited, i. e. put after the main predicate of the sentence in which their head noun is an argument. In such cases, the head noun must be the last nominal constituent that precedes the main predicate:

E₁ rarkanal₂ kispju₃ tsjurin₄ fylli₅ e₆ myffawis₇ rissjun₈. 'My₁ brother's₂ wife₃ has₍₄₎ come₄ who₅ washed₈ my₆ cloak₇.'

Head-internal relative clauses

In this type, the head noun must either be one of the pronouns ri, risti, rinau, or have ri as its attribute. The head noun remains within the relative clause in its usual form and position, according to its syntactic role; its role in the main clause is conveyed with the role-switching marker:

Toi₁ ajurys₂ ristiwiras₃ øftsi₄ lili₅ e₆ fei₇ nini₈ jawa₉ 'The₀ place₃ where₃ you₁ found₄ them₂ will₉ be₈ my₆ homeplace₇'.
Cf. Toi₁ ajurys₂ ristiwiras₃ øftsi₄. 'You₁ found₄ them₂ here₃'.

This type of relative clauses is widely used in Affanonic. However, it is normally required that the relative clause should constitute the topic part of the sentence.
Head-internal clauses are often used to single out a nominal group constituting the contrastive (or otherwise emphasized) rheme of the sentence. This construction is similar in structure with the English "It is X that Y" (only with the order of components reversed):

Hus₁ e₂ tatsen₃ rissjun₄ nyral₅ lili₆ to₇ myffai₈ nini₉. 'It₍₁₋₆₎ is₉ your₇ cloak₈ that₍₁₋₆₎ my₂ sister₃ is₍₄₋₅₎ washing₄₋₅'
Cf. Hus₁ e₂ tatsen₃ rissjun₄ nyral₅. 'My₂ sister₃ is₍₄₋₅₎ washing₄₋₅ it/this₁.'

Main clause

Word order

The verb must be put in the end of the main clause (as actually of any other type of clause); it can be followed by discourse particles, but the latter can be viewed as a special type of auxiliary verbs. Only extraposited subordinate clauses (either postpositive relative or conveying reported speech) can be put after the main predicate.
Adverbs must immediately precede their head verb and cannot be separated from it except by another adverb.
The order of all the other constituents is “free”, since morphology provides sufficient information about their syntactic roles. The most prominent regularity with their placement is a tendency to consider one nominal constituent as “topic” and the rest of the sentence as a comment describing its condition or an event that happened to it. Normally (i. e. in unemphatic speech), the topic is put first, and all the other constituents follow it.
There is a tendency to put contrastive (and other emphasized) topics in nominative, irrespective of their intended syntactic role, and to put the role-switching marker immediately after them.
Any constituent can be dropped when clear from the context. In principle, a verb taken alone can be a grammatical sentence.

Serial constructions

[Stuff to be added later]


The most common copula is nini v. ipf. 'to be'; another example is njun v. pf. 'to become'.
A noun used as nominal predicate must be in the nominative case.
Adjectives are used in their usual uninflected form.
Nouns in spatial cases (mostly locative) and some adverbial particles are put before the copula without any modifications.


The negative particle wo can be put before any part of the sentence to negate it.


Adpositions can be derived from verbs or nouns.

Postpositions derived from verbs

Some verbs in the position of the first part of a serial construction can be used to introduce their object as an additional nominal argument of the main predicate, i. e. like a postposition. The verb tsomin v. pf. 'to take' is often used in this way, as e. g. in the following sentence:

Nontai₁ sunollowis₂ tsomin₃ nontisal₄ mitserawis₅ ni₆. 'The man made the woman's small image of wood' (lit.: 'The₀ man₁, having₍₃₎ taken₃ wood₂, made₆ a₀ small₅ image₅ of₍₄₎ the₀ woman₄').

[More PI lexical stuff is needed to expand this section]

Adpositions derived from nouns

Typically, an adposition is derived from a case form of noun with an attributed genitive, and thus is a postposition governing the genitive case. For example, from the inessive of tswis 'inner side, part; interior, inside':

Fesal₁ tswisyry₂ 'inside the house' (lit. 'in₍₂₎ the₀ interior₂ of₍₁₎ the₀ house₁').
Fesal₁ tswismoi₂ 'from inside the house' (lit. 'out₍₂₎ of₍₂₎ the₀ interior₂ of₍₁₎ the₀ house₁').

However, the genitive can be substantivized, and put after the adposition as its apposition:

Tswisys₁ pys₂ fesallyry₃ 'inside the house' (lit. 'in₍₁₋₂₋₃₎ the₀ interior₁ which₂ is₂ of₍₃₎ the₀ house₃').
Tswisma₁ ma₂ fesalmoi₃ 'from inside the house' (lit. 'out₍₁₋₂₋₃₎ of₍₁₋₂₋₃₎ the₀ interior₁ which₂ is₂ of₍₃₎ the₀ house₃').

This pattern may produce e. g. a preposition that governs an essive or ablative case of substantivized genitive, as above.

Besides, the lexical noun can be put in a spatial case which is used as a postpositive attribute to tswis in the same or another spatial case:

Tswisyry₁ fewiry₂ 'inside the house' (lit. 'in₍₁₎ the₀ interior₁ which₀ is₀ in₍₂₎ the₀ house₂').
Tswismoi₁ fewiry₂ 'inside the house' (lit. 'out₍₁₎ of₍₁₎ the₀ interior₁ which₀ is₀ in₍₂₎ the₀ house₂').

This produces a preposition again, but now governing a spatial case of the lexical noun itself rather than of its substantivized genitive.

[More PI lexical stuff is needed to expand this section]

Reported speech

The reported speech clauses (which actually can be used to convey the content of knowledge, thought etc.) can be construed in one of two ways.
One way is to use the clause as the topic of a sentence and to mark its syntactic role with the role-switching pronoun:

Toi₁ tsjuma₂ tsjurin₃ pipys₄ ai₅ fati₆. 'He₅ said₆ that₍₄₎ you₁ would₂ come₃'.

The other way is to mark its role in the main clause with the cataphoric ri in appropriate case, and to put the subordinate clause after the main predicate:

Ai₁ hus₂ fati₃, toi₄ tsjuma₅ tsjurin₆. 'He₁ said₃ that₍₂₎ you₄ would₅ come₆'.

The latter type is called “extraposited”.