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Noun phrase syntax

The canonical order of noun phrase constituents was as follows:

(demonstrative) - (quantifier) - noun - (adjectives) - (possessives) - (obliques) - (relative clause)



  cardinal      ordinal         +10           x10          x100    
1 ke liké, lasó lōke lo, keʔo keyʔi
2 ya liyá, likók lōya yaʔo yayʔi
3 iyo liʔíyo, loló lōʔyo iyoʔo iyoʔi
4 po lipó lōpo poʔo poyʔi
5 to litó lōto tōʔo toyʔi
6 leh liléh lōleh lēʔo leyʔi
7 man limán lōman māʔo mayʔi
8 ʔoy liʔóy lōʔoy ʔoyʔo ʔoyʔi
9 no linó lōno nayʔo nayʔi
  10 lo, keʔo liʔó yaʔo iʔi mēla
  • The reflex of "three" was completely replaced by the Habeo borrowing iyo except for a fossilised ordinal; this was almost certainly triggered by the numbers 3 and 10 becoming homophonous in XVA. The same sound change caused the compound formation ke ro to spread, resulting in an alternate word for "ten".
  • Due to another major case of near-homophony (this time between the ordinals of 1-9 and the cardinal numbers 11-19), the ordinal prefix lu- was superseded by the emerging definite article.
  • The initial /l/ of the number 6 originally appeared in the derived forms only, but was extended to the cardinal.
  • The word for 1000 was borrowed from Adhāsth méıllə.
  • The first three numbers possessed both regular and irregular ordinal forms. The latter were far more common; in addition to the numeral value they carried a connotation of ranking. The regular variants were more neutral; they were used mainly when listing inanimate things (e.g. in business).
    • lasó < XVA *rē asu "the primary X, the leading X"
    • likók < definite article + Yellow Habeo koko "two"
    • loló < fossilised direct reflex of Ad. luzō

All numerals were nouns, and as such could take regular inflections for case and possession.

Numbers higher than 100 were formed as phrasal compounds with the conjunction on. Only the first element of such compounds could take case prefixes, and only the last element could take possession suffixes.

  • yayʔi on poʔoman
    ya-iʔi on poʔo-man
    two-hundred and forty-seven

To express the quantity of a nominal constituent, a possessive construction with the numeral in the role of syntactic head was employed. The numeral took the appropriate inflection for case, and was marked for the noun in question with possession affixes. The noun itself was cast in the ablative-partitive case if it was indefinite, and in the direct case if it was definite.

  • íyokaq akiʔlo
    iyo-kaq a-a-kiʔlo
    three-3PL.ANIM ABL-INDEF.PL-sheep
    three sheep
  • omyaʔek lippáu
    om-ya-ʔek lik-pau
    LOC-two-3PL.INAN DEF.PL-lake
    near the two lakes

An adjectivial construction in which the noun fulfilled the role of head for a postposed attributive numeral was also possible, but considered archaic literary style.

  • likoyan lōto
    lik-oyan lōto
    DEF.PL-law fifteen
    the Fifteen Laws (of Zārakātias)

Other quantifiers

pa few
nam   some   
oʔa many
mi none
eu all
ō each

These quantifiers uniformly preceded their nouns; however, two semantically distinct constructions were possible. In the first one, the quantifier was an invariable particle placed immediately before the inflected noun, signifying its absolute quantity. In the second construction, which had a partitive meaning, the noun was cast in the ablative-partitive case (and usually in the definite plural as well), and the quantifier behaved like a noun which could inflect for other cases if necessary.

  • pa alān
    pa a-lān
    few INDEF.PL-year
    a few years
  • nam assičīm
    nam a-lik-īm
    some ABL-DEF.PL-man
    some of the men

Possessive phrases

Possessive phrases were formed by inflecting the possessed noun for the person and number of the possessor, and placing the possessor in the possessive slot of the NP, after any single-word adjectives but before locatives and relative clauses. The possessor usually received no overt case marking, though inflection for the ablative-partitive case was possible to specify non-congruent possession. Stacking of multiple possessive relationships was possible.

  • liyopākiska liciska
    li-opākis-k li-ciska
    DEF.SG-throne-3SG.ANIM DEF.SG-king
    the throne of the king
  • limaʔlek likšéʔnakaq assikoyso
    li-mal-ʔek lik-šenih-kaq a-lik-oyso
    DEF.SG-ornament-3PL.INAN DEF.PL-armor-3PL.ANIM ABL-DEF.PL-soldier
    the decoration of the armor of some of the soldiers

Oblique noun phrases

The oblique slot held all appositional noun phrases in a non-direct case. This included locatives, benefactives, partitives, and relationals, all of which were marked directly on the appositional noun, and adnominal phrases introduced by a free-standing preposition.

Case usage

The allative-dative case (glossed as dat) was used for indicating targets of motion, directions, recipients, and beneficiaries. It was also used to demote direct objects to attributes of the subject.

  • leqōsah ayl-Áʔlolo
    li-qōsah ayl-Aʔlolo
    DEF.SG-trade.route DAT-Akelodo
    the trade route to Akelodo
  • liʔlakso elličaʔa
    lik-lakso ayl-li-čaʔa
    DEF.PL-tax DAT-DEF.SG-council
    the taxes for the city council
  • liyaqau ellipanî
    li-aqau ayl-li-panī
    DEF.SG-murderer DAT-DEF.SG-priest
    the killer of the priest

The locative-temporal case (loc) indicated the location of an object in space or of an event in time.

  • ličó onnicīya
    li-čo om-li-cīya
    DEF.SG-barley LOC-DEF.SG-storage.room
    the barley in the storage room
  • liyáyolo om-Lātyo
    li-ayolo om-Lātyo
    DEF.SG-market LOC-Midsummer
    the market at Midsummer

The ablative-partitive case (abl) was used to indicate source of motion, origin, material, unit of counting, and standard of comparison.

  • linommo a-Kāʔan
    li-nommo a-Kāʔan
    DEF.SG-merchant ABL-Kasca
    the merchant from Kasca
  • tayne ayceʔo
    Ø-tayne a-a-ceʔo
    INDEF.SG-tower ABL-INDEF.PL-stone
    a tower made of stone

The instrumental case (ins) denoted instruments, tools, manner and circumstance. It could also indicate the causer or patron of an action, or the agent of a verb in the passive voice.

  • poye atsōn
    Ø-poye at-Ø-sōn
    INDEF.SG-injury INS-INDEF.SG-spear
    a wound from a spear

The relational-causal case (rel) was used to indicate reasons, characteristics, abstract goals, affinity or involvement, and other kinds of general association.

  • īwo loʔišinelīte
    Ø-īwo lo-a-šin-elīte
    INDEF.SG-rest REL-INDEF.PL-wet-weather
    a rest because of bad weather
  • ołay loliʔleya allin
    Ø-ołay lo-lik-leya allin
    INDEF.SG-expert REL-DEF.PL-law Athalēran
    an expert in Athalēran law
  • állayo lo-Ánicay
    Ø-allayo lo-Anicay
    INDEF.SG-temple REL-Anaitī
    a temple in honor of Anaitī

Prepositional phrases

Kuyʔūn had turned the most common of Adāta's prepositions into case prefixes; however, some specialised prepositions remained, and others were borrowed from Habeo languages. All of these normally governed the direct case (with pronouns: the oblique case), but they could also be used in conjunction with the other cases to create more refined meanings.

yo as, like, while < iu
pen with (comitative) < pen
inside <
yono before, in front of < īlanu
au after, behind, except for    < uza "after" & al "without"   
aʔi above, on top of < axē "upward"
īn under < ēna "downward"
pot to the right of < Y.H. put
mipi to the left of < Y.H. mipi
cocit    next to, outside of < Y.H. cucit "near, close"
nitat all around, throughout < Pl.H. nɨtat
sēt through, via, along < R.H. si:te
  • litimo onnitolo
    li-timo om-li-tolo
    DEF.SG-child LOC-DEF.SG-table
    the child at the table (i.e. sitting at the table)
  • litimo aʔi litolo/onnitolo
    li-timo aʔi (om-)li-tolo
    DEF.SG-child above (LOC-)DEF.SG-table
    the child on top of the table
  • litimo aʔi ellitolo
    li-timo aʔi ayl-li-tolo
    DEF.SG-child above DAT-DEF.SG-table
    the child that is climbing on top of the table

Clausal syntax

To Be Continued...
Cedh is still working on section. The contents are incomplete and likely to undergo changes.


Main clauses

Subordinate clauses

Relative clauses