All right, so, some grammar stuff now.
4. Basic Syntax
Really, when I say basic syntax, I mean stuff that you absolutely must know in order to construct a sentence, like, for example:
Tiwasukeni's basic sentence order is Trigger - Verb - Subject - Object.
Modifying words always follow the head; in large part Tiwasukeni is head-first.
4.1 The Trigger
The trigger, or the topic, or whatever you want to call it, is always required in a sentence. The trigger, with the exception of certain particles and interjections, must always come first in a sentence or clause. It can be one word or a whole phrase in and of itself, and is marked with the particle ti
. Exactly what form the trigger has is expressed on the verb.
I'll get into more detail later, but for now, I think, this is enough to be going on with.
Verbs must be the second element in any sentence. Every verb has three base forms, and almost all verbs are regular. Beyond those three base forms, most other verb functions are affixes. The general order of these affixes for finite verbs is as follows:
POLARITY - MODALITY - TRIGGER MARKER - ROOT VOWEL - AGENT - VERB ROOT - PATIENT - TENSE - ASPECT
Note, of course, that the only two parts of any verb that are mandatory are the trigger marker and the verb root.
5.1 Trigger Markers
These denote what role the trigger plays in the sentence, and there are three of them: one if the trigger is the subject, one if the trigger is the direct object or subject of a one-argument verb, and one denoting that the trigger is an indirect object or a part of a prepositional phrase. They are as follows:
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| Subject | D. Object | I. Object |
| toy- | haw- | gal- |
Note that each ends in a consonant; the verb roots, as you'll see, all begin in vowels, and so they must be put next to each other.
5.2 Verb Roots
As said previously, each verb root begins with a vowel, for example, -odefe
, one of the roots for "be."
Each verb has two vowel-initial roots, the gnomic and the temporal. The difference between these is that the temporal must take a tense and aspect, and the gnomic cannot at all.
5.2.1 Ablaut, etc.
To modify a gnomic root into a temporal one, a cyclical form of ablaut for the initial vowel is used -- note that none of the other vowels are modified. In addition to this, the first consonant in the root switches "octaves," so for example T changes to D and vice versa.
The ablaut cycle is as follows:
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U -> A -> I -> E -> AI -> AU -> O -> U
So, for example, the gnomic root "-odefe" would, in its temporal form, become "utefe." The verb "-abumu," eat, becomes "-ipumu."
Note ALL form changes from gnomic to temporal are entirely regular.
5.3 Personal Agreement
Verbs can (and in cases of pro-drop, must) agree with up to two arguments: the agent and the patient. Both uses take the same affixes, and are differed by their place; the patient comes directly after the verb, and the agent actually is an infix; it comes after the initial vowel in the verb root. For example:
"I eat it."
And, technically, even these are made of two affixes: a number and a person. The number is a consonant; s-
for singular, h-
for paucal, and b-
for plural. While nouns are able to express many more grammatical numbers than these, they form groups, which shall be talked about later. The three persons (which are vowels) are -ai
for 1st, -o
for 2nd, and -e
5.3.1 Special Forms
In addition, there are also certain other things that can be put in the place of the patient affix. The more common two are -naku-
(for mutual action; the agent must be paucal or plural, if used) and -homa-
(for reflexive). There is one more that is very uncommon, that is -'ake-
, which is an intransitivity marker; however, it is much more common to simply not include a patient.
5.4 Tense and Aspect
These are another pair of affixes that end in a consonant and begin with a vowel, respectively, and therefore must be used together; of course, as mentioned, they also can only be used with the temporal form of the verb.
A list of tenses is as follows:
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-kopit- : Immediate Future
-badik- : Immediate Past
-mat- : Hodiernal Fut.
-sos- : Hodiernal Past
-tok- : Post-hodiernal
-botew- : Pre-hodiernal
-leh- : Near Fut.
-bakay- : Near Past
-'el- : Remote Fut.
-lot- : Remote Past
-fed- : Present
-net- : Historical Past
-hem- : Legendary Past
The last two are very rarely used; historical past is used when talking about events one was not alive for. Legendary past is used for events that no one alive was around to experience.
As for the others, the immediate tenses are used in reference to events an hour in either direction; post- and pre-hodiernal typically don't extend past a week, after which the near tenses are used. Remote tenses are used after a year in either direction, typically. Of course, these sometimes vary between speakers.
Aspects are as follows:
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-a : Perfective
-au : Imperfective/Continual
-upe : Prospective
-aibu : Inceptive
-iti : Cessative
-esa : Defective
-oka : Durative
The defective and durative are less common than the others, but still have their uses. They translate respectively as "almost (verb)" and "(verb) for a while." Inceptive works as both an inceptive and an inchoative.
Modality comes directly before the trigger marker. There are sixteen modality affixes, total.
5.6 Non-finite Verb Constructions
5.6.1 The Non-finite Form
- -wauha- is the evidential, used when one has personal evidence of something happening.
-ketu- is the reprobative, used when one has second-hand evidence.
-raiwe- is the mirative, used to express surprise.
-sesi- is the commissive, used to promise something.
-kukai- is the propositive, used to suggest that someone do something.
-'ehema- is the causative; its usage seems fairly self-evident.
-ki'u'a- is the hortative, used when encouraging something.
-rara- is the necessitative, used when something is needed.
-sasau- is the permissive/potessive, used when someone is able or is allowed to do something.
-laitapi- is the prohibitive, used when something is forbidden.
-tawai- is the volitive, used when something is wanted.
-maisisa- is the assumptive, used when something is assumed or thought.
-'ahuba- is the deductive, used when someone has figured something out.
-lalowa- is the dubitative, used when someone has doubt about something.
-'au'amau- is the hypothetical, also used when something is suggested, though not as a command, which is the propositive.
-rewitau- is the conditional.
The third and last base form of a verb is its Non-finite form. To form the non-finite, take the temporal form and replace the initial vowel with one of three endings, depending on the initial vowel of the GNOMIC form -- ha-
if the vowel is /a ai au/, yi-
if it's /i e/, and wu-
if it's /u o/. For example:
-abumu -> -ipumu -> hapumu (eat)
-oweke -> -uyeke -> wuyeke (do)
Some certain verbs are irregular:
-odefe -> -utefe -> wotefe (be)
-uwahe -> -ayahe -> wowahe (fly)
5.6.2 The Supine
The supine uses a syntactic construction: take the non-finite, and add the word moku (for) before it. It has more or less the same use as the Latin supine. When used with a finite verb, the supine construction comes directly after the finite verb.
There are six participles, with three tenses (past, present, future), and two voices, active and passive. Participles are formed by prefixing the non-finite; as is usual, the tenses and voices have their own prefixes (tense comes first): past uses ge-
, present fe-
, and future le-
. Active uses –to-
, and passive –ha-
. For example:
– the flying bird;
– the bird that will be eaten
Participles can be nominalized by suffixing –ko
. This is translated roughly as “those who ___,” e.g.:
Fetohapumuko – those who are eating;
Gehahapumuko – those that were being eaten
5.6.4 The Gerund / Infinitive
These use the same forms in Tiwasukeni, and there are two forms: an active and a passive. Since it is for all intents and purposes considered a noun, it with henceforth be called simply the gerund. These are constructed by suffixing –toyu
(for active) and –hawe
(for passive) to a non-finite root. In very polite speech, it is also proper to prefix wuyeke-
(which you might recognize as the non-finite of “do”).
Some examples of gerunds:
– eating / to eat;
– being eaten / to be eaten
Note that the active gerund is also used as a parallel to the English phrase “having (verb)ed,” e.g.:
Hapumuhawe wahelu ti hawigemauwigama.
hapumu-hawe wahelu ti haw-igemauwi-gam-a
eat-GER.PASS bird TRIG TRIG.DOBJ-leave-past-PRFV
“Having eaten, the bird left.”
Also, of course, gerunds can take arguments:
Hapumuhawe pote kiwulu wahelu ti hawigemauwigama.
hapumu-hawe pote kiwulu wahelu ti haw-igemauwi-gam-a
eat-GER.PASS DOBJ snake bird TRIG TRIG.DOBJ-leave-past-PRFV
“Having eaten the snake, the bird left.”
That’s pretty much all she wrote as far as verbs are concerned. I’ll probably cover nouns and adjectives both next post, since morphologically those are less involved than verbs. Thoughts/criticism much appreciated.