The Neholek Syntax
The base structure
First of all, here's some vocab related to the quite unique grammar of Neholek :
- akconesá : Proclitic klapped before any verb to indicate its lexical aspect (in german, aktionsart).
- concept : Each Neholek root is associated to a concept, instead of a meaning. The meaning of a word is the sum of the concepts composing it with the value given by their order in the word and the word's position in the sentence.
- primal concept : There are 16 primal concepts in Neholek. Not only they are the most prolific affixes, but they also are the one written with the 16 syllabic glyphs.
- klap : Punctuation mark « » specific to Neholek, used both as an hyphen (by convention, transcripted as an interpunct) and a comma, and is part of the akconesá structure.
The klap can be vocally emphasized with a palatal click /ǂ/, for example in a dictation.
- persona : Suffix added after any word to turn it into a verb. It consists in a consonant for the pronoun and a vowel for the tense. When the consonant is -k-, the persona is said to be referent. It defines the agent as the previously mentioned entity (so it's an anterior referent), making the sentence OSV instead of OVS.
(NB : I'm using Subject/Object below instead of Agent/Patient because Neholek has a single, active voice)
The Neholek base sentence consists in a subject and a verb.
|A) With a bare personated verb.||B) With a subject and a referent persona.|
The first sentence, Zipade « They know », is composed of the concept zipa « knowledge » (itself composed of the primal concepts Deci « deixis » and Pana « science »), and the persona de that indicates a 3rd person plural with a present tense.
The second sentence is one word longer, because it has a subject. Tatasalos nenbako « Dad's vice was drinking alcohol » has two parts. The subject tatasalos is simply an agglutination of tata « dad » and salos « weakness ». That's how all compounds are made in Neholek.
Then the concept nenba « alcoholic beverage » is personated into the verb « to drink alcohol », with a referent persona ko telling us that the action is performed by the previously mentioned entity, tatasalos, and that it's a past tense.
That's for intransitive sentences. Transitive sentences, with an object, are made the exact same way, with the object (direct or indirect, that's not relevant in Neholek) right before :
|Eltes batitlekdi||Íhikidip ábikabi zizækameike|
| || |
Here, the first sentence Eltes batitlekdi « They must behave towards each other like siblings » has two words like the previous example, but the persona isn't referent. That means the first entity eltes « each other » is the object of the sentence. The persona di is a third person plural as above, but here, -i indicates that it's an imperative. The order is OVS, the persona acting as a subject.
In the second example, however, there are three words and a referent persona. In Íhikidip ábikabi zizækameike « Everybody is born free and equal », íhi·ki·dip « free·and·equal » is the object, ábikabi « everybody » is the subject, and ziz·ækamei « self·birth » is the verb. The referent persona ke indicates a present tense, here a "general truth" present. The order is OSV, the referent persona being a simple inflection.
Are adverbs… subordinate clauses ?
My soul says yes, says yes ♫♪
Here's a sentence introducing two new Neholek parts of speech : an akconesá (in blue-green) and an adverb (in red). As explained above, the akconesá is a short particle added at the beginning of a verb to give it a specific aspect, while the Neholek conception of the adverb refers to any phrase modifying the action described by the verb.
That also means it has the particularity to illustrate both usages of the klap :
|Bidi co·limkitke, khonsakpso|
As you can see, the adverb is separated with the verb by a comma / spaced klap. More importantly, it is positionned after the verb, which is impossible in a classical structure. That's because the adverb, even when it's a single word or a prepositional phrase, is treated as a subordinate clause.
The above sentence translates as « Birds can fly for hours ». We already studied the structure of a SV sentence. What's interesting here is the adverb part : individually, khonsakpso is simply the plural of khonsak « hour », so it literally means « hours ». Does that mean the comma replaces the particle ? ɴᴏᴘᴇ.
Because as explained at the beginning of that page, « hours » is the concept of the word, not its meaning. That part of the sentence is about the concept of plural hours. The fact that it's after the verb, post-klapped, gives it the structural value of an adverb. What it finally means, is that khonsakpso is the concept of hours applied as a modifier to the verb : the agent does this… for hours. Hoursly ?
There's not as much to say about the akconesá : co· is the one meant to "trigger" the potential aspect. Potential means they can do it, but maybe they don't. The primal concept associated with it is Cone « Energy ». The subject has the energy, the strength, the will, and/or the possibility to do so. For more informations, see the page dedicated to primal concepts.
(NB : By convention, the akconesá is written with the uppercase syllable glyph, but translitterated in lowercase)
The question of the questions
Yeah, what about the questions ?
|Lot ækace, zizaktescei ?|
Because it's all about question : Quiz Time ! What is the role of Q in that sentence ?
The answer is : the object. « You did what ? ».
In the above question, Lot ækace, zizaktescei ? « How are you, in this sunny day ? », we have all usual structure parts : an object, a verb with a non-referent persona, and an "abverb" that is here again a prepositional phrase.
What about the yes-no questions, then ? Simply use the Doli « Indetermination » primal concept (yes, that's the same as for the conditional akconesá) as an adverb, like this :
|kakelce, zizaktescei, do ?|
Introducing a value to the verb æka- « be, feel » → ækakel- « feel good », we may assume the answer to the question. Ækakelce, zizaktescei, do ? « You feel good in this sunny day, right ? ».
To answer a yes-no question, you have to repeat the verb root to say "yes", and simply use the negation adverb to say "no" :
- Ækakel « I do ».
- Di « I don't ».
As with many languages including a cross-reference system, the referent persona can be used across more than one sentence, if no other subject is identifiable. Here's three cases. The first sentence is always the same, Pelmoszi ziloske « That leather is strong », but the second one changes.
Case A :
|Pelmoszi ziloske. Maeke.|
| . .|
In that case, the second sentence is a bare verb. In Maeke « It's expensive », the referent persona refers to the leather. There's not ambiguity, the reference is channeled onto the second sentence.
Case B :
|Pelmoszi ziloske. Pelalos íhite.|
| . .|
In that case, the second sentence still refers to the first one, but the verb admits an object, thus one can't use the reference again : Pelalos íhite « It looks like an armor », where "It" is still the leather.
Case C :
|Pelmoszi ziloske. Pelalos íhike.|
| . .|
In that case, we have two referent personas… and two subjects. Don't be fooled by the very similar structure. That single letter changed in the persona affects its meaning. Pelalos íhike means « An armor looks alike ». Pragmatically, it refers to a specific armor the speaker saw (but he can't say pelaloszi « that armor » to a listener that hasn't seen it).