General Z’aveq Syntax (part 4)

Z’aveq will follow the word order detailed in my previous post on word order without explicit marking, and as such I will not reiterate the content of that post here. However, there are a few comments to make that are specific to this language, but weren’t covered in the generalized syntax post.

First off, the particles referred to in the word order post correspond to a fairly broad set of types of words in Z’aveq. The most obvious members of this set are the aspectual markers, as well as a smaller number of particles that cover the functions of grammatical mood and sentence-level conjunctions in European languages. Additionally, there is a set of directional markers that may optionally be used with a large number of verbs, as well as a comparatively large number of evidentiality markers and similar particles. Each of these sub-categories will be discussed in detail in later posts, but for now we will briefly go over the ordering and placement of particles in sentences that have more than one.

The default order of particles when no particle occupies the theme or focus position (which is frequently the case) will be E(videntiality) – M(ood/conjunction) – D(irectional) – A(spect). All of these particles would occupy the P slot in the pre-movement PSVO sentence, which in principle means that in some sentences there could be up to four of them (since only one from each class my occur in a particular sentence), although in practice maximal sentences aren’t as common as one might expect. As particles are often unstressed and have no accent, there will likely be some additional rules governing tonal contour of a sequence of particles, but that is a topic for another post.

Any particle may be moved into the theme or focus position, and it is possible to construct a licit sentence in which both positions are occupied by a particle. If a particle has been moved to the theme position, and there are still particles left in the default position, they all move with the subject if it is moved to the focus position; the entire set of particles also moves with the verb if it is moved to the focus position after the subject is moved to theme.

In addition to the clarification on the ordering of particles, it bears pointing out that prepositional phrases occur by default immediately after the direct object, although they can also be moved to the theme or focus positions like any other constituent. There is no syntactic concept of an indirect object, nor do you ever see more than two noun phrases that are not part of a prepositional phrase.

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