Complementizer phrases

In this section, we will only concern ourselves with subordinate complementizer phrases. The understanding gained here will carry over to matrix clause complementizers, which are dealt with in their own section.

This is the full list of complementizers:

declarative or non-polar
declarative or non-polar
polar interrogative
tîo quantitative interrogative

The most common complementizer is a bare tone, which latches onto the verbal complex of the subordinate clause. When the subordinate clause begins with a topic, then the tone requires la as carrier. In other words, both and start a declarative or non-polar interrogative subordinate clause, but only can be followed by a topic.

This is equivalent to:

The following example includes a topic:

Non-polar interrogative subordinate clauses work the same way, with and/or , but they contain a question word like “who”, “what”, “where”, etc.

Polar interrogative subordinate clauses are introduced by the complementizer :


Properties can be compared to infinitives or non-finite clauses in English, except that Toaq’s properties are much more flexible and allow for an unlimited amount of complexity.

Properties are content clauses that contain one or more “open places“, which are marked by determiner phrases headed by the determiner ja.

If the reader is familiar with lambda calculus, the property nûo ja rảı “to sleep” can be understood as “λraı. raı sleeps”, where raı is the name of the variable.

Most simple properties can be avoided by using a serial verb:

However, properties offer flexibility and additional expressive power, which is useful every now and then:

Relative clauses

Relative clauses follow their heads. They are introduced by the complementizers and . As with content clauses, only the latter permits the inclusion of a topic in the relative clause.

Relative clauses must contain a reference to their head. This can be achieved with the dedicated resumptive pronoun hóa, with an ordinary pronoun which matches the pronominal class of the head, or with verbatim repetition with (see binding rules).

Like all complementizer phrases, relative clauses are terminated by the particle cy, which is usually omitted. It is used when a relative clause is followed by post-field material which is not part of the relative clause:

Without cy, the word would be taken to be part of the relative clause where it would fill the second argument place of chuq, yielding “The dog who is eating me is looking”.

The relative clauses discussed in this section are restrictive. For non-restrictive clauses, see the section on incidental clauses.

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