Introduction Phonology Orthography Morphology Syntax Semantics


Sentence pattern

Dashed lines indicate optional components.

Asterisks indicate components that can be covert.

Every clause begins with a (possibly covert) complementizer, optionally followed by a Topic, then the verbal complex precedes all the argument and adverbials. The highest clause is complement to a speech act particle.

Simplified, every clause has this shape:
[Topic] V (Adv) SO (Adv)

Toaq's clause structure is the same at the top level and in subordinate clauses. Whenever there is an embedded clause, it has the same make-up as the box labeled 'clause'.

As the diagram also shows, most components are optional, and two of the mandatory components can be unpronounced. This means that the most minimal complete sentence is a bare verb.

󱚻󱚲󱛂󱛀󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛕
! 'It rained.'

The two main ways of indicating sentence boundaries are:

speech act particles (→ terminate a sentence)
complementizers (→ start a new clause)

Another, but more situational, method is self-termination.


Toaq's tones have various syntactic functions, which will be discussed in their respective sections. The following table only gives a brief overview of the four tones and their most important functions:

verbs, predicatizers
determiners, pronouns, conjunctions
complementizers, clause-initiating words
adverbial adjuncts

The tone can be considered the unmarked, default tone. All verbs and many verbal particles carry this tone, and they can be modified using the other tones.

The tone is most prominently found on all determiners and pronouns.

The tone is found on subordinating function words, which includes non–main clause complementizers as well as a few verbal or pre-verbal particles which are followed by clauses (such as the cleft verb).

The tone is almost exclusively used as a morpheme by itself to form adverbial adjuncts.

Verbs and argument structure

vP pattern

Toaq's word order is VSO.

Verbs can have up to three places.

If a verb has three places, the indirect object precedes the direct object.

S = Subject
DO = Direct Object
IO = Indirect Object

Toaq has VSO word order: arguments follow the verb and are supplied from left to right in ascending order.

Verbs can have between zero and three argument places. The vast majority have one or two.

Intransitive verbs take exactly one argument:

󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱛘󱚳󱛊󱚺󱛂󱚶󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Nuo páqda.
sleep the-panda
! 'The panda is sleeping.'

Transitive verbs take two arguments:

󱚿󱚲󱛂 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛀󱚹󱛙 󱛕
Chuq nháo súshı.
eat *3s* the-sushi
! 'She is eating the sushi.'

Ditransitive verbs take three arguments:

󱚶󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛀󱚹󱛙 󱛕
Do jí nháo súshi.
give *1s* *3s* the-sushi
! 'I give her the sushi.'

Some verbs come in multiple valencies. For example the transitive verb 󱚿󱚲󱛂 chuq "X eats Y" also has an intransitive version of the same spelling which lacks the object:

󱚿󱚲󱛂 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛕
Chuq nháo.
eat *3s*
! 'He is eating.'

When a verb can take a variable number of arguments like this, it is called variadic. This is a common property among transitive verbs, but it is not a universal property among verbs in general.

Nullary verbs don’t involve any explicit participants. They merely express that an action or state is going on:

󱚻󱚲󱛂󱛀󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛕
! 'It is raining.'

While English distinguishes between verbs, nouns and adjectives on a lexical level, Toaq unites all of these under a single part of speech: verbs. The equivalent of the English noun "language" is a verb, 󱚸󱚲 zu "to be a language". The English adjective "large" is rendered as the verb 󱚺󱚺󱛎󱛃 sao "to be large", and so on.

The following examples illustrate this point further. Note the parallel structure:

󱛀󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚲󱛙 󱛕
Shua shámu.
fall the-apple
! 'The apple falls.'
󱚵󱛃󱛂󱛃󱚹 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚲󱛙 󱛕
Noqgı shámu.
delicious the-apple
! 'The apple is delicious.'
󱚸󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚲󱛙 󱛕
Zeo shámu.
fruit the-apple
! 'The apple is a fruit.'

A verb that is defined to take a given number of arguments can only take that amount. The following is not a well-formed sentence:

󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛅󱛃󱛊󱛃󱚲󱛍󱚹󱛙 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
* Kaqgaı jí óguı súq.
see *1s* the-snake *2s*
! 'I see the snake you'

The excessive argument 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 súq gets stranded, because the verb cannot take any more arguments. As a consequence, the clause ends automatically, and the extra argument ends up in a new clause. This mechanism is called self-termination: A clause automatically ends as soon as it encounters something which cannot be part of it.

Self-termination can be used to escape subordinate clauses and to start new sentences, both without requiring any explicit boundary marking.

Atomic verbs

Verb movement pattern

When it comes to word order, all atomic verbs have the same behavior: they move to the left of their arguments (to T), leading to VSO word order.

There is no syntactic difference between roots, compounds and loanwords. Below is one example for each stem type in verb position:

󱚴󱚺 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱚾󱛊󱚴󱛍󱚺󱚻󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛕
Fa nháo jéarıaq.
go *3s* the-store
! 'He went to the store.'
󱚷󱚹󱚾󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚰󱚺 󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚴󱛎󱚹󱚰󱚴󱛙 󱛕
Tıjao áma méıme.
far.away *1+2+3* the-mountains
! 'We are far away from the mountains.'
󱚼󱚲󱛍󱚹 󱚷󱚺󱚺󱚹 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚼󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙 󱛕
Luı tası ní lue.
*retr* taxi this yellow
! 'That yellow thing used to be a taxi.'

The cleft verb

Cleft verb pattern

The cleft verb 󱚵󱛋󱚺 allows an arbitrary argument to be raised out of a clause into a pre-verbal subject position.

It corresponds to the English "to be such that" construction.

The cleft verb does not participate in serial verbs.

Gloss: cle

"to be such that ..."

The cleft verb 󱚵󱛋󱚺 is a powerful tool for manipulating word order: it can turn the usual VSO word order into SVO and OVS; and even into SOV and OSV if nested, although this is less often useful.

The following is an example of pseudo-OVS word order:

󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛀󱚺󱚷󱚹󱛙 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚼󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱛕
Ní shatı nä loı jí hóa.
this shirt *cle* hate I *rsm*
! 'This shirt is such that I hate it.'

(󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 hóa is a resumptive pronoun. See the section on relative clauses for more information on how to refer back to the antecedent.)

If the subject of a clause is a heavy constituent, such as a content clause or a DP containing a relative clause, fronting the subject avoids center-embedding and thus makes the sentence easier to understand.

Compare the following two sentences:

󱛄󱚺󱛂󱚺󱚹 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛔 󱛁󱚴󱛋 󱚿󱚲󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚲󱛙 󱛔 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Kaqsı ní, ꝡë chuq hóa shámu, súq. this *comp* eat *rsm* the-apple *2s*
! 'That one eating the apple is looking at you.'
󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛔 󱛁󱚴󱛋 󱚿󱚲󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚲󱛙 󱛔 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱛄󱚺󱛂󱚺󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Ní, ꝡë chuq hóa shámu, nä kaqsı hóa súq.
this *comp* eat *rsm* the-apple *cle* *rsm* *2s*
! 'That one eating the apple is looking at you.'

The second example is easier to understand because it avoids center-embedding. If the relative clause were more complex, the effect would be even more pronounced.

The event accessor verb

Event accessor pattern

The event accessor (EvA) 󱚴󱛋 ë takes a vP and derives a verb referring to the vP's event place.

Gloss: eva

"to be an event of ..."

Most commonly, they are used as the complement of a determiner:

󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱚴󱛊 󱚰󱚺󱚻󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Kaqgaı jí, é marao súq.
see *1s* the-*eva* dance *2s*
! 'I saw you dance.'

Name verbs

Name verb pattern

Name verbs are formed by the word 󱚰󱚹 followed by an arbitrary word.

The resulting expression is a verb with the meaning

"to be named <word>"

Gloss: name

󱚰󱚹 takes a word and forms a verb that expresses the property of being named that word.

󱚰󱚹 󱛓󱚵󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂󱚿󱚲󱛓 󱛘󱚴󱛊󱛄󱚲󱛙 󱚾󱚹󱚲󱛃 󱛕
Mı Nuaqchu éku jıbo.
*name* midnight the-horse mine
! 'My horse is called ”Midnight”.'
󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚹 󱛓󱚺󱚺󱚻󱚺󱛓󱛙 󱛕
Nuo mí Sara.
sleep the-*name* Sara
! 'Sara is asleep.'

󱚰󱚹 can be rephrased in terms of the predicatizer󱛀󱚲 shu:

Single-word quotation verbs

Quote verb pattern

Quote verbs are formed by the word 󱛀󱚲 shu followed by an arbitrary word.

The resulting expression is a verb with the meaning

"to be the word <word>"

Gloss: word

For example:

󱛀󱚲 󱛓󱚵󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂󱚿󱚲󱛓 󱛔 󱛁󱚴󱛊 󱚿󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱚴󱛊󱛄󱚲󱛙 󱚾󱚹󱚲󱛃 󱛕
Shu ‹nuaqchu›, ꝡé chua hóa éku jıbo.
*word* midnight the-which name *rsm* the-horse mine
! 'The name of my horse is the word “midnight”.'

󱛀󱚲 shu is most commonly used as the complement of a determiner:

󱚿󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚲 󱛓󱚺󱚻󱚺󱚵󱚴󱛓󱛙 󱛕
Cho jí shú ‹arane›.
like *1s* the-*word* spider
! 'I like the word “arane”.'

Full-text quotes

Direct speech pattern

A text of arbitrary length can be quoted by enclosing it in spoken parentheses:

󱚰󱛃 mo <quoted text> 󱚷󱚴󱛍󱛃 teo

Gloss: quote unquote

For example:

󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚹󱛒󱚴󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱛄󱚲󱛂 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚰󱛊󱛃 󱛓 󱚰󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛓 󱚷󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱛕
Dụıfaı kuq nháo mó «Maı jí súq» teo.
*exc*-frequent say *3s* *quote* love *1s* *2s* *unquote*
! 'He said “I love you” too much.'

Serial verbs

Serial verb pattern

Serial verbs are condensed forms of clausal complements.

The individual component verbs form a cluster on the left of the arguments, giving serial verbs their name.

Serial verbs can have an unlimited number of component verbs.

This section deals with the most important and most powerful mechanism of the verbal complex and the main reason why it’s called the verbal complex.

Serial verbs are, in essence, a shortcut mechanism. They are like compounds in that they create shorter ways of accessing meanings by joining words (having a compound for a complex concept avoids having to paraphrase it every time). But unlike compounds, the meaning of a serial verb is completely predictable from the words that compose it, and the order they appear in. This means that a serial verb is understandable to anyone who knows the words that make it up and knows how serial verbs work, without requiring a dictionary.

While compounds are new lexemes and thus add entirely new meanings to the dictionary, serial verbs do not create new meanings, they merely combine words efficiently to express a more complex meaning and make sentences a lot shorter in the process. And, the more complex a serial verb, the less complex the rest of the sentence!

To understand serial verbs, it is useful to have some understanding of complementizer phrases.

The following pair of sentences illustrates the idea behind serial verbs:

󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚾󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛕
Tua súq, ꝡä jaı nháo.
cause *2s* *comp* happy *3s*
! 'You make her happy (lit. you cause that she is happy).'
󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛕
Tua jaı súq nháo.
cause happy *2s* *3s*
! 'You make her happy.'

The first sentence contains a simple verb 󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺 tua "to bring about something" whose arguments are 󱚾󱛊󱚹 "I" and the content clause 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚾󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 ꝡä jaı nháo "that they are happy". The second sentence has both verbs in the front, and the second argument is not a content clause but just 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 nháo "she". By moving the verb out of the content clause into the verbal complex of the main clause, the content clause is no longer needed, and a level of clausal nesting is eliminated.

Below follows a syntactic analysis of both sentences:

Without serial verb

This example uses the familiar structure of 2-place verbs covered previously. The object of 󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺 tua "to cause" is a content clause (CP), which contains the statement 󱚾󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 jaı nháo "she is happy".

[TP [T+ tua] [vP [DP súq] [v' [v Ø] [VP [V tua] [CP [C ꝡä] [TP jaı nháo] ] ] ] ] ]

Because the sentence involves two clauses, it is more complex than the corresponding sentence that uses a serial verb.

The corresponding serial verb looks like this:

With serial verb

The verbs (labeled V1 and V2) move up the tree and form a cluster above the subject.

The tree also reveals how 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 nháo ends up in the correct place, as an argument of 󱚾󱚺󱛎󱚹 jaı.

[TP [T+ tua jaı] [vP [DP súq] [v' [v Ø] [VP [V tua] [VP [V jaı] [DP nháo] ] ] ] ] ]

In general, any verb whose last argument place selects for a complementizer phrase (CP) can head a serial verb.

The argument place can be propositional:

󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱚳󱛃󱛂󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚷󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Dua sía poq, ꝡä tea jí.
know no person *comp* scared *1s*
! 'Nobody knows that I'm scared.'
󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚷󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱚳󱛃󱛂󱛙 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Dua tea sía poq jí.
know scared no person *1s*
! 'Nobody knows that I'm scared.'

or a property place:

󱚼󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱚼󱛋󱚺 󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚺 󱛚 󱛕
Leo jí, lä nuo já.
try *1s* λ sleep X
! 'I try to sleep.'
󱚼󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Leo nuo jí.
try sleep *1s*
! 'I try to sleep.'

Here, the difference in complexity between the two sentences is quite pronounced.

Serial verbs can have an unlimited number of component verbs. They are right-grouping:

(V1 (V2 (V3)))

Here is a relatively long one that still ends up being easy to understand:

󱛀󱛃 󱚾󱛃󱛍󱚴 󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛀󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚷󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱚺󱛊󱛂󱛀󱚴󱛙 󱛕
Sho joe tua shaı tea nháo áqshe.
become skilled cause cease scared *3s* the-donkey
! 'He became skilled at making the donkey stop being scared.'

When you see a rising tone verb followed by a falling tone verb, then you're dealing with a serial verb that is used as the complement of the determiner:

󱚼󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱚾󱚺󱚻󱚺
leo jara
try run
! 'try to run'
󱛘󱚼󱛊󱚴󱛍󱛃󱛙 󱚾󱚺󱚻󱚺
léo jara
the-try run
! 'the one who is trying to run'

Object incorporation

Object incorporation pattern

Object incorporation is a process by which a verb forms a tight unit with its object such that the two can no longer be separated. The consequence is that when the verb moves to the front of the clause, the object moves along with it.

Object incorporation results in VOS word order.

It is marked via inflection on the object, such that the usual tone carried by the head of the object (D for DPs, C for CPs) is replaced by .

Object incorporation forms a tight unit of verb and object, leading to VOS word order:

󱚾󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚲󱛌󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱛄󱚲󱚻󱚹󱛙 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Joaı bâq kurı jí.
search *gen* berry *1s*
! 'I am berry-searching.'

In the above example, 󱚲󱛌󱚺󱛂 bâq has its normal rising tone replaced by the hiatus tone. The equivalent sentence without object incorporation would be:

󱚾󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱛄󱚲󱚻󱚹󱛙 󱛕
Joaı jí báq kurı.
search *1s* *gen* berry
! 'I am searching for berries.'

Another example, using a different determiner:

󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛃󱛍󱚴 󱚷󱛌󱚲 󱛘󱚻󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Ua, joe tû raı súq!
wow skilled every thing *2s*
! 'Wow, you are good at everything!'

Or an incorporated pronoun:

󱛄󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 󱚾󱛌󱚹 󱛕
Kıe jí máı jî.
grateful *1s* love *1s*
! 'I am grateful to the ones who love me.'

The next examples show an object incorporating verb used as the complement of other determiners:

󱚸󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚴󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 󱛆󱛌󱚲 󱛘󱚼󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Zao jí fáo hû lua.
familiar *1s* the-end *endo* story
! 'I'm familiar with the end of that story.'
󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱛆󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛆󱚴󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱚲󱛌󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚵󱚺󱚱󱛙 󱛕
Kuaı hao jí ní hea bâq nam.
long *salient* *1s* this piece *gen* bread
! 'I'm longing for this piece of bread.'

An incorporated CP is headed by a C carrying the tone:

󱚰󱚺 󱚸󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚿󱚹󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛌 󱚲󱛃󱚻󱚴 󱛘󱚳󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺󱚵󱚴󱚷󱚴󱛙 󱛗
Ma zao súq sá chı, ꝡâ bore píanete?
whether familiar *2s* some believe *comp* flat the-planet
! 'Do you know someone who believes that the planet is flat?'

When incorporating a DP headed by the determiner , its allomorph 󱚼󱛃 lo must be used. This is because replacing the raw tonal morpheme with the tonal morpheme would result in forming an adverbial adjunct.

󱚰󱚲󱛒󱚿󱛃 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱚾󱛊󱚴󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱚼󱛌󱛃 󱛘󱚿󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 󱛕
Mụcho nháo jéa lô chao.
*opp*-like *3s* the-buy the vehicle
! 'He dislikes the buyer of the vehicle.'

The following is an example of an object incorporating verb as the tail of a serial verb:

󱚰󱚺 󱚷󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚴󱚺 󱛆󱛌󱚲 󱛘󱚺󱛎󱚹󱚳󱚲󱚾󱚹󱛍󱛃󱛙 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛗
Ma taı fa hû aıpujıo súq?
whether succeed go *endo* *2s*
! 'Did you manage to go to the haunted house?'

The adjectival construction

Adjectives don't exist as a separate part of speech in Toaq; they are simply verbs.

However, there is a special adjectival construction which corresponds loosely to the way adjectives modify nouns in English.

To keep things simple, the text uses the word adjective interchangeably with adjectival construction.

Adjective pattern

Adjectives follow the phrase they modify.

They are separated from the preceding verb by the (usually covert) adjectival prefix 󱛄󱚹󱛒 kı-

The prefix is only required when the preceding verb has an object place that would otherwise trigger serialization.

The adjective itself is structurally identical to a reduced relative clause, which means that it can contain tense and aspect, but no arguments or adverbial adjuncts.

Gloss: adj

Adjectives are postpositive. The adjectival prefix 󱛄󱚹󱛒 kı- is rarely needed, because most of the time, the things we describe using adjectives are noun-like things, and those typically don't have object places:

󱛃󱚻󱛃󱛃󱚹 󱛄󱚲󱛍󱛃
orogı kuo
orchid black
! 'black orchid'
󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚴 󱚾󱚺󱛂 󱛃󱚹
kue jaq gı
book very good
! 'very good book'
󱚶󱚲 󱚻󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱚺󱛂 󱚶󱚴
du rua jaq de
seem flower very beautiful
! 'very beautiful (thing) which seems to be a flower'

When the verb preceding the adjective would form a serial verb with the adjective, the prefix 󱛄󱚹󱛒 kı- can be used to inhibit this behavior:

󱚹󱚺 󱚵󱚲󱛍󱚹
ca nuı
cause small
! 'cause to be small'
󱚹󱚺 󱛄󱚹󱛒󱚵󱚲󱛍󱚹
ca kı̣nuı
cause *adj*-small
! 'small cause'
󱚼󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱚲󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱚷󱚲󱚹󱚺󱛎󱚹
lıe bıaq tucaı
experience enough strong
! 'experience being sufficiently strong'
󱚼󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱛄󱚹󱛒󱚲󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱚷󱚲󱚹󱚺󱛎󱚹
lıe kı̣bıaq tucaı
experience *adj*-enough strong
! 'sufficiently strong experiencer'

It is also possible to avoid 󱛄󱚹󱛒 kı- by changing the valency of the preceding verb, either by replacing it with a more noun-like lexeme (e.g. chıe "X learns to Y" > chıeche "X is a learner") or by using a prefix that affects the valency in a similar way (e.g. joe "X is skilled at Y" > tụjoe "X is good at everything").

Adjectives can be used in similar situations as relative clauses while avoiding much of the complexity of the latter:

󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚺󱚷󱛃󱛙 󱚷󱚹 󱚵󱛌󱚹 󱛘󱚲󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙
káto tı nî bue
the-cat at this home
! 'the cat in this home'

This is less complex than the corresponding relative clause:

󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚺󱚷󱛃󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚴󱛋 󱚷󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚲󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙
káto, ꝡë tı hóa ní bue
the-cat *comp* at *rsm* this home
! 'the cat that is in this home'

Possessive adjectives

Adjectives are also commonly used to express possession. This involves the predicatizer 󱚳󱛃 po:

󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚴 󱚳󱛃 󱛘󱚳󱛊󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙
kue po páı
book of the-friend
! 'a friend's book'
󱚳󱛃󱛂 󱚳󱛃 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙
poq po kúe
person of the-book
! 'the book's characters'

It can also be used to make generic compounds, using a DP headed by the generic determiner 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 báq:

󱚺󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚳󱛃 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱛀󱚹󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂󱛙
sıaı po báq shıtuaq
blood of *gen* unicorn
! 'unicorn blood'

For these kinds of generic adjectivals, there is a special shortcut mechanism, which replaces the normal adjectival kı- prefix with a different, more specific, prefix:

󱚲󱚴󱛒 be- = (kı̣)po báq
(gloss: ga)

This prefix offers a less verbose alternative to the previous example:

󱚺󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚲󱚴󱛒󱛀󱚹󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂
sıaı bẹshıtuaq
blood *ga*-unicorn
! 'unicorn blood'


Predicatizer pattern

Predicatizers are a small closed class of verbal particles which convert arguments into verbs.

Predicatizers form a tight unit with their complement, much like object incorporation, which leads to VOS-like word order.

Predicatizers are quantificationally opaque.

X is related to Y by some salient relation
X is/are among the referents of Y
X is/are Y (sameness/identity)

The predicatizer 󱚳󱛃 po relates two arguments by an unspecified relation. It is glossed as "of":

󱚳󱛃 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚴󱚼󱚲󱛙 󱛘󱚷󱛊󱚹󱚺󱚴󱛙 󱛕
Po báq elu tíse.
of *gen* elephant the-trace
! 'The trace is of an elephant.'
󱛄󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚺󱚷󱚹󱛙 󱚳󱛃 󱛘󱚴󱛊󱚿󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Kıa shátı po écha.
red the-shirt of the-clown
! 'The clown's shirt is red.'

󱚳󱛃 po can often be paraphrased using 󱛆󱚺󱛎󱛃 hao "X satisfies the salient property" or "X is related to Y by the salient relation".

Imagine, for example, that A and B are out in the jungle following the trail of a rare snake. Then A says:

󱚼󱚲󱛍󱚹 󱛀󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚳󱛊󱛃󱛙 󱛘󱛅󱛃󱛊󱛃󱚲󱛍󱚹󱛙 󱛕
Luı shaı jí pó óguı.
*retr* lose *1s* the-of the-snake
! 'I've lost the snake (lit. the thing of the snake)'

A slightly easier way to say the same thing would be to use a serial predicate with 󱛆󱚺󱛎󱛃 hao as the tail:

󱚼󱚲󱛍󱚹 󱛀󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱛆󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛅󱛃󱛊󱛃󱚲󱚹󱛙 󱛕
Luı shaı hao jí óguı.
*retr* lose *salient* *1s* the-snake .
! 'I've lost the snake (lit. I've lost the property of being related to the snake by the salient relation'

This trick is very useful and should be made frequent use of. However, when the complement of the predicatizer is a quantified DP, the paraphrase is no longer semantically equivalent. Predicatizers are quantificationally opaque, which means that the complement is bound in-situ rather than in the clause the predicatizer is in.

󱛀󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚳󱛊󱛃󱛙 󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱛄󱚲󱚵󱚴󱛙 󱚵󱚹󱛍󱛃 󱛕
Shao jí pó sá kune nıo.
want *1s* the-of some dog young
! 'I want a young dog.'

This is distinct from "There is a young dog that I want", which would be:

󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱛄󱚲󱚵󱚴󱛙 󱚵󱚹󱛍󱛃 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱛀󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚳󱛊󱛃󱛙 󱛆󱛊󱛃 󱛕
Sá kune nıo nä shao jí pó hó.
some dog young *cle* want *1s* the-of *X:anim*
! 'There is a young dog such that I want it.'

In the first example, the speaker is not talking about a specific dog, and any young dog will do. In the second example, there is a specific young dog the speaker wants.

The word 󱚳󱛃 po is very flexible. While it is basically just 󱛆󱚺󱛎󱛃 hao in different clothing, its special syntax enables it to be useful in different situations. For example, it can be used to form ad-hoc loose compounds:

󱚿󱚹󱛍󱚴󱚾󱚹󱛍󱛃 󱚳󱛃 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚼󱚹󱛂󱛙
chıejıo po báq lıq
school of *gen* female
! 'girls’ school'
󱚺󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚳󱛃 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱛀󱚹󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂󱛙
sıaı po báq shıtuaq
blood of *gen* unicorn
! 'unicorn blood'
(see also the generic adjectival contruction)

The other two predicatizers 󱚾󱚴󱛎󱚹 jeı and 󱚰󱚴󱛎󱚺 mea deal with identity and amongness respectively.

󱚾󱚴󱛎󱚹 jeı says that the complement and the subject are the same thing(s), i.e., that they have the same referent(s):

󱚾󱛎󱚴󱚹 󱛘󱚰󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚳󱛃󱛂󱛙 󱛕
Jeı múaqtua ní poq.
is the-killer this person
! 'This person is the killer.'
󱚾󱚴󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚻󱛊󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚹 󱛓󱚾󱛃󱛍󱚺󱚵󱚺󱛓󱛙 󱛆󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱛃󱚲󱛙 󱛕
Jeı jí róı mí Joana hú gu.
is *1s* & the-*name* Joana *endo* two
! 'The aforementioned two are me and Joana.'

󱚰󱚴󱛍󱚺 mea says that the subject's referents are among the referents of the complement:

󱚰󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱚳󱛊󱛃󱛂󱛙 󱛃󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Mea póq gı súq.
among the-person good *2s*
! 'You are one of the good people.'
󱚰󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚹󱛊󱚰󱚴 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛕
Mea íme nháo.
among *1+3* *3s*
! 'She is one of us.'
󱚰󱚺󱚼󱚺 󱚿󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹󱚷󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚷󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱚰󱚴󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱚺󱛊󱚰󱚺 󱛕
Mala chıaıtao tú mea áma.
*epst* make.mistake every among *1+2+3*
! 'Everyone among us has made a mistake before.'

Determiner phrases

DP pattern

A determiner phrase (DP) consists of a determiner (D) followed by a reduced* complementizer phrase (CP). **

Informally: DP ≈ noun

* The complementizer phrase is reduced in that its verb cannot take any arguments and no adjuncts may be attached to the vP. It also cannot contain a Topic.

** Technical: n (called little n) is an unpronounced functional head whose presence is required for semantic reasons (semantics). Learners of the language can simply pretend that the nP isn't there, and that DPs have the structure D + CPrel.

What the above pattern illustrates is that Toaq's equivalent of nouns involves a hidden relative clause. Instead of saying 'the apple' as in English, Toaq uses a construction that corresponds to 'the [thing which is an] apple' (shamu 'apple' is a verb in Toaq).

The determiner selects the first argument slot of the complement verb:

___ goes to ___
sá fa
'someone who goes'
___ is red
sá kıa
'something which is red'
___ is bread
sá nam
'something which is bread'

Apart from not being able to take arguments or adjuncts, the complement of a determiner can be complex:

󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱚵󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚿󱚲󱚱 󱛘󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃󱛙
sá naı chum nuo
some *pres* *impf* sleep
! 'something [that is] currently sleeping'

Tense and aspect are optional:

󱚷󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱛃󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚲󱚻󱚲󱛙
tú gaqguru
every kangaroo
! 'every kangaroo'

The following table lists the most important determiners. Afterwards, each determiner will be discussed in more detail.

Determiner Meaning
"X" (bound)
"some X", "a X"
"every X", "each X"
"all X"
"no X"
"this X", "that X"
"X in general", "X-kind"
"which X", "what X"
endophoric determiner
exophoric determiner

(The lambda determiner is covered in the section on properties)

All determiners carry the rising tone.

The determiner is just the rising tone itself. In order to be pronounceable, it latches onto the following word, i.e. the first word of the complement.

is glossed as "the". This is "the" in the sense of "For every flower in this garden, there is a butterfly that likes the flower." In other words, all it does is reference a bound variable.

This is illustrated by the following example:

󱛀󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚷󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱛄󱚲󱚵󱚴󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱛆󱚺󱛂󱚶󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛄󱛊󱚲󱚵󱚴 󱛕
Shao tú kune, ꝡä haqdo jí kúne.
want every dog *comp* feed *1s* the-dog
! 'Every dog wants me to feed it (the dog).'

First, 󱚷󱛊󱚲 binds the variable kune. Then, kúne refers back to the same variable.

For another method of accessing bound variables, see the section on anaphoric pronouns.

It is also possible to use without the variable having been explicitly bound. In such instances, the variable is treated as having been bound exophorically, i.e., by the current context or the shared knowledge of the speaker and listener. (The referent may or may not already be part of the discourse.)

󱛄󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱛘󱚿󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 󱛕
Kuo cháo.
black the-vehicle
! 'The vehicle was black.'

If no vehicle was previously mentioned, the listener must infer the referent of 󱛘󱚿󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 cháo from the context. If a vehicle was mentioned, then 󱛘󱚿󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 cháo probably refers to that vehicle.

The determiners 󱚷󱛊󱚲 and 󱚺󱛊󱚺 correspond to the quantifiers ∀ and ∃ respectively. Note, however, that while 󱚺󱛊󱚺 is a plural quantifier, 󱚷󱛊󱚲 is a singular quantifier (meaning it only quantifies over singletons).

󱚿󱚲󱚱 󱚿󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱛀󱚹󱛍󱚴󱚴󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚶󱚴󱛍󱛃󱛙 󱛕
Chum cheo sıefa sá deo.
*impf* reciprocal follow some child
! 'Some children are chasing each other.'
󱚷󱚲󱛍󱛃󱛂 󱚷󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱚴󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Tuoq tú fua.
heavy every
! 'Each item of furniture is heavy.'

󱚷󱛊󱚲󱛂 túq 'all' refers to all the things satisfying the predicate, at once. For instance, in a situation with three cows:

󱚺󱚺󱛂 󱚷󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛘󱚲󱚲󱛍󱛃󱚲󱚴󱛙 󱛕
Saq túq guobe.
three all cow
! 'All the cows (together) are three.'

󱚺󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺 sía 'no', is the negation of 󱚺󱛊󱚺 . As such, it is also a plural quantifier:

󱚿󱚲󱚱 󱚻󱚴󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱚿󱚹󱛍󱚴󱚿󱚴󱛙 󱛘󱚾󱛊󱚹󱛍󱛃󱛙 󱛕
Chum reı sía chıeche jío.
*impf* surround no student the-building
! 'No students are surrounding the building.'
󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱛚 󱛕
Dua jí sía.
know *1s* no
! 'I know nothing.'

󱚵󱛊󱚹 is the demonstrative determiner. It can be used both for tangible things that can be pointed at and for abstract things.

󱚾󱚲󱛂󱛃󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛆󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 󱛕
Juqguo ní hao.
Chinese this *salient*
! 'This thingy is Chinese.'
󱚸󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚳󱛃󱛂󱛙 󱛕
Zao jí ní poq.
familiar *1s* this person
! 'I know this person.'

The determiner 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 báq creates references to kinds:

󱚾󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚶󱚺󱚻󱚺󱛃󱛃󱛂󱛙 󱛕
Joaı nháo báq daragoq.
search *3s* *gen* dragon
! 'She is looking for dragons.'

The sentence talks about dragons in general, rather than specific dragons. It also does not claim that any dragons actually exist.

󱚰󱚺 󱚰󱚺󱚼󱚺 󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚻󱚲󱛂󱚵󱚲󱛍󱚺󱚱󱛙 󱛗
Ma mala kaqgaı súq báq ruqnuam?
*comp* *exp* see *2s* *gen* rainbow
! 'Have you ever seen a rainbow?'

The determiner 󱛆󱛊󱚹 is Toaq's primary way of asking wh-questions. By combining it with the appropriate verbs and/or by placing the DP in the appropriate argument place, all of "who", "what", "where", "when", "why", and so on can be derived compositionally.

󱚿󱚲󱚱 󱚾󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚻󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 󱛗
Chum joaı súq hí raı?
*impf* search *2s* what thing
! 'What are you looking for?'
󱚵󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱛘󱚴󱛊󱚿󱚺󱛙 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱛗
Nıe écha hí kua?
inside clown what room
! 'In which room is the clown?'
󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚷󱛌󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚻󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛗
Nuo súq tî hí rıaq?
sleep *2s* *a*-at what place
! 'Where (at what place) did you sleep?'
󱚷󱚹󱛀󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚻󱛌󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛗
Tısha súq râo hí?
arrive *2s* *a*-at what
! 'When did you arrive?'

The endophoric determiner 󱛆󱛊󱚲 indicates that the referent of the DP was previously mentioned in the text or conversation.

󱚻󱚹󱛍󱚲󱚴󱚺 󱛆󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱚵󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛕
Rıufa hú naq.
return *endo* male
! 'That guy came back.'

The exophoric determiner 󱛄󱛊󱚴 indicates that the referent of the DP was not previously mentioned in the text or conversation.

󱛄󱛊󱚴 󱛘󱚿󱚹󱛍󱚴󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱚳󱛃 󱛘󱚿󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚴󱚾󱚹󱛍󱛃󱛙 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚲󱛃 󱛆󱛊󱛃 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱛅󱛃󱛃󱚲󱚹󱛙 󱛕
Ké chıetua po chíejıo nä bo hó báq oguı.
*exo* teach of the-school *cle* have *b:anim* *gen* snake
! '(There is) this teacher at school (who) has a snake.'

DPs scope over DPs on their right and are under the scope of DPs on their left:

󱚰󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚷󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱚺󱚳󱚹󱛙 󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚻󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Maı tú apı sá rua.
love every bee some flower
! 'For every bee, there is a flower it loves.'
󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚻󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚰󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚷󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱚺󱚳󱚹󱛙 󱚻󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛕
Sá rua nä maı tú apı rúa.
some flower *cle* love every bee the-flower
! 'There is a flower such that every bee loves that flower.'

DPs with a null complement

It is possible to use determiners without an overt complement. In such cases, the reduced CP (see pattern) contains nothing but an unpronounced vacuous predicate (raı 'to be something'), effectively leaving the DP unrestricted. This strategy is not available to the bare determiner because it requires an overt complement as a carrier.

󱚴󱚺󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱚰󱛊󱛃󱛂 󱛗
Faq hí móq?
happen what *int*
! 'What's going on?'
󱚲󱚲󱛂󱛒󱚶󱚴 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛕
Bụqde ní.
*aug*-beautiful this
! 'This is hella pretty.'

DPs with a null complement are able to take relative clauses, just like normal DPs. It is helpful to be aware of the way in which the two structures are similar and how they differ:

󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚿󱚲󱛂󱛙
sá chuq
some eat
! 'someone who eats (normal DP, no relative clause)'
󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛚 󱛔 󱛁󱚴󱛋 󱚿󱚲󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺
sá, ꝡë chuq hóa
some which eat *rsm*
! 'someone who eats (null complement + relative clause)'

Both examples express the same thing. The main difference between the two structures is that in the first example, the DP cannot take any arguments, and therefore self-terminates immediately, while in the second example, there is a full relative clause, which can be arbitrarily complex.

See also the section on relative clauses.

Pronouns and binding

Every determiner phrase binds a variable. Determiner phrases can optionally be followed by a relative clause, which acts as a restrictor on the domain of the quantifier. When binding a variable this way, the verb following the quantifier becomes the name of the variable. Relative clauses are not part of variable names.

When the complement of the quantifier is a serial verb, only the first verb becomes the name of the variable.

A bound variable can be accessed within the scope of its quantifier in two ways:

• by repeating the name of the variable verbatim in the tone
• by using a pronoun that shares the variable's pronominal class (see below).

Every variable is bound. If a variable is not bound explicitly (by a determiner phrase), then it is treated as having been bound exophorically, i.e., by the current context, the shared knowledge or cultural background of the interlocutors, or similar.

There are two classes of pronouns:

• Personal pronouns, which are referring expressions and which aren't anaphoric
• Anaphoric pronouns: these are bound automatically whenever a verb is bound by a quantifier. Which pronoun is bound by a given verb depends on the verb's pronominal class.

All pronouns carry the tone.

Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns

you (singular)
he/she/they (singular)
(I & you)
(I & he/she/they)
(I & you & he/she/they)
(multiple listeners)
(you & he/she/they)
they (plural)

Personal pronouns are marked for number and clusivity.

Grammatically, they behave like ordinary DPs:

󱚿󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚿󱛃 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Chı jí, ꝡä cho nháo súq.
believe *1s* *comp* like *3s* *2s*
! 'I believe he likes you.'
󱚰󱚺 󱚿󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱚳󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱚵󱚺 󱛗
Ma cheo paı nhána?
whether reciprocally friend *3p*
! 'Are they (pl.) friends with each other?'

Every pronoun has a corresponding possessive verb, which is formed by suffixing 󱚲󱛃 bo to the pronoun:

󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚴 󱚾󱚹󱚲󱛃
kue jıbo
book mine
! 'my book'
󱛃󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚽󱚺󱚵󱚺󱚲󱛃
gua nhanabo
country their
! 'their country'

Impersonal pronoun

The pronoun 󱛆󱛊󱚺 is an impersonal animate third-person pronoun, corresponding to English "you", "one", French "on", or German "man".

󱚰󱚺 󱚶󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱛆󱛊󱚺 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙 󱛗
Ma daı jea há ní kue?
whether *posb.ind* buy *3i.anim* this book
! 'Can one buy this book?'

Anaphoric pronouns

Pronominal classes

Class Pronoun Gloss

The Animate class includes words referring to living organisms and words describing actions. They bind the pronoun 󱛆󱛊󱛃 . Examples include:

󱛄󱚲󱚵󱚴 kune "dog"
󱚳󱛃󱛂 poq "person"
󱚷󱚺󱛎󱛃 tao "to do"
󱚿󱚲󱛂 chuq "to eat"

The Inanimate class includes words which refer to tangible non-living things. They bind the pronoun 󱚰󱛊󱚺󱛂 máq. Examples include:

󱚾󱚹󱛍󱛃 jıo "building"
󱚵󱚺󱛎󱛃 nao "water"
󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃󱚴󱚲󱛍󱚺 nuofua "bed"
󱚿󱚺󱛎󱛃 chao "vehicle"

The Abstract class includes words which refer to abstract things and concepts. They bind the pronoun 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛂 hóq:

󱚺󱚹󱛎󱛃 sıo "idea"
󱚾󱚲󱚵󱚺 juna "true proposition"
󱛆󱛃󱚻󱚺 hora "hour (unit)"

The Descriptive class includes all those words which are descriptive (adjective-like) and which can apply to more or less any object. They bind the pronoun 󱚷󱛊󱚺

󱚶󱚴 de "beautiful"
󱚺󱚺󱛎󱚹 sao "large"
󱚰󱚹 "named ..."
󱚳󱛃 po "of ..."

The pronominal classes are a system of lexical animacy, not natural animacy. Which class a word belongs to depends not on the nature of the referent of an expression but on the animacy class of the expression itself.

If a person is introduced into a sentence via the DP 󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚾󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 sá jua "someone strange", the descriptive pronoun 󱚷󱛊󱚺 would then refer back to them, even though the referent itself is animate. This way of doing things ensures that there can be no ambiguity as to what class any given expression should have, because no knowledge of the referent is required. Pronominal binding is thus fully unambiguous, and humans and mechanical parsers are on an equal footing when it comes to anaphora resolution.

󱛀󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚳󱛃󱛂󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱛃 󱛕
Shao sá poq, ꝡä kaqgaı súq hó.
want some person *comp* see *2s* *X:anim*
! 'There is someone who wants you to see them.'
󱚲󱚲 󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱚶󱛊󱚴󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚿󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚷󱛊󱚺 󱛕
Bu dua dé, ꝡä cho jí tá.
*neg* know the-beautiful *comp* like *1s* *X:desc*
! 'The beautiful one does not know that I like them.'

Every verb belongs to one of the four pronominal classes, with the following exception:

The verb 󱚻󱚺󱛎󱚹 raı "to be something" does not belong to any of the four pronominal classes. When it is the name of a variable, then only 󱛘󱚻󱛊󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 ráı itself can refer back to that variable (the reflexive 󱚺󱛂 aq and the anaphoric prefix 󱛆󱚲󱛒 hu- also work).

The same goes for any of the nonce variables derived via the prefix 󱚽󱚺󱛒 nha- (gloss var). This prefix takes an arbitrary verb and turns it into a vacuous verb to be used as the name of a variable, effectively yielding an endless supply of assignable raı-variables:

󱚷󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱚽󱚺󱛒󱛀󱚹󱛙 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚰󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱛘󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛒󱛀󱚹󱛙 󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚽󱚺󱛒󱛃󱚲󱛙 󱛕
Tú nhạshı nä maı nhạ́shı sá nhạgu.
every *var*-one *cle* love the-*var*-one some *var*-two
! 'Every X is such that X loves some Y.'

The above example uses number verbs as variables, but this works with any kind of verb.

The prefix 󱛆󱚲󱛒 hu- provides another back-reference mechanism: it attaches to an arbitrary head and creates an anaphoric pronoun referring to the most recent accessible phrase headed by that head. For example, to refer to the most recent DP headed by 󱚺󱛊󱚺 , one would say 󱛆󱛊󱚲󱛒󱚺󱚺 hụ́sa, and to refer to the most recent content clause, one would say 󱛆󱛊󱚲󱛒󱛁󱚺 hụ́ꝡa.

󱚰󱛋󱚺 󱚷󱚹 󱛘󱚻󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛘󱛓󱚴󱛊󱛍󱛃󱚻󱛃󱚳󱚺󱛓󱛙 󱚲󱛋󱚹 󱚲󱚲 󱚰󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱚲󱛒󱚰󱚺 󱛕
Mä tı ríaq Éoropa bï bu moaq jí hụ́ma.
whether at the-place the-Europe *top* *neg* remember *1s* *prev*:'ma'
! 'As for whether that place is in Europe, I do not remember that.'
󱛘󱛃󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚺󱛙 󱚻󱛊󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱛘󱚴󱛊󱚼󱚲󱛙 󱚲󱛋󱚹 󱚼󱚲󱛍󱚹 󱚾󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱚲󱛒󱚻󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱛕
Gáma róı élu bï luı jea jí hụ́roı.
the-camel & the-elephant *top* *retr* buy *1s* *prev*:'roı'
! 'The camel and the elephant, I bought them.'

Reflexive and reciprocal pronouns

In addition to the personal pronouns and anaphoric pronouns, Toaq has two special pronouns that express reflexivity and reciprocity.

reflexive pronoun (refl)
reciprocal pronoun (recp)

These pronouns refer to the subject irrespective of its pronominal class:

󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚶󱚴 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱛂 󱛕
Tua de jí áq.
cause beautiful *1s* *refl*
! 'I am making myself pretty.'
󱚺󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱚹󱛊󱚰󱚴 󱚿󱛊󱚴󱛂 󱛕
Soa íme chéq.
help *1+3* *recp*
! 'We helped each other.'

The pronoun 󱚺󱛊󱛂 áq must be used whenever possible. Other anaphoric mechanisms skip the subject argument of the clause they are in.

󱚿󱛃 󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚺󱛙 󱛆󱛊󱛃 󱛕
Cho máma hó.
like the-mom *X:anim*
! 'Mom likes her.'
󱚿󱛃 󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚺󱛙 󱚺󱛊󱛂 󱛕
Cho máma áq.
like the-mom *refl*
! 'Mom likes herself.'

Complementizer phrases

Recall the sentence pattern, which is repeated below for convenience:

Sentence pattern

Dashed lines indicate optional components.

Asterisks indicate components that can be covert.

CP pattern

A complementizer phrase (CP) is a clause.

It can either be the argument of a verb or the complement of a speech act particle.

Depending on which of the two it is, the complementizer carries the following tones:

• main clause:
• subordinate clause:

Complementizer Meaning
Main Subordinate
Declarative clause
Polar question
Degree question
Relative clause
Relative clause
Lambda clause

Propositions / Content clauses

Propositions, also called content clauses, are headed by the complementizer 󱛁󱚺󱛋 ꝡä (glossed comp), which corresponds to English "that":

󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱛃󱚲󱛍󱛃󱚲󱚴 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛕
Dua jí, ꝡä guobe ní.
know *1s* *comp* cow this
! 'I know that this is a cow.'

Here, because the CP is the argument of a verb, 󱛁󱚺󱛋 ꝡä carries the tone. If it were the complement of a speech act particle, such as 󱚶󱚺 da in the following example, the complementizer would carry the tone:

󱛁󱚺 󱛃󱚲󱛍󱛃󱚲󱚴 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱚶󱚺 󱛕
Ꝡa guobe ní da.
*comp* cow this *asrt*
! '[I assert] that this is a cow.'

When 󱛁󱚺 ꝡa is the complement of a speech act particle, it can be omitted:

󱛃󱚲󱛍󱛃󱚲󱚴 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱚶󱚺 󱛕
Guobe ní da.
cow this *asrt*
! '[I assert] that this is a cow.'

And because 󱚶󱚺 da is similarly optional, the sentence can be shortened further:

󱛃󱚲󱛍󱛃󱚲󱚴 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛕
Guobe ní.
cow this
! '[I assert] that this is a cow.'

The main reason not to omit 󱛁󱚺 ꝡa is that it is the easiest way to mark a sentence boundary, because it doesn't need to be stressed or pronounced with a specific tone (as long as it doesn't receive ):

󱛃󱚲󱛍󱛃󱚲󱚴 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛕 󱛁󱚺 󱚿󱚲󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱛃 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚳󱛃󱛎󱚹󱚲󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Guobe ní. Ꝡa chuq hó báq poıba.
cow this *comp* eat *X:anim* *gen* grass
! 'That this is a cow. It is eating grass.'
󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚿󱚲󱛂 󱛘󱛃󱛊󱚲󱛍󱛃󱚲󱚴󱛙 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚳󱛃󱛎󱚹󱚲󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Dua jí, ꝡä chuq gúobe báq poıba.
know *1s* *comp* eat the-cow *gen* grass
! 'I know that the cow is eating grass.'


Interrogative clauses containing the interrogative determiner 󱛆󱛊󱚹 "what" are also headed by the complementizer 󱛁󱚺󱛋 ꝡä:

󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚿󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚻󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 󱛕
Dua jí, ꝡä cho súq hí raı.
know *1s* *comp* like *2s* what something
! 'I know what you like.'

In main clauses, the complement of wh-clauses is the speech act particle 󱚰󱛊󱛃󱛂 móq:

󱛀󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚻󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 󱚰󱛊󱛃󱛂 󱛗
Shao súq hí raı móq?
want *2s* what something *int*
! 'What do you want?'

Since there is no other complementizer that wh-clauses can combine with, 󱚰󱛊󱛃󱛂 móq can be omitted:

󱚴󱚺󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚻󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 󱛗
Faq hí raı?
happen what something
! 'What's happening?'

Polar interrogative clauses

Polar interrogative clauses are headed by the complementizer 󱚰󱛋󱚺 "whether":

󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺󱚺󱚲󱛍󱚴 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱚰󱛋󱚺 󱚶󱚺󱛂󱛀󱚴󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Duasue nháo jí, mä daqsheı jí.
ask *3s* *1s* whether free *1s*
! 'She asked me whether I am free.'

In main clauses, the complementizer is 󱚰󱚺 ma:

󱚰󱚺 󱛆󱚲󱛍󱛃󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛗
Ma huogaı súq ní?
whether hear *2s* this
! 'Do you hear that?'

(󱚰󱛊󱛃󱛂 móq is again optional)

Degree interrogative clause

Degree interrogative clauses work like polar interrogatives. But instead of asking whether something is true or false, they ask about the degree to which something is the case. They are headed by the complementizer 󱚷󱛋󱚹󱛍󱛃 tïo:

󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛀󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱚷󱛋󱚹󱛍󱛃 󱛃󱚹 󱛘󱚴󱛊󱚺󱚴󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛕
Duashao jí, tïo gı fáfuaq.
wonder *1s* how good the-movie
! 'I wonder how good the movie is.'
󱚷󱚹󱛍󱛃 󱚴󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛗
Tıo foı súq?
how bored *2s*
! 'How bored are you?'

Property clauses

Property clauses can be compared to infinitives in English, except that Toaq's properties are much more flexible and allow for an unlimited degree of complexity.

Property clauses correspond more or less exactly to lambda functions. However, they differ structurally in how and where variables are bound, since they are CPs syntactically.

lä req já raı
λx. req(x)
"the property of being human"

The lambda determiner 󱚾󱛊󱚺 binds a variable whose name is the first verb of its complement. In the above example, this is the verb 󱚻󱚺󱛎󱚹 raı "to be something". The choice of variable is arbitrary, much like in the lambda function where the variable x was chosen.

Once bound, the variable can be reused (via ) within the property clause, which is identical to the behavior of other determiners. For example:

lä shao já raı ꝡä tuaja ráı
λx. want(x, {courageous(x)})
"the property of wishing oneself to be courageous"

Property clauses are the expected argument type of property places, which are generally indicated as such in the dictionary by the word "property" in the English definition:

leo = "X tries to satisfy property Y"
(or, more naturally: "X tries to be/do Y")

Thus, to say "I try to be courageous", one could employ a property clause as follows:

󱚼󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱚼󱛋󱚺 󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺󱚾󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚻󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 󱛕
Leo jí, lä tuaja já raı.
try *1s* λ courageous X something
! 'I try to be courageous.'

As with other determiners, the complement may be covert. This has the consequence of not giving the variable a name.

The verb 󱚹󱛂 ıq "X satisfies property Y" is a raw property applicator. The following pair of sentences illustrates the most basic functionality of property clauses:

󱚹󱛂 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛔 󱚼󱛋󱚺 󱚷󱛃󱚴󱚲 󱚾󱛊󱚺 󱛚 󱛕
Iq ní, lä tofu já.
is this λ tofu X
! 'This satisfies the property of being tofu.'

is logically equivalent to

󱚷󱛃󱚴󱚲 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛕
Tofu ní.
tofu this
! 'This is tofu.'

Using 󱚹󱛂 ıq in this way offers an alternative to the cleft verb to manipulate word order.

Here is another example of a more complex property:

󱚵󱚹󱛍󱚴󱛂 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛔 󱚼󱛋󱚺 󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚻󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚿󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚻󱛊󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱛕
Nıeq súq, lä tua já raı, ꝡä cho jí ráı.
unskilled *2s* λ cause X something *comp* like *1s* X
! 'You are bad at satisfying the property λx. x causes me to like x.'
! 'You are bad at making me like you.'

Invoking explicit property clauses is somewhat costly and it is desirable to avoid them when possible.

There are two main ways of doing so:

1) Simple properties can typically be avoided by using a serial verb. Instead of

󱚼󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱚵󱚴󱛙 󱛔 󱚼󱛋󱚺 󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚺 󱛚 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Leo kúne, lä kaqga já jí.
try the-dog λ bite X *1s*
! 'The dog tries to bite me.'

one would express this using the equivalent, but shorter, serial verb construction:

󱚼󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱚵󱚴󱛙 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Leo kaqga kúne jí.
try bite the-dog *1s*
! 'The dog tries to bite me.'

2) Most verbs that expect a property argument allow the same place to be filled by a content clause instead. Doing so invokes the following interpretation rule:

<verb> X CP → <verb> X lä tua já CP
X <verb> CP → X <verb> to bring about CP

Using a content clause tends to make it a bit easier to track referents, because the clause is in a sense less abstract:

󱚼󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱚵󱚴󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺 󱛆󱛊󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Leo kúne, ꝡä kaqga hó jí.
try the-dog *comp* bite *X:anim* *1s*
! 'The dog tries to bite me.'

Relative clauses

Relative clause pattern

A relative clause (CPrel) is a CP which attaches as an adjunct to an nP.

Restrictive relative clauses are headed by the complementizer 󱛁󱚴󱛋 ꝡë.

Incidental relative clauses are headed by the complementizer 󱚾󱛋󱚲 .

Relative clauses follow the head noun.

The content of a CPrel equals that of ordinary CPs, with one extra condition: the relative clause must contain a reference to its antecedent. This can be achieved in one of three ways:

• the resumptive pronoun 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 hóa (gloss: rsm)
• bound variable reference via
• an anaphoric pronoun which matches the antecedent's pronominal class

󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚴󱛋 󱚿󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺
sá kue, ꝡë cho jí hóa
some book which like *1s* *rsm*
! 'a book that I like'
󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚴󱛋 󱚿󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛄󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚴
sá kue, ꝡë cho jí kúe
some book which like *1s* the-book
! 'a book that I like'
󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚴󱛋 󱚿󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚰󱛊󱚺󱛂
sá kue, ꝡë cho jí máq
some book which like *1s* *X:inan*
! 'a book that I like'

Here is a more complex relative clause:

󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚶󱚴󱛍󱛃󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚴󱛋 󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱚲󱚵󱚴󱛙 󱚺󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚷󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚶󱛊󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱛕
Kaqgaı jí sá deo, ꝡë tua kúne sao, ꝡä tea déo.
see *1s* some child which cause the-dog large *comp* scared the-child
! 'I saw a child that the large dog caused to be scared'

In the above example, 󱛘󱚶󱛊󱚴󱛍󱛃󱛙 déo "the child" could be replaced by the resumptive pronoun 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 hóa, but not by the animate pronoun 󱛆󱛊󱛃 , because it would refer to the dog.

Restrictive relative clauses (introduced by 󱛁󱚴󱛋 ꝡë) restrict the referent set of a DP by acting as a restriction on the domain of the binding quantifier. Incidental relative clauses (introduced by 󱚾󱛋󱚲 ) make a side claim about an argument.

Another way of thinking about the difference is that restrictive relative clauses provide essential information for identifying what a DP refers to, while incidental clauses merely give additional information about a referent that is not essential for figuring out who or what is being talked about.

In English, incidental relative clauses are separated from the main clause with commas, while restrictive relative clauses aren't. In Toaq, the difference is always marked via different complementizers.

󱚰󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚺󱚷󱛃󱛙 󱚾󱚹󱚲󱛃 󱛔 󱚾󱛋󱚲 󱛄󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱛆󱛊󱛃 󱛕
Maı jí káto jıbo, jü kuo hó.
love *1s* the-cat mine *inc.rel* black *X:anim*
! 'I love my cat, which is black.'
󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚺󱛙 󱚾󱚹󱚲󱛃 󱛔 󱚾󱛋󱚲 󱚲󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛆󱛊󱛃 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚰󱚴󱛍󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛔 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚳󱛃󱛂 󱚲󱚲󱛂󱛒󱛃󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱛃 󱛕
Máma jıbo, jü bua hó báq meaq, nä poq bụqgı hó.
the-mom mine *inc.rel* inhabit *X:anim* *gen* boat *cle* person *aug*-good *X:anim*
! 'My mom, who lives on a boat, is a very good person.'

Self-termination and CPs

All CPs are able to take advantage of self-termination:

󱛆󱚺󱛒󱚼󱚴 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱛀󱛃 󱚺󱚲󱛆󱚲 󱛘󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚴󱛙 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚶󱚺󱚵󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Hạle, ꝡä sho suhu hóe, ꝡä dana súq jí.
*cmpr*-likely *comp* become pig the-sun *comp* defeat *2s* *1s*
! 'It is more likely that the sun turns into a pig than that you beat me.'
󱛄󱚺󱛂󱚺󱚹 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛔 󱛁󱚴󱛋 󱚿󱚲󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚲󱛙 󱛔 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Kaqsı ní, ꝡë chuq hóa shámu, súq. this *comp* eat *rsm* the-apple *2s*
! 'That one eating the apple is looking at you.'

See also the section on the cleft verb.

Polarity phrases

Polarity phrase pattern

Polarity items (Σ) negate or affirm their comple­ment.

Their attachment site determines their scope. They usually attach to vPs or TPs.

negation (neg)
affirmation (aff)
contrastive negation (cneg)
contrastive affirmation (caff)

󱚲󱚲 bu is ordinary negation (¬):

󱚲󱚲 󱛃󱚺󱚰󱚺 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛕
Bu gama ní.
*neg* camel this
! 'This is not a camel.'

󱚾󱚴󱛍󱛃 jeo is the explicit absence of negation. Its pragmatic effect is similar to English "do" in affirmative clauses.

For example, after listing food that A didn't eat on their vacation, A might then continue by saying:

󱚾󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱚿󱚲󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚳󱚹󱛍󱚴󱚻󱛃󱛃󱚹󱛙 󱛕
Jeo chuq jí báq pıerogı.
*aff* eat *1s* *gen* pierogi
! 'I did eat pierogi.'

A clause that isn't negated is affirmed by default, so 󱚾󱚴󱛍󱛃 jeo is never required to make a clause positive. Therefore, using it draws special attention to the absence of negation.

󱚺󱛎󱚹󱚰󱚲 aımu and 󱚾󱚴󱛆󱚺 jeha are the contrastive counterparts. They additionally contradict a salient proposition from the immediately preceding discourse. They are similar in function to German "doch" and French "si".

For example, if A claims that B is not familiar with Toaq, B might contradict A by answering:

󱚾󱚴󱛆󱚺 󱚸󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛓󱚷󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛂󱚸󱚲󱛓󱛙 󱛕
Jeha zao jí Tóaqzu.
*caff* familiar *1s* Toaq
! '_Yes_, I _am_ familiar with Toaq.'

And if A says to B that the film they're watching together is boring, B might contradict A by saying:

󱚺󱛎󱚹󱚰󱚲 󱚴󱛃󱛎󱚹󱛃󱚴 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚴󱚺󱚴󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛕
Aımu foıge ní fafuaq.
*cneg* boring this movie
! '_No_, the movie _isn't_ boring.'


Tense pattern

Tense (T) expresses when something happens relative to the time of utterance. Tense precedes aspect (Asp).

There are three basic tenses:

• past
• present
• future

Tense need never be overtly marked.

past tense (pst)
present tense (prs)
future tense (fut)
󱚳󱚲 󱚾󱚹󱛍󱚲 󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚹 󱛓󱚺󱚻󱛃󱛂󱛓󱛙 󱚷󱛌󱚹 󱛘󱚺󱛊󱛎󱛃󱚰󱛃󱛙 󱛕
Pu jıu mí Aroq tî áomo.
*pst* born the-*name* Aaron *a*-at the-island
! 'Aaron was born on the island.'
󱚵󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚷󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛓󱚴󱛊󱚺󱚻󱚺󱛂󱚺󱚴󱛃󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛓󱛙 󱛕
Naı tı jí Fáraqsegua.
*prs* at *1s* the-France
! 'I'm in France right now.'
󱚾󱚹󱛎󱚺 󱚻󱚲󱛂󱛀󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚽󱚺 󱛕
Jıa ruqshua nha.
*fut* rain *prom*
! 'I promise it will rain.'

These tenses also have prefix forms, which attach to a following aspect head. This has no effect on the semantics, but it does reduce the number of stressed syllables:

󱚳󱚲󱛒󱚿󱚲󱚱 󱚾󱚺󱚻󱚺 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛕
Pụchum jara nháo.
*pst*-*impf* run *3s*
! 'She was running.'

Without the prefix form, the sentence would begin with three stressed falling tone syllables in a row. With the prefix, the rhythm follows a more pleasant stressed-unstressed-stressed-unstressed pattern.

In addition to the basic tenses above, there are also the following existential tenses:

unrestricted existential tense (uet)
existential past tense (epst)
existential future tense (efut)

In contrast to the normal tenses, existential tenses don't refer to specific time intervals but to the entirety of time. The unrestricted existential tense expresses that there exists at least one moment between the beginning of time and the end of time at which the sentence is true. The past and future versions are restricted to the past or future portions respectively.

Thus, the existential tenses are weaker in affirmative statements and stronger in negated statements:

󱚰󱚺 󱚳󱚲 󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚾󱚺󱚻󱚺󱚴󱚺󱛙 󱛗
Ma pu kaqgaı súq báq jarafa?
whether *pst* see *2s* *gen* giraffe
! 'Did you see a giraffe? (e.g. on your journey)'
󱚰󱚺 󱚰󱚺󱚼󱚺 󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚾󱚺󱚻󱚺󱚴󱚺󱛙 󱛗
Ma mala kaqgaı súq báq jarafa?
whether *epst* see *2s* *gen* giraffe
! 'Have you ever seen a giraffe? (in your lifetime)'
󱚲󱚲 󱚳󱚲 󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚾󱚺󱚻󱚺󱚴󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Bu pu kaqgaı jí báq jarafa.
*neg* *pst* see *1s* *gen* giraffe
! 'I did not see a giraffe. (e.g. on my journey)'
󱚲󱚲 󱚰󱚺󱚼󱚺 󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚾󱚺󱚻󱚺󱚴󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Bu mala kaqgaı jí báq jarafa.
*neg* *epst* see *1s* *gen* giraffe
! 'I have never seen a giraffe. (in my lifetime)'

The past tense 󱚳󱚲 pu and the future tense 󱚾󱚹󱛍󱚺 jıa can additionally be marked for temporal distance, yielding remote past/future and near past/future tenses:

remote past tense (rem.pst)
near past tense (near.pst)
remote future tense (rem.fut)
near future tense (near.fut)


Aspect pattern

Aspect follows tense (if present).

perfective aspect (perf)
imperfective aspect (impf)
retrospective aspect (retr)
prospective aspect (prsp)
superfective aspect (sprf)
subfective aspect (subf)
gnomic aspect (gno)
near retrospective aspect (near.retr)
near prospective aspect (near.prsp)

The perfective aspect 󱚷󱚺󱚱 tam views an event as a simple whole and places the event fully within in the reference time.

󱚳󱚲 󱚷󱚺󱚱 󱛀󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚲󱛙 󱛘󱚾󱛊󱛃󱛂󱛆󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱚽󱚺󱛎󱛃󱚲󱛃 󱛕
Pu tam shua shámu jóqhua nhaobo.
*pst* *perf* fall the-apple the-head *3s.poss*
! 'The apple fell on his head.'

The imperfective aspect 󱚿󱚲󱚱 chum expresses ongoing events:

󱚿󱚲󱚱 󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱚵󱚴󱛙 󱚼󱛌󱚺󱛂󱚹󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱛕
Chum nuo kúne lâqcıa.
*impf* sleep the-dog *a*-soundless
! 'The dog was sleeping silently.'

The retrospective aspect 󱚼󱚲󱛍󱚹 luı expresses that the event is fully in the past of the reference time.

󱚼󱚲󱛍󱚹 󱚷󱚹󱛀󱚺 󱛘󱚾󱛊󱚲󱛍󱛃󱛙 󱛕
Luı tısha júo.
*retr* arrive the-letter
! 'The letter has arrived.'

The prospective aspect 󱚸󱚺 za expresses that the event is fully in the future of the reference time.

󱚸󱚺 󱚷󱚹󱛀󱚺 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛕
Za tısha nháo.
*prsp* arrive *3s*
! 'He has yet to arrive.'
! 'He is going to arrive.'

The superfective aspect 󱛆󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 hoaı expresses that an event is continuing beyond an expected endpoint. It corresponds to English "still":

󱚰󱚺 󱛆󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚼󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛗
Ma hoaı lao súq?
whether *sprf* wait *2s*
! 'Are you still waiting?'

The subfective aspect 󱛆󱚺󱛎󱚹 haı expresses that an event is taking place earlier than expected. It corresponds to English "already":

󱛆󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚵󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Haı nıe jí kúa.
*subf* inside *1s* the-room
! 'I'm already in the room.'

The near retrospective aspect 󱛆󱚹󱛂 hıq expresses that an event has just happened, or happened right before the reference time.

󱛆󱚹󱛂 󱚾󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛚 󱛘󱚵󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚹󱛅󱚴󱛄󱚲󱛙 󱚾󱚹󱚲󱛃 󱛕
Hıq jea sá núı'eku jıbo.
*near.retr* buy some pony *1s.poss*
! 'Someone just bought my pony.'

The near prospective aspect 󱚴󱚹 expresses that an event is imminent, on the verge of happening, or about to happen.

󱚴󱚹 󱚻󱚲󱛂󱛀󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛕
Fı ruqshua.
*near.pros* rain
! 'It is about to rain.'

The gnomic aspect 󱛆󱚴 he expresses general truths, how things are in general:

󱛆󱚴 󱚲󱚲 󱚳󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚲󱚹󱚻󱚺󱛙 󱛕
He bu pıe jí báq bıra.
*gno* *neg* drink *1s* *gen* beer
! 'I don't drink beer.'

An aspect may be attached to a following verb as a prefix:

󱚰󱚲󱛒󱚿󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚸󱛊󱚺󱛒󱚴󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛕
Mụcho jí zạ́faq.
*opp*-like *1s* the-*pros*-happen
! 'I dislike the thing that's going to happen.'

This is also possible if the aspect carries a tense prefix:

󱚵󱚺󱛎󱚹󱚿󱚲󱚱󱛒󱚾󱚺󱚻󱚺 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚴󱛌󱚺 󱛘󱚵󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃󱚰󱚹󱛙 󱛕
Naıchụmjara nháo fâ náomı.
*prs*-*impf*-run *3s* *a*-go the-ocean
! 'She is currently running to the ocean.'

Modals and conditionals

Modals and conditionals pattern

Modals are used to make statement about necessity and possibility. They also function as conditionals (if-clauses).

Each modality comes in two forms: indicative and subjunctive.

Indicative Subjunctive
󱛀󱚴 she 󱚺󱛎󱛃 ao
󱚶󱚺󱛎󱚹 daı 󱚴󱛍󱚺 ea

Modals optionally take a CP complement.

Modals are quantifiers over possible worlds. The CP complement restricts the quantifier:

Modal [restriction] [main clause]

This is similar to an "if ... then ..." structure:

If [antecedent] then [consequent]

󱛀󱛌󱚴 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚻󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚴󱚲 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Shê, ꝡä roaq súq jí, nä fu jí súq.
*nec*.*ind* *comp* parent *2s* *1s* *cle* offspring *1s* *2s*
! 'If you are my biological parent, then I'm your biological offspring.'

Modals come in two types: indicative and subjunctive. These names are based on the fact that they correspond to English indicative conditionals and subjunctive conditionals, even though Toaq does not grammatically mark for mood.

Subjunctives are also called counterfactuals. They describe situations that are contrary to fact. They correspond to "would" and "could".

󱚺󱛎󱛃 ao expresses the combination necessity + counterfactual:

󱚺󱛌󱛎󱛃 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚷󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛔 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚲󱚲󱚾󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Âo, ꝡä tı súq ní, nä buja jí súq.
*nec*.*subj* *comp* at *2s* this *cle* kiss *1s* *2s*
! 'If you were here, I would kiss you.'

This sentence implies (presupposes) that "you are not here".

󱚺󱛌󱛎󱛃 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚸󱚲󱚶󱚴󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛓󱚷󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛂󱚸󱚲󱛓󱛙 󱛔 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚾󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Âo ꝡä zudeq jí Tóaqzu, nä jaı jí.
*nec*.*subj* *comp* can.speak *1s* Toaq *cle* happy *1s*
! 'If I were able to speak Toaq, I would be happy.'

󱚴󱛍󱚺 ea expresses the combination possibility + counterfactual:

󱚴󱛌󱛍󱚺 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚷󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛔 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚺󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Êa, ꝡä tı súq ní, nä soa súq jí.
*posb*.*subj* *comp* at *2s* this *cle* help *2s* *1s*
! 'If you were here, you could help me.'

Modals can also be used without an overt complement. This leaves the restriction implicit and corresponds to could/would/can/must-clauses without an if-clause. In such cases, the modal carries a falling tone and mustn't be followed by :

󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚿󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚼󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Ao cho súq ní lua.
*nec*.*subj* like *2s* this story
! 'You would like this story.'
󱚲󱚲 󱚶󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚰󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛕
Bu daı dua jí, ꝡä moı nháo hí.
*neg* *posb*.*ind* know *1s* *comp* think *3s* what
! 'It's not possible for me to know what she's thinking.'

Adverbial adjuncts

AdjunctP pattern

Adjunct phrases attach to vPs.

They can attach on either side.

The Adjunct head is (gloss: adj)

AdjunctPs act as adverbial restrictors of the event variable of the vP.

Adverbials can appear in the following places:

V (Adv) S O (Adv)

Adverbials can be grouped into two broad categories:

• eventive adverbials
• subject-sharing adverbials

Adverbials are formed by combining the tone with a verb phrase. If the verb is intransitive, the resulting adverbial will correspond to an adverb in English. If the verb is transitive, the adverbial will correspond to a preposition, taking a complement.

+ Vintr = adverb
+ Vtrans = preposition

Eventive adverbials

Eventive adverbials allow us to add more information about the event expressed by a verb. For example, they let us specify where and when something happened, or certain semantic roles such as purpose, beneficiary, etc).

Using an adverbial in a clause has the effect of claiming that the event expressed by the main verb of the clause also satisfies the first argument place of the adverbial verb:

󱚷󱚹󱛀󱚺 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚻󱛌󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺󱚿󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛕
Tısha nháo râo kíachaq.
arrive *3s* *a*-when the-Monday
! 'The event of her arriving is simultaneous with Monday.'
! 'She arrives on Monday.'

In this example, the arriving event is claimed to satisfy the first place of 󱚻󱚺󱛎󱛃 rao "X takes place at the same time as Y". The second argument place of 󱚻󱚺󱛎󱛃 rao is filled by 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺󱚿󱚺󱛂󱛙 kíachaq "Monday".

Because eventive adverbials describe events, the first argument of an adverbial verb must be one that can apply to events.

󱚿󱚲󱚱 󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱛘󱚷󱛊󱚹󱛂󱚻󱚺󱛙 󱚵󱛌󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱛘󱚵󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Chum nuo tíqra nîe náokua.
*impf* sleep the-tiger *a*-inside the-bathroom
! 'The tiger is sleeping in the bathroom.'

Here, the event is claimed to satisfy "X is inside the bathroom".

󱚻󱚲󱛂󱛀󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚶󱛌󱚺󱛂󱚲󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱛕
Ruqshua dâqbuaı.
rain *a*-temporally.long
! 'It rained for a long time.'

This example contains an intransitive adverbial (󱚶󱚺󱛂󱚲󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 daqbuaı "X has a long duration") meaning it does not take a complement. Other than that, it follows the same pattern as the previous examples.

There can be an unlimited number of adverbials in a clause:

󱚼󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱚺󱛊󱚻󱚺󱚵󱚴󱛙 󱚷󱛌󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱚵󱛊󱚺󱚱󱛙 󱚻󱛌󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱚵󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛀󱛌󱚹󱛍󱚲 󱚴󱛊 󱚷󱚹󱛀󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Lao árane tîa nám râo núaq shîu é tısha jí.
wait the-spider *a*-behind the-bread *a*-when the-night *a*-before *comp* arrive *1s*
! 'The spider waited behind the bread at night before I arrived.'

Below is a selection of the sort of verbs that are commonly used as adverbial adjuncts:

X is at location Y
X is inside Y
X is outside Y
X is near Y
X is temporally before Y
X is temporally after Y
󱚷󱛌󱚹 󱛘󱛓󱛅󱚺󱛊󱚺󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛓󱛙
tî Ásıa
*a*-at Asia
! 'in Asia'
󱚵󱛌󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱛘󱚵󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃󱚰󱚹󱛙
nîe náomı
*a*-inside the-ocean
! 'inside the ocean'
󱚷󱛌󱚹󱚾󱚲󱛍󱚹 󱛘󱚿󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚴󱚹󱚴󱛙
tîjuı chúece
*a*-near train.station
! 'near the train station'
󱚲󱛌󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚺󱚹󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙
bîe shúacao
*a*-after autumn
! 'after (the) autumn'

The following table lists examples of verbs that correspond to various semantic roles (this list is not exhaustive):

X is brought about by Y
X is intentionally caused by agent Y
X is done for purpose Y
X happens for Y's benefit
X is a motion event towards Y
X happens for duration Y
X happens for reason Y
󱚾󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙 󱚸󱛌󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱛀󱛃 󱚸󱚲󱚶󱚴󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛓󱚹󱛊󱛂󱚼󱚹󱚸󱚲󱛓󱛙 󱛕
Jea jí kúe zûo, ꝡä sho zudeq jí Íqlızu.
buy *1s* the-book *a*-for.purpose *comp* become can.speak *1s* the-English.language
! 'I bought the book in order to learn English.'
󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚺󱚹󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱚽󱛌󱚲󱛂 󱛘󱚳󱛊󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 󱚾󱚹󱚲󱛃 󱛕
Tua sıq jí kúa nhûq páı jıbo.
make clean *1s* the-room *a*-for the-friend mine
! 'I cleaned the room for my friend.'
󱛀󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 󱚲󱛌󱛃󱛒󱚷󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Shua múao bộtao jí.
fall the-tree *a* *1s*
! 'The tree was felled by me.'

Subject-sharing adverbials

Subject-sharing adverbials are adverbials formed from verbs whose first argument place cannot apply to events, such as any verb expressing an action. The effect of converting such a verb using the Adjunct tone is that instead of describing the event of the main verb of the clause further like eventive adverbials, it creates a co-event whose subject (usually the agent) is the same as that of the verb of the containing clause. The main event and the co-event are claimed to take place together, either because they are one and the same event or because they form a larger compound event together:

󱚾󱚺󱚻󱚺 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚴󱛌󱚺 󱛘󱚿󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚴󱚹󱚴󱛙 󱛕
Jara nháo fâ chúece.
run *3s* *a*-go the-train.station
! 'She runs (going) to the train station.'

The verb 󱚴󱚺 fa "to go" is an action. Therefore, the derived adverbial creates a co-event with a shared subject: the event of her running takes place together with the event of the same agent's going to the train station.

Subject-sharing adverbials are a great way to add argument places to a verb. The verb 󱚾󱚺󱚻󱚺 jara "X runs" does not have an object place for specifiying the destination. By using 󱚴󱛌󱚺 , this place can be added compositionally without needing to add bloat to the definition of 󱚾󱚺󱚻󱚺 jara itself. This contributes to Toaq being able to function with simpler predicate definitions.

󱚺󱚺󱛂󱚺󱚲 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛄󱛌󱚲󱛂 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚲 󱛓󱛄󱚺󱚺󱚹󱛓󱛙 󱛕
Saqsu nháo kûq shú kası.
whisper *3s* *a*-say the-*word* kası
! 'She whispered (saying) the word “kası”.'

Here, 󱛄󱛌󱚲󱛂 kûq allows us to specify what word was being whispered, which is not part of 󱚺󱚺󱛂󱚺󱚲 saqsu's definition "X whispers".

Subject-sharing adverbials are efficient and versatile:

󱚼󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱚵󱚺 󱚾󱛌󱚴󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱚴󱚴󱛎󱚹 󱛕
Lao nhána jêaq feı.
wait *3p* *a*-increase angry
! 'They waited, getting increasingly angry.'


Topic pattern

The topic specifies what a sentence is about.

The topic precedes the rest of the clause.

The topic argument is separated from the rest of the clause by the function word 󱚲󱛋󱚹 .

The topic is an optional part of every clause which specifies what the clause is about. The material which is placed in the topic may or may not also appear as an argument within the clause.

󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙 󱚲󱛋󱚹 󱚼󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚰󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛕
Kúe bï loı jí máq.
the-book *top* hate *1s* *X:inan*
! 'As for the book, I hated it.'
󱛘󱚵󱛊󱚹󱚿󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱚲󱛋󱚹 󱚶󱚺󱛂󱛀󱚴󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Níchaq bï daqsheı jí.
the-today *top* free *1s*
! 'Regarding today, I'm free.'

The topic can only contain referential arguments. To front quantified expressions, the cleft verb 󱚵󱛋󱚺 should be used:

󱚷󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱚿󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚴󱚺󱛂 󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱛃󱚹󱛙 󱚻󱛌󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚿󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛕
Tú chaq, nä faq sá gı râo cháq.
every day *cle* happen some good *a*-when the-day
! 'Every day is such that something good happens on that day.'


Focus pattern

The focus particle 󱛄󱛊󱚲 marks a constituent as conveying new information.

Focus is the part of a sentence that contains new or contrasting information. When you know that someone ate your last remaining banana, but not who did it, and I say to you "I ate the banana" (or "It was me who ate the banana"), the fact that someone ate the banana is known information, and the fact that it was me as opposed to someone else who did the eating is new information and carries what is called the focus of the sentence.

Toaq uses focus inflection (󱛄󱛊󱚲 ) to focus-mark a constituent:

󱚿󱚲󱛂 󱛄󱛊󱚲 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃󱚾󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Chuq kú jí máoja.
eat *foc* *1s* the-banana
! 'It was me who ate the banana.'

Since 󱛄󱛊󱚲 marks new information, it is also the appropriate way of answering wh-questions. If asked Chuq súq hí raı? "What did you eat?", the proper answer would be kú máoja "[it was] the bananafoc".

󱛄󱛊󱚲 expresses what is known as non-contrastive focus. There is also contrastive focus, marked by the particle 󱚲󱛊󱚴󱛎󱚹 béı. Contrastive focus implies the negation of at least one alternative proposition. The prototypical example of when contrastive focus occurs is when correcting someone else's statement. For example, if A said "You ate the banana", then B might answer:

󱚿󱚲󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚲󱛊󱚴󱛎󱚹 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚲󱛙 󱛕
Chuq jí béı shamu.
eat *1s* the.*cfoc* apple
! '(No,) it was the APPLE that I ate.'

Focus can also be attached to other parts of speech via the focus prefix 󱛄󱚲󱛒 ku-:

󱚼󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱛄󱚲󱛒󱚻󱚹󱛍󱚺󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛆󱛊󱚴󱛂󱚰󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Leo kụrıatua jí héqma.
try *foc*.open *1s* the-container
! 'It is opening it that I'm trying to do with the container.'
! 'I'm trying to OPEN the container.'
(context: "What are you trying to do with the container?")

When attached to a head, the entire phrases projected by the head receives focus.

When attaching focus to heads which are purely tonal, the focus marker steals the tone:

󱛄󱛌󱚲 󱚻󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚹󱚺󱚿󱚺󱛂󱛙
kû rao kíachaq
*foc.adj* when the-monday

Focusing adverbs

Apart from 󱛄󱛊󱚲 and 󱚲󱛊󱚴󱛎󱚹 béı, there also exist so-called focusing adverbs, a name which is based on the fact that their English equivalents involve adverbs that interact with focus. In Toaq, they don't involve any actual adverbs and there are instead different ways of realizing focus, depending on the "adverb". The following focusing adverbs exist:


In English, there exist pairs of sentences like "I only gave a bananaFoc to you" vs "I only gave a banana to youFoc", where the position of focus (expressed prosodically via stress) interacts with the adverb "only" to produce different meanings. This dependency is also known as association with focus.

In Toaq, the situation is simpler: the focusing adverb is simply placed in front of the focused constituent:

󱚶󱚲 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚴󱚺 󱚷󱛊󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛘󱚻󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛕
Du, ꝡä fa tó súq ríaq.
seem *comp* go only *2s* the-place
! 'It seems like only YOU went to the place.'
󱚾󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚰󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛒󱚲󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚵󱚺󱚱󱛙 󱛕
Jea nháo mạ́obaq nam.
buy *3s* also-*gen* bread
! 'He also bought BREAD.'
󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱚲 󱛕
Dua júaq jí hú.
know even *1s* *endo*
! 'Even I know that.'

Focus particles scope over DPs and focus particles on their right and are under the scope of DPs and focus particles on their left:

󱚸󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚷󱛊󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚷󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱚷󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Zao tó jí tú toa.
know only *1s* every word
! 'Only I know every word. (other people may know a lot of words, but nobody except me knows every word)'
󱚷󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱚷󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚸󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚷󱛊󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱛕
Tú toa nä zao tó jí hóa.
every word *cle* know only *1s* *rsm*
! 'Every word is such that I'm the only one who knows it. (nobody else knows any words)'


Coordination pattern

Conjunctions are placed between two matching conjuncts of the same syntactic type.

The first type of conjunction is the plural coordinator:

and (plural coordinator) (&)

This conjunction joins two DPs (or, less commonly, CPs) into a single expression which refers to the referents of both conjunct DPs taken together. For instance, 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚻󱛊󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 jí róı súq "I and you", refers to the speaker and the listener together. It is equivalent to 󱚲󱛊󱚰󱛃 úmo "we (1+2)".

󱛃󱚲 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚻󱛊󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Gu súq róı jí.
two *2s* & *1s*
! 'You and I are two in number.'

róı-joined expressions are equivalent to ordinary plural expressions.

󱚿󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱚿󱛃 󱛘󱚶󱛊󱚴󱛍󱛃󱛙 󱛕
Cheo cho déo.
reciprocal like the-child
! 'The children like each other.'
󱚿󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱚿󱛃 󱛘󱚼󱛊󱚹󱛂󱚶󱚴󱛍󱛃󱛙 󱚻󱛊󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱛘󱚵󱛊󱚺󱛂󱚶󱚴󱛍󱛃󱛙 󱛕
Cheo cho líqdeo róı náqdeo.
reciprocal like the-girl & the-boy
! 'The girl and the boy like each other.'

ⓘ Recall the optional sandhi rules, which allow RRR to be pronounced RLR

The second type of conjunction is the clausal conjunction. It is called that because any expression involving it can always be paraphrased as a conjunction of two clauses.

inclusive or
exclusive or
or ... ? (connective question)

Almost any two matching conjuncts can be conjoined by these conjunctions, where "matching" is defined as being of the same syntactic type (DP, CP, TP, etc).

󱛄󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱚵󱚴󱛙 󱚻󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚺󱚷󱛃󱛙 󱛕
Kuo kúne rú káto.
black the-dog and the-cat
! 'The dog and the cat are black.'
! 'The dog is black and the cat is black.'
󱚸󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚳󱚲 󱚾󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚵󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 󱚻󱛊󱚺 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚸󱚴󱛍󱛃󱚸󱚴󱛙 󱛕
Zaı jí, ꝡä pu jea súq báq nao rá báq zeoze.
hope *1s* *comp* *pst* buy *2s* *gen* water or *gen* juice
! 'I hope you bought water or juice.'

The conjunction 󱚻󱛊󱚹 asks the listener to fill in the appropriate conjunction in its place or to indicate which of the conjuncts makes the sentence true:

󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛘󱛀󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚲󱛄󱚲󱚵󱚴󱛙 󱚻󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛃󱛊󱛃󱚺󱛃󱛙 󱛗
Ao jea súq shíukune rí góso?
would buy *2s* the-raccoon or? the-chicken
! 'Would you buy the raccoon or the chicken?'
! 'Which of [the raccoon & the chicken] would you buy?'
󱚵󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱛄󱚺󱚴󱚴󱛙 󱚻󱛊󱚹 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚿󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 󱛗
báq kafe rí báq chaı?
*gen* coffee or? *gen* tea
! 'Coffee or tea?'

Because DPs and CPs are different syntactic types, examples like the following are possible:

󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚵󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱛔 󱚻󱛊󱚲 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚴󱚴󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Dua jí, ꝡä nıe súq kúa, rú, ꝡä feı súq.
know *1s* *comp* inside *2s* the-room and *comp* angry *2s*
! 'I know that you are in the room and that you are angry.'

One important syntactic type which is by default ignored by conjunctions is V, the bare verb (normally, one would instead make use of an adjectival construction). This has a big advantage:

󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱚻󱛊󱚲 󱚾󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱛕
Kúe nä kaqgaı súq hóa rú jea jí hóa.
the-book *cle* see *2s* *rsm* and buy *1s* *rsm*
! 'The book is such that [you saw it] and [I bought it].'

Instead of connecting the two most local matching constituents, which would be two verbs, the conjunction instead connects two tense phrases.

󱚿󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚻󱛊󱚲 󱚿󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Cho jí súq rú cho súq jí.
like *1s* *2s* and like *2s* *1s*
! 'I like you and you like me.'

The following table contains examples of the most important types of coordination:

Type Example
Determiner phrases (DP) súq
"you and I"
Content clauses (CP) ꝡä ruqshua ꝡä koa búı
"that it's raining and that it's cold outside"
Relative clauses (CPrel) ꝡë cho hóa báq rua ꝡë geı hóa sía fuq
"who likes flowers and who is wearing no clothes "
Prepositions nîe gûq
"in or under"
Adverbial adjuncts bîe gújue kéo shîu róaıjue
"after February but before August"
Tense phrases (TP) jara kúne koı jí
"The dog runs and I walk"
Verbs (V) loq ra koa
"hot or cold"

Overriding the default attachment behavior of conjunctions

default precedence:
locally conjoins any two matching types
force most local scope:
allows coordinating DP with CP, and V with V.
skip first possible attachment site

At times, the default attachment behavior of conjunctions is not what is needed. For example, sometimes, it may be necessary to join a DP with CP. This is done by using a tone on the conjunction:

󱚻󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚺 󱛘󱚾󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛙 󱚻󱚲 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚷󱚹󱛍󱚴󱚹󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Ruaq nháo sá jua ru, ꝡä tıecıa súq.
assert *3s* some strange and *comp* naked *2s*
! 'He claimed something strange and that you were naked.'

Or if you want to connect verbs and an adjectival construction isn't cutting it:

󱛄󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱚻󱚺 󱛄󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱚰󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛕
Kıa ra kuo máq.
red or black *X:inan*
! 'It's red or black.'

A slightly more unusual effect can be achieved by using the tone on a conjunction. This has the effect of skipping the first conjunct which would be picked out by the default rules, and instead using the next possible conjunct:

󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚿󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚺󱚺󱛆󱚲󱚻󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱚻󱛌󱚲 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚲󱚲 󱚺󱚺󱛆󱚲󱚻󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Dua jí, ꝡä chı súq, ꝡä sahuruaq jí, rû, ꝡä bu sahuruaq jí.
know *1s* *comp* believe *2s* *comp* lie *1s* and *comp* *neg* lie *1s*
! 'I know [that you believe that I lied] and [that I didn't lie].'

Nonce coordination

Finally, the prefix 󱚵󱚺󱛒 na- converts transitive verbs into conjunctions:

V → conjunction conversion

This prefix makes examples like the following possible:

󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚵󱛊󱚺󱛒󱚻󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Nuo súq nạ́rao jí.
sleep *2s* *conj*-when *1s*
! 'You sleep at the same time as I do.'

This can be paraphrased as:

󱚴󱛊 󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚻󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱚴󱛊 󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
É nuo súq nä rao hóa é nuo jí.
the-event sleep *2s* *cle* when *rsm* the-event sleep *1s*
! 'Your sleeping temporally overlaps with my sleeping.'

More examples:

󱚷󱚹󱛀󱚺 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚵󱛊󱚺󱛒󱚲󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕
Tısha nháo nạ́bıe súq.
arrive *3s* *conj*-after *2s*
! 'He arrived after you did.'
󱚾󱚴󱛍󱚺 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚵󱛊󱚺󱛒󱚲󱛃󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱚲󱛍󱚴󱛙 󱛕
Jea nháo nạ́boq jí kúe.
buy *3s* *conj*-prevent *1s* the-book
! 'He bought the book, preventing me from buying the book.'

Speech acts

Speech act pattern

The speech act phrase (SAP) is the highest phrase of a sentence.

Every Toaq sentence is an SAP.

Speech acts are indicated by sentence-final particles.

These particles specify the illocutionary force of an utterance, i.e., whether a sentence is an assertion, a command, a question, and so on.

A speech act particle ends the sentence, at which point any further material necessarily belongs to the next sentence. This means that apart from their semantic content, speech act particles also function as sentence boundary markers at a mere structural level.

The speech act particles are:

assertive (asrt)
explanatory assertive (expl)
performative (perform)
interrogative (int)
rhetorical interrogative (
optative (opt)
promissive (prom)
permissive (perm)
admonitive (adm)

󱚶󱚺 da is the default speech act particle. It is optional and automatically implied when the complement CP contains no question words. Its communicative purpose is to mark a sentence as an assertion.

󱛃󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚿󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 󱚶󱚺 󱛕
Geo ní chao da.
old this vehicle *asrt*
! 'This vehicle is old.'

This is identical in meaning to:

󱛃󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱚿󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 󱛕
Geo ní chao.
old this vehicle
! 'This vehicle is old.'

However, it can still be productive to use an explicit 󱚶󱚺 da: it serves as an unambiguous sentence boundary, and it can also be helpful for signaling to the listener that the current sentence is complete, especially when it isn't obvious from the structure of the sentence that the speaker does not intend to add more arguments.

When leaving 󱚶󱚺 da implicit, then, in order to avoid sentence boundary ambiguities, the following sentence should begin with a main clause complementizer (usually 󱛁󱚺 ꝡa), or a conjunction like 󱛄󱚴󱛍󱛃 keo "but".

󱚾󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛆󱛊󱚲 󱛕 󱛁󱚺 󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛀󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚼󱚲󱛍󱚹 󱚵󱚺󱛂 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛕
Jua hú. Ꝡa duashao jí, ꝡä luı faq hí.
strange *endo* *comp* wonder *1s* *comp* *retr* happen what
! 'That's strange. I wonder what happened.'

When 󱚶󱚺 da carries the rising-falling tone , its meaning changes from a mere assertion to an explanation. For example, if A asks "Why aren't you working on your project?", B might answer:

󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚹 󱚵󱚲󱛍󱛃󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚶󱛌󱚺 󱛕
Duı nuokuaı jí dâ.
too.much tired *1s* *expl*
! '[It's that] I'm too tired.'

The speech act particle 󱛄󱚺 ka "hereby" creates performative statements. These are true by virtue of being uttered. Common examples are apologies, greetings, and pronouncements.

󱛆󱚹󱛍󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛄󱚺 󱛖
Hıo jí súq ka.
greet *1s* *2s* *perform*
! 'I hereby greet you.'
! 'In uttering this very sentence, I greet you.'
󱛄󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱛄󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛄󱚺 󱛖
Kuaq kıe jí ka.
express grateful *1s* *perform*
! 'I hereby express my gratitude.'
󱚺󱚴󱛍󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱚵󱚺 󱚿󱛊󱚴󱛂 󱛄󱚺 󱛖
Seo súna chéq ka.
spouse *2p* *recp* *perform*
! 'I now pronounce you husband and wife.'

The interrogative 󱚰󱛊󱛃󱛂 móq is used to form questions. These questions can be polar questions (yes-no questions, i.e. sentences with a 󱚰󱚺 ma complementizer):

󱚰󱚺 󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱚵󱚺 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚻󱚲󱛂󱛀󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚰󱛊󱛃󱛂 󱛗
Ma dua nhána, ꝡä ruqshua móq?
whether know *3p* *comp* rain *int*
! 'Do they know that it's raining?'

or wh-questions (sentences with one or more 󱛆󱛊󱚹 in the main clause):

󱚵󱚹󱛍󱚴 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱛘󱚷󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛙 󱚰󱛊󱛃󱛂 󱛗
Nıe hí tíaı móq?
inside what the-box *int*
! 'What's in the box?'

Whenever the main clause contains at least one 󱛆󱛊󱚹 or begins with an interrogative complementizer, 󱚰󱛊󱛃󱛂 móq can be omitted:

󱚰󱚺 󱚸󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚽󱛊󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛗
Ma zao súq nháo?
whether know *2s* *3s*
! 'Do you know him?'

With the tone, 󱚰󱛊󱛃󱛂 móq turns into a rhetorical question, i.e. a question which does not expect an answer:

󱚿󱚲󱚱 󱚷󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱚹 󱛚 󱚰󱛌󱛃󱛂 󱛗
Chum tao jí hí môq?
*impf* do *1s* what *int.rhet*
! 'What am I doing?'

The optative 󱚲󱚺 ba expresses wishes, hopes and general purpose imperatives.

󱚷󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱛘󱛃󱛊󱚺󱛂󱚰󱚴󱛙 󱚲󱚺 󱛖
Taı gáqme ba.
succeed the-team *opt*
! 'May the team succeed.'
󱚻󱚹󱛍󱚲 󱚻󱛃󱛍󱚴 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚲󱚺 󱛖
Rıu roe súq ba.
return healthy *2s* *opt*
! '[I hope you] get well soon.'
󱚼󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱚷󱛊󱚲 󱛘󱚳󱛃󱛂󱛙 󱚲󱚺 󱛖
Lao tú poq ba.
wait every person *opt*
! 'Everybody wait.'

The promissive 󱚽󱚺 nha expresses promises and threats:

󱛀󱛃 󱚸󱚲󱚶󱚴󱛂 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛓󱚷󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛂󱚸󱚲󱛓󱛙 󱚽󱚺 󱛖
Sho zudeq jí Tóaqzu nha
become speak.language *1s* the-Toaq.language *prom*
! 'I'm going to become a speaker of Toaq!'
󱚾󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱚴󱚺󱛂 󱚺󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱛘󱛆󱚲󱛍󱚹󱛙 󱚽󱚺 󱛖
Jıa faq sía huı nha.
*fut* happen no bad *prom*
! '[I promise] nothing bad is going to happen.'
󱚺󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚻󱛌󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱚾󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺󱚿󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱚽󱚺 󱛖
Soa jí súq râo jíachaq nha.
help *1s* *2s* *a*-when the-tomorrow *prom*
! '[I promise] I will help you tomorrow.'

The permissive 󱚶󱛃󱛍󱚺 doa is used to grant permission or to make an offer:

󱚷󱚲󱛍󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚶󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱛖
Tuı súq doa.
sit *2s* *perm*
! 'Feel free to take a seat.'

The admonitive 󱛁󱛃 ꝡo expresses warnings by providing information the listener should heed:

󱚾󱚹󱛍󱚺 󱚻󱚲󱛂󱛀󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚻󱛌󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱚵󱛊󱚹󱚿󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱛁󱛃 󱛖
Jıa ruqshua râo níchaq ꝡo.
*fut* rain *a*-when the-today *adm*
! '[Be aware] it's going to rain today.'
󱚺󱚻󱚺󱚵󱚴 󱛁󱛃 󱛖
Arane ꝡo!
spider *adm*
! 'There's a spider!'

Retroactive CP cleft

Retroactive CP cleft pattern

This pattern is a variation on the cleft verb.

The retroactive CP cleft takes an entire ongoing sentence, wraps it up in a CP, and then places this CP in the subject position of a cleft verb.

Gloss: retrocle

For example:

󱛄󱚺󱛂󱛃󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚺󱛎󱚹󱚳󱚲󱛙 󱛔 󱛃󱛋󱛃 󱚲󱚲 󱚿󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺 󱛕
Kaqgaı súq báq aıpu, gö bu chı jí hóa.
see *2s* *gen* ghost *retrocle* *neg* believe *1s* *rsm*
! '[that] You saw a ghost, I don't believe (that).'


Parenthetical pattern

A parenthetical is a piece of text inserted within another text. The inserted text is surrounded by spoken parentheses:

kïo <inserted text>

For example:

󱚻󱛌󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛘󱛄󱛊󱛃󱛍󱚺󱚹󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 󱛄󱛋󱚹󱛍󱛃 󱚿󱛃 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱛄󱛃󱛍󱚺󱚹󱚺󱛎󱛃󱛙 󱛄󱚹 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚲󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚲󱛊󱚺󱛂 󱛘󱚵󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛎󱛃󱚳󱛃󱛂󱛙 󱛕
Râo kóacao (kïo cho jí báq koacao kı) nä baı jí báq nıaopoq.
*a*-when the-winter ( like *1s* *gen* winter ) *cle* build *1s* *gen* snow.figure
! 'This winter (I like winter) I built a snow figure.'


Vocative pattern

The vocative particle 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛎󱚹 hóı marks a DP as the addressee of the current utterance.

Vocative phrases can stand freely in the clause and do not function as arguments.

Gloss: voc

For example:

󱚲󱚲󱛍󱚴󱚷󱚹 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚺󱚰󱚺󱛙 󱛕
Buetı jí hóı máma.
at.home *1s* *voc* the-mom
! 'I'm home, mom.'


Interjections are syntactically primitive particles which express full propositions all by themselves. They do not interact with other words.

Where applicable, an interjection can be pronounced with a rising intonation to inquire about the listener’s situation regarding the emotion or mental state expressed by the interjection. For instance, one might say 󱚺󱛊󱛆󱚹 áhı "are you feeling pain?" when someone stubs their toe.

Similarly, where applicable, an interjection can be pronounced with a rising-falling intonation to express empathy regarding the state expressed by the interjection. For example, 󱛃󱛌󱚻󱛃 ôro "that must suck for you".

Emotive interjections

Emotive interjections express the emotions and sensations of the speaker.

happiness, "yay"
disgust, "ew"
pleasure, "mmm"
pain, "ouch"
relief, "phew"
annoyance, exasperation, "ugh"
longing, yearning, craving

Cognitive interjections

Cognitive interjections express the state of knowledge and thoughts of the speaker.

discovery, "ah"
surprise, "oh"
admitting a mistake, "oops"
concern or realization of a problem, "uh-oh"
"darn", "f*ck", "sh*t"
"meh", indifference

Conative interjections

Conative interjections are directed at another person. They are aimed at getting someone’s attention or they demand an action or response from someone.

"here", "take this", "look at this"
"come on", "let's go", encouragement, enticement
soliciting a response
"hey", getting someone's attention
"clear the way", "move", "excuse me"

Phatic interjections

Phatic interjections are used in the establishment and maintenance of communicative contact. They express one's attitude towards ongoing discourse and are used in various interactional routines.

"is that so?"

"isn't it?"
"roger", "got it", "understood"
"will comply"
"are you going to comply?"
"congratulations", "I'm happy for you"
"go ahead", "alright", giving permission
"mhm", signifying that you're still following along
"let's see...", searching, remembering, calculating, deciding
responding or commenting on a question: "I don't care either way", not leaning to either side
requesting to take the floor, "may I speak?"
Proceed to the next chapter
Introduction Phonology Orthography Morphology Syntax Semantics