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Daikhra Grammar
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A grammar of the Daikhra language
This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 4 Sep 2022, 21:40.

[comments]
?FYI...
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.
Menu 1. ---Introduction--- 2. ---Phonology--- 3. Consonants 4. Vowels 5. Phonotactics 6. Stress 7. ---Morphosyntax--- 8. Morphosyntactic alignment 9. Word order 10. Noun basics 11. Case and number 12. Example paradigms (nouns) 13. Pronouns and determiners 14. Numerals 15. Verb basics 16. Finite verb forms 17. Compound tenses 18. Non-finite verb forms 19. Voices 20. Pluractionality 21. Example paradigms (verbs) 22. Modal suffixes 23. Auxiliary verbs 24. Negation 25. Relative clauses 26. Forming questions 27. Possession 28. Adpositions 29. Conjoining phrases 30. Pivoting 31. Dislocations
yes i still need to add examples, no kill pls

[top]---Introduction---

Daikhra is a language in the Baitaar family, spoken by the Aneer people. On [conworld name tbd], it is spoken in the province of Déravat, in the Formanian Union, and is written in both the Moohsrong and Formanian scripts, the former being the traditional writing system. On Sahar, it is spoken by a little over 200,000 native speakers, primarily elderly, in south-central Balakia, and is written using the Vaniuan script.

[top]---Phonology---


[top]Consonants

Daikhra distinguishes between 18 consonant phonemes.

LabialAlveolarPalatalVelarUvularGlottal
Nasal/m/ m/n/ n/ŋ/ ng
Plosive/p/ b/t/ d, /tʰ/ t/k/ g, /kʰ/ k/q/ q
Fricative/f/ f/s/ s/ʃ/ hs/χ/ x/h/ h
Approximant/ʋ/ v(/j/ i)
Lateral approximant/l/ l
Lateral fricative/ɬ/ hl
Trill/r/ r

/j/ only occurs marginally in native words, and more frequently in loan words.

[top]Vowels

Daikhra has 12 vowel phonemes, which exist in long/short pairs.

FrontCentralBack
High/i/ i, /i:/ ii/ɨ/ y, /ɨ:/ yy/u/ u, /u:/ uu
Mid/e/ e, /e:/ ee/o/ o, /o:/ oo
Low/a/ a, /a:/ aa

Mid /e o/, including long variants, are in fact true mid [e̞ o̞] when unreduced.

Diphthongs
All vowels except high vowels may form diphthongs with an offglide of /i/ or /u/.

Vowel reduction
Short vowels in unstressed syllables are reduced to either [ə], [ɪ], or [ʊ], in the following manner:

  • /a/, /ɨ/ → [ə]
  • /e/, /i/ → [ɪ]
  • /o/, /u/ → [ʊ]


Long vowels in unstressed syllables are shortened, but otherwise do not undergo a change in quality like short vowels.

Nasalisation
All vowels become allophonically nasalised in syllables with a nasal consonant as its coda.

[top]Phonotactics

The maximum possible syllable is C{l,r}VC, where C represents any consonant and V represents any vowel or diphthong. /l/ and /r/ can only occur as medial consonants in the syllable onset when following the consonants /ʋ/, /f/, /s/, /ʃ/, and /χ/.

While possible in the coda position, the consonants /tʰ/, /kʰ/, /ʋ/, /f/, /ʃ/, /χ/, and /h/ do not typically occur in this position within native morphemes.

[top]Stress

Stress always falls on the initial syllable of a word. All other syllables are unstressed and thus undergo vowel reduction.

[top]---Morphosyntax---


[top]Morphosyntactic alignment

Daikhra is an ergative-absolutive language, meaning that the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb are marked for the absolutive case, while the agent of a transitive verb is specially marked in the ergative case.

While the language is indeed predominantly ergative-absolutive, there are limited exceptions where nominative-accusative alignment appears instead. These instances are the imperative mood, and the use of desiderative or necessitative modal suffixes.

[top]Word order

The default word order is SOV.

[top]Noun basics

Nouns inflect for case and number, and depending on the noun there may also be a possessive suffix present. There is no definiteness marking in Daikhra.

The morphological template for nouns is [STEM]-number-case-possession.

Animacy
Every noun belongs to one of two animacy classes: animate (living) or inanimate (non-living). The animacy of a noun can easily be determined based on its meaning. As well as a semantic distinction, Daikhra makes a morphosyntactic distinction between nouns of different animacy classes, with nouns of each class inflecting for differing numbers of cases or grammatical numbers, but otherwise maintain the same endings for each grammatical form.

Animate nouns inflect for both singular and plural numbers (with the exception of proper nouns). The animate class includes:
  • human beings (including agentive nouns and certain proper nouns)
  • deities and spirits
  • animals
  • plants
  • certain elements and forces of nature


Inanimate nouns lack distinct plural forms, and are inherently treated as mass nouns. Additionally, they cannot inflect for the ergative case, instead taking the instrumental case when they are the agent of a transitive verb. This also entails that valency-changing operations that promote an ergative agent into an absolutive subject cannot be applied to inanimate agents, thus the antipassive cannot be used in these contexts. The inanimate class includes any noun not included in the animate class, as well as any inanimate proper nouns.

Nominal oblique stems
Most case forms are formed using an oblique stem derived from the noun's base stem. Every noun has an oblique stem, but the rules for forming a given noun's oblique stem are regular (with the exception of certain pronouns and gerunds), even if complicated, and are as follows:

  • If the base stem ends in a consonant:
    • If the base stem is multisyllabic and the final vowel in the stem is short and in the environment VC_C, it is elided (e.g. daasyngdaasngu)
    • -u is suffixed (e.g. dyyndyynu)


  • If the base stem ends in a vowel:
    • If the vowel is a monophthong -i/-y or -ii/-yy:
      • The vowel is replaced with -u or -uu respectively (e.g. orioru, meryymeruu)

    • If the vowel is a monophthong -u or -uu:
      • The vowel is replaced with -uu regardless of original length (e.g. ahluahluu, eruueruu)

    • If the vowel is a diphthong with offglide -u:
      • The offglide -u is replaced with -vu (e.g. uraauuraavu)

    • Any other vowel (monophthong or diphthong):
      • -u is suffixed (e.g. dyyngadyyngau, UleeiUleeiu)


[top]Case and number

Nouns can inflect for one of 10 cases, with singular and plural forms.

Plural number
Plural nouns are formed using the suffix -ta. If the base noun stem ends in a short vowel (not including offglide -i or -u), which is preceded by a vowel-consonant sequence, that final vowel is elided before the suffix is applied. Plural marking is optional even where possible; pluractional verb forms are used when a noun is semantically plural but not morphologically marked as such.

aale sheep
aalta sheep-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few


dava father
davta father-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few


dyyngga friend
dyynggata friend-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few


eed boy
eedta boy-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few


Nouns are only explicitly marked as plural if number is not already marked through numerals or other quantitative determiners (such as heva "many"). Consider the following examples:

eedta "boys"
iir eed "eight boys"
heva eed "many boys"

Absolutive case
The absolutive case is the citation form of the noun, and as such requires no additional morphology to form. It marks the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb. It can also be used for a vocative function. In rare cases where nominative/accusative alignment is in effect, this marks the agent of a transitive verb.

Quur
quur-Ø
wolf-ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
abuuqynti
abyy-q-ynti
leg-LOCLocative (case)
'in, on, at' etc
-1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
.POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
xoolkeby.
xoolke-by
sleep-PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.PROGProgressive (aspect)
be verb-ing

"A/the wolf is sleeping on my leg."

Neen,
neen-Ø
mother-ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
tu
ti-u
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
-ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
laaiqa
laai-qa
be.new-ADVAdverbial
e.g. English '-ly'
ooira
ooira-Ø
man-ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
damulan.
dyym-ul-an
die-CAUSCausative (valency/mood)
cause an action to occur, force another argument to act
-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
.PFVPerfective (aspect)
completed action

"Mama, I just killed a man."

Ergative case
The ergative case is formed by using the oblique stem of the noun, with no additional suffixes needed. It marks an animate agent (i.e. subject) of a transitive verb; save for emphasis, inanimate agents are marked using the instrumental case instead. While in intransitive clauses there is no ergative argument, the subject can be marked for the ergative case instead of the absolutive for emphasis.

Faardataun
faarda-ta-u-n
child-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
-ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
-3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
aaiyng
aaiyng-Ø
territory-ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
xoman.
xoma-an
split-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
.PFVPerfective (aspect)
completed action

"His children partitioned the territory."

Quuru
quur-u
wolf-ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
abuuqynti
abyy-q-ynti
leg-LOCLocative (case)
'in, on, at' etc
-1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
.POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
xoolkeby.
xoolke-by
sleep-PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.PROGProgressive (aspect)
be verb-ing

"A/the wolf is sleeping on my leg."

Accusative case
The accusative case is formed by suffixing -ad to the plain form of the noun (i.e. the citation form). Its sole function is to mark the direct object of a transitive verb in rare cases where nominative/accusative alignment is in effect.

Ti
ti-Ø
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
-ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
qurbud
qurbu-ad
moon-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
gaalgerby
gaal-ger-by
see-DESDesiderative (mood)
wishes, desires, wants
-PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.PROGProgressive (aspect)
be verb-ing

"I wanna see the moon."

Utaarud
Utaar-d
[name]-DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
hslengad
hsleng-ad
drink-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
deei
deei-Ø
give-IMPImperative (mood)
command

"Give Utaar a drink."

Dative case
The dative case is formed by suffixing -d to the oblique stem of the noun. Its primary function is to mark the indirect object of a ditransitive verb, though it can also denote movement towards the marked noun. In causative constructions it can be used to reintroduce a demoted direct object. It is also used with relational nouns.

Uulu
uul-u
person-ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
Utaarud
Utaar-d
[name]-DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
hsleng
hsleng-Ø
drink-ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
deeine
deei-ne
give-CVBConverb
adverbial subordinator
.IPFVImperfective (aspect)
'interrupted or incomplete'
qaarteeby?
qaar-tee-by
INTIntelligent (gender/class)
Sentient beings
-POTPotential (mood)
likely events, ability
-PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.PROGProgressive (aspect)
be verb-ing

"Can someone give Utaar a drink?"

Tiide
tiide-Ø
1PFirst person plural (person)
we (inclusive or exclusive)
.EXCLExclusive (person)
speaker's group, not listener
-ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
gestumuud
gestumu-d
forest-DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
xleby!
xle-by
go-PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.PROGProgressive (aspect)
be verb-ing

"We're going to the forest!"

Genitive case
The genitive case is formed by suffixing -laa to the oblique stem of the noun. It marks the possessor in an alienable possession construction.

Hsau
hsa-u
2SSecond person singular (person)
addressee (you)
-ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
tulaa
ti-laa
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
-GENGenitive (case)
possessive
luunuuq
luunuuq-Ø
question-ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
hesevaagne
hesevaag-ne
respond.to-CVBConverb
adverbial subordinator
.IPFVImperfective (aspect)
'interrupted or incomplete'
amun
amu-an
NEGNegative (polarity)
not
-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
.PFVPerfective (aspect)
completed action

"You didn't answer my question."

myynhsa
myynhsa-Ø
be.old-RELRelative.PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
.PFVPerfective (aspect)
completed action
ooiraulaa
ooira-laa
man-GENGenitive (case)
possessive
teengme
teengme-Ø
house-ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument

"the old man's house"

Locative case
The locative case is formed by suffixing -q to the oblique stem of the noun. It marks that an action took place on or at the marked noun, or that an object is positioned on or at the marked noun. It is commonly used with relational nouns.

Ablative case
The ablative case is formed by suffixing -hlu to the oblique stem of the noun. Its primary function is to mark movement away from the marked noun, though it can also be used to reintroduce a demoted agent in passive clauses. The ablative is also used to mark reference points in comparisons. It is commonly used with relational nouns.

Tiide
tiide-Ø
1PFirst person plural (person)
we (inclusive or exclusive)
.EXCLExclusive (person)
speaker's group, not listener
-ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
gestumuuhlu
gestumu-hlu
forest-ABLAblative (case)
away from
teman.
teem-an
come-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
.PFVPerfective (aspect)
completed action

"We came from the forest."

Xraaiuhlu
xraai-hlu
mountain-ABLAblative (case)
away from
tegeenqa
tegeen-qa
be.near-ADVAdverbial
e.g. English '-ly'
Taaraneen
Taaraneen-Ø
[name]-ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
xeeigetuu
xeeige-tu-ei
inhabit-ANTIPAntipassive voice (valency)
valency is decreased by one
-PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
.SIMPSimple aspect (aspect)

"Taaraneen lives close to the mountain."

Instrumental case
The instrumental case is formed by suffixing -xan to the oblique stem of the noun. This case indicates that the marked noun is the instrument or means by which an action is completed. It is also used to mark inanimate agents in transitive clauses.

Comitative case
The comitative case is formed by suffixing -sei to the oblique stem of the noun. It indicates accompaniment, c.f. the preposition "with" in English. To this end, it is also used to conjoin two noun phrases together, thus serving as an equivalent to the conjunction "and" in English.

Benefactive case
The benefactive case is formed by suffixing -nyng to the oblique stem of the noun. It denotes that the marked noun receives the benefit of the action described in the clause.

Causal case
The causal case is formed by suffixing -mena to the oblique stem of the noun. It denotes that the noun marked is the cause or reason for something.

Case and number endings
CaseSingularPlural
Absolutive-ta
ErgativeOBL-Ø-tau
Accusative-d-tad
DativeOBL-d-taud
GenitiveOBL-laa-taulaa
LocativeOBL-q-tauq
AblativeOBL-hlu-tauhlu
InstrumentalOBL-xan-tauxan
ComitativeOBL-sei-tausei
BenefactiveOBL-nyng-taunyng
CausalOBL-mena-taumena


[top]Example paradigms (nouns)


[top]Pronouns and determiners

Pronouns
Daikhra makes a distinction between first and second person in its pronouns, as well as a clusivity distinction in first person plural pronouns. There are no distinct third person pronouns; this role is filled by demonstratives. Some pronouns have irregular oblique stems; these are given in the table below.

1Sti
1P Inclusivetihsa
1P Exclusivetiide (obl. tiido)
2Shsa
2Phsaade (obl. hsaado)
Interrogativeqal

Demonstratives
Daikhra distinguishes between proximal, medial, and distal demonstratives. The medial demonstrative obar is typically used as a substitute for third-person pronouns, animate or inanimate. Demonstratives can be either animate or inanimate depending on the class of noun they refer to.

Proximalob
Medialobar
Distaloben

Other determiners
  • mei "other"

    Indefinite pronouns
    Daikhra has three series of indefinite pronouns:

    • Generic nouns such as uul "person" or beer "thing"
    • Indefinite pronouns based on and equivalent in form to interrogative pronouns (including determiner qar)
    • The determiner geerdi "any"


    A semantic map of Daikhra's indefinites can be seen below, based on the work of Martin Haspelmath.



    [top]Numerals


    [top]Verb basics

    Verbs inflect for voice, tense, aspect, and mood; they are not marked for person. Additionally, verbs can be marked for pluractionality, or verbal number.

    The morphological template for finite verbs is PLUR-[STEM]-voice-mood-TAM.

    Verb stems are variable, with verbs often having oblique stems and plural stems along with their basic stem (used for the citation form). These stem variations can interact with each other, and so in practice verbs can have a total of up to four distinct stems: base, plural, oblique, and plural oblique, all four of which are typically given in dictionaries (e.g. hylaau-, hylav-, hyylaau-, hyylav- ).

    Plural stems
    Plural stems of verbs are used in pluractional forms of verbs (see the section on Pluractionality). The most typical method of forming a plural stem is through reduplicating the initial consonant and vowel in the first syllable of the base stem. If the base stem starts with a short vowel with no initial consonant, this vowel is lengthened; if the base stem starts with a long vowel, it does not undergo any changes.

    deeu love
    dedeeu PLURUnknown code~love

    anaq be.plain
    aanaq PLURUnknown code~be.plain

    aaia rule
    aaia PLURUnknown code~rule

    However, there are a number of irregular forms as a result of historical sound changes. For example:

    heul spew
    heeul PLURUnknown code~spew

    qood burn
    qoiqood PLURUnknown code~burn

    In addition to these irregular forms, a number of verbs have suppleted plural stems entirely unrelated to their base stem, for example:

    saa be
    xoi be.PLURUnknown code

    hool be.quiet
    qeree be.quiet.PLURUnknown code

    Oblique stems
    Unlike their nominal counterparts, verbal oblique stems are irregular in nature. While not all verbs have an oblique stem (another aspect different from nominal oblique stems), many do, and these need to be learned by heart. There are a few patterns which can be observed between when comparing a verb's base stem and oblique stem, but these by no means universal rules:

    • A stem-final consonant may undergo metathesis and split a preceding long vowel into two short vowels (e.g. koodkodo-)
    • Long vowels may shorten when in an open syllable (e.g. vaagvag-)
    • Final offglide -u may become -v (e.g. seusev-)
    • Offglide -i may become -hs when moved in between two vowels (e.g. leeilehse-)
    • Stem-final b, d, g, q may become f, t, k, x (e.g. flaqflax-)
    • Any combination of these (e.g. hylaauhylav-)


    [top]Finite verb forms

    There are 7 finite verb forms, used for marking tense, aspect, and mood. These are also known as the "basic tenses" in the context of Daikhra. There is no unmarked tense in Daikhra matrix clauses; only imperative forms can be seen with a bare verb stem. OBL in this context means the verb's oblique stem is used in the conjugation if applicable. If the verb stem a vowel-initial suffix is being attached to ends in a vowel, the initial vowel in the suffix is omitted.

    Simple present
    The simple present is a catch-all non-progressive present form, with uses as a habitual form or a gnomic form (expressing general truths). For stative verbs, as well as the copulas saa and te, this tense is used more strictly in a habitual sense. Verbs in the simple present take the suffix OBL-ei, although this surfaces as a null suffix when affixed to a stem ending in a diphthong with an -i offglide.

    Present progressive
    The present progressive indicates that an action or state is currently ongoing, and that the action/state has not yet concluded. For stative verbs, as well as the copulas saa and te, the use of this tense emphasises the temporary nature of the attribute. Verbs in the present progressive take the suffix -by.

    Past perfective
    The past perfective is used to indicate a past event which can be viewed as a complete whole. Stative verbs, as well as the copulas saa and te, do not have a distinction between perfective and imperfective aspects; this form is instead used as a general present tense for these verbs (excluding any habitual sense), with the standard present tense forms conveying more subtle TAM information. Verbs in the past perfective take the suffix OBL-an.

    Past imperfective
    The past imperfective indicates an action or state that was ongoing or incomplete in the past. It has an additional use as a past habitual form, i.e. "used to ...". Stative verbs, as well as the copulas saa and te, do not have a distinction between perfective and imperfective aspects; this form is used as a general past tense for these verbs with no distinction in aspect. Verbs in the past imperfective take the suffix -di.

    Irrealis
    The irrealis is used to mark events which are not known to have happened at the moment of speaking. In Daikhra this includes future events and counterfactuals. Verbs in the irrealis take the suffix OBL-uq.

    Optative
    The optative mood is used to express a hope or desire, and can be translated into English as "may...", "if only...", "would that...". It additionally serves a cohortative function, i.e. "let's ...". Verbs in the optative take the suffix -meer.

    Imperative
    The imperative is used to request or order the listener to do something. This verb form can additionally be used as a third person imperative/jussive form, i.e. as in "let them ..." Verbs in the imperative take the null suffix .

    Basic tense endings
    Basic tenseSuffix
    Simple presentOBL-ei
    Present progressive-by
    Past perfectiveOBL-an
    Past imperfective-di
    IrrealisOBL-uq
    Optative-meer
    Imperative


    [top]Compound tenses

    In addition to the basic tenses marked using TAM suffixes, there are additional compound tenses formed using periphrasis.

    Periphrastic past
    The periphrastic past tense is formed by using the copula saa as an auxiliary verb following the lexical verb, which assumes the imperfective converb form. Using this verb in the simple present expresses the perfective aspect, while using it in the present progressive expresses the imperfect aspect. The periphrastic past tense has an element of evidentiality when compared to the simple past tenses, as it can be used to indicate reduced certaincy or hearsay. However, the verb saa can inflect for different simple tenses to express other different meanings, which do not necessarily share such a distinction in evidentiality. The full list of compound tenses using the periphrastic past is as follows:

    Basic tenseConstruction with saaCompound tense
    Simple present...ne saaiHabitual (indirect evidentiality)
    Present progressive...ne saabyPast imperfective (indirect evidentiality)
    Past perfective...ne saanPast perfective (indirect evidentiality)
    Past imperfective...ne saadiPluperfect
    Irrealis...ne saaqPast irrealis, past of the future
    Optative...ne saameerPast optative
    Imperative...ne saaPast imperative


    Recent past
    This is formed by using the locative copula te as an auxiliary verb in conjunction with the relational noun tahle inflected for the locative case and possessed by the appropriate gerund form. The verb te can be marked for other simple tenses to produce other compound tenses (e.g. recent past of the past, recent past of the future, etc.)

    Near future
    This is formed by using the locative copula te as an auxiliary verb in conjunction with the relational noun eda inflected for the locative case and possessed by the appropriate gerund form. The verb te can be marked for other simple tenses to produce other compound tenses (e.g. near future of the past, near future of the future, etc.)

    [top]Non-finite verb forms

    Gerunds
    Gerunds in the context of Daikhra are verbal nouns. There are two gerunds:
  • Gerund I: -se, used with transitive and non-stative intransitive verbs
  • Gerund II: OBL-engge, used with stative verbs, with some exceptions in set phrases.

    Both gerunds have irregular oblique stems, those having the endings -so- and -enggo- respectively. In addition, both types are inalienable nouns, with the verb's absolutive argument taken to be the possessor if it is explicitly referenced.

    Converbs
    Daikhra makes use of a range of converbs to adverbialise clauses. The affixes for these are appended to the verb stem inflected for voice and modality, but without any of the simple tense endings. Most of these converbs are transparently derived from inflectional Gerund I forms, and are thusly deemed as being inalienably possessed by their absolutive argument.

    NameMeaning/functionSuffix
    ImperfectiveConjoins two clauses
    Connects lexical verbs with auxiliary verbs
    "during ..."
    "as ..."
    "while ..."
    -ne
    Perfective"having done ..."
    "after ..."
    "since ..."
    -den
    Purposive"in order to ..."-sonyng
    Causal"because ..."
    "as a result of ..."
    -somena
    Conditional"if ..."
    "should ..."
    -ege
    Concessive"although ..."
    "despite ..."
    "even if ..."
    -sohlu
    Terminative"until ..."-sod


    Use of te as a converbial pro-verb
    The verb te "to be at" can be used as a pro-verb in a converbial construction; it refers to the previous sentence, in some cases effectively serving as a substitute for certain connectives.

    ConverbForm of teMeaning
    Imperfectivetene"that, and..."
    "furthermore"
    "during that"
    Perfectiveteden"after that"
    "since then"
    "having done that"
    Purposivetesonyng"in order to do that"
    Causaltesomena"because of that"
    "therefore"
    "as a result of that"
    Conditionaltege"should that happen/be the case"
    Concessivetesohlu"despite that"
    "even if that happens"
    Terminativetesod"until then"


    [top]Voices

    Daikhra verbs inflect for 5 voices.

    Active
    The active voice is the unmarked voice in Daikhra. Clauses in the active voice have the agent of a verb marked as a grammatical subject. As it is unmarked, there is no additional morphology required to form it.

    Causative
    The causative voice introduces a new argument (the causer, a thing or person who causes a change in state) as an agent in a transitive clause. The original subject of the verb is demoted to an object, and if there was an object before it can either be deleted entirely or be demoted into an oblique argument marked with the dative case. The causative form of a verb is formed by adding the suffix -ul to the verb's oblique stem (where applicable); if the verb stem the suffix is being attached to ends in a vowel, the initial vowel in the suffix is omitted.

    Passive
    The passive voice is used to delete the agent of a transitive verb and promote the object of a transitive verb to become the subject of a formally intransitive passive construction, though the deleted subject can be reintroduced using the ablative case. The passive form of a verb is formed by adding the suffix -aT to the verb's oblique stem where applicable, where T represents t when another suffix is added afterwards that begins with a vowel, and d otherwise; if the verb stem the suffix is being attached to ends in a vowel, the initial vowel in the suffix is omitted.

    Completive passive
    The completive passive is similar to the passive voice in function and construction, but indicates completive aspect (i.e. the action is carried out thoroughly and to completion). There is no equivalent marking of this aspect for other voices, so an equivalent in the active voice would need to instead be conveyed using a combination of the completive passive and causative voices. The completive passive form of a verb is formed by adding the suffix -kuu to the verb's base stem, though if another suffix is added afterwards that begins with a vowel, this takes the form -kuv instead.

    Antipassive
    The antipassive voice is used to delete the direct object of a transitive verb and promote the agent (marked with the ergative case) to become the subject of a formally intransitive antipassive construction marked with the absolutive case, though the deleted object can be reintroduced using the dative case. The antipassive form of a verb is formed by adding the suffix -tu to the verb's base stem.

    Voice endings
    VoiceSuffix
    Active
    CausativeOBL-ul
    PassiveOBL-ad, OBL-at
    Completive passive-kuu, -kuv
    Antipassive-tu

    Voice stacking
    A verb in the causative voice can be further built off using the passive, completive passive, or antipassive voices. However, the reverse is not true; the causative cannot be used to build off verb stems not inflected for the active voice.

    [top]Pluractionality

    The pluractional form of a verb is used in three contexts:
  • When the absolutive argument of the verb is plural but not explicitly marked as such
  • Marking for the iterative aspect
  • As a polite form of the verb

    Semantically plural absolutive arguments
    A noun may be semantically plural, but might not receive morphological marking for plurality; inanimate nouns do not take plural forms in any context, while animate nouns are only optionaly marked for plurality. When a semantically plural absolutive argument isn't marked for number - through the plural suffix or any numeral - the pluractional form of a verb is used. Compare the following examples:

    Quurta
    quur-ta-Ø
    wolf-PLPlural (number)
    more than one/few
    -ABSAbsolutive (case)
    TRANS object, INTR argument
    abuuqynti
    abyy-q-ynti
    leg-LOCLocative (case)
    'in, on, at' etc
    -1SFirst person singular (person)
    speaker, signer, etc.; I
    .POSSPossessive (case)
    owns, has
    xoolkeby.
    xoolke-by
    sleep-PRESPresent tense (tense)
    current
    .PROGProgressive (aspect)
    be verb-ing

    "[The] wolves are sleeping on my leg."

    Quur
    quur-Ø
    wolf-ABSAbsolutive (case)
    TRANS object, INTR argument
    abuuqynti
    abyy-q-ynti
    leg-LOCLocative (case)
    'in, on, at' etc
    -1SFirst person singular (person)
    speaker, signer, etc.; I
    .POSSPossessive (case)
    owns, has
    xoxoolkeby.
    xo~xoolke-by
    PLURUnknown code~sleep-PRESPresent tense (tense)
    current
    .PROGProgressive (aspect)
    be verb-ing

    "[The] wolves are sleeping on my leg."

    Iterative aspect
    The iterative aspect expresses the repetition of an event in a single occasion. The grammatical number of the absolutive argument may be explicitly marked or left ambiguous.

    Faardaun
    faarda-u-n
    child-ERGErgative (case)
    TRANS subject; agent
    -3Third person (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    .POSSPossessive (case)
    owns, has
    bohleqa
    bohle-qa
    day-ADVAdverbial
    e.g. English '-ly'
    teed
    teed-Ø
    nut-ABSAbsolutive (case)
    TRANS object, INTR argument
    vuvuulgulei.
    vu~vuulgu-ul-ei
    PLURUnknown code~break-CAUSCausative (valency/mood)
    cause an action to occur, force another argument to act
    -PRESPresent tense (tense)
    current
    .SIMPSimple aspect (aspect)

    "The children crack a nut/nuts daily."

    Faardaun
    faarda-u-n
    child-ERGErgative (case)
    TRANS subject; agent
    -3Third person (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    .POSSPossessive (case)
    owns, has
    bohleqa
    bohle-qa
    day-ADVAdverbial
    e.g. English '-ly'
    teed
    teed-Ø
    nut-ABSAbsolutive (case)
    TRANS object, INTR argument
    vuvuulgulei.
    vu~vuulgu-ul-ei
    PLURUnknown code~break-CAUSCausative (valency/mood)
    cause an action to occur, force another argument to act
    -PRESPresent tense (tense)
    current
    .SIMPSimple aspect (aspect)

    "The children crack nuts daily."

    Politeness
    The pluractional form of a verb is additionally used to convey politeness regardless of the absolutive argument's nominal number or verbal aspect. The grammatical number of the absolutive argument may be explicitly marked or left ambiguous.

    Utaaru
    Utaar-u
    Utaar-ERGErgative (case)
    TRANS subject; agent
    xeer
    xeer-Ø
    elder-ABSAbsolutive (case)
    TRANS object, INTR argument
    heesexybaan.
    he~hesexybaa-n
    PLURUnknown code~get.revenge.on-PSTPast (tense)
    action occurred before moment of speech
    .PFVPerfective (aspect)
    completed action

    "Utaar got revenge on the elder[s]."

    Utaaru
    Utaar-u
    Utaar-ERGErgative (case)
    TRANS subject; agent
    xeer
    xeer-Ø
    elder-ABSAbsolutive (case)
    TRANS object, INTR argument
    heesexybaan.
    he~hesexybaa-n
    PLURUnknown code~get.revenge.on-PSTPast (tense)
    action occurred before moment of speech
    .PFVPerfective (aspect)
    completed action

    "Utaar got revenge on the elders."

    [top]Example paradigms (verbs)

    eele (no oblique stem) "to be white" (stative)

    baarqa (no oblique stem) "to cook" (transitive)

    soor (no oblique stem) "to hear" (transitive)

    ekaau (oblique stem: ekav-) "to wait" (intransitive)

    kood (oblique stem: kodo-) "to cross" (transitive)

    deei (oblique stem: dehs-) "to give" (transitive)

    [top]Modal suffixes

    Daikhra features four modal suffixes, which are suffixed directly to the base stem of a verb.

    MoodSuffixMeaning
    Desiderative-ger"want to X"
    Necessitative-vei"must X"
    Potential-tee"can X", "may X"
    Suggestive-ma"should X", "ought to X"

    The use of the desiderative or necessitative modal suffix triggers the rare usage of nominative/accusative alignment, as opposed to the standard ergative/absolutive alignment.

    [top]Auxiliary verbs

    Auxiliary verbs help to add grammatical meaning to a clause. They are positioned after the main lexical verb, with the main verb taking the imperfective converb form. Tense morphology is applied to the highest-level auxiliary verb in the clause.

    [top]Negation

    Negating a clause is done using the negative auxiliary verb amu.

    [top]Relative clauses

    Daikhra relative clauses are simply placed directly before the noun they modify. A different series of TAM suffixes is used compared to standard matrix clauses.

    Relative TAM suffixes
    TenseSuffix
    Present-Ø, -ne
    Past perfective-Ø, -den
    Past imperfective-ne
    IrrealisOBL-ege

    In the present tense, the suffix -ne is applied to stative verbs, whereas the null suffix is applied to all other verbs. In the past perfective, the null suffix is applied to stative verbs, whereas the suffix -den is applied to all other verbs.

    Relativising core arguments
    In terms of core arguments, only the absolutive can be relativised, thus ergative arguments of transitive verbs must be promoted to intransitive subjects through use of the antipassive. This type of relative clause is gapped, meaning the shared noun is omitted from the relative clause entirely.

    Relativising non-core arguments
    When the noun modified by a relative clause is a non-core argument in that clause (e.g. dative, comitative, etc.), rather than the shared noun being omitted from the relative clause entirely, there is pronoun retention. Since there are no true third person pronouns, the medial demonstrative obar is used by default. However, if there are any explicit spatial/pragmatic references made (i.e. the noun phrase as a whole is qualified with a demonstrative), then the retained pronoun in the relative clause must match and agree with the demonstrative used.

    Relativising possessors
    The same pronoun retention occurs when relativising a possessor as when relativising a non-core argument, with the same rules regarding agreement with demonstratives applying as well. Since relational nouns are the equivalent to adpositional phrases in Daikhra, and these are used in possessive constructions, this same strategy is in effect used to relativise objects of adpositions.

    [top]Forming questions

    Polar questions
    Polar questions are formed simply using the interrogative auxiliary verb qaar (oblique stem qar-).

    Wh-questions
    Wh-questions are formed using a series of interrogative pronouns formed from the interrogative prefix qa(r)-, given below. All of these pronouns are inanimate, aside from qaruul "who", which is animate. There is no wh-fronting by default in Daikhra, i.e. question words aren't moved to the front of the sentence.

    • qabeer "what"
    • qaruul "who"
    • qavuune "when"
    • qatage "where"
    • qareerke "how"
    • qaqalaai "why"


    There also exists a determiner qar "what, which" for use with other nouns.

    [top]Possession

    Alienable possession
    Alienable possession is used generally for tangible items that one might cease to own at some point. Nouns possessed in this manner are referred to as alienable nouns. In an alienable possession construction, the possessed noun receives no special marking, while the possessor is marked for the genitive case. The word order is possessor-possessee.

    Inalienable possession
    In inalienable possession, the possessed noun cannot exist independently of its possessor, or the relationship between the two nouns can't necessarily be severed. Nouns possessed in this manner are referred to as inalienable nouns. In an inalienable possession construction, the possessor receives no special marking, while the possessed noun obligatorily takes one of a series of possessive suffixes. As marking for possession is obligatory for inalienable nouns, if there is no possessor specified then the third person suffix -an is used as a default suffix. The word order is possessor-possessee.

    The table below contains all the possessive suffixes in Daikhra. If the noun stem a possessive suffix is being attached to ends in a vowel, the initial vowel in the suffix is omitted. Possessive suffixes are applied after any person/number suffixes.

    PersonSuffix
    1st singular-ynti
    1st plural incl.-ani
    1st plural excl.-yntiid
    2nd singular-ynhsa
    2nd plural-ynhsaad
    3rd-an
    Interrogative-ynqa

    Examples of inalienable nouns include:

    • parts of a whole, including body parts
      • by extension, most relational nouns

    • kinship terms
    • mental states and processes
    • nouns originating from their possessor
    • certain attributes of a known possessor (e.g. name, age)
    • nominalised verbs and converbs


    Possessing inalienable nouns alienably

    [top]Adpositions

    The role of adpositions is filled by relational nouns.

    [top]Conjoining phrases

    There is no direct equivalent for the word "and" in Daikhra, and as such different strategies must be employed to connect two noun phrases or two verb phrases.

    Noun phrases
    Noun phrases are conjoined through the use of the comitative case; the first item in a list or pair is marked for whatever case corresponds to its role in the sentence, while subsequent elements in the sequence are placed immediately after the first and marked for the comitative case.

    If all of the conjoined nouns are animate, then the first is marked for plural number even if it refers to a singular entity. Other nouns in the sequence may also take plural forms to add emphasis on them being a participant in the action.

    Verb phrases
    Conjoining clauses is one of the primary uses of the imperfective converb.

    [top]Pivoting

    When conjoining clauses or sentences, the shared argument must be in the absolutive case. As such, the antipassive voice must be used to promote ergative agents to absolutive subjects. As inanimate agents are marked using the instrumental case, a non-core case, rather than the ergative case, the antipassive cannot be applied and so neither can pivoting.

    [top]Dislocations
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