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Syntax and morphosyntax
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This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 3 Jan 2020, 23:25.

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9. Genders
18. Ov anthem
19. Phonology
20. Sentences
23. Tones
28. WIP
?FYI...
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.
Menu 1. Object 2. Ergative 3. Absolutive 4. Word order

The syntax is the most basic thing in learning a language. That can be a tricky part of Ov, so let's get this out of the way. Don't worry, we'll look into this step by step.

[top]Object


The object (known as COD in French) is the part of the sentence that follows a transitive verb. "Transitive" simply means that it can take an object. In "the cat eats the mouse", the mouse is the object and the cat is the subject of "eat", a transitive verb.

[top]Ergative


Ergative is a declension in Ov, and it is used to mark the subject of a transitive verb. In "the cat eats the mouse", the verb is transitive (it has an object), so "cat" will be marked in the ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
in Ov. We'll see later how.

  • Moir wäisa durëpl = eat-3SThird person singular (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    cat-ERGErgative (case)
    TRANS subject; agent
    mouse<ABSAbsolutive (case)
    TRANS object, INTR argument
    >
    = the cat eats the mouse


  • Be careful though: without an object, a verb is intransitive (e.g. "the cat sleeps") and the subject is not marked in the ERGErgative (case)
    TRANS subject; agent
    .

  • Vëitër wäi = sleep-3SThird person singular (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    cat
    = the cat sleeps


  • [top]Absolutive


    Absolutive is also an Ov declension. It is used as a complement to the ergative. It marks the object of a verb, but only if it is animate (which roughly means "alive").

  • Moir wäisa durëpl = eat-3SThird person singular (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    cat-ERGErgative (case)
    TRANS subject; agent
    mouse<ABSAbsolutive (case)
    TRANS object, INTR argument
    >
    = the cat eats the mouse


  • This can lead to interesting precisions: if you were to mark the mouse in the ABSAbsolutive (case)
    TRANS object, INTR argument
    in "the cat eats the mouse", it would mean that the mouse is being eaten while still alive…

    The absolutive is shown using a vocalic shift that will be covered later.

    [top]Word order


    Ov is VSO – verb, subject, object. This is how the elements must be ordered in a sentence. By comparison, English and French are SVO: when we say "the cat eats the mouse", we know who eats whom because the word order never changes. If the word order was OVS, you would say "the mouse is eating the cat", but it would mean the exact same thing!

    In Ov, the word order is not that strict, because the ERGErgative (case)
    TRANS subject; agent
    and ABSAbsolutive (case)
    TRANS object, INTR argument
    can highlight the subject and object without the assistance of a precise word ordering. This is why both "VSO" (is eating the cat the mouse) and VOS (is eating the mouse the cat) can be observed, although VOS is nowadays taking the high ground.

    However, the verb is always the first element of the sentence, even with additional verbs and auxiliaries. We'll get back to that when we go over the conjugations. For now, you should also keep in mind that Ov favours euphony and epenthesis: things that sound good and things that make things sound good; when in doubt, you will go for what sounds less of a mouthful.

    Moir wäisa durëpl → the cat eats the mouse
    Moir durëpl wäisa → the cat eats the mouse

    Only conjunctions and adverbs are allowed before the verb.
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