Basic syntax of Tirelat

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Stative verbs

Intransitive verbs in Tirelat are divided into two categories: stative and dynamic. Stative verbs describe the state or condition of something, or state an opinion. Typically, the stative verb comes before its subject, which appears in the nominative case.

jmɜriɬan sɨ rɛːv.

jĕ-mëri -ła    -n  sy  rehv
3s-round-INF.NP-PF NOM world
The world is round.

vɨʐiːriɬin su nikaz.

vy-žihri -łi    -n  su  nik  -az
3p-pretty-OPI.NP-PF NOM mouse-kind
Mice are pretty.

Single-word modifiers (such as adjectives and adverbs) precede the words they modify. Longer modifiers follow the modified word.

taŋu jʐuːvivivɛz sɨ ʂuːru.

tañu   jĕ-žuhvivi -ve    -z   sy  šuhru
little 3s-open.DIM-OBS.NP-IPF NOM door
The door is slightly ajar.

jzɜziɬan sɔ ɡinɖu jlaj su daːn.

jĕ-zëzi -ła    -n  so ginżu jĕ  -laj   su  dahn
3s-sleep-INF.NP-PF at today POSS-night NOM lion
The lion sleeps tonight.

Dynamic verbs

Dynamic verbs represent motions and actions without an object, including passive forms of transitive verbs. The subject of a dynamic verb typically precedes the verb.

su ʋal jŕastatin vɜ lak u ʐalaːn.

su  wal jĕ-ŕasta-ti   -n  vë  lak  u   žalahn
NOM cow 3s-jump -OBS.P-PF LOC over OBL satellite
The cow jumped over the moon.

su ŋak jkaɖaruɣamikan dɨ ɣuːl.

su  ñak  jĕ-każa-ru -ġa -mi   -ka -n  dy  ġuhl
NOM duck 3s-eat -PAS-OPT-INF.P-NEG-PF ABL wolf
The duck did not want to be eaten by the wolf.

Transitive verbs

Transitive verbs have both a subject and an object. The subject typically precedes the verb and takes the nominative case. The object follows the verb and usually takes the accusative case, although some transitive verbs require a different case.

su nik jkaɖadɛz mɨ nirik.

su  nik   jĕ-każa-de    -z   my  nirik
NOM mouse 3s-eat -OBS.NP-IPF ACC cheese
The mouse is eating cheese.

su rɔbin: jʈimalin kɜ marian:.

su  Robin jĕ-ċima-li   -n  kë  Marian
NOM Robin 3s-kiss-HSY:P-PF COM Marian
Robin kissed Marian.

Some transitive verbs can take two objects: direct (accusative) and indirect (dative). These objects can occur in either order after the verb, but the indirect object usually comes first.

su ravnavin jmakɛlin na ʂɨkavin mɨ kiːm.

su  ravna-vin jĕ-make-li   -n  na  šyka -vin my  kihm
NOM learn-er  3s-give-HSY:P-PF DAT teach-er  ACC apple
The student gave the teacher an apple.

rŕadɛban na kɛː mɨ xjɛlnik:.

rĕ-ŕade-ba    -n  na  keh my  xjel-nik
2s-call-POT:NP-PF DAT me  ACC tea -mouse
You can call me Teamouse.

Topic-comment structure

Any noun or noun phrase can be made the topic of a sentence by placing it at the beginning. The rest of the sentence is considered as a comment on this topic. Note that nouns used as topics are often used without case markers.

ʐalaːn su ʋal jŕastatin vɜ lak.

žalahn    su  wal jĕ-ŕasta-ti   -n  vë  lak
satellite NOM cow 3s-jump -OBS:P-PF LOC over
As for the moon, the cow jumped over it.

daːn jzɜziɬan sɔ ɡinɖu jlaj.

dahn jĕ-zëzi -ła    -n  so ginżu jĕ  -laj
lion 3s-sleep-INF:NP-PF at today POSS-night
The lion sleeps tonight.

Complex topics end with a topic particle to set them apart from the rest of the sentence.

rkɛzanuj mɨ zjaniki taniɡira da, rlinajʐataj vɜ rsarɡa.

rĕ-keza-nu -j  my  zjaniki  tani-gira   da, rĕ-linajža-ta -j  vë  rĕ-sarga
2s-seek-CND-GA ACC pleasant half-island TOP 2s-look   -DEO-GA LOC 2s-around
If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you.

Abbreviations

ABL ablative
COM comitative
CND conditional
DIM diminutive (an infix, -vi-)
GA generic aspect (either perfective or imperfective)
HSY hearsay
INF inferential
IPF imperfective
LOC locative
NOM nominative
.NP non-past (present, future)
OBL oblique
OBS observation
OPI opinion
OPT optative
.P past
PAS passive
PF perfective
POT potential
TOP topic