Home - A Grammar of the Denden Language - Abbreviations - References


Previous: Topic and comment - Up: Syntaxis - Next: Information structuring particles


Nominalisation and the particle ga

The chief function of the nominalisation particle ga is to nominalize clauses. These clauses can then be subordinated in relative clause constructions or used independently. When a nominalized clause is used independently the use of ga NOM is very close to that of a copula. The difference in use with ga NOM and ka TOP is interesting, too. It appears that ka TOP can be used almost as if it were ga NOM with the added meaning of 'extra information'.

Subject relative

The most idiomatic construction is with the relative clause preposed, finished with ga.

  quna qir.e   ga  kal zi  ga
  cat  see.PRT NOM dog big NOM
  The dog that saw the cat was big. 'the cat having seen dog was big'

This is possible, too, a simple juxtaposition of two clauses, with a topic marker that focusses on the dog:

  kal ka  quna qir.e,  zi  ga
  dog TOP cat  see.PRT big NOM
  'As for the dog, it saw the cat, it was big'

Without the topic marker it is not clear whether the remark zi ga applies to the dog or the cat, and the sentence is ambiguous:

   kal quna qir.e,  zi ga
   dog cat  see.PRT big NOM
  'The dog saw the cat and was big.'
  'The dog saw the cat, it was big.'

Putting the topic marker after qire shifts the focus:

  kal quna qir.e   ka  zi  ga
  dog cat  see.PRT TOP big NOM
  'As for the dog that saw the cat, it was big'

Putting the topic marker after quna is interesting, too:

   kal guna ka, qir.e,  zi  ga
   dog cat  TOP see.PRT big NOM
   'As for the dog and the cat, it saw/ it was seen, it was big
   As for the dog and the cat, they say/they were seen; they were big

Omitting the pause after qir.e would give the meaning: 'it was seen to be big'

Participially (rather a foreign influence, southern mostly):

  quna qir.an  kal zi  ga
  cat  see.AGP dog big NOM
  'The cat-seeing dog was big.'

There exist special deictics for use in relative clauses, and these are often a mark of influence from Classical Charyan or from easteren non-Charyan languages:

  kal yohox quna qir.e   zi  ga
  dog RSUB  cat  see.PRT big NOM
  The dog who saw the cat was big

The subject relative pronoun _yohox_ is most often used with human referents, and for a dog the proximal deictic yo 'near the hearer', which is the most unmarked deictic in Denden would be preferrred:

  kal yo   quna qir.e   zi  ga
  dog that cat  see.PRT big NOM

Although in this sentence yo could also refer to the cat.

Object relative

The situation with relative objects is as complicated as with relative subjects. A common construction is with the nominalisation particle ga NOM - it appears that this construction is incompatible with the topic marker ka, which would occupy the same place in the sentence. The relation between ka TOP and ga NOM is worth a separate study.

  kal ga  quna kela  mozhaz qir.e
  dog NOM cat  mouse kill   see.PRT
  'the dog's seeing the cat killing the mouse.'

While this is a perfectly idiomatic expression, but the following construction is far more common:

  quna kela  mozhaz ga  kal qir.e
  cat  mouse kill   NOM dog see.PRT
  The dog saw the cat that killed the mouse.

There exists also the object relative pronoun danran, although the shortened proximal deictic d 'near the speaker', can also be used. I don't exactly know why 'relative to the subject' is equal to 'near the hearer', and 'relative to the object' is equal to 'near the speaker'.

  kal qir.e   quna danran kela  mozhaz 
  dog see.PRT cat  OREL   mouse kill 
  The dog saw the cat kill the mouse/the cat that killed the mouse.

There is no difference between the two translations, and I don't know whether Denden can make clear the dog saw the cat in question, but not the killing of the mouse, or the cat in action, without use of topic markers or circumlocution. Interestingly, this is one area where the SVO origins of Denden show up without fail - Denden is clearly moving towards SOV, but

*kal quna qire danran kela mozhaz

and

*kal quna danran kela mozhaz qire

are impossible.

Another idiomatic rendering using a participle and a topic marker would be:

  kela  mozhaz.dan quna ka, kal qir.e
  mouse kill.AGP   cat  TOP dog see.PRT
  As for the mouse killing cat, the dog saw it.

kela mozhaz quna ka, kal qire would mean 'As for the mouse killing the cat, the dog saw it.'

Compare:

  quna kela  mozhaz ka, kal qir.e
  cat  mouse kill   TOP dog see.PRT
  As for the cat killing the mouse, the dog saw it.

However, a construction with tan RTV also exists, and can only be used for object relative sentences, and also demands a SVO sentence pattern, this time in both parts:

  kal qir.e   quna tan mozhaz kela
  dog see.PRT cat  RTV kill   mouse
  The dog saw the cat's killing the mouse,
  The dog saw the cat kill the mouse

This construction is not used in careful writing, but appears to be quite popular in spoken Denden, especially in Broi, which is curious, since it is in Broi that the move towards SOV has progressed furthest.

Comparable is:

  quna kela  mozhaz ga  ka, kal qir.e
  cat  mouse kill   NOM TOP dog see.PRT
  As for the cat that killed the mouse, the dog saw it.

The juxtaposition of ga and ka is considered inelegant, and the same construction without ka, (see above) is preferred.


Previous: Topic and comment - Up: Syntaxis - Next: Information structuring particles


Changes


© 1999 Boudewijn Rempt - Optimized for Lynx