Øynduyska – XIII (Syntax!)

Øynduyska continues…



Basic Word Order

The basic word order of Øynduyska, in main clauses, is VSO. Where there is an auxiliary, it occupies the ‘V’ slot and by default sends the main verb to follow the object: byld ech huss, “I build a house”, but heb ech huss ybyld, “I built a house”.

The copula, senn, the transformative copula, wørða, and modal verbs, however, deviate from this order, instead adopting the order SVO: huss is ybyld, “a house is built”; ech macht huss bylda, “it’s possible I might be building a house”/“it could be that I’m going to build a house”.

Object Fronting

The object of a transitive verb may in exceptional circumstances be fronted for emphasis; this in turn demotes an initial verb to the rear of the clause: ða huss ech byld, “the house, I build”; ða huss ech heb ybyld, “the house, I built”. Copulas and modals, however, remain in second position, causing inversion with the subject: huss macht ech bylda, “a house, I might build”.


Adverbs, when single words, are typically placed adjacent to the verb – following an initial verb, preceding a final verb: byld lawli ech huss, “I build a house slowly”; heb ech huss lawli ybyld, “I built a house slowly”. The adverb may also be dropped to the back of the clause, giving the appearance of an afterthought or ‘twist’: heb ech huss ybyld lawli, “I built a house – slowly”.

Adverbial phrases longer than one or perhaps two words, and in particular all prepositional phrases, are placed at the rear of the clause: heb ech á huss ybyld befós á treos, “I built a house beside a tree”.

Separable Verbs

Separable verbs are of two kinds. In the first, ‘accusative’ kind, the separable prefix acts as a preposition governing a direct object; such a prepositional phrase is not treated as an adverbial phrase, but as a direct object. Hence, fall ða hróf ypat ða männer, “the roof falls on the men”, which with object fronting becomes ypat ða männer ða hróf fall, “on the men, the roof falls”, and in the compound past hav ða hróf ypat ða männer yfalla. If there is an implicit object, the preposition nonetheless does not recombine with the verb: hav ða hróf ypat yfalla “the roof fell on (something/someone)”; such separable verbs only combine in infinitives and participles.

In the second, ‘adverbial’ kind, the separable prefix is always at the end of the clause unless followed by a verb. If there is no object, or only an implicit object, the preposition recombines. Thus, breaka ech ða cuppa up, “I break the cup”, yields fronted ða cuppa ech upbreaka, past tense heb ech ða cuppa upybrǫka, and implied-object upbreaka ech, “I break (something)”.

Wackernagel Particles

A number of particles require the second position in a main clause. In a main clause with an ordinary verb, this causes no difficulty: breaka ya ech ða cuppa up, “I do indeed break the cup”. Modals and copulas, however, which would otherwise take the second position, must then be sent to the rear of the clause (before an infinitive, but following a participle): iss ya cąld is, “Ice indeed is cold”; ech ya huss macht bylda, “I indeed might build a house”; ða cuppa ya upybrǫka is, “the cup indeed is broken (by someone)”.

These particles may even divide a verb from an adverb: byld ya lawli ech ða huss, “I indeed build the house slowly”.


3 thoughts on “Øynduyska – XIII (Syntax!)

  1. Hans says:

    Crazier even than German word order!

  2. Not too crazy, I hope… because it’s about to get crazier…

  3. […] Øyndusyka project begins to near its end, but not before a good deal more syntax gets […]

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