Øyndusyka – XV (Coördinate, Subordinate and Relative Clauses)

Øyndusyka isn’t finished yet…

Coördinate and Subordinate Clauses

Attached to a main clause may be one or more additional, secondary clauses. In Øyndusyka, these fall into two types: coördinate clauses, and subordinate clauses.

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Øyndusyka – XIV (Negation, Topicalisation)

The Øyndusyka project begins to near its end, but not before a good deal more syntax gets presented…


Nominal negation is straightforward: the noun is placed into the genitive plural, and the preceding negator náva is employed: thus, náva hussa, “no house”.

Negation of verbs is more difficult. In general, the verbal negator precedes the verb, and this is seen unproblematically when object fronting has caused the verb to thrown to the back of the clause: ða huss ech ná byld, “the house, I didn’t build”. Copulas and modal verbs, likewise, have no difficulty in this respect, given their default second-position location, but must display inversion with their subjects: iss is háss, “ice is hot”, but ná is iss háss, “ice is not hot”.

However, where the verb is required to be the first element of a clause, it is impossible for it to be preceded by a negator. In these cases, a modal is employed as an auxiliary, with secondary negation on the main verb by means of the particle na; a wide range of modals are found in this function, particularly for events in the present (or future), often encoding an epistemological or evidentiary force – so, ná macht he ðam na bylda, “I am certain it is not possible for him to build it”, against ná cu he ðam na bylda, “it is possible he may not build it” or “I hear he may not build it”. Where no particular intent is present beyond negation, the modal ech dar is typically used in the aorist, progressive, or perfect: ná dar he ðam na bylda, “he doesn’t build it”. In other tenses, the modal dorsht is used: ná dorsht he ðam na bylda, “he didn’t build it”.

As in other modal expressions, it is typical to only use the aorist or preterite tenses, although other forms are on occasion found.

Where a verb is negated and has an indefinite object or subject, the indefinite argument must also be negated, with the particle na; in this case, negative agreement on the main verb is not required. Full negation with náva may also be used, with emphatic effect: ná dorsht ech na huss bylda, “I did not build a house”; ná dorsht ech náva hussa bylda, “I did not build any house” or “I did not build a house at all”. An even more emphatic alternative is to use nawt, with the genitive plural of the noun: ná dorsht ech nawt hussa bylda, “I have never built even a scrap of a house”. Nawt may also be used more generally as a negative indefinite pronoun, when agreement on the main verb is required: ná dorsht ech nawt na bylda, “I built nothing”.

An alternative method of verbal negation – or more strictly clausal negation – involves the Wackernagel particles nöt and nasa. These are used when making specific denials: the latter tends to be more specific than the former. Both trigger agreement on the object. Thus byld nöt ech na huss, “No, I don’t build a house”, and byld nasa ech na huss, “No, I don’t exactly build a house”, or “I don’t build a house in that way”. These constructions are more marked than the modal negatives.



Where the subject of a clause is also its topic, it is typically found only as a pronoun in the clause itself, with the full noun or noun phrase attached (if necessary) either to the beginning or to the end of the clause. Typically, preposed topics indicate a change of topic, while postposed topics indicate continuity. Failure to reduce the subject to a pronoun typically indicates that the subject is not the topic, and represents new or surprising information.

Thus, breaka he ða cuppa up, ða tarb most likely indicates “regarding the bull, it breaks the cup” or “the bull breaks the cup”; ða tarb, breaka he ða cuppa up more likely indicates “whereas the bull breaks the cup” or “and as for the bull, it breaks the cup”. The more syntactically straightforward breaka ða tarb ða cuppa up instead implies the more marked “(it’s) the bull (that) breaks the cup”.

Objects are not dealt with in this way. Changes of emphasis toward discussing the object may sometimes by indicated where necessary by emphatic fronting of the object; objects that are established topics may be reduced to pronouns, but not with extraclausal full nouns adposed. If particularly necessary, periphrasis may be employed: breaka he ðat up, ða tarb – stąmm wi bi ða cuppa, “the bull breaks it – the cup, I mean” (lit. “he breaks it, the bull – we stand at the cup”).

Objects may also, where they are sufficiently clear from context, be simply elided entirely, but this may not occur when the object is the topic – in such cases, at least a pronoun must be found. Thus, upbreaka he, “he breaks (it/something)”, but breaka he ðam up, “he breaks (it/the thing we are talking about)”.

Postposed topics come between the core clause and any postposed adverbs, and usually come before postposed prepositional phrases: breaka he ðam up, ða tarb, befós ða treos, and breaka he ðam up, ða tarb, lawli.

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”.

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Øynduyska – XII (Periphrasis Summary)

The Øynduyska project continues…

Periphrasis: A Summary

Øynduyska makes extensive use of periphrastic constructions, which may easily confuse the learner. For convenience, tables are provided summarising forms and functions.

First, a brief summary of tense usage:

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Øynduyska – XI (Passives, Impersonals, Subjunctives)

The adventures of Øynduyska trundle on…


The Passive and the Impersonal

Øynduyska possesses no morphological passive; instead, periphrastic constructions are employed.

The aorist and preterite passives are formed with the aorist and present tenses respectively of the copula senn, and a past participle with the prefix y-, where no inseperable prefix is present. The aorist passive is therefore very close to the compound past of an intransitive verb, and identical for verbs possessing an inseperable prefix. However, ambiguity is rare, as most verbs are lexically specified for transitivity. Ech em com, “I came”, must be a compound past form, because cwemma is an intransitive verb; ech em upybrǫka, “I am broken (by something)” must be an aorist passive, because upbreaka is transitive.

The compound and double past passives are formed with the auxiliary hebba, the past participle of senn, and the past participle of the main verb: hav ðat upybrǫka beon, “it was broken”; had ðat yetha beon, “it had been eaten”.

There are no specifically progressive, perfect, imperfect or experiential passives. Widespread use is made, however, of “impersonal” constructions: verbs that simply lack a subject. Impersonals, which may occur in any verbal form, are commonly used where the subject is unknown, general or unimportant, but do not shift emphasis to the object in the manner of a perfect. Thus, hav ðat yetha beon, “it was eaten”, may be contrasted with hav yetha ðat, “there was consumption of it”, or just hav yetha, “there was consumption”. Impersonals are also used for weather verbs: reyn in, “it rains”; lieg afti sniung, “it has snowed”.

The Subjunctive

Øynduyska possesses a morphological subjunctive, which is utilised in optatives, conditionals, commissives, indirect speech, and many subordinate clauses (although modal verbs may also convey some of these meanings, and more precisely). Any tense construction may be placed in the subjunctive – where an auxiliary is used, it simply takes the subjunctive form.

One difference, however, concerns predication, which is much simpler than in the indicative. Subjunctive stative predication always employs senn, and subjunctive transformative predication always employs wørða, neutralising the various distinctions made in the indicative.

Øynduyska – X (Predication)

The continuing adventures of Øynduyska


Adjectival and Participial Stative Predication

There are three forms of predication of adjectives in Øynduyska: gnomic, present tense, and past tense.

Gnomic predication used the copula (senn). It indicates a currently essential characteristic of the subject, and typically indicates something permanent, or at least unlikely to change in the short term. Thus, iss is cąld, “ice is cold”.

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Øynduyska – IX (progressives)

The continuing adventures of Øynduyska!


The Bare Progressive and the Conjunctive Progressive

Like the preterite, the aorist is limited in its use; instead, descriptions of present-tense events typically employ a progressive construction.

A small number of verbs form ‘bare progressives’ – that is, the simple, seemingly aorist form of the verb can in fact be employed as a progressive. This applies particular to verbs of position, such as stąnn, “to be standing” and ligga, “to be lying”, but also to some verbs of state, such as sweva, “to sleep”, and some verbs of continuous motion, such as rąsa, “to flow”.

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