Tatari Faran Grammar


Subordinate Clauses and Gerunds

Relative Clauses

Relative clauses are used for elaborating on a noun in a clause. They appear between the head noun and the case clitic. Any additional modifiers of the head noun, such as adjectives, usually appear before the relative clause.

Verbal Relative Clauses

A verbal relative clause describes an action that the head noun is involved in. It consists of a subordinative verb and its argument NP's, if any. The arguments to the subordinative verb are inflected for core case using auxilliary case marking, as described in the section on Nouns. The function of the head noun inside the clause is marked by the case of the subordinative verb. The relative clause begins with the verb arguments and ends with the subordinative verb.

It is perhaps simplest to understand the construction of a relative clause by starting with two standalone sentences, and seeing how one can be transformed into a relative clause embedded in the other. We shall use the following two sentences as our examples:

kiran sa tapa itsan no bata.
The young man walks to the cinder cone.

amaa kei tsana karen sa kiran na aniin.
The mother talks about the shoes with the young man.

First, let's see how to construct the sentence “the young man to whom the mother spoke about shoes walks to the cinder cone”. The head noun is kiran, “young man”. The verb to be put in the relative clause is tsana, “to speak”. The arguments to the verb are amaa (originative) and karen (conveyant).

The subordinative verb will be inflected for the function of the head noun in the relative clause; in this case, this function is the receptive. The receptive subordinative form of the verb tsana is tsanan. The arguments to the subordinative verb will be marked for case using auxilliary case marking rather than the usual case clitics: the auxilliary originative case of amaa is a'amaa; and the auxilliary conveyant case of karen is ikaren.

The subject NP of our sentence would therefore be:

kiran a'amaa ikaren tsanan sa
The young man to whom the mother spoke about shoes.

The bolded part of the sentence shows where the relative clause is embedded into the noun phrase.

The entire sentence reads:

kiran a'amaa ikaren tsanan sa tapa itsan no bata.
The young man to whom the mother spoke about shoes walks to the cinder cone.

Now, for comparison, let's embed the first sentence into the second to say “The mother talks about the shoes to the young man who walked to the cinder cone”.

The head noun is still kiran, “young man”; but now the function of kiran in the relative clause is conveyant (the one who walks to the cinder cone). Hence, the verb to be put in the relative clause, tapa, will be conjugated for the conveyant case. The conveyant subordinative form of tapa is itapa. The argument to this verb is itsan, “cinder cone”, in the receptive case. The auxilliary receptive of itsan is ni'itsan.

Putting these together, we see that the receptive NP of the resulting sentence is kiran ni'itsan itapa na. The entire sentence therefore reads:

amaa kei tsana karen sa kiran ni'itsan itapa na aniin.
The mother talks about the shoes to the young man who walked to the cinder cone.

Postpositional Relative Clauses

Another type of relative clause is one governed by a postposition rather than a verb. The noun governed by the postposition will be inflected for auxilliary conveyant case and precede the postposition. The postpositional phrase appears before the case clitic of the head noun, after any adjectives.

For example:

diru nei hamra tsaritas ikuen ata ko aram.
['diɾu nej . hamɾa 'tsaɾitas ʔikɯn ʔa'ta kɔ ʔaɾam]
The girl sees the monkey which is on the tree.

Note that the postposition is accented when governing a relative clause this way.

Relative Clause Modifiers

If a noun in auxilliary case marking is modified by a postpositional phrase, the noun governed by the postposition will also be marked by auxilliary case marking, and agree in case with the modified noun. For example:

diru atsaritas akuen ata hamran sei teinin tipai.
The girl who saw the monkey on the tree is smart.

tara' sa samat ibeira nibata' nimisanan ipai atampa.
He is the man who threw rocks at the chief in the village.

Purpose Clauses

Purpose clauses are used to form complex predicates (“I went up the hill to see the monkey”, or, “I sat down to avoid attention”). They are formed in a similar way to relative clauses: the verb is conjugated for one of the subordinative forms, and its arguments are inflected for core case using auxilliary case marking, rather than the usual case clitics.

For example, consider the following standalone sentences:

huu sa tapa itsan no bata.
I walked to the cinder cone.

huu ka juerat tsaritas no itu.
I look at the monkey.

We can turn the second sentence into a purpose clause embedded in the first sentence: first we drop the subject huu ka, and then mark the receptive NP tsaritas no using auxilliary case marking to form nitsaritas. The subject of the verb juerat is in the originative; so we conjugate it for its subordinative originative form, which is ajuerat. Hence, our purpose clause is:

nitsaritas ajuerat.
To look at the monkey.

Embedding this in the first sentence gives:

huu sa tapa itsan no nitsaritas ajuerat bata.
I walked to the cinder cone to look at the monkey.

Here's another example of a purpose clause:

tara' sei saba nisamat hamrakan anan.
She stood up to be seen by the man.

The case of the subordinative verb indicates the role of the subject NP in the subordinate clause.

Gerund Phrases

Gerund phrases are used for indirect discourse (“She told me that the boy saw a rabbit”), and referring to actions as a noun (“I saw a man catching a rabbit”).

Gerund phrases are formed in a similar way to relative clauses and purpose clauses. The verb is conjugated as a gerund with its arguments in auxilliary case inflection. However, the verb arguments follow the gerund rather than precede it. The gerund phrase is also followed by a neuter case clitic indicating the role of the phrase in relation to the main verb.

For example, consider the following event:

jibin na hamra tiki kei aram.
The child saw the rabbit.

We can turn this into a gerund phrase that can be used as the argument of another verb, say, the verb tsana (“to speak”). First, we conjugate the verb to be a gerund, hamra'i. Then we inflect the NP's using auxilliary case inflection to get nijibin and atiki. To make the gerund phrase an argument to the verb tsana, we append the neuter conveyant case clitic so to it: hamra'i nijibin atiki so. Finally, we can embed this phrase in another clause:

diru kei tsana huu na hamra'i nijibin atiki so aniin.
The girl tells me that the child saw the rabbit.

A literal translation of this would be: “The girl tells me about the seeing of the rabbit by the child”.

Here's another example of a gerund phrase:

huu na hamra tasa'i itiki nisamat ko aram.
I saw that a rabbit was caught by a man.

Note the difference in nuance when a relative clause is employed instead:

huu na hamra tiki nisamat itasa kei aram.
I saw the rabbit which was caught by a man.

The former emphasizes the act of catching, whereas the latter focuses on the rabbit which was caught. The former is preferred when reporting an event.

The difference between using a purpose clause and a gerund phrase is that the subordinative verb in the purpose clause shares the same subject as the main clause, whereas the gerund is completely independent of the main verb.


Last updated 04 Oct 2006.

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