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of cakes and men -- doraya syntax

From:Adam Parrish <myth@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 10, 1999, 4:38
        Okay, so, here's the deal: I've noticed a new pattern of
movement in Doraya's main clauses.  However, I'm not sure a) if it's
naturalistic (though it seems to look much like a similar sort of thing
in Castilian Spanish) and b) how exactly it works, or at least, how to
describe it coherently.  So allow me to present some examples; comment
and suggest as you will:

     1) tyepylen kos rian.
        eat.perf person cake
        A person ate a cake. (no topic -- no given information)

     2) kos tyepylen tai rian.
        person eat.perf 3ps cake
        The person ate a cake. (person = topic, given information)

     3) tyepylen kos sae.
        eat.perf person 3pn
        A person ate it. (it = old information)

     4) kos tasa tyepylen.
        person 3ps.3pn eat.perf
        The person ate it. (person & it = old information, person = topic)

     5) rianui tasa tyepylen.
        cake.TOP 3ps.3pn eat.perf
        He ate the cake. (he & it = old information, cake = topic)

     6) rianui tyepylen kos sae.
        cake.TOP eat.perf person 3pn
        A person ate the cake. (cake = topic, old information)

     7) tai tyepylen rian
        3ps eat.perf cake
        He ate a cake. (he = topic, old information)

     8) rianui tyepylen kakos sae?
        cake.TOP which-person it
        Who finished the cake? (cake = topic, old information)

     9) kakos tyepylen tai rian?
        which-person 3ps cake
        Who finished a cake? (person = topic, old information)

    10) kos rianui tasa tyepylen.
        person cake.TOP 3ps.3pn eat.perf
        The person ate the cake. (?)

        (notes: _tai_ is the third person pronoun referring to sentient
beings; _sae_ is its non-sentient counterpart.  _tasa_ is a contracted
form of _tai sae_.  _tye-_ is the prefix that indicates perfective
aspect, which I have glossed here as past tense in accordance with
modern use.)

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