lemÌc. Lemizh grammar and dictionary

Unit 16. Dependent clauses: introduced with pronouns or adverbs

Ylva-li and I have a special language, which no one understands but the two of us.

(Astrid Lindgren. Allrakäraste Syster)

Pronouns and adverbs vs. conjunctions

Now we move on to finite clauses introduced with a pronoun (e.g. ‘who, which, that’) or an adverb (e.g. ‘where, why’). To get the naming issue right out of the way: from the Lemizh point of view, the difference between subordinating pronouns and adverbs is just a matter of plot case vs. causal/temporal/spatial case. Most of these clauses also go by the name of relative clauses, but we will also treat indirect questions in this unit. Then we will conclude with direct questions, the imperative, and exclamations.

Some of the English (and other Indo-European) pronouns and adverbs introducing dependent clauses look like subordinating conjunctions but are used quite differently. Compare:

ConjunctionPronoun/adverb
I know that the child is hiding beneath the rose bush.I know the child that is hiding beneath the rose bush.
The entrance vanished when the roses had faded.The day when the roses had faded, the entrance was gone.
I’m able to think wherever the flowers sing.I’m thinking of wherever the flowers sing.

As you see, clauses introduced with pronouns and adverbs usually occur in the role of attributes (or adverbs, as we will see shortly). This should remind you of the attributive and adverbial adjectives and participles in unit 5. However, we will also meet a group of counterexamples, the headless relative clauses.

Relative clauses

Attributive and adverbial clauses

Just as conjunctional clauses are the finite counterparts of infinitive and gerund clauses – being expanded objects –, we are now dealing with the finite counterparts of participial clauses – so we use brackets and coordinations for translation. Different relative pronouns (English, not Lemizh ones) and adverbs correspond to different inner cases: pronouns to plot cases and adverbs to others. Recall that the look-alike conjunctions correspond to different outer cases.

hrá oRwxÌfe mesÌy prilneytfÌaR.The midnight-born (-‘mothered’) poodle is yelping.The poodle that was born at midnight is yelping.
yelp-fact1 poodle-acc-nom2a mother-acc-acc3 midnight-acc-temp4.
Rájg htrybÌe Recý afkÌar drulygwrÌjde.My sister, a queen, lives beneath the rose bush.My sister, who is a queen, lives beneath the rose bush.
live-fact1 sibling-acc-female-acc-nom2a monarch-nom-acc3 up-fact-opposition-acc-loc2 bush-acc-rose-acc-nom3.
jàx nÌwi ganáry lÌbe.We went to the valley, the location of the singing of flowers.We went to the valley where the flowers sing.
move-fact1 valley-acc-dat2 sing-loc-acc3 flower-acc-nom4a.

Not surprisingly, adverbial clauses (clauses in the role of adverbs; not necessarily introduced with adverbs) are usually factive or consecutive brackets. Again, the pronoun or adverb is reflected by the inner case.

hrá oRwxyfè rahkÌa.The yelping is the content of dislike.The poodle is yelping, which I don’t like.
yelp-fact1 poodle-acc-nom2a like-fact-opposition-acc-fact2.
hrá oRwxyfè RÌksa.The yelping is the content of the recommendation. (Inversion of ‘The poodle should yelp’; compare the modal adverbs)The poodle is yelping, which/as it should.
yelp-fact1 poodle-acc-nom2a should-acc-fact2.
hrá oRwxyfè Ólva zeè vèi.The yelping is the reason for feeding. (Compare the corresponding conjunctional clause.)The poodle is yelping, wherefore I’ll feed it.
yelp-fact1 poodle-acc-nom2a eat-psu-fact2 PIn−3-nom-nom3a PIn−2-nom-dat3.
fìlt yhwè tÌpil dmìti.The speed is the content of the spectators’ assumption.The horse is fast, which/as spectators assume.
fast-cons1 horse-acc-nom2 assume-acc-cons2 see-dat-dat3.

In this light, we can translate the inverted gerund ‘I didn’t see Amélie watching TV [but she did]’ into English as the more accurate but less elegant ‘Amélie was watching TV, which I didn’t see’.

The English formal ambiguity between conjunctions and adverbs sometimes translates into an ambiguity between outer and inner case in Lemizh.

zdàs dmatmàqkar keltÌje.(conjunctional)He sat down where he could see the pendulum.
seat-fact1 see-fact-opportunity-fact-loc2 pendulum-acc-nom3.
zdàs dmatmàrqka keltÌje.(‘relative adverbial’: factive bracket)
seat-fact1 see-fact-opportunity-loc-fact2 pendulum-acc-nom3.

Usually we want to talk about the place of sitting, so the first phrasing is to be preferred.

Restrictive relative clauses

If an attributive relative clause is not separated from the main clause by commas in English, it is considered restrictive. Restrictive clauses can also be introduced with the pronoun ‘that’ (as well as ‘which’): compare ‘The poodles that/which were born at midnight are yelping’ (restrictive: there are other poodles, but I’m referring to the ones born at midnight) with ‘The poodles, which were born at midnight, are yelping’ (non-restrictive: all of them were born at midnight; and this fact is additional information about them). A restrictive clause sometimes has to be translated with a partitive bracket, as we have seen – becoming the bracket’s predicate.

oRwxÌf tÌy. hrá mesÌe qyÌn prilneytfÌaR.The midnight-borns from the set of poodles are yelping.There are these poodles. The ones that were born at midnight are yelping.
poodle-acc1 this-acc-acc2. yelp-fact1 mother-acc-nom2a PIIn−2-acc-partacc3 midnight-acc-temp3.
Often a partitive coordination gives us a better word order:
oRwxÌf tÌy. hrá fyèn mesÌe prilneytfÌaR.Some of the poodles, those that were born at midnight, are yelping.There are these poodles. The ones that were born at midnight are yelping.
poodle-acc1 this-acc-acc2. yelp-fact1 PIIn−1-acc-partnom2a mother-acc-nom2 midnight-acc-temp3.

Non-restrictive relative clauses

A non-restrictive relative clause in English is one with commas. It can normally be translated as a cumulative bracket. To explicitly state that the contained information is additional and does not serve to identify the referent (here, the instance of ‘poodle’), it has to be moved into a separate sentence, which can then be weakly linked.

hrá oRwxÌfe mesÌy prilneytfÌaR.bracket: The midnight-born poodle is yelping.The poodle, which was born at midnight, is yelping.
yelp-fact1 poodle-acc-nom2a mother-acc-acc3 midnight-acc-temp4.
hrá oRwxÌfe. mesìl feÌ prilneytfÌaR.two sentences: The poodle is yelping. It was born at midnight.
yelp-fact1 poodle-acc-nom2a. mother-cons1 PIIn−1-nom-acc2 midnight-acc-temp2.
hrá oRwxyfè mesìlyl veÌ prilneytfÌaR.weak linking: The poodle is yelping; it was born at midnight.
yelp-fact1 poodle-acc-nom2a mother-cons-ctx2 PIn−2-nom-acc3 midnight-acc-temp3.

The bracket is appropriate whenever the poodle can be clearly identified without the relative clause, so that it obviously just provides additional information. The other translations make explicit that the midnight-born-ness is not needed to pin down the instance of ‘poodle’.

Some English non-restrictive clauses serve as explanations or reasons for the main clause and so are called explanatory relative clauses. They are translated as conjunctional clauses, typically in causal cases, exactly like the circumstantial clauses, as translating them as relative clauses would lose the cause–consequence relation in Lemizh.

nà wáxel yxè elefyÌ cnyí smàjy djáy qeì qkrÌdjy.The man, because he was speaking to the child about elephants, forgot to buy the artichokes.
Speaking to the child about elephants, the man forgot to buy the artichokes.
The man, who was speaking to the child about elephants, forgot to buy the artichokes.
not-fact1 speak-fact-caus2 male-acc-nom3a elephant-acc-acc3 child-acc-dat3 remember-fact-acc2 sell-fact-acc3 PIIn−2-nom-dat4a artichoke-acc-acc4.

Weak bracket

Relative clauses can cause translation problems if their predicate differs from the underlying participle; this is notably the case with uncompounded modal verbs. The solution is similar to weak linking, only it is a bracket with an inner contextual or motivational case. The clause’s head has to be referenced with a pronoun in the dependent clause.

The underlying participle construction in these two examples is ‘the fed poodle’:
oRwxÌf avdíxty zèe.(works fine)the poodle [that] I have to feed
poodle-acc1 eat-fact-must-dat-acc2 PIn−3-nom-nom3a.
oRwxÌf lúlxty zeè ávy ciè zÌi.(the predicate is ‘want’: weak bracket necessary)the poodle [that] I want you to feed
poodle-acc1 want-mot-acc2 PIn−3-nom-nom3a eat-fact-acc3 PIn−4-dat-nom4a PIn−3-acc-dat4.

Often it is better to rephrase by an inversion or by leaving out the additional object per Rule Six.

láxt veè ávy ziè oRwxÌfi wÌcgy.The poodle I want you to feed is black.
I want you to feed the black poodle.
want-fact1 PIn−2-nom-nom2a eat-fact-acc2 PIn−3-dat-nom3a poodle-acc-dat3 black-acc-acc4.
oRwxÌf avlíxty zìe.the poodle [I] want you to feed
poodle-acc1 eat-fact-want-dat-acc2 PIn−3-dat-nom3a.

Headless relative clauses

On the risk of my readers getting funny ideas, I will call them ‘headless relatives’ for short. These are pronominal relative clauses that aren’t attributive because they have lost their referent (head, or predicate in Lemizh terminology) because it isn’t important. Thus, instead of saying ‘He found the thing that I wanted’ (attributive relative clause), we can say ‘He found what I wanted’ (headless relative). To do this in Lemizh, we omit the bracket’s unnecessary predicate along with the two case endings forming the bracket (one inner and one outer), pushing up its object by one level. This method works whenever a bracket’s predicate is unnecessary, even if we cannot form a corresponding English headless relative.

xÙlsk i lýxty cèe.He found the thing that I wanted.
search-fin1 make-acc-dat2 want-acc-acc3 PIn−4-nom-nom4a.
→ xÙlsk lýxti zèe.→ He found what I wanted.
search-fin1 want-acc-dat2 PIn−3-nom-nom3a.
dmìlt cOÌce klìy oRwxÌfy.I know the person who stole the poodle (by sight).
see-cons1 human-acc-nom2 steal-dat-acc3 poodle-acc-acc4.
→ dmìlt klìe oRwxÌfy.→ I know the one who stole the poodle. (‘nearly headless relative’)
I know the thief of the poodle.
see-cons1 steal-dat-nom2 poodle-acc-acc3.

In the second example we cannot get rid of the placeholder ‘the one who’ in English, wherefore we informally call this a ‘nearly headless relative’. Actually, we have been using those from the beginning – recall ‘the one who tells something’. This sentence is not the same as ‘I know who stole the poodle’: this is an indirect question, which we will treat later in this unit.

The pronouns and adverbs ‘whoever, wheneveretc. (not to be confused with the homonymous conjunctions) also introduce headless relatives. To capture the indefinite sense we use an indefinite pronoun and a partitive bracket again.

xÙlsk gwÌi lýxtyn cèe.He found whatever I wanted.
search-fin1 any-acc-dat2 want-acc-partacc3 PIn−4-nom-nom4a.
qàzg gwÌy ganáryn lÌbe.I’m thinking of any [place] where the flowers sing.I’m thinking of wherever the flowers sing.
think-fact1 any-acc-acc2 sing-loc-partacc3 flower-acc-nom4a.
gìljd gwÌy láyn cìe.Whatever you do is fine.
good-cons1 any-acc-acc2 do-fact-partacc3 PIn−4-dat-nom4a.

Relative clauses and topicalisation

Since headless relatives aren’t (necessarily) brackets, the only difference to infinitive, gerund and conjunctional clauses seems to be the inner case, which is not a factive or affirmative. But then, those clauses can be topicalised. So what is the difference? Nothing much, actually.

dmàt lusÌy dìy dwywÌ fOpysrÌfe.(relative clause)I see [the image of] Lucy, who gets/got a bottle from Father Christmas.
see-fact1 Lucy-acc-acc2 give-dat-acc3 bottle-acc-acc4 FatherChristmas-acc-nom4.
dmàt dìy dwywÌ fOpysrÌfe.(nearly headless relative)I see the one who gets/got a bottle from Father Christmas.
see-fact1 give-dat-acc2 bottle-acc-acc3 FatherChristmas-acc-nom3.
(or topicalised gerund)I see the one getting/having got a bottle from Father Christmas.
dmàt dàly dwywÌ fOpysrÌfe.(conjunctional clause)I see that someone gets a bottle from Father Christmas.
see-fact1 give-aff-acc2 bottle-acc-acc3 FatherChristmas-acc-nom3.

Questions, imperative and exclamations

Rule Seven of sentence grammar implies that all sentences are actually declarative sentences (statements); but all languages have sentences in other moods as well. ‘Did you feed the poodle?’ and ‘Feed the poodle!’ do not claim reality of the feeding. ‘When did you feed the poodle?’ claims reality of the feeding only pragmatically, like ‘I see white mice’ suggests the existence of the mice. Consequently, we have to paraphrase non-declarative sentences by moving the verb down to level 2 and introducing a new main predicate. For direct questions, this means that they become indirect questions with the main predicate pà. ‘ask’.

Direct questionIndirect question
What about your sibling?I ask about your sibling.
Who has eaten the sweets?I ask who has eaten the sweets.
Are we going to the valley?I ask whether we are going to the valley.

But how do we translate indirect questions?

‘What about’-questions

The simplest type of question consists of ‘ask’ as the main predicate plus some accusative object. In direct questions, ‘ask’ can easily be compounded since its nominative object is clear – it is myself. (See the modal verbs with undefined nominative.) The compound also gives us the opportunity to topicalise the new main predicate: observe the consecutive, i.e. perfect, in the third example.

pá meseè htrÌy zìe.Mother asked about your sibling.
ask-fact1 mother-nom-nom2a sibling-acc-acc2 PIn−3-dat-nom3.
pá {veè} htrÌy zìe. htrypÌ vìe.I ask about your sibling.What about your sibling?
ask-fact1 {PIn−2-nom-nom2a} sibling-acc-acc2 PIn−3-dat-nom3. sibling-acc-ask-acc1 PIn−2-dat-nom2.
pá {veè} ìvy mlÌvy. ivpìl mlÌvy.I ask about the eater of the sweets.What about the one who has eaten the sweets?
ask-fact1 {PIn−2-nom-nom2a} eat-dat-acc2 sweet-acc-acc3. eat-dat-ask-cons1 sweet-acc-acc2.

The translations of the accusative objects with inner non-factives as ‘ask about’ reflect what we have said about the preposition ‘about’.

The answer is constructed by referring to the question’s predicate with a pronoun. The pronoun doesn’t convey any useful information, so we get rid of it per Rule Six.

dmatnìl {fyè} veì dmÌyR.(to uncompounded question) I haven’t seen the asked-for one for a long time.I haven’t seen him for a long time.
see-fact-not-cons1 {PIIn−1-acc-nom2} PIn−2-nom-dat2 3/4-acc-dur2.
dmatnìl {fiè} veì dmÌyR.(to compounded question) I haven’t seen the asked-for eater for a long time.
see-fact-not-cons1 {PIIn−1-dat-nom2} PIn−2-nom-dat2 3/4-acc-dur2.

We can ask for any object in a sentence by inserting pÌ. ‘the asked-for thing’ and then making ‘ask’ the main predicate by inversion. This also works for factive objects (and even for words of deeper levels).

àv mlyvÌ pÌa. àvy mlÌvy. avpà mlÌvy.I ask about the action of eating sweets.How did you eat the sweets?
eat-fact1 sweet-acc-acc2 ask-acc-fact2. ask-fact1 eat-fact-acc2 sweet-acc-acc3. eat-fact-ask-fact1 sweet-acc-acc2.
fÌt {fày}.(answer to compounded question)Fast.
fast-acc1 {PIIn−1-fact-acc2}.

Wh-questions

Wh-questions are introduced with interrogative pronouns or adverbs (which, in English, look like the relative ones). As with relative clauses, different pronouns and adverbs correspond to different inner cases of the object: ‘Who has eaten the sweets?’ has the dative, ‘Why did you eat the sweets?’ the persuasive, ‘How (by which means) did you eat the sweets?’ the instrumental (in contrast to the factive question ‘How (in which way) did you eat the sweets?’ above).

This type of question asks for the identity of an object: in ‘Who has eaten the sweets?’, the content of asking (the thing asked about) is the identity of the eater, as opposed to ‘What about the one who ate the sweets?’, where the person asked about is the eater herself. Luckily, the word ‘identity’ is rather short in Lemizh: Ìd., the inner accusative of the verb àd. ‘give someone/something an identity’. ‘the identity of the eater’ has the eater as the dative object, as she is the one who is given an identity. The pronoun in the answer typically forms a bracket.

Ìdy ìvi mlÌvy. ivydpìl mlÌvy.I ask about the identity of the eater of the sweets.
I ask who has eaten the sweets.
Who has eaten the sweets?
ask-fact1 identity-acc-acc2 eat-dat-dat3 sweet-acc-acc4. eat-dat-identity-acc-ask-cons1 sweet-acc-acc2.
htrybÌ {fìy}.The one given the asked-for identity is the sister.[My] sister.
sibling-acc-female-acc1 {PIIn−1-dat-acc2}.

Often it is sufficient to ask for a person or thing (‘What about the one who has eaten the sweets? — [It’s] my sister’) as opposed to the identity, so that we can omit -yd-.

The interrogative pronoun ‘what’ can be translated with a bracket, ‘which’ with a partitive one.

yv[yd]pÌ mlÌvy.I ask about (the identity of) the eaten thing, a sweetWhat sweet did you eat?
eat-acc-[identity-acc-]ask-acc1 sweet-acc-acc2.
yv[yd]pÌ mlÌvyn.I ask about (the identity of) the eaten thing from the set of sweets.Which sweet did you eat?
eat-acc-[identity-acc-]ask-acc1 sweet-acc-partacc2.

Ìd. is also used in indirect questions with main predicates other than ‘ask’, where it becomes important.

Mark the difference between nearly headless relatives and indirect questions:
xOìlj dèy mlyvÌ zìi.I have heard about the giver of the sweet.I have heard about the one who has given you the sweet.
hear-cons1 give-nom-acc2 sweet-acc-acc3 PIn−3-dat-dat3.
xOìlj Ìdy dèi mlyvÌ cìi.I have heard about the identity of the giver of the sweet.I have heard who has given you the sweet.
hear-cons1 identity-acc-acc2 give-nom-dat3 sweet-acc-acc4 PIn−4-dat-dat4.
dmìlt klìe oRwxÌfy.I have seen the poodle’s thief. I know the poodle’s thief by sight.I know the one who stole the poodle.
see-cons1 steal-dat-nom2 poodle-acc-acc3.
dmìlt Ìdy klìi oRwxÌfy.I have seen / I know about the identity of the poodle’s thief.I know who stole the poodle.
see-cons1 identity-acc-acc2 steal-dat-dat3 poodle-acc-acc4.

Alternative questions (‘or’-questions)

We have already treated the inclusive and exclusive ‘or’, so alternative questions are not a problem.

jaxlixtpì nynwìn tfÌndin.What about the recipient of wanting to go, the valley and/or the forest?Do you want to go to the valley and/or the forest?
move-fact-want-dat-ask-dat1 valley-partacc-partdat2 forest-partacc-partdat2.
jaxlixtpì rÌi nynwÌn tfÌndyn.What about the recipient of wanting to go, either the valley or the forest?Do you want to go to the valley or the forest [but we can’t do both]?
move-fact-want-dat-ask-dat1 one-acc-dat2 valley-partacc-partacc3 forest-partacc-partacc3.
nÌw {fìy}.[To] the valley.
valley-acc1 {PIIn−1-dat-acc2}.

Polar questions (‘yes/no’-questions)

Polar questions don’t ask for an object but for the predicate of the queried verb: ‘Are we going?’ — jàxy. not-fact1 move-fact-acc2. ‘No, we aren’t going’. We cannot use an inversion to arrive at a construction parallel to the ones above, as the answer ‘No’ would then violate inversion ban. Instead, we use the general verb là. as a placeholder for the predicate.

Parallel to the answer ‘No’ we can form others such as ‘Well, I want to’.

y jàxy nÌwi. lapà jàxy nÌwi.I ask about the predicate of going to the valley.
I ask whether we are going to the valley.
Are we going to the valley?
ask-fact1 do-fact-acc2 move-fact-acc3 valley-acc-dat4. do-fact-ask-fact1 move-fact-acc2 valley-acc-dat3.
Ì.The content of the asked-for action, i.e. going to the valley, exists.Yes.
PIIn-acc1.
nà {fÌy}.No.
not-fact1 {PIIn−1-acc-acc2}.
làxt {fÌy}.I want to.
want-fact1 {PIIn−1-acc-acc2}.

Note that compounding is compulsory for direct polar questions; otherwise the answer ‘yes’ becomes impossible. By the way, Ì. doesn’t just repeat the queried action as is the case in some other languages lacking a word for ‘yes’; it promotes its degree of reality from second to first level.

Topicalisation of the verb ‘move’ allows for the more specific queries ‘Are we going to the valley?’ and ‘Are we going to the valley?’.

Similar to the difference between nearly headless relatives and indirect wh-questions, we have to distinguish between gerund clauses and indirect polar questions.

wìlx veì jàxy nÌwi.(gerund clause)I’ve been told about going to the valley.
speak-cons1 PIn−2-nom-dat2 move-fact-acc2 valley-acc-dat3.
wìlx veì y jàxy nÌwi.(indirect question)I’ve been told whether we are going to the valley.
speak-cons1 PIn−2-nom-dat2 do-fact-acc2 move-fact-acc3 valley-acc-dat4.

Rhetorical questions

Rhetorical questions can be phrased like all other questions, which however can come across as irony. (See the chapter on propositional attitudes on the pragmatics pages.) To avoid that, we can translate them as compounds with the verbs xràtx. ‘fear’ or dwàtx. ‘doubt’.

kastxrátx vìe.I fear you are weeping.You are not weeping?
weep-fact-fear-fact1 PIn−2-dat-nom2a.

Imperative

Requests and commands can be phrased directly with the verbs pràk. ‘request’ and dàxt. ‘command, must’, but also with various modal verbs and ‘ask’, optionally compounded with weighting numerals to express different degrees of politeness.

avprák viè oRwxÌfi.I request that you feed the poodle.(Please) feed the poodle!
eat-fact-request-fact1 PIn−2-dat-nom2a poodle-acc-dat2.
avdáxt viè oRwxÌfi:You must feed the poodle!
eat-fact-must-fact1 PIn−2-dat-nom2a poodle-acc-dat2!
avlaxtcrá viè oRwxÌfi.I want you a little to feed the poodle.
eat-fact-want-fact-1/4-fact1 PIn−2-dat-nom2a poodle-acc-dat2.
avpá viè oRwxÌfi.What about you feeding the poodle?
eat-fact-ask-fact1 PIn−2-dat-nom2a poodle-acc-dat2.

The modal verb làxt. ‘want’ can also express advice such as directions for finding the way: ‘Turn left!’ translates as ‘[You] want to turn left’.

Exclamations

Verbs such as fràx. ‘astonish’ translate formal exclamations; but they are usually left out when speaking spontaneouosly.

fràx prìljOl: priljfrìlx:The beauty astonishes me!How beautiful!
astonish-fact1 beautiful-cons-psu2! beautiful-cons-astonish-cons1!
prìlj:Beautiful!
beautiful-cons1!

Tag questions

English tag questions (‘isn’t it?’, ‘do you?’) have a wide variety of uses. They can be actual questions (‘This is your poodle, isn’t it?’), rhetorical questions expressing a request or command (‘You’d better stop now, hadn’t you?’, ‘Do listen, will you?’); they can express politeness, emphasis, or irony; confidence or its lack, etc. A thorough discussion would probably require its own unit, so please use your imagination, possibly in combination with modal verbs, verbs of certainty, and weighting numerals.

Exercises

Translate:
We went to the valley where the flowers sing.
(with partitive, two possibilities)
Solve
the child that got a bottle vs. the child that took a bottleSolve
The child, which the tortoise assumes got the bottle, is beautiful.
(Translate with and without a weak bracket.)
Solve
I’ve seen a beaver, as (= which is a fact that) I told you.
(Include all the pronouns.)
Solve
He found whichever poodle I wanted.Solve
Why have you eaten the sweets? — Because they tasted nice.
(Include the pronoun in the answer.)
Solve
Will you eat the sweets? — If I may.Solve
xèsk oRwxÌfy. (three possibilities)Solve
Why is it always possible to remove a bracket’s predicate from a sentence without breaking any dependencies?Solve