13.0 constituent order
This section describes the major word order parameters of ámman îar, in particular the order of the major constituents of a clause, i.e. the verb and its S-, A- and P- function arguments, as well as the constituent order within the NP and VP.
In addition to describing the preferred or neutral word order parameters, this section will describe constituent word order as it is affected by pragmatic considerations of Focus and Topic.
13.1 unmarked word order
When pragmatic considerations are ignored, the preferred word order for ámmanîar is what is called, in standard linguistic terminology, SOV. I, however, find this classification insufficiently complete and prefer the following description of preferred ámmanîar word order. The order of words described here does not change in interrogative or exclamatory sentences; these are distinguished from indicative sentences only by intonation.
13.1.1 intransitive word order
The preferred word order for intransitive constructions is S [Obl] V [Loc], where S represents the single S-function argument of the intransitive predicate, [Obl] represents an optional non-locative oblique argument of the predicate, V represents the lexical verb, and [Loc] represents an optional locative argument of the predicate.
alan allildirros erallildrel allildronar életh He washed with soap in the bathroom. alan allildirros erallildrel allildronar eleth. S Obl V Loc AUX . he with soap wash in the bathroom did .
The position of the auxiliary verb AUX is semantically determined by the argument structure of the predicate. In the absence of a patientive or theme argument, the auxiliary verb takes sentence final position S V AUX.
i dais ergabdhel i daurar életh The tiger pounced in the forest. i tais ergabdhel i taurar eleth. S=AGT V Loc AUX . the tiger pounce in the forest did .
Otherwise, the auxilliary verb immediately precedes the patient/Theme particle (PTP) which in turn precedes the patientive/theme argument, AUX PTP S V thus,
eliras eni thoren orgöirar The eagle is dying. eliras en- i thoren orgöirar. AUX PTP S=PAT V . is the eagle dying .
For transitive constructions the preferred word order is A AUX PTP P [Obl] V [Loc], where A represents the A-function argument of the transitive predicate, AUX represents the auxilliary verb, PTP the Patientive/Theme Particle, P represents the P-function argument of the predicate, [Obl] represents an optional non-locative oblique argument, V represents the lexical verb and [Loc] represents an optional locative argument.
alan életh áni dais cûos erechöiron i daurar He killed the tiger with a bow in the forest. alan eleth an- i tais cûos erechoiron i taurar . A AUX PRP P Obl V Loc . He did the tiger with bow kill in the forest.
13.2.1 noun phrase word order
Within the NP, the preferred word order is N [Gen] [Adj] [PP], where Gen represents an associative (Genitive) relation, N represents the head noun, Adj represents any adjective modifiers of the head noun and PP represents an optional postposition, thus,
i linnar ainurrîon inainîen adhla After the holy song of the Ainur i linnar ainurrîon inainien adhle . N Gen Adj PP . the song of the ainur holy after .
13.2.3 verb phrase word order
The preferred word order for the VP is V [Adv][Loc], where V represents the lexical verb form, Adv is an optional adverbial, and Loc is an optional locative argument, thus
enir anarîel murmarth orgirve murmdirar The woman is sleeping quietly in bed. (elieth) enir anarîel murmarth orgirve murmdirar. V Adv Loc . (is ) the woman sleep quietly in bed .
The position of the auxiliary verb is semantically determined by the rules of predicate inflection. As such, it is bound more to the predicate than to the VP and is discussed above under intransitive and transitive word order.
It is important to note that the preferred word order for locative noun phrases is in adverbial position, i.e. following the lexical verb (and any optional adverbial modifiers).
The topic (T) of a sentence is the person or thing about which something is said. The essential piece of new information that is carried by a sentence is called its focus (F). ámman îar tends to prefer TFV word order (i.e. topic focus verb), placing the focus immediately before the verb, thus
vaisa életh áni gáldran erechöiron Who killed Galdor? életh áni gáldran i luthîelle erechöiron Luthiel killed Galdor. eleth ani galdran i luthielle erechoiron. T=PAT F=AGT V . did Galdor Luthiel kill .
Note that the pragmatic tendency to place the focus immediately before the verb overrules the standard APV word order.
ir ægnoranne életh anir isilduran erechöiron ægnor killed Isildur. nai luthîelle What about Luthiel? i luthîelle életh áni gáldran erechöiron Luthiel killed Galdor. i luthielle eleth ani galdran erechoiron. T=AGT F=PAT V . Luthiel did Galdor kill .
In this example Luthiel has been introduced as the Topic and the fact that she killed Galdor is new information and thus the focus.
NOTE: In the expression nai luthîelle (literally "and Luthiel as agent"), the case of the noun (here ergative) determines the role being questioned. See also the following example.
ir ægnoranne életh anir isilduran erechöiron ægnor killed Isildur. nai gáldran What about Galdor? életh áni gáldran i luthîelle erechöiron Luthiel killed Galdor. eleth ani galdran i luthielle erechoiron. T=PAT F=AGT V . did Galdor Luthiel kill .
In this example, Galdor has been introduced as the Topic and the fact that he was killed by Luthiel is new information and thus the focus.
Again in the expression nai gáldran (literally "and Galdor as patient"), the case of the noun (here absolutive) determines the role being questioned.
As will be seen in a subsequent section, subordinate clauses use inverted word order, i.e. V [Loc] S [Obl] for intransitive clauses and V [Loc] A P [Obl] for transitive clauses, thus,
ere endarth ir ardar en alan iluvatarren eliveth anir ainur erechûelmon Eru who in Arda is called Iluvatar created the Ainur. erue endarth ir ardar en alan iluvatarren. V Loc S Obl . Eru named in Arda he Iluvatar . eliveth anir ainur erechûelmon. did the Ainur create .