A Grammar of Yami

4 Syntax

  As a Philippine language, Yami displays the typical Philippine “focus” system. The verb form changes to reflect the semantic role of the “Subject”of the sentence: Agent, Patient, Location, and Instrument/Benefactive. A sentence strcture can be analyzed as composed of a Predicate followed by a Subject. The relationship of the two components represents an equation A= B.

  In the following examples (4)-(7), the bound root -kan ‘eat' is affixed in four different ways to reflect the semantic role of the “Subject”: k-om-an , kan-en , akan-an , and i-akan . Read the literal translation of each example to see how the equation relationship is represented.

(4) [k-om-an so wakay] [si Salang].

<AF>eat OBL sweet.potato NOM PN

Salang wants to eat a sweet potato. (lit.) The one who wants to eat a sweet potato is Salang'

(5) [kan-en na ni Salang] [o wakay].

eat-PF 3.S.GEN GEN PN NOM sweet.potato

Salang ate the sweet potato. (lit.) What Salang ate was the sweet potato'

(6) [ni-akan-an na [o mogis ori] ni Salang].

PA-eat-LF 3.S.GEN NOM rice that GEN PN

Salang ate some rice from there. (lit.) What Salang ate a little bit from there was rice'

(7) [i-akan na ni Salang] [o among ya].

IF-eat 3.S.GEN GEN PN NOM fish this

Salang took this fish and ate it. (lit.) What was given for Salang to eat was this fish.'

note:Prefix i- followed by the stem initial vowel a can be written as ya orthographically, as in yakan (i-akan) ‘eat side dishes'.