clauses are divided into two types: transitive and intransitive. A
transitive verb generally has two nominal
complments. One is the Agent and the other the Patient. Their
corresponding macroroles are “actor” and “undergoer”.
An intransitive verb contains only one nominal complement. If the
macrorole of this complement is an “actor',
the intransitive verb is a dynamic verb; however, if the
macrorole of this complement is an “undergoer”,
the intransitive verb is a stative verb.
constructions usually contain only a single complement. The verb
precedes the nominal complement. Yami
intransitive verbs include: dynamic verbs with the traditionally called
AF (Agent Focus) affixes ( -om-,
mi-, ma-, maN-, maka-,
verbs, and involuntary ka-…-an
verbs. A detailed discussion of all verbal affixes can be
found in Section 6. In (13)-(15), the single complement
‘I' or o
kanakan ‘the child' is in the
Single complement intransitive clauses
‘I will go home at
‘I was full already.'
VF-rain-VF NOM child
‘The child is soaked
(lit. got rained on).'
Double complement intransitive constructions
constructions contain double complements. One is in the Nominative case,
while the other is in either Oblique or Locative cases depending on the
verbs. This construction is called antipassive
in ergative languages. The order of the complements in relation to the
verb varies depending on whether they are a Nominative pronoun or a full
With a nominative pronoun
pronoun follows the verb, while the other complement is placed after the
verb. In (16) and (17), the Nominative pronoun
ka ‘you' follows the
verb. The NP preceded by the determiner
so in Oblique case
follows the Nominative pronoun. In (18), the verb is followed by the
‘they'. The complement preceded by the determiner
do in the Locative case
is placed at the end.
ka so alibangbang.
AF-cook 2.S.NOM OBL
‘You will cook flying
ka so wakay?
2.S.NOM OBL sweet.potato
‘Are you able to eat
sweet potatoes? (I bet you won't).'
sira do tao am.
AF-speak 3.P.NOM LOC
‘They spoke to a
With a nominative full noun phrase
A Nominative full NP
is placed at the end of the sentence, such as
‘the child' and
Akay ‘Grandfather' in (19) and
so kadai o kanakan.
PA<AF>eat OBL millet NOM
‘The child ate millet'
AF-speak 1.S.LOC NOM
‘Grandfather said to
include those traditionally called PF (Patient Focus), LF (Locative
Focus), and IF (Instrumental Focus) verbs with
, respectively, potential
ma- verbs and involuntary
ka-…-an verbs with
expressed “actor”. One of the two complements in the transitive
constructions should be the Agent or actor
macrorole, while the other is the Patient or
undergoer macrorole. The Agent is
marked with the Genitive case, while the Patient is marked with the
Two-complement transitive constructions
With two nominal complements
The Genitive Agent
occurs before the Nominative Patient in a two complement transitive
construction. In (21), no
mehakay ‘by the man' precedes
‘the woman'. Similarly, in (22),
‘by the child' precedes
no mehakay o mavakes
PA.IF-VF-laugh GEN man
NOM woman PAR
‘The man laughed at the
no kanakan o ino.
GEN child NOM dog
‘The child looked for
With two pronominal complements
The enclitic Genitive
pronoun (Table 13) as the Agent immediately follows the verb, while the
Nominative free pronoun as the Patient occurs at the end of the
sentence. In (24), the enclitic Genitive pronoun
‘by him' occurs before the free form
‘you'. When the monosyllabic enclitic adverbs
‘already' or pa
‘still, yet' occur in the transitive constructions with two
pronominal complements, the enclitic Genitive pronouns precede the
adverbs. The Genitive enclitic pronoun
mo ‘by you' as in (23),
‘by us but not including you', as in (25), precede the
mo pa yaken.
“You will wait for me
say 3.S.GEN 2.S.NOM
‘What did he say to
namen pa ya.
‘We will eat this up
With pronominal genitive and full noun nominative complements
Genitive complement usually precedes the full noun Nominative
complement. In (26), mo
‘by you' precedes o
‘my clothes'. In (27),
‘by us including you' precedes
nio ‘your rice'.
mo pa o ayob ko.
wash-LF 2.S.GEN first
NOM clothes 1.S.GEN
‘You will wash my
ta o mogis
1.P.GEN.INCL NOM rice 2.P.GEN
‘Could we manage to find
With full noun genitive and pronominal nominative complements
If the pronominal
Nominative complement occurs before the full noun Genitive complement,
an obligatory Genitive pronoun indicating agreement with the full noun
Genitive complement must occur either after or before the verb depending
on the tense/aspect of the verb. In ( 28a , b),
‘by her' functions as a cataphoric
pronoun, referring to
ina mo ‘your mother'. The
‘by him' occurs after the verb in ( 28a
) to indicate the future tense, but before the verb in (28b) to
indicate the progressive aspect.
ni ina mo.
3.S.GEN 2.S.NOM GEN mother 2.S.GEN
‘Your Mother will call
ni ina mo.
2.S.NOM GEN mother 2.S.GEN
‘Your mother is calling
Three-complement transitive constructions
If there are three
complements in the transitive constructions, the first two complements
should be in the Genitive and the Nominative cases. The third complement
is in either the Oblique case, as
so kayo ‘with an ax' in
(29), or the Locative case, as do
mavakes ‘to a woman' in (30),
depending on the verbs. The semantic of the third complement should be
either indefinite or partitive. The order of
the noun phrase complements after the verb is generally free. In (29)
the Genitive noun phrase complement is ordered before the Nominative
noun phrase complement, whereas in (30), the order of these two
complements is reversed.
na no tao o
zaig na so kayo.
PA.IF-VF-cut 3.S.GEN GEN
person NOM ax 3.S.GEN OBL tree
‘The man cut a tree with
mavakes o karam
IF-CAU-see 3.S.GEN LOC
woman NOM mouse GEN man
‘The man showed
(cause-to-see) the mouse to a woman.'
5.2.2 .3 With
pronominal agreement marking of genitive and nominative arguments
As indicated in
(28)-(30), the pronominal agreement marker
‘by her/him'always precedes the
other noun phrase complements. Its word order in relation to the verb
depends on the tense/aspect of the verb. In the following, we discuss
the agreement marking in intransitive and transitive constructions,
Intransitive constructions with agreement marking
Since there is no
form for the third person singular Nominative pronoun in
Yami, only the third person plural
Nominative Agent will serve as an agreement marker. In (31),
‘they' agrees with the Nominative noun phrase complement
sira o kanakan.
PA<AF>stand 3.P.NOM NOM
‘The children stood up.'
Transitive constructions with agreement marking
agreement marker that marks the Agent precedes the one that marks the
Patient. The corresponding noun phrase complements are ordered in the
same way: Agent before Patient. In (32),
‘by her' agrees with
no ina da
‘by their mother' and
‘they' agrees with o
na sira no
ina da o an-anak
3.P.NOM GEN mother 3.P.GEN NOM RED-child 3.S.GEN
‘Mother pitied her