A Grammar of Yami

5 Word Order of Predicational Constructions
 5.1 Nominal predicate clauses
 5.2 Verbal clauses
 5.3 Topicalized constructions
 5.4 Agent initial word order
 5.5 Word order of WH-questions

  In WH questions, the WH Predicate precedes the Subject, as the order of the nominal predicate clauses, discussed in 5.1. The Subject contains a nominalized clause led by the nominative determiner o . In (42)-(48), the question words ikongo ‘what', sino ‘who', wajin ‘where', and apira ‘how many/much' are in initial word order.

(42) [íkongo] [o ya mo ni-ma-cita]?

what NOM AUX 2.S.GEN PA-PF.able-see

‘What did you see?'

(43) [sino] [o ya ni-k-om-an so kanen mo]?

who NOM AUX PA<AF>eat OBL food 2.S.GEN

‘Who ate your food?'

(44) [wájin] [o na yan-an no anak ko]?

where NOM 3.S.GEN be.at-LF GEN child 1.S.GEN

‘Where is my child?'

(45) [ápira] [o i-toro ko jimo a nizpi]?

how.much NOM IF-give 1.S.GEN 2.S.LOC LIN money

‘How much money should I give you?'


  Time question words distinguish the past ( nokango ) from the future ( simango and nomango ). The conjunctions no ‘when (remote, invisible)' and si ‘when (proximal, visible)' prefixed with ma- ‘non-past' and ka- ‘past' further differentiate past and future (near and far). Following the past time question Predicate, a nominalized structure is used in the Subject, as in (46). The future time question (proximal or remote), on the other hand, is topicalized and followed by the verbal Predicate, as in (47)-(48). The relationship between time words and proximity will be discussed in 7.2.4.

(46) noka-ngo o k-ai mo?

PA-when NOM NF-come 2.S.GEN

‘When was it that you came?

(47) sima-ngo am, m-ai ka?

future.near-when TOP AF-come 2.S.NOM

‘When will you come (in the near future)?'

(48) noma-ngo am, m-ai ka?

future.far-when TOP AF-come 2.S.NOM

‘When will you come (in the future, invisible or uncertain)?'