A Grammar of Yami

7 Structure of Noun Phrases
 7.1 Word order
 7.2 Determiners

  Yami determiners (traditionally called case markers) distinguish common nouns from personal names and kinship terms. The latter further distinguishes singular and plural forms. Determiners manifest four case differences: Nominative, Genitive, Locative, and Oblique, as shown in Table 10.

 

Table 10: Case distinctions in Yami determiners

Preceding:

Nominative

Genitive

Locative

Oblique

Common nouns

o

no

do

so

Singular personal names and kinship terms

si

ni

ji

--

Plural personal names and kinship terms

sira

nira

jira

--

 

7.2.1 Syntactic and semantic agreement features of determiner systems

7.2.1.1 Case-marking agreement features

  In topicalized constructions, the raised topic is Nominative and definite. In the matrix sentence, the full noun Agent of the transitive verb is Genitive and prceded by no , while the third argument is preceded by the Oblique determiner so and is indefinite. The place adjunct is preceded by the Locative determiner do , as illustrated in (109).

 

(109) o i-pi-vat-vatek rana ya am,

NOM IF-VF-RED-carve already this TOP

ni-pi-vat-vatek na no mehakay

PA.IF-VF-RED-carve 3.S.GEN GEN man

so ngaran no mavakes do vakong.

OBL name GEN woman LOC paper

‘As for this pen, it was used by the man to write a woman's name on the paper.'

 

7.2.2 Common vs. Personal

  As indicated in Table 10, determiners distinguish between common nouns and personal names/kinship terms and are obligatory in reference. In vocative forms, no determiners are allowed, but a second person Genitive pronoun mo ‘you' is optionally placed in front of the personal names/kinship terms, e.g., Ina ‘Mother!' or mo Ina ‘You, Mother!', Salang ‘Salang!' or mo Salang ‘You, Salang!'

Deceased persons and places or things that no longer exist are preceded by mina ‘late, past', as illustrated in (110)-(111).

 

(110) si mina Paloy

NOM late PN

‘Late Paloy'

(111) ma-láhet o mina vahay namen nokakoa.

SV-bad NOM past house 1.P.GEN.EXCL before

‘Our former house was not very good.'

 

7.2.3 Definite vs. Indefinite

  As discussed previously, the Agent and the Patient of a transitive verb and the Patient of an intransitive verb are always definite. The other arguments in verbal clauses are usually indefinite, as in (109) previously. Although Nominative Patient is always definite, the noun phrase with the number ‘one' is an exception and will be discussed in Section 7.2.5 .

 

7.2.4 P roximate vs. Remote

  Yami deictics (Table 11) form a continuum of distance. The relatively proximate deictics refer to present, visible, known, near, specific, real, and living things, wheras the relatively remote deictics refer to past, invisible, unknown, far, non-specific, hypothetical, or dead things. The distance that a deictic refers to also interacts with the person of a pronoun, with the first person being the most proximate, second person less proximate, and third person the most remote.

 

Table 11: Yami deictics in relation to distance

Proximate end

Nominative (enclitic)

Nominative (free)

Genitive

Locative

Oblique

First person

ya

o ya

no nia

do jia

so sia

Second person

ori

o ri

no nang

do dang

so sang

Third person

ito

o ito

no nito

do jito

so sito

Remote end

-

-

-

do koang

-

 

In the following example (112), the Nominative deictic free form occurs as the head of the Noun Phrase.

 

(112) hap-en ko o ya, hap-en mo o ri a,

take-PF 1.S.GEN NOM this take-PF 2.S.GEN NOM that.near PAR

hap-en na o ito.

take-PF 3.S.GEN NOM that.far

‘I'll thake this. You'll take that (close to you). He'll take that (close to him).'

 

In (113), the Nominative bound forms occur after the noun head.

 

(113) ra-roa ka kanakan o mi-av-avang

RED-two CON child NOM AF-RED-row.a.boat

do aarang ito am, to da

LOC moorage that.far PAR AUX 3.P.GEN

ngao-kaód-a o tatala da ori am

SUB.RED-row-SUB.PF NOM boat 3.P.GEN that.near PAR

‘Two children were rowing a boat in the ocean. They kept rowing.'

 

In the following examples, the Nominative (114), Gentitive (115), and Oblique (116) deictics are illustrated. O ya ‘this (close to me)' is placed at the proximate end of the distance continuum, while o ri ‘that (close to you)' is somewhat remote, and o ito ‘that (close to him/her)' is placed at the remote end of the continuum.

 

(114) kan-en ko o ya.

eat-PF 1.S.GEN NOM this

kan-en mo o ri,

eat-PF 2.S.GEN NOM that.near

kan-en na o ito.

eat-PF 3.S.GEN NOM that.far

‘I'll eat this. You'll eat that. He'll eat that.'

(115) ya pía o kakanan no nia.

AUX good NOM taste GEN this.GEN

ya pia o kakanan no nang.

AUX good NOM taste GEN that.near.GEN

ya pía o kakanan no nito.

AUX good NOM taste GEN that.far.GEN

‘This (close to me) tastes good. Does that (close to you) taste good? That (close to him) tastes good.'

(116) akman so sia.

like OBL this.OBL

akman so sang.

like OBL that.near.OBL

akman so sito.

like OBL that.far.OBL

‘Like this (with me). Like that (with you). Like that (with him).'

 

The following examples (117)-(118) illustrate the use of deictics from the nearest to the farthest distance, ie., do jia do dang do jito do koang , and their interactions with personal pronouns.

 

(117) am-lisna ka do dang a, am-lisna ko do jia,

AF-sit 2.S.NOM LOC there.far PAR AF-sit 1.S.NOM LOC here

am-lisna si wari ta do jito.

AF-sit NOM younger.sibling 1.P.GEN.INCL LOC there.near

‘You sit there (close to you). I sit here. My sister sits there (close to her)'

(118) mi ko do koang a m-itkeh.

go 1.S.NOM LOC there.very.far LIN AF-sleep

‘I'll go there (very far from here) to sleep.'

 

Yami time expressions also distinguish distance, as do deictics in space. Table 12 illustrates time words in relation to space. P and R stand for Proximate and Remote, respectively. U and D refer to Up and Down, respectively.

 

Table 12: Yami time expressions in relation to space

Remote ( Past )              Proximate ( Present )           Remote ( Future )

 

nokango

‘when (past)'

simango

‘when (present, recent future)

nomango

‘when (remote future)'

nokakoa

‘a long time ago'

nokaikoa

‘a short while ago'

siciaikoa

‘now'

simaikoa

‘near future'

nomaikoa

‘a long time later

 

P

R

 

 

nokacitoai na

‘just now'

siciatoai ya

‘right now'

citoai na

‘a moment later'

noipisa

‘sometime in the future'

 

nokaipisa

‘last time'

siciaikoa ya

‘this time'

sipisa

‘next time'

 

 

nokakoyab

‘yesterday'

siciaraw ya

‘today'

simaraw

‘tomorrow'

 

 

nokamnasavehan

‘last month'

do vehan ya

‘this month'

simaksavehan

‘next month'

 

 

nokamnasawan

‘last year'

siciawan ya

‘this year'

simaksakawan

‘next year'

 

 

U

D

 

nokapnezak

‘a previous morning'

siciapnezak ya

‘morning' (now)

sipnezak

‘tomorrow morning'

 

 

nokamararaw

‘a previous noon '

siciamararaw ya

‘ noon ' (now)

simararaw

‘this noon ' (later in day)

 

 

nokamakoyab

‘a previous afternoon'

siciamakoyab ya

‘afternoon' (now)

simakoyab

‘this afternoon' (later in day)

 

 

nokamahep

‘a previous night'

siciamahep ya

‘evening' (now)

simahep

‘tonight'

 

 

7.2.5 Specific vs. Non-specific

  Nominative full nouns are definite unless the number ‘one' asa precedes the noun. In that case, the noun phrase is still specific albeit indefinite, as in (119).

 

(119) asa ka ciri-ciring da, ci-cilo-an ko

one CON RED-word 3.P.GEN RED-hear-LF 1.S.GEN

do ili ta ya Jiranmilek ya am.

LOC village 1.P.GEN.INCL this PLN this PAR

‘ There is one more story that is also a story we heard in Jiranmilek village.'

 

7.2.6 Singular vs. Plural

  Yami personal names and kinship terms distinguish number, as shown in Table 10. The plural determiner has the identical form as the third person plural pronoun free form sira , as in (120).

 

(120) sira Ina aka nira Kaminan .

NOM.P Mother CON GEN.P Aunt

‘My mother and my Aunt.'

 

Yami personal pronouns distinguish number, case and bound vs. free forms, as illustrated in Table 13.

 

Table 13: Yami personal pronouns

 

Nominative

(Bound)

Nominative

(Free)

Genitive

(Bound)

Genitive

(Free)

Locative

(Free)

1S

ko

yaken

ko

niaken

jiaken

2S

ka

imo

mo

nimo

jimo

3S

ya

iya

na

nia

jia

1PEXCL

namen

yamen

namen

niamen

jiamen

1PINCL

ta, tamo, takamo

yaten

ta

niaten

jiaten

2P

kamo, kanio

inio

nio

ninio

jinio

3P

sia

sira

da

nira

jira

 

The bound pronouns have developed from exclusively enclitics to variations between proclitics and enclitics to reflect tense/aspect differences. Although there is no form for the third person singular pronoun, this gap has been filled by the proximal deictic ya/iya ‘this'.

There are many ways to mark plurality for common nouns, including (1) placing the plural determiner manga before common nouns in vocative forms, e.g., manga maran “dear uncles”, manga kehakay ‘dear (male) friends', ‘ manga anak ko ‘my dear children', (2) reduplicating the initial CV- of a common noun, e.g., ma-mavakes ‘many women', ka-kanakan ‘many children', (3) prefixing mi- , mala- to kinship terms to express the relationship between two or more people, e.g., miina ‘mother and son/daughter (in a group of two)', malaina ‘mother and sons/daughters (in a group of three)', as shown in examples (121)-(122), (4) Using Oblique deictic sia to refer to the Nominative third person plural bound pronoun ‘they', as shown in (123).

 

(121) m-ámiying sira mi-ina.

AF-laugh 3.P.NOM group.of .two-mother

‘The mother and her son/daughter (in a group of two) are laughing.'

(122) ya api-pía tao sira mala-ina.

AUX RED-good.looking human 3.P.NOM group.of.three-mother

‘The mother and her sons/daughters (in a group of three) are all good-looking.'

(123) to sia ma-la-láyo ori o mi-ina ori a.

AUX 3.P.NOM AF-RED-run that NOM group.of.two-mother that PAR

to ma-la-láyo sira om-oli am,

AUX AF-RED-run 3.P.NOM AF-go.home PAR

mapa-zeveng rana sira ori a.

CAU-close already 3.P.NOM that PAR

‘The mother and daughter ran back toward home. They kept on running, and when they got home they closed the door.'

 

note:sira + kinship term refers to relatives who are not addressees, e.g., sira kaka ‘my brother and his group', sira kehakay ‘my friend and his group'.

note:An example of iya ‘he' as a third person singular nominative free pronoun is illustrated in (a):

(a) iya rana am, tey-kakey na o among.

3.S.NOM already TOP very-like 3.S.GEN NOM fish

‘As for him, he likes fish very much.'

Ya ‘he' as a third person singular nominative bound pronoun is illustrated in (b):

(b) ya koman so wakay si Sozi.

3.S.NOM <AF>eat OBL sweet.potato NOM PN

‘Si Sozi is eating a sweet potato.'

note:manga anak ko is also used to address a single child, e.g., ya aro o mo nimamong, manga anak ko. ‘You caught a lot of fish, Son!'

note:The following examples illustrate the two functions of sia : (1) as an oblique deictic , e.g., koman ko so sia ‘I want to eat this .' zazasagan ta, kasongisongit ta sia , ‘We will step on (her) and bite her .' (2) as a third person plural nominative bound pronoun: e.g., sia miyangay so katavatava . ‘ They are equally fat.'

note:Other examples include: malama (mala-ama) ‘father and son or daughter in a group of three', mi-ama ‘father and son or daughter in a group of two'.