Appendix C: Glossary of grammatical terms
What follows is a glossary of grammatical terms used in the description of Shemspreg. Some of these terms are used in ways that are particular to this description and should not be taken to be general definitions.
- An adjective is a word which describes a property characteristic of the noun which it modifies. Adjectives in Shemspreg are inflected for comparative and superlative degrees.
- An adverb is a word which modifies a verb or adjective.
- adverbial clause
- An adverbial clause is an embedded clause which has adverbial function.
- An affricate is a consonant which, like a stop, is produced by completely blocking the airflow at some place of articulation but then releasing it with a great deal of friction like a fricative. The affricates of Shemspreg are [ch, j].
- An agent is a discourse participant which instigates some action or event.
- An argument is a noun phrase which occurs with a verb as part of a proposition.
- Aspect is a verbal category used to mark the way in whch a situation described by a verb takes place in time. In Shemspreg, there are two aspects: imperfective, which asserts that an action is incomplete; and perfective, which asserts that an action is complete.
- The base is the stem for reduplication.
- Case marks the grammatical function of a noun in a clause. There are three cases in Shemspreg: nominative, genitive, and oblique.
- The causative in Shemspreg is a verbal suffix which has the effect of adding one more argument to the verb. The causative is used for expressing the argument which is the cause of an action in addition to the obligatory arguments required by a verbal stem.
- The comparative is an inflectional property of adjectives in which two nouns are compared with each other with respect to the degree to which they are characterized by the property referred to by the adjective.
- complex sentence
- A complex sentence is formed by embedding a clause within a phrase or clause as a complement or modifier of some sort. Such a sentence will have a single subject, in contrast to a coordinate sentence which is formed by joining two independent sentences together, each with their own subject.
- Compounds are complex words formed by joining separate words together.
- conditional clause
- A conditional clause is an embedded clause which serves to express some hypothetical state of affairs.
- A consonant is a speech sound which is produced by narrowing or completely obstructing airflow through the vocal tract.
- A constituent is a syntactic unit which functions as part of a larger unit within a sentence.
- coordinate sentence
- Coordinate sentences contain two or more clauses niether of which functions as a grammatical constituent of the other. Clauses of a coordinate sentence in Shemspreg are joined by a coordinating conjunction like =kwe ‘and’ or =we ‘or’.
- Dental/alveolar consonants are produced by touching the tip of the tongue to the back of the upper teeth or to the bony ridge immediately behind the upper teeth (the alveolar ridge). The dental/alveolar consonants of Shemspreg are [t, d, th, dh, n, l, r] and the sibilants [s, z].
- dependent clause
- Dependent clause is another name for an embedded clause.
- direct object
- The direct object is the noun phrase which forms part of the verb phrase and which is one of the arguments of the verb.
- embedded clause
- An embedded clause is a clause that serves as a subject, object, or modifier in some larger phrase or clause.
- A fricative is a consonant which is produced by passing a continuous stream of air through a narrowed passage in the vocal tract at some place of articulation thereby causing turbulence.
- full grade
- The full grade in Shemspreg is the form of the verb which contains an undeleted or unshortened vowel; it is a marker for the present tense. The dictionary entry of a verb is equivalent to the full grade.
- genitive case
- Genitive case marks the grammatical function of possessor and the subject of embedded clauses whose verb is a participle.
- A glide is a vowel-like consonant which is produced when one articulator is close to another but the vocal tract is not sufficiently narrowed to create the audible friction that characterizes fricatives. The glides of Shemspreg are [y, w].
- Grade refers to the shape of a verbal stem; the verb in Shemspreg can occur in full grade or reduced grade.
- The head is the word which is obligatory in a phrase. It expresses the core meaning of the phrase which contains it.
- The imperative is the form of the verb which is used to express commands or obligations.
- imperfective aspect
- Imperfective aspect is asserts that the action, event, or process expressed by the verb is incomplete or unbounded. Imperfective aspect in Shemspreg is marked by the prefix e- attached to the past tense stem.
- Incorporation is a process similar to compounding which joins a noun with a verb. In incorporating constuctions, the noun represents the direct object of the verb and is always generic in reference.
- An intransitive verb is a verb which does not take a direct object.
- Labial consonants are produced with one or both lips. The labial consonants of Shemspreg are [p, b, f, v, m].
- The liquids of Shemspreg are [r, l]. There is no single articulatory description of liquids.
- main clause
- The main clause is the sentence which is not part of any other clause.
- manner of articulation
- The manner of articulation of a consonant refers to the degree of constriction used in the production of that consonant. Shemspreg distinguishes six manners of articulation: i) stop, ii) fricative, iii) affricate, iv) nasal, v) liquid, and vi) glide.
- modal verb
- Modal verbs express concepts of necessity, possibility, obligation, and permission.
- A modifier restricts the range of possible referents of a noun phrase by more narrowly describing or identifying them.
- Mood is the semantic category expressed by modal verbs and the imperative verb form. That is, mood expresses concepts of necessity, possibility, obligation, and permission
- A nasal is a consonant which is produced by simultaneously stopping airflow in the oral tract and lowering the velum to allow air to flow out through the nasal cavity. The nasals of Shemspreg are [m, n].
- nominative case
- Nominative case marks the grammatical function of subject.
- Non-past tense refers to events, actions, processes or states of affairs which occur after any point before the moment of utterance. It thus encompasses present and future tense. Non-past tense is marked in Shemspreg by the full grade of the verb and the suffix -es.
- A noun is a word which can serve as an argument.
- noun phrase
- A noun phrase is a constituent which contains a noun as its head.
- An object is a noun phrase which serves as an argument of a verb or preposition.
- oblique case
- Oblique case marks the grammatical function of direct object and object of preposition.
- An obstruent is a consonant which is produced with some degree of constriction in the vocal tract. The constriction may be partial, creating turbulence as with fricatives; or it may be complete, blocking airflow as with stops; or it may have both qualities, completely blocking airflow and then releasing it with friction, as with affricates.
- Palato-alveolar consonants are produced by touching the portion of the tongue immediately behind the tip against the alveolar ridge. The palato-alveolar consonants of Shemspreg are [sh, zh, ch, j].
- A participle is a form derived from a verb which functions as an adjective or noun.
- The passive form of a verb has one fewer argument than the corresponding active form. The argument which is omitted is the agent.
- past tense
- The past tense of verbs refers to events, actions, processes or states of affairs which occur before the moment of utterance. In Shemspreg past tense is marked by the reduced grade of the verb and the suffix -i.
- A patient is a discourse participant which undergoes the effects of some action or event.
- perfective aspect
- Perfective aspect is asserts that the action, event, or process expressed by the verb is complete or bounded. In Shemspreg perfective aspect is marked by prefixing reduplication and the past tense stem of a verb.
- place of articulation
- The place of articulation of a consonant is the location within the vocal tract where the characteristic obstruction occurs in the production of a consonant. In Shemspreg, consonants are produced at five different places of articulation: i) labial, ii) dental / alveolar, iii) palato-alveolar, iv) velar, and v) rounded velar.
- A preverb is a prefix which attaches to a verb, and which is used to derive additional meanings from the verb stem. The set of preverbs in Shemspreg overlaps considerably with the set of prepositions.
- reduced grade
- The reduced grade in Shemspreg is the form of the verb which is characterized by deletion or shortening of the stem vowel; it is a marker of the past tense.
- The reduplicant is the portion of the stem which has been copied by reduplication.
- Reduplication is a morphological process in which part or all of the stem is copied and attached to the stem.
- relative clause
- A relative clause is a clause which is used to modify a noun.
- rounded velar
- Rounded velars are velar consonants produced with simultaneous lip rounding. The rounded velars of Shemspreg are [kw, gw, khw, ghw, w].
- The sentence consists of a verb with its arguments. A sentence may be serve as a constituent of a complex sentence, or function as a simple sentence on its own.
- Sibilants are hissing or hushing sounds produced with a great deal of noise. The sibilants of Shemspreg are [s, z, sh, zh, ch, j].
- A sonorant is a consonant which is characterized by voicing and a lack of turbulent airflow. The sonorants of Shemspreg are the nasals [m, n], the liquids [r, l], and the glides [y, w].
- A stop is a consonant which is produced by completely obstructing the airflow at some place of articulation and then suddenly releasing it. The stops of Shemspreg are [p, t, k, kw, b, d, g, gw].
- A subject is a noun phrase which serves as the topic of a sentence; it is what the sentence is “about”.
- subordinate clause
- Subordinate clause is another name for an embedded clause.
- The superlative degree of an adjective is used to assert that some noun phrase is unique in that it has the property of the adjective to the greatest degree.
- The syntax of a language is the set of principles which govern how words are combined together to make phrases and sentences.
- Tense is a verbal category which expresses the time of an event, action, process, or state of affairs relative to the speaker. Tense in Shemspreg is marked by verbal grade; two tenses are distinguished in Shemspreg: past tense and non-past tense. Tense in Shemspreg is marked by verbal grade and suffixation.
- A transitive verb is a verb which requires a direct object.
- The valency of a verb is expressed by the number of arguments which it requires to form a complete proposition.
- Velar consonants are produced by placing the body of the tongue against the roof of the mouth. The velar consonants of Shemspreg are [k, g, kh, gh].
- A verb is a word which relates arguments together in an action, event, or state of affairs.
- verb phrase
- A verb phrase is a constituent which contains a verb as its head.
- A speech sound is voiced if it is pronounced with regular vocal fold vibration.
- A speech sound is voiceless if it not pronounced with regular vocal fold vibration.
- Voicing is a parameter of pronunciation which refers to the state of the vocal folds. Shemspreg distinguishes voiced from voiceless consonants.
- A vowel is a speech sound which is produced without any radical constriction in the vocal tract. The vowels of Shemspreg are [i, e, a, o, u, ii, ee, aa, oo, uu]
- zero derivation
- Zero derivation is a morphological process which changes a word of one part of speech to another without any change in form.
- Introduction to Shemspreg
- Shemspreg sounds
- Shemspreg nouns
- Shemspreg pronouns and other particles
- Shemspreg verbs
- Shemspreg adjectives
- Shemspreg sentences