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Parseltongue defaults to VSO, except in questions and topic-prominent sentences. Interrogative words nearly always come first. Generally speaking, it is strongly head-initial. Adjectives typically follow their noun. The major exception to this is the preponderance of postpositions (like Krongo). Some linguistic features are double-marked, but most are dependent-marked.

Other word-orders draw attention to different elements. Snakes report VOS demotes the importance of the subject and slightly highlights the object. SVO dramatically foregrounds the subject alone. SOV is almost comical in its intense focus upon all three elements (with the subject being "loudest"). OVS and OSV highlight the object, with OSV paralleling SOV in exaggeration. Focus on the verb is generally achieved via VSO/VOS and repeating the verb as an ablative relative clause.

Genitive Phrases

There is no way for genitive phrases (Partitive, Possessive, or Genitive) to indicate to whom they belong apart from proximity, so they always follow their noun (phrase).

Comparatives are formed Standard-Marker-Adjective. e.g. Harry-of-good --> better than Harry.

In apposition, the proper noun almost always precedes the common noun.


For a good introduction to Subject vs. Topic, see here

Parseltongue is both topic-prominent and subject-prominent, like Japanese and Korean. English-speakers will find it difficult to predict when the area of discourse will be given in the Topico-dative case, and when it will be given in the Nominative/Agentive. An even more difficult distinction is whether or not to start a topic, and then make it the deitic center, the "I". In general, a subject to be discussed between 2 and 6 sentences utterances is topicalized but not centered. Snakes report using the topic when they are speaking of one thing, and thinking of another. Topics are almost always distinguishable from locative/instrumental uses of the dative by being fronted in the utterance.