- Main article: Qihep
Qihep syntax includes all syntactical features and rules of the Qihep language. As an usual isolating language, Qihep relies heavily on its syntax.
- 1 Word order and typological description
- 2 Use of personal pronouns
- 3 Use of postpositions
- 4 Genitive construction
- 5 Topicalization
- 6 The verbal cluster
- 7 Negation
- 8 Causative forms
- 9 Passive forms
- 10 Locative verbs
- 11 Questions
- 12 The verb "to be"
- 13 Subordinate clauses
Word order and typological description
Typologically speaking, Qihep is a strictly SOV language. That means that in the sentences the word order is unvariably Subject-Object-Verb.
- Subject - Object - Verb: Tȳn ma śak sty, He is following you
Word order is usually strictly respected, since words cannot show morphologically their role in the sentence (almost like in English).
Indirect object are usually placed before the direct object.
- Ul tȳn woroh nat kreś maj, I have never given him the key
Other members of the sentences are placed after the object, and they are mandatorily marked by postpositions, except from some adverbs clearly showing their meaning.
- Tȳn trojkȳtxep woroh ō ta āś fa, He opened the door with the key
- Ul tȳn woroh arbultsēd kreś fa, Yesterday I gave him the key
The order of the other elements of the sentence is not as strict as the main elements, but it usually follow the order Place-Manner-Time.
The word order of a Qihep sentence is thus this:
Qihep is thus a consistently head-final language, which implies also other features:
- Adjective-Noun: adjectives are always placed before their nouns
- Genitive-Noun: genitive constructions are always placed before their nouns
- Noun-Postposition: there are only postpositions and no prepositions
- Relative-Noun: relative sentences are always placed before the noun they specify
Let's see an example of a sentence:
- Wē ū le ma ul dī woroh arbultsēd kreś fa lo
- who[IND.OBJ]-[TOP] you I[GEN]-key yesterday give[PER] [QUES]
- Did you give my key yesterday to whom?
Use of personal pronouns
The use of personal pronoun is not different from English, except that the form of each personal pronoun is always the same. Personal pronouns are always and mandatorily pluralized with the particle la when referring to more than one referents, differently from every other element of the sentence, for which pluralization is always optional.
Thus, differently from English, Qihep has ma for singolar you and ma la for plural you, like many other world languages.
- Ma wū bim sty lo: Where are you going? (only one person)
- Ma la wū bim sty lo: Where are you (all) going? (more than one person)
The forms for the third personal pronouns are only apparently similar to English, and there are two pronouns meaning it:
Tȳn can indicate a male referent or a referent whose gender is not known. Only the context can specify which is the chosen gender. It is used also for animals, male or with undefined gender, but not plants. In the plural usually indicates a genderless group, less frequently an all-male group.
Rȳs can indicate only a female referent. It is used also for animals, when their gender is clearly female. In the plural can indicate only an all-female group.
Qem indicates an unanimated real item, or a group of them in the plural. It can be also used for small animals, but this is not very frequent.
Do indicates something undefined, an idea, a spoken subject, not a tangible item. It's rarely pluralized and its meaning is usually something already said or aforementioned
The reciprocal and reflexive personal pronouns are quite peculiar, and they are never pluralized with la:
Sī, the reciprocal pronoun, indicates that the expressed subjects perform the action reciprocally, an idea that it is expressed in English with the form each other. This pronoun never appear as the subject elements but it is usually placed in the direct or indirect object place, or as another element with a postposition. The subject is always in the plural form, since there should be two or more subjects for the action to be reciprocal.
- Ul la sī mīl, They love each other
Śy, the reflexive pronoun, indicated that the expressed subject performs the action on himself, an idea that it is expressed in English with the suffix -self/selves. This pronoun never appear as the subject elements but it is usually placed in the direct or indirect object place, or as another element with a postposition.
- Tȳn śy ēt sty, He is washing himself
Use of postpositions
As usual for an isolating language, Qihep makes an extensive use of adpositions, to mark the role, which each part of the sentence plays. Typologically coherent with its SOV type, adpositions in Qihep are placed after their objects, thus they are called postpositions.
They are usually divided in groups, according their semantic and syntactical field.
Main syntactic alignment
The main postpositions for the synctatic alignment mark the most important members of the sentences. They are usually not used, since the role of these members can be inferred by their position in the sentence. They are however used to avoid a possible ambiguity and for topicalization.
The postposition wa (called the nominative postposition) marks the subject/agent of a sentence, the one who carries out the action.
- Tanvran wa resvran ta piǵ fa: The man saw the woman, It was the man who saw the woman (highlighting its role as the agent)
The postposition ā (called the accusative postposition) marks the direct object/patient of a sentence, the one whom the action is carried out upon.
- Tanvran resvran ā ta piǵ fa: The man saw the woman, It was the woman whom the man saw (highlighting its role as the patient)
The postposition ū (called the dative postposition) marks the indirect object of a sentence, the one who is the recipient of the action.
- Tanvran resvran ū kōr ta kreś fa: The man gave the woman a book, It was the woman who was given the book by the man (highlighting its role as the indirect object)
Secondary syntactic alignment
The secondary postpositions for the synctatic alignment mark other members of the sentences without a clear locative or temporal meaning. They are always used, since the role of these members cannot be inferred by their position in the sentence.
The postposition dī (called the genitive postposition) marks the possessor of an object, the one who is the direct or indirect owner of something or someone.
- Xūckreśmor dī rof ryf sty: The teacher's dog is barking, The dog of the teacher is barking
More information about the use of this postposition and the expression of possession are given in a separated section about the genitive construction.
The postposition ō (called the instrumental postposition) marks the instrument, with which the action is carried out.
- Xūckreśmor kōr lāoh ō lā sty: The teacher is writing a book with a pen.
This postposition can be used also with human or animal objects, taking the meaning of through, using someone.
The postposition e (called the comitative postposition) marks the object, human or not, with which the action is carried out together.
- Xūckreśmor xūcmeś xūcmor la e mo stā sty: The teacher is in the school with the students right now.
The postposition se (called the privative postposition) marks the object, human or not, which is lacking while the action is being carried out.
- Xūckreśmor faraoh se fara sōl: The teacher usually makes calculations without the calculator.
The postposition ab (called the thematic postposition) marks the object, human or not, which is the thematic topic of the discussion or of the action.
- Xūckreśmor śōn kōr ab ta faxēp sty: The teacher was talking about a beautiful book.
The postposition par (called the causal postposition) marks the object, human or not, which is the cause or the reason for which the action is carried out.
- Xūckreśmor tsīm ud fasvūk par ta vybim fa: The teacher went out of the room because of the noise.
The postposition vor (called the final-benefactive postposition) marks the object, human or not, which is the ultimate aim or the final benficiary of the action carried out.
- Xūcmor la fakreś xūckreśmor vor ta sryńnēm fa: Many students bought a gift for their teacher.
The postposition ki (called the oppositive postposition) marks the object, against which the action is being carried out, which the object is aimed against.
- Xūckreśmor tȳn ki fut fara fa: The teacher will speak against him.
The postposition fe (called the relative postposition) marks an object, human or not, regarding which the action is carried out or in relation with which something else has a certain feature.
- Xūckreśmor ul dī pāp fe vidmēm: The teacher looks very similar to my father.
- Xūckreśmor ma dī kīn fe abce fa: The teacher has reached a decision regarding your behaviour.
Since this postposition is used to mark a relationship, it is also used to show comparison.
- Xūckreśmor ma fe fīfī: The teacher is taller than you (lit. The teacher is very tall in comparison to you.
The postposition bā (called the essive-formal postposition) marks the state, in which an object, human or not, is, while carrying an action, either as a permanent or as a temporary state of being.
- Tȳn xūckreśmor bā ta mar sōl: He used to work as a teacher.
The postposition ho (called the vocative postposition) marks the object, human or not, which is called.
- Xūckreśmor ho, ul tykmeś!: Teacher! I'm here.
There is no correspondance for this postposition in English and in most of the world's languages. Since it is a direct call to someone, it is considered as an independent sentence, it is not part of the following sentence and it does not require the topicalization particle. It is not used when there is no following sentence.
The postposition in (called the agentive-causative postposition) marks the introduction of a new agent in the sentence, which causes another agent to carry out an action.
- Xūcmor lākȳt xūckreśmor in ta lā fa vā: The teacher made the student write a text.
The use of this postposition is quite peculiar, since it introduces an new agent in the sentence, the so-called causer.
More information about the use of this postposition and the expression of causativity are given in a separated section about the causative forms.
The postposition ǵe (called the partitive-singulative postposition) marks a separated and limited quantity of an uncountable name or of a collective name.
- Xūckreśmor bāc ǵe ta tryk fa: The teacher drank a bit of water.
It is not really a postposition, but a grammar particle, since it does not mark a grammar role and it can be freely used with other postpositions.
Qihep lacks generical locative postpositions like English in or to, since it makes an exstensive use of locative verbs. Generical locations are expressed with a separated periphrastic sentence when the main verb of the sentence is not a locative verb:
- Landyn ā dūqin ǵa dī ma la ā le ul la dōb topīk, Welcome to London but literary We welcome well you who have come to London
However, Qihep has locative postpositions. These postpositions usually convey a very precise locative meaning and they can be used also with non-locative verbs.
The postposition un (called the inessive postposition) marks the position or the movement in the internal part of a place.
- Faskytvran trojkȳt un mar sty: The engineer is working inside the building.
The postposition vy (called the elative postposition) marks the position or the movement in the external part of a place.
- Faskytvran trojkȳt vy mar sty: The engineer is working outside the building.
The postposition to (called the adlative postposition) marks the position or the movement in the direction towards a place.
- Faskytvran trojkȳt to bim sty: The engineer is going towards the building.
The postposition dū (called the allative postposition) marks the movement up to a certain part of a place.
- Faskytvran trojkȳt dū ta nōbim fa: The engineer walked up to the building.
The postposition ud (called the ablative postposition) marks the movement away from a place, the source of the movement.
- Faskytvran trojkȳt ud qin sty: The engineer is coming from the building.
The postposition tsu (called the originative postposition) marks the original source of a movement.
- Faskytvran Pari tsu ta qin fa: The engineer left from Paris.
Without a verb this postposition is used to mark the place of origin of someone or something.
- Rȳs Nihon tsu: She comes from Japan
- Tyk Cōnqo tsu: Made in China
The postposition lī (called the intrative postposition) marks the position or the movement between two or more objects, human or not.
- Faskytvran trojkȳt lī nōbim sty: The engineer is walking among the buildings.
The postposition yc (called the perlative postposition) marks the position or the movement through a certain place.
- Pi byl yc picinbim: The river flows through the city.
The postposition xo (called the prolative postposition) marks the position or the movement through a certain place.
- Faskytvran pi xo ta nobim sty: The river was walking along the river.
The postposition an (called the superessive postposition) marks the position or the movement on the surface of something, with a clear contact.
- Faskytvran caś xū an ta po fa: The engineer put the glass on the table.
The postposition xub (called the superessive postposition) marks the position or the movement over a place, without a clear contact.
- Āfmor trojkȳt xub āf sty: The birds are flying over the building.
The postposition pod (called the subessive postposition) marks the position or the movement under a certain place.
- Mew xū pod ta mas fa: The cat hid under the table.
The postposition og (called the postessive postposition) marks the position or the movement behind a certain place.
- Faskytvran trojkȳt og ta bim fa: The engineer went behind the building.
The postposition gy (called the frontal postposition) marks the position or the movement in front of or opposite a certain place.
- Mew pīrmeś gy ta ōwstā sōl: The cat used to sit in front of the fireplace.
The postposition ob (called the circulative postposition) marks the position or the movement around a place, in a circular shape.
- Āfmor la trojkȳt ob ta āf sty: Many birds were flying around the building.
The postposition yr (called the proximal postposition) marks the position or the movement in the nearby of a certain place.
- Faskytvran trojkȳt yr ta mar sty: The engineer was working near the building.
The postposition yl (called the adessive postposition) marks the locative reference in which the action is carried out.
- Faskytvran nar skytmeś yl ta mar sōl: The engineer used to work for that firm.
The postposition ras (called the dispersive postposition) marks the movement towards different directions or locations. It is rarely used as an independent postposition, but it is widely used as a derivative prefix.
- Marmor meś ras ta bim fa: The workers went towards different places, Every worker went towards a different place
Qihep has a set of temporal postposition, which, differently from most languages of the world, are not the same as the locative postposition, and express only a temporal meaning.
The postposition o (called the temporal-essive postposition) marks the precise temporal moment, in which an action is carried out.
- Ul dī gybvran Espańa srīqārtsēd o fut bim fa vol: My parents are going to go to Spain in June.
This postposition can be freely omitted if the temporal reference is clearly understandable for its meaning.
- Tȳn dōm arbultsēd nat qin fa: He didn't come home yesterday.
The postposition on (called the temporal-quantitative postposition) marks the amount of time, used to carry out the action.
- Ul dī pāp ci cas on ta mar fa: My father worked (for) three hours.
The postposition u (called the temporal-ablative postposition) marks the temporal moment, since which the action started to be carried out.
- Ul dī pāp tyk tū u mar sty: My father has been working since this morning.
The postposition bī (called the temporal-ablative postposition) marks the ultimate temporal moment, until which the action started to be carried out.
- Ul dī pāp tyk ān bī mar fa vol: My father is going to work until this evening.
The postposition śi (called the temporal-anterior postposition) marks the temporal moment, before which the action is carried out.
- Ul dī pāp pybultsēd śi ta vybim fa: My father went out before midday.
The postposition ńo (called the temporal-posterior postposition) marks the temporal moment, after which the action is carried out.
- Ul dī pāp pypū ńo ta vybim fa: My father went out after midnight.
Genitive constructions can specify any element of the sentence (except the verb cluster) and they are mandatorily placed before the element they specify.
When they convey a quality of the modified element, they are usually directly placed before their noun without any particle, as in English.
- Dīn vranvran, the population of the world, world population
When they convey a possession, they are usually marked with the genitive particle dī:
- Xūcmor dī kōr, the book of the student, the student's book
- Ul dī rof, My dog, The dog of mine
The genitive particle can be used to convey qualitative specification, in case of ambiguity:
- Nār vran dī byl, the city of that man, that man's city (the city does not belong to the man, but the simple juxtaposition would be ambiguous in a sentence; moreover the difference between attribute and possession is really difficult to distinguish in such sentences, as in English)
As usual for an isolating language, word order in Qihep is strictly respected. There is, however, a way to alter word order, expecially when it doesn't agree with the topic-comment order.
When the topic is not the subject but another element of the sentence, it can be moved in another position, usually at the first position of the sentence (but also the end of the sentece can be a possible position), or syntactically speaking, it can be topicalized. In this case the topicalizing particle le is mandatorily placed after the new topic element.
- Tȳn wū skyt sty lo: What is he doing? → wū le tȳn skyt sty lo: Is he doing what?
Since the topicalization process can obscure the grammatical role of the element, the element itself is usually marked by the corresponding postposition, even if it is the subject, the direct object or the indirect object. The postposition are left out only if ambiguity is not possible.
- Wē ā le ma ta piǵ fa lo: You saw who?, Who is the one who you saw?
- Wē ū le ma woroh ta kreś fa lo: You gave the key to whom?, Who is the one, who you gave the key?
The subject is usually already the topic of the information and would not need topicalizing. It can however be topicalized, with a meaning of intensification of the topic information.
- Wē le sluh krāx ǵa lo: Who is the one who has broken the vase?
The verbal cluster
The verbal cluster is placed at the end of the sentence. Its core is the verb itself, which conveys only the meaning of the action or the state and its intrinsic qualities, like transitivity, intransivity, etc.
The verbal cluster is usually considered as composed of these elements:
The categories negation, time, aspect, mode, and evidentiality are expressed by grammatical particles. None of these particles is absolutely necessary, and none of this is mandatorily present, except for the verb itself.
Negation is usually considered part of the verbal cluster but it will be analysed separately, because of its different behaviour in the sentence.
Use of temporal particles
Temporal particles express the time at which the action of the verb takes place. Three periods are considered, present, past and future. The perception of what exactly is present, past, or future is very subjective but it depends on how broad is considered "present".
For example, the entire period of time taken in consideration can be considered as present if the action covers the entire period of time and still ongoing.
- Ul tyk rok (o) jy mar sty: I'm working hard this year
English usually shares the same perception of present time.
The absence of time particles, quite common, indicates that the time is the present or that the action or the state is always true or that the information about time is not considered as relevant by the speaker. Only the context can disambiguate which idea the speaker wants to transmit.
Temporal particles are placed just before the verb and after the negation particles.
Ta locates the action in the past, every moment before the present.
- Tȳn la dōm ta bim fa, they went home
- Tȳn la dōm ta bim sty, they were going home
- Tȳn la dōm ta bim ǵa, he had already gone home
Rā locates the action in the remote past, that is a past that we feel remote and far from us; it is therefore very used in history reports, tales, fairytales, and almost for every event that took place before the speaker's birth. Its use may vary from speaker to speaker, as it can be very subjective, when referring to non historical events.
- Tȳn la dōm rā bim fa, they went home (speaking about history, or in a tale)
Mo locates the action in the present; it is usually omitted, but when it is expressed, it conveys the meaning of a precise present moment, like the English adverb "right now" (which is usually translated with).
- Tȳn la dōm mo bim sty, they are going home right now
Fut locates the action in the future, every moment after the present.
- Tȳn la dōm fut bim fa, they will go home
- Tȳn la dōm fut bim sty, they will be going home
Fu ta locates the action in the future in the past, which is a moment located in the future of a past time, but still in the past for the speaker.
- Tȳn ta kāǵ fa tȳn la dōm fu ta bim fa ā, he said they would went home
Time particles are routinely omitted because their information is often considered unimportant or irrelevant. Expecially in direct speech, when the time can be easily inferred by the real context, they are less used than in the written form. They are usually never used when another time indication, like yesterday or tomorrow, is already expressed in the sentence.
In a long text, with many sentences, the time particle is usually placed in the first main sentence and then omitted in the following one, only to be placed again if the time changes. If ambiguity arises, the time particle is added again, expecially if the text is very long and the time need to be reasserted to keep the correct time location.
Use of aspectual particles
Aspectual particles express the verbal aspect, that is how the action or the state extends over time, how it is performed over the time, for example if the action is completed or still ongoing, if it is a habitual action or it is repeated over time. Aspect is not directly related to time and differently from English and other European language, it is expressed in the past, in the present and in the future.
The absence of time particles, quite uncommon, indicates that the aspect of the verb is not considered as relevant for the information by the speaker, for example if the action is simply cited for itself, with no relevance for its real happening.
Fa conveys the idea of a completed action, with no regard for its effects or results; the speaker wants to trasmit the idea that the action or the state is completed and without any mention to possible effects on the time he is talking about. This is called perfective aspect:
- Ul ryb ta cax fa, I ate the fish: the speaker says he ate chicken, with no attention of its effects on the present.
- Ul ryb fut cax fa, I will eat the chicken, the speaker says he will eat chicken and that he will eat it completely.
Ǵa conveys the idea of an action which results still have effects on the moment the speaker is talking about, with the action usually meant as completed; the action is perceived to be just performed. It almost corresponds to the English perfect tenses, and it is called the perfect aspect.
- Ul ta cax ǵa, I had eaten, I had just eaten: the speaker says he ate something, but there something about the action which still affects the present, for example to stress the fact that is stil sated.
Sty conveys the idea of a ongoing action, marking an uncompleted ongoing action in the moment the speaker is talking about. It almost corresponds to the English continous tenses, and it is called the continuous aspect.
- Ul ryb cax sty, I am eating a fish: the speaker says he's performing the action of eating (usually not marked in the present)
- Ul ryb ta cax sty, I was eating a fish: the speaker says he was performing the action of eating in the moment he is talking about.
Differently from English wich uses perfect continuous forms to express this kind of actions, Qihep marks ongoing action with indication of the moment of their start with the simple continuous forms, not using the perfect forms.
- Ul ryb rok on nat cax sty, I have not been eating fish for a year: the speaker says he have not been performing the action for this time frame. Time is unmarked, that is present, and the aspect is only continous.
Sōl conveys the idea of a habitual action , it marks an action which is routinely or habitually performed. It is translated with the English form usually or the construction used to in the past, and it is called the habitual aspect.
- Ul ryb cax sōl, I usually eat fish, the speaker has the habit of eating fish
- Ul ryb ta cax sōl, I used to eat fish, the speaker had the habit of eating fish (and presumably he has not anymore)
Rē conveys the idea of a repetitive action, which is repeatedly performed but not habitually nor regularly. It is translated with the English form again or the construction keep to, and it is called the repetitive aspect
- Tȳn ryb cax rē, He keeps on eating fish, He's eating again and again, the speaker says that the subject is repeatedly performing the action
Pyr conveys the idea of an action which is about to be performed in the moment the speaker is talking about. It is translated with the English about to, and it is called the prospective aspect
- Ul cax pyr, I am about to eating, the speaker says that the action of eating is not yet begun but it is about to do so.
Maj conveys the idea that the speaker has or hasn't experienced the action almost once in a life in the moment he is talking about. It is translated with the English form already in positive sentences or with ever and never in questions or negative sentences. It is called the experiencial aspect
- Ul ryb cax maj, I have already eaten fish, the speaker says he has experienced fish almost once. This kind of sentence never express the meaning of just which the adverb already can convey, this is expressed by the perfect particle.
- Ul ryb nat cax maj, I have never eaten fish, the speaker says he has never experienced fish in his life
- Ma ryb cax maj lo, Have you ever eaten fish?, the speaker asks someone whether he has ever experienced fish in his life
As in English these sentences are temporally located in the corresponding perfect tense, but they are marked with this aspectual particle, not with the perfect one.
If left unexpressed, the time considered for the experience is the life of the speaker, past or future. The timespan can however be expressed and thus limited.
- Ul ryb tyk rok o nat cax maj, I have never eaten fish this year, the speaker says he has not experienced fish in the entire current year, but he might have eaten it before.
Use of modal particles
Modal particles express verbal modality, describing a quality about the action or the state expressed by the verb. English has only two modes (or moods) and it relies on modal verbs to express the same meaning of Qihep modal particles.
The absence of any modal particles conveys the basic idea of an action or a state, the reality form, without any added information about wish, obligation, possibility, etc.
Modal particles are placed after the aspectual particles and before the evidential particles. Since it is possible for more that one modal particles to be present in a verbal cluster, they can be added in the following order.
Vol conveys an idea of will, intent, intention or the idea for a planned action
- Tȳn lākȳt ta lā vol: He wanted to write a text (the subject had the intention to write the text, and it is almost sure he wrote it)
- Tȳn lākȳt fut lā vol: He is going to write a text (he has the intention and has planned to write the text)
Des conveys the idea of wish, desire, crave or hope, but it doesn't give any information about intention or planning
- Tȳn lākȳt fut lā des: He would like to write a text (the subject has the wishes to write the text, but we have no information if he has planned to do so)
- Tȳn lākȳt ta lā des: He wished to write a text (the subject has the wishes to write the text, but it seemed unlikely that he wrote it)
Without any specific subject or with a subject that cannot feel wish, it can express a general hope for the action to get real (something like the English subjunctive with may):
- Dōb lākȳt ā le fut lā fa des: May a good text be written (we hope that it will be this way)
Pos conveys an idea of ability, capability, that the subject knows how to do something, both an innate or a learnt capability.
- Tȳn nat lā pos: He cannot write (for example, because the subject is too young, and still does not know how to write)
Kra conveys an idea of a momentaneous ability, something that the subject can do in this moment, not a forever real capability.
- Tȳn nat lā sty kra: He cannot write (for example, the subject is too excited to write, too cold or too frightened, a momentaneous condition, but he knows how to write)
Ro conveys an idea of possibility, likelihood, potentiality of the action
- Tȳn lākȳt fut lā ro: He may write a text (it will be possible for the subject to perform the action and likely will do it)
- Tȳn lākȳt ta lā fa ro: He might have written a text (it was possible for the subject to perform the action and very likely has done it)
Da conveys an idea of allowance, permission, consent, approval
- Tȳn lākȳt fut lā da: He can write a text (the subject has received permission to do it)
- Tȳn lākȳt ta lā fa da: He was allowed write a text (the subject received permission to write, and very likely has done it)
Ōb conveys an idea of obligation, assigned duty or task, requirement
- Tȳn lākȳt fut lā fa ōb: He has to write down a text (the subject has the obligation to write, not doing it on his own initiative)
- Tȳn lākȳt ta lā ōb: He was compelled to write a text (the subject feels the obligation to write )
Nec conveys an idea of necessity, need, must
- Tȳn lākȳt lā nec: He must write a text (the subject feel the need, on his own initiative, to write)
- Tȳn lākȳt fut lā fa ōb: He needed to write down a text (the subject had the need to write the text, and likely has done it)
Vā conveys a causative sense, indicating that a subject causes someone or something to perform an action which was non-voluntarily (normally expressed in English by the auxiliary verbs let, make, get or have). Since a new performer of the action is introduced, the syntax of the sentence is reorganized. This will be analysed separately.
- Tȳn wa lākȳt rȳs in ta lā fa vā: She made him write a text
Kōm conveys an incohative action, marking a beginning action
- Tȳn lākȳt ta lā fa kōm: He began to write a text (the subject gets the action started)
Since the beginning action is inherently imperfective, aspectual particles with this modal particles refer to the aspects of the action of beginning, not the main action itself.
Fōr conveys an idea of hypothesis. It usually translate the concept of if, in the case that, maybe
- Tȳn lākȳt ta lā fa fōr: In the case he could have written a text (we express the hypothesis the subject would have performed the action)
Si conveys the idea of direct command, order, injunction. It usually translate the concept of English imperative mood, that is the subject is given the order to perform the action by the speaker:
- Ma lākȳt lā fa si: Write down a text (the subject is ordered to write)
It should be noted that the verb is not placed at the beginning of the sentence, but it is left in its normal position.
Differently from English, which for the second person left the subject unexpressed, the subject who has to perform the action is always expressed, expecially in the written language. Only in direct speech, in a strongly emotional situation for example, the second person can be left out:
- Lā fa si: Write! (This is an order given in a state of anger or anxiety, for example)
Also differently from English, which use the modal verb let to express imperative forms for other persons than the second one, these imperative forms are expressed with the simple modal particle si:
- Tȳn lākȳt lā fa si: Let him write down a text!
- Ul la lākȳt lā fa si: Let's write down a text!
Use of evidential particles
Evidential particles express the nature of the evidence for a statement, if evidence exists for the action stated or the attitude of the speaker in relation to the reported information.
The absence of any evidential particle does not imply that the speaker has actually witnessed the reported action, but only that this information is not relevant for the speech. There is however no evidential particle to express eye-witness of the action and this must be deduced by the context or lexically expressed.
Evidential particles are placed after the aspectual and modal particles and are always the last element of the verbal cluster.
Nah conveys the idea of reported action, with a stress on the fact that the information is reported by someone else, and that the speaker (and not the subject of the action) has not personally witnessed the action.
- Ńakvran sluh ta krāx fa nah: I was told that someone broke the vase (The speaker has not seen the action nor the broken vase, but someone else has told him about what happened)
Box conveys an idea of doubt about the tale. The action is reported by someone else, and the speaker (and not the subject of the action) has not eye-witnessed either the action or any evidence about it and according to him/her the action is doubtful.
- Ńakvran sluh ta krāx fa box: It seems/I was told that someone might have broken the vase (The speaker has not seen the action nor the broken vase, someone else has told him about what happened, but he express a serious doubt about the reported action)
Kap conveys an idea of deduction, since the speaker (and not the subject) has not personally seen the action, but he/she has seen some evidences about the action and he/she deduces the action from these evidences.
- Ńakvran sluh ta krāx fa kap: Someone has broken the vase (The speaker has not seen the action, but he has found and seen the broken vase, and makes his own deduction about what happened)
Negation is expressed by two negation particles. It is usuall considered as a part of the verbal cluster. The two particles are:
Nat, which negates every element or cluster placed after it. In the verbal cluster it is placed before the time particles:
- Ma pām ta sryńnēm fa, You bought the bread → Ma pām nat ta sryńnēm fa, You didn't buy the bread
The verbal cluster is not altered by the negation as in English.
The negation particle can however be placed outside the verbal cluster, negating thus a specific element of the sentence:
- Ma pām ta sryńnēm fa, You bought the bread → Nat ma le pām ta sryńnēm fa, It wasn't you who bought the bread
- Ma pām ta sryńnēm fa, You bought the bread → ma nat pām a ȳk le ta sryńnēm fa, You didn't buy the bread but meat
The negated elements are usually topicalized with le, but they are not mandatorily placed at the beginning of the sentence.
Pē, which express a prohibition, a forbiddance, thus the imperative form of the negative. It alters the verbal cluster, since the imperative modal particle is usually omitted.
- Ma pām sryńnēm fa si, Buy the bread! → Ma pām pē sryńnēm fa, Don't buy the bread!
This particle cannot negate other elements of the sentence.
As in English, double negatives are not allowed in Qihep. Only one word in the sentence can be negated:
- Ul nanvran ta piǵ fa: I saw nobody
- Ul ńakvran nat ta piǵ fa: I did not see anybody
Causative forms are peculiar, since they introduce a new argument, the causer, which causes someone or something to perform the action. The syntax of the sentence is therefore modified in English, since the performer is marked as the object and the causer as the subject, and the causative action is marked by verbs like to let, to make, to cause, to have, or to get.
Qihep uses a causative modal particle, vā added in the verbal cluster to mark the causative form of the verb. The performer of the action remain in its subject position, while the causer is introduced in the action as another member of the sentence and it is marked by the causative-agentive postposition in.
- Ul ta wā fa → Ul tȳn in ta wā fa vā, I cried → he made me cry
The causer is placed, like the other elements of the sentence after the direct object, but since it has an agentive roles, it is usually place before any other element. All other elements are placed in their regular positions.
- Ul la lākȳt tȳn in arbultsēd lā fa vā, Yesterday he made us write a text
A particular use of the postposition in is with the modal particles vol and des, expressing intention and desire respectively. When a new agent is introduced in the sentence, whose verb is marked by these particles, it conveys the idea that the intention or the desire are the new agent's. This one of the ways to express the construction to want someone to do something.
- Ma dōm bim fa vol → Ma dōm ul in bim fa vol, You want to go home → I want you to go home
This construction is considered as a form of causative sentence in Qihep, but the causative modal particle vā is not used.
Qihep verbs lack a passive form. In order to express a meaning similar to a passive forme, the object is moved to the first position of the sentence and is marked it with the accusative particle ā and with the topicalizing particle le. Since there is no real passivization, the agent of the action is not marked and is left in its subject position:
- Mew mīś ta fabej fa, the cat killed the mouse → mīś ā le mew ta fabej fa, the mouse was killed by the cat
If there is no agent, the subject is simply left unexpressed, and the use of the topicalizing particles becomes optional:
- Mīś ā le ta fabej fa, the mouse was killed
As in English, this the way to express the impersonal subject of other languages:
- Qīxēp ā tykmeś xēp, Qihep is spoken here, in French: ici on parle qihep, in Italian qui si parla qihep, in German man spricht Qihep hier
Even if it is possible to form a passive adjective with the suffix -sy, this is never used as a verb, but only as an adjective.
- Mew fabejsy mīś ta cax fa, The cat ate the killed mouse
Qihep lacks generic locative postpositions (the locative postpositions usually convey well defined and clear locative meanings, like near or towards). This is because there are locative verbs, which express the meaning of location or movement. This kind of verbs treat the location or the destination of the movement as their object, so they are marked by the simple position in the sentence.
- Ul xūcmeś ńik bultsēd bim sōl, I go to school every day
- Tȳn la Itālia ta sōlǵīv sōl, They used to live in Italy
- Ma wū stā lo, Where are you?
When a verb can express both the source and the destination of a movement, the source takes the place of the indirect object, while the destination is still the object of the verb.
- Ul frīnmeś dūm ta bim fa, She went home from the market
When the location or the destination need to be marked to avoid ambiguity or topicalized, they are marked with the object particle ā.
- Wū ā le rȳs stā lo, She is in which place?
When the source of movement needs to be marked to avoid ambiguity or topicalized, it is marked by postposition ud.
- Ul la Itālia ud ta qin fa, We came from Italy
When we want to express a locative expression in a sentence with another non-locative verbs, we have to use a relative sentence with a locative verb.
- Rōma ā dūqin ǵa dī ma la ā le ul la dōb topīk, Welcome to Rome!, (lit. We receive well you that you have come to Rome)
- Tȳn la nār sryńmeś ā stā sty dī xūckreśmor ta piǵ fa, They saw the professor in that shop (lit. They saw the professor who was in that shop)
Several locative verbs are used in Qihep, most of them are derative forms of the basic locative verbs bim, to go, and qin, to come. The most used are enlisted below.
|stā||to be in|
|bim||to go to|
|dōlbim||to go down to, to descend to|
|dūbim||to arrive to, to reach|
|unbim||to go in, to enter|
|vybim||to go out, to exit|
|qin||to come to|
|dōlqin||to come down to, to descend to|
|dūqin||to arrive to, to reach|
|unqin||to come in, to enter|
|vyqin||to come out, to exit|
|sōlǵīv||to live in|
Direct interrogative sentences, or questions, are built differently from English. The position of every word is unaltered and the entire sentence is marked by the interrogative particle lo at the very end of the sentence.
- Tȳn kōr sa sty → tȳn kōr sa sty lo, he is reading a book → is he reading a book?
The word order remains the same even with interrogative pronouns or adverbs, which are placed in their regular position; they can be regularily fronted by using the topicalizing particle le, but the meaning expressed is slightly different, since it is topicalized.
- Ma wū ta sryńnēm fa lo, What did you buy?
- Wūmeś le ma qem ta sryńnēm fa lo, Which is the place where you bought them?
If the question is followed by a subordinate or a coordinate clause, the particle lo is placed at the end of these clauses, if their meaning is part of the question.
- Ma ul woroh kreś fa ul tyk trojkȳtxep āśvor fa le lo, Would you give me the keys to open this door?
The basic answers to a yes/no question are:
- Dā, yes
- Nā, no
The verb "to be"
Qihep lacks a verb meaning to be in the form that English or other European languages have. It has instead more constructions:
With the meaning of locative to be, to find yourself, the locative verb stā is used, according to the rules of locative verbs.
- Rȳs dōm mo stā sty, She is at home right now
With the meaning of existencial to be, that is to be there, the verb ē is used.
- Dē la ē sty, There are many children
With the meaning of qualitative or attributive to be, that is X is Y, there are no verbal form available. Adjectives or apposition are simply placed in the verbal position.
- Tȳn jenmor, He is a doctor
- Ul la jūn, We are young
The adjectives are treated like verbs in this case, and they take the role of the core of the verbal cluster, taking the necessary grammar particles:
- Ul la nat jūn ǵa, We are not young anymore
Also appositive names can be treated like verbs, but the sentence is usually transformed with other verbs, so that at the core of verbal cluster there is a real verb.
- Tȳn ta jenmor sōl, He used to be a doctor → Tȳn jenmor bā ta mar sōl, He used to work as a doctor
Qihep lacks proper subordinating particles, as it considers subordinate as phrasal elements of the main sentence. Even if it might be possible to place this phrasal element inside the sentence, it is usually placed in the beginning or at end of the sentence, i.e before of after the main sentence.
Subjective and objective clauses
Subjective and objective clauses are marked respectively with the grammar particles for the subject, wa, and for the direct object, ā, placed after the verbal cluster. If they are placed before the main sentence, they are mandatorily marked with the topicalizing particle le, while if they are placed after the main sentence, le is not mandatory.
- Ma qin ǵa wa le śōn, it is beautiful that you have come
- Tȳn kāg fa upbultsēd klōj bim fa ā, he said it will rain tomorrow
Qihep lacks proper relative pronouns, as it considers relative clauses as phrasal specifying elements, like a genitive phrasal element. The relative sentence is placed before the noun it specifies and it is marked by the genitive particle dī.
There is some difference, however, according to the role that the specified element plays in the relative clause:
When the specified element is the subject of the relative clause, it can be dropped, but the object must be mandatorily marked with the object particle ā:
- Ul tȳn Qīxēp ta xūckreś fa dī xūckreśmor ta unqum fa, I met the teacher who taught Qihep
- Ul Qīxēp ā ta xūckreś fa dī xūckreśmor ta unqum fa, I met the teacher who taught Qihep
When the specified element is the object of the relative clause, it can be dropped, and the subject can be marked with the subject particle wa, but this is not mandatory:
- Ul ma tȳn arbultsēd piǵ fa dī xūckreśmor ta unqum fa, I met the teacher whom you saw yesterday
- Ul ma wa arbultsēd piǵ fa dī xūckreśmor ta unqum fa, I met the teacher whom you saw yesterday
- Ul ma arbultsēd piǵ fa dī xūckreśmor ta unqum fa, I met the teacher whom you saw yesterday
When the specified element is the indirect object of the relative clause, the sentence is expressed as normal, but the indirect object pronoun is expressed by the corresponding personal pronoun and it can be marked by the dative particle ū, and the direct object with the object particle ā, expecially in case of ambiguity:
- Ul ma tȳn kōr ta kreś fa dī xūckreśmor ta unqum fa, I met the teacher whom you had given the book
- Ul ma tȳn ū kōr ta kreś fa dī xūckreśmor ta unqum fa, I met the teacher whom you had given the book
- Ul ma tȳn ū kōr ā ta kreś fa dī xūckreśmor ta unqum fa, I met the teacher whom you had given the book
When the specified element plays one of the other roles in the relative clause, the sentence is expressed as normal, the element is expressed by the corresponding personal pronoun and it is mandatorily marked by the corresponding particle:
- Ul ma tȳn ab ta faxēp sty dī xūckreśmor ta unqum fa, I met the teacher whom you were talking about
The same process is used when the specified elements is in genitive construction (expressed in English by the relative pronoun whose) in the relative clause. The specified element is expressed by the corresponding personal pronoun and it is mandatorily marked by the genitive particle dī:
- Ul tȳn dī kōr śōn dī xūckreśmor ta unqum fa, I met the teacher whose book is beautiful
There are two kinds of temporal clauses: those that refer to a single or precise moment, expressed by the word dān, moment, and those that refer to a longer period of time, expressed by the word tsēd, time.
This word are marked by the corresponding temporal grammar particles o, on, u, bī, śi, ńo, and placed at the beginning or at the end of the sentence with the topicalizing particle le. The possibile temporal constructions are:
- Dān o le (in the moment when) or tsēd o le (in the period when) = when, while
- Dān u le (from the moment when) or tsēd u le (from the period when) = since
- Dān bī le (until the moment when) or tsēd bī le (until the period when) = until
- Dān śi le (after the moment when) or tsēd śi le (after the period when) = after
- Dān ńo le (before the moment when) or tsēd ńo le (before the period when) = before
The meaning of the construction is usually specified by the aspectual particles of the verb:
- Dān o le tȳn vybim fa tȳn tȳn la ta unqum fa, When he went out, he met them.
- Dān o le tȳn nōbim sty tȳn tȳn la ta unqum fa, While he was walking, he met them.
There are two ways of expressing a purpose clause:
1. The supine verbal suffix -vor is used and the clause is usually but not mandatorily marked by the topicalizing particle le after the verbal cluster. The verbal form can be specified by modal and aspectual particles, but time particles are usually not used.
- Ul qin ǵa ul ma śpomvor fa le, I've come to help you.
2. The purpose clause is marked by the construction tsel vor le, which can be placed at the beginning or at the end of the clause, and all verbal particles are used.
- Ul qin ǵa tsel vor le ul la śpom fa, I've come to help you.
Causal clauses are marked by the construction prīc par le, which can be placed at the beginning or at the end of the clause.
- Xup nēmvran ta vēbeg fa prīc par le tyn la ā piǵ fa, the two thieves ran away, because they saw them.
Modal clauses are marked by the construction cin bā le, which can be placed at the beginning or at the end of the clause.
- Ma kīn fa si cin bā le ma wiś, Do as you want!
There are two ways of expressing an exclusive clause:
1. The clause is marked by the privative postposition se, placed after the verbal cluster. If the sentence is placed before the main sentence, it is mandatorily marked with the topicalizing particle le, while if it is placed after the main sentence, le is not mandatory.
- Tȳn ta bim fa ma snā ǵa se, He went without you knowing.
2. The clause is marked by the construction skyttān se le, which can be placed at the beginning or at the end of the clause.
- Tȳn mar qum fa skyttān se le nankvran tȳn ta śpom ǵa, He found a job without anyone helping.
This kind of clauses are usually avoided, if a nominal construction can be used.
- Tȳn mar nankvran dī śpom se qum fa, He found a job without the help of anyone.
Indirect interrogative clauses
Indirect interrogative clauses are marked in two ways:
If there is an interrogative pronoun or adverb, the sentence is placed before or after the noun without the interrogative particle lo:
- Ul nat snā wē ta vybim fa, I don't know who went out
If in the corrisponding direct question there is no interrogative pronoun or adverb, the sentence is placed before or after the verb with the interrogative particle lo in the right place:
- Ul nat snā rȳs ta vybim fa lo, I don't know if she went out
Indirect interrogative clauses can be marked with the object particle ā or the topicalizing particle le, but this is not mandatorily and they are usually used only in case of ambiguity, especially when the interrogative clause is placed before the main sentence.
- Ul nat snā rȳs wū ta kāǵ fa ā, I don't know who went out
- Ul tȳn ńakqem ta kāǵ fa lo ā le tȳn la nat snā , Whether I told him anything, they don't know
Conditional clauses are not explicity marked with a grammar particle nor with the topicalizing particle, but by the modal hypothetical particle fōr. Two sentences with verbs marked with fōr are meant as a conditional clause and its main clause:
- Tȳn la dōm fut bim fōr, ul tȳn la e fut bim fōr, If they went home, I would go with them.
- Tȳn do ta snā fa fōr, tȳn ma ta śpom fa fōr, If he had know, he would have helped you
The hypothetical particle fōr strictly marks an hypothesis, so it is not used when it's not an hyphotesis, but a state of fact:
- Bul tykmeś stā, pū nat, If there is the sun, it is not night
When the meaning of if is more temporal than an hypothesis, the clause is meant as temporal and not conditional:
- If you come, you'll see him (= When you come), Dān o le ma fut qin fa, ma tȳn fut piǵ fa
- If there is the sun, it is not night (= When there is no sun), Tsēd o le bul tykmeś stā, pū nat
When in the main clause there is an imperative form, the hypothetical particle can be dropped.
- Ma ȳd fut piǵ fa fōr, ma vēbeg fa si!, If you saw a snake, run away!
Concessive clauses are marked by the construction natjēētān le, which can be placed at the beginning or at the end of the clause.
- Rȳs tsāl pū on ta mar fa natjēētān le rȳs mu sty, She worked all night although she was tired.