Modifier phrases

Modifier is an optional element in sentence which modifies another element of sentence (usually object or subject) and can be removed without affecting the meaning of the sentence. Typical modifiers are adjectival phrases and determiner words. Modifier phrase usually answers the question “which?”. Adverbial phrases also belong to this category, but they modify either verbs or other modifiers.

The phrase is adjectival when it is functioning as adjective, describing subject or object (attributive) or is part of predicate (predicative, usually after verb “to be”, describing together the subject).

Determiner is the word, phrase or affix that occurs together with noun or noun phrase and is used as it's attribute and reference in the context. Determiner words without noun are individual members of sentence (subject or object).

Attributive is a word or phrase within noun phrase that modifies that noun. They are usually adjectives, other nouns, numerals and non-finite forms of verbs.

Adjectival phrase may be expressed by an adjective, dependent clause or one of determiner words:

  • Adjective: “brave orc” ⇒ “for uruk” = “urukfor”;
  • Adjective modified by adverb: “very strong orc” ⇒ “sharz bolg uruk”;
  • Attributive noun, usually becoming a compound word (like “bûbhosh” = “pig guts”);
  • Noun or phrase with noun in essive case: “monster-like face” ⇒ “thak uglauksi”;
  • Noun or phrase with noun in comitative case: “orc with knife” ⇒ “uruk kirmsha”;
  • Possessive phrase (noun or pronoun) expressed by genitive case: “master's ring” ⇒ “nazg mâgzob”;
  • Participle: “the crying orc” ⇒ “blordug uruk”;
  • Gerundive: “boots for walking” ⇒ “shkab ukhat” = “boots to walk”;
  • One of determiner words (see pro-forms):
    • Demonstrative: “this person” ⇒ “za shra”;
    • Quantifier: “some beer” ⇒ “mûd hîmb”;
    • Numeral: “three ravens” ⇒ “krig krag”;
    • Some interrogative and relative pronouns: “How many stars are there in the sky?” ⇒ “Mamak ilz kulû nûtir”;
  • Expression of measure: “Twenty thousand leagues under the sea” ⇒ “Krulnuk mink laur lata kârsh”;
  • Dependent clause: “I dwell in the house that Gazmog built” ⇒ “Dafulg ozdor (z)amash Gazmog tumbuzâ”;

Word Order

The rules below are quite loose and have recommendatory character only.

Clitic determiners

Attributives expressed by short adjective, possessive pronoun, demonstrative “za” (this) are often joined to the end of the noun which they modify (e.g. “shar” = “old man”). Attributive nouns by contrast are placed before the noun they describe (“bûbhosh” = “pig guts”). Stand-alone long adjectives, that are not joined to the noun, are usually placed before described words. But this rule is not strict, and in archaic or poetic speech stand-alone adjectives may be placed after described word as in Quenya.

Stand-alone determiners

The following adjectival phrases are placed before described word:

  • Numerals
  • Stand-alone adjectives
  • Participles (single-word)
  • Demonstrative pronoun “zîg” (that)
  • Quantifiers

and these types are placed after described word:

  • Stand-alone adjectives and participles in archaic speech
  • Phrases with nouns/numerals/pronouns/pro-forms in cases other than Nominative and Accusative
  • Distributive
  • Relative or interrogative pronouns with dependent words
  • Participles with dependent words
  • Dependent clauses

syntax_determiner.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/07 00:59 (external edit)