I'saka Language - Grammar


Personal pronouns show morphological variants for number (singular, plural, and a dual in first and second person), gender (masculine or non-masculine, marked on third person singular pronouns only) and case (see below). The semantic basis for the grammatical gender system is as follows. The masculine gender indicates 'animate male entities and items immediately associated with them', and the non-masculine gender indicates anything else, i.e. a generic, default gender.

I’saka has fairly strict Subject–Object–Verb word order for declarative sentences. Personal pronouns have Unmarked, Nominative, Accusative and Possessive case forms. The Nominative case pronouns are used for the subjects of transitive and intransitive verbs, the accusative pronouns for the objects of transitives. Pronouns in oblique roles take the Unmarked case form. The Unmarked case forms can also be used in place of Nominative and Possessive pronouns, but the significance of the choice is not clear. Nouns do not have case marking in core grammatical roles, although there are suffixes for Instrumental, Accompaniment/Location and Predicate possessor.

Verbs have more obligatory morpholological marking than nouns. There are prefixes agreeing with the subject. A subset of transitive verbs mark their objects, either by means of an object suffix, or by suppletion of the verb stem. Most verbs do not have object marking.

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