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Special Phrases

This lesson discusses several advanced topics in phrase and sentence structure, including compound sentences, conjunction linking, quotations, user-defined pronouns, and selective phrase targeting.

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences are a collection of two or more sentences connected by the pronoun Yy (yee, "that").  This pronoun literally stands for "the next sentence".

The pronoun Yy (yee, "that") is used to allow an object to be an entire sentence, complete with predicates.  This is frequently done with the direct object of thought and speech verbs, like "think" and "say", so that a speaker can discuss entire sentences:

  • I think I'll jump: Wy vy su Yy. Wy fufim. (wee vee s'yee. wee f'fihm, "me think containing that. me future jump.")
  • You know you want to: Yw kFn su Yy. Yw ,lyDy. (yooh kayn s'yee. yooh lee-dzee, "you know-about containing that. you do desire.")
  • He/she writes about people helping animals: Ww prk su Yy. vufr kam su vukaN. (wooh purk s'yee.  v'fur kam s'v'kang, "it write containing that. plural person help containing plural animal.")

The pronoun Yy (yee, "that") is primarily useful because it allows a phrase to contain predicates indirectly.  This pronoun may also be used to simplify overly-large sentences by breaking them up into smaller sentences, or to make quotations as described in the Quotations section of this lesson.

When the word Yy (yee, "that") appears, it is usually the last word in a sentence, but this is not always the case.  Sometimes it is helpful to split the subject of a sentence into a separate sentence of its own:

  • The leaves that will turn red are already dying: Yy quxXwxJw. RyjCk fuxw su Hix. (yee thuhsh-zhoohsh-jooh. ree-chauwk f'shoo s'khhish, "that present-continuously sustain anti. these leaf future become containing red.")

In the above example, the second sentence (in its entirety) is the subject of the first sentence.

Composite Sentences

Sometimes you'll need to modify something with a group of sentences, rather than with a single sentence.  When a group of sentences becomes a modifier, it is called a composite sentence.  A composite sentence is always a part of a larger compound sentence.

To form a composite sentence, simply insert the single-word sentence Yy. (yee, "that.") after any sentence that modifies another sentence.  Any sentence that follows the single-word sentence Yy. (yee, "that.") continues to modify whatever the previous sentence modified:

  • I need you to move, and you (other) to help: Wy ,lyDU su Yy. Yw pwx. Yy. YwmU kam. (wee lee-dzul s'yee.  yooh poohsh.  yee.  yooh-mul kam, "me do needing containing that. you move-go. that. you other help.")

Here, the first  Yy (yee, "that") tells the listener that the following sentence will describe what is "needed".  The second, single-word sentence Yy. (yee, "that.") tells the listener that the description for what is "needed" is ongoing, and will continue with the following sentence.

A composite sentence may consist of many sentences chained together.  The single-word sentence Yy. (yee, "that.") must appear between each other sentence.

Branching Sentences

Beware!  This is a rarely used and confusing subject, even for advanced speakers.  It is included here only for completeness.

It is possible to use more than one Yy (yee, "that") in the same sentence, although this is very uncommon.  If Yy (yee, "that") appears twice, it normally refers to the same sentence:

  • I know that I know (phrased poetically): Yy su Yy. Wy kFn. (yee s'yee. wee kayn, "that containing that. me know-about.")

It is also possible to refer to more than one sentence in the same sentence.  This is done by enumerating Yy (yee, "that").  The pronoun Yy (yee, "that") has a special meaning when enumerated:

  • The next sentence: Yy (yee, "that")
  • The next sentence after the previous chain: Yy Rw (yee rooh, "that one")
  • The next sentence after the previous two chains: Yy kw (yee kooh, "that two")

A chain of sentences is a subset of a compound sentence.  One chain is all of the sentences connected through a single Yy (yee, "that").  Here is a vacuous example to demonstrate how the order "unrolls":

  • [Base:] Yy(A0) su Yy Rw(A1) su Yy kw.(A2)  [A0:] Yy(B1) su Yy Rw.(B2)  [B1:] Ww.  [B2:] Ww. [A1:] Ww. [A2:] Ww.

Each Yy (yee, "that") has a superscript, and each corresponding sentence is prefaced with a label.  Notice that [B1] and [B2] are unrolled before [A1] and [A2].  Since [A0] is unrolled first, everything in its chain gets unrolled before the other two Yy (yee, "that") that appear in the same sentence.

Conjunction Linking

Conjunctions follow several special rules, in addition to those named in the (basic) Verb Phrases lesson:

  1. Under normal circumstances, a conjunction introduces a secondary subject for a verb.
  2. If a conjunction takes a preposition prefix, it introduces a conditional object for the verb instead.  (This is true regardless as to what the conjunction's object is.)
  3. If a conjunction's object is Yy (yee, "that"), and it has no preposition prefix, it links two sentences together instead.

Conjunctions that modify objects no longer add another subject to the sentence.  Rather, they imply that the subject performs the verb on more than one object.  This is useful because of the conditional nature of conjunctions.  Here are some examples:

  • Either the dog or the cat is red: RuRcf ,ly su Hix Yu RufaQ. (r'ruof lee s'khhish y'r'fadth, "this dog do containing red and-or this cat.")
  • The dog is either red, or cat-like: RuRcf ,ly su Hix xuYu RufaQ. (r'ruof lee s'khhish sh'y'r'fadth, "this dog do containing red phrase and-or this cat.")
  • You can find a place, if I can: Yw nBfmy su QuDr fi Wy. (yooh noif-mee s'dth'dzur fih wee, "you find able containing a location if me.")
  • You can find a place, if you can find me: Yw nBfmy su QuDr xufi Wy. (yooh noif-mee s'dth'dzur sh'fih wee, "you find able containing a location phrase if me.")

Conjunctions require a verb for grammatical correctness, which is why the generic verb ,ly (lee, "do") appears in the first two examples above.

The meaning of a conjunction also changes when its object is Yy (yee, "that").  Instead of introducing a second subject, the conjunction links two sentences (in their entirety) by the condition.  As always, only the verb targeted by a conjunction is part of the conditional statement:

  • I will go if you will go: Wy fupwx fi Yw. (wee f'poohsh fih yooh, "me future move-go if you.")
  • I will go if you will help: Wy fupwx fi Yy. Yw kam. (wee f'poohsh fih yee. yooh kam, "me future move-go if that. you help.")
  • I will go if you will help, and I will talk (no condition): Wy fulr fupwx fi Yy. Yw kam. (wee f'lur f'poohsh fih yee. yooh kam, "me future talk future move-go if that. you help.")

If a conjunction both takes a preposition prefix (it modifies an object) and Yy (yee, "that") is its object, only the special effect of the "conjunction with preposition prefix" applies.  In other words, the following sentence becomes an additional object of the verb linked to its target by the conditional nature of the conjunction.


A quotation is a verbatim (exact, word for word) copy of a sound, sentence fragment, or set of sentences.  Quotations are formed similarly to compound sentences, except that Yy (yee, "that") takes the unary suffix Jy (jee, "maximal").  This gives it the meaning of "exactly the next sentence".  Some examples:

  • I make a clicking noise: Wy Trj su kAk. (wee tsurch s'kalk, "me make-sound containing clicking-sound.")
  • I make the noise, "kalk": Wy Trj su YyJy. kAk.  (wee tsurch s'yee-jee. kalk, "me make-sound containing that maximal. clicking-sound.")
  • I say that I wanted to: Wy ,lr su Yy. Wy pulyDy. (wee lur s'yee. wee p'lee-dzee, "me talk containing that. me past do desire.")
  • I say, "I desired.": Wy ,lr su YyJy. Wy pulyDy. (wee lur s'yee-jee. wee p'lee-dzee, "me talk containing that maximal. me past do desire.")
  • He/she writes about people helping animals: Ww prk su Yy. vufr kam su vukaN. (wooh purk s'yee.  v'fur kam s'v'kang, "it write containing that. plural person help containing plural animal.")
  • He/she writes, "People help animals.": Ww prk su YyJy. vufr kam su vukaN. (wooh purk s'yee-jee.  v'fur kam s'v'kang, "it write containing that maximal. plural person help containing plural animal.")

Notice that the second example, above, requires Yy (yee, "that") only for the purpose of creating a verbatim quote.

In order to form a quotation consisting of multiple sentences, a composite sentence must be used, as described previously in the Composite Sentences section of this lesson.  For example:

  • I said, "You, shut up, and you (other person), talk.": Wy pulr su YyJy. zu quklr. Yy. zumU ,lr. (wee p'lur s'yee-jee. z'thuhk'lur. yee. z'mul lur, "me past talk containing that maximal. imperative present-ceasing talk. that. imperative other talk.")

There is a rare point here, for advanced speakers.  When quoting multiple sentences, the single-word sentence Yy. (yee, "that.") is not considered part of the quotation.  This is not usually a problem, because the inclusion of this word is usually contextually obvious, and speakers rarely wish to speak one literal quotation within another literal quotation.  In the rare case where it is essential to quote the single-word sentence Yy. (yee, "that."), adding Jy (jee, "maximal") will cause Yy. (yee, "that.") to become part of the quote itself.  It retains its outside grammatical meaning as well (it still joins the composite sentence).

User-Defined Pronouns

Primal has a unique method for "defining" a set of pronouns.  This process combines complex concepts into a single word.  There are 18 user-defined pronouns, one for each consonant that can end a syllable.  They are listed individually in the User-Defined Pronouns section of the (basic) Pronouns lesson.

To define a user-defined pronoun, the pronoun must appear in a QCkE (dthaw-kel, "similar-to beyond") phrase.  Everything in the current sentence that precedes this phrase becomes the concept that the pronoun refers to.  For example:

  • Define "woohk" to mean "the white ball": RukSq su sC QCkE Wwk. (r'karth s'sauw dthaw-kel woohk., "This ball containing white similar-to beyond woohk.")

This defines the pronoun Wwk (woohk, "it-k") to mean "the white ball".  If the current sentence is part of a compound sentence, all previous sentences in the compound sentence are also included in the definition.

The QCkE (dthaw-kel, "similar-to beyond") preposition should never take a preposition prefix.

A definition lasts until it is redefined, or goes unused for too long to be remembered.  A speaker may occasionally "refresh" an old user-defined pronoun by redefining it to its original meaning.

Selective Phrase Targeting

Preposition prefixes may be modified with a number in order to allow an object to be targeted by more than one phrase.  This process is called selective phrase targeting.

Selective phrase targeting is performed by sandwiching a basic number, nearly always Rw (rooh, "one") or kw (kooh, "two"), between the preposition prefix and the preposition.  Unlike the enumeration of nouns and verbs, this number actually becomes a part of the compound preposition.  The number stands for a particular phrase level, which is the degree of separation between its phrase object and the nearest subject or verb.  A subject or verb is phrase level zero; a phrase that modifies the subject or a verb is phrase level one; a phrase that modifies a level one phrase is phrase level two; and so on.

When used with the preposition prefix xu (shuh, "phrase"), the number points the phrase to the most recent phrase of its number's level.  This allows an object to be modified more than once:

  • The dragon has shiny, smooth scales: RunGq su vuniD xu HSs xuRwsu sOTXr. (r'nohlth s'v'nidz sh'khhars sh'rooh-s'sallts-zhur, "this dragon containing plural scale phrase+containing indefinite+reflect phrase one containing roughness lacking.")

Notice that both "indefinite+reflect" and "roughness lacking" modify "scales".  This is only possible because the phrase target for the "roughness lacking" object was selected by the number.  Without selective phrase targeting, objects can only be modified in an individual manner once: by the following phrase.

Notice we used two implied words in this example.  Implied words are discussed in the Prepositions II lesson.  The first implied word was xusu (sh'suh, "phrase containing") from xu (shuh "phrase").  The second was nuHSs (n'khhars, "indefinite reflect") from HSs (khhars, "reflect").

However, there is no shorter form for xuRwsu (sh'rooh-suh, "phrase one containing").  Selective phrase targeting is not allowed with implied prepositions and contractions.  Selective phrase targeting requires that a number appears between a separate preposition prefix and preposition, so the long format is always required.

When used with the preposition prefix Xu (zhuh, "both"), selective phrase targeting changes the target from "the default target plus everything in between", to "all previous phrases of the number's level".  For example, the preposition XuRwWu (zh'rooh-wuh, "both one left") means "all previous level one phrase objects are to the left of this object".

Differentiating Numbers Around Prepositions

It's important to be able to differentiate between simple preposition enumeration and selective phrase targeting.  In selective phrase targeting, the preposition cannot be an implied word or a contraction, as discussed in the (advanced) Prepositions II lesson.  Because of this, selective phrase targeting always places a basic number between a preposition prefix and a preposition:

  • Prep-Prefix Number Preposition

In contrast, enumerated prepositions can occur adjacent to implied words.  Because of this, enumerated prepositions can be encountered in many forms:

  • Preposition Number Noun
  • Preposition Number (implied Noun-Prefix) Verb-Prefix
  • Preposition Number (implied Noun-Prefix) Verb
  • Prep-Prefix (implied Preposition) Number Noun
  • Prep-Prefix (implied Preposition) Number (implied Noun-Prefix) Verb-Prefix
  • Prep-Prefix (implied Preposition) Number (implied Noun-Prefix) Verb

The following heuristic can be used to tell the difference:

  • When a number follows a preposition, it enumerates the preposition.
  • When a number follows a preposition prefix, look at the word that follows the number. If the word is a preposition, the number is part of a compound preposition.  Otherwise, the number enumerates the implied preposition su (suh, "containing").

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