Relative Clauses

A Brief Primer

Relative clauses are subordinate clauses ("sentences") that modify a noun phrase. Take the following sentence as an example: "He saw the person who saw John." The relative clause who saw John modifies the noun phrase "the person" (The person saw John.).

In the case of English, word order determines the function of the noun phrase in the relative clause. In our example sentence ("He saw the person who saw John.") the noun phrase "the person", the object of the main clause, becomes the Subject of the relative clause (see fig. 1).

English Relative Clause: Object → Subject
Figure 1
fig. 1

In English, word order is the primary determining factor for grammtical function. Therefore, by switching the word order we can change "the person" into the Object of the relative clause: "He saw the person who John saw." (see fig. 2).

English Relative Clause: Object → Object
Figure 2
fig. 2

Relative Clauses in Kryptonian

In Kryptonian, grammatical function is determined both by word order and by the use of particles. Let's start with the same clauses as our simple English example, "He saw the person. The person saw John."

Example 1

Translation: Open     Gloss: Open Pop-up
.skilö( 
.skilorahzh
ski.lo˞.ɑʒ
see+[Past]
>C 
zhod
ʒod
pron. (3rd masc.)
W 
w
[Object]
V 
tiv
tiv
the
Sed 
shehd
ʃɛd
person (neut.)
.skilö^ 
.skilorahzh
ski.lo˞.ɑʒ
see+[Past]
V 
tiv
tiv
the
Sed 
shehd
ʃɛd
person (neut.)
W 
w
[Object]
,jan, 
,jahn,
ʤɑn
John
He saw the person. The person saw John.

There are two particles that connect the relative clause to the main clause. The first, Q "zw", causes the modified noun phrase to become the Subject of the relative clause (see fig. 3).

Example 2

Translation: Open     Gloss: Open Pop-up
.skilö( 
.skilorahzh
ski.lo˞.ɑʒ
see+[Past]
>C 
zhod
ʒod
pron. (3rd masc.)
W 
w
[Object]
V 
tiv
tiv
the
Sed 
shehd
ʃɛd
person (neut.)
Q 
zw
zwə
[Rel. Clause Subj.]
skilö( 
skilorahzh
ski.lo˞.ɑʒ
see+[Past]
,jan, 
,jahn,
ʤɑn
the
He saw the person who saw John.
Kryptonian Relative Clause: Object → Subject
Figure 3
fig. 3

The second particle, P "to", causes the modified noun phrase to become the Object of the relative clause (see fig. 4).

Example 3

Translation: Open     Gloss: Open Pop-up
.skilö( 
.skilorahzh
ski.lo˞.ɑʒ
see+[Past]
>C 
zhod
ʒod
pron. (3rd masc.)
W 
w
[Object]
V 
tiv
tiv
the
Sed 
shehd
ʃɛd
person (neut.)
P 
to
to
[Rel. Clause Obj.]
skilö( 
skilorahzh
ski.lo˞.ɑʒ
see+[Past]
,jan, 
,jahn,
ʤɑn
John
He saw the person whom John saw.
Kryptonian Relative Clause: Object → Object
Figure 4
fig. 4

Relative Clause Verb Adoption

There is a convient rule in Kryptonian relative clauses: if you omit the verb in the relative clause, it adopts the verb from the preceding clause (see figures 5 & 6).

Example 4

Translation: Open     Gloss: Open Pop-up
.skilö( 
.skilorahzh
ski.lo˞.ɑʒ
see+[Past]
>C 
zhod
ʒod
pron. (3rd masc.)
W 
w
[Object]
V 
tiv
tiv
the
Sed 
shehd
ʃɛd
person (neut.)
Q 
zw
zwə
[Rel. Clause Subj.]
,jan, 
,jahn,
ʤɑn
the
He saw the person who saw John.
Kryptonian Relative Clause: Object → Subject
Figure 5
fig. 5

Example 5

Translation: Open     Gloss: Open Pop-up
.skilö( 
.skilorahzh
ski.lo˞.ɑʒ
see+[Past]
>C 
zhod
ʒod
pron. (3rd masc.)
W 
w
[Object]
V 
tiv
tiv
the
Sed 
shehd
ʃɛd
person (neut.)
P 
to
to
[Rel. Clause Obj.]
,jan, 
,jahn,
ʤɑn
John
He saw the person whom John saw.
Kryptonian Relative Clause: Object → Object
Figure 6
fig. 6

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