Epiq Postpositions

To express many non-core arguments, English makes use of these things called prepositions. The prefix prep- is meant to indicate that they come in front of whatever they modify, and this is indeed the case, as can be seen with, "The words in this sentence". The osition part, of course, refers to the verb osit, which is English for, "Epiq doesn't have prepositions: It has postpositions". Rather than coming before the noun phrase they modify, postpositions follow the noun phrase they modify. If this sounds strange to you, try to think of it like the word "both", in "I want to talk to you both." "Both" isn't actually a postposition, but this can kind of give you the idea. Anyway, this page is dedicated to the postpositions of Epiq, and how they're used.


Postpositional Phrases

The following sentence features a postpositional phrase (it's the underlined part): Pwani tunkâ ułtây ma pânyâxâni, "The polar bear ate the meat in the house". The postpositional phrase is composed of a noun (in this case ułtâ, "house") and a postposition (in this case ma, "inside"). The phrase, as a whole, is treated as a type of adverbial phrase, and thus occurs directly before the verb, unless focused. The order of adverbial phrases, if more than one is present, is unimportant, and the order can be changed for reasons of style.

That's about all you need to know about postpositions as a whole, at this stage. Now I'll move on to their composition, and so forth.


Postpositional Modes

Some postpositions are what are called (in Epiq. Don't go 'round thinking this's no linguistic term, or nothing, 'cause it ain't) static postpositions. These postpositions (usually) don't involve motion, and their meaning is fixed. The case assigned to the objects of these postpositions is generally the dative case, but some static postpositions assign different cases. That's pretty much all you need to know about static postpositions. The rest of the postpositions are called motive postpositions, and they do different things.

Motive postpositions generally involve spatial relations. One we've been introduced to already: ma, "inside". In the example sentence above, ma, is in the non-translative mode, because there is no motion involved. However, the meaning of ma can be changed with a verb of motion. Consider the following sentences using the verb šifa, "to go":

  1. Ułtâ ma yâmukânyâšifa, "I went into the house" (where "house" is in the accusative case).
  2. Ułtâw ma fimukânyâšifa, "I went out of the house" (where "house" is in the instrumental case).
  3. Ułtây ma memukânyâšifa, "I walked around inside the house" (where "house" is in the dative case).

The astute observor might notice that there's not one difference between each sentence, but two. Not only is the word ułtâ, "house" in a different case in each sentence, the verb in each sentence has a different prefix. The prefixes correspond to (in order): (a) Allative motion ("towards"); (b) ablative motion ("away from"); and (c) nonspecific motion ("around"). One might think, "Well, if you've got these prefixes, why do you need to put the object of the postpositions into a different case?" The examples above don't provide any real reason why one should (well, other than the fact that that's what's done), but consider the following sentence: Ilaxânyawwâ ma ułtây ma yâmukânyâšifa, "I walked into the dining room (while) inside the house". Now you've got the same preposition doing two different things in the same sentence. The verb of motion describes the motion of entering, though, so it obviously goes with the postpositional phrase in the allative mode.

Oops. I just realized that I've come this far in this section and haven't even explained what the modes are, even though this section is supposedly about them. Silly me.

If you take a gander at the sentences above, the word "mode" refers to, basically, what case the noun modified by a preposition is in. When the noun is in the accusative case, this is called the allative mode, because it involves motion towards a place. This changes the meaning of the postposition ma, "in", to "into".

When the noun is in the instrumental case, this is called the ablative mode, because it involves motion away from a place. This changes the meaning of the postposition ma, "in", to "out from".

When the noun is in the dative case, this is called the non-translative mode, because it involves no motion, or nonspecific motion (i.e., neither hither nor thither). This changes the meaning of the postposition ma, "in", to "inside of" (no allativeness in it, though).

Of course, another way of thinking of it is that if you want to use one of the three above-mentioned modes, you have to put the noun modified by the postposition into the appropriate case. Whatever works.

One thing I want to touch on are the verbal prepositions. There are three prepositions that kind of go with the three modes, but they don't necessarily have to go with those modes. That is, the prefix will generally agree with the mode, but it's not necessary.


Postpositional Cases

Something semi-unique about Epiq is the fact that each postposition can be declined. The cases are a bit different from noun cases, but the idea is similar.

There are three postpositional cases in Epiq: The positive, the demitive and the negative. They basically affect the truth value of the postpositional content, as it were.

The positive (which is probably the most common) indicates that the postpositional content is completely true. So, if I say, "I'm in my house", I'd put "in" in the positive, because I'm wholly contained within the house.

The demitive case is used to indicate that something is kind of true. So if I were to say right now, "My foot is on my desk", I'd put "on" in the demitive, because most of my foot is on the floor, and it's just my toes that are on the very bottom part of my desk. So it's kind of true; kind of false.

The negative case is used (as you can probably guess) in cases where the postpositional phrase is false. So, if I were to say, "I'm in the kitchen", I'd put "in" in the negative case, becaus I'm not in the kitchen: I'm in the bedroom. The actual translation, then, would probably be, "I'm not in the kitchen".

Okie doke, that's how the cases are used. Below is how the cases decline. It's not that exciting. Kind of. Well, maybe a little. Well, to tell you the truth, I'm excited. I like tables. I especially like their colors. Gives me pride. In a sense.

  Positive Demitive Negative
 Class -âþ -âwł
I Class -i -iþ -ÿł
U Class -u -uþ -uł
A Class -a -aþ -oł
ÂY Class -ây -âyþ -ÿł
ÂW Class -âw -âwþ -âwł
Ÿ Class -ÿ -ÿþ -ÿł
YÂ Class -yâ -yâþ -yâwł
YA Class -ya -yaþ -yoł
Ü Class -üþ -ÿł
WÂ Class -wâ -wâþ -wâwł
WA Class -wa -waþ -woł
E Class -eþ -ÿł
O Class -oþ -oł
Q Class -aþ -oł
C Class -aþ -uł

Pronominal Suffixes

When the object of a postposition is a pronoun, it must be expressed with a pronominal suffix. Pronominal suffixes are caseless, so this mean that modes are inexpressible with pronouns. Context will usually help sort matters out. If the mode is absolutely necessary, though, then fully specified noun phrases are used instead of pronominal suffixes.

The pronominal suffixes are listed below. They all begin with a consonant. In the even that a pronominal suffix is unable to be added (i.e., it would produce something unpronounceable in Epiq), a schwa, a, is inserted. [Just a note: The official epenthetic vowel of Epiq is the schwa, a. For those who are interested, the official epenthetic consonant of Epiq is—yep, you guessed it: n.] Here's the table:

  Singular Dual Plural
First Person -m -mwâ -mü
Second Person -k -kwâ -ki
Third Person -n -nwâ -ni

A quick note on the singular suffixes. In the event that the suffix is added to a word that ends in a permissible medial coda, then a schwa is inserted after the pronominal suffix, and not before. This only happens with the singular suffixes, and only in the environment I just detailed. Here's an example: Ułkasma, "My snow block".


A Final Note

The pronominal suffixes introduced in the section before this one are also used in possessive constructions. You might've guessed this, based on the example I cited. Oops. For good measure, here's an example with an actual postposition: Matan yâmukânyâšifa, "I went part of the way inside it".

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