4.2. Conditionals (if/when clauses)

Conditional clauses are embedded clauses denoting an event or state which is a prerequisite for the event or state of the main clause, or from which the event/state of the main clause follows as a logical consequence. Conditional clauses may be introduced by aun "if", or by aunim "when, whenever, if and when":

iaslò emuktampa  sikespat    aun melanna
we:Erg today finish-can harvest-Dep if  help-Dep-the:NA
"We can finish harvesting today if Sakial helps"

Nai    muelhoksoina ie   klotat    aunim sukankat
he:Abs tired-become with quick-Dep when  do-try-Dep
"He tires quickly whenever (he) tries to do too

As in English, conditional clauses may be fronted in Tokana, to what is known as the 'left-dislocation position' (section 5.1.5):

Aun melanna         Sakial, kima   iaslò
emuktampa  sikespat
if  help-Dep-the:NA Sakial  we:Erg today
finish-can harvest-Dep
"If Sakial helps, we can finish harvesting

Aunim sukankat   tsuohante, nai
muelhoksoina ie   klotat
when  do-try-Dep too:much   he:Abs
tired-become with quick-Dep
"Whenever (he) tries to do too much, he
tires quickly"

Conditionals formed with aun tend to denote potential or counterfactual events, while those formed with aunim denote actual (periodic) events or eventualities. For example, compare the following:

Aun etanne
Han tahat,    kima   sepa  ante uehon
if  go-Dep-the:Abs Han
visit-Dep we:Erg drink much wine
"If Han comes to visit, we will drink
a lot of wine"

Aun etanon          Han tahat,
kima   tule  sepa  ante uehon
if  go-Subj-the:Abs Han visit-Dep
we:Erg would drink much wine
"If Han came to visit, we would drink a
lot of wine"

Aunim    etanne         Han tahat,
kima   sepa  ante uehon
whenever go-Dep-the:Abs Han visit-Dep we:Erg
drink much wine
"Whenever Han comes to visit, we drink a lot of

In the first two sentences, drinking wine is presented as a possible or hypothetical event, which is contingent on the (as yet unrealised) possibility of Han's coming to visit. In the third sentence, it is understood that Han comes to visit periodically, and that whenever he does, we drink a lot of wine.

As discussed in 2.5.2 and 2.5.3, aun- may be prefixed to various temporal expressions to form adverbs which quantify over cases or possible situations. For example:

inante        "often, many
auninante     "often, in many

intsama       "usually, most
of the time"
aunintsama    "usually,
in most cases"

"sometimes, now and then"
"in some cases"

"once, one time"
"once, in one case"

These quantifying adverbs may take a clausal complement which specifies the type of case or situation being quantified over:

aunintsama    iokmelat
"usually if people help"

aunitsepe     etanne         Han tahat
go-Dep-the:Abs Han visit-Dep
"sometimes if/when Han comes to

Expressions of this kind have the same distribution as conditional clauses headed by aun or aunim:

Kima   ie   klotat    iemukta    sikespat    aunintsama
we:Erg with quick-Dep Foc-finish harvest-Dep in:most:cases
"We can usually finish the harvest quickly if people

Aunintsama    iokmelat,    kima   ie
klotat    iemukta    sikespat
in:most:cases Arb-help-Dep we:Erg with
quick-Dep Foc-finish harvest-Dep
"Usually if people help, we can
finish the harvest quickly"
or "If people help, we can usually
finish the harvest quickly"

Note finally that, unlike English if, aun may not be used to form embedded yes/no questions. Instead the question particle ni is used (cf. section 5.4.2):

Ami   nesepe  ni melahmanna
I:Erg ask-Pst Qu help-intend-Dep-the:NA Sakial-Dat
asked if Sakial intended to help"

4.3. Temporal adverbials

Temporal adverbials are adjuncts which indicate the time at which the event denoted by the verb occurs. With a small number of exceptions (e.g. kas "now, as of now, already"), temporal adverbials in Tokana are formed using the prefix i(n)-. A number of examples of such expressions were given in the section on quantifiers (2.5.2). Some additional examples are given below:

iaslò     "today"
innalhkate    "this morning"
inlotka   "yesterday"          innalhkatka   "yesterday morning"
ilohfoi   "tomorrow"           innalhkafoi   "tomorrow morning"

ihune     "tonight"            itsakate      "this evening"
ihutka    "last night"         itsakatka     "yesterday evening"
ihufoi    "tomorrow night"     itsakafoi     "tomorrow

Note also the following:

"now, at this time"
"then, at that time"
E.g.:  sikà inlhai   "until now"     tsuaha inlhai   "from now on"
       sikà inlhon   "until then"    tsuaha inlhon   "from that time on"
itka      "then,
before, earlier, in the past"
"then, after(wards), later, in the

These last two may be used with quantifier phrases in the dative case to indicate a point in time prior to or following the present moment:

itka antè     ume
then many-Dat year
"many years ago"

ifoi keloi     ilme
hen seven-Dat moon
"seven months from

The placement of temporal adverbials in the sentence is quite free: They may occur within the verb phrase (i.e. after the verb), in the focus position (i.e. immediately before a verb to which the focus marker i- has been prefixed; section 3.6.4), in the topic field (between the topic and the focus position), or in the left dislocated position (i.e. at the beginning of the sentence, separated from the rest of the clause by a pause). These four possibilities are illustrated below using itka hentai ume "twenty years ago".

Temporal adverbial inside the verb phrase:

Te      katia
tiespema       itka hentai     ume
the:Abs house build-Pst-I:NA then
twenty-Dat year
"I built that house twenty years

Temporal adverbial in the focus position (section 5.1.2):

Te      katia itka hentai     ume
the:Abs house then twenty-Dat year
"It was twenty years ago that I built that

Temporal adverbial in the topic field (section 5.1.4):

Te      katia itka hentai     ume
the:Abs house then twenty-Dat year
"Twenty years ago, that house was built by

Temporal adverbial in the left dislocated position (section 5.1.5):

Itka hentai     ume, ami   tiespè
then twenty-Dat year I:Erg build-Pst-the:Abs
"Twenty years ago, I built that

4.4. Complex phrases and clauses

In this section I discuss the formation of complex phrases and clauses from simpler ones through coordination. In section 4.4.1 I list the coordinators used in Tokana, and present examples of coordinate constructions. Then in 4.4.2 I briefly discuss ellipsis - that is, the deletion of a coreferential element from the second of two conjuncts.

4.4.1. Coordination

Coordination involves the linking together of two phrases (or conjuncts) to form a larger phrase. In Tokana, as in English, coordination is marked by a set of elements called coordinators (sometimes also called conjunctions), which occur between the first and second conjunct:

elh     "and, as well
lat     "and then, and
ha      "and, and so,
su      "or,
fe      "or, or
le      "but"
usna    "but, rather"
tsa     "and not,

(1) Ki and elh mark the simple conjunction of two phrases; they are both equivalent to English and:

Kima   iase    maka kauen   ki  sepe
we:Erg eat-Pst meat chicken and drink-Pst wine
"We ate
chicken and drank wine"

Ne      Sakial elh ne
Elim ukuima
the:Abs Sakial and the:Abs Elim Refl-love
and Elim love each other"

Ki and elh differ from each other in the following ways: First of all, ki can conjoin any kind of phrase, whereas elh must be used to conjoin two noun phrases, or two nouns within a single (plural) noun phrase:

se kal elh se iha        "the men and the
se kal elh iha           "the
men and women"

ne Sakial elh ne Elim
"Sakial and Elim"
se Sakial elh Elim
"Sakial and Elim (together)" [note the plural

Secondly, use of elh implies an 'exhaustive' listing, while ki may be used non-exhaustively. Compare:

ne Sakial elh ne Elim    "Sakial and Elim (and
nobody else)"
ne Sakial ki ne Elim
"Sakial and Elim (and possibly

Note that elh contracts to 'lh when the preceding word ends in a vowel:

ne Mafe'lh ne
Mothe      "Mafe and Mothe"

(2) Lat "and then, and now" is generally used to conjoin clauses. It indicates that two events occur in temporal succession rather than simultaneously:

Na      Han iase    yspami, lat      kim    ete
the:Erg Han eat-Pst supper  and:then we:Abs go-Pst
"Han ate supper, and then we went to

Note the following expressions containing lat:

lat pehkaiu      "first, but first, first of
lat pehisu       "next, and
next, and then..."
lat pekamu
"but first, but before that..."
pekunthu     "and finally, last of

Note also that in main clauses, verb phrases denoting successive events may be concatenated without lat, provided they take the same topic noun phrase (cf. sections 4.4.2 and 5.1.4). This is shown in the following example, which translates literally as "Mothe ate supper went to sleep":

Mothe iase    yspami ete    muelhat
the:Erg Mothe eat-Pst supper
go-Pst sleep-Dep
"Mothe ate supper and went to

(3) Ha "and so" is used to indicate an implicational (or 'cause and effect') relation between two conjuncts. It often co-occurs with the particle temai "then" or teuk "therefore" in the second conjunct:

Ne      suhpama
mouta, ha     afanamot
the:Abs brother-my:NA sick   and:so
"My brother is sick, so [he] can't come

Ne      Han mouta, ha     na      Elim
temai sukulhka  kamana
the:Abs Han sick   and:so the:Erg Elim then
work-must for-him:NA
"Han is sick, so Elim must then work in his

(4) Su and fe both indicate the disjunction of two phrases. Su is equivalent to non-exclusive or in English ("and/or"), while fe is equivalent to exclusive or ("either/or"). In addition, su is usually non-exhaustive (like ki), while fe is exhaustive (like elh):

ne Sakial su ne Elim     "Sakial or
Elim" (or both, or perhaps someone else)
Sakial fe ne Elim     "Sakial or Elim" (but not both, and
nobody else either)

Su is used when listing various possiblities, while fe is used when offering two or more mutually exclusive alternatives:

Han tia  mouta, su las  teusu muelhoksa
the:Abs Han Evid sick   or
just very  tired
"Han could be sick, or just very tired (or perhaps

Ku  kysatine       ni tule  iasuha   mas
fe ohui?
for breakfast-Inst Qu would eat-want soup or
"Would (you) like soup or fruit for

(5) Le and usna correspond to but in English; usna is used to contrast two possibilities ("not X but Y"), while le conjoins two propositions ("X, but on the other hand Y"):

na      Sakial itsitspotiè               kopo, usna na
not the:Erg Sakial Foc-smash-Neg-Pst-the:Abs pot   but  the:Erg
"It wasn't Sakial who smashed the pot, but Elim"

Inai    Hane    henka uhnat,   le  tuiaku
the:Dat Han-Dat enjoy sing-Dep but not:so
"Han likes to sing, but (he) is not very good at

When used to connect sentences, usna (or ha usna) corresponds to rather or instead:

Ikime  tahuhotun         moke,    ha usna otupe
we:Dat stay-want-Neg-Cpl home-Dat so but  decide-Pst
"We did not want to stay at home, so instead [we]
decided to come along"

Note also the expressions usna las "except (for), but (for)", usna ynale im "except before, not since", and usna ysame im "except after, not until", used after a negated verb:

iakmon usna las mai
come:here-Neg-Pst anyone except
"No-one came except for me"

nioktotima      kuolat   usna   ysame im tuhsai
return-Neg-I:NA meet-Dep except after    winter-Dat
"I won't meet him
again until winter"

Nai     kuoponotima
usna   ynale imi     inlotka
him:Abs talk:with-Neg-I:NA except
before-the:NA yesterday
"I haven't talked to him since

In addition to being used as a conjunction, le may introduce an embedded clause, in which case it corresponds to English though or although. (Note that in poetry and formal writing, the archaic forms lekò and ylekò are sometimes used in place of le to mean although.)

Ne      Kinaka tieliakma,     le  tunme
pyiotia            ikime
the:Abs Kinaka care:for-we:NA but not:Dep
child-Pred-Neg-Dep us:Dat
"We take care of Kinaka, though (she) is not
our child"

The expression eima'n le (or eima le in some dialects) corresponds to even though or in spite of (the fact that):

Eima'n le
kuoluna      ne      inante,    imai  suehonotì
even   though meet-Dep:Cpl him:Abs many:times I:Dat
remember-Neg-the:Abs name-his:NA
"Even though I've met him many times,
I don't remember his name"
or "In spite of having met him many
times, I don't remember his name"

(6) Tsa "and not, nor" is used in place of ki or elh to conjoin two negated phrases:

Inai    Mothè     kestoti   tsa
the:Dat Mothe-Dat happy-Neg nor sad-Neg
"Mothe is
neither happy nor sad"

Sakial tsa ne      Elim
arrive-Neg-Pst-the:Abs Sakial nor the:Abs
"Neither Sakial nor Elim has arrived

Note that, in addition to occurring between two conjoined phrases, elh, ki, su, fe, and tsa can also be repeated before each conjunct:

elh ne Sakial elh ne Elim               "both
Sakial and Elim"
ki ne Sakial ki ne Elim 
"both Sakial and Elim"
su ne Sakial su ne
Elim                 "Sakial and/or Elim"
fe ne Sakial fe ne Elim                 "either
Sakial or Elim"
tsa (tun) ne Sakial tsa (tun) ne
Elim   "neither Sakial nor

4.4.2. Ellipsis

In Tokana, it is extremely common to omit a noun phrase if its reference can be inferred from context, and especially if it refers back to (is coreferential with) another noun phrase elsewhere in the same sentence. Some common examples of this are illustrated in this section. To begin with, consider the following coordinate structures, in which the same noun phrase (kima and te homa, respectively) occurs as the topic of both conjuncts:

Kima   inlotka   tielie   yli,  lat kima
iaslò temiohè         satha
we:Erg yesterday tend-Pst
grain and we:Erg today fix-Pst-the:Abs roof
"We tended the crops
yesterday, and we fixed the roof today"

homa  pusukena        Han, lat te      homa  iasekma
the:Abs bread
make-Pst-the:NA Han  and the:Abs bread eat-Pst-we:NA
"Han made the
bread, and then we ate the bread"

In such constructions, the repeated topic noun phrase is generally deleted (or elided) from the second conjunct, leaving a gap:

Kima   inlotka   tielie   yli,  lat iaslò
temiohè         satha
we:Erg yesterday tend-Pst grain and
today fix-Pst-the:Abs roof
"We tended the crops yesterday, and fixed
the roof today"

Te      homa  pusukena
Han, lat iasekma
the:Abs bread make-Pst-the:NA Han  and
"Han made the bread, and then we ate (it)"
"The bread, Han made (it) and then we ate

A similar phenomenon involves ellipsis in embedded clauses: When an argument (subject, object, etc.) of an embedded clause is coreferential with the topic of the sentence that contains it, then the embedded argument is obligatorily deleted. Consider the following pair of sentences:

Inai    Hane    iona moutanne
the:Dat Han-Dat know
"Han knows that he (i.e. some person other than Han) is

Inai    Hane    iona
the:Dat Han-Dat know sick-Dep
"Han knows that he (i.e.
Han) is sick"

In the first sentence, the embedded subject clitic -ne must refer tosomeone other than the topic of the sentence (i.e. Han). In the second sentence, the embedded subject, which is phonetically null, must refer to the same person as the topic. (Notice that the English sentence Han knows that he is sick is ambiguous between these two meanings.) Additional examples of this are discussed below in section 5.3.

As I remarked in section 3.8.7, it is quite often possible to drop noun phrases if their reference is understood from context. Ellipsis across clauses can perhaps be viewed as a regular subcase of this general process. Many other instances of ellipsis could be cited, but the examples above represent the most common patterns.



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