The word order of sentences in Finngreek is, like Greek and Finnish, very flexible. The structure is understood by the suffixes at the ends of words. Here are some examples of the free word order in Huve/Hypae:

What drink is this? / Mja pjoma an tåtå?
(å may be o/å/a: totoon/tåtåån/tataan)

Mja pjomaan tåtå?
Mja pjoma tåtåån?
Mjaan tåtå pjoma?
Mja tåtå pjomaan?
Tåtå pjoma mjaan?
Pjomaan tåtå mja?

The last one is pretty unusual, and I would probably never naturally think or say it, but it’s still understandable to read, which underlines the free word order. Let’s try a more complex sentence:

The fruit is made by the tree / Hedloba tehdontae phuthae (fruit made-is tree-from)

Hedloba tehdontae phuthae
Phuthae tehdontae hedloba
Tehdontae phuthae hedloba
Hedloba phuthae tehdontae
Phuthae hedloba tehdontae
Tehdontae hedloba phuthae

In each sentence, the same information is communicated, because Finngreek syntax relies on suffixes, instead of word order. We know that the Hedloba is made by the Phu, because it is Phuthae, with the -thae meaning ‘from’ (as Greek -θε and Finnish -lta). Also, we know that the Hedloba is the object instead of the subject (The fruit is made vs. The fruit makes [from the tree]), because the ending of the Tehd- root is -ontae, which is passive, instead of the active -an suffix.

Now, there is one situation where word order does matter in Finngreek: Simple SVO. Because Finngreek doesn’t have articles (a/the) with cases like Greek – nor a true partitive case like Finnish – direct subject>object in 3rd person may rely on the subject to be placed before the object.

The person eats the food = Ahrava tso rahito
Because the person and food are both in 3rd person, there is no way to determine who is eating whom. If it were “Rahito tso ahrava“, then the food is eating the person.

However, there is one way this sentence can be made flexible: With the -n accusative suffix.

I don’t often use the accusative -n suffix, but it is still useful in situations like this. By simply adding -n to the end of the object (think like -ontae), the sentence order can be free again:

The person eats the food = Ahrava tso rahiton

Ahrava tso rahiton
Rahiton ahrava tso
Tso rahiton ahrava
Ahrava rahiton tso
Rahiton tso ahrava
Tso ahrava rahiton

Now you can make any three-word sentence into 6 options. Poikilia poikitse!

2 thoughts on “Finngreek Syntax

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