Umu: The Noun Phrase


NOUN PHRASES are labels. They answer the question, “What is that?” The general structure of a noun phrase is:

[   Quantifier   +   Adjective   +   Noun    +   Possessive   +   Demonstrative   ]

This word order is best explained by understanding the COMMENT-TOPIC STATIVE (CTS).

Simply put, when there are two unmarked words (the COMMENT and the TOPIC), the meaning is: “is/has comment, the topic” or in English word order: “The topic is/has the comment.”

When the two concepts combine, the head takes the GENITIVE CASE. The noun possesses its modifier. The comment-topic order holds. smallness, the rock’s = the small rock.

QUANTIFIERS behave the same.

They can be comments.

Or be “possessed” by the noun phrase.

Modifiers can be modified themselves, also taking the GENITIVE.

Quantifiers always come first.

The COMMENT-TOPIC STATIVE is used to show both existence and possession.

This may explain why possession is more topical in Umu.

Similarly, DEMONSTRATIVES can be topics.

Or be part of the noun phrase.

Whether the DEMONSTRATIVE is modifying the noun phrase or being modified by it, I don’t know. Same for possessives


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