Berik and English/Contrastive Grammar

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Word Order

  • English is SVO, Berik is SOV.



  • English has copulas, Berik doesn't.
  • Negative copulas are "copula adverb" in English, in Berik it's a negative suffix on the object.
  • (bkl) Ai taneyan. → (eng) I am not a child. ("I am not a child.")
    (bkl) ai<prn><subj> tane<n>+yan<neg> → (eng) prpers<prn><subj><p1><mf><sg> be<vbser><pres><p1><sg> not<adv> a<det><ind><sg> child<n><sg>
  • (bkl) Je namwer bwernabaryan. → (eng) He is not sick now. ("He is not sick now.")
    (bkl) je<prn><subj> namwer<temp> bwernabar<n>+yan<neg> → (eng) prpers<prn><subj><p3><m><sg> be<vbser><pres><p3><sg> not<adv> sick<adj><sint> now<adv>

is the word for "sick" a noun in Berik?


  • In Berik, first person pronouns come first in lists, in English last.
  • (bkl) Ai, Daud, Sekati, Piterfar twensar. → (eng) David, Scotty, Peter, and I eat together. ("David, Scotty, Peter, and I eat together.")
    (bkl) ai<prn><subj> Daud<n><subj> Sekati<n><subj> Piter<n><com> twensar<v><iv><prs><light> → (eng) David<np><cog><sg> ,<cm> Scotty<np><ant><m><sg> ,<cm> Peter<np><ant><m><sg> ,<cm> and<cnjcoo> prpers<prn><subj><p1><mf><sg> eat<vblex><pres> together<adv>

{{comment|I find the conjoining construction for the list more interesting than which pronoun comes first. In part because in English it's not so bad to say "me, David, Scotty, and Peter eat together", and in part because that's the other main difference here.)

Tools and definiteness

  • Berik has a separate case for tools, English uses prepositions.
  • Berik does not mark definiteness.
  • (bkl) Korano atem difnant. → (eng) The chief came with a canoe. ("The chief came with a canoe.")
    (bkl) Korano<n><subj> at<n><ins> difna<v><iv><m><pst><light> → (eng) the<det><def><sp> chief<n><sg> come<vblex><past> with<pr> a<det><ind><sg> canoe<n><sg>
  • (bkl) Je twena ginem tana. → (eng) He killed the pig with an arrow. ("He killed the pig with an arrow.")
    (bkl) je<prn><subj> twin<n><acc> gin<n><ins> tana<v><tv><m><light><pst> → (eng) prpers<prn><subj><p3><m><sg> kill<vblex><past> the<det><def><sp> pig<n><sg> with<pr> a<det><ind><sg> arrow<n><sg>

Plurality and subject repetition

  • Berik nouns do not mark plurality.
  • A noun phrase in Berik with multiple modifiers will be split by the verb and/or a repetition of the subject. I don't get this...
  • (bkl) Ai twena anesus ai damtabili unggunfena setetina. → (eng) I see many large black pigs. ("I see many large black pigs.")
    (bkl) ai<prn><subj> twin<n><acc> ane<adj><int> ai<prn><subj> damtabili<v><tv><f><prs><light> unggunfena<adj> setetina<adj> → (eng) prpers<prn><subj><p1><mf><sg> see<vblex><pres> many<det><qnt><pl> large<adj><sint> black<adj><sint> pig<n><pl>