Word Order: Phrase Structure

Strict Word Order

In Globasa, a relatively strict word order is applied within phrases.

Noun Phrases

Noun phrases consist of the following structure, as illustrated in the table below:

(Specifier) + (Complement) + Head

Noun Phrase
(Specifier) (Complement) Head
Determiner Possessive Adj Quantifier Adj/Adv-Modying
Adjective(s) Noun or Pronoun
ke - which
hin - this
den - that
ban - some
moy - every
nil - no, none
alo - other
multi - many
xosu - few,
total - whole,
plu - multiple
(any number)
daymo - very
go - too
meli - beautiful
blue - blue
lile - small, little
matre - mother
doste - friend
sodar - sibling
drevo - tree
to - it
hin misu care daymo lama kitabu
these four very old books of mine

Since specifiers and complements are optional, a noun phrase may consist of a single noun, for example, kitabu.

Third-Person Pronouns at End of Noun Phrases

Noun phrases must always end in either a noun or a pronoun. Whenever a noun is understood and omitted, a pronoun must replace it, rather than leaving a specifier or complement hanging. Without the use of pronouns to complete noun phrases, such phrases would have different meanings or create incomplete and therefore ungrammatical sentences.

Determiner + Pronoun = Complete Noun Phrase

Bante ergo velosi ji bante ergo hanman.
Some work quickly and some work slowly.

Without the pronoun te, the sentence would read:
Ban ergo velosi ji ban ergo hanman.
Some work is fast and some work is slow.

Possessive Adj + Pronoun (Possessive Pronoun) = Complete Noun Phrase

Yusu gami ergo velosi mas misu te ergo hanman.
Your spouse works fast but mine works slow.

Without the pronoun te, the second part of the sentence would read:
Misu ergo hanman.
My work/job is slow.

Quantifier + Pronoun = Complete Sentence

Dua trasbasayen ergo velosi mas un te ergo hanman.
Two translators work quickly but one works slowly.

Without the pronoun te, the second part of the sentence would read:
Un ergo hanman.
One job is slow.

Adjective + Pronoun = Complete Sentence

Dayo manyen ergo velosi mas lile te ergo hanman.
The big man works quickly but the small one works slowly.

Without the pronoun te, the second part of the sentence would read:
Lile ergo hanman.
The small job is slow.

Verb Phrases

Verb phrases are similar in structure to noun phrases:

Verb Phrase
(Specifier) (Complement) Head
Tense/Mood Marker Affirmation or Negation Adj/Adv-Modifying
Adverb Passive Voice Continous/
Habitual Mood
si - yes (does)
no - no (doesn't, etc.)
daymo - very
go - too
bono - well,
buru - badly,
velosi - fast, quickly
multi - much,
xosu - little,
pinpan - often,
nadir - rarely
be -
passive marker
du -
danse - dance
lala - sing
loga - speak
le no daymo pinpan be du yam
le no daymo pinpan beduyam
did not use to be eaten very often

Verb Markers

As specifiers, verb markers (nun, le, xa, ger, am, na) are placed at the start of verb phrases.


As seen in the sentence above, adverbs (or adverb phrases) typically precede verbs.

Alternatively, adverbs may be placed after the verb, immediately following objects, if any.

  • If the sentence has no direct or indirect objects the adverb may immediately follow the verb.

Femyen danse meli.
The lady dance beautifully.

  • However, if the sentence contains objects, the adverb phrase must immediately follow all objects.

Mi le gibe pesa cel coriyen wolekal koski mi fobi ki te xa morgi mi.
I gave the money to the thief involuntarily because I was afraid he would kill me.

Adverbs may also be moved to the start of the sentence, so long as there is a definite pause with the comma to separate the phrase from the rest of the sentence. Without the pause, the adjective/adverb could be mistakenly interpreted as modifying the subject.

Velosi, bwaw glu sui.
Quickly, the dog drinks the water.

Unyum, te le idi cel banko.
First(ly), she went to the bank.


The negating adverb no immediately precedes the word or phrase being negated.

Manyen no go buru danse.
or: Manyen danse no go buru.
The man doesn't dance too badly.

In the second sentence above, no is along with the rest of the complement to the end of the sentence. (The man did dance, but not too badly.)

Alternatively, no could immediately precede the verb and interpreted as modifying the verb plus its descriptive adverbs.

Manixu no danse go buru.
The man doesn't dance too badly.

Infinitive Verb Phrases

Infinitive verb phrases have the following structure:

na + verb phrase

See Infinitive Verb Phrases under Sentence Structure.

Prepositional Phrases

Globasa, like most SVO languages, uses prepositions rather than postpositions. Prepositional phrases are composed of a preposition followed by a noun phrase.

in dayo sanduku
in the large box

Word order of prepositional phrases is explained under Sentence Structure.

Adverbs of Focus

Other than no (not), Adverbs of focus, such as sol (only), pia (also, too) and hata (even), do not appear in the Noun Phrase and Verb Phrase tables above. The reason for this is that adverbs of focus can appear anywhere in a sentence, depending on what is being modified in the sentence. Adverbs of focus always immediately precede the phrase or word they modify.

Misu gami glu sol kafe in soba. My spouse drinks only coffee in the morning.

Misu gami glu kafe hata in axam. My spouse drinks coffee even in the evening.

Pia misu gami glu kafe in soba. My spouse, too, drinks coffee in the morning.