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
misu - my
yusu - your
tesu - her/his
multi - many
xosu - few,
total - whole,
plu - multiple
(any number)
daymo - very
godomo - too
meli - beautiful
blue - blue
lil - 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

Banete ergo velosi ji banete ergo hanman.
Some work quickly and some work slowly.

Without the pronoun te, the sentence would read:
Ban ergo sen velosi ji ban ergo sen 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 sen hanman.
My work/job is slow.

Quantifier + Pronoun = Complete Noun Phrase

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 sen hanman.
One job is slow.

Adjective + Pronoun = Complete Noun Phrase

Day manyen ergo velosi mas lil 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:
Lil ergo sen 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(s) Passive Voice Continous/
Habitual Mood
si - yes (does)
no - no (doesn't, etc.)
daymo - very
godomo - too
bon - well,
bur - badly,
velosi - fast, quickly
multi - much,
xosu - little,
pimpan - often,
nadir - rarely
be -
passive voice
du -
mood marker
danse - dance
lala - sing
eskri - write
le no daymo pimpan be du yam
le no daymo pimpan 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 volekal koski mi le befobi ki te xa morgi mi.
I gave the money to the thief involuntarily because I feared 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, she went to the bank.


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

Manyen no godomo bur danse.
or: Manyen danse no godomo bur.
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 godomo bur.
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.

Prepositional Phrase
Preposition Noun Phrase
day sanduku
large box
in day sanduku
in the large box

The position of prepositional phrases within sentences 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 fe soba.
My spouse drinks only coffee in the morning.

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

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

Complex Adjective Phrases

Complex adjective phrases come after the nouns they modify.

Adj/Adv plus Prepositional Phrase

kitabu eskrido fal misu doste
the book written by my friend

alimyen hox kos yusu sukses
the teacher happy for your success

Comparative Adj/Adv Phrases

nini maxmo lao kom misu sodar
the kid older than my brother

Modifying Clause Marker hu

The word hu is used to introduce a clause that modifies a noun.

Singa begude idey hu maux ger abil na sahay te.
The lion was tickled by the idea that the mouse could help him.

Relative Clauses

In Globasa, relative clauses are introduced with the modifying clause marker hu and retain typical word order. It is worth noting that the conjunction hu doesn't have an exact equivalent in English but is typically translated as who, which, or that.

Relative Clauses with Resumptive Pronoun

Relative clauses that require a pronoun to refer back to the antecedent use the obligatory resumptive relative pronoun da (he, she, it, they, that, that one, those, those ones).

Te sen femixu hu da lubi mi.
"She is the woman who that-one loves me."
She is the woman who loves me.

Te sen femixu hu mi lubi da.
"She is the woman who I love that-one."
She is the woman whom I love.

Mi le sonxi katatul hu mi kata roti yon da.
"I lost the knife which I cut the bread with that-one."
I lost the knife with which I cut the bread.

Kamisa hu mi suki da sen blue. or To sen blue, kamisa hu mi suki da.
"The shirt which I like that-one is blue." or "It's blue, the shirt which I like that-one."
The shirt (that) I like is blue. or It's blue, the shirt (that) I like.

Note: As seen in the last example, when the relative clause is part of the subject, the sentence may be reworded in order to place the core of the sentence first and move the relative clause to the end of the sentence. This helps to make the sentence easier to process.

The possessive adjective dasu is used in relative clauses as follows:

Te sen manixu hu dasu sodar kone mi.
"He is the man who his brother knows me."
He is the man whose brother knows me.

Te sen manixu hu mi kone dasu sodar.
"He is the man who I know his brother."
He is the man whose brother I know.

Manyen hu dasu gami Globasa sen misu doste. or Te sen misu doste, manyen hu dasu gami Globasa.
"The guy who that-one's spouse speaks Globasa is my friend." or "He's my friend, the guy who that one's spouse speaks Globasa."
The guy whose spouse speaks Globasa is my friend. or He is my friend, the guy whose spouse speaks Globasa.

Relative Clauses with Resumptive Correlative Adverb

Relative clauses in which an optional correlative adverb refers back to the antecent are as follows:

Kitabudom hu mi ergo (denloka) sen day.
"The library which I work (there) is big."
The library where I work is big.

Din hu mi xa preata (denwatu) sen Lunadin.
"The day which I arrive (then) is Monday."
The day when I arrive is Monday.

Relative Clauses in Non-Specific Noun Phrases

Mi no suki loka hu mi ergo (denloka).
"I don't like the location which I work (there)."
I don't like where I work.

Am gibe tas mi (den)to hu mi vole da.
"Give me that/it which I want it."
Give me what I want.

Mi suki (den)to hu yu hare da.
"I like that/it which you have that."
I like what you have.