Preface Note: Each individual point of interest being discussed on this page will have its own dedicated page that goes into more detail. Examples which demonstrate the content being discussed on this page will also be found on those pages.
Preface Note: Typology is a tricky thing. If I am using any terminology incorrectly or conflating any terminology on this page, please forgive me, and kindly set me straight so that I can fix it. Thank you.
Duojjin is a heavily agglutinative language. What this essentially means is that words are built up from many smaller component parts (morphemes) by piling up affixes onto a single root (both of which are types of morphemes). We do this a bit in English. For example, the English word tried is built up from two smaller component morphemes: try and -ed. But English also has lots and lots of words that can just be used by themselves, like try. Whereas agglutinative languages like Duojjin do a whole lot more of the combining, and a whole lot less of the stranding. English, by contrast, is what’s called a fusional language.
It has a very extensive collection of over 50 noun cases which are suffixed onto the end of noun roots. It also has a collection of over 150 derivational suffixes that attach to the end of roots to do a number of things. Mostly, they derive various kinds of verbs in many tense/aspect combinations. Modality (grammatical mood) is also expressed through a series of suffixes that attach to the end of verbs. Deixis, on the other hand, as well as adjectives (which are a closed class in Duojjin) are expressed with prefixes that attach to the beginning of roots.
Duojjin’s case system can appear beyond gigantic, intimidating, overbearing, and ridiculous at first glance. However, unlike Indo-European languages, Duojjin’s cases do not force every other little thing in the sentence to “agree” with them; they do not influence the conjugation or inflection of… well… anything. Many people who have studied a language like German, Latin, or French who might be interested in studying Duojjin will likely find that fact to be something of a relief. If a language had over 50 cases that all affected conjugation and inflectional paradigms, that would be enormously impractical.
Duojjin verbs can get very busy, with many morphemes piling up for some very long words. As such, an argument could be made that Duojjin’s verbs exhibit polysynthesis, and it may be appropriate to classify Duojjin therefore as a polysynthetic language. However, because the term “polysynthetic” is so loosely defined, and I do not personally know any such languages for an adequate frame of reference (I do know of such languages, but like… yeah, no…), I am not prepared to say that I’m quite well enough educated to make that decision.
But take, for example, the oh-so-likely Duojjin word “heiessõvi’otavuohovõllõnenihinjoee”, which means “I think that they all could have been taken/lead deep into that large cave by now.” It is composed of the morphemes hei-[e]ssõ-[i]vi-‘-o-ta-vuoho-[õ]võllõ-[i]nen-[i]hin-jo-ee, with the meanings third.person–comprehensive.plural–passive–nominative-big-demonstrative-cave-hyperlative-do.past.plain-do.present.plain-nonconformative. The only morphemes in that entire sequence which are root words (and therefore free morphs) are hei and vuoho. Every other morpheme is an affix of some sort or another which cannot stand on its own.
This word also demonstrates one interesting element of Duojjin morphosyntax which complicates its syntactic classification: The object (direct or indirect) is often swallowed up into the verb by becoming its root. Duojjin does this because it does not have ‘verb’ as a word class; there are no root words in Duojjin which can be called verbs. A verb can only be created by applying a derivational suffix to a noun, even if that noun has one or more cases attached to it. When a noun with a locative case becomes verbed in this way, it is assumed to be a locative verb; a verb of movement. The manner of that movement is either left up to context to be determined, or it can be described further through adverbs or additional clauses.
Duojjin is also a topicalizing language, but it is not a heavily topicalizing one.
Duojjin is a head-final nominative-accusative language with a word order structuring that can be tricky to classify. The ‘default’ word order is OSV (Object, Subject, Verb). However, because of the oddity described above, it can also frequently be something more like SOV (where the object and the verb are really the same thing). The object does not obligatorily need to come first, necessarily, but it is the default position. Due to Duojjin’s extensive case system, the word order is not strictly fixed, but it’s not wholly free either.
The direct object can be moved to the back of the sentence freely if it is in the accusative (which the direct object usually is) as a matter of personal preference or to help draw focus to itself. This means that Duojjin is also compatible with an SVO structure. The indirect object may also be moved to the back of the sentence freely if it is in any oblique case (as defined by Duojjin). If both the direct and indirect objects are at the front of a sentence, then the indirect object must come first, as the object closest to the subject is always assumed to be direct. And because of that, if both the direct and indirect object are at the back of a sentence, then the direct object needs to come first (to keep it closer to the subject).
The Subject and the Verb must always be next to each other (in that order), and they are separated by an apostrophe instead of a space in writing. I typically gloss that apostrophe as “nominative case“, which just kind of seems like the thing to do, since it only ever appears where the otherwise-unmarked nominative appears. This is the only function that the apostrophe ever serves in Duojjin. Such words typically follow the stress patterning of a single word.
Adverbs come after the verb. Their ordering beyond that point is at the speaker’s discretion. Adjuncts and subjuncts typically go either at the very beginning or the very end of a clause, at the speaker’s discretion, unless something has been topicalized. In which case, they must appear at the very end. Or if there are dependent clauses following the end of the clause in question. In which case, they must appear at the beginning.
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