On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 5:08 PM, Matthew Turnbull <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> most of the time it's either a nominal (or a verb masquerading as such if I
> didn't understand correctly) followed by the particle naa. this particle is
> always phrase second, never occurs elsewhere, and it just seems to me that
> it violates the universal that the number of words never matters, but i
> think that it may have to do with verb/phrase templates and I just didn't
> get it.

I've been studying Potawatomi lately, which is a related language--
the particle in question is spelled "ne" in Potawatomi and pronounced
(I think, I'm terrible at phonetics) as [log in to unmask]

Honestly I don't understand Potawatomi grammar that well yet.  But it
seems to have a fairly free word order (which makes sense, since
there's a lot of marking on both verbs and nouns), and our teacher has
emphasized several times that you almost always put the "most
important thing" at the beginning of the sentence.  So from what
little I know it seems to me like the "ne" rule fits that general
pattern: The thing you're asking about is emphasized, so it's moved to
the front of the sentence, where it's then followed by "ne".

I'm not sure it has anything to do with "the number of words"
exactly-- what's a word vs a phrase seems to be a much less distinct
matter in Potawatomi.

Also, incidentally, I believe I've also seen sentences where "ne"
comes at the end of the whole sentence, though that hasn't been
explained to me.

la stela selckiku