Word Order Restrictions

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While Na'vi is usually described as having free word order, there are nonetheless some restrictions to know about.

  • Ke must always go directly before the verb, kea must go before its noun.
  • A si verb will always have the word order X si or, negated, X ke si or X rä'ä si (where X is the noun or adjective element).
    • The sole exception is irayo si, which can have the order disrupted somewhat.
    • If there is no noun or adjective element, just say si (or ke si, or rä'ä si), like this example,
Nga tsap'alute soli srak? - Did you apologize?
Soli. - (I) did (apologize).
  • Attributive/non-predicative adjectives must either go directly before or directly after the noun they describe. You can use both kawnga tute and tute akawng.
  • Possessives/genitives must either go before directly before or directly after their possessed noun, except that an adjective describing the noun may come in between if necessary:
oeyä 'eylan = 'eylan oeyä,
oeyä sìltsana 'eylan = 'eylan asìltsan oeyä
  • Ma must go directly before the name who is being addressed.
  • Srake should only go either at the very beginning of a yes/no question, and srak at the end.
  • The words ko and nang must only go at the end of the sentence.
  • Modal verbs can only come somewhere before the secondary verb; the secondary verb cannot happen somewhere before the modal:
nga yivom tsun = wrong
tsun nga yivom / nga tsun yivom / tsun yivom nga = correct forms.
  • There are exceptions in song (the Hunt Song, livu win sì txur oe zene).
  • The topical must come at the beginning of the clause.
    • Again, exceptions may be found in song, the Hunt Song, pxan livu txo nì'aw oe ngari....