Grammar Guide

Part C: The Sentence Expanded

1. Intro
We now enter into a discussion of the more complex Denes¶øiné sentences. At this point in the grammar, description of the language becomes much more difficult, largely because of the many possible ways of saying the same thing. The verb, although complex, is a limited structure. The form of any given verbal expression can be predicted with reasonable accuracy. With the sentence this is not so. Complex ideas can be expressed many ways, depending on the personality of the speaker, his mood at the moment of speaking, the dialect area he represents, the generation to which he belongs, his general linguistic ability, and whether or not he is telling a story or just being conversational. Therefore the most that can be done here is to explain some of the ways of expressing ideas through the use of the sentence.

In the first part of the grammar we discussed the way simple sentences are constructed. Here we noticed certain primary elements such as subjects (consisting of a noun and possible modifiers), an object (also consisting of a noun and possible modifiers), and a predicate (consis-ting of a verb, verbal noun or verbal adjective, and possible modifiers). The modifiers of a noun are called demonstratives, numerals, and adjectives. The modifiers of the verb, verbal noun or verbal adjective are the negative, interrogative, future and other qualifying words. With the three primary elements of subject, object, and verb usually occurring in the order listed, there are a number of secondary elements that need to be mentioned. To list these secondary elements according to their order is difficult, as different styles seem to require different orders. The order used in telling a story may be quite different from the one used in conversation.

Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre