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2. sentence structure, word order

In the Neoslavonic language (as well as in all Slavic languages), the word order in a sentence is rather flexible. In English, the position of words in sentences is necessary to inform, whether it is a noun, adjective, verb, subject, object, or something else. The NS words have their own endings (declension and conjugation), in which is stored the complete information about their grammatical category, so there is no need any word to respect a specific position in the sentence.

Though the NS sentence is generally arranged "subject-verb-object" in the same way as in English, the grammar rules allow to use virtually any combination of subject, verb, object, ... in order to stress different components of the sentence.

Here we can keep the rule: In the first approximately 7 words is the most important information of the sentence we want to say.

Of course it is not true that words can be mixed in any way. For example, if some adjective belongs to some noun, it must lie in front of its corresponding noun or behind of its corresponding noun and between these words must not be mixed any another element of the sentence. Overall, this means that the NS sentence is best to be explained as a branched tree. The branches represent particular sentence components, mutually may have flexible order, but elements within some one branch must not be mixed with elements of some another branch.

Basic sentence elements are:
  1. subject part. This is a noun or conjunction of more nouns or pronouns or numerals in the nominative case, 
  2. verb part, which is made by at least one verb optionally extended by adverbs,
  3. object part, which is a noun or conjunction of more nouns in accusative case or other case without preposition,
  4. proverbial parts, which are either made by adverbs or nouns or pronouns or numerals in various cases with prepositions.
  • Any noun or pronoun or numeral at any position can be extended by additional adjectives or pronouns or numerals or attributes,
  • any adjective can be extended by additional adjectives or adverbs, and
  • any adverb can be extended by additional adverbs.

example 1

Veliky zajec bystro bieži okolo nas do mnogo temnego lesa.
A big hare quickly runs around us to a very dark forest.

A standard sentence with the English-like word order:

Different word order, where "a big hare" is less important than the information about our experience (running around us, running to a dark forest).
This new sentence has the same syntactical tree as of the previous example. The only difference is in the order of tree branches. This can not be easily expressed in English:

Okolo nas do mnogo temnego lesa bystro bieži veliky zajec.

This is an example of the wrong sentence, where words are impermissibly mixed between two branches.

example 2

Dobry student piše svojemu učitelu velike pismo na novem komputeru.
A good student write his/her teacher a big letter on a new computer.

If we will want to stress 1) "a new computer" and 2) "size of a letter" and than later we will speak about the writing process and its details (a student, a teacher), we can reorder this sentence as follows.
Note that in this case, the arrangement of tree branches is completely reversed from the English standard:

Na novem komputeru velike pismo svojemu učitelu piše dobry student.


People educated in applied mathematics know that these branched trees can also be displayed as plain texts using special brackets. Elements within each brackets can change the order, but the content inside the brackets can not be mixed with the content of another brackets:

{{veliky zajec} {bystro bieži} {okolo nas} {do mnogo temnego lesa}}

{okolo nas} {do mnogo temnego lesa} {bystro bieži} {veliky zajec}}

{dobry student} {piše} {svojemu učitelju} {velike pismo} {na novem komputeru}}

{na novem komputeru} {velike pismo} {svojemu učitelu} {piše} {dobry student}}

or in more detail as

{clause {subj. veliky zajec} {v. bystro bieži} {prov. okolo nas} {prov. do mnogo temnego lesa}}

clause {prov. okolo nas} {prov. do mnogo temnego lesa} {v. bystro bieži} {subj. veliky zajec}}

clause {subj. dobry student} {v. piše} {obj. D svojemu učitelu} {obj. A velike pismo} {prov. na novem komputeru}}

clause {prov. na novem komputeru} {obj. A velike pismo} {obj. D svojemu učitelu} {v. piše} {subj. dobry student}}

We can say that English needs the fixed position of words in sentences in order to add words missing information about whether these words are subjects, objects, verbs or something else. It is obvious that Slavic languages (as well as Latin and Greek) operate with words containing more unambiguous grammatical information without the need to use fixed positions. Free word order can then be used to express the finer details of communication in these languages.