The basic word order is Verb-Subject-Object (VSO). Lortho contains a lot of information in the verb and the noun or noun phrase. The verb is conjugated by person and gender and thus pronouns are largely unnecessary except for emphasis or clarification. The nouns are altered to denote case, greatly diminishing the need for prepositions. Below are the basic syntax rules for word order:
- The word order changes to Subject-Verb-Object only in the vocative case; however, this is optional, not a rule.
- Adjectives are placed before the noun.
- Ordinal numbers are treated as adjectives (see below regarding word agreement)
- Adverbs are placed after the verb.
- Interrogatives (who, what, et al) are placed before the verb.
- The question particle (represented in the Leipzig Glossing Rules as Q) is placed at the beginning of the sentence to denote a question.
There are four basic rules which govern agreement between words:
- Verbs must agree in gender and number with the subject (explicit or implied)
- Cardinal numbers do not take case nor gender
- Nouns are not pluralized when counted
see-PST-1MSG tree.F -PL-ACC
I saw trees
kil-ikh-in bon kansaphu-me
see-PST-1MSG two tree.F -ACC
I saw two trees (lit: I saw two tree)
- Adjectives must agree with the noun which they modify in gender, but not in grammatical case nor number