From The Toaq Wiki

A verb's frame is a little "signature" that tells you what arguments can go in what slots, and what happens when the verb is used to make a serial verb.

For example, the frame of sue is c c 1, meaning it has two "concrete" slots, and one "1-ary" property slot that will, in a serial verb, merge away with the subject of the next verb.

A frame consists of as many space-separated glyphs as it has argument slots, and each one describes what can go in that slot:

Frame glyphs
Glyph Meaning Telltale phrase Serial behavior
c "Concrete" (non-property) argument None
0 0-ary relation (proposition) "that ▯ is the case" Merge-into
1 1-ary relation (property) "to satisfy property ▯" Merge-away one
2 2-ary relation (relation) "to be in relation ▯ with" Merge-away two


This is an advanced section. You don't need to understand it to speak Toaq, but it might help you understand how programs like Kuna work.

Sometimes you might see the letters ijx in a frame. For example, sue's frame is listed as c c 1j in the official dictionary.

The letters i j refer to the first and second arguments of the verb. They express a "coindexation" between the lambda arguments inside of a property or relation, and the arguments of the verb itself. A 1 slot is followed by one such letter and a 2 by two such letters.

For example, nue is c c 1i, because "i promises j to satisfy property P" really means "i promises to j that P(i) will be brought about."

But sue is c c 1j because "i asks j to satisfy property P" really means "i asks of j that P(j) be brought about."

And the frame of taq is c 2ii, as "i is in relation R with itself" really means "i is such that R(i, i)."

The letter x means that there is no coindexation between the arguments of the verb and that lambda argument. The frame of mıa is c 2ix because the relation is applied between i and "many things x".

When recovering the deep structure of clauses using serial verbs, this coindexation info is used to translate serial verbs into non-finite clauses, turning their lambda arguments into covert pronouns (called "PRO") that correctly coindex with earlier DPs.

Nue caq mí Joq mí Bıo túe.
mí Joqi vcause [mí Bıo nue [PROi vcause [caq túe]]]

Sue caq mí Joq mí Bıo túe.
mí Joq vcause [mí Bıoj sue [PROj vcause [caq túe]]]

See PRO (linguistics) on Wikipedia.