For more information on Mato grammar, please consult the Mato Grammar Sketch (2013), available on the SIL-PNG Language Resources website.
Mato is an Austronesian language, and its typology is typical of Oceanic languages. These characteristics include:
- four sets of pronominal elements: free pronouns, subject prefixes, object suffixes and possessor suffixes
- duals and trials in the free pronouns (but not in the other sets)
- fairly restricted verbal derivational morphology, limited to causative, directional, distributive and intensifying affixes, as well as reduplication
- productive nominalisation of verbs
- SVO order in transitive clauses
- prepositions (with one clitic postposition)
- verb serialisation.
The following features, however, are less typical of Oceanic languages in general, though all of them are found in the wider New Guinea area:
- no distinction between direct and indirect possession (and hence no possessive classifiers)
- no prenominal articles (though there is an article-like enclitic)
- with few exceptions, transitivity not explicitly marked on the verb
- a reduced numeral system, with few Proto-Oceanic reflexes
- an existential-copular verb
- a complex category of noun-like adjectives
- clause-final negation
- a relatively large number of conjunctions.