Lesson #1: Nouns
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How nouns work in Iteloge Nowernve
This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 8 May 2020, 22:04.
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The Modern Tongue , as an artificial language, has a very rigid noun system. There are different classes of nouns, and all have a number and grammatical gender category.
Base common nouns can have one of three grammatical genders: neutral, masculine and feminine. These will end in "-e", "-o" and "-a" respectively, with their plural forms having and added "-s" at the end:
|Language||Number||Neutral Form||Masculine Form||Feminine Form|
As a general rule, only people and animals can present the masculine or feminine forms. When the subject's real-life gender is unknown, when their gender does not conform to a binary, or when the subject is an inanimate object, the neutral gender is used.
These base nouns can have a modified suffix to indicate a different class. Concept nouns are marked by an "-qé" suffix to distinguish them from the base form. So, for example, "e mbade" means "an evil", but "de mbadeqé" means "evil" in a general sense. Though concept nouns are gender-neutral, they can still be formed from gendered base nouns. Thus "umanoqé" means "manhood", while "umanaqé" means "womanhood" and "umaneqé" means "humanity".
Collective nouns are another class, marked by a "-je" suffix for the base noun. For example, while "umaneqé" means "humanity" in the sense of the human condition, "umanje" refers to "humanity" as a race or population group. Both concept and collective nouns are seldom pluralised, with the main exception being when a comparison is being made.
The suffixes "-tce" and "-pse" usually indicate interaction/creation and location respectively. Using the base noun for "coin", for example, one can build an extensive word family:
|midyeqepse||currency exchange place|
|midyjeqepse||ministry of economy|
*: the diacritical mark is dropped because the stressed syllable is no longer the last syllable, but rather the penultimate one.
The combinations can be extensive, though it is also common for people to employ synonyms in order to avoid repeating the same sounds multiple times in the same sentence. In fact, people will rarely use, for example, "midjyepse" ("bank") in the same phrase as "midyepse" ("vault"), usually opting to replace the latter with "ksaödre" ("box"). And though the "-tce" suffix can refer to either an animate or inanimate noun, it's used for objects significantly less in Soksan. For example, in the Rhoxuler dialect of Modern, "branetce" is used interchangeably for "baker" and "oven", whereas Soxanites prefer to call the latter "forwe".
Compound nouns are not uncommon, though they tend to drop vowels or even entire syllables. In recent times, it has become trendy among the Soxanite youth to purposely coin more of these compound nouns, and even though the origin of these words is ironic and for humourous purposes, they sometimes stick. "Hetadrutle", for example, is a portmanteau of "hetadhe" ("head") and "adrutle" ("armour"), and is used almost as often as "yelme" ("helmet"). Modern Tongue linguists tend to encourage the population to learn and employ various synonyms, assigning slightly different connotations to each one. Which is why it's not altogether surprising that they tend to accept these neologisms, though they abscribe different connotations to them. As a result, words like "hetadrutle" end up meaning "(poor quality) helm", for example.
Nationalities and other demonyms tend to follow etymological rules for the suffixes: while Soxanites call themselves "soksanites", Rhoxulers are called "yrhogzuleres", and Kanrakians are called "kanrrakies". Note that latinised Modern employs minimal capitalisation, so these words are not capitalised, and neither are the names of races. However, titles, such as "Kaödiye" (roughly translated as "warlord"), are.
Soxanite first names tend to follow follow the same gramatical gender rules as common base nouns. Some names might be simplified into a gendered base noun form. Names such as "Bëotvo" ("beautiful") tend to be less common than "Bëoto" ("beauty"). Names ending with the "-tce"/"-tco"/"tca" suffixes are particularly uncommon and even considered dehumanising, despite the role that they plays in common nouns. Many Soxanite names are compound nouns, which also drop vowels or original syllables. Names such as "Laëcefo" have dropped the final syllable from the word "laëte" ("light") when merging with "cefe" ("fame"). Traditionally gender-neutral nouns tend to be gendered if they are used as names; such is the case for "Höafo", a masculine version of "höafe" ("flower").
Some foreigners who deal with Soxanites will often "modernise" (as Soxanites would put it), "soxanise" (as other humans would put it), or "humanise" (as most non-humans would put it) their names. Thus an Rhoxuler woman named Layrhaín might present herself as "Layrhaina".
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