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Nouns
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The grammar of nouns in Yusak
This public article was written by nai888, and last updated on 31 Jan 2017, 00:46.

[comments]
3. Nouns
7. Verbs
Menu
1. Class
2. Case
3. Definiteness
4. Possessor
5. Number
6. Grammar

Nouns are highly inflecting. They decline to show possession, gender, case, and number. The structure of a fully-declined noun is:

[Possessor][Compound]Noun-root[Gender][Case][Definiteness][Number]

[top]Class


There are three genders reflecting the animacy of the noun. These genders are hierarchical. This means that if multiple nouns from multiple genders are referenced by a single noun or pronoun, the highest animacy present is used (e.g. if a group contains a human and two rocks, the group would be referred to using the animate gender). Similarly, if the animacy of the referent is unknown (e.g. in questions), the highest possible animacy is used.

  1. Animate
  2. Inanimate
  3. Abstract


oras
/oɾas/
oras
cloud-INDEFIndefinite
a nonspecific referent
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument

cloud (animate)

nerteb
/neɾteb/
nerteb
chair-INDEFIndefinite
a nonspecific referent
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument

chair (inanimate)

kratjyr
/kɾatjyɾ/
kratjyr
south-INDEFIndefinite
a nonspecific referent
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument

south (abstract)

Nouns do not have special endings for each gender when undeclined, so the gender for each noun must be memorized or referenced. However, when declined, each of the three genders has two characteristic vowels: a low or mid vowel and a high vowel. The animate gender is associated with the vowels [a] and [y], the inanimate gender is associated with the vowels [o] and [u], and the abstract gender is associated with the vowels [e] and [i]. These characteristic vowels show up in the declensional endings of both the declined nouns and the adjectives that match them.

oraslan
/oɾaslan/
oras-lan
cloud-DEFDefinite
"the"
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABLAblative (case)
'away from'

out of/from the cloud

nerteblon
/neɾteblon/
nerteb-lon
chair-DEFDefinite
"the"
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABLAblative (case)
'away from'

off of/from the chair

kratjyrlen
/kɾatjyɾlen/
kratjyr-len
south-DEFDefinite
"the"
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABLAblative (case)
'away from'

from the south

[top]Case


Nouns decline to fourteen different grammatical cases, according to their usage in a sentence.

Ergative - ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent

The ergative is used to denote the agent or subject of a transitive verb.

Absolutive - ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument

The absolutive is used to denote the agent or subject of an intransitive verb, and the object of a transitive verb.

Vocative - VOCVocative (case)
'O [addressee]'

The vocative is used to address or invoke a specific person or thing.

Genitive - GENGenitive (case)
possessive

The genitive is used to mark the possessor of a noun.

Dative - DATDative (case)
indirect object; beneficiary

The dative is used to mark the indirect object of a verb.

Lative - LATLative (case)
movement

The lative is used to mark motion toward a location. It corresponds to the English prepositions "to" or "into".

Locative - LOCLocative (case)
'in, on, at' etc

The locative is used to indicate a location. It corresponds vaguely to the English prepositions "in", "on", and "at".

Ablative - ABLAblative (case)
'away from'

The ablative is used to mark motion away from a location.

Prolative - PROUnknown code
The prolative is used to mark motion through or "by way of".

Instrumental - INSTRInstrumental (case)
'with' 'using'

The instrumental is used to indicate that a noun is the instrument or means by or with which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action.

Benefactive - BENBenefactive (case)
recipient of benefit

The benefactive case expresses that the referent of the noun it marks receives the benefit of the situation expressed by the clause. It corresponds vaguely to the English preposition "for".

Causal - CAUCausal (case)
'because (of)'

The causal indicates that a subject causes someone or something else to do or be something. It corresponds vaguely to the English "because of".

Comitative - COMComitative (case)
'together with'

The comitative denotes accompaniment. It corresponds vaguely to the English "with" or "together with".

Privative - PRVPrivative (case)
'without'

The privative denotes the lack or absence of the marked noun. In English, the corresponding function is expressed by the preposition "without" or by the suffix "-less".

[top]Definiteness


Yusak nouns decline to show definiteness. Unmarked nouns are indefinite (corresponding to the English "a" or "an"). This indicates a non-specific or general instance of a noun. Nouns can be marked definite (corresponding to the English "the"), which indicates a specific or known instance of a noun.

trie
/tɾie/
trie
dog.INDEFIndefinite
a nonspecific referent
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument

(a) dog

triejy
/tɾiejy/
trie-jy
dog-DEFDefinite
"the"
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument

the dog

Universals and general statements when used in the ergative or absolutive cases are marked on the corresponding verb using the fourth person. This generally corresponds to instances in English of nouns lacking any article. In most cases, the definite article is used in this situation, even though English normally lacks any article in this construction.

Joztof triesyn rualjy.
/joztof tɾiesyn ɾualjy/
joz-tof
drink-4SFourth person singular (person)
obviative
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
.4PFourth Person Plural (person)
obviative, not present (plural)
.ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
trie-syn
dog-DEFDefinite
"the"
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
rual-jy
water-DEFDefinite
"the"
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument

Dogs drink water.
Both 'dogs' and 'water' are general referents in this sentence, so both the ergative and absolutive pronominals on the verb are in the fourth person. Dogs (in general) drink water (in general).

Jozvef triesyn rualjy.
/jozvef tɾiesyn ɾualjy/
joz-vef
drink-3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
-4PFourth Person Plural (person)
obviative, not present (plural)
.ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
trie-syn
dog-DEFDefinite
"the"
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
rual-jy
water-DEFDefinite
"the"
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument

Dogs drink the water.
'Dogs' is a general referent, but the water referenced is a specific portion or body of water; while the verb shows 'dogs' in the fourth person, 'water' is in the third person. Dogs (in general) drink the water [in that lake].

Jozteþ triesyn rualjy.
/jozteθ tɾiesyn ɾualjy/
joz-teþ
drink-4SFourth person singular (person)
obviative
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
.3PThird person plural (person)
neither speaker nor addressee, they/them
.ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
trie-syn
dog-DEFDefinite
"the"
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
rual-jy
water-DEFDefinite
"the"
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument

The dogs drink water.
'Dogs' is referring to a specific group of dogs, but 'water' is generalized'; the verb shows 'dogs' in the third person, while 'water' is in the fourth person. The dogs [in my house] drink water (in general).

[top]Possessor


When a noun is possessed by another noun, the possessor is declined to the genitive.

triejy namma
/tɾiejy nam:a/
trie-jy
dog.DEFDefinite
"the"
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
nam-ma
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
-GENGenitive (case)
possessive

my dog

However, oftentimes when the possessor is known and would be stated as a pronoun (as above), rather than stating the pronoun and declining it to the genitive, the possessed noun can take a possessive prefix that matches the animacy and number of the possessor. The pronoun itself can then be dropped from the sentence.

antrie
/antɾie/
an-trie
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
.GENGenitive (case)
possessive
-dog.INDEFIndefinite
a nonspecific referent
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument

my dog

[top]Number


Nouns can be marked as singular or plural.

[top]Grammar


For details on noun declension, view the grammar tables for animate nouns, inanimate nouns, abstract nouns, and noun possession.
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