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Re: Noun cases in Tirelat

From:Jake B <blookerboy95@...>
Date:Thursday, September 18, 2008, 2:31
I'd say case, personally.

-------------- Original message --------------
From: Herman Miller <hmiller@...>

> I'm going over the Tirelat grammar to take a break from the vocabulary > work, and improve the documentation. The current topic is noun cases. > It's questionable whether I should call them cases at all, since they're > marked not on the noun but a particle attached to the start of the noun > phrase. Case and number are fused into a single word. E.g. > > saj zarvi ċik > NOM.PL bare rock > (the) bare rocks > > The adjective and the noun remain uninflected. There may be an argument > for considering nominative and accusative as the only two "real" cases, > since there is agreement on the verb for each of those, and pronouns > have separate nominative vs. accusative forms, but I'll continue using > "case" for the rest of these noun phrase particles. > > As I've mentioned, nominative and accusative are two prominent cases. > Most intransitive verbs have a nominative subject, and most transitive > verbs have a subject in the nominative and an object in the accusative. > The nominative case tends to be used for agents and experiencers, and > the accusative case for patients (but also destinations and some other > usages). > > The nominative case has three forms: su (animate singular), sy > (inanimate singular) and saj (plural). This is the only case so far that > distinguishes between animate and inanimate nouns, although it's > possible that other cases may make this distinction. The accusative case > marker is my (singular) or maj (plural). > > Some verbs also have an indirect object, which will be in the dative > case (na/naj, used typically for a recipient or a beneficiary). The > locative case (vë/vaj) represents the location of an action. > > Now for the more interesting ones. Some verbs, of which "veste" (to > dance) is typical, have an extra subject (kë/kaj). I call this the > "comitative" case, since the English translations of these verbs tend to > use "with" where Tirelat uses this case. > > Another lesser used case (dy/daj) is one that I haven't had a name for, > but I'm thinking of "ablative". Typically, it's used for non-volitional > agents, or the agent of a passive verb, which according to Wikipedia are > possible uses of the ablative case in Latin, and I've also considered > using this case to represent the "source" of an action (one translation > of English "from" or "out of"). > > Then there are the two remaining cases, which unlike the preceding > cases, are not associated with particular "argument slots" of verbs. The > vocative case, used to direct a comment to a particular listener (or > listeners) has only a single form (ee), not distinguished by singular or > plural. > > The last case (u/aj) is one that I've been calling "oblique", as it > typically is not associated with a verb; its most typical use is as the > object of a locative noun phrase. > > vë lak u łivi žeġ > LOC.SG over OBL.SG lazy dog > over the lazy dog > > However, the "Swallow Song" translation on the Tirelat web page > (original at > has a couple of unusual usages of this case. > > jë-kóta -z u zhemi nallu, u zhemi rága > 3s-carry-IPF OBL beautiful hour OBL beautiful year > bringing hours of beauty, years of beauty > > ty rílh -ë-njem sha mifsi -njem zhlara-ru -ka -j u tegla > and wheat- -bread nor legume-bread refuse-PAS-NEG-GA OBL swallow > And the swallow does not disdain wheat-bread or pulse-porridge, either. > > zhúvi, zhúvi u shúru më-bala-ta -j na tegla > open open OBL door 3s-set -DEO-GA DAT swallow > Open, open the door for the swallow > > I don't know if I should try to account for these cases. Maybe it would > be better to make a new translation from the original Czirehlat version > from 2001 (, > or directly from the original Greek. > > kóta -z me jémi nállu, me jémi rága > carry-IMPF(PART) OBJ beautiful hour OBJ beautiful year > > te me ríhl -e-niém sza mífsi -niém se tégla jelára-kai > and OBJ wheat- -bread nor legume-bread SUBJ swallow refuse-NEG > > júvi, júvi se szúru bála-tai na tégla > open open OBJ door set -DEON DAT swallow > > (Either the "se" or the "OBJ" in the last line must be a mistake, but > I'm not sure whether "se" or "me" is correct in this case.)