Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Nouns and Declension

As I pointed out below, Tulvan is a highly analytical language. What means it has only but lost all of its declensional system, if it ever had one. Only one declensional case remains, the Accusative. The accusative is used in nouns to mark the direct object of a verb. The mark of the accusative in Tulvan is the affix -u. It can sometimes behave as a suffix and sometimes as a prefix. This phenomenon was named allotaxy a term coined by the first specialists on Tulvan, and is phonetically conditioned by the letter in which the previous word ends or the next word begins with, wether it is a consonant or a vowel to avoid C-C or V-V.

So for instance, in the example below "cur mem uspär? Do you want some water?" the u- marks the accusative because mem ends in consonant and spär begins with one. But for example in a sentence like:

Levi crumu nus. See an old man!

It is perfectly valid to put the -u as a suffix. Which again in turn would change when I say:

Lev kwam ucrum nus. I see an old man.

Even though, in this particular case, either prefix or suffix forms are valid, thus lev kwam crumu nus, is also valid. Depending only on personal taste, a different case would be:

Lev kwam ucrum ëv nus. I see a man (who) is old.

Where the accusative marker could not be suffixed. In cases where both the previous word ends in a vowel and the next one begins with a vowel the word preceding usually has precedence. Although some dialects show different patterns. The only other marker nouns posses is the number marking, the plural. This marker is -n, -en for consonant ending words. So a word like utim tree, would have a plural utimen trees. This also applies for pronouns and verbs.

Lev kwam utimen nus. I see the old trees or I look at the old trees.

In fact the difference between look at/see is given by the pronoun. This and also other markers affecting other kinds of words will be explained in subsequent posts.


  1. It's interesting that Tulvan only has 2 cases (nominative and accusative). How, for instance, would one say "I see his dog"? Would Tulvan use an adjective? Same for "I see the dog near the house".

    I like the fact that the affix can be a suffix or prefix, just to avoid CC and VV combinations.

  2. Well, in the cases you mention Tulvan would solve them, in the first case, as normal accusative because "his" would actually be an adjective, and in the second case it would use prepositions. So:

    Lev kwam utüm itom. I see his dog.
    Lev kwam utüm puv mig. I see the dog near the house.

    But in fact I think that sentence means something more similar to "I see the dog which is near the house", in that case you would say: Lev kwam utüm ya puv mig, to make the distinction.

    Yes, I like that affix too. Things are only going to get better, trust me, the best is yet to come. Up until now I've been playing with some words and very basic grammar, Tulvan has some interesting things coming up. The verbs will be very interesting.

  3. Ah, another dilemma then: "I see the manly dog" and "I see the dog of the man." How would you differentiate that?

  4. Being an analytical language you have the proper prepositions required. So you can say either "utüm icrum" the manly dog, and "utüm crum gim", of the man. But more on this will come up eventually.