< Lesson 8
Lihan Taifun (teaching)
“Cases” are modifications (mostly endings) added to nouns to either:
• indicate their function in a sentence. (English does this strictly by word order.)
• indicate a relationship: “of”, “from”, “to”, “in”, “because of”. (English does this with prepositions.)
This week we start with the “cases” that indicate parts of a sentence (subject, direct objecet, and indirect object).
Quick grammar review:
Subject of a sentence: who or what is doing something.
Direct object: who or what something is being done to.
Indirect object: who or what is receiving the result. (This can often be rephrased as “to” or “for”.)
Nolë gives Elenwë the book.
direct object: the book
indirect object: Elenwë
(Notice that this sentence is equivalent to “Nolë gives the book to Elenwë.)
The first two were easy.
“Estelin” subject; “noodles” direct object
“Estelin” subject; “dinner” direct object; “everyone” indirect object
The third and fourth are tricky, because commands frequently do not state the subject (violating the rule that a sentence always has at least a subject and a verb!). Commands usually imply a subject “you”. (“You find Maisy!”)
“Find” is the verb. Think about “who is going to do the finding?”; that will be the subject. “Who is going to be found?”; that will be the dirct object.
(subject “you” implied); “Maisy” direct object
English does have a small relic of “cases” in the pronouns. “I”, “he”,“she”, “we”, and “they” are used only for subjects, while “me”, “him”,“her”, “us”, and “them” are used for other parts of the sentence.
Subject will be in Nominative case.
This is the form we have been working with already.
singular: basic, uninflected, dictionary form
plural: -r after vowel except -ë ;
-r after -ië ;
replace -i with -ë ;
-i after consonant
Direct Object will be in Accusative case
In modern (Third/Fourth Age) Middle Earth Quenya, this is the same as Nominative. That is why we have, in previous weeks, been using direct objects and not worrying forming a “case” for them.
In archaic and Valinorian Quenya (This is the form used in ancient Quenya, old books, and possibly modern Aman and Alqualondë):
singular: lengthen the ending vowel (add accent);
If the word ends in a consonant, there is no change.
plural: replace -ë with -í;
after other vowel add -i;
after consonant add -í
Indirect Object will be in Dative case
singular: after a vowel add n;
after a consonant add -en
plural: add -in
(For words ending in -ë, replace -ë with -in)
nominative parma parmar
accusative parma parmar (Third Age)
parmá parmai (Valinorian)
dative parman parmain
nominative lassë lassi
accusative lassë lassi (Third Age)
lassé lassí (Valinorian)
dative lassen lassin
nominative Atan Atani
accusative Atan Atani (Third Age)
Atan Ataní (Valinorian)
dative Atanen Atanin
“Estelin” subject; “rista” verb; “orva” direct object
“Estelin” is in ordinary nominative, so there is no change.
“orva” is in accusative. In Third Age, that is the same as the nominative. In ancient/Valinorian/Alqualondë Quenya, "singular: lengthen the ending vowel (add accent)" ––> orvá
Estelin rista orvá.
In the plural, “replace -ë with -í; after other vowel add -i” ––> orvai
Estelin ar Apakenwë ristar orvai.
This is a difficult topic for native speakers of English.
One advantage, however, of a language that uses cases is that word order becomes much less important. “Orvá rista Estelin” can still only mean “Estelin cuts an apple”, since “orvá” is in accusative case and must be the direct object. This should be an advantage to poets. Try to keep adjectives next to the noun they are describing; beyond that, the word order is not critical.
You can do that a little bit in English. “To Valimar sailed we in the autumn” sounds a bit stilted and “poetic”, but it is comprehensible. It helps that there is no other meaning you could accidentally get by rearranging those words.