This website contains archives of the Tolkien Discussion Group from 2009 to early 2013.

The discussion group continues to meet
in Second Life in Alqualonde the Swanhaven. Contact AelKennyr Rhiano in Second Life.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Quenya Lesson 9 — Cases — Nominative, Accusative, and Dative

< Lesson 8     
Lihan Taifun (teaching)
Rhûn Darkmoon
Shawn Daysleeper
AelKennyr Rhiano


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.
               subject: Nolë
               direct object: the book
               indirect object: Elenwë
               (Notice that this sentence is equivalent to “Nolë gives the book to Elenwë.)

(your turn:)
          Estelin cooks noodles.
          Estelin cooks everyone dinner.
          Find Maisy!
          Bring me my cloak!
          Nolë brings Maisy to Olwë.
          Nolë brings Maisy her breakfast.

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.


In Quenya:
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 ;
                     -r after - ;
                     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 with ;
                      after other vowel add -i;
                      after consonant add

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 , replace with -in)

parma      (book)
                     singular        plural
nominative   parma      parmar
accusative     parma      parmar      (Third Age)
                        parmá      parmai      (Valinorian)
dative             parman   parmain

lassë      (leaf)
                     singular        plural
nominative   lassë            lassi
accusative     lassë            lassi     (Third Age)
                        lassé            lassí     (Valinorian)
dative             lassen         lassin

Atan      (Human)
                     singular        plural
nominative   Atan           Atani
accusative     Atan           Atani      (Third Age)
                        Atan           Ataní     (Valinorian)
dative             Atanen      Atanin

(your turn)
Remember our examples:
     Estelin cuts an apple.     Estelin rista orva.
     Estelin and Apakenwë cut apples.     Estelin ar Apakenwë ristar orvar.
These are in the Third Age form. How would they be different in archaic/Valinorian style?

“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.


(more practice)
jewel    mírë
ship      cirya
home   mar
my       -(i)nya     (add this before the case ending)

Find _____!     Á hirë _______!
I see ____.     Cenen _____.
Give ____!     Á anta _______!

Find a jewel!
Find jewels!

I see a ship.
I see ships.
I see home.
I see homes.
I see my home.

Give Maisy to Olwë!
Give Maisy an apple!

> Lesson 10    

No comments:

Post a Comment