Epiq Noun Cases

The noun case system of Epiq might look a little strange, but if you consult the orthography section and see how these things are actually spelled, it'll cease to look unnecessarily strange. That's all right, though: The strangeness comes from elsewhere.

Epiq has six noun cases: The nominative (for most subjects), the accusative (for most direct objects), the dative (for most indirect objects), the instrumental (for most instruments), the genitive (for most possessors) and the adverbial (for adverby things). [Note: For a more detailed explanation of how these cases work, scroll down.] In addition to these cases, each noun has a possibility for three numbers: Singular, dual and plural. Thus, the number of cells for a given noun is eighteen (six cases times three numbers). The realization of each cell depends largely on the shape of the stem its attached to. This information is summarized in the tables below.

There are three tables below: One for singular nouns, one for dual, and one for plural. Each table then has a row for each type of noun. The rows you see will apply to nouns that either end in a vowel or end in a consonant. In either case, the forms you see should be added to the last non-glide consonant of the noun. So, if you have a word like qami, "woman", the stem to which each case ending below is added is qam-. The name of such a noun would be an I Class noun, because the noun ends in i. If you have a word like ampwa, "nose", though, the stem to which each case ending below is added is amp-. This noun, then, would be a WA Class noun, because it ends in -wa (note: not an A Class noun).

[Quick note: The Q Class is for words that end in a uvular consonant; the C Class is for all words that end in a non-uvular consonant.]

Okie doke, without further ado, here are the Three Magic Tables of Mystery and Lore!


Declension Tables

Click on the individual case names in each table for a detailed description of how that case is used in Epiq. If you'd rather just look at the explanations, scroll down to the bottom, the tables be damned! Also, if you want to see these cases on actual words (I know that helps me), then click here to go to the very bottom where I have a table which declines a noun of each class type in every case.


Singular Nouns

Singular Nouns Nominative Accusative Dative Instrumental Genitive Adverbial
 Class -ây -âw -âł -âs
I Class -i -yâ -i -ÿ -ił -is
U Class -u -wâ -u -uł -us
A Class -a -ał -âs
ÂY Class -ây -yâ -ây -ÿ -yał -yâs
ÂW Class -âw -wâ -âw -wał -wâs
Ÿ Class -ÿ -wâ -ÿ -ÿł -ÿs
YÂ Class -yâ -yâ -yây -yâw -yâł -yâs
YA Class -ya -yâ -yé -yó -yał -yâs
Ü Class -yâ -ÿ -üł -üs
WÂ Class -wâ -wâ -wây -wâw -wâł -wâs
WA Class -wa -wâ -wé -wó -wał -wâs
E Class -yâ -ÿ -eł -es
O Class -wâ -oł -os
Q Class -e -o -ał -âs
C Class -i -u -ał -âs


Dual Nouns

Dual Nouns Nominative Accusative Dative Instrumental Genitive Adverbial
 Class -âw -wâ -wây -wâw -wâł -wâs
I Class -ÿ -wâ -üł -üs
U Class -u -wâ -wây -u -uł -us
A Class -wâ -wây -wó -wâł -wâs
ÂY Class -wây -wây -wây -wâw -wâł -wâs
ÂW Class -wâw -wâw -wây -wâw -wâł -wâs
Ÿ Class -wâ -ÿ -ÿł -ÿs
YÂ Class -yâw -wâ -wây -üł -üs
YA Class -yó -wâ -wây -üł -üs
Ü Class -ÿ -wâ -ÿ -üł -üs
WÂ Class -wâw -wâ -wây -wâw -wâł -wâs
WA Class -wó -wâ -wây -wâw -wâł -wâs
E Class -wé -wâ -wé -ÿ -weł -wes
O Class -wó -wâ -wó -woł -wos
Q Class -o -wâ -wây -wâw -wâł -wâs
C Class -u -wâ -wây -wâw -wâł -wâs


Plural Nouns

Plural Nouns Nominative Accusative Dative Instrumental Genitive Adverbial
 Class -ây -yâ -yâ -yâw -yâł -yâs
I Class -i -yâ -i -ÿ -ił -is
U Class -yâ -ÿ -ÿ -ÿł -ÿs
A Class -yâ -ya -yó -yał -yâs
ÂY Class -yây -yây -yây -ÿ -yał -yâs
ÂW Class -yâw -yâw -yâw -ÿł -ÿs
Ÿ Class -wâ -ÿ -ÿł -ÿs
YÂ Class -yây -yâ -yâ -yâw -yâł -yâs
YA Class -yé -yâ -ya -yó -yał -yâs
Ü Class -yâ -ÿ -üł -üs
WÂ Class -wây -yâ -ÿ -ÿ -ÿł -ÿs
WA Class -wé -yâ -ÿ -ÿ -ÿł -ÿs
E Class -yé -yâ -yé -ÿ -yeł -yes
O Class -yó -wâ -yó -yoł -yos
Q Class -e -yâ -e -eł -es
C Class -i -yâ -i -ÿ -ił -is

Noun Case Explanations

(1) Nominative:

Summary: The nominative case is used for the subjects of class 1, class 2 verbs, and class 4 verbs, as well as for the direct objects of class 3 verbs. The nominative case is also used to form a stem to which a possessive suffix can be added.

  1. The nominative case is used to mark the subject of a class 1 verb. Here's an example: Ismi pwanił ukânokofa, "The penguin hid from the polar bear" (where "polar bear" is in the genitive case [this is specified lexically by the verb kofa, "to hide"]).

  2. The nominative case is used to mark the subject of a class 2 verb. Here's an example: Pwani ismyâ kânofuli, "The polar bear hunted the penguin" (where "penguin", the definite direct object, is in the accusative case).

  3. The nominative case is used to mark the subject of a class 4 verb. Here's an example: Kâši kitu "Tâfitâs" kânokwaló, "The mother named her son 'David'" (where "son", the direct object, is in the instrumental case, and the name "David", the theme or complement of the naming action, is in the adverbial case).

  4. The nominative case is used to mark the direct object of a class 3 verb. Here's an example: Ismi pwani kânomâsâ, "The penguin saw the polar bear" (where "the penguin", the subject, is in the dative case).

  5. In order to add a pronominal possessive suffix to a noun, that noun is put into the nominative case (either singular, dual or plural, depending on the number of the possession in question). Here're three examples:
    1. Ismima, "My penguin" (ismi, nominative singular, plus first person singular possessive suffix -ma).
    2. Pwanÿk, "Your two polar bears" (pwanÿ, nominative dual, plus second person singular possessive suffix -k).
    3. Kičün, "His/her sons (three or more)" (kičü, nominative plural, plus third person singular possessive suffix -n).

  6. The nominative case is used to mark the promoted patient of a passive verb, which becomes the subject of the sentence. Here's an example: Ista âwqoł likânoxâni, "The (pitted) fruit was eaten by the walrus" (where "the walrus", the agent of the setence, is in the genitive case).

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(2) Accusative:

Summary:The accusative case is used for the definite direct objects of class 2 verbs and the beneficiaries of class 3 verbs. The accusative singular is also used to form a stem to which nominal specifiers may be added. A noun is also put into the accusative case if it's the object of a postposition in the allative mode.

  1. The accusative case is used to mark the definite direct object of a class 2 verb (not an indefinite one). Here's an example: Qałpi qasčâ kânoqeli, "The dog cooked the bone" (where "the dog", the subject of the sentence, is in the nominative case. Notice that it's "the bone", not "a bone"). [Try saying that one three hundred and ninety-seven times fast.]

  2. The accusative case is used to mark the beneficiary or causer (results may vary) of a class 3 verb. Here're a few examples:
    1. Ismi pwanyâ kânofusâ, "The penguin cried for the polar bear" (where "penguin", the subject of the sentence, is in the dative case).
    2. Antü lâstâfâsâ kâsomâsâ, "The boy saw for the blind man (or was his seeing-eye boy, so to speak)" (where "boy", the subject, is in the dative case).
    3. Antü lâstâfâs mânyâ tâsomânwâ, "The boy knows the blind man because of his older sister (i.e., the boy was introduced to the blind man by his older sister)" (where "boy", the subject, is in the dative case, and "blind man", the object, is in the nominative case).

  3. Epiq has, rather than adjectives, a series of nominal specifiers which are attached directly to the noun. The form of the noun that the specifier is attached to, though, is the accusative singular. Here are some examples:
    1. Ismyâsuloqo, "Big penguin" (ismyâ, accusative singular, plus the specifier for "large" -suloqo).
    2. Tâssânüsa, "Green grass" (tâssâ, accusative singular, plus the specifier for "green" -nüsa).
    3. Ampakâmenya, "Dirty rock" (ampakâ, accusative singular, plus the specifier for "dirty" -menya).
    4. Âwqwâqâmwâ, "Old walrus" (âwqwâ, accusative singular, plus the specifier for "large" -qâmwâ).
    5. Muwwâxasa, "Dark smoke" (muwwâ, accusative singular, plus the specifier for "dark-colored" -xasa).

  4. The accusative case is used to mark the object of a postposition in the allative mode. (For more info on postpositional modes, go here.) Here's an example: Xali ilaxânyawwâ ma yânukânošifa, "The girl entered (i.e., went into) the dining room" (where "girl", the subject of the sentence, is in the nominative case).

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(3) Dative:

Summary: The dative case is used for the beneficiaries of class 1 and class 4 verbs, for the indirect objects or beneficiaries of class 2 verbs, and for the subjects of class 3 verbs. It's also used to mark the object of a postposition in the nontranslative mode. The dative case is also used to mark the object of certain non-motive postpositions. Finally, the dative case is used to mark some added or demoted arguments.

  1. The dative case is used to mark the beneficiary of a class 1 verb. Here's an example: Xali lâstâfâsây kânošifa, "The girl went for the blind man (presumably somewhere to do something for him)" (where "girl", the subject of the sentence, is in the nominative case).

  2. The dative case is used to mark the beneficiary of a class 4 verb. Here's an example: Kâši kitu "Tâfitâs" lâstâfâsây kânokwaló, "The mother named her son 'David' for/on behalf of the blind man" (where "mother", the subject, is in the nominative case, "son", the direct object, is in the instrumental case, and the name "David", the theme or complement of the naming action, is in the adverbial case).

  3. The dative case is used to mark both the beneficiary and the indirect object of a class 2 verb. Here's an example that showcases both usages: Antu xali âšâ kâši kânosampi, "The boy gave a flower to the girl for his/her mother" (where "the boy", the subject, is in the nominative case, and "the flower", the direct object, is in the accusative case). [Note: In this sentence, it's technically ambiguous whether the flower is from the boy's mother to the girl, or for the girl's mother from the boy. Who gets the flower, however, is not ambiguous: The recipient of an action will always appear in between the subject and direct object. The phrase "for his/her mother" is extra information, and comes right before the verb, like an adverb or postpositional phrase.]

  4. The dative case is used to mark the subject of a class 3 verb. Here's an example: Makwé kânofusâ, "The fish cried".

  5. The dative case is used to mark the object of a postposition in the nontranslative mode. (For more info on postpositional modes, go here.) Here's an example: Xali ilaxânyawwé ma ukâsopaqa, "The girl stood/was standing in the dining room" (where "girl", the subject of the sentence, is in the nominative case).

  6. The dative case is used to mark the object of certain postpositions that don't have anything to do with motion. Here's an example: Xali antü ax ukânolaxânya, "The girl ate/was eating with the boy" (where "girl", the subject of the sentence, is in the nominative case).

  7. The dative case is used to mark the added patient argument of a class 1 verb. A patient argument is added whenever a verb is put into the causative mood, or when the causative prefix is used. Here are two examples:
    1. Pwani mükunyâsâla, "I made the polar bear die" (where the first person subject is marked on the verb).
    2. Pwani müsâkânyâsâla, "I killed the polar bear" (where the first person subject is marked on the verb).

  8. The dative case is used to mark the demoted patient argument of class 2, class 3, and class 4 verbs. A patient argument is added whenever a verb is put into the causative mood, or when the causative prefix is used. Here are three examples:
    1. Pwanyâ ułtây mâkunyâšifi, "I made the polar bear move the house" (where "polar bear", the more immediate patient argument, is put into the accusative case, and where the first person subject is marked on the verb).
    2. Pwani keči âkunyâfumwâ, "I made the polar bear understand the caribou" (where "polar bear", the more immediate patient argument, is put into the nominative case, and where the first person subject is marked on the verb. Note: The caribou can't be the subject of this sentence, even though it's in the right case, because it follows the direct object. Despite the case marking, word order is very important).
    3. Pwanÿ keči mâwkunyâkwaló, "I made the polar bear name the caribou" (where "polar bear", the more immediate patient argument, is put into the instrumental case, and where the first person subject is marked on the verb).

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(4) Instrumental:

Summary: The instrumental case is used for the direct objects of class 4 verbs. It's also used to mark the object of a postposition in the ablative mode. Otherwise, it's used to express the thing the verb is done with, so to speak: The instrument used to accomplish the action.

  1. The instrumental case is used to mark the direct object of a class 4 verb. Here's an example: Kâši kitu "Tâfitâs" kânokwaló, "The mother named her son 'David'" (where "mother", the subject, is in the nominative case, and the name "David", the theme or complement of the naming action, is in the adverbial case).

  2. The instrumental case is used to mark the object of a postposition in the ablative mode. (For more info on postpositional modes, go here.) Here's an example: Xali ilaxânyawwó ma finukânošifa, "The girl exited (i.e., went out of) the dining room" (where "girl", the subject of the sentence, is in the nominative case).

  3. The instrumental case is used to mark the instrument with which an action is accomplished. Here's an exampe: Xali puwwâ usłiqo kânoxaši, "The girl cut the root with a knife" (where "girl", the subject, is in the nominative case, and "root", the direct object, is in the accusative case).

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(5) Genitive:

Summary: The genitive case is used for the indefinite direct objects of class 2 verbs. It's also used in possessive constructions, per usual, and is also used to express a reintroduced agent in a passive construction. It's also used idiomatically to mark the arguments of certain verbs.

  1. The genitive case is used to mark an indefinite direct object of a class 2 verb. It's also used to indicate that only part of something has been whatevered. Here're some examples:
    1. Xali nwâluł kânoxâni, "The girl ate an egg" (where "girl", the subject, is in the nominative case).
    2. Xali ilyał kânoqasqe, "The girl drank some water" (where "girl", the subject, is in the nominative case).
    3. Xali istał kânoxâni, "The girl ate a piece of (pitted) fruit" (where "girl", the subject, is in the nominative case).
    4. Xali tâwqasał kânoxâni, "The girl ate a piece of/some bread" (where "girl", the subject, is in the nominative case).

  2. The genitive case is used to mark the possessor of a possessed noun. In epiq, a possessor always comes before the possessed item. Here's an example: Âwqoł ista, "The walrus's (pitted) fruit" (where "fruit" is in the nominative case. It could be in any case, though: It's just in the nominative for this example).

  3. The genitive case is used to mark the reintroduced agent of a passive verb. Here's an example: Ista âwqoł likânoxâni, "The (pitted) fruit was eaten by the walrus" (where "the (pitted) fruit", the subject of the setence, is in the nominative case).

  4. There are a few verbs which require the genitive case for one of their arguments. Here's an example: Âwqo kečił ukânokofa, "The walrus hid from the caribou" (where "walrus", the subject, is in the nominative case).

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(6) Adverbial:

Summary: The adverbial case is used for the complements of class 4 verbs. It's also used in equative constructions, as a vocative, and to form some adverbs.

  1. The adverbial case is used to mark the complement of a class 4 verb. Here's an example: Kâši kitu "Tâfitâs" kânokwaló, "The mother named her son 'David'" (where "mother", the subject, is in the nominative case, and "son", the direct object, is in the instrumental case).

  2. The adverbial case is used in equative/similitive constructions. Here's an example: Sun antu fušâs utâšâlaxânya, "That boy is eating like an animal" (where "boy", the subject, is in the nominative case).

  3. The adverbial case is used to form some adverbs, such as the temporal adverb kuqâs, "now" (from kuq, "this"), the manner adverb sâstâs, "fleet of foot" (from sâsta, "arctic fox"), and spatial adverb ułtâs, "home (e.g., come home)" (from ułtâ, "house").

  4. The adverbial case is used when addressing someone directly (especially from far off). In this way, it serves as a kind of vocative case. Example: Čüfus!, "Older brother!"

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Example Declensions

Below are sample declensions in the singular, dual and plural. I'll be using a different word for each class so you can see how each declension works. And, as with the tables above, clicking on the name of the case will rocket you upwards to an explanation of that case.


Singular Nouns

Singular Nouns Nominative Accusative Dative Instrumental Genitive Adverbial
mountain (Â Class) qâsâ qâsâ qâsây qâsâw qâsâł qâsâs
wing (I Class) tuli tulyâ tuli tulÿ tulił tulis
fruit (U Class) nopu nopwâ nopü nopu nopuł nopus
neck (A Class) nÿsa nÿsâ nÿsé nÿsó nÿsał nÿsâs
dust (ÂY Class) xânây xânyâ xânây xânÿ xânyał xânyâs
smoke (ÂW Class) mulâw muwwâ mulü mulâw muwwał muwwâs
stick (Ÿ Class) kanÿ kanwâ kanü kanÿ kanÿł kanÿs
hand (YÂ Class) anyâ anyâ anyây anyâw anyâł anyâs
water (YA Class) ilya ilyâ ilyé ilyó ilyał ilyâs
skin (Ü Class) fašü fašâ fašü fasÿ fašüł fašüs
plan (WÂ Class) âstakwâ âstakwâ âstakwây âstakwâw âstakwâł âstakwâs
fish (WA Class) makwa makwâ makwé makwó makwał makwâs
leaf (E Class) pané panyâ pané panÿ paneł panes
root (O Class) puló puwwâ pulü puló puloł pulos
this (Q Class) tuq tuqâ tuqe tuqo tuqoł tuqos
narwhal (C Class) ummuk ummukâ ummuki ummuku ummukał ummukâs


Dual Nouns

Dual Nouns Nominative Accusative Dative Instrumental Genitive Adverbial
mountain (Â Class) qâsâw qâswâ qâswây qâswâw qâswâł qâswâs
wing (I Class) tulÿ tuwwâ tulü tulü tulüł tulüs
fruit (U Class) nopu nopwâ nopwây nopu nopuł nopus
neck (A Class) nÿsó nÿswâ nÿswây nÿswó nÿswâł nÿswâs
dust (ÂY Class) xânwây xânwây xânwây xânwâw xânwâł xânwâs
smoke (ÂW Class) muwwâw muwwâw muwwây muwwâw muwwâł muwwâs
stick (Ÿ Class) kanü kanwâ kanÿ kanü kanÿł kanÿs
hand (YÂ Class) anyâw anwâ anwây anü anüł anüs
water (YA Class) ilyó iwwâ iwwây ilü ilüł ilüs
skin (Ü Class) fasÿ faswâ fasÿ fašü fašüł fašüs
plan (WÂ Class) âstakwâw âstakwâ âstakwây âstakwâw âstakwâł âstakwâs
fish (WA Class) makwó makwâ makwây makwâw makwâł makwâs
leaf (E Class) panwé panwâ panwé panÿ panweł panwes
root (O Class) puwwó puwwâ pulü puwwó puwwoł puwwos
this (Q Class) tuqo tuqwâ tuqwây tuqwâw tuqwâł tuqwâs
narwhal (C Class) ummuku ummukwâ ummukwây ummukwâw ummukwâł ummukwâs

Plural Nouns

Plural Nouns Nominative Accusative Dative Instrumental Genitive Adverbial
mountain (Â Class) qâsây qâšâ qâšây qâšâw qâšâł qâšâs
wing (I Class) tuli tulyâ tuli tulÿ tulił tulis
fruit (U Class) nopü nopyâ nopÿ nopÿ nopÿł nopÿs
neck (A Class) nÿsé nÿšâ nÿša nÿšó nÿšał nÿšâs
dust (ÂY Class) xânyây xânyây xânyây xânÿ xânyał xânyâs
smoke (ÂW Class) mulyâw mulyâw mulü mulyâw mulÿł mulÿs
stick (Ÿ Class) kanü kanwâ kanü kanÿ kanÿł kanÿs
hand (YÂ Class) anyây anyâ anyâ anyâw anyâł anyâs
water (YA Class) ilyé ilyâ ilya ilyó ilyał ilyâs
skin (Ü Class) fašü fašâ fašü fasÿ fašüł fašüs
plan (WÂ Class) âstakwây âstakyâ âstakÿ âstakÿ âstakÿł âstakÿs
fish (WA Class) makwé makyâ makÿ makÿ makÿł makÿs
leaf (E Class) panyé panyâ panyé panÿ panyeł panyes
root (O Class) pulyó puwwâ pulü pulyó pulyoł pulyos
this (Q Class) tuqe tučâ tuqe tuqë tuqeł tuqes
narwhal (C Class) ummuki ummukyâ ummuki ummukÿ ummukił ummukis

Some Phonological Notes

There's some phonological monkeybusiness going on in the tables above that I want to say a few things about. Some of these may have been rather easy to pick out—for example, the sound change that changes l to w before w (this is explained in rule 5 in the phonology section). You may have even noticed the various forms of palatalization that occur, changing s to š before i, ü and y, and q to č before y. But what you probably didn't notice are the sound changes that don't even apply, because the environment is never realized in the tables above. I feel it my duty to explain these sound changes so that they don't trip anyone up during a job interview.

You may have noticed that there's only one Q Class. This is fine. But consider the word, âwqo, "walrus". If you wanted to put this word into the dative singular, you could simply go to the table above, go to the O Class, and find the ending for the dative singular. Taking a look, the ending for the dative singular in the O Class is , so you add that, and you get âwqü, which, via a phonological rule, becomes âwqö, right? Wrong!

You see, the o on the end of âwqo is a sneaky little o. It is, in fact, a u, that has undergone a phonological sound change! You may be wondering, "Well, how the heck am I supposed to tell if it's a real o or a fake o?" The answer is, quite simply, that you can't, with the romanization. You can tell with the orthography, but then you wouldn't know whether a u was supposed to be pronounced like a u or an o (unless you remembered the phonological rule in question). I decided to go a more phonetic route with the romanization. Or did I?! Upon closer inspection, it appears that there is a way to tell if, at very least, a word ends in a true o. That is, if it does, it'll be spelled ó (unless it's followed by a consonant). This is all explained here.

Anyway, so now we know that âwqo is a U Class word, despite it's ending with an o. If you go back to the table and look up the dative singular cell for a U Class word, you'll see that the ending is...well, . So it actually wasn't wrong before. But the thinking was wrong, and that's what needed to be fixed! (How pathetically pedantic... Who writes this stuff?) Anyway, it's important to remember that after you know which class a word belongs to, all the appropriate phonological rules must apply, or you'll get the wrong endings. So, here, for example, is the entire paradigm for "walrus":

Walrus Nominative Accusative Dative Instrumental Genitive Adverbial
Singular âwqo âwqwâ âwqö âwqo âwqoł âwqos
Dual âwqo âwqwâ âwqwây âwqo âwqoł âwqos
Plural âwqö âwčâ âwqë âwqë âwqëł âwqës

So, that's just something to keep in mind when declining nouns.


Concluding Remarks

In conclusion, I'd like to thank my sponsor, the Principality of Sealand, who, should you send them e-mail, will be prompt to reply in a most discourteous fashion.

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