£éŋωi has a total of seven noun cases: nominative, accusative, dative, genitive, instrumental, comitative, and vocative. Pronouns and some irregular nouns also have an ablative case. Other noun functions beyond those of the seven cases can be obtained using prepositions. Typically, prepositions take an object in the accusative or dative cast, though there are some exceptions, and some situations where a single preposition has a different meaning depending on the case of the object.
As with verbs, noun inflection is multiparadigm. Regular nouns fall into one of four declensions. Correlative pronouns also follow a regular paradigm which is different from any of the standard noun paradigms. Personal pronouns and a few basic nouns are irregular.
In addition to all the inflections listed below, the suffix “-lé” can be added to any noun form to make it indefinite. This is equivalent to using the article “a” or “an” in English, if singular. If plural, it’s closer to translate without an article than to translate with “some”. Any noun without this suffix is considered definite and thus should be translated with “the”, unless it’s a proper noun.
Nouns of the 1st declension usually have a base nominative ending of -i. Some neuter nouns instead have a base nominative ending of -ẃ or -ǿ. Some nouns of the 1st declension are gendered, meaning they can take any gender. Others are neuter, meaning that they always inflect as the same gender (not necessarily the neuter gender). Neuter 1st declension nouns are always neuter for the purposes of adjective agreement, even when they use the masculine or feminine endings.
First declension nouns inflect according to gender, number, and case, by adding the appropriate suffix from the following table to the root form obtained by removing the final letter. For neuter nouns ending in -ẃ, inflect as if feminine; for neuter nouns ending in -ǿ, inflect as if masculine.
Example 1st declension nouns are “σáqi”, meaning “cat” (a gendered noun) and “lunẃ”, meaning “moon” in the more general sense (a neuter noun). You could translate “A tomcat looked at the moon” as “σáqǿlé fíntẃne lunás”. The verb here is “fíntẃré” (a 2nd conjugation verb) in the active perfective simple past. The nouns are in nominative and accusative case, respectfully, and the subject has been made masculine since the cat is known to be male. The subject also has the indefinite suffix.
Nouns of the 2nd declension have a nominative form ending in -ý. Although they have gender, it’s not reflected in the noun itself; any attached adjectives still have to agree, though. After removing the –ý suffix, simply append the appropriate new suffix from the following table.
An example 2nd declension noun is “ψẃldý”, meaning “child” or “young person”, or when made masculine or feminine, “boy” or “girl”. (Note: There’s a different word for the relationship of “son/daughter”.) You could translate “The children are playing quietly” as “ψẃldýrín ʒuluspáv bruƴénté”. The verb here is “ʒuluré” (a 1st conjugation verb) in the active progressive simple present. The adjectival root “bruƴ” means “loud” or “quiet”; the suffix -én makes it negative (thus “quiet”), and -té makes it an adverb.
Most 3rd declension nouns are mass nouns, and thus lack a plural form; however, some are classifier or measure nouns instead, and these may have a plural form in some cases. All mass nouns are 3rd declension, actually. Not all classifiers are, though.
Most 3rd declension nouns end with a consonant, so you can just add the appropriate suffix from the below table. For 3rd declension nouns that end in a vowel, you need to add -r before the suffix, except in the nominative case.
It’s not considered valid to put a mass noun in the plural form, though it may occasionally be done in casual speech. Some nouns may be both mass nouns and countable nouns, depending on the context.
An example 3rd declension noun is “cylám”, meaning “cloud” or “weather”. You could translate “The weather is changing” as “cylám ψuspáf”. The verb here is “ψuré” (a 1st conjugation verb) in the active progressive simple present, meaning “to change, shift, or morph”.
The 4th declension is different. It’s not a class of nouns, but rather a way of inflecting nouns of other declensions (especially compounds) in order to get across a slightly different meaning.
All nouns of the 4th declension are proper nouns, and all proper nouns are in the 4th declension. In £eŋωi, the names of places and people are usually descriptive compounds, composed from nouns and adjectives and sometimes prepositions stuck together into a single word. Sometimes a name is a single noun or adjective.
Thus, in order to mark them as names, they are inflected differently. The first step in inflecting a noun for the 4th declension is to remove any declension-specific affix, including –ǿ, –ẃ, –i, and –ý. (This step is skipped for nominative case.) Then add the appropriate suffix from the following table.
When the noun stem ends in a vowel (which is rare), the vowel is dropped in the vocative plural, and all other forms (except nominative forms) insert an intervening -h- between the stem and the suffix.
Generally, the masculine or feminine forms are used for living beings (feminine for plants), while the neuter is used for places or inanimate objects. Sometimes gendered forms are used for inanimate objects as a form of personification, though.
The plural forms are not commonly used, but one place they might be used is if the proper name is a family name; then the plural would indicate multiple members of the family.
As an example, you could translate “I’m going to Anaglosia” as “A irimi á Anáglǿsihyþ”. The verb here is “ẃliré” (an irregular verb meaning “to go”) in the active perfective simple future. The noun “Anáglǿsiẃ” is put into the dative case, which is usually required when indicating motion with a preposition.
These affixes can be thought of as suffixes applied to a noun’s stem. In other words, you remove any inflectional affixes before applying the suffix, and applying the suffix produces a new stem to which you can apply inflectional affixes.
Diminutive and Augmentative
There are four derivations used to represent degrees, usually of size but sometimes of scope. The diminutive is formed using the suffix –élẃt, the hyperdiminutive with the suffix –orís, the augmentative with the suffix –an, and the hyperaugmentative with the suffix –ǿn. Then you apply inflectional affixes as if it were a noun of the same declension as the original noun. (These derivations could also be thought of as infixes inserted between the stem and the inflectional suffix.) For example, “ψẃldý” means “child”, and “ψẃldélẃtý” means something like “small child”.
Other Noun Derivations
You can apply the prefix peni- to specify something that used to be what the noun describes but no longer is. (This is similar to the English prefix ex-.) With some nouns, you can use the prefix núni- to form an opposite noun.
There are several derivations specific to nouns describing a type of sensory input. The prefix dé- indicates something used to process the input, while the prefix má- indicates the source of the input. Furthermore, an evidential auxiliary verb can be formed using the suffix -áti. This is used to indicate how a speaker knows that the main verb’s action is true. Such a verb is a 5th conjugation verb.
For example, the word “fínti” means vision. From this, you can derive “défínti”, meaning “light sensor” or “eye”; “máfínti”, meaning “light”; and “fíntáti”, which has no direct translation in English but would be used to indicate that you know the rest of the sentence is true because you saw it yourself.
(Note: While “défínti” can mean “eye”, and in general words with the dé- prefix can be used to refer to the part of the body that processes various types of input, there are other, more specific, words for body parts. The word “défínti” is a general term that can refer to any device capable of or intended for sensing light.)
The suffix -ísím forms an adjective indicating a likeness to the base noun. (This is similar to English suffixes -oid or -ish.) For example, “σáqi” means “cat”, and “σáqísími” means “cat-like” or “feline”.
Another suffix, -ǿr, forms an adjective indicating that the modified noun presents or poses the base noun. For example, “perícƴuli” means “danger”, and “perícƴulǿri” means “dangerous”.