Isoba/Case

In the Morphosyntactic Alignment section, six cases were identified:

  • Ergative
  • Direct
  • Accusative
  • Locative
  • Instrumental
  • Dative

The table in the aforementioned section provided a basic overview of how nouns declined for these cases. This section provides examples for and further information about each case.

Ergative CaseEdit

Uninflected nouns are identical in form to their ergative case counterparts; the first syllable of the root morpheme takes a high tone. For the sake of simplicity, uninflected nouns be treated as if they were truly in the ergative case.

The ergative case is used for the following purposes:

  • Identifying the agent of a transitive verb or the sole argument of an intransitive verb while implying but not emphasizing volition. This was covered in the Morphosyntactic Alignment section.
  • Addressing or pointing out entities.
    • “Giu” means cat. To address a cat, one can say, “Giu!” (“Cat!”) or “Ei giu!” (“Hey, cat!”)
    • Pointing out a cat means to utter “cat” to imply its presence, during a walk in the park, for instance. It would be appropriate to say “Giu” to point out the cat. This is nearly equivalent to saying “La gyu” which means “there is a cat.” In this construction, the accusative case is used.
  • Using a single noun phrase as the answer to a question, even when that noun would be in a different case were the answer a complete sentence.
    • “Lé xyn” means “What do you see?” An acceptable answer is “Giu,” though the accusative form “Gyu” is also acceptable.
  • Equating arguments with the copula “hi,” which means “to be.”
Hi giu=∅ duxa=∅.
Be.3 cat.SG=ERG animal.SG=ERG
The cat is an animal.

Note that “duxa” is not in its accusative form, “duxaa.” Also, note that this statement is in reference to a specific cat because the general statement “Cats are animals” would have to use the plural forms of both “giu” and “duxa,” “giur” and “doxa,” respectively. More on the verb “hi” can be found in the Verbs section.

Direct CaseEdit

Accusative CaseEdit

Locative CaseEdit

Instrumental CaseEdit

Dative CaseEdit