Like many languages, Tatari Faran nouns have grammatical gender. Each noun has an inherent gender; however, the nouns themselves do not inflect for gender. Instead, the case clitics attached to the noun do, agreeing with the gender of the nouns they modify.
There are 3 genders: masculine, feminine, and
neuter/epicene. Gender is purely grammatical, and outside of basic
words (man, woman, etc.), is arbitarily assigned. Some nouns have flexible
gender, and the neuter/epicene can be used to mean unspecified gender,
e. g., tsaritas so - “monkey”, tsaritas sa -
“male monkey”, tsaritas sei -
In a clause, nouns are marked for case, which indicates the function of the noun in a sentence. There are two categories of noun cases: core cases and secondary cases. Core cases mark function in relation to the main verb of a clause; and secondary cases mark function in relation to other words in the clause.
There are 3 core cases: originative, conveyant, and receptive. These cases mark the semantic function of the noun in a sentence. This is explained in more detail in the Case System section.
Core case is marked by postclitics, which are inflected for case and gender.
The case postclitic follows the noun and any adjectives, demonstratives, or vocative markers that may be modifying the noun. This position is called case position.
In addition to the 3 core cases, there are also the following secondary cases. These secondary cases indicate the function of the noun in relation to postpositions and other nouns.
Genitive: formed by placing genitive noun in adjectival position and suffixing -n or -an to it, depending on whether it ends with a vowel or a consonant, respectively.
tatari language fara-n Fara-GEN
The language of Fara.
buta' hut bata'-an chief-GEN
The chief's house.
Some double-accented disyllabic nouns that end with a vowel, however, take the -'an suffix instead:
kairatuhan quests teke-'an Teke-GEN
The Quests of Tekekuhakirakisan
If the noun ends with -nan, its genitive substitutes this with -naran instead. For example:
Of the fog.
The genitive is used to indicate possession or source, for example: tsuna sanan - garments of the man (garments belonging to the man); san faran - man of Fara (man who came from Fara); fuan bata'an - wife of the chief. Unlike English, however, the genitive is not used in the partitive sense (such as “two of the men” or “hand of the woman”). The partitive case (described below) is reserved for this purpose.
Compositive (or appositive): formed just like the genitive, but with an additional prefix i- added. For example:
The compositive is used for forming compound words. For example:
diru girl i-hina-n COMP-girl-COMP
This is contrasted with diru hinan, which means “girl of the maidservant”.
san person i-pasanan-an COMP-town-COMP
Townsman, one who lives in a town.
This is to be distinguished from the genitive construction san pasanaran, which refers to the man of a particular town.
Partitive: formed by placing the partitive noun in adjectival position and suffixing -s or -is to it, depending on whether it ends with a vowel or a consonant, respectively. The partitive case is used for indicating that the head noun is a subset or a component part of the partitive noun. For example:
jibin child kuana-s family-PART
child(ren) of the family
pika hand kiran-is young_man-PART
hand of the young man
biraf leaf kuen-is tree-PART
leaves of the tree
Some double-accented disyllabic nouns that end with a vowel, however, take the -'is suffix instead:
faja top_part kutsi-'is leg-PART
Top part of the leg.
If the noun ends with -s, the partitive substitutes this with -tis instead. For example:
Of the star.
If the last syllable of a noun begins with t, the partitive form replaces the last syllable with tis:
Of the monkey.
The partitive case is also used in expressions involving pain in body parts, for example:
ko'an dull_pain oha'-is head-PART
sisa'an sharp_pain jam-is tooth-PART
jakas injury kutsi-'is leg-PART
Vocative: used for addressing the noun referent. Formed by placing the appropriate 2nd person pronoun in case position. For example:
san person tse 2SG
Hello! (addressed to a single person)
san person huna 2PL
Hello! (addressed to a group of people)
The vocative is special in that it can also be used in combination with a core case, by placing a case clitic after the 2nd person pronoun. See the Pronouns section for more details.
Absolutive: unmarked—the noun appears on its own without any additional markers or inflections. Used in statements of equivalence and in postpositional phrases.
Nouns have two numbers: singular or plural. Singular number is unmarked. Plural number is marked by the plural prefix he-. This marking, however, is optional, and is only used to disambiguate or to emphasize plurality. By default, number marking is omitted, and an isolated noun can have either a singular or plural referent. Number is usually also omitted if a pronoun already indicates number, e. g., san diin - “those people”, rather than hesan diin, because diin is the plural 3rd person pronoun.
Words with initial d mutate when the prefix he- is added:
diru → heriru
Note, however, this is not actually a mutation, just an artifact of the orthography which uses d and r to represent the same phoneme.
A noun phrase (henceforth NP) is a phrase consisting of a head noun, which describes the primary noun referent we are interested in, plus any modifiers that further refine its meaning and/or indicate its function in a sentence. The modifiers may be adjectives, compositives, partitives, genitives, demonstratives, or case clitics.
These elements appear in a specific order. The following schematic summarizes this order:
HEAD - ADJ - DEM - CASE
where HEAD is the head noun; ADJ is zero or more adjectives, compositives, partitives, or genitives; DEM is an optional pronoun functioning as a vocative marker or a demonstrative; and CASE is the case marker.