|2 Morpho-Phonology||7a Using Affixes||12 The Number System|
|3 Basic Morphology||7b Using Affixes (continued)||The Lexicon|
|4 Case Morphology||8 Adjuncts||Revised Ithkuil: Ilaksh|
|4.1 Semantic Role Vs. Positional Slot||4.6 The Adverbial Cases|
|4.2 Morpho-Phonological Markers for Case||4.7 The Sub-Relative Cases|
|4.3 The Transrelative Cases||4.8 The Spatial Cases|
|4.4 The Associative Cases||4.9 The Temporal Cases|
|4.5 The Appositive Cases|
In this chapter, we analyze one additional morphological category: Case. Like the eight categories analyzed in the previous chapter, and unlike other languages, the category of Case applies to all formatives in Ithkuil, i.e., to both nouns and verbs alike. However, the syntactical context in which Case operates is sufficiently dissimilar for nouns and verbs to warrant separate analysis. In this chapter, we will analyze the case morphology of nouns alone. The use of Case with verbs will be analyzed in Section 5.7.
Anyone who has studied German, Latin, Russian, Classical Greek or Sanskrit, is familiar with the concept of Case. Case generally refers to a morphological scheme in which a noun, whether via internal mutation of its phonemes or via affixes, shows what grammatical “role” it plays in the phrase or sentence in which it appears. For example, in the English sentence It was me she saw, the use of the word ‘she’ as opposed to ‘her’ and the use of ‘me’ as opposed to ‘I’ distinguishes the subject of the sentence (the person seeing) from the object of the verb (the one being seen). Similarly, in the German sentence Der Bruder des Knaben sah den Mann (= ‘The boy’s brother saw the man’), the words ‘der’, ‘des’ and ‘den’ distinguish the subject of the sentence ‘brother’ (nominative case) from the possessor ‘boy’ (genitive case) from the object ‘man’ (accusative case).
The concept of “case” can extend far beyond the notions of subject, object and possessor. Depending on the particular language, there may be noun cases which specify the location or position of a noun, whether a noun accompanies another or derives from another or is the recipient of another. In general, noun cases in those languages which rely upon them often substitute for what in English is accomplished using prepositions or prepositional phrases. The process of adding affixes or changing the phonetic structure of a word in order to show a noun in a particular case is known as declining a noun, and the various permutations of a noun into its cases are known as its declensions.
There are 81 cases in Ithkuil, falling into seven categories: Transrelative, Associative, Appositive, Adverbial, Subrelative, Spatial, and Temporal. Case operates differently in Ithkuil than in most human languages, being based in lexico-semantics as opposed to morpho-syntax. This is explained below in Section 4.1.
Note that in regard to gender categories from other languages, Ithkuil has no distinctions of gender (e.g., masculine, feminine, neuter, etc.), although word-roots do fall into one of 17 morpho-semantic classes (see Sec. 10.2). However, there is no “agreement” or morpho-phonological concord of any kind between a noun and other words or morphological elements in a sentence, i.e., there is none of the required matching of masculine or feminine or singular/plural agreement between nouns, articles, and adjectives as seen in most Western languages.
In most languages, case operates at the surface structure level of language to signify arbitrary grammatical relations such as subject, direct object, indirect object. The deeper level of “semantic role” is ignored in terms of morphological designations. The notion of semantic role can be illustrated by the following set of sentences:
(1a) John opened the door with the key.
(1b) The key opened the door.
(1c) The wind opened the door.
(1d) The door opened.
In each of these sentences case is assigned based on “slot”, i.e., the position of the nouns relative to the verb, irrespective of their semantic roles. Thus the “subjects” of the sentences are, respectively, John, the key, the wind, and the door. Yet it can be seen that, semantically speaking, these four sentences are interrelated in a causal way. Specifically, Sentence (1b) results directly from sentence (1a), and sentence (1d) results directly from either (1b) or (1c). We see that the case of the noun ‘key’ in sentence (1a) is prepositional, while in sentence (1b) it is the subject. Yet, the key plays the same semantic role in both sentences: the physical instrument by which the act of opening is accomplished. As for the noun ‘door,’ it is marked as a direct object in the first three sentences and as a subject in the fourth, even though its semantic role in all four sentences never changes, i.e., it is the noun which undergoes a change in its state as a result of the act of opening. The noun ‘John’ in sentence (1a) is marked as a subject, the same case as ‘key’ in (1b), the ‘wind’ in (1c) and the ‘door’ in (1d), yet the semantic role of ‘John’ is entirely different than the role of ‘key’ in (1b) and different again from ‘door’ in (1c), i.e., John is acting as the conscious, deliberate initiator of the act of opening. Finally, the noun ‘wind’ in (1c), while marked as a subject, operates in yet another semantic role distinct from the subjects of the other sentences, i.e., an inanimate, blind force of nature which, while being the underlying cause of the act of opening, can make no conscious or willed choice to initiate such action.
The case structures of Western languages mark positional slot (i.e., grammatical relations) only, and have no overt way to indicate semantic role, thus providing no way of showing the intuitive causal relationship between sets of sentences like those above. In Ithkuil, however, the case of a noun is based on its underlying semantic role, not its syntactic position in the sentence relative to the verb. These semantic roles reflect a more fundamental or primary level of language irrespective of the surface case marking of nouns in other languages. Thus Ithkuil noun declension more accurately reflects the underlying semantic function of nouns in sentences. Consequently, the Western grammatical notions of “subject” and “object” have little meaning or applicability in Ithkuil grammar.
The following semantic roles are marked by noun cases in Ithkuil. They correspond roughly to the “subjects” and “objects” of Western languages:
AGENT: The animate, (and usually conscious and deliberate) initiator of an act which results in another noun undergoing a consequent change in state or behavior, e.g., ‘John’ in Sentence (1a) above.
FORCE: An inanimate, unwilled cause of an act such as a force of nature like ‘wind’ in Sentence (1c) above.
INSTRUMENT: The noun which functions as the physical means or tool by which an act is initiated or performed, e.g., ‘key’ in Sentences (1a) and (1b) above.
PATIENT: The noun which undergoes a change in state or behavior as a result of an act initiated or caused by itself or by another noun, e.g., ‘door’ in all four sentences above.
Additional semantic roles corresponding to subjects and objects in Western languages exist in Ithkuil as overt noun cases. These include the roles of ENABLER, EXPERIENCER, STIMULUS, RECIPIENT, and CONTENT, and are explained below using the following set of sentences as illustrations.
(2a) Mary hits the children.
(2b) Mary entertains the children.
(2c) Mary sees the children.
(2d) Mary tells the children a story.
(2e) Mary wants children.
Examining these five sentences, we notice that the noun Mary is in the subject slot in all of them and the children is the direct object (except in the fourth sentence), even though the semantic roles of both nouns are entirely different in each of these five sentences. Beginning with Sentence (2a) we see that Mary is an AGENT which tangibly causes injury or pain to the children who obviously function in the role of PATIENT. Thus (2a) is identical to sentence (1a) in terms of the roles portrayed by the subject and direct object.
In Sentence (2b) however, Mary entertains the children, there is a subtle distinction. At first we might consider Mary an agent who initiates a change in the children (i.e., the fact that they become entertained). But, in fact, the act of entertainment is not one whose result (enjoyment by the audience) can be guaranteed by the party doing the entertaining. In fact, the result of the act of entertainment is not Mary’s to determine, but rather the children’s, based on whether they “feel” a sense of enjoyment at experiencing Mary’s act. And so, Mary is more like a patient here, not an agent, as she is undergoing a change in her state or behavior (she is performing an attempt to entertain) which she herself has chosen to initiate and undergo, yet the act has the potential to cause a resulting change in the children, the success of this motivation to be determined by the children, however, not Mary. Such a semantic role as Mary here is termed an ENABLER. And how do the children make the decision as to whether they are entertained or not (i.e., what is their semantic role?). Can the children deliberately or consciously choose to feel a sense of enjoyment, or are they not themselves unwilling “patients” to their own emotional reactions? In case grammar, a party such as the children who undergo an unwilled experience are termed EXPERIENCERS. Besides emotional reactions, such unwilled experiences include autonomic sensory perceptions (e.g., parties that see or hear because their eyes were open and pointed in a particular direction or who were within earshot of a sound), and autonomic bodily reactions or responses as well as proprioceptive sensations (e.g., coughing, sneezing, perspiring, feeling hot or cold, feeling pain, etc.).
This notion of EXPERIENCER is likewise illustrated by Sentence (2c) Mary sees the children, in which the verb ‘see’ denotes an automatic sensory experience, not a deliberately initiated action. In other words, it is the nature of the sense of sight to function automatically whenever a person is conscious and his/her eyes are open. The verb ‘see’ does not necessarily imply a conscious or deliberately willed action of “seeing” (as would be implied by the verb ‘to look [at]’). Therefore, the “action” is automatic and uninitiated; it is, in fact, not an action at all, but rather an experiential state which the person doing the seeing undergoes. In other words, the person seeing is actually a kind of “patient,” as it is he/she who undergoes the experience of (and physical or emotional reaction to) the particular sight. Such undergoers of sensory verbs and other unwilled states (e.g., emotional states or reactions, autonomic bodily reactions such as sneezing, physical states of sensation such as being hot or cold, etc.) are categorized in the role of EXPERIENCERS. And what of the children’s role in sentence (2c)? Unlike the first three sentences, the children do not undergo any action. Certainly the process of “being seen” by Mary does not in itself cause a physical change or reaction of any kind in the entity being seen. Nor can the children be analyzed as “initiating” the act of sight, as they may be completely unaware that Mary is seeing them. As a result, the children’s semantic role is merely that of STIMULUS, a neutral, unwitting originating reason for the experiential state being undergone by the other noun participant.
In Sentence (2d) Mary tells the children a story, Mary is a patient who initiates the action which she herself undergoes, the telling of a story. The children do not undergo an unwilled emotional, sensory, or bodily reaction here, but rather are the passive and more or less willing RECIPIENT of information, the role of an “indirect object” in Western languages. The story, on the other hand, is merely a non-participatory abstract referent, whose role is termed CONTENT.
The role of CONTENT also applies to the children in Sentence (2e) Mary wants children, where they function as the “object” of Mary’s desire. Since no tangible action is occurring, nor are the children undergoing any result of change of state, nor need they be even aware of Mary’s desire, they are, like the story in sentence (2d), merely non-participatory referents. As for Mary’s role in (2e), the emotional state of desire, being unwilled, self-activating, and subjectively internal, creates a situation similar to an automatic sensory perception or autonomic body response; thus, Mary’s role is again that of EXPERIENCER.
Case is shown in many different ways in Ithkuil depending on whether the case is being shown in conjunction with a formative or a personal reference adjunct (explained in Sec. 8.1). For nouns, case is shown via a combination of vocalic mutation of the stem-vowel and mutation of the second consonantal radical, C2. The permutations of the nine series of vocalic mutation, along with the nine grades of C2 consonantal mutation, combine to correspond to the 81 cases. The particular mutational patterns are given in the sections below as each case is described. Case markers for personal reference adjuncts will be shown later in Section 8.1.
We are now in a position to examine the different noun cases in detail. We will start with the group of cases which correspond to “subjects” and “objects” in Western languages.
The Transrelative cases refer to eleven cases used to identify
nouns functioning as participants to a verb, what in Western grammatical terms
would be referred to as “subjects” and “objects” and
most likely marked as either nominative, accusative, or dative. It is these
cases which more or less correspond to the semantic roles identified in Sec.
4.1 above. The eleven transrelative cases are the OBLIQUE,
ABSOLUTIVE, DATIVE, ERGATIVE, EFFECTUATIVE, INDUCIVE, AFFECTIVE, INSTRUMENTAL,
ACTIVATIVE, DERIVATIVE, and SITUATIVE. Following
are explanations of the function and usage of each case. Actual Ithkuil examples
of these cases in use are provided in Section 4.3.12.
The OBLIQUE case is marked by Series A vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 1 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. As described above in Section 4.1.2, the OBLIQUE identifies the semantic role of CONTENT, whether it is something given to a RECIPIENT, or the non-causal abstract content of an experiential state, e.g., a memory recalled, something desired, something feared. It would thus be used in translating sentences such as Sam gave me a book, The child likes cereal. It is also the case associated with existential identification, what in English would be the subject of the verb ‘to be’ when referring to the intrinsic identity or static description of a noun as in the English sentences That boy is blind or The house was built of wood. The OBLIQUE, being the semantically most neutral case, is also the citation form of a noun (i.e., the form in which the noun would be listed in a dictionary).
|The Absolutive Case|
The ABSOLUTIVE case is marked by Series B vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 1 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. As described in Section 4.1.1 above, the ABSOLUTIVE identifies the semantic role of PATIENT of an agential action, where the agent-initiator is a different party than the patient who undergoes the resulting action. Note that in sentences with patient subjects, the agent or instrument of agency need not be overtly expressed. Examples of English sentences translatable using the ABSOLUTIVE would be The boy hit the girl, She forced him to do it, The bird fell from the sky, The prisoner died during the gun battle.
|The Dative Case|
The DATIVE case is marked by Series C vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 1 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The DATIVE has two functions in Ithkuil. Similarly to Western languages, it marks indirect objects of verbs of giving and telling, i.e., the semantic role of RECIPIENT of a noun transferred via an act of giving, donation, lending, or other transference of possession, or the hearer to who something is said, told, recounted, etc, as described in Section 4.1.2 above. Secondly, like some Western languages (e.g., Russian), Ithkuil uses a dative construction in lieu of any verb ‘to have’ in reference to possession or attribution. It would therefore be used in translating sentences such as We're giving you a present, Jason lent a dollar to his sister, Please grant me a wish, The student has three books, Those mountains have a mysterious quality.
The ERGATIVE case is marked by Series D vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 1 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ERGATIVE identifies the semantic role of AGENT, i.e., a noun which initiates a tangible action undergone by another party (the PATIENT), as described in Section 4.1.1. Note that sentences involving an ERGATIVE agent need not overtly express the patient noun. Examples of English sentences translatable using the ERGATIVE would be The boy hit the girl, She forced him to do it, That murderer kills for fun.
|The Effectuative Case|
The EFFECTUATIVE case is marked by Series E vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 1 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The EFFECTUATIVE identifies the noun acting in the semantic role of ENABLER, as described in Section 4.1.2 above. This is the noun which initiates a causal chain of events, ultimately resulting in a final event. An example would be pulling out the plug of a filled bathtub thereby causing it to empty. This case should therefore be carefully distinguished from the ERGATIVE case. Ergatively marked nouns imply that the action undergone by the patient is the same action directly initiated by the agent, whereas EFFECTUATIVE nouns imply a chain or series of cause-and-effect actions. For example, in the Ithkuil translation of the sentence The clown emptied the blood from the tub, the clown could be marked either as an AGENT by means of the ERGATIVE case, or as an ENABLER using the EFFECTUATIVE case. The former would mean the clown poured out the blood himself, while the latter would mean he let it drain (i.e., by pulling the plug). Such case distinctions eliminate the need for Ithkuil to have separate verbs for ‘to drain,’ ‘to pour’ or ‘to empty.’ The Ithkuil verb used in translating the sentence would simply mean ‘to remove.’
Note that the EFFECTUATIVE case is commonly used with the affix -V1.k to show the degree or nature of the enabling cause. With this affix, sentences can be produced which specify whether the enablement is via giving of consent or permission, by persuasion, by subtle indirect influence, by removal of a hindrance, or even by inaction. This affix is explored fully in Sec. 7.7.12.
|The Inducive Case|
The INDUCIVE case is marked by Series F vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 1 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The INDUCIVE identifies a noun which undergoes a self-initiated action, i.e., the noun is a PATIENT of an agential action in which the AGENT and the PATIENT are the same. Note that this does not necessarily imply reflexive action (i.e., doing something to oneself). It would be used in sentences such as The boy jumped, He sang, The dog barked all night, or She danced to the music, in which the party initiating and performing the action are one and the same.
|The Affective Case|
The AFFECTIVE case is marked by Series G vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 1 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The AFFECTIVE denotes a noun whose semantic role is that of EXPERIENCER, as described previously in Section 4.1.2, the noun which undergoes a non-causal, non-initiated (and unwilled) experiential state, whether internally autonomic in nature or as the result of an external stimulus. Examples of such states would be automatic sensory experience; autonomic bodily reactions such as yawning, sneezing, coughing, blinking, itching, feeling sleepy, pain, feeling ill, feeling cold or warm; automatic reactions to external stimuli such as shock, flinching, ducking, raising one’s arms to avoid sudden danger; as well as any unwilled emotional state such as love, hate, fear, anger, surprise, joy, wistfulness, shyness, regret, anxiety, etc.
Example sentences requiring the use of the AFFECTIVE case would be The baby is coughing, The lightning startled her, Mortimer loves his vittles, Uncle Davey slept till noon, My back itches me.
Note that if the experiential state is willfully brought about by the noun undergoing it, the INDUCIVE case would be used, since the noun is deliberately initiating an action in order to induce the experiential state. For example, compare the sentence The children smiled with glee (marked using the AFFECTIVE) with The children smiled on cue (marked using the INDUCIVE).
The INSTRUMENTAL case is marked by Series H vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 1 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. As described previously in Section 4.1.1, the INSTRUMENTAL denotes a noun which functions as the INSTRUMENT or means utilized by an AGENT in accomplishing an action or bringing about a state. It is usually translated by English ‘with.’ Examples of usage would be She killed him with a knife, The man tripped over my foot, The password got him inside. The INSTRUMENTAL is also used to mark translations of an inanimate “subject” noun when its logical function is as the instrument of an unstated agent, e.g., compare I pressed the button with my finger with My finger pressed the button, both of which would be identical in Ithkuil except for the latter sentence’s missing agent, I.
Note that the INSTRUMENTAL does not translate ‘with’ in its meaning of ‘along with’ or ‘accompanied by’ (see the COMITATIVE case below in Sec. 4.6.9) as in She arrived with her father. Nor is it used to show the resources or materials consumed in performing an act. For example, in the sentence He cooks with tomatoes (see the COMPOSITIVE case in Sec. 4.5.8), it is not the tomatoes that cook the food, therefore the INSTRUMENTAL would not be used, whereas in He fueled the fire with wood it is the wood that fuels the fire, thus requiring the INSTRUMENTAL case.
The ACTIVATIVE case is marked by Series J vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 1 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ACTIVATIVE identifies a noun engaged in or subject to a mental or metaphysical state which, as a concurrent result, creates a hypothetical, “unrealized” situation which can potentially be made real by further action. Such unrealized situations can be illustrated by the sentence Frank must go to Chicago, in which no actual travel to Chicago has occurred and, in fact, may not occur. Similarly, in the sentence Mother needs to rest, no resting has yet occurred and may not. In both sentences, the event which would “fulfill” the state described remains an unrealized hypothetical, at least from the perspective of the speaker. Similar hypothetical events or states are found in the sentences The students want you to sing, Everyone expected you to laugh, or Joe will demand that I stay. Note that many of these constructions in English involve the use of “modal” verbs such as want, need, can, must, etc.
Notice that the subject of these English sentences (Frank, Mother, the students, everyone, Joe) are functioning neither as AGENTS nor PATIENTS, since the modal verbs of which they are the subject do not identify as-yet actualized events, only states of unrealized potential. These subjects are essentially EXPERIENCERS undergoing a mental or metaphysical state of wanting, needing, obligation, expectation, hoping, wishing, being able to, etc. However, such experiencers must be differentiated from would-be experiencers “within” the hypothetical situation. For example, in the sentence Sam wants Shirley to love him, it could become ambiguous if Sam and Shirley are both marked as EXPERIENCERS using the AFFECTIVE case. Consequently, Ithkuil uses the ACTIVATIVE case to mark the subject whose mental or metaphysical state creates a concurrent hypothetical, as-yet unrealized situation. All of the subjects in the example sentences from the previous paragraph (i.e., Frank, Mother, the students, everyone, Joe) would be so marked. In Sec. 5.5 we will see how the ACTIVATIVE is used in conjunction with a morphological category for verbs termed Modality to create such hypothetical states and situations.
|The Derivative Case|
The DERIVATIVE case is marked by Series H vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 2 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The DERIVATIVE serves two functions in Ithkuil. Firstly, it identifies an inanimate FORCE of nature (as described in Sec. 4.1.1) or abstract causative situation which causes a PATIENT noun to undergo an action, as in The wind blew down the door, or Fame threatened his freedom. The use of the DERIVATIVE instead of the ERGATIVE or the EFFECTUATIVE denotes that such inanimate agential forces or abstract enabling situations cannot consciously or willingly initiate actions, but rather are merely circumstantial initiating causes. Therefore the resulting act, event, or state is seen more as having derived from this force or situation, as opposed to being willfully or consciously caused. In this function, a noun in the DERIVATIVE can often be translated using phrases such as ‘due to, owing to, on account of, because of, as a result of.’ Nouns in the DERIVATIVE can also appear in appositive constructions (i.e., in a noun-to-noun conjunction) where the noun in the DERIVATIVE denotes the abstract cause or reason for the other noun, e.g., the danger of fame, love’s heartache, wind song.
The second function of the DERIVATIVE case is to identify the non-agential, unconscious or non-deliberate STIMULUS of an affective mental state, emotion, or autonomic sensory experience, as in The coffee smells good, I saw her today, She hates that boy, Victor coughed from the gas, We laughed at his jokes, That song makes me cry. Ithkuil grammar views the stimulus of an experiential state as having a similar role to that of an abstract circumstantial or situational cause (as in the above examples); this explains why the DERIVATIVE case serves to indicate both functions.
The SITUATIVE case is marked by Series J vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 2 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The SITUATIVE identifies a noun as the background context for a clause. It is similar to the DERIVATIVE case immediately above, except it does not imply a direct causative relationship between the background context and the act, condition, or event which occurs. It is translatable into English by various circumlocutions, as shown in the following examples:
Because of war, our planet will never be able to join the Federation.
Given the presence of clowns, we must accept the corruption of our children.
Using my plan, we will defeat the enemy.
It should be noted that Ithkuil provides an array of affixes specifically designed to work in conjunction with nouns inflected into one of the Transrelative cases to significantly expand their ability to specify the exact nature of the causal relationships between participants to a verb in an Ithkuil sentence. These affixes include the Consent affix, the Reason affix, the Expectation affix, the Deliberateness affix, the Enablement affix, the Agency/Intent affix, and the Impact affix. These affixes are detailed in Section 7.7.12 and discussed further in Section 10.1.2.
Those Western languages which have possessive cases usually have only one such case, often functioning in a vague and ambiguous way to show varying types of relationships between two nouns. For example, notice the differing relationships expressed by the possessive in the following English sentences:
the man’s hat = the hat belonging to him [alienable possession]
the man’s house = the house he legally owns [proprietary responsibility]
the man’s arm = part of his body [inalienable component]
the man’s brother = the brother related to him [genetic relationship]
the man’s happiness = he feels happy [affective experience]
the man’s rescue = he was or will be rescued [target of others’ purpose]
the man’s gift = the gift is for him [benefaction]
the man’s gift = the gift is from him [source]
the man’s world = the world in which he lives [inherent subjective association]
the man’s team = the team he is associated with [interactive mutual association]
the man’s story = the story about him [topical reference]
the man’s painting = the picture he painted [creation/authorship]
the man’s command = his being a commander [role or function]
In many instances, the English possessive is totally ambiguous, e.g., does ‘the man’s story’ mean the one he wrote or the one about him? Regarding ‘the man’s rescue,’ did the man do the rescuing or is he the one being rescued? Is ‘the man’s gift’ one he is giving or receiving? Ithkuil is more exact in specifying the nature of these relationships via case. Many of the above relationships are addressed by the seven Associative cases. The other sorts of relationships shown above are handled by other types of cases (see Sections 4.5 and 4.6 below).
The Associative cases make a distinction between alienable versus inalienable possession or attribution, as well as distinguishing whether the possession is inherent to the possessor or imposed or caused from without. These distinctions are explained below. Like Western languages (and unlike many American Indian and North Caucasian languages), the case marking is on the possessor noun, not the possessed. The seven Associative cases are the POSSESSIVE, PROPRIETIVE, GENITIVE, ATTRIBUTIVE, ORIGINATIVE, PRODUCTIVE, and INTERPRETATIVE. Following are explanations of the function and usage of each case. Actual Ithkuil examples of the cases in use are given in Sec. 4.4.8.
The POSSESSIVE case is marked by Series A vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 2 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The POSSESSIVE is used to refer to a noun which has alienable (i.e., removable or severable) possession of another noun in the sense of having physical control or oversight of that noun, whether by chance circumstance or deliberate manipulation. The two nouns are not in any sense inherent parts of one another and the relationship between the two can be theoretically or actually terminated by an outside force or influence, or by decision of the possessor, usually by means of mere physical permanent separation of the possessor and possessed nouns. The possessive would be used to translate English phrases such as his coat (e.g., the one he is wearing, regardless of whether he owns it or not), the boy’s book (e.g., the one in his hand), Father’s chair (e.g., the one he happens to be sitting in, as in a restaurant).
The PROPRIETIVE case is marked by Series B vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 2 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PROPRIETIVE identifies a noun having alienable possession of another noun in the sense of quasi-permanent contextual control, ownership or oversight, whether by societal recognition, social convention, law, purchase or decree, which mere physical separation does not sever. The two nouns are not in any sense inherent parts of one another, however the relationship cannot be terminated except via an equally or more binding act, declaration, convention, law, process, etc. Using the same English examples used with the POSSESSIVE above, we can analyze the connotative difference: his coat (i.e., the one he owns, regardless of whether he is wearing it or not), the boy’s book (e.g., the one he bought), Father’s chair (e.g., the one assigned to him).
The GENITIVE case is marked by Series C vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 2 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The GENITIVE is used to refer to a noun which has inalienable (i.e., unremovable, unseverable) possession of or association with another noun in the sense of having that noun as an inherent or intrinsic attribute, characteristic, physical part, or genetic (i.e., familial) bond, e.g., my hand, the building’s doors, the child’s father, the essence of that woman.
The ATTRIBUTIVE case is marked by Series D vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 2 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ATTRIBUTIVE is used to refer to a noun which inalienably experiences the effects of, or otherwise has an affective (see the AFFECTIVE case above) relationship with another noun, either as a temporary or permanent attribute, characteristic, or experience, whether physical or psychological, objective or subjective in nature. Examples: his pain, Mother’s guilt, the child’s cough, Dorothy’s mood, Davey’s happiness, the teacher’s stubbornness, my needs.
The ORIGINATIVE case is marked by Series E vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 2 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ORIGINATIVE identifies a noun as being the literal or figurative source of another, e.g., the man’s story (i.e., the one he told), our gift (i.e., the one we are giving), water from the river, the fruit of the tree.
The PRODUCTIVE case is marked by Series F vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 2 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PRODUCTIVE identifies the creator, author or originator of another noun, e.g., the girl’s poem, the clowns’ plan, my statue (i.e., the one I sculpted).
The INTERPRETATIVE case is marked by Series G vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 2 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The INTERPRETATIVE identifies a noun acting as the subjective interpretational context of another noun, that is the noun by or through which another noun is subjectively interpreted or described, as exemplified by the phrases Monet’s Paris, our world, life as seen by children.
The Appositive cases refer to a group of eleven cases which modify a noun to show that it has some relationship to another, usually adjacent noun. Most of these cases correspond to relationships in which, in English translation, we find two nouns together in apposition or as a compound noun, as in cat box, schoolbook, peace march, mountain man, etc., or joined by the word ‘of’ in a non-possessive relationship, e.g., box of coins, dreams of youth, sounds of laughter. The eleven Appositive cases are the APPLICATIVE, PURPOSIVE, INHERENT, CONDUCTIVE, MEDIATIVE, CONTRASTIVE, PARTITIVE, COMPOSITIVE, CORRELATIVE, INTERDEPENDENT, and PREDICATIVE. Following are explanations of the function and usage of each case. Actual Ithkuil examples of the cases in use are given in Sec. 4.5.12.
|The Applicative Case|
The APPLICATIVE case is marked by Series A vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 3 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The APPLICATIVE identifies a noun which represents the purpose for which another noun is to be utilized in a given instance. As such, it usually translates English ‘for’ when meaning ‘for the temporary or incidental use/purpose of.’ Examples of usage would be a cup for coffee (i.e., a cup being used incidentally to hold coffee), a box for tools (i.e., the box is only temporarily being used to hold tools), a room for changing. Note that the use of the APPLICATIVE can extend to usages beyond English ‘for,’ as in a “weapon” cat = ‘a cat used as a weapon,’ or a “projectile” book = ‘a book used as a projectile.’
|The Purposive Case|
The PURPOSIVE case is marked by Series B vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 3 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PURPOSIVE identifies a noun which characterizes or defines the purpose of, or reason for, another noun. The PURPOSIVE is subtly distinct from the APPLICATIVE above, in that the latter names the actual use to which a noun is put on a given occasion or in given context, whereas the PURPOSIVE defines another noun’s general function or primary reason for being, outside of any contextual instance, i.e., what the noun is used for all the time (or at least its intended use). It generally translates English ‘as,’ ‘of’ or ‘for’ when meaning ‘for the purpose of’ or alternately an English noun-noun expression or a compound noun. Examples of usage would be a coffee cup, a toolbox, a litter box, a trashcan.
The INHERENT case is marked by Series C vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 3 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The INHERENT case identifies a noun being used to characterize or define the identity or intrinsic nature of another in a subjective, contextual, metaphorical, or symbolic manner. English phrases which would be translated using this case are years of wonder, the Clown Planet, life blood, city of evil, a dangerous situation (i.e., a situation characterized by danger).
Note that in the above examples, the noun in the INHERENT would be inflected either for the NOMIC or the ABSTRACT perspective (see Sections 3.3.3 and 3.3.4) to show that the relationship involves a collective entity (e.g., Clown Planet = planet of all clowns) or that the relationship is abstract, subjective or symbolic (years of wonder = years that make one feel a sense of wonder). However, when a noun in the INHERENT case is inflected for a concrete perspective, i.e., either the MONADIC or the UNBOUNDED, then it takes on the rather different function of stating the actual existential identity (literally or figuratively) of the other noun and would be equivalent to the English construction ‘that/which/who is (a/the)…’ as in the man who is president, the woman who is my wife, the house that is a model, a machine that is a vehicle, the teacher who is her father, those trees that are larches. Through use of the INHERENT case and the MONADIC/UNBOUNDED perspectives, these phrases would be rendered into Ithkuil phrases that would correspond literally to the sometimes awkward, even semantically anomalous English phrases ‘the president man,’ ‘the my-wife woman,’ ‘the model house,’ ‘the vehicle machine,’ ‘the her-father teacher,’ ‘the larch trees.’
The CONDUCTIVE case is marked by Series D vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 3 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The CONDUCTIVE identifies the meaningful or relevant context of another. It can be thought of as conveying the relationship signified by the expressions ‘having to do with,’ ‘as it pertains to,’ or ‘considered within the context of.’ Examples of English phrases translatable using this case are a circus clown, a mountain man, a feeling of loneliness, the Mafia’s world, a realm of fear, my life achievement, childhood memories, Let’s discuss the morality of war.
|The Mediative Case|
The MEDIATIVE case is marked by Series E vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 3 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The MEDIATIVE indicates the physical, psychological, or figurative medium through which another noun or event takes place. It would be used in translating phrases or sentences such as a radio announcement, arrival by water, a letter bomb, air mail, achieving ecstasy through sex, I showed her my love with chocolate. It should be distinguished from the INSTRUMENTAL case (see Section 4.3.8 above), which signifies the actual instrument or physical means used to accomplish a causative action. For example, in the sentence Call him on the phone!, translating the phrase on the phone into the INSTRUMENTAL case would signify ‘Use the phone (i.e., the one in the room) to call him,’ whereas inflection into the MEDIATIVE case would mean ‘Call him via the medium of telephony.’
The CONTRASTIVE case is marked by Series F vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 3 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The CONTRASTIVE identifies a distinguishing characteristic of another noun, i.e., that feature which distinguishes it from other possible candidates within the given context. It would be used in translating phrases such as the green bottle (e.g., as opposed to the blue one); the science text (e.g., versus the religious text); my statue (i.e., a statue of me); I want your recipe for stew, not soup; Don’t worry, it’s a pet snake.
The PARTITIVE case is marked by Series G vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 3 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. When used in conjunction with another noun, the PARTITIVE indicates a quantitative or content-to-container relationship between the two nouns, e.g., a cup of coffee, a box(ful) of books, a train(load) of refugees. When used alone, it signifies that the context of the phrase or sentence involves only a portion of the noun, rather than the whole noun, e.g., I ate some bread, Pour (some) water down my back.
The PARTITIVE is also used to mark a noun qualified by a specific number, e.g., three boxes, two clowns, twenty words. This usage is analyzed in detail in Chapter 12, where we will see that, in Ithkuil, numbers are formatives (i.e., full nouns and verbs), not adjectives as in Western languages. Additionally, a noun qualified by a number is not pluralized. In other words, one does not say ‘three boxes,’ but rather “a trio of a box” or perhaps more eloquently, “a box trio.”
The PARTITIVE case is also used in constructing words for Ithkuil numbers beginning with two hundred. This is also detailed in Chapter 12 on enumeration.
The COMPOSITIVE case is marked by Series H vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 3 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The COMPOSITIVE identifies a noun as being the literal or figurative substance or component(s) of which another is made, composed, formed, built or comprised. Example of usage would be That statue was carved out of marble, She owns three gold(en) coins, We were caught in a web of lies, I use a wooden ladder, It was a house of cards, Three suits comprise his wardrobe, Joe detests styrofoam cups.
The COMPOSITIVE is also used in conjunction with verbs to identify the material(s) or resources used up or consumed in performing or undertaking an activity. Examples of this usage would be She likes to cook with tomatoes, He reads by candle(light), That child goes through four sets of clothes a day, My uncle satisfied his sweet tooth with three chocolate bars.
|The Correlative Case|
The CORRELATIVE case is marked by Series J vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 3 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The CORRELATIVE is used to indicate an abstract relationship, association, or conjunction between a noun and another noun or verb. It translates general phrases such as ‘relative to,’ ‘in relation to,’ ‘in correlation with,’ ‘in association with,’ etc. It would be used in translating phrases such as career goals, the soup of the day, the direction of that road, The elapsed time relative to the distance determines the winner, Our next topic is sex and (or in) art (i.e., the relationship between art and sex). Note that the CORRELATIVE case would often be used to translate constructions for which English often uses an adjective, e.g., spatial coordinates, the political economy.
|The Interdependent Case|
The INTERDEPENDENT case is marked by Series J vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 4 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The INTERDEPENDENT identifies a noun which has a coordinated, tandem, complementary or mutually dependent relationship with another. The relationship between the two nouns can be thought of as reciprocal in nature, i.e., each noun implies the other or needs the other to exist within it’s natural context, e.g., the students’ teacher, an army general, the blood in my veins, the driver of the truck, the nation’s leader, his team (i.e., the one on which he’s a member). Note that this case does not imply a part-whole dependency as with the GENITIVE case above, e.g., it would not be used to translate the book’s pages, or the leaves of a tree.
The PREDICATIVE case is marked by Series J vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 5 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PREDICATIVE identifies a noun which constitutes the non-causal basis, foundation, sustenance (literally or figuratively), or required existential condition for another noun or clause, translatable by the phrases ‘based (up)on,’ ‘dependent (up)on’ or ‘relying on.’ Examples of use are a book dependent on a publisher, a man relying on charity, laws based in reason, Can success supported by murder be sustained?
The PREDICATIVE should be distinguished from Transrelative cases such as the DERIVATIVE or INSTRUMENTAL, in that the PREDICATIVE does not denote a cause, merely the sustaining entity on which another depends, e.g., it would not be used to translate anxiety based on terror, as the anxiety does not ‘rely’ or ‘depend’ on terror, but rather is caused by it. Similarly, in the phrase an attitude fueled by greed, the attitude derives from or results from greed, but is not relying on it.
The Adverbial cases function similarly to adverbial phrases in Western languages (usually beginning with an adverbial conjunction), to provide additional contextual information to a verb. The fourteen Adverbial cases are the ESSIVE, ASSIMILATIVE, FUNCTIVE, TRANSFORMATIVE, REFERENTIAL, CONSIDERATIVE, CLASSIFICATIVE, DEFERENTIAL, COMITATIVE, CONJUNCTIVE, UTILITATIVE, BENEFACTIVE, TRANSPOSITIVE, and COMMUTATIVE. Following are explanations of the function and usage of each case. Actual Ithkuil examples of the cases in use are given in Sec. 4.6.15.
The ESSIVE case is marked by Series A vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 4 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ESSIVE identifies the role or name by which a noun is known or contextually identified. It translates English ‘as’ in the sense of naming or reference to the a nouns functional identity. It would be used in translating the English sentences They called him a clown, The woman entered the club as an equal of any man, We consider you our only hope.
The ASSIMILATIVE case is marked by Series B vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 4 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ASSIMILATIVE identifies a noun used as a context for analogy or metaphorical comparison to either another noun or a verb. Thus, it translates English ‘like’ or ‘as’ in the sense of comparison or analogy between one thing and another. Examples of usage are She sings like a bird, As children they seemed to me.
|The Functive Case|
The FUNCTIVE case is marked by Series C vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 4 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. It functions similarly to English adverbs ending in -ly or the adverbial use of with, identifying the manner in which an action, event, or state occurs or exists. More exactly, it identifies a noun used to characterize the manner of the act, state, or event, translatable most accurately by the phrase ‘in a manner characterized by….’ Examples would be: She dances gracefully (i.e., in a manner characterized by grace), The boys ate with gusto, That clown is speaking nonsense, Father speaks with such fortitude.
|The Transformative Case|
The TRANSFORMATIVE case is marked by Series D vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 4 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The TRANSFORMATIVE identifies the outcome or final state of a process, often translatable by ‘to,’ ‘until,’ or ‘into’ in the sense of reaching a final state after having undergone some transformation. Example usages would be The house burned to ashes, The clown reached a state of tranquility, The clowns will turn our children into slaves, Her father drank himself to death.
|The Referential Case|
The REFERENTIAL case is marked by Series E vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 4 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The REFERENTIAL identifies a noun functioning as the general referent of the verb, translating such English terms as ‘about,’ ‘regarding,’ ‘concerning,’ ‘in regard to,’ ‘in reference to,’ ‘pertaining to,’ or ‘as for.’ Examples of use would be a song of love; As for those books, burn them!; Let’s talk about clowns; His attitude toward women.
|The Considerative Case|
The CONSIDERATIVE case is marked by Series F vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 4 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The CONSIDERATIVE identifies a noun as the delimiting or defining context in which an act, state or event occurs or is considered. Thus, it translates English terms such as ‘according to,’ ‘pursuant to,’ ‘as per,’ ‘in the opinion of.’ Examples of usage would be In my opinion he’s a coward; He’s leaving town as per orders from the court; You were arrested pursuant to law; According to our teacher, humans are descended from apes.
|The Classificative Case|
The CLASSIFICATIVE case is marked by Series G vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 4 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The CLASSIFICATIVE identifies a noun as a basis for arranging, sorting, classifying, or counting, translating various English prepositions and phrases used for this purpose. Example of usage are Place them in groups of three, The workers arranged the tables in rows, He lay down lengthwise, Can you count by fives?, I will sort them by color.
The CLASSIFICATIVE is also used to identify a noun considered in consecutively recurring increments as a means of describing the manner of an event. This is usually in conjunction with nouns denoting time periods, but can be used with any concrete noun to describe the repetitive nature of an event. Examples would be Month by month, their departure crept closer; Year after year, I see more and more clowns; Day in, day out, he’s always working; The fertilizer factory keeps rolling them out, bag upon bag; Patient by patient, the nurse administered injections.
Note that the CLASSIFICATIVE would not be used to describe a noun other than adverbially, e.g., it would not be used to translate the sentence One bomb after another fell on the city. Such a construction would utilize a suffix indicating sequential instantiations of the noun (see Sec. 7.7.4).
|The Deferential Case|
The DEFERENTIAL case is marked by Series H vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 4 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The DEFERENTIAL translates the English phrases ‘out of respect for,’ ‘for the sake of,’ or ‘in deference toward,’ identifying the noun to which deference is paid within the context for an act, condition, or event. Examples of usage would be He remained silent for her sake, They went on with the ceremony out of respect for the families, They dressed in robes because of tradition.
The COMITATIVE case is marked by Series A vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 6 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. Similar to its counterpart in Uralic languages such as Finnish or Estonian, the COMITATIVE translates the English ‘with’ in its meaning of accompaniment (i.e., ‘along with’) as in The child went with the clown to the party. Like English ‘with,’ the COMITATIVE does not imply that the conjoined noun is necessarily engaged in the same activity or associated with the same verb as the head noun. For example, in the sentence My father was walking with a loaf of bread, the loaf of bread is not considered to be itself walking.
It should be noted, however, that the COMITATIVE is not used to imply mutually interactive or reciprocal activity between two nouns. Thus it would not be used in translating the sentences They danced with each other or Mother wants to talk with you. These would be translated using the RECIPROCAL valence of the verb, explained in Section 5.2.4. This distinction is illustrated even more clearly by comparing the following two sentences; the first would be translated using the COMITATIVE, the second would not: This man fought with my father (e.g., alongside him during the war) versus This man fought with my father (e.g., they had a fight with each other).
Note also that the COMITATIVE is not used to indicate instrumentality (English ‘with’ meaning ‘by means of’). Thus, it is not used to translate sentences such as I cut the meat with a knife. As previously discussed in Section 4.3.8, instrumentality is indicated by use of the INSTRUMENTAL case. Likewise, it is not used to identify the resources or material(s) consumed in undertaking an act, as in He catches his fish with worms for which the COMPOSITIVE case is used.
|The Conjunctive Case|
The CONJUNCTIVE case is marked by Series B vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 6 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The CONJUNCTIVE translates English ‘with’ in its meaning of ‘in conjunction with,’ i.e., to indicate that the noun is engaged in the same activity or a complementary activity as the conjoined noun. It should be distinguished from the COMITATIVE above, which indicates mere accompaniment. For example, in the walking with a loaf of bread example from above, it would be incorrect to use the CONJUNCTIVE case because that would signify the bread was walking, too. To further illustrate the usage, consider the sentence I’m with the brigade. Translating ‘brigade’ using the COMITATIVE would mean that ‘I’ve come along (e.g., drove) with the brigade to the scene,’ while using the CONJUNCTIVE would mean ‘I’m a member of the brigade.’ Additional examples where the CONJUNCTIVE would be used are They skate with the best team, That teacher works well with children.
|The Utilitative Case|
The UTILITATIVE case is marked by Series C vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 6 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The UTILITATIVE identifies a noun in the process of being utilized. This corresponds to the use of English ‘with’ where it refers to actual use in progress as in A man with a gun ran into the room. It should be distinguished from the INSTRUMENTAL (see Sec. 4.3.8) in that the latter indicates the implement used to accomplish an action, while the UTILITATIVE identifies a noun in use, but does not imply that the noun was the implement used to accomplish a stated action. For example, compare the sentence The man with an umbrella was pushing a stroller in the rain (UTILITATIVE) with The man pushed a stroller in the rain with an umbrella (INSTRUMENTAL). The first sentence implies the man was pushing a stroller with one hand while holding an open umbrella against the rain, whereas the second sentence has him using the umbrella to push the stroller. Another way to translate the UTILITATIVE would be to use an English gerundial construction as in A gun-wielding man ran into the room or An umbrella-toting man pushed a stroller in the rain.
Besides the INSTRUMENTAL, the UTILITATIVE should likewise be distinguished from the COMITATIVE case above, in that the COMITATIVE merely indicates accompaniment, while the UTILITATIVE indicates use in progress. For example, the sentence Go sit next to the girl with the book, if translated using the COMITATIVE would merely identify a girl who has a book in her visible possession, while with the UTILITATIVE it would mean the girl is actually engaged in reading the book.
|The Benefactive Case|
The BENEFACTIVE case is marked by Series D vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 6 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The BENEFACTIVE identifies a noun for whose sake or benefit an action or event occurs or is done. As such, the BENEFACTIVE is similar to the DATIVE, except that the BENEFACTIVE implies a strong emphasis on the fact that the noun is more than simply the recipient or target of a dative action, but rather benefits in a tangible or consequential way from the action or event. It is usually translated by English ‘for’ in the sense of ‘for the sake (i.e., benefit) of.’ Examples of usage are a toy for the children, We threw him a party, Go to the teachers’ lounge.
|The Transpositive Case|
The TRANSPOSITIVE case is marked by Series E vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 6 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The TRANSPOSITIVE implies substitution of one noun for another. It translates English ‘for’ in the sense of ‘on behalf of,’ ‘in place of,’ or ‘instead of’ (i.e., ‘as a substitution for’). Examples of usage are The boss made the speech for me, She went up into the attic for her brother (i.e., so he wouldn’t have to).
|The Commutative Case|
The COMMUTATIVE case is marked by Series F vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 6 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The COMMUTATIVE translates English ‘for’ in the sense of ‘in exchange for’ as in You paid too much money for that dress, She kills for thrills.
The Subrelative cases comprise eleven cases which place a noun in a subordinate context to the main sentence, much like subordinate conjunctions in Western languages. In fact, these cases are used far more frequently with verbal clauses than with nouns, creating what are known as “case-frames” (to be discussed in Sec. 5.7), the Ithkuil functional equivalent to Western subordinate clauses. The eleven Subrelative cases are the ABESSIVE, CONVERSIVE, CONCESSIVE, EXCEPTIVE, ADVERSATIVE, PROVISIONAL, POSTULATIVE, SUPPOSITIVE, DEPENDENT, COMPARATIVE, and AVERSIVE. Following are explanations of the function and usage of each case. Actual Ithkuil examples of the cases in use are given in Sec. 4.7.12.
|The Abessive Case|
The ABESSIVE case is marked by Series A vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 5 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ABESSIVE is essentially the opposite of the COMITATIVE, translating the English ‘without’ or ‘-less’ in the sense of ‘unaccompanied by’ or ‘not having’ as in a day without rain or a treeless plain. As noted in the next section below on the CONVERSIVE case, it is not used to translate ‘without’ when it means ‘unless one has,’ referring to a hypothetical exception to a potential outcome as in I can’t go on without love.
|The Conversive Case|
The CONVERSIVE case is marked by Series B vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 5 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The CONVERSIVE is used in conjunction with hypothetical or potential contexts to identify a hypothetical exception to a potential outcome or an actual circumstance which alters or has altered a potential outcome. This translates two different ways into English. Where it indicates an exception to a hypothetical situation, it is translated by the conjunction ‘unless’ in verbal contexts, and by the preposition ‘without’ for nouns (note that ‘without’ in this sense does not correspond to its usual ABESSIVE usage in Sec. 4.7.1 above). If applied to a real or actual situation, it is translatable by such expressions as ‘but for,’ ‘if not for,’ ‘if it wasn’t for,’ or ‘if it wasn’t on account of.’ Example of usage: Without peace, this society is doomed; If not for the rain, we would have had a good time.
|The Concessive Case|
The CONCESSIVE case is marked by Series C vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 5 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The CONCESSIVE case identifies a noun, situation, or circumstance which gives rise to an expectation of a certain result which, in fact, does not occur. This can be translated by various English prepositions, conjunctions, or phrases such as ‘despite,’ ‘in spite of,’ ‘notwithstanding,’ ‘although,’ ‘regardless of,’ ‘no matter what,’ etc. Examples of usage: In spite of his stupidity, he passed the test; The law notwithstanding, I will stand my ground; No matter how ignorant (they may be), they are welcome, Although foreigners, we will let them attend the meeting.
|The Exceptive Case|
The EXCEPTIVE case is marked by Series D vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 5 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The EXCEPTIVE indicates a noun, situation, or circumstance which is an exception, or is exempted or excluded from the main clause, translatable by English ‘except (for),’ ‘but (not),’ or ‘excluding.’ Examples of usage: She loves everybody except clowns; I like all animals, excluding dogs; He eats almost anything but (not) spinach.
|The Adversative Case|
The ADVERSATIVE case is marked by Series E vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 5 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ADVERSATIVE indicates a noun which has been replaced by another or for which another noun has been substituted. In verbal frame adjuncts it identifies the situation which had been expected in contrast to what actually takes place. This is translatable by the English phrases ‘instead of’ or ‘as opposed to,’ e.g., Instead of rain, it snowed; They hired her as a cook, as opposed to a maid.
|The Provisional Case|
The PROVISIONAL case is marked by Series F vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 5 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The identifies the noun, situation, or circumstance on which the factuality of the main clause of the sentence depends, i.e., the required condition(s) which must come into existence for the situation described in the main clause to occur. This is translatable by such English phrases as ‘provided (that),’ ‘on condition of,’ ‘only in case of,’ or ‘but only if,’ e.g., Provided [there’s] food, I will attend the meeting; We will fight only in case of war.
|The Postulative Case|
The POSTULATIVE case is marked by Series G vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 5 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The operates somewhat similarly to the PROVISIONAL above, except that the POSTULATIVE implies a causal or consequential relationship (not merely a circumstantial one) between the pre-condition(s) and the circumstances of the main clause. Specifically, it identifies the noun, situation, or circumstance whose factuality has not yet come into existence, but, should it come into existence, will result in the consequence indicated by the main clause. This is translatable by English ‘if,’ or ‘in case of.’ Note that it does not translate English ‘if’ where it means ‘whether’ as in I don’t know if it’s warm enough, i.e., where the clause is meant only to convey uncertainty or optionality (but not a causal relationship between a potential condition and its consequences). Examples of usage: If [there’s] snow, I’m not going out; In case of fire, flee; If friend, welcome them, if foe, kill ’em.
|The Suppositive Case|
The SUPPOSITIVE case is marked by Series H vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 5 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The SUPPOSITIVE identifies a noun as a hypothetical supposition being offered for comment. It is somewhat similar to the SITUATIVE case (see Section 4.3.11 above), except that the noun is functioning purely as a supposition, not as an actual context. The SUPPOSITIVE can be distinguished from the PROVISIONAL and the POSTULATIVE cases above, in that the latter two cases describe pre-conditions for a following clause where the pre-condition is either preclusive or a known possibility. The SUPPOSITIVE presents only a hypothetical possibility whose likelihood of becoming or describing reality is either unknown or unknowable. There is no equivalent English construction which expresses this distinction. The following sentences represent approximate English translations of what would be identical Ithkuil sentences except for the three different case declensions of the word for ‘weather’:
PROVISIONAL: We’re packing
umbrellas, but only in case of bad weather (i.e., umbrellas
will not be packed unless the weather is actually bad).
POSTULATIVE: We’re packing umbrellas in case of bad weather (i.e., the umbrellas are being packed in preparation for the possibility of bad weather).
SUPPOSITIVE: We’re packing umbrellas supposing [there’s] bad weather (i.e., the umbrellas are being packed even though we don’t know how the weather will be).
|The Dependent Case|
The DEPENDENT case is marked by Series G vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 6 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The DEPENDENT translates the English phrase ‘depending on’ signifying a noun as the contingency on which the reality of a main clause depends. Examples of usage would be Depending on the rain, we’ll go for a picnic; She may show up, depending on her attitude.
The DEPENDENT should be distinguished from the PREDICATIVE case in Sec. 4.5.11, in that the former denotes contingency, while the PREDICATIVE denotes reliance.
|The Comparative Case|
The COMPARATIVE case is marked by Series H vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 6 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The COMPARATIVE identifies a noun being compared and contrasted to another. It translates such expressions as ‘as compared to,’ ‘as opposed to.’ With verbal case-frames (see Sec. 5.7) it would translate as ‘whereas’ or ‘while’ (in its synonymous usage to ‘whereas’). Examples are She chose the red one as opposed to the blue one, Sam drives a van as compared to Joe, who prefers a truck.
|The Aversive Case|
The AVERSIVE case is marked by Series J vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 6 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The AVERSIVE identifies a noun as a source or object of fear and/or avoidance. With nouns, it translates expressions such as ‘for fear of,’ ‘in order to avoid,’ or ‘in avoidance of.’ With verb phrases (i.e., case-frames; see Sec. 5.7) , it would translate English ‘lest.’ Examples of usage are She finished her plate for fear of my wrath, I traveled by night to avoid the sun.
As noted previously, prepositions do not exist in Ithkuil. While various non-Indo-European languages such as Finnish, Hungarian, Basque and the North Caucasian languages accomplish the equivalent of prepositional relationships using noun cases, such relationships are usually accomplished in Ithkuil via verbal formatives (e.g., a verb translatable as ‘to be inside of’ instead of a preposition ‘inside of’). Nevertheless, there are twelve cases corresponding to certain types of common spatial relationships. These are the LOCATIVE, ORIENTATIVE, PROCURSIVE, ALLATIVE, ABLATIVE, PROLATIVE, PERLATIVE, PERVASIVE , PERIPHERAL, INTEGRAL, POSITIONAL, and NAVIGATIVE. Following are explanations of the function and usage of each case. Actual Ithkuil examples of these cases in use are provided in Sec. 4.8.13.
|The Locative Case|
The LOCATIVE case is marked by Series A vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 7 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The LOCATIVE signifies general static position in the same contextual place as the specified location, translatable by many English prepositions such as ‘at,’ ‘in,’ ‘on,’ or ‘by,’ depending on the context, e.g., in that building, by the wall, on the street, at my house.
|The Orientative Case|
The ORIENTATIVE case is marked by Series B vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 7 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ORIENTATIVE identifies the noun (usually a subcomponent or body part) which serves as the forward “end” of a spatially orientated axis aligned to a vector of motion. This is translatable into English using elements such as ‘-ward(s)’ or ‘-first’ in conjunction with portions of objects in a spatio-orientational context, e.g., He jumped in feet-first, The car rolled backward. The ORIENTATIVE allows for the extension of this concept to contexts which seem awkward in English translation, e.g., He walked “butt-ward” down the street (i.e., backward with his butt protruding frontwards, leading the way).
|The Procursive Case|
The PROCURSIVE case is marked by Series C vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 7 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PROCURSIVE identifies a noun (often a subcomponent or body part) which serves as the orientational reference point, interactional surface or interface relative to the direction of interaction with, or position in space of, a second noun. This second noun usually appears in either the ALLATIVE or POSITIONAL case (see Sections 4.8.4 and 4.8.11 below). Examples of use would be They collided sideways, She turned her back on him, The chair “faced” the doorway (i.e., The chair stood with it’s seat and back aligned toward the doorway).
|The Allative Case|
The ALLATIVE case is marked by Series D vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 7 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. When used in the context of explicit or implied directional motion, the ALLATIVE signifies the direction of motion, translatable by ‘to’ or ‘toward(s)’ or the suffix ‘-ward(s)’ in English. Note that the ALLATIVE in no way implies that the object is intended as the final or intended destination or goal of the motion or movement, only the direction of the movement. Examples would be I wandered eastward, The little girl ran toward me, Throw the rock at that clown!, We headed for home.
When used in contexts where directional motion is not implied, the ALLATIVE signifies a directional orientation of a noun relative to another, e.g., He turned his back on me, The upstairs bedroom faces the yard, It’s alongside the desk (i.e., its lateral surface is oriented toward the desk)
|The Ablative Case|
The ABLATIVE case is marked by Series E vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 7 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. When used in context of explicit or implied directional motion, the ABLATIVE signifies the general directional origin of movement away from or out of. It does not specify the actual point of origin or departure. Examples would be He came out of the east, She walked here from (the direction of) the river.
When used in contexts where directional motion is not implied, the ABLATIVE signifies a reverse directional orientation of one noun relative to another, e.g., He faced away from me.
|The Prolative Case|
The PROLATIVE case is marked by Series F vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 7 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PROLATIVE indicates either a position or a path of linear movement along, across, or through a one-dimensional linear medium or a two-dimensional quasi-planar surface, the position or movement being between one point and another, without implying origination at one point or destination at another, e.g., He passed through a tunnel, She’s standing along the highway, I’ll walk across the patio, He pushed his way through the crowd, The vessel traversed the (surface of the) ocean.
|The Perlative Case|
The PERLATIVE case is marked by Series G vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 7 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PERLATIVE is identical to the PROLATIVE above, except that the implied position or path of movement between implied points is through or within a three-dimensional volume or medium, e.g., Baboons chase each other through the trees, We escaped under the ocean, The probe explored the nebula (i.e., while passing through it), The vessel traversed the (depths of the) ocean.
|The Pervasive Case|
The PERVASIVE case is marked by Series H vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 7 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PERVASIVE signifies position or path of movement among, within, or throughout the contextual medium, e.g., among the grounds, throughout the stadium, within the crowd.
|The Peripheral Case|
The PERIPHERAL case is marked by Series J vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 7 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PERIPHERAL signifies position or path of movement in a area surrounding, around, or along the periphery of a noun, e.g., around her head, on all sides of it, surrounding the yard.
|The Integral Case|
The INTEGRAL case is marked by Series G vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 9 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The INTEGRAL identifies the noun which is the native location, origin, or usual locational context for another. It should be distinguished from the ABLATIVE above, in that the ABLATIVE implies position or path of motion away from, whereas the INTEGRAL merely presents a locational context as a means of description or to distinguish the noun from an otherwise similar noun. Examples of usage would be Fix the kitchen sink! (i.e. the one found in the kitchen), Desert rocks are so beautiful (i.e., whether being spoken about rocks taken from the desert or rocks still present in the desert), Northern women are easy-going.
|The Positional Case|
The POSITIONAL case is marked by Series H vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 9 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The POSITIONAL identifies a noun relative to whose position in space another noun is being described for purposes of spatial orientation. To an English-speaker, the function of this case makes greater sense once one realizes that, in Ithkuil, most one-to-one spatial relationships are described by verbs, not prepositions, e.g., ‘to be situated on the right,’ ‘to move beneath,’ etc. Consequently, the POSITIONAL case can be thought of as expressing the phrase ‘relative to.’ Examples of how it would be used are I’m standing four feet north of the desk, The one hanging above the boxes looks fresh, It lies at a 30° angle relative to the tree.
The NAVIGATIVE case is marked by Series J vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 9 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The NAVIGATIVE identifies the noun relative to whose vector, arc, or trajectory of motion an act, state, or event takes place. This is particularly important, as we will see in Section 10.4.3 that Ithkuil modes of positional reference are tied into the vectors of movement or the configurational axes of objects in the environment such as the sun or the length of a room. Example uses would be I looked down the street, We aligned it perpendicular to the path of the sun, He crossed the room diagonally (i.e., walked diagonally relative to the long axis of the room.)
The temporal cases deal with contexts relating to time. In many respects, Ithkuil analyzes time similarly to Western languages, particularly in the ability to spatially compartmentalize time as seen in such English phrases as ‘in 3 hours,’ ‘for 5 years,’ ‘day by day,’ and ‘per month,’ as well as in analyzing time as progressively linear using concepts such as ‘before,’ ‘after,’ ‘during,’ ‘until,’ and ‘ago.’ The fifteen temporal cases are the CONCURSIVE, ACCESSIVE, DIFFUSIVE, PERIODIC, PROLAPSIVE, PRECURSIVE, POSTCURSIVE, ELAPSIVE, ALLAPSIVE, INTERPOLATIVE, EPISODIC, PROLIMITIVE, SIMULTANEITIVE, ASSESSIVE, and LIMITATIVE. Following are explanations of the function and usage of each case. Actual Ithkuil examples of these cases in use are provided in Sec. 4.9.16.
The CONCURSIVE case is marked by Series A vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 8 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The CONCURSIVE serves as a “temporal locative” signifying the beginning and ending boundaries of time during or at which an act, state, or event occurs, the whole of which being considered a single contextual situation. Examples of usage would be He prays during lunch, She studied hard last night, I won’t visit until then (i.e., during that period in time).
|The Accessive Case|
The ACCESSIVE case is marked by Series B vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 8 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The is similar to the CONCURSIVE, except that the time identified is specific to a single moment or a brief, highly delimited period seen in context as one moment, i.e., the point in time at which something occurs. Examples of usage would be Dinner will be served at sunset; When (i.e., at the moment that) you hear his voice, call in the clowns; Upon impact, both cars were accelerating.
|The Diffusive Case|
The DIFFUSIVE case is marked by Series C vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 8 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The DIFFUSIVE is yet another temporal locative similar to the CONCURSIVE, except that the time period identified does not have explicit boundaries, only being centered on the period identified by the noun. It is best expressed by the English phrase ‘during the time surrounding….’ Examples of usage would be Most cars had tail fins in those days; I was abroad during that era; At the time of his death, the number of clowns was increasing; Over the past several seasons, your talent has matured.
|The Periodic Case|
The PERIODIC case is marked by Series D vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 8 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PERIODIC identifies the span of time at some point(s) during which, an act, condition, or event occurs. This case should be distinguished from the CONCURSIVE above, in that the periodic specifies a time frame in which separate events, repetitions, or durationally extended acts or states take place, whereas the concursive signifies a contextually single holistic event. Examples would be He wrote the novel in six months, These clowns can corrupt your child within a few days, The woman has been ill a lot this year, For the last several concerts, my voice has been deteriorating.
|The Prolapsive Case|
The PROLAPSIVE case is marked by Series E vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 8 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PROLAPSIVE signifies the duration of an act, condition, or event, i.e., how long it takes or lasts. This case should be distinguished from the PERIODIC above, in that the PROLAPSIVE specifies the actual duration of the act, condition, or event, whereas the PERIODIC merely specifies a contextual span of time at some point(s) during which, an act, condition, or event occurs. Examples would be He prayed through lunch, While he was dying, the number of clowns increased, It rained all night, It took three days for the fever to break, She sang for an hour.
|The Precursive Case|
The PRECURSIVE case is marked by Series F vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 8 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PRECURSIVE identifies a point in time prior to which an act, condition, or event occurs. Examples would be This situation occurred before the war, It rained prior to his appearance, There will be a presentation preceding the banquet.
|The Postcursive Case|
The POSTCURSIVE case is marked by Series G vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 8 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The POSTCURSIVE identifies a point in time after which an act, condition, or event occurs. Examples would be This situation occurred after the war, It rained subsequent to his appearance, There will be a presentation following the banquet.
|The Elapsive Case|
The ELAPSIVE case is marked by Series H vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 8 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ELAPSIVE identifies the amount of time that has passed between the contextual present and the time of the act, condition, or event being spoken of. It corresponds to English ‘…ago.’ Examples would be Four years ago I was a student; Going back three generations, women could not even vote.
|The Allapsive Case|
The ALLAPSIVE case is marked by Series J vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 8 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ALLAPSIVE identifies the amount of time that expected to pass between the contextual present and the time of a future act, condition, or event. Examples would be Four years from now, I will be a student; Looking ahead three generations, clowns will rule the world; I will be home in three days; Little did he know that two months later he’d be a rich man.
|The Interpolative Case|
The INTERPOLATIVE case is marked by Series A vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 9 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The INTERPOLATIVE is used within the context of repetitive or iterative acts, states, and events and signifies the duration of each repetition. Examples of usage are We heard several five-second snippets of music; Between lightning bursts were intervals of several seconds; She gets recurring migraines, each lasting hours.
|The Episodic Case|
The EPISODIC case is marked by Series B vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 9 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The EPISODIC identifies a contextually recurring time-period. Examples of usage are The man talks with his mother every three days; Each year, I travel to the Clown Planet; He works nights; By day, she is an artisan; The clowns visit us on Sundays.
|The Prolimitive Case|
The PROLIMITIVE case is marked by Series C vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 9 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The PROLIMITIVE defines a point in time which signifies a temporal limit to further contextual activity, i.e., the time by which some act, state, or event occurs. Examples of usage would be By the time of your graduation, I want you out of the house; Please be on board by midnight; By the time of the raid, there was nothing left to steal.
|The Simultaneitive Case|
The SIMULTANEITIVE case is marked by Series D vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 9 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The SIMULTANEITIVE identifies a noun signifying a time period simultaneous to the act, state, or event under discussion. Examples would be I was in class at the same time as his accident, I worked a side-job concurrent to the strike, She laughed simultaneously with my coughing fit.
|The Assessive Case|
The ASSESSIVE case is marked by Series E vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 9 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The ASSESSIVE specifies the unit of time by which a contextual ratio of measurement is created, corresponding to English ‘by’ or ‘per.’ Examples would be My lawyer charges by the minute, He publishes several books each year, The clown drove the fun-mobile at 90 miles per hour.
|The Limitative Case|
The LIMITATIVE case is marked by Series F vocalic mutation of the stem along with Grade 9 mutation of the C2 radical consonant. The LIMITATIVE signifies a event culminating an anticipatory context. It translates the English expression ‘in time for.’ Examples of usage are He arrived in time for dinner, Be inside the Big Tent in time for the clowns.
Proceed to Chapter 5: Verb Morphology >>
|2 Morpho-Phonology||7a Using Affixes||12 The Number System|
|3 Basic Morphology||7b Using Affixes (continued)||The Lexicon|
|4 Case Morphology||8 Adjuncts||Revised Ithkuil: Ilaksh|