Sajem Tan/Morphological cases

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The use of morphological cases can be a little unusual for English speakers, but Bee (Jim Henry) has given some excellent examples.


Thefnolmthot tanzlulc  snamdah   Kizhult.
bear-RECP    sentence  give-PFV  bee
Bee gave a sentence to Bear.

"-thot" marks the recipient of verbs like give, sell, send, etc. It could also mark the destination of a motion verb, if it is not marked by a more specific spatial postposition.

Kizhultzheh tanzlulc Thefnolm snamdahsun.
bee-SRC     sentence bear     give-PFV-PASS
Bear received a sentence from Bee.

Note that "Thefnolm" comes before the verb here because it is an experiencer subject. Bear is not actively *doing* something, like Bee was doing in the previous sentence.

Sajem  Tanzheh   tanfeh    Kizhult.
common honey-FOC speak-DUR bee
Bee is talking about Sajem Tan.

"-zheh" marks the source for verbs like "receive", and also the topic of speaking/thinking verbs.

slolmgu    gamykah  ninuhmsho tat.
axe-INSTR1 tree-PL  cut-CNT   dad
Dad is chopping down trees with an axe.

"-gu" marks the use of tools that can be held in the hand. It is the equivalent of English "with" in "with an axe".

Kixikolmvah katolcfeh Zhuhzhim
helicopter-INSTR2 pilot-DUR dust
Dust pilots a helicopter.

"-vah" marks the use of vehicles, or tools too large to hold, or intangible tools like software.

Thefnolmkahm tanfeh    Kizhult.
bear-COM     speak-DUR bee
Bee is conversing with Bear.

"-kahm" is the equivalent of "with" in "with such-and-such person", i.e. "in company with," "accompanied by," "in cahoots with," etc.

Kizhultveh  Thefnolm duhttuum.
bee-CMP     bear     big-CMP-GNM
Bear is bigger than Bee.
Zathelnveh Kizhult cimuht duhtum.
spider-CMP bee     equal  big-GNM
Bee is as big as Spider.

"-veh" marks the standard of comparison, equivalent to "as" or "than" in English. Again, because being bigger or as big as something is not an action Bee and Bear are doing, they go before the verb.

Thefnolmo, xanolnfeh Kizhult.
bear-VOC   greet-DUR bee
Bee greets you, O Bear.

The vocative "-o" marks the person being addressed.