The Praseo noun is inflected for case and number, across five different noun classes. There are six cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, instrumental, dative, and construct; and two numbers: singular and plural. The five different noun classes have a vague semantic basis, but with numerous exceptions and inconsistency.
The a-class nouns are characterized by the final vowel -a in the singular and the final vowel -i in the plural in most cases. The A-class nouns contain male humans, most female animals, and a few inanimate nouns.
The E-class nouns are characterized by the final vowel -e in the singular and the vowel -a in the plural. The E-class nouns contain female humans, some abstract nouns, some female animals, and a few inanimate nouns. It is notable that the plural desinence for this class is -a, same as the singular desinence for A-class nouns, and that this reversal repeats itself throughout the paradigm, most notably in the instrumental, for which the desinences are precisely reversed.
The U-class nouns are characterized by the final vowel -u in the singular and the vowel -i in the plural. The U-class nouns contain male animals and most inanimate nouns.
The N-class nouns are characterized by a final vowel -aÌ in the nominative singular, and a nasalized final vowel throughout the paradigm. They also have a high degree of homophony between the various forms. N-class nouns generally refer to humans and are derived from verbs or other nouns via an agentive suffix.
The I-class nouns are characterized by the final vowel -i and lack a plural form. They typically refer to animates which are neither human nor animal (such as fire, wind, lightning, and spirits) and to abstract nouns.
Uses of the Cases
The following list gives only the most prototypical use of the cases with a few examples.
The nominative case is used for the subjects of transitive and intransitive verbs, as in most Indo-European languages. Additionally, it is the case used for the objects of a few prepositions. The accusative case is used for the patient of transitive verbs.
Example of nominative and accusative cases:
Yira chipeoÌ kazeÌya Child-NOM jar-ACC breaks.
The child breaks the jar.
The instrumental case is used to indicate the tools or instrument by which an action occurs, the cause or reason for an action, or the agent of a passive verb.
UrhoÌ sÌesÌyatsu. (I) hammer-INST crush-it.
I crush it with a hammer.
The dative case is used with reference to people to indicate the recipient or beneficiary of an action. With words indicating times or places, the dative indicates location. The objects of most prepositions are in the dative case, as well.
Nioa uyeoÌa enzoe taomya. I-NOM fish-ACC sister-DAT give.
I give a fish to my sister.
OirdazÃº dasu omya. Forest-DAT bird-NOM flies.
The bird flies in the forest.
The genitive and construct case are used together in the possessive construction. The possessor is placed in the genitive case, and the possessum is placed in the construct case. In this construction, any other case that the possessum would normally have due to its position as the object of a verb or of a preposition is ignored.
Nioa zulÃ ezande sÌenya. I-NOM house-CONS mother-GEN stay.
I stay in my mother's house.
Note in this example that the word zulu "house" would normally occur in the dative case, indicating location, but that due to the possessive construction the dative ending is replaced with the construct.