tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Mar 14 04:51:14 1994

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Re: declensions

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>Ok, for those of us unfamiliar with it, just what are "declensions"?
>I tend to doubt that I'm the only one here who doesn't know,
>although maybe I'm the only one who wants to know, so if the
>explanation is long and involved, perhaps e-mail is more appropriate.

A "declension" is a class into which nouns (sometimes adjectives) fall
in languages with certain kinds of case systems. All the nouns
in a given declension mark their cases in more-or-less the same
way. For example, Latin has five declensions; an example from the
first declension is "poeta", poet:

             Sing   Plural
Nominative   poeta  poetae
Genitive     poetae poetarum
Dative       poetae poetis
Accusative   poetam poetas
Ablative     poeta  poetis

All first-declension nouns "decline" "-a -ae -ae -am -a / -ae -arum
-is -as -is". The pattern for the other four declensions is different.

There's an analogous term for verbs, "conjugation", which refers to
classes based on how verbs mark person/number/tense/etc. Latin has
four of these.

Klingon is (more or less) an "agglutinating" language, and marks case
by suffixes which don't change with the noun being marked (the type 5
suffixes), so it doesn't have declensions. Neither does English, which
is (more or less) a "root-isolating" language, which mostly marks
cases by prepositions and word-order.

jIlugh 'e' vItul! jIlughHa'chugh HIlughmoH.

-QumpIn 'avrIn 

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