Nominal Morphology

Морпољогя истекь ймѣн

5.1 Definitions and Features

The basic structure of the Novegradian noun is similar to the verb. A noun consists of a stem made up of a root and zero or more derivational affixes, plus declensional affixes.

Nouns are declined according to one of six regular declension classes, which will be discussed below. These declension classes provide a set series of endings and stress patterns for the nouns within them.

All nouns have an inherent gender, either masculine, feminine, or neuter. Gender cannot be predicted from a primitive stem, though many derived stems include suffixes with a predefined gender (e.g., the gerundive -nj- is always masculine). Gender is much easier to determine when examining a fully-declined noun, as there is a fairly high correspondence between gender and declension class, although this is far from universal.

In addition to gender, there is also a secondary system of noun classes occurring alongside: animacy, a feature present in varying extents in all of the Slavic languages. Masculine and feminine nouns may be either animate or inanimate; neuter nouns are always inanimate. Unlike gender, there is no correlation between animacy and declension class.

Novegradian nouns decline to indicate two non-inherent features: number and case. Most nouns have two numbers, a singular and a plural, although a small, closed set also have dual forms with limited usage. There are eight cases in the standard written language—nominative, genitive, accusative, dative/instrumental, partitive, locative, and lative—and nine in the spoken language, which includes a vocative 1 . Nouns also have a special count form that sits outside the case/number matrix, but is used in certain expressions when quantified.

The citation form of all nouns is the nominative singular.

5.2 Declensions and Genders

Novegradian is considered as having six basic nominal declensions, in Indo-European terms derived from the ā, jā, ŭ, jŏ, and ĭ stems, as well as a sixth “consonantal” stem. The jā and consonantal declensions contain a relatively small set of nouns, so Novegradian is generally said to have four primary stems.

The six declensions may be referenced by either a number or a name. The names—A, Ja, O, E, I, or Consonant—derive from what is considered to be the most characteristic feature of that declension. For A- and Ja-stems, this is the nominative singular ending; for O- and E-stems, it is the vowel most prevalent throughout the declension; for I-stems, it is a combination of both; and for Consonant-stems, it is the a reference to the unique augmented stems seen in most declined forms.

The Novegradian A-stem, or First Declension, derives from the IE ā-stem and consists almost entirely of feminine nouns, with only a few masculine nouns, mostly archaic or foreign. Examples include нига níga “book” (f), шестра śéstra “sister” (f), олака ólaka “street, path” (f), слуга slúga “servant” (m).

The Ja-stem, or Second Declension, derives from the IE jā-stem (i.e., an ā-stem with a root-final /j/). In Proto-Slavic, this was just a variant of the above A-stem, though it has diverged significantly in Novegradian. All such nouns are feminine. Examples include жемя źémia “land” (f), каля kália “fish” (f), дужа duźá “person, soul” (f).

The O-stem, or Third Declension, derives from the IE ŭ-stem and neuter ŏ-stem. These nouns are mostly neuter with a smaller number of masculine nouns, and in the nominative singular generally ends in /o/ for neuter nouns and a consonant (i.e., zero ending) for masculine nouns. Examples include дум dúm “house” (m), сад sád “garden, orchard” (m), асто ásto “year” (n), окно oknó “window” (n).

The E-stem, or Fourth Declension, derives from the IE masculine ŏ- and jŏ-stems. Novegradian is unique amonst the Slavic languages for having merged the masculine ŏ-stem with the jŏ-stem; in all of the others the masculine ŏ- and ŭ-stems were merged. These nouns include a large number of both masculine and neuter nouns, all ending in /e/. Examples include словѣке slově́ke “Slav” (m), возе vóze “car” (m), море móre “sea” (n), поле póle “field” (n).

The I-stem, or Fifth Declension, derives from the IE ĭ-stem. These nouns can be either masculine or feminine. Examples include панти pánti “way” (m), нокьи nókji “night” (f), рыши rýśi “cheese” (m), дожгьи doźgjí “rain” (m).

The Consonant-stem, or Sixth Declension, consists of nouns that acquire a suffix in all forms but the nominative singular. They may be of any gender. Many such nouns have reacquired this consonant in the nominative singular by analogy, but still take sixth declension endings. Examples include мати máti “mother” (-r-) (f), небесо nébeso “sky, heaven” (-s-) (n), ймѣно jmě́no “name” (-n-) (n). Former IE ū-stem nouns also have generally fallen into this class, with the consonantal suffix -v-: керкуа kérkua “church” (f).

5.3 Animacy

Nouns in Slavic languages display a curious property known as animacy, where nouns referring to humans or animals decline differently than other nouns in some forms. Novegradian in particular has made significant use of animacy, having given it wider usage than most other Slavic languages. The animacy of a noun must be known in order to properly decline the accusative case and to modify nouns with numerals.

Animate nouns refer to humans or animals. This includes personal names as well as professions. Body parts are not included, nor are living but inanimate forms of life such as plants. Microbes such as bacteria and viruses are all considered inanimate as well. Animacy is a fixed feature, so nouns may not switch between animate and inanimate declensions.

Some Slavic linguists prefer to group the system of animacy in with the system of gender, since this can be done relatively cleanly. In such an analysis, Novegradian has a total of five noun classes: masculine animate, masculine inanimate, feminine animate, feminine inanimate, and neuter.

5.4 The First (A) Declension

The citation form of first declension nouns, the nominative singular, always ends in -a. The endings are attached directly onto the root. The first half of the table represents the singular, and the second, the plural.

First Declension Singular
нига
“book”
лейра
“camp”
шестра
“sister”
нога
“leg, foot”
Nominative ниг-а
níga
лейр-а
léira
шестр-а
śéstra
ног-а
nogá
Genitive ниг-ѣ
nígě
лейр-ѣ
leirě́
шестр-ѣ
śestrě́
ног-ѣ
nogě́
Accusative ниг-у
nígu
лейр-у
leirú
шестр-ѣ
śestrě́
ног-у
nógu
Dat./Instr. ниг-ой
nígoi
лейр-ой
leirói
шестр-ой
śestrói
ног-ой
nogói
Partitive ниг-ок
nígok
лейр-ок
leirók
шестр-ок
śestrók
ног-ок
nógok
Locative ниг-ѣ
nígě
лейр-ѣ
leirě́
шестр-ѣ
śestrě́
ног-ѣ
nogě́
Lative ниг-ун
nígun
лейр-ун
leirún
шестр-ун
śestrún
ног-ун
nógun
First Declension Plural
Nominative ниг-и
nígi
лейр-и
léiri
шестр-и
śéstri
ног-и
nógi
Genitive ниг-Ø
níg
леёр-Ø
leiór
шестор-Ø
śestór
ног-Ø
nóg
Accusative ниг-и
nígi
лейр-и
léiri
шестор-Ø
śestór
ног-и
nógi
Dat./Instr. ниг-ам
nígam
лейр-ам
leirám
шестр-ам
śestrám
ног-ам
nogám
Partitive ниг-оу
nígou
лейр-оу
leiróu
шестр-оу
śestróu
ног-оу
nogóu
Locative ниг-ах
nígah
лейр-ах
leiráh
шестр-ах
śestráh
ног-ах
nogáh
Lative ниг-и
nígi
лейр-и
léiri
шестр-и
śéstri
ног-и
nógi
First Declension Quantified
Count ниг-ѣ
nígě
лейр-ѣ
léirě
шестр-ѣ
śéstrě
ног-ѣ
nógě

For the most part this declension is very straightforward, except for the genitive and accusative forms. If the stem of the noun ends in any sort of consonant cluster (above, /jr/ and /str/), an /o/ is inserted immediately before the last consonant in the genitive plural. Also, as in other Slavic languages, a special animacy distinction appears in the accusative case: Any noun referring to a person or animal, in this case “sister”, will use the genitive case form in place of the accusative case. The form **шестр-у śestru is nonexistent.

Most of these forms derive directly from Common Slavic, although some comments can be made about the origins of certain forms. Both the accusative and lative singulars derive from the Common Slavic accusative *-ǫ. In Old Novegradian this uncoupled and became -ун. Due to various phonological and speech-related factors, the /n/ wore away in many positions, leaving the modern accusative. The places where it remained were the lative functions of the old accusative, thereby splitting the case in two. Over time the range and use of the lative expanded. The lative plural continues the original accusative plural, and is distinct from the modern accusative plural only for animate nouns (as the genitive spreading of animate nouns did not at first affect nouns in this situation); for practical purposes, it could be said that the lative plural is identical in form to the nominative plural.

The dative and instrumental cases began to merge in the 1600s or 1700s, when their plural endings (-аме and -ами, respectively) began to conflate in speech. By the late 19th century the merger was complete, when the instrumental singular form began to take over the dative singular, although the original dative form still survives in some irregularly-declining nouns and in fixed expressions.

The origin of the partitive singular is not completely clear. It may have come from a Uralic language, or more likely it may have its origins in the same formation (a diminutive?) that created the Russian partitive nouns чайку “[some] tea” and кофейку “[some] coffee”. The partitive plural ending, on the other hand, certainly comes from the IE ŭ-stem genitive plural ending (CS *-ovъ), freed for use when the ŭ-stem merged with the neuter ŏ-stem to form the Novegradian O-stem.

The count form (whose usage will be explained in Section 13.8) is always formed with the suffix -ѣ , identical to the genitive singular ending. However, it always has the same stress as the nominative plural.

There are four stress patterns that can appear on first declension nouns. They can be stem-stressed (like нига above), which are always stressed on the same syllable except in the partitive and lative plurals; they can be ending-stressed, which is rather rare, but which are always stressed on the first syllable after the stem; they can be mobile-stressed, like нога above, where stress moves around predictably; or they can be “double-consonant mobile”, like лейра and шестра, whose roots always end in a consonant cluster. The stress patterns are summarized below. “S” refers to stress on the stem, and “E” to stress on the ending. “G” refers to the special stress pattern unique to the genitive plural, where the last syllable is stressed, whether it is part of the stem or an epenthetic vowel.

First Declension Stress Patterns
Stem Ending Mobile 2C Mobile
Sg Pl Sg Pl Sg Pl Sg Pl
Nom. S S E E E S S S
Gen. S G E G E G E G
Acc. S S/G E E/G S/E S/G E S/G
D/I S S E E E E E E
Par. S E E E S E E E
Loc. S S E E E E E E
Lat. S S E E S S E S

5.5 The Second (Ja) Declension

This declension is relatively small, but always listed after the A Declension because of its historical relationship to it. All of these nouns are feminine, and end in either -а or -я in their citation forms.

Second Declension Singular
жемя
“land”
каля
“fish”
дужа
“person”
дакьа
“dacha”
Nominative жем-я
źémia
кал-я
kália
дуж-а
duźá
дакь-а
dákja
Genitive жем-ин
źémin
кал-ин
kálin
дуж-ин
duźín
дакь-ин
dákjin
Accusative жемл-у
źémlu
кал-ин
kálin
дуж-ин
duźín
дакь-у
dákju
Dat./Instr. жем-ей
źeméi
кал-ей
kaléi
дуж-ей
duźéi
дагь-ей
dagjéi
Partitive жемл-ок
źemlók
кал-ёк
kaliók
дуж-ок
duźók
дагь-ок
dagjók
Locative жем-и
źemí
кал-и
kalí
душ-и
dúśi
дагь-и
dagjí
Lative жемл-ун
źemlún
кал-юн
kaliún
дуж-ун
duźún
дагь-ун
dagjún
Second Declension Plural
Nominative жем-ѣ
źémě
кал-ѣ
kálě
дуж-ѣ
duźě́
дакь-ѣ
dákjě
Genitive жемел-и
źeméli
кал-и
káli
душ-и
dúśi
дакь-и
dákji
Accusative жем-ѣ
źémě
кал-и
káli
душ-и
dúśi
дакь-ѣ
dákjě
Dat./Instr. жемл-ам
źemlám
кал-ям
kaliám
душ-ам
dúśam
дагь-ам
dagjám
Partitive жемл-оу
źemlóu
кал-ёу
kalióu
дуж-оу
duźóu
дагь-оу
dagjóu
Locative жемл-ах
źemláh
кал-ях
kaliáh
душ-ах
dúśah
дагь-ах
dagjáh
Lative жем-ѣ
źémě
кал-ѣ
kálě
дуж-ѣ
duźě́
дакь-ѣ
dákjě
Second Declension Quantified
Count жем-ѣ
źémě
кал-ѣ
kálě
дуж-ѣ
duźě́
дакь-ѣ
dákjě

The /l/ sporadically appearing in the declension of жемя in place of /j/ is due to a change in Common Slavic that was only partially undone in Novegradian. The /l/ acquired after the labial consonants /p b β m/ drops whenever followed by a front vowel /i e æ/, and occasionally before /a/. This can be seen in the declension of any noun ending in -пя, -бя, -вя, or -мя in the nominative singular—the /l/ only appears before /o u a/ (except in the nominative singular). It is still present in the genitive plural, where the infixed /e/ seperates it from the consonants preceding it. Even non-native nouns ending in labial + я follow this pattern, which they gained through analogy: Шербя Śérbia “Serbia-nom”, Шерблу Śérblu “Serbia-acc”.

The words дужа and дакьа display another phenomenon found in all declensions. A single unclustered consonant becomes voiced immediately before the stressed syllable, leading to many such alternations in their declension. This does not work in reverse - if the consonant was originally voiced, it will always be voiced. Дужа in an earlier form of Novegradian was pronounced [du.ˈsʲa].

Nouns like дужа and дакьа (with no /j/ element) that are found in this declension once did have /j/, but it merged with the preceding consonant during the Common Slavic period. In this instance, the original forms in Common Slavic were *duxja and *datja. Such nouns decline exactly the same way as nouns that still have the /j/ element, except in spelling iotafied consonants are not used (e.g., о where каля has ё, а where it has я, etc).

The lative plural, as in the first declension, is identical to the accusative plural inanimate nouns only; for animate nouns, it is identical to the nominative.

The count form is always identical to the nominative plural, in form and stress.

There are two stress patterns displayed in this declension, both mobile. The first is known as Stem-Nominative (like жемя, каля, and дакьа above), where the stress in the nominative singular is on the stem. The second is Ending-Nominative (like дужа above), where the stress in the nominative singular is on the ending. Summarized below (where G again represents the special genitive plural stress pattern—stress on the last syllable before the ending):

Second Declension Stress Patterns
Stem Ending
Sg Pl Sg Pl
Nom. S S E E
Gen. S G E G
Acc. S S/G E E/G
D/I E E E S
Par. E E E E
Loc. E E S S
Lat. S S E E

5.6 The Third (O) Declension

The third declension consists of masculine and neuter nouns that end in /o/ or a consonant in their citation forms. Both masculine and neuter nouns decline identically in all numbers and case aside from nominative singular and inanimate accusative singular, where masculine nouns take -Ø and neuter nouns take -o.

Third Declension Singular
дум
“house” (m)
асто
“year” (n)
окно
“window” (n)
яблоко
“apple” (n)
Nominative дум-Ø
dúm
аст-о
ásto
окн-о
oknó
яблок-о
iábloko
Genitive дум-у
dúmu
аст-у
ástu
окн-у
óknu
яблок-у
iábloku
Accusative дум-Ø
dúm
аст-о
ásto
окн-о
oknó
яблок-о
iábloko
Dat./Instr. дум-ом
dúmom
аст-ом
ástom
окн-ом
oknóm
яблок-ом
iáblokom
Partitive дум-ок
dumók
аст-ок
astók
окн-у
óknu
яблок-у
iábloku
Locative дум-ѣ
dúmě
аст-ѣ
ástě
окн-ѣ
okně́
яблок-ѣ
iáblokě
Lative дум-он
dumón
аст-он
astón
окн-он
oknón
яблог-он
iablogón
Third Declension Plural
Nominative дум-а
dumá
аст-а
astá
окн-а
okná
яблог-а
iablogá
Genitive дум-Ø
dúm
асот-Ø
ásot
огон-Ø
ogón
яблок-Ø
iáblok
Accusative дум-а
dumá
аст-а
astá
окн-а
okná
яблог-а
iablogá
Dat./Instr. дум-ам
dumám
аст-ам
astám
окн-ам
oknám
яблог-ам
iablogám
Partitive дум-оу
dúmou
аст-оу
ástou
окн-оу
oknóu
яблок-оу
iáblokou
Locative дум-ѣх
dumě́h
аст-ѣх
astě́h
окн-ѣх
okně́h
яблог-ѣх
iablogě́h
Lative дум-и
dúmi
аст-и
ásti
окн-и
okní
яблок-и
iábloki
Third Declension Quantified
Count дум-а
dúma
аст-у
ástu
окн-у
óknu
яблок-у
iábloku

The third declension is, by and large, very regular. Other than the two nominative singular endings, the only inflectional variation can occur in the partitive and genitive singulars. The usual partitive ending is -ок -ok, but if the root ends in /k/ or a cluster containing /k/, the genitive singular stands in instead to avoid cacophony. This also applies to the fourth declension. In addition, animate third declension nouns always take the genitive/accusative singular in -a, never in -u: син sín “son” → сина sína, бовор bóvor “beaver” → бовора bóvora. This is part of a strong language-wide tendency for masculine animate nouns to take the ending -a in the animate accusative singular, no matter the declension.

Note that the lative plural is always distinct in the third declension. The ending -i is inherited for masculine nouns (CS acc.pl *-y), but spread to neuter nouns by analogy (CS acc.pl *-a).

The count form for neuter nouns is identical to the genitive singular. For masculine nouns, it is formed with the suffix -а -a instead.

There are only two stress patterns. The more common is stem-nominative, like дум, асто, and яблоко above, where the stress in the nominative singular is on the stem; this naturally includes all masculine nouns, as they have no ending in this form. The other is ending-nominative, like окно above, where the stress in the nominative singular is on the ending.

Third Declension Stress Patterns
Stem-Nom. Ending-Nom.
Sg Pl Sg Pl
Nom. S E E E
Gen. S S S G
Acc. S S/E S/E E/G
D/I S E E E
Par. E S E E
Loc. S E E E
Lat. E S E E

5.7 The Fourth (E) Declension

The fourth declension is the largest in the language. Such nouns, always ending in /e/ in their citation forms, are usually masculine or neuter.

Fourth Declension Singular
словѣке
“Slav” (m)
возе
“car” (m)
море
“sea” (n)
поле
“field” (n)
Nominative словѣк-е
slově́ke
воз-е
vóze
мор-е
móre
пол-е
póle
Genitive словѣк-а
slově́ka
воз-а
vóza
мор-а
móra
пол-а
póla
Accusative словѣк-а
slově́ka
воз-Ø
vóz
мор-е
móre
пол-е
póle
Dat./Instr. словѣк-ем
slově́kem
воз-ем
vózem
мор-ем
mórem
пол-ем
pólem
Partitive словѣк-а
slově́ka
воз-ек
vozék
мор-ек
morék
пол-ек
polék
Locative словѣк-ѣ
slově́kě
воз-ѣ
vózě
мор-ѣ
mórě
пол-ѣ
pólě
Lative словѣк-ен
slově́ken
воз-ен
vózen
мор-ен
morén
пол-ен
polén
Fourth Declension Plural
Nominative словѣц-и
slově́ci
воз-и
vózi
мор-и
móri
пол-и
póli
Genitive словѣц-Ø
slově́c
воз-Ø
vóz
мор-Ø
mór
пол-Ø
pól
Accusative словѣц-Ø
slově́c
воз-и
vózi
мор-и
móri
пол-и
póli
Dat./Instr. словѣѕ-ам
slovědzám
воз-ам
vozám
мор-ам
morám
пол-ам
polám
Partitive словѣц-еу
slově́ceu
воз-еу
vózeu
мор-еу
móreu
пол-еу
póleu
Locative словѣц-ѣх
slově́cěh
воз-ѣх
vózěh
мор-ѣх
morě́h
пол-ѣх
polě́h
Lative словѣц-ѣ
slově́cě
воз-ѣ
vózě
мор-ѣ
mórě
пол-ѣ
pólě
Fourth Declension Quantified
Count словѣк-а
slově́ka
воз-а
vóza
мор-а
móra
пол-а
póla

The fourth declension is the most complex declension in Novegradian. In addition to the typical predictable deviations from the completely regular paradigm seen in other declensions, the fourth declension also has a number of variant forms that are harder to predict.

Certain irregularities are predictable and have already been discussed in the context of other declensions: animate nouns have the same accusative and genitive, the lative plural is identical to the accusative plural for inanimate nouns and the nominative plural for animate nouns, the genitive singular replaces the partitive to avoid /k/-/k/ cacophony, and if the stem ends in a cluster, an epenthetic vowel is inserted in the genitive plural. However, unlike in other declensions, the genitive epenthetic vowel here is always /e/: вѣтре vě́tre “wind” → вѣтер vě́ter “of winds”.

Many fourth declension nouns referring to people, such as словѣке above, undergo palatalization in the plural. This phenomenon is discussed later, in Section 5.13.2 below.

Unlike most other Slavic languages, the nominative and accusative singular of inanimate masculine nouns are distinguished, as the nominative takes the ending -e while the accusative singular takes nothing (unless a zero ending would cause an illegal cluster, in which case -e does appear in the accusative as well).

The productive lative plural ending is for all fourth declension nouns, making it distinct from both the nominative and accusative plurals. However, there are two sorts of exceptions:

  1. In certain frozen expressions, neuter nouns may take stressed in the lative plural: вуийсти на мора vuíjsti na morá “put to sea, set sail”. However, this is not productive, and the normal lative plural of море remains морѣ mórě.
  2. A very small group of animate masculine nouns have lative forms (both singular and plural) that are identical to their genitive forms, and historically are in fact derived from the genitive rather than the accusative. This group consists nearly entirely of people who, at least in the 11th-16th centuries, were perceived as authority figures or, broadly, those at the top of the social hierarchy: царе cáre “tsar (nom.sg)” → цара cára “tsar (lat.sg)” (not **царен), суетенике suétenike “priest (nom.sg)” → суетениц suétenic “priests (lat.pl)” (not **суетеницѣ), etc. This group has steadily been shrinking with time, however, as more and more of the words in this class simply become obsolete, aided by the general infrequency of usage of the lative case with animate nouns. Nowadays this class is widely regarded as obsolescent in most genres outside of poetry and history 2 , and the regular lative endings are accepted.

There are two possible endings for the genitive singular in the fourth declension for masculine nouns, -a and -u. The former is by far the most common, at least in terms of the number of nouns to which it applies. The latter is used primarily in the following circumstances:

  1. Mass nouns, including substances, materials, natural phenomena, and foods: клѣбу klě́bu “of bread”, снѣгу sně́gu “of snow”, воску vósku “of wax”.
  2. Abstract nouns with no plural: оспѣху óspěhu “of success”, страху stráhu “of fear” (except nouns ending in -нье -nje: виденьа vidénja “of sight”).
  3. Names of rivers and countries/regions in eastern Europe: Новеграду Novegrádu “of Novegrad [country]” (cf. Новеграда Novegráda “of Novegrad Velikei [city]”), Дунаю Dunáiu “of the Danube”, Дону Dónu “of the Don”.

Loanwords that entered the language after about 1400 AD always take the normal suffix -a. Abstract nouns and substances that can easily appear in the plural always take -a as well: надвида nádvida “of an opinion”. Neuter fourth declension nouns cannot take -u under any circumstances.

Finally, one last case ‘split’ occurs in the dative/instrumental. Personal names and the nouns маже máźe “man” and друге drúge “friend” take the singular ending -ой -oi, while all nouns take -ом -om as usual: другой drúgoi “friend (datins.sg)”, Николаёй Nikoláioi “Nikolai (datins)”. The dative/instrumental plural is -ам -am for all nouns.

The count form is always formed with the suffix -а -a. For the majority of nouns, this makes it identical with the genitive singular.

A few other miscellaneous irregularities, many of which apply to the fourth declension, will be discussed in sections 5.10 through 5.13.

For all this morphological variation, there are surprisingly only two stress patterns, one belonging to masculine (former ŏ-stem) nouns and one belonging to neuter (former jŏ-stem) nouns.

Fourth Declension Stress Patterns
Masculine Neuter
Sg Pl Sg Pl
Nom. S S S S
Gen. S S S S
Acc. S S S S
D/I S E S E
Par. E S E S
Loc. S S S E
Lat. S S E S

5.8 The Fifth (I) Declension

The fifth declension consists of both masculine and feminine nouns ending in -и. Many case forms have collapsed together, yet the fifth declension may have one of the most complicated paradigms due to several variant endings depending on gender and animacy. For this reason, it is typically divided into three subdeclensions: Va (consisting of animate nouns), Vb (consisting of feminine inanimate nouns), and Vc (consisting of a small group of masculine inanimate nouns).

Fifth Declension Singular
гости
“guest” (Va)
нокьи
“night” (Vb)
кости
“bone” (Vb)
панти
“way” (Vc)
Nominative гост-и
gósti
нокь-и
nókji
кост-и
kósti
пант-и
pánti
Genitive гост-я
góstia
ногь-и
nogjí
кост-и
kostí
пант-и
pantí
Accusative гост-я
góstia
нокь-и
nókji
кост-и
kósti
пант-и
pánti
Dat./Instr. гост-ем
gostém
ногь-юм
nogjiúm
кост-юм
kostiúm
пант-ем
pantém
Partitive гост-ек
góstek
нокь-ек
nókjek
кост-ек
kóstek
пант-ек
pántek
Locative гост-и
gostí
ногь-и
nogjí
кост-и
kostí
пант-и
pantí
Lative гост-ин
góstin
нокь-ин
nókjin
кост-ин
kóstin
пант-ин
pántin
Fifth Declension Plural
Nominative гост-ие
góstie
нокь-ие
nókjie
кост-ие
kóstie
пант-ие
pántie
Genitive гост-ей
gostéi
нокь-ей
nókjei
кост-ей
kostéi
пант-ей
pántei
Accusative гост-ей
gostéi
нокь-ие
nókjie
кост-ие
kóstie
пант-ие
pántie
Dat./Instr. гост-ям
gostiám
ногь-ям
nogjiám
кост-ям
kostiám
пант-ям
pantiám
Partitive гост-еу
gósteu
нокь-еу
nókjeu
кост-еу
kósteu
пант-еу
pánteu
Locative гост-их
góstih
нокь-их
nókjih
кост-их
kóstih
пант-их
pántih
Lative гост-и
gósti
нокь-и
nókji
кост-и
kósti
пант-и
pánti
Fifth Declension Quantified
Count гост-ие
góstie
нокь-ие
nókjie
кост-ие
kóstie
пант-ие
pántie

Group Va, the animate nouns, was formed from a merger of animate ĭ-stems (all masculine) and animate masculine jŏ-stems, and so displays a few influences from jŏ-stem endings. Most significant is the genitive singular/animate accusative singular ending -я -ia rather than the usual -и -i. This is also part of a general trend in Novegradian to mark all singular masculate animate accusatives in -a, regardless of declension.

The most distinctive feature of Group Vb, the feminine nouns, is the dative/instrumental singular -юм -ium, deriving from the Common Slavic instrumental *-ьjǫ. The /m/ instead of expected /n/ is by analogy with the dative/instrumental singular endings in other declensions.

Group Vc, the masculine nouns, is very small, since the majority of historically masculine ĭ-stems or jŏ-stems were either animate or assimilated into the fourth declension, and even in colloquial speech there remains a strong tendency to do the same to the remaining Vc nouns. These lack both of the distinctive features given above.

The lative plural is always distinct from both the nominative and accusative plurals. On the other hand, the ending is simply -i, which already is used by over half of the singular endings, at least among inanimate nouns.

The count form is always identical to the nominative plural.

Each of the three subdeclensions has its own stress pattern. In addition, a few Vc nouns such as дожгьи doźgjí “rain” with ending stress have their own particular pattern.

Fifth Declension Stress Patterns
Va Vb Vc End-Stress
Sg Pl Sg Pl Sg Pl Sg Pl
Nom. S S S S S S E S
Gen. S E E S E S S S
Acc. S E S S S S E S
D/I E E E E E E E E
Par. S S S S S S E S
Loc. E S E S E S E S
Lat. S S S S S S E S

5.9 The Sixth (Consonantal) Declension

The sixth declension consists of nouns of all genders that acquire a suffix in all forms other than the nominative singular (or inanimate accusative singular), or nouns that at some point did, but have since regularized the system. These suffixes were at one point part of the noun stem, but by Common Slavic they had dropped from the nominative singular by regular sound changes. The nouns below are мати máti “mother” (r-stem), небесо nébeso “sky, heaven” (s-stem, reattached), and ймѣно jmě́no “name” 3 (n-stem, reattached). In addition, Proto-Slavic ū-stem nouns such as керкуа kérkua “church” have been reanalyzed as consonantal stems with -v-.

Sixth Declension Singular
мати
“mother”
небесо
“sky”
ймѣно
“name”
керкуа
“church”
Nominative мат-и
máti
неб-ес-о
nébeso
йм-ѣн-о
jmě́no
керк-уа
kérkua
Genitive мат-ер-а
mátera
неб-ес-а
nébesa
йм-ѣн-а
jmě́na
керк-ев-а
kérkeva
Accusative мат-ер-а
mátera
неб-ес-о
nébeso
йм-ѣн-о
jmě́no
керк-уа
kérkua
Dat./Instr. мат-ер-ем
máterem
неб-ес-ем
nébesem
йм-ѣн-ем
jmě́nem
керк-ев-ем
kérkevem
Partitive мат-ер-ек
materék
неб-ез-ек
nebezék
йм-ѣн-ек
jměnék
керк-ев-ек
kerkevék
Locative мат-ер-е
mátere
неб-ес-е
nébese
йм-ѣн-е
jmě́ne
керк-ев-е
kérkeve
Lative мат-ер-ин
máterin
неб-ес-ин
nébesin
йм-ѣн-ин
jmě́nin
керк-ев-ин
kérkevin
Sixth Declension Plural
Nominative мат-ер-и
máteri
неб-ес-и
nébesi
йм-ѣн-и
jmě́ni
керк-ев-и
kérkevi
Genitive мад-ер-Ø
madér
неб-ес-Ø
nebés
йм-ѣн-Ø
jmě́n
керк-еу-Ø
kerkéu
Accusative мад-ер-Ø
madér
неб-ес-и
nébesi
йм-ѣн-и
jmě́ni
керк-ев-и
kérkevi
Dat./Instr. мат-ер-ми
mátermi
неб-ес-ми
nébesmi
йм-ѣн-ми
jmě́nmi
керк-еу-ми
kérkeumi
Partitive мат-ер-оу
máterou
неб-ес-оу
nébesou
йм-ѣн-оу
jmě́nou
керк-ев-оу
kérkevou
Locative мат-ер-ѣх
máterěh
неб-ес-ѣх
nébesěh
йм-ѣн-ѣх
jmě́něh
керк-ев-ѣх
kérkevěh
Lative мад-ер-и
madéri
неб-ес-и
nebési
йм-ѣн-и
jmě́ni
керк-ев-и
kerkévi
Sixth Declension Quantified
Count мат-ер-а
mátera
неб-ес-а
nébesa
йм-ѣн-а
jmě́na
керк-ев-а
kérkeva

The extended root seen in sixth declension nouns is almost always of the form -eC-. The only exception is ймѣно “name”, which has -ěn- rather than -en-, the result of the /e/ lengthening in Old Novegradian to compensate for the dropped vowel in the first syllable (now just the asyllabic root *jm-).

The /β/ in the extended stem of nouns like керкуа lenites to /w/ before another consonant or at the end of a word. The /nm/ in the dative/instrumental plural ймѣнми jmě́nmi is frequently pronounced /nn/ in all but the most careful speech.

The lative plural of all sixth declension nouns is -i, following the common trend of matching the inanimate accusative, except it also features a stress shift.

The count form is always identical to the genitive singular.

There is a single stress pattern for such nouns, but it differs from those of other declensions because there are three syllables the stress can generally fall on: the primary stem (P), the initial part of the stem not including the consonantal suffix (such as *мат-, *неб-, *йм-, *керк- above); the secondary or vanishing stem (S), which contains the consonantal suffix (*-ер-, *-ес-, *-ен-, *-ев- above); and the case suffix ending (E). For nouns such as ймѣно, in which the primary stem has no vowel, stress intended for the primary stem falls on the secondary stem.

Sixth Declension Stress Patterns
Consonantal Stem
Sg Pl
Nom. P P
Gen. P S
Acc. P P/S
D/I P S
Par. E P
Loc. P P
Lat. P S

Although this declension contains the fewest nouns, it does include a number of fairly common words. Other sixth declension nouns include: (nom.pl in parentheses)

...as well as a handful of other terms. Not all of these nouns displayed vanishing consonants in Proto-Slavic. Some, such as еле “deer” and perhaps реме “belt” had already been regularized in Common Slavic, but Novegradian later returned them to the consonantal declension by analogy. On the other hand, a small set of nouns that were irregular in Common Slavic have been completely regularized in Novegradian and have been removed from the consonantal declension, such as степеньи stépenji “extent” (originally “step”, now fifth declension), око óko “eye” (now third declension), and дене déne “day” (now fourth declension).

5.10 The Vocative Case

A very small set of nouns reflect the original Slavic vocative case, used when calling out the name of someone. The native vocative case has been completely lost in Novegradian; all of these words were borrowed from Church Slavonic, coming from the religious vocabulary of the language and preserved through the long-time usage of Church Slavonic in the Orthodox church.

There are three in common usage:

Nominative Vocative Meaning
боғе
bóğe
боже
bóźe
God
ғосподи
ğóspodi
ғосподи
ğospodí
Lord
Иезусе Христос
Iezúse Hristós
Иезусе Христе
Iezúse Hristé
Jesus Christ

Even though vocative form of Иезусе Iezúse “Jesus” appears identical to the nominative, it is still considered to be distinct. In older texts with jers, they were spelled differently (nom Иисоусъ vs. voc Иисоусе), and in the modern spoken language, where /e/ is usually dropped from the end of nominative forms, the vocative ending /e/ is preserved.

Although no longer functionally a vocative, the vocative form of Church Slavonic отец “father” is seen in the Novegradian name for the Lord’s Prayer, the отченаше otčenáśe (lit. “O Our Father”).

A modern vocative, unrelated to the historical one, has reemerged in the colloquial language from a contracted form of the possessive adjective мой mói “my”. This is discussed further in Section 22.4.4.

5.11 The Dual

Although the dual is no longer a productive force in the Novegradian nominal system, it still is used with a small set of nouns, the most commonly used of which are body parts that come in pairs.

The dual appears only in the first, third, fourth, fifth (Vb), and sixth declensions. It is demonstrated in the chart on the following page with рока róka “hand/arm”, око óko “eye”, плукье plúkje “lung”, лохти lóhti “elbow”, and the irregular оху óhu “ear”.

Many cases have collapsed together in the dual. There are only three sets of endings, and partitive forms do not exist.

Dual
рока
“hand, arm” (I)
око
“eye” (III)
плукье
“lung” (IV)
лохти
“elbow” (V)
оху
“ear” (VI)
Nominative рок-ѣ
rókě
ок-и
óki
плукь-ѣ
plúkjě
лохт-и
lóhti
ох-ес-е
óhese
Genitive рок-у
róku
ок-у
óku
плукь-у
plúkju
лохт-ю
lóhtiu
ох-ес-у
óhesu
Accusative рок-ѣ
rókě
ок-и
óki
плукь-ѣ
plúkjě
лохт-и
lóhti
ох-ес-е
óhese
Dat./Instr. рог-ома
rogóma
ог-ома
ogóma
плугь-ема
plugjéma
лохт-има
lóhtima
о-ес-ма
oiésma
Partitive
Locative рок-у
róku
ок-у
óku
плукь-у
plúkju
лохт-ю
lóhtiu
ох-ес-у
óhesu
Lative рок-ѣ
rókě
ок-и
óki
плукь-ѣ
plúkjě
лохт-и
lóhti
ох-ес-е
óhese

5.12 Zero-Ending Locative Case

Some monosyllabic nouns in the first, third, and fourth declensions take a zero-form ending in the locative singular in certain circumstances. This is the result of the stress in a prepositional phrase shifting off the noun and onto the preposition, weakening the locative ending to the point of it disappearing entirely. A more specific account of this phenomenon, along with a description of what nouns it can apply to, can be found in Section 16.6.

Since this phenonemon is the result of a stress shift to the preposition, it never occurs when the locative is used in isolation without a preposition or when any modifier appears between the noun and the preposition: на мор ná mor “at sea”, морѣ mórě “at sea, in the sea”, на Варижескѣѣм морѣ na Variźeskě́iěm mórě “on the Baltic Sea”.

Due to the relative age of this change, voiced consonants that end up in final position as a result of this ending loss always unvoice or, in the case of /ɣ/ and /β/, lenite. However, this change is never indicated in spelling: о Боғ ó Boğ “about God” [ˈwo.boj].

Monosyllabic second declension nouns may also be affected, but only if the roots end in /m/ or /β/. In such cases, /m/ becomes /ɲ/ and /β/ becomes /l/: на жень ná źenj “on the land” (жемя źémia “land”), на крул ná krul “on the roof” (крува krúva “roof”).

5.13 Irregular Nouns

5.13.1 Common Nominal Alterations

The most common nominal alteration is consonant voicing induced by stress. A regular phonetic change caused virtually all consonants to voice immediately before the stressed syllable, unless they 1) are at the beginning of a word or 2) are part of a consonant cluster. Although this sound change is no longer affecting new loans, analogy continues to be a very powerful force. These alterations can clearly be seen in the nouns previously demonstrated throughout this section.

Because this sound change is no longer active, confusion often arose as to when it “should” be analogically applied. In the original change, for example, clusters with /j/ could block the voicing process, yet a number of loans adopted after this period do show voicing after /j/ + a consonant cluster, because the /j/ was thought to be more of a vocalic element. As a result, later loans in all parts of speech, such as вайке váike “difficult, trying” from Finnish, show voiced forms (e.g., вайгейше vaigéiśe “more difficult”) that are now considered standard.

Stress-induced voicing does not occur across morpheme boundaries. Analogy once again prevents this. It may only occur if for some reason the word in question becomes dissociated from whatever word was derived from, such as the preposition погољом pogółom “around, throughout”, historically related to кољо kóło “wheel”.

Due to the lenition of /β/ word-finally or before another consonant, many words display a /β~w/ alternation. Word-finally, this is generally not reflected in spelling: крев krév “blood (nom.sg)” is [ˈkrɛw], while крева kréva “blood (gen.sg)” is [ˈkrɛ.βə].

When a historical /β/ occurs in a stem-final cluster, however, the situation is more interesting. In most forms of the word, it will be vocalized (generally in spelling as well): насауте násaute “loading” [ˈna.səw.te]. In the genitive plural, however, what should happen? Should a vowel be inserted, since there was originally was /βt/ cluster, or should nothing happen, because the original /β/ has vocalized? Many dialects revert to the original /β/, given насавет násavet. This is considered nonstandard, however. In the standard language, the /β/ does not revert: насаут násaut. However, the spelling hides that a vowel has still been inserted, with an apparently reanalysis of the original /β/ as /w/: [ˈna.sə.wɛt]. In the standard dialect, therefore, it is proper to not reflect the fact that there was ever a consonant there, but to insert a vowel in speech nonetheless.

Some masculine fourth-declension nouns whose stems end in vowel+/l/ elide this /l/ to /j/ in the nominative singular, accusative singular, and genitive plural. This only applies to the oldest layer of vocabulary, consisting of words that entered the language prior to about 1300 AD: клагое klagóie “church bell (nom.sg)”, клаголи klagóli “church bells (nom.pl)”; аньее ánjeie “angel (nom.sg)”, аньеля anjeliá “angels (nom.pl)”. This does not, however, apply to the agentive suffix -теле -tele.

5.13.2 Collective Plurals

Many masculine terms referring to people (or epicene nouns that refer to people of either sex) in the plural take a suffix /j/, originally a collective suffix applied to kinship terms, which may cause consonant alterations. For example, the singular root for “friend” is *drug- (nom.sg друге drúge), while the plural root is *drug-j-*druź- (nom.pl дружи drúźi); “son” is *sin- in the singular (nom.sg син sín), while the plural is *sin-j-*sinj- (nom.pl синьа sinjá); “brother” is *brat- (nom.sg брате bráte) in the singular and *brat-j-*brakj- (nom.pl бракьи brákji) in the plural. This has since spread to many other masculine nouns referring to people by analogy (e.g., студенте studénte “student” → студенкьи studénkji). The reflexes of this /j/ are visible in all plural forms in all cases, but absent in all singular forms.

Words that end in a consonant that does not easily palatalize (i.e., not /t d s z n k g x ɣ/) instead acquire a /j/ that only appears in the nominative plural: nom.sg царе cáre “tsar” → nom.pl царя cariá. Note that such nouns in the fourth declension take the third declension nom.pl ending -a. The lative plural of such nouns offers two possibilities, due to the fact that it is relatively uncommon to use the lative with animate nouns—either the form will be identical to the nominative plural (lat.pl царя cariá) or, more commonly, the regular ending -и -i is used (lat.pl цари cári). Both variants are acceptable.

Some nouns have an unexpected consonant appear in the collective plurals reflecting an older pronunciation. For example, боғе bóğe “god” has the plural form божя boźiá because the /ɣ/ was /g/ at the time of this change. The /j/ here, however, is completely unexpected and probably was introduced at a later date.

5.13.3 Animals

Novegradian has a productive suffix -ин -in used to form animal diminutives, which refer to their young cubs/calves/foals/etc. Originally only usable on a small set of domesticated animals, in modern Novegradian it may be applied to any large mammal whose name has long been established in Novegradian (i.e., it can’t be applied to words that only entered the language in the last few hundred years).

Examples of some of the oldest forms include кожлин koźlín “young goat, kid” (from кожеле koźéle “goat”) and агнин agnín “lamb” (from Common Slavic *agnъ, original root no longer present in Novegradian). Interestingly, дѣдин dědín “child” is often used alongside the original дѣтинко dě́tinko “child”, especially in the plural. A more recent example is левин levín “lion cub”, from леве léve “lion”.

While their formation is quite simple, their plurals are more complex. There are two possible forms.

One is made by dropping the suffix -ин in all forms but the nominative singular, and then declining the noun regularly in the fourth declension. However, this is rare for all nouns except those whose bases are no longer used in Novegradian, like агнин “lamb”. Otherwise the word would be very similar if not identical to the ‘adult’ form when declined.

The other method is to drop the suffix -ин in all forms other than the nominative singular, as above, and add the suffix -ет- -ét- in its place. It then conjugates as though it were a sixth declension noun. The only exception is that the nominative plural ending is -ет-е -et-e instead of the expected -ет-и -et-i. This pattern is used for most such nouns, although агнин and similar nouns may freely decline without the suffix as well.

Both declensions of агнин:

Regular Suffixial
Sg Pl Sg Pl
Nominative агн-ин
agnín
агн-и
ágni
агн-ин
agnín
агн-ет-е
ágnete
Genitive агн-а
ágna
аген-Ø
ágen
агн-ет-а
ágneta
агн-ет-Ø
agnét
Accusative агн-а
ágna
аген-Ø
ágen
агн-ет-а
ágneta
агн-ет-Ø
agnét
Dat./Instr. агн-ем
ágnem
агн-ам
agnám
агн-ет-ем
ágnetem
агн-ет-ми
ágnetmi
Partitive агн-ек
agnék
агн-еу
ágneu
агн-ед-ек
agnedék
агн-ет-оу
ágnetou
Locative агн-ѣ
ágně
агн-ѣх
ágněh
агн-ет-ѣ
ágnetě
агн-ет-ѣх
ágnetěh
Lative агн-ен
ágnen
агн-ѣ
ágně
агн-ет-ин
ágnetin
агн-ет-и
agnéti

5.13.4 Nationalities

Novegradian uses the suffix -ѣнинe -ě́nine on a place name to indicate people from there. Most commonly it is used with country and city names, but virtually any place name or toponym can be used. It declines as a normal fourth declension noun in the singular, but in the plural the suffix -ѣнин- -ě́nin- collapses to -ѣнь- -ě́nj-. In addition, the nominative plural ending is instead of the expected -и; the lative plural remains -ѣ.

The declension of новеграгьѣнинe novegragjě́nine “Novegradian”:

Sg Pl
Nominative новеграгь-ѣн-ин-е
novegragjě́nine
новеграгь-ѣнь-е
novegragjě́nje
Genitive новеграгь-ѣн-ин-а
novegragjě́nina
новеграгь-ѣнь-Ø
novegragjě́nj
Accusative новеграгь-ѣн-ин-а
novegragjě́nina
новеграгь-ѣнь-Ø
novegragjě́nj
Dat./Instr. новеграгь-ѣн-ин-ем
novegragjě́ninem
новеграгь-ѣнь-ам
novegragjěnjám
Partitive новеграгь-ѣн-ин-ек
novegragjěninék
новеграгь-ѣнь-еу
novegragjě́njeu
Locative новеграгь-ѣн-ин-ѣ
novegragjě́nině
новеграгь-ѣнь-ѣх
novegragjě́njěh
Lative новеграгь-ѣн-ин-ен
novegragjě́ninen
новеграгь-ѣнь-ѣ
novegragjě́njě

5.13.5 Suppletion

There is only one true suppletive noun pair in Novegradian, where the declension of a noun involves two completely unrelated stems: дужа ~ луди (duźá ~ lúdi) “person ~ people”, where *душ- is the stem in all the singular forms and *луд- in all the plural forms. The use of *луд- as a plural stem with a suppletive singular predates Common Slavic.

5.13.6 Христос

The name Христос Hristós “Christ” has an irregular declension. In all forms other than the nominative it takes regular third declension endings with the stem *Hrist-, with the exception of using the fourth declension genitive/accusative -a. The nominative, however, bears the ending -os borrowed from Greek. As mentioned in Section 5.10 above, it also has a distinct vocative form. The ending is stressed in all cases.

Nominative Христ-ос
Hristós
Genitive Христ-а
Hristá
Accusative Христ-а
Hristá
Dat./Instr. Христ-ом
Hristóm
Partitive Христ-ѣ
Hristě́
Lative Христ-он
Hristón
Vocative Христ-е
Hristé

5.13.7 Other Irregularities

A number of nouns just have irregularities that few or no other nouns have, usually the result of sound changes.

The noun вѣтуа vě́tua “branch” switches declensions. In the singular, it is sixth declension, much like керкуа “church”. In the plural, though, it switches to the fifth declension, its root becoming *вѣтў- *vě́tw-. It derives from Common Slavic *větvь, so had it developed regularly, it would be entirely fifth declension. However, its singular forms all underwent metathesis to aid in pronunciation, at which point it appeared much like a sixth declension noun containing the -ev- suffix. The plural forms never switched declensions because the fifth declension plural endings contain a /j/ in several forms (nom.pl вѣтуие vě́tuije [ˈβæ.twi.je], gen.pl вѣтўей vě́twei [ˈβæ.twej]), which was reminiscent of the collective suffix which was still largely productive at the time of this metathesis.

The noun мраука mráuka “ant” similarly switches declensions, though this is the result of different suffixes being added to the root in the singular and plural. The Common Slavic singular was *morvi. In the singular the stem is *mrauk- (first declension), with a diminutive affix acting as a singulative. In the plural the stem is *mravj- (fourth declension), with the collective suffix -j- (nom.pl мравя mraviá, gen.pl мравей mrávei).

A less extreme declension switch occurs in егла iégla “fir tree, spruce”, which declines as a regular first declension noun in all cases except for the genitive plural, where it switches to the fifth declension: еглей iéglei instead of expected **егол iegól.

The noun оху óhu “ear” (from Common Slavic *uxo) is a sixth declension s-stem noun. It is actually completely regular, but has an irregular spelling that more accurately reflects its pronunciation. Due to voicing rules, the /x/ regularly voices to /ɣ/ before the stress. However, since the following vowel is a stressed /e/, the /ɣ/ is lenited into [j], and is completely deleted in the written form. Therefore оху (plural охеси óhesi) has a genitive plural оес oiés, because *охес → *оғес → оес.

A very small set of nouns have a nasal consonant in all forms but the genitive plural, the result of an original nasal vowel that had uncoupled. For example, Common Slavic *rǫbъ became Novegradian рамбе rámbe “hem, seam” in order to keep it more distinct from рабе rábe “serf” (an early Russian loan). This /m/ is found in all forms except the genitive plural, which is раб ráb. The reason for this is that there was a time when the pronunciation of all the forms of this word varied between [ramb-] and [rãb-]. When the epenthetic /o ~ e/ first started to be introduced (by analogy with the feminine nouns), the nasal was still at least somewhat vocalic, meaning there was no final cluster and no need for an epenthetic vowel. Later the nasal fully uncoupled in all forms except the genitive plural, because if it had, the result would have been *рамб, a final cluster not allowed in Novegradian.

An even smaller set has a genitive plural epenthetic vowel /i/ instead of the usual /e/, such as сайме sáime “party, gathering, social event” (gen.pl саим sajím). The reason for this becomes clear when the Common Slavic form, prior to yer-loss, is examined. In this case it was *sǫ-jьmъ. The front yer ь was unstressed and lost in all forms except the genitive plural, where it was preserved by a stress shift.

Two nouns, both derived from nouns ending in *-CCьko in Common Slavic, have a consonant reappear in the genitive plural that had been dropped in all other forms, the result of the epenthetic vowel breaking up what had been a more complex consonant cluster: соунце sóunce “sun (nom.sg)” → солнец solnéc “of suns (gen.pl), шерце śérce “heart (nom.sg)” → шердец śerdéc “of hearts (gen.pl)”. Both of these also have irregular final stress in the genitive plural. A related phenomenon is the irregular шеуте śéute “whisper (nom.sg)” → шебет śebét “of whispers (gen.pl)”, derived from Common Slavic *šьpъtъ; compare Old Novegradian nom.sg шепте and gen.pl шепетъ.

Many nouns that through sound changes have developed an extremely reduced form (such as simply CV or CV+glide) add additional suffixes to keep the word more distinct. In some cases, however, this suffixation is incomplete. The noun тае táie “secret”, for example, has its original weak root *tai- in the singular, but the suffixed *tain- in the plural: тайни táini “secrets”, though no singular **тайна exists.

There are very few instances of consonants other than /β/ lost through reduction that reappear in certain forms, as analogy usually eliminates such irregularities. However, a few still survive, as in the word цка cká “board, plank”, which is pronounced /ska/. There is only an /s/ in all forms, despite the spelling, except in the genitive plural, where the epenthetic vowel restores the original affricate: ѕек dzék.

The word ки “hammer” is notable for being the shortest noun in the Novegradian language. In all forms other than the nominative singular, accusative singular, and genitive plural the stem is *kij- (e.g., genitive singular кию kíju, dative/instrumental singular киём kíjom). The genitive plural is spelt кий kíj, though is pronounced identically to the nominative/accusative form ки . This word is typically analyzed as having a single underlying stem *kij- in all forms that merely simplifies the /ij/ diphthong when it meets a word boundary.

5.13.8 Indeclinable Nouns

More recent loans that contain a very non-Novegradian-like ending (such as a stressed -и or -у, or any -ы) or contain a vowel that is integral to the root and would be awkward to drop when declined (such as ковѐ kóve “coffee” or метро metró “metro, subway”) tend to not decline at all, neither for case nor number. They rely on surrounding modifiers such as adjectives as well as context to imply the case and gender rather than to indicate it directly.

However, nouns that end in an unstressed /i/ almost never become indeclinable, even if the /i/ is considered integral, because the fourth declension endings almost all begin with /i/ anyways. Nouns like такси táksi “taxi” can therefore decline normally and almost never lose the /i/.

Indeclinable nouns tend to remain indeclinable only for a short time, generally no more than a few decades. After this point they have been a regular part of the language for long enough that they no longer feel “foreign” and speakers begin to lose the feeling that the final vowels are integral parts of the word. However, nouns that have a non-Novegradian ending, such as кангуру kangurú “kangaroo”, cannot be nativized without actually modifying the root, since they do not fit into Novegradian declension patterns. In this particular case, the colloquial variant кангуре kangúre has almost completely replaced кангуру in casual speech.

5.13.9 Pluralia Tantum

Pluralia tantum are nouns with no singular form. Novegradian has a large number of pluralia tantum in the fourth declension that are semantically singular, but grammatically plural; morphologically the singular and plural are not distinguished. Examples include крѣуностия krěunostijá “fortress”, сцестия scestijá “luck”, and брения brénija “dirt”. Also included are a number of geographical terms such as Повољжия Povółźija “region around the Volga River”. This -ия -ija was originally a collective (and still is, to a certain degree) that has since also become a means to convert abstract nouns into concrete ones (such as крѣуности “firmness” → крѣуностия “fortress”). In Old Novegradian all such collectives adopted fourth declension endings, but with the suffix -ij(a) in all forms, sometimes replacing the usual suffix vowels; however, the lative plural is formed with -и-и, which spread analogically due to its near-universality across declensions and displaced the original accusative-derived -и-я.

Plurale Tantum Declension
сцестия “luck” орадия “tool”
Nominative сцест-и-я
scestijá
орад-и-я
orádija
Genitive сцест-ий-Ø
scéstij
орад-ий-Ø
orádij
Accusative сцест-и-я
scestijá
орад-и-я
orádija
Dat./Instr. сцест-и-ям
scestijám
орад-и-ям
orádijam
Partitive сцест-и-еу
scestijéu
орад-и-еу
orádijeu
Locative сцест-и-ях
scestijáh
орад-и-ях
orádijah
Lative сцест-и-и
scestijí
орад-и-и
orádiji

Outside of this class, pluralia tantum nouns are often not that different from English, such as очки óčki “glasses” or ножики nóźiki “scissors”, while others may seem very strange, such as сутоки sútoki “astronomical day, day and night”. Such pluralia tantum almost always fall in the fourth declension.

On the other hand, Novegradian also has a number of singularia tantum with no plural form that seem unusual from an English perspective, such as љуке łúke “onion”, еғьика iéğjika “blackberry”, and рѣмода rě́moda “cranberry”. This is common for many fruits and vegetables.

5.14 Summary of Endings

The table below summarizes the endings typical of Novegradian nouns in each declension. It excludes endings only used by a single noun or stem (as these would best be considered irregular) and indeclinable nouns.

Singular
Nominative Genitive Accusative Dat./Instr. Partitive Locative Lative
A Stem -a -u
a
-ой -oi -ок -ok
j
-ун -un
Ja Stem -ia
-af
-ин -in -iu
-uf
-ин -ina
-ей -ei -ёк -iok
-ок -okf
-i -юн -iun
-ун -unf
O Stem b
-oc
-u
-aa
b
-oc
-aa
-ом -om -ок -ok
-ug

j
-он -on
E Stem -e
-ин -ink
-a
-u

-eh
-aa
-ем -em
-ой -oie
-ек -ek
-ag

j
-ен -en
I Stem -i -i
-iaa
-i
-iaa
-ем -em
-юм -iumd
-ек -ek -i -ин -in
Cons. Stem -ei
-oi
-ii
-ai
-a -ei
-oi
-ai
-ем -em -ек -ek -e -ин -in
Duall
Nominative Genitive Accusative Dat./Instr. Partitive Locative Lative
A Stem -u -ома -oma -u
Ja Stem
O Stem -i -u -i -ома -oma -u -i
E Stem -u -ема -ema -u
I Stem -i -iu -i -има -ima -iu -i
Cons. Stem -e -u -e -ма -ma -u -e
Plural
Nominative Genitive Accusative Dat./Instr. Partitive Locative Lative
A Stem -i -i
a
-ам -am -оу -ou -ах -ah -i
Ja Stem -i
-ia
-ам -am -оу -ou -ах -ah
O Stem -a -a
a
-ам -am -оу -ou -ѣх -ěh -i
E Stem -i
-ian
-ep
-i
a
-ам -am -еу -eu -ѣх -ěh
bm
-acm
-in
I Stem -ие -ie -ей -ei -ие -ie
-ей -eia
-ям -iam -еу -eu -их -ih -i
Cons. Stem -i
-eo
-i
a
-ми -mi -оу -ou -ѣх -ěh -i
  1. Animate nouns
  2. Masculine nouns
  3. Neuter nouns
  4. Feminine nouns
  5. Masculine personal names and a few animate nouns
  6. Non-iotated variant for jā-stem noun stems ending in a palatal
  7. Variant for noun stems ending in a velar consonant
  8. Variant for noun stems ending in a consonant cluster
  9. Ending for consonantal stem nominative/accusative singular is highly variable, but is typically /a/ for v-stems, /i/ for r-stems, /o/ for reattached stems, and /e/ for all others.
  10. Variant for some monosyllabic nouns directly after a preposition
  11. Used only in certain diminutives and nationalities.
  12. Dual endings only available for a closed set of nouns, mostly body parts.
  13. Archaic and in frozen expressions only
  14. Collectives
  15. NT-stem diminutives
  16. Demonymic suffix -ѣнине

5.15 The Topicalization Marker

One interesting development in the Novegradian nominal system was the creation of the topicalization marker -то -to, derived from an older demonstrative. This same demonstrative became a definite article in South Slavic and gained quasi-topical function in Russian some of the time, but Novegradian has formed a true topic marker. It is an enclitic postfix added to the end of a noun after it has been fully declined. The marker itself has several different forms; which one is used depends on a sort of vowel harmony.

In the nominative case and inanimate accusative, it has the following forms:

Form Number Used... Example
-от -ot Sg after a consonant дум-от dum-ót “house”
-то -to Sg after a noun ending in /o/, or nouns not fitting in any other category еутро-то iéutro-to “morning”
мати-то máti-to “mother”
-та -ta Sg after a noun ending in /a/ коша-та kóśa-ta “cat”
-те -te Sg after a noun ending in /e/ возе-те vóze-te “car”
море-те móre-te “sea”
-ти -ti Pl when the plural ends in /i/ or /e/ нокьие-ти nókjie-ti “nights”
-та -ta Pl when the plural endings in /a/ дума-та dumá-ta “homes”

In all other cases, there are only two forms.

Form Number Used... Example
-те -te Sg/Pl when the fully-declined form ends in a front vowel /æ e i/ морѣ-те mórě-te “at sea”
-то -to Sg/Pl when the fully-declined form ends in a back vowel /a o u ɨ/ or a consonant нигу-то nígu-to “book (acc.sg)”
жемлун-то źemlún-to “towards land”

Note that the form -от -ót is always stressed, while all of the other variants are always unstressed. Because of this, words ending in a single unvoiced consonant will voice before -от, although only in speech, never in writing: лѣс-от lěs-ót “forest” [li.ˈzot].

If the noun in the nominative singular ends in -уа -ua, the /a/ is lost and the stem behaves as though it ended in a consonant: керкуа kérkua “church” → керкў-от kerkw-ót, Москуа Moskuá “Moscow” → Москў-от Moskw-ót.

There is only one spelling peculiarity associated with the topical clitic: When a word ends in /j/ or /je/ (which loses its /e/ before the topical clitic), the ending -от is respelt -ёт -iot, essentially indicating the /j/ twice: Андрее Andréie “Andrei” → Андрей-ёт Andrei-iót. This comes from a time when the dash was often stylistically omitted; in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for instance, this would often have been written Андреёт.

Nouns with roots that end in an /l/ that is dropped in the nominative case have it reappear when topicalized, and always take the suffix -от -ot: аньее ánjeie “angel” → аньел-от anjel-ót.

Indeclinable nouns always take the suffix -то, no matter what vowel they end in: метро-то metró-to “metro”, кавѐ-то kavé-to “café”. The same applies to all morphological duals.

There is one exception to the regular rules above, although it is limited to poetry and older texts (largely from the 18th century). Although the dative/instrumental plural ending ends is -ам today, in the 17th century and earlier it was -ами -ami. Also in the 17th century vowel harmony started to appear. As a result, -те was always used after the instrumental plural since it ended with a front vowel at this point, and this continued to be standard long after the vowel disappeared. At no point was it “officially” changed to -то -to (which is used after oblique consonantal endings), but -те had almost completely fallen out of use in this position by the early 19th century in most writing in favor of the more regular -то.

1) The standard written language also includes three vocatives, though they would better be described as loaned idioms from Old Church Slavonic rather than native retensions of the original Slavic vocative. See section 5.10.

2) Due to the fact that historians will often have this entire class at their disposal, while in modern usage feudal terms like “lord” and “posadnik” simply have very limited use.

3) The initial й in ймѣно is generally not pronounced except when the previous word ends in a vowel. In isolation ймѣно is pronounced /ˈmæ.no/ with no trace of the /j/, although some speakers do exhibit a slight lengthening of the /m/ as though in compensation: [ˈm:æ.no].