Un Mosièl de se Chinzie rRyetaniezi – II. Dechlyenatyejona pen Nouna

Chiba nouns fall within one of three declensions; regardless of declension, nouns inflect to mark tense (nominative/oblique), number (singular/plural) and species. Species will be dealt with later, after a consideration of tense and number.

The first declension generally ends with –a in the singular nominative, and nouns in this declension are feminine. Examples (in the order: nominative singular, oblique singular; nominative plural, oblique plural):

Appa (water): appa, appie; appie, appi

Huèza (young woman): huèza, huèzie; huèzie, huèzi

Ćejola (girl): ćejola, ćejolie; ćejolie, ćejoli

Piema (song, prayer): piema, piemie; piemie, piemi

Pujema (poem): pujema, pujemie; pujemie, pujemi

Bucca (mouth, very low register): bucca, buccie; buccie, bucci

Utoma (mouth, ordinary register): utoma, utomie; utomie, utomi

Linga: linga, linzie; linzie, linzi

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The second declension ends with –u, –l, -r, -b or -n. Examples:

Serb (slave): serb, serbo; serba, serbi

Vesilyu (support, friendship): vesilyu, vesilyo; vesilya, vesilyi

Vyesáyr (banker): vyesáyr, vyesaryo; vyesarya, vyesaryi

Omnattu (military rank; university degree; prize): omnattu, omnatto; omnatta, omnatti

Bèzu (war): bèzu, bèzo; bèza, bèzi

Komu (man): komu, komo; koma, komi

Ćemnúl (boy): ćemnúl, ćémnilo; ćémnila, ćémnili

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The third declension includes all other nouns, including some abstract terms ending in –a:

Pař (part): pař, paře; pařa, pařu

Kani (dog): kani, kane; kana, kanu

Urb (city): urb, urbe; urba, urbu

Many nouns in the third declension are irregular, with unpredictable nominative singulars. Some nouns follow patterns, such as nouns ending –mie. Others simply involve an additional consonant. Some, however, are entirely unpredictable:

Nomie (name): nomie, noune; nouna, nounu

Fhumie (river): fhumie, fhoune; founa, founu

Rezmie (governing set of rules): rezmie, rezoune; rezouna, rezounu

Aumie (herd, band, crowd, small army): aumie, aune; auna, aunu

Duc (duke): duc, dose; dosa, dosu

Ruc (cross): ruc, rose; rosa, rosu

Irec (king): irec, ereze; ereza, erezu

Noc (night): noc, notte; notta, nottu

Dze (day): dze, dzeve; dzeva, dzevu

Afije (mould, plan, memory): afije, afejeve; afejeva, afejevu

Pater (father): pater, padre; padra, padru

Fuo (spring, source): fuo, fonde; fonda, fondu

Mhile (soldier): mhile, mhîte; mhîta, mhîtu

Lejo (lion): lejo, lijone; lijona, lijonu

Irezo (region): irezo, erizone; erizona, erizonu

Soitudo (solitude): soitudo, soituzne; soituzna, soituznu

Lyeveřa (liberty): lyeveřa, lyitatte; lyitatta, lyitattu

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There are three minor oddities in the case system. First, formal writing uses the singular nominative in place of the plural nominative in situations where the nominative is being used for a direct object. This is not found anywhere in speech, and represents a scholarly affectation. Second, certain nouns of the second declension retain a distinct vocative case, ending in –e; this is only used with nouns denoting humans. The vocative of first declension nouns is the nominative; the vocative of third declension nouns is confused, with official nominative gradually being replaced in speech by oblique (by analogy with the second declension, due to the similarity of the endings). The third issue is the so-called ‘genitive construct’, in which an oblique noun is placed after its head without any preposition – this construct is formal, even archaic, in style, and frequently uses the plural oblique even when the referent is singular (this is in actuality a remnant of a distinct genitive case in the second declension, extended by analogy to the first and third).

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Species

In addition to case, the Chiba noun is marked for species, with three possibilities: definite, general or indefinite. The general occurs not only with generalisations but also with proper names.

Unremarkably, Chiba marks definiteness through articles, which agree in number, gender and case with the noun:

Feminine Definite: sa, se; le, li

Masculine Definite: se, so; la, li

Feminine Indefinite: una, une

Masculine Indefinite: unu, uno

As can be seen, there is no plural indefinite article. This does not mean that plurals cannot be indefinite, it must be noted, as this is not the only way in which definiteness is marked. It may be marked by one of several other determiners. More importantly, it is marked on many nouns and adjectives through a process of mutation, in which the definite triggers fortition, and the indefinite triggers lenition. This is represented in the orthography through the system of plain, strong and weak letters already described.

The definite species may occur with or without an article or other determiner – the absence of such indicates an object that is known, but under a different term. This distinction may be considered the difference between ‘the X that I told you about before’ and ‘an X, which is the thing I told you about before’. Use of the article is never incorrect, only sometimes lacking in style, and the article is inserted to disambiguate when a word has the same definite and general forms.

For example:

Una khandarya accagn se rrec. Se mmile nec ffheuna.

A female singer spoke to the king. The soldier killed the woman (i.e. the singer)

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Un Mosièl de so Vokabolarye

Women are referred to in Chiba by one of a number of terms depending on their age and marital status:

Imfanda ( [{~”f{nd{] ) is used for female children

Ćejola ( [tse”Zo:l{] ) used for older girls – traditionally from puberty until marriage, though now the age range has shrunken somewhat and the term is most commonly used between 16 and approximately 26

Huèza ( [“hwE:z{] ) is used for young women – traditionally married but without adult children. The term now has legal significance, as huèzie et fheunie are held to be legally responsible. In the courts, this has been used to reverse-define huèza as any woman not a fheuna who is nonetheless demonstrably responsible – the status is given automatically to wives (though it can be revoked), but must be applied for by unmarried women. In common parlance, the word refers to a woman who is independent of parents and unmarried, or in some cases married women with their own careers.

Fheuna ( [“h2:n{] ) is used for married women who have raised a child. As with huèzie, they are legally responsible, and thus have a right to vote.

Mheteudra ( [ve”t2:dr{] ) is used for unmarried women with no career of their own, dependent on saving and family, and not free to vote. It is a term of respect – even women who have been independent when young will often abandon their careers as they become older, and the ability to do so is a sign of both wealth and taste. On the other hand, an increasing number of huèzie take pride in their independence, and so the decision whether to address an unmarried woman as huèza or mheteudra is liable to cause offence either way.

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