Upper Sorbian Grammar

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Declension of feminine nouns

Upper Sorbian feminine nouns in the nominative singular end with -a or, much rarer, with a consonant. Those ones that end with -a may be both soft-stem (when the last consonant of the word's stem is bj, č, j, l, mj, nj, pj, rj, š, ć, wj or ž) and hard-stem (when the last consonant of their stem is b, c, d, h, ch, k, ł, m, n, p, r, s, t, w or z). Those which end with a consonant are hard-stem when they end with c, s or z; in all other cases they are soft-stem, even if its last consonant's softness may not be apparent in the nominative form (it becomes clear in cases formed with a diffrent than a zero ending). This group also includes some irregular nouns.

The following table shows the case endings of feminine nouns:

singular
stem:softc z shardvelar
N-a, -0-a
G-e-y-i
D-i-y-’e
A-u, -0-u
I-u
L= dative
V= nominative
dual
stem:softc z shardvelar
N-i-y-’e
G-ow
D-omaj
A= nominative
I= dative
L= dative
V= nominative
plural
stem:softc z shardvelar
N-e-y-i
G-ow
D-am
A= nominative
I-emi-ami
L-ach
V= nominative

The symbol -0 stands for a zero ending (an ending that is not represented by any sound in speech nor by any letter in writing).


Consonant and vowel changes


The palatalising -’e ending

An apostrophe before an ending (-’e) signals that some consonants when preceeding this ending alternate as shown below:

consonant changeexample
N sing. > D sing.
meaning
d > woda > woewater
t > ćsamota > samoćelonliness
tr > sotra > soesister
ł > ltoboła > tobolebag
ch > šropucha > ropušecress
h > zdróha > drózestreet

Whenever any other consonant preceeds an ending marked with an apostrophe, the consonant turns into its soft counterpart:

consonant changeexample
N sing. > L sing.
meaning
n > njžona > žonjewoman
w > wjkruwa > kruwjecow

This ending in feminine nouns is only used with hard-stem and velar-stem nouns.


The ó : o alternation

Some feminine nouns that in the nominative singular end with a consonant and have -ó- as their last vowel replace it with -o- in the other forms, ex.:

vowel changeexample
N sing. > G sing.
meaning
ó > onóc > nocynight

Additional comments on some endings


G sing., N plur., A plur.

The -y ending is proper for hard-stem nouns (both with Nom.sing. ending with -a and with a consonant) excluding those that have h, ch or k as the last consonant of their stem, which have here the -i ending.
The -e ending is used with all soft-stem feminine nouns.

D sing., L sing., N du., A du.

Soft-stem nouns have the -i ending. Those of the hard-stem nouns that have c, s or z as the last consonant of their stem have the -y ending. The other hard-stem nouns have the -'e ending.

A sing.

Those nouns which in the Nom.sing. end with -a have the -u ending, and those the Nom.sing. of which end with a consonant have the zero ending.

G plur.

All nouns may have the -ow ending and the soft-stem ones may also alternatively have the -i ending.

Ins.plur.

The -ami ending is proper for hard-stem nouns and the -emi for those of the soft-stem type.


Examples


A hard-stem noun ending with -a:
wróna crow

singulardualplural
Nwrónawrónjewróny
Gwrónywrónowwrónow
Dwrónjewrónomajwrónam
Awrónuwrónjewróny
I(z) wrónu(z) wrónomaj(z) wrónami
L(we) wrónje(we) wrónomaj(we) wrónach
Vwróna!wrónje!wróny!


A velar-stem noun ending in -a:
muka flour

singulardualplural
Nmukamucemuki
Gmukimukowmukow
Dmucemukomajmukam
Amukumucemuki
I(z) muku(z) mukomaj(z) mukami
L(w) muce(w) mukomaj(w) mukach
Vmuka!muce!muki!


A hard-stem noun ending with c s or z:
pomoc help

singulardualplural
Npomocpomocypomocy
Gpomocypomocowpomocow
Dpomocypomocomajpomocam
Apomocpomocypomocy
I(z) pomocu(z) pomocomaj(z) pomocami
L(w) pomocy(w) pomocomaj(w) pomocach
Vpomoc!pomocy!pomocy!


A soft-stem noun ending with another consonant:
kosć bone

singulardualplural
Nkosćkosćikosće
Gkosćekosćowkosćow/kosći
Dkosćikosćomajkosćam
Akosćkosćikosće
I(z) kosću(z) kosćomaj(z) kosćemi
L(w) kosći(w) kosćomaj(w) kosćach
Vkosć!kosći!kosće!



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