sïaòyru s'raìða
gīlru s'šedudi
hrianneðen faìn
šugalan a geàl sïaòyen

    -- šagān
the wind through my hair,
the sun on my skin,
the voices of nature,
great wings and great winds
- unity

        -- Shagaan

Overview: What is a noun?

The difference between nouns and all other Taruven parts of speech is that only the noun can be marked by the dual, the paucal/quintal or the generic plural. A Taruven bare noun is the bare noun stem without any affixes. The core noun is the noun stem with affixes. A noun phrase always contains at least one core noun.

Taruven nouns also has one of two genders: animate, or entity and inanimate, or item. Only entities can be unmarked for case or be marked for the beneficiary or the complemented agent. In general, all living things and thinking things (animals, plants, intelligent machines) are entities, all dead things (abstracts, natural phenomena, tools, things, non-intelligent machines) are items. The exact categorization has varied through history.

For the remainder of this text, the word vaer mountain will represent the items, while the word gav dog will represent the entities. When something differs between items and entities, both are shown, else only for items.

A noun is always marked for:

vaer mountain unmarked, agent AGT
vaeraþ patient PAT
gavið for the dog beneficiary BEN
gavel complemented agent (items cannot be complemented agents) EXP
vaeron using the mountain instrument INS
gavon using the dog entity used as an instrument INS
ÿvaer Oh, mountain! vocative VOC
vaer (one) mountain unmarked, general, singular S
aìvaer no mountains Z
vaeran two mountains dual D
vaerin five/a few mountains paucal, quinary Q
vaeren many mountains general plural P

And may be marked for diminutive/augmentative and have an adjective built in.

Furthermore, a noun may have, own or be owned, or otherwise be connected to another noun.

vaereð somebody's mountain items only GEN
te gav somebody's dog primarily entities CON
vaeres the mountain has something LOC
vaerru something has the mountain

It can be emphasized:


Located somewhere or be the location of something:

vaerru the mountain is at is located
vaeres at the mountain location LOC


sïvaer mountains in general GEN

Entities can be male or female:

dugav a male dog
kigav a female dog

Finally, a noun has existence and can be negated:

ëvaer not a mountain, non-existent mountain NEG

Structure of a noun

The actual order of noun affixes depends on its role in a phrase or clause.


  1. diminutive/augmentative
  2. adjectives
  3. where, when
  4. whose
  5. who, whom, what
  6. how many

The suffix-groups that move about depending on the role of the noun is groups 3 (location in time and space) and 4 (possession). It is therefore thought that group 3 and 4 come from a different source than the other suffixes.

By default

PREFIX - noun stem - 1 - 2 - ru - 4 - 5 - 6

As a location

PREFIX - noun stem - 1 - 2 - 4 - 5 - 3 - 6

As a possession

PREFIX - noun stem - 1 - 2 - 3 - - 5 - 6

As a possessor

PREFIX - noun stem - 1 - 2 - 3 - 5 - (ev) - 6


emphasis ï(ĵ)-
vocative ÿ-
empty, none.
('zero number of', not 'doesn't exist') Compare with the pluralizers
('doesn't exist', not 'zero number of')
generalizer [needs own page?] sï-
male du-
female ki-

The emphasis-marker becomes ïĵ before vowels.

    1. ïĵëgav
      that's NOT a DOG, there are NO DOGS, DOGS do not exist
    2. aìgavru ryes
      there are no dogs here, there isn't even a single dog here
    3. ÿaìsïgav
      hello, no dogs in general

1. diminutive/augmentative

-vun diminutive
-gal augmentative

2. adjectives

A few adjectives have bound short forms:

-va wild
-o tame
-du young
-ša old
-hi- light, bright
-suh dark
-ma good
-age evil
-ven beautiful
-tsa ugly
-(i)ŋ near, close, easy
-hux same
-keì other
    1. gavva
      wild dog
    2. šeduhi
      bright surface
    3. gvaìhir
      bright dragon
    4. tšah ran brenaþ; ry kiar aò rykeì var
      I see two cars, that one is red and that other one is blue

3. where, when, movement: vüreševa

About to be moved to Location.


ru is the general locative. Adding -ru to a word indicates that the word is somewhere. Exactly where is not important.

<noun> is somewhere (but I don't know, and/or don't care to know, exactly where this is)

The suffix -es (standalone form: re), approximately meaning location, place, can be used as a suffix, taking on the meaning of "located at":

<noun>ru saìes
<noun> is located at/by a/the river

This says nothing on HOW the noun is placed relative to the river; if it is important to indicate exact placement, then one way of doing it is to replace the simple -es with a little something...

Format: B is placed/moves relative to A, K is any of the noun suffixes except ru and the plurality-suffixes.

B-ru-K A-K-1-2-3-4
B-ru-K A-K-Other

1 describes how B is placed relative to the surface of A
2 describes how B is placed relative to an imaginary axis of A
3 describes how B moves relative to the surface of A
4 describes whether B is inside or outside the surface of A

3 covers concepts such as left(ward), right(ward), up(ward), down(ward), front + forward, back(ward), and should be translated as such. But: the native speakers of Taruven think 3D, and they think 3D relative to themselves, not the ground or any other reference object, perhaps because this is better suited to zero G environments. Translating up with top and down with bottom might be better.

Relative to:
B on the surface of A di
B stuck to the surface of A de
B not on the surface of A da
B in the surface of A, neither out- nor inside du ul
top (+z) ur
center (z = 0) u
bottom (-z)
front (+y) ar
center (y = 0) a
back (-y)
right (+x) ir
center (x = 0) i
left (-x)
B moving towards the surface of A vu
B moving away from the surface of A ve
B moving at a fixed distance (f.ex around, orbiting, along, on) from the surface of A ny
B outside A il
B inside A al


    1. gavru saìal
      the dog is in the river
    2. gavru saìalny
      the dog is swimming/moving about in the river
    3. brenru saìil
      the car is by the river
    4. brenru saìilny
      the car is driving along the riverside

A somewhat more complex example:

    1. sāið mirrōruaþ brenaþal ū rīra
      You gave me the cat that were in the car

Effects of negating with e: eil = al, eal = il, edi = da, eda = di, evu = ve, eve = vu

To translate some english prepositions:


Affixed to a noun that can only serve as a temporal 'anchor'.

If the temporal location is only valid for one sentence, the verb of that sentence is marked with [T]. If another noun(phrase) is temporally located, without affecting the situation, that noun is marked with [T].

    1. šaìga ī taha geàl gaìes
      during the war (s)he rides the great gaìes
    2. saìTes švaỳiga falru
      the water in/of the river during/in spring
-aìš first
-ris last
-aq next
-im previous
-ša early
-žy late
-dha during
-ga during
-guì current

4. whose

Possession is covered in its own section, this serves as a quick overview.

Possession: -eð

Only items can be possessed/owned. Items can be owned by both entities and items. A possessed item is marked with the suffix -eð

Connection: te

Both items and entities can be connected to each other. In a connection it is wrong to talk about possessors or possessees, as a connection in no way implies ownership or control. Entities can neither be owned nor controlled and must always be connected and not marked for possession.

A connection is marked by placing the independent word te between the two statements.

Examples, connection and possesion:

    1. šiartav bren
      shïartav's car, the car belonging to shïartav
    2. te tši / tši te
      my friend / a friend of mine

Bodyparts are connected to the body, so we have:

    1. ū te kir / kir te ū
      your hand

Similarly, relatives are connected, not posessed:

    1. ū te faì / faì te ū
      your parent

A member is either connected to or possessed by a group, depending on the type of group:

    1. gīlvun te TKS / TKS te gīlvun
      gilvun is a member/part of the relatively flat-structured group TKS
    2. gīlvuneð TKS
      gilvun is a member/part of (actually: possessed by) the hierarchical group TKS

te has a weak, implicit 1st person pronoun in the agentive, just like verbs; it is customary to set the te first in the connection when the pronoun is invoked, thus a) below is correct while b) is not.

    1. te faì
      my parent
    2. *faì te
      my parent

As always, the rules are bent in poetry and a few other registers.

Finally, a small set of words can also be inalienably possessed.

5. who, whom, what

0 agent
-el complemented agent
-aþ patient
-ið benefactive/recipient/target
-on instrumental entity
-on instrument


Agents are not marked. However, subjects are not necessarily agents. For instance, subjects of passive sentences are always marked as patients.

gav ekuirra
the dog died

gav hrann sïonnaþ
the/A dog broke the vase


gavaþ kruaálra
the dog was killed

Agent of complemented verb: -el

The subjects of the verb-type complemented verbs are marked as complemented agents. Below is an incomplete list of complemented verbs.

ārto think, assume
kannto force
teìto love (romantic love for an entity)

Taruven does not have a complementizer, like that in English. Instead it has complemented verbs and verb-suffixes that converts an ordinary verb into a complemented one.

The pattern for a complemented statement is as follows:

<complemented agent>el <complemented verb> <X>


<X> <complemented verb> <complemented agent>el
<X> <complemented agent>el <complemented verb>

Where <X> must be either a phrase marked for benefactive, or a clause.

    1. el teì ūið
      I love you
    2. el ār gav ekuir
      I think the dog is dead

Only entities can be complemented agents, to use the above verbs with an item as subject, the second verb, if any, must be put in the passive:

    1. sïaòy kannra hrannaal gav sïonnaþ
      The dog was made to break the thing by the wind

Patient: -aþ

The patient is the victim or target of the verb.


    1. ī krura gav
      he/she killed the dog
    2. yhrann sïonn
      the thing broke
    3. gav hrann sïonn
      The/A dog broke the thing

Recipient: -ið

The passive beneficiary of an action.

  1. gavaþ sā ū ta
    You gave me a dog

Instrumental entity: -on

An instrumental entity is the someone who is made to do something by an agent.


  1. gavaþ sāon ī krura
    he/she made me kill the dog

Instrument (item): -on

The instrument is whatever item is being used to accomplish the verbing.


  1. gavaþ dufyon ī krura
    he/she killed the dog with the knife

6. how many

0 general/singular
-an dual
-in quinary/paucal
-en generic plural
-ðe complete plural/false partitive
-ti true partitive


The noun is unmarked for number whenever the actual number is known, irrelevant or singular.

    1. gav
      a dog, some dog, one dog
    2. saššara gavaþ
      saššara gavaþ
      saššara gav -aþ
      I.heard dog -PAT
      I heard a dog/I heard some dog or other/I heard one dog

Dual: -an

The dual is used whenever there are two of something, to such a degree that the number two is rarely used. In some dialects, if a number is divisible by two, the noun will agree by being marked with the dual, as in example b) below.

    1. gavan
      gav -an
      dog -2
      two dogs, a couple of dogs
    2. kaìr gavan
      kaìr gavan
      kaìr gav -an
      4    dog -2
      four dogs

Quintal/Paucal: -in

The quintal started life as the number five, hence the name. It denotes small groups, countable indivdual items and entities and natural amounts.

    1. gavin
      gav -in
      dog -paucal
      five dogs, a group of dogs, a few dogs, a handful dogs
    2. runin
      run    -in
      finger -paucal
      five fingers, all the fingers of a hand

Generic plural: -en

    1. gaven
      gav -en
      dog -many
      many dogs, countless dogs

The number-markers are generally not used if there is an explicit number in the noun-phrase, with the exceptions noted in the examples below. Explicit number plus explicit number-marking changes the meaning of the number-marking. This also means that only the dual and the paucal is ever used together with an explicit number.

    1. kaìr gav
      kaìr gav
      kaìr gav
      4    dog
      four dogs
    2. *kaìr gaven
      kaìr gaven
      kaìr gav -en
      4    dog -PL
    3. kaìr gavan
      kaìr gavan
      kaìr gav -an
      4    dog -DUAL
      four pairs of dogs, eight dogs
    4. kaìr gavin
      kaìr gavin
      kaìr gav -in
      4    dog -PAUCAL
      four groups of dogs, more than eight dogs

Complete plural/false partitive: -ðe

This can best be translated with all of, the whole of, full, as in the following examples:

    1. gavðe šyra
      gavðe    šyra
      gav -ðe  šy    -ra
      dog -all follow -PAST
      all of the dogs followed
    2. brenaþðe hrannra ī
      brenaþðe         hrannra     ī
      bren -aþ  -ðe    hrann -ra   ī
      car  -PAT -whole break -PAST 3s
      he/she broke the entire car
    3. mir briðe
      mir briðe
      mir bri   -ðe
      sky cloud -full
      the overclouded sky, the sky was/is/will be full of clouds, it was/is/will be overclouded

Note example c), where the -ðe-marked word functions as sort of partitive, with the preceding noun mir containing clouds, in this case so many that the color of the mir itself was probably not visible.

To complicate matters, -ðe inflects almost like a stative, as shown in the next example. It is believed that -ðe probably started life as a regular stative.

    1. gavðe
      gav -ðe
      dog -all
      all of the dogs
    2. gavðeì
      gav -ðeì
      dog -almost.all
      almost all of the dogs
    3. gavðer
      gav -ðer
      dog -few
      a few of the dogs, some of the dogs
    4. gavðerinn
      gav -ðerinn
      dog -too.few
      too few of the dogs
    5. gavðan
      gav -ðan
      dog -too.many
      too many of the dogs

There is no equivalent of -a or -arre for -ðe.

Using -ðe for the meaning of "all" is not proper when the group of things is not complete or the number of items/members is unknown. If that is the case, one uses -in if it is possible to take in the number at a glance, -en if too many and the true partitive in cases like mir briðe.

True partitive: -ti

The true partitive differs from the rest of the number markers in that it always connects two nouns, just like -ðe does in example 19c) above.

The partitive is used when a noun:

    1. briti mir
      briti       mir
      bri   -ti   mir
      cloud -PART sky
      a cloudy sky
    2. falti saì
      falti saì
      fal   -ti   saì
      water -PART river
      a river of water
    3. tani mānti
      tani  mānti
      tani  mān   -ti
      tower stone -PART
      a tower made of stone
    4. mān pyalti
      mān   pyalti
      mān   pyal  -ti
      stone grain -PART
      a grain-sized stone

In all the four examples above, the partitive modifies the noun, which can manage perfectly without having the partitive along. The measure-meaning in example d) is only in effect for a few nouns that double as measures: pyal for something small but still visible, kīr for something that can easily be held in the palm of a hand, like a tennis ball or a cup, or other handfulls, urū, head-size, for something that properly takes two hands to hold, like a football or large melon.