In this third part of the series, we bring you the Dative Case and how it works in Quenya. It’s not hard at all, but one must start thinking syntactically when composing sentences in Quenya otherwise common mistakes are prone to happen. Before starting, if you have any doubt and wanna recheck the past posts, take a look below:
Index of this series
How to use it?
You just add the basic dative suffix -n to the nouns ending in vowel. If it ends in consonant, you gotta add -en. Is that it? No, not quite so. The table below shows all the possibilities when dealing with nouns (singular, plural & dual):
So, the full rules are:
- Noun ending in vowel = +n
- Noun ending in consonant = +en
- Noun ending in a, o, u & consonant = +in
- Noun ending in ë, ië & i = +ín (while dropping the ë, ië & i)
Dual requires a bit of attention. A good tip is checking the Nominative Dual of the word. If it ends in T, add an -n before it. If it ends in U, add an -n after it. So…
As mentioned previously in this series, you must always consider the stem of the word before forming any plural or dual. Irregularities happen and basically one gotta get used with them and knows them by heart as it’s done with mother or natural tongues. Now, the BIG question remains:….
When to use it?
1. when the noun is an indirect object of a sentence.
E.g.: Antan i orva i aranen. (I give the apple to the king). Aran is the indirect object while orva is the direct object. Aran gets the dative suffix -en and orva stays the same. Quenya as well as Latin, gives a certain freedom when you compose a sentence due to the case declination. The same sentence shown as example here could have been written like:
- Antan i aranen i orva.
- I orva antan i aranen.
- I aranen i orva antan.
Of course, you would end up sounding a bit like Yoda, but it’s possible, you know.
2. when using impersonal verbs
E.g.: Mauya i eldan nahta i orqui. (The elf must/needs (to) kill the orcs. Literally: It compels the elf to kill the orcs.) There are many impersonal verbs and most of them doesn’t resemble anything like English. The verb “to dream” in Quenya, for instance is impersonal! You cannot say “I dream” in Quenya. Instead you say: “It dreams for me”. Below, some impersonal verbs:
- mauya = to compel, to need, must to
- óla = to dream
- ecë = may (meaning to have chance, permission or opportunity)
- marta = to happen
- orë = to impel, to urge, to move (mentally)
Besides impersonal verbs, there are few regular verbs which demands an indirect object when one is not expecting it. Like apsenë (to forgive) which express the idea of “to forgive something FOR someone”. So, I forgive you is “Apsenin len” (I forgive for you)
3. when using “in order to” or implying its meaning.
E.g.: I nauco roita matien. (Literally: “The dwarf hunts for the eating” / The dwarf hunts in order to eat / The dwarf hunts to eat) Matië is the gerund form of the verb to eat “matë”. Essentially, matië behaves as a noun and therefore it may receive case declensions like dative suffix here. This usage is very tricky and shady but always ask yourself: Can I add “in order to” in my sentence and the meaning would be kept intact? If the answer is yes, you got this very situation described here and dative case suffix attached to the gerund form of the verb will be used!
4. when using the preposition “rá”
E.g.: I periandi úvar mahta rá Sauronden. (The halflings won’t fight on behalf of Sauron) Rá means “on behalf of, for” and it always require dative declension. Easy! When you see rá, dative must follow!