A typical sentence in Tirëlat contains one or more noun phrases, which begin with an article and end with a noun or pronoun. Between the article and the noun there may be adjectives, or stative verbs being used as adjectives. The article marks the case and number of the noun phrase. Plural articles are only used with countable nouns (whether a noun is countable or uncountable is noted in the lexicon). The nominative and accusative articles agree in gender with the noun (a noun can be animate or inanimate). A few nouns have a different meaning when used with animate and inanimate articles, e.g. “sy šëłkida” (harvester), a farm implement, vs. “su šëłkida” a person or other animate being who harvests.
The nominative case tends to be used for agents and experiencers. Most transitive and intransitive verbs have a subject in the nominative case.
jtulɛdɛn sɨ kiː
jĕtuleden sy kii
the sun shines
The nominative article may be omitted with some nouns, typically abstract nouns such as “distance” and “time”, when not referring to a specific instance.
ʂluʈu ŋaj jtikŕikuɬin
šlutsu ŋaj jĕtikrhikułin
distance seems to make everything small
Some verbs, of which “veste” (to dance) is typical, have an extra subject in the comitative case.
su "sandrijɔŋ jvɛstɛliz kɜ vɔɬa
su Sandrijoŋ jĕvesteliz kë voła
Cinderella was dancing with the prince.
The comitative case is also used to express reciprocal pronouns (the equivalent of “each other” in English).
vɨdratuɬin kɜ siː
Vydratułin kë sii
They are suited for each other.
The ablative case is used for non-volitional agents, or the agent of a passive verb. It can also represent the “source” of an action (one translation of English “from” or “out of”).
su ŋak jkaɖarumin dɨ ɣulː
su ŋak jĕkadzarumin dy ghuul
the duck was eaten by the wolf
lʐaɬpaŕin mɨ zɛrɛvi dɨ "kuzavar
lĕžałparhin my zerevi dy Kuzavar
I rode the airship from Kuzavar
The accusative case is used as the object of most transitive verbs.
lɬuːɣaŕiz mɨ rruːba
lĕłuugharhiz my rĕruuba
I was on the way to your home
Some prepositions take an object in the accusative case.
jari maj rɔmː
jari maj room
beyond the mountains
Some verbs also have an indirect object, which will be in the dative case (used typically for a recipient or a beneficiary).
lmakɛŕin na ʐɛɣ mɨ sɜnt
lĕmakerhin na žeğ my sënt
I gave the dog a bone
The locative case represents the location of an action.
vɜ rɔmː jtulɛjan sɨ fazː
vë room jĕtulejan sy faaz
the snow shines on the mountain
The vocative case, used to direct a comment to a particular listener (or listeners) has only a single form (ee), not distinguished by singular or plural.
vɔsakaj ɛː niriŋ
vosakaj ee niriŋ
don’t hesitate, dear one
The genitive case is typically is not associated with a verb; its most typical use is as the object of a preposition or a locative noun phrase.
vɜ lak u ɬivi ʐɛɣ
vë lak u łivi žegh
over the lazy dog
Possession is expressed by adding a possessive prefix to a noun. The singular possessive prefixes have an unstressed schwa vowel which is left unwritten. When prefixed to nouns that begin with a vowel, the schwa vowel is omitted.
Possessive prefixes are obligatory when the head of a noun phrase belongs to a class of inherently possessed nouns like “friend” (kervi), including parts of the body like “elbow” (laris). In the lexicon these words are indicated with the prefix tĕ- (someone’s).
Tirëlat has personal pronouns for three persons, singular and plural, as well as a reflexive pronoun. Personal pronouns are frequently omitted if clear from the context, but may be added for emphasis. Two pronouns have an “objective” form which is used in the accusative and dative cases.
|lɛː lee||I, me||kɛː kee||me (objective)||ɬɛː łee||we, us|
|rɛː ree||you (singular)||ŕɨ rhy||you (plural)|
|ʐi ži||he, him, she, her, it||miː mii||him, her, it (objective)||vɛː vee||they, them|
|siː sii||myself, yourself, etc.|
Articles are frequently omitted with pronouns, but they may be added when necessary to indicate case.
Possessive pronouns are expressed by adding the suffix ˑvɔ -vo to a pronoun, e.g. lɛːvɔ leevo “mine”, rɛːvɔ reevo “yours”.