Prepositions are commonly used in Styrásh. Together with the noun cases, they
serve the purpose of specifying the relations of the nouns in a sentence to the
verb, and to each other. However, not all prepositions are used in every
dialect, and the exact uses of each preposition varies between dialects as
well. Prepositions, as the name implies, are placed before the nouns they
modify. If the noun has other modifiers, in addition to the preposition, then
the preposition comes first, before the other modifiers.
Due to the close relationship between prepositions and noun cases, the details regarding when prepositions are to be used are provided alongside the explanations of the noun cases.
Articles. Like Tharian, the Styrásh language makes use of definite and indefinite articles, which are roughly analogous to Tharian “the” and “a” respectively. However, unlike Tharian, the Styrásh articles agree with the nouns they modify in number and gender, so Styrásh in fact has eight such articles. Articles are placed before the nouns they modify, but after prepositions.
Below is a list of the definite and indefinite articles in Styrásh, shown with the nominative forms of the masculine noun galnós “stone, rock” and the feminine noun dós “book”. The same articles are used with nouns in the other cases as well.
Gender. Styrásh nouns are inherently gendered; every noun is either masculine or feminine. Proper declension of a noun requires knowledge of its gender. Fortunately, it is usually possible to tell the gender of a noun by looking at the ending of its bare, uninflected form. Below is a list of the endings typically associated with each gender:
Declension. In addition to gender, each Styrásh noun also has either singular or plural number, and one of five cases: Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, Dative, and Ablative. Each combination of number, gender, and case has a different ending, which is attached to the end of the noun. The following is a table of these endings, shown attached to the masculine noun galnós “stone, rock” and the feminine noun dós “book”.
When in the nominative case, singular nouns,
both masculine and feminine, remain in their uninflected forms. More detailed
information regarding the functions of each case, including examples, is given
Compound Words. Styrásh makes frequent use of compound words to name things and concepts. This often involves combining a word with another word that modifies it. The modifying word is usually attached to the front of the word it modifies. An example is the word marén'cál "swamp, wetland", which is formed by combining the modifying adjective marén "watery, wet" with the noun cál "land".
It is a common practice, when writing Styrásh compound words, to separate their components with apostrophes, though this practice is not entirely consistent or universal. The apostrophes exist solely in writing, and have no effect on pronunciation.
In speech, compound words are distinguished from words with modifiers by their different stress patterns. A compound word is treated as a single word for the purpose of assigning stress, and in addition to normal stress, also receives stress on the first syllable . In contrast, modifiers such as adjectives are treated as separate words when assigning stress. This can be seen in the following examples.
Thus, when speaking, proper stressing of words helps to avoid confusion. This is not a problem in writing, of course.
Nominative Case. The nominative case marks a noun as the subject of a sentence, which is usually be the performer of the action described by the sentence.
Veivát sá styrás sá dosthím
“The elf reads the book”
Also, in sentences where linking verbs such as styrán “to be” and nárán “to become” are used to describe the subject, both nouns take the nominative case.
Styrát sá styrás én raín
“The elf is a warrior”
Nárát sá styrás én raín
“The elf becomes a warrior”
Genitive Case. The genitive case is used when expressing possession, to mark the possessor. It is thus comparable to the Tharian preposition “of”.
“The book of the elf”
Styrásh dialects, possessors do not take the genitive case. Instead, a
preposition is used to express possession, much like the way Tharian does it.
Dative Case. The dative case is primarily used to mark the recipient of an action where something is transferred from one party to another. For instance, in the example below, the dative case marks the elf as being the recipient of the action of giving the book. This is similar to some usages of the Tharian preposition “to”.
Reollát ná sá dosthím
“She gives the book to the elf”
However, unlike “to”, it is
typically not used to mark the target or destination towards which an action is
directed. Instead, this is usually done with the ablative case, although it does
vary somewhat between dialects.
As an extension of the above usage, the dative case is often also used to mark the person or purpose for which an action is performed. When used this way, the preposition í “for” is usually added before the dative noun as well.
Seoranté naí énh fearnían í
“They build houses for the people”
The dative case can also be used together with styrán “to be” to make statements of possession, essentially performing the function of Tharian “have”.
Styrát án eayá só
The nobleman has a castle
(literally, “A castle is to the nobleman”)
Accusative Case. The accusative case is usually used to mark a noun as being the one on whom the action described in the sentence is being performed. In the following example, the accusative case ending on dós "book" indicates that it is the one that is being read.
styrás sá dosthím
“The elf reads the book”
The ablative case is one of the more complex cases in Styrásh. It can perform a
great variety of functions, though it is not used for all these purposes in
every dialect. Due to the ablative case's range of possible uses, prepositions
are commonly used for disambiguation, as will be seen in the examples below. In
fact, there are some dialects where prepositions have supplanted the ablative
case altogether. In general, one could think of the ablative case as being a
sort of "prepositional case"; often, where Tharian would modify a noun with a
preposition, the Styrásh equivalent is marked with the ablative case.
Some of the main uses of the ablative case have to do with marking locations. These include locations at which an action is performed, locations away from which an action is directed, and locations towards which an action is directed. These are typically accompanied by a variety of prepositions that more precisely specify the nature of the relation.
áey áh só fearnó
“A person stands in front of the house”
Arát nó és só fearnó
“He goes into the house”
Jraelát nó énh galnosían jhé só fearnó
“He throws stones out of the house”
The ablative case can also be used, in a similar way, to mark the time at or during which an action takes place. Note that the prepositions Styrásh uses when referring to time are not necessarily equivalent to those Tharian would use for the same purpose. In the following example, the Tharian version uses the preposition "for", but rather than using the equivalent preposition, í, Styrásh instead uses á "through".
énh galnosían á énh sýs dainá
“He throws stones for two days”
Another use is to indicate accompaniment, marking someone or something together with which an action is carried out. This roughly corresponds to some uses of the Tharian preposition "with"; however, when the ablative case is used for this purpose, it is more often seen without an accompanying preposition.
dél'áey én isyroró
“A mage comes with a friend”
There are two uses of the ablative case where it is usually accompanied by the preposition é, the Styrásh equivalent of “with”. The first is to mark the means or instrument by which an action is carried out.
Arneát nó só
dél'aeyím é én galnosó
“He hits the mage with a stone”
The second, somewhat related use is to indicate the manner in which an action is carried out, essentially using it like an adverb, though the resulting phrase is not a true adverb.
Arneát nó só
dél'aeyím é amnó
“He hits the mage forcefully”
(literally, “He hits the mage with force”)
The ablative case is also used in passive sentences to mark the performer of an action. When used this way, it is accompanied by the preposition ér “by”.
caehanhé ér só dél'aeýo
“He is cursed by the mage”
Finally, one unusual use of the ablative case is to mark someone or something that the speaker is addressing. The usual lack of an article on such nouns reduces the likelihood of it being confused with the other possible uses of the ablative case. It is sometimes treated as a separate case, and given the name Vocative Case.
dél'áey tán, isyroró
“The mage is angry, friend”