Nouns come in three grammatical genders: masculine, feminine and neuter; 5 cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, dative and instrumental; and 2 numbers: singular and plural. For agreement purposes with certain pronouns, nouns can also be animate or inanimate. People and animals are animate, with things and concepts being inanimate. For these pronouns, animate and inanimate nouns have different stems. In addition to the cases detailed below, there is a vocative, formed with the particle u followed by the nominative form of the noun. Nouns are agglutinative with its stem, followed by the gendered number suffix, followed by the case suffix.
Noun gender by ending
|neuter||-o, -e, -i, -∅|
|masculine||-u, -e, -i, -∅|
|feminine||-a, -e, -i, -∅|
Noun number and case endings
The forms with -e occur after a consonant.
zifa (f.) – door
For human beings, sentient creatures and larger mammals, grammatical gender typically aligns with natural gender. There are several patterns for indicating gender. Here is an example: nyaf/nyafog/nyafich cat, male cat, female cat. For gender variable nouns of all types, the citation form is the neuter singular nominative form.
Natural gender noun ending patterns