General rules and case endings for the inflections
The way to form the various inflections is to take the crude form (singular or plural, according to the cases) and then add the particular case ending. In other words, the singular case or inflection is to be formed by adding the singular case ending to the singular flex stem, and the plural case ending to the plural flex stem. However, the plural flex stem is always nasal and in the case of the plural inflections, sometimes there is a little change to be made to the way the nasal sound of the plural flex stem is represented. There are only two letters that can represent a nasal sound, besides of course the tilde, i.e., “~“. These are m and n. So sometimes the nasal sound of the plural flex stem has to be represented by the letter n instead, in order to conform to our spelling rules. This is required for the genitive plural, dative plural, locative plural on, and ablative plural, whereas the spelling of the plural flex stem stays unchanged in the formation of the vocative plural, instrumental plural, and locative plural in.
We can now proceed to the formation of the various inflections.
All genitives, singular as well as plural, are nothing but adjectives, and the regular ones at that. That is why, while we have just two case endings for for every other inflection, i.e., one ending for the singular and one for the plural, in the case of the genitive, we have two case endings for each of the three genders, i.e., three for the singular and three for the plural. The case endings for the genitive singular are cho, chi and chem
whereas the respective case endings for the genitive plural are che
Examples: The flex stems for madd (coconut tree)
(sing.) and maddam
Now let us suppose you want to say, “the height of the coconut tree”. The word for height
is feminine. So you take the singular flex stem, madda
, and add the case feminine singular case ending (because height is feminine and it is singular), chi
, and you get “maddachi unchai
Now let us suppose you want to say “the shade of the coconut trees”. The Konkani for “shade” is savlli
which is feminine singular. Since we are referring to coconut trees, plural, we take the plural flex stem, maddam
. To that we add the genitive feminine singular case ending, chi
, because savlli
is feminine and it is singular. However, as has been pointed to above, the flex stem, maddam
, has to undergo a slight change before adding the suffix, and it becomes maddan
before taking the case ending. Hence, “the shade of the coconut trees” = maddanchi savlli
Unlike the genitive case, which has been treated above, the dative is pretty simple. Just add a k to the flex stem, whether it is a singular or plural. However, as mentioned above, in the case of the plural, the plural flex stem will have to undergo that slight transformation: the m changes into n. For example it you want to say, “I’m watering the coconut tree”, you would say “Hanv maddak udok ghaltam”
and if you want to put it into plural, you would say, “Hanv maddank udok ghaltam
(I am watering coconut trees).
I have written a great deal about the instrumental case. The instrumental singular is formed by adding n to the flex stem (Compare that with the locative in below — the two are not the same in form). The instrumental plural is formed by adding nim to the plural flex stem (Again compare that to the locative in — in this case they are, in fact, identical in form). Examples: “Kombiên tantim ghalem”
= the hen laid an egg. Kombiê
is the singular flex stem whereas n
is the instrumental singular case ending.(Remember about transitive verbs in the past tense?). The plural would be “Kombiamnim tantiam ghalim
= the hens laid eggs. Kombiam
is the plural flex stem while nim
is the instrumental plural case ending.
The ablative, like the dative, has the same case ending for the singular as well as the plural. However, the flex stems will be different. The common case ending for the ablatives is chean.
Examples: “Mistirichean toxem korum ieta” =
the master (usually a male school teacher) can — or is allowed to — do that or act that way. Here mistiri
is the singular flex stem, while chean
is the singular case ending. The plural would be “Mistirinchean
toxem korum ieta”
(School teachers can act like that). Mistirim
is the flex stem, which changes to mistirin in this case, while chean
is the ablative case ending. There is, however, a thin line between the instrumentals and the ablatives and in some contexts they are even interchangeable. After all, as I have mentioned earlier, the ablative is actually the genitive instrumental, i.e., the instrumental of the genitive.
The Locatives on and in
The locative on can have two endings, r and chêr.
The ending r
is used mainly, and is in fact preferred, for nouns in the singular and is rarely used in the plural, whereas chêr
can be used for both but is used mainly for the plurals. Example: Mez
is neuter (tem mez
) and its two flex stems are meza
(sing.) and mezam
(pl.). If you want to say, “the papers are on the table”, you would say, “kagdam mezar asat
. But if you want to say,”The papers are on the tables”, you would rather say, “kagdam mezanchêr asat
“Kagdam mezachêr asat
” and “Kagdam mezanr asat
” are both correct but are rarely used.
The locative in is more straightforward. The singular case ending is nt and the plural nim. Example: How would you put to following sentence in Konkani: “There is a stone in the pocket”? The Konkani word for pocket is bolos,
neuter (tem bolos
) whose singular flex stem is bolsa
and the plural is bolsam
So “in the pocket” would be bolsant
and “in the pockets”, bolsamnim
= stone, the plural being fator
So “Bolsant fatôr asa
= “there is a stone in the pocket”, while “Bolsamnim fator asat
= “there are stones in the pockets”.
The vocative case is use when calling out to someone or something. It can be singular or plural, depending upon the number of people or things being called out to. In English, the vocative is denoted by placing an “O” before the noun. E.g., “O man”, or “Praise the Lord, O my soul”. In Konkani the vocative singular is just the flex stem, while the vocative plural is formed by adding nô to the plural flex stem. You must have heard the Konkani dulpod, “Chêddva gô, chedduva“.
The word chêddva
is the flex stem as well as the vocative singular: “O girl” or “O girlie”. If you want to address two or more girls, you would say, “Chêddvamnô