Case Particles and Post-Positions

Case particles indicate the grammatical function performed by a noun or pronoun in a phrase, clause or sentence. Case in Ikema appears to be nominative-accusative. 

Post-Positions also serve to mark the function or meaning of the noun in a phrase. An example of a post-position in Ikema is taan/taana, which functions similarly to Japanese dake (‘only’).

 

Ikema Case Particles

#

Marker

Label

#

Marker

Label

1

-ga / -nu / -a

Nominative

11

-hii

Instrumental

2

-ga / -nu

Genitive

12

-tu

Comitative

3

-a

Topic/Subject1

13

-ntsIkyaa

Comparative

4

-gyaa

Topic/Subject2

14

-du

Focus

5

-u

Accusative

15

-bakaai

ばかり

6

-n

Dative

16

-taan / -taana

だけ

7

-nkai

Allative 1

17 -shika
しか

7*

-nki

Allative 2

18 -tum/-tumma
さえ

9

-taahii

Limitative

19 -jaan
さえ

10

-kara

Ablative

20 -ti
Quotative

 Click on the numbers to see examples for each particle.

1. -ga / -nu (Nominative)

  1. ui-ga                     hariinyaan
    he/she-NOM     go(home).PERF
    He/she has gone (home).

  2. midun-nu            hariinyaan
    woman-NOM     go(home).PERF
    The woman has gone (home).

 

Note on Use:  -ga seems to be used for people’s names, pronouns, familial terms, and wh- question words. -nu is used elsewhere.

2. -ga / -nu (Genitive)

  1. ba-ga munu (*ba-nu munu)
    I-GEN thing
    My thing
  2. yarabi-nu   munu (*yarabi-ga munu)
    child-GEN thing
    Child’s thing
  3. nna-ga/nu           munu
    everyone-GEN thing
    Everyone’s thing
  4. Bonii-ga/nu    munu
    Bonnie-GEN thing
    Bonnie’s thing

    Note on Use: -ga seems to be used for people’s names, pronouns, familial terms, and wh- question words. -nu is used elsewhere.

3. -a / -na (Topic/Subject 1)

  1. midun-na           harii.nyaan
    woman-TOP1 go(home).PERF
    The woman has gone (home)
  2. kara-a           ba-ga      ffa-gama
    he-TOP1     I-GEN    child-DIM
    He is my child
  3. akabataui-a                kiri-ai
    watermelon-TOP1 cut-are
    The watermelon is cut

4. -gyaa (Topic/Subject 2)

  1. tegami-u-gyaa         kaka.ddan
    letter-ACC-TOP2  write.NEGPST
    I didn’t write a letter
  2. tinjau-u-gyaa                  mi.n                  terebi-u                   mi.i
    ceiling-ACC-TOP2     look.NEG      television-ACC   look.IMP
    Don’t look at the ceiling, look at the television

5. -u (Accusative)

  1. nta-u                  hui
    earth-ACC     dig.NPST
    Dig the earth
  2. tui-u              miiru
    bird-ACC   see.NPST
    See the bird

6. -n (Dative)

  1. ba-a      dusI-n           pen-u         fii.tai
    I-TOP friend-DAT pen-ACC give.PST
    I gave my friend a pen.
  2. isha-n             nai.tigaa
    doctor-DAT   become.COND
    If you become a doctor
  3. mayu-n          nai.tigaa
    cat-DAT        become.COND
    If I become a cat

7. -nkai (Allative 1)

  1. hai-nkai
    field-ALL1
    to the field
  2. i-nkai                harii.nyaa?
    ocean-ALL1   go.PST
    Did (you) go in the ocean?

7*. -nki (Allative 2)

  1. hai-nki
    field-ALL2
    to the field
Note: This may be a reduction of nkai + iki, only used with particular nouns such as hai ‘field.’ It cannot be used, for instance, with other nouns (e.g. *kama-nki ‘to the other side’).

9. -taahii (Limitative)

  1. mayu-n   nai.tigaa               yunaka-taahii    nivva.idusI
    cat-DAT  become.COND1 night-LIM        sleep.POT
    If I were a cat I would be able to sleep until night

10. -kara (Ablative)

  1. agai-kara   duttai
    east-ABL   come.PST
    (I) came from the east
  2. Yohan-na       kii-kara      utii.nyaan
    Johan-TOP  tree-ABL   fall.PERF
    Johan has fallen from the tree.

11. -hii (Instrumental)

  1. pen-hii      katsI.tigaa                     fukarasI
    pen-INS   write.NPST.COND1          happy
    If I write with a pen I am happy
  2. Yohan-na      Nihon-n         hasu-hii                 munu-u       fau.tai
    Johan-TOP1 Japan-DAT chopsticks-INS thing-ACC eat.PST
    John ate things with chopsticks in Japan.

12. -tu (Commitative)

  1. kunu          yarabi-mmi-tu hitumi      mati
    these        child-PL-COM together wait.IMP
    Wait with these children.
  2. kui-tu                      kui-tu-ya                       yunusui
    this.one-COM    this.one-COM-TOP same
    This one is the same as that one.

13. -ntsIkyaa (Comparative)

  1. ringu-u             keeki-ntsIkyaa          du-nkai-a                   jau        too
    apple-ACC    cake-COMPARE     body-ALL1-TOP    good    ???
    In comparison to cake, apple is good for you.

14. -du (Focus)

  1. A: taru-ga-du             keeki-u         fainyaan?
         who-NOM-FOC  cake-ACC   eat.PERF
    Who ate the cake?

    B: banti-ga-du       fainyaan.
         we-NOM-FOC eat.PERF
    We ate (the cake).

15. -bakaai (ばかり)

  1. ringu-bakaai    fau
    apple-ばかり   eat.NPST
    (I) only eat apples.

16. -taan / -taana (だけ)

  1. ringu-taan/taana  fau             na?
    apple-だけ            eat.NPST  Q.Y.
    Do you only eat apples?

17. -shika (しか)

  1. ringu-shika nyaan
    apple-しか  NEG
    (I) only have apples.
*-shika could be codemixing with Japanese.

18. -tum / -tumma (さえ)

Example Context: The speaker of 18(a) is very rich and is directing the utterance to someone poorer.

  1. vva-a       ichiduru-tum/tumma mucch.an   na?
    you-TOP1    one dollar-さえ       hold.NEG Q.Y
    You don’t even have one dollar?

19. -jaan (さえ)

  1. Yohan-na      ringu-nu-jaan      ai.tigaa            fukurasI
    Johan-TOP1 apple-ACC-さえ have.COND1 happy
    As long as Johan has apples he is happy.

20. -ti (Quotative, Nominalizer) (と, って)

  1. dusI-nkai sudigahoo ti ai.ti
    friend-ALLthank.youQUOT  say.PST
    I said “thank you” to my friend.
  2. kara-a gyuunyuu-yu nun.tigaa      chuu.fI             nai-ti                  sshiu.tai
    he-TOP milk-ACC drink.COND strong.ADV become-QUOT know.PST
    He knew that drinking milk would make him strong.
  3. nau-ti
    what-QUOT
    What (did you say)?

Questions for further consideration:

•Whether or not ‘tiga(a)’ (which Hayashi considers a conditional marker) is in fact composed of ti (which can be quotative but also a nominalizer), ga (the subject marker) and a (the topic marker)
•We tried to elicit the equivalent of the Japanese _のが construction, but we found that it was not possible to get it. In response to the question Taru ga (du) naga? (‘Whose (hair) is long?’), our consultant responded with Julian nu (du) naga and Julian ga naka, but did not accept *Julian nu ga naga or *Julian ga nu naga as might be expected based on the Japanese translation. We have yet to test ?Julian ga ga naga.
•Our consultant commented that taana (だけ) is an older form of taan (だけ), and that similarly, tumma (さえ) is an older form of tum (さえ). However, we are also considering the possibility that taana is composed of taan + a (TOP), and tumma is composed of tum + a (TOP). This might not be inconsistent with our consultant’s explanation, since the topic marker might be omitted more often in modern speech.
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