Lesson 5: Objects

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We've already covered direct objects to some extent in earlier lessons. Remember that a direct object declines as part of the Nominative-Accusative case and that it follows the verb in a sentence.

The direct object of a sentence is the word receiving the action of the verb. In the sentence "John hit the ball," "ball" is the direct object. The ball is what John hit. It receives the action of being hit. An indirect object is the noun which receives the direct object. In the sentence "John gave me the ball," "me" is the indirect object. It is to whom John is giving the ball.

Indirect objects form a separate case called the Dative.

The Dative

The Dative case is formed by adding a suffix to the noun root (the Nominative-Accusative) case. The suffix varies depending upon the noun group.

Noun Formation in the Dative Case
  Singular Plural
Proper -(h)'ri -su'ri[2]
Group 1 -vha -vher
Group 2 -vha -vher
Group 3 -evha -evher
Group 4 -*sam to -sevha[1] -*sam to -sevher[1]
Group 5 -*am to -evha[1] -*am to -evher[1]
Notes: [1] An asterisk denotes the removal of a letter from the indicated location. For example: "-*am to -evha" means to remove the -dam from rhadam before adding -evha to make rhaevha.

As you can see, all noun groups, except for Proper Nouns, follow the same basic pattern in the dative: ending in -vha for the singular and -vher for the plural. That makes it easy to spot indirect objects in a sentence. Indirect objects can be placed either before or after the direct object, depending on what the speaker or writer wishes to emphasize. Whichever object comes after the verb is the object being emphasized.

Arhem bontwen ilhæl dæftanevha.
I gave the book to the girl. (Book is emphasized.)

Arhem bontwen dæftanevha ilhæl.
I gave the girl the book. (Girl is emphasized.)

Note that the indirect object in Rihan can often be translated into English as either an indirect object or a prepositional phrase.

For Proper Nouns. an h is often added to the end of the root if it ends in a consonant before adding the singular dative suffix 'ri. This never occurs with Proper Names, however.

Arhem bontwen ilhæl Helev'ri.
I gave the book to Helev.


Arhem bontwen ilhæl Rihanh'ri.
I gave the book to a Romulan.

There are two nouns that are irregular in the dative:

  Dative Singular Dative Plural
hfai, servant hfaevha hfaevher
hfihar, house-clan hfihevha hfihevher

They also follow the pattern of having -vha in the singular and -vher in the plural.

Dative Pronouns

Personal pronouns have specific dative cases also.

Personal pronouns in the Dative case
Singular Plural
First Person Normal arvha
(to) me
(to) us
(to) me
(to) me
(to) me
Second Person Normal hwavha
(to) you
(to) you (all)
(to) you
(to) you
(to) you
Third Person Masculine diivha
(to) him
(to) them (all male)
Feminine riivha
(to) her
(to) them (all female)
Neuter æivha
(to) it
(to) them (mixed gender)

You can see that the Dative case for pronouns follows the same pattern as common nouns, using -vha in the singular and -vher in the plural. The root form of some personal pronouns change though.

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