Nouns are words that represent objects and ideas. Most of the words in the Primal language are nouns. Every sentence begins with a noun, called the subject. All other nouns, called objects, are found in phrases.
The "generic" noun Du (dzuh, "thing") means "thing", "object", or "noun". For a list of the twenty most common nouns in Primal, see the (vocabulary) Essential Words builder. The list of pronouns is covered in the Pronouns lesson, which follows this one.
Primal has ten noun prefixes. Noun prefixes determine whether a noun is singular, plural, proper, or part of a group. Most noun prefixes end in ,u (uh), which allows them to slur as described in the Alphabet lesson.
A noun may have only one noun prefix. When no noun prefix appears, plurality is determined by context.
Using nu (nuh, "indefinite") means "the concept in general". This prefix is used to make statements of fact. For example, the statement nuWG suj mr. (n'wohl suhch mur, "indefinite wolf member-of pleasure") means, "Wolves are fun."
This differs from JuWG suj mr. (j'wohl suhch mur, "all-of wolf member-of pleasure"), which refers to a particular group: "All of the wolves are fun." Only nu (nuh, "indefinite") is used to make broad statements of fact. The plural prefixes vu (vuh, "plural"), ju (chuh, "each-of"), Ju (juh, "all-of"), ,lu (luh, "none-of"), and QU (dthul, "some-of") always refer to a particular group.
The noun prefix Qu (dthuh, "a") is similar to English "a" or "an" (even though it sounds just like the word "the"). It refers to a single, arbitrary object. Its plural form is vu (vuh, "plural"). The noun prefix Ru (ruh, "this") refers to a single, particular object, like English "the" or "this". Its plural form is Ry (ree, "these").
Noun prefixes have a different meaning when a noun is enumerated, as described in the Numbers lesson.
Proper nouns (names) are formed by the noun prefix ku (kuh, "proper"). For example, kuWG (k'wohl, "proper wolf") means "the name Wolf". The noun prefix ku (kuh, "proper") is not always required. It may be omitted if the word becoming a proper noun is already a noun, unless clarity is desired. Signatures often omit ku (kuh, "proper").
There is no plural version of ku (kuh, "proper"). Primal names are always formed as if they were singular.
Some names may be more than one word long, like "Cloudchaser". These are called extended proper nouns, and they are described in the (advanced) Noun Forms lesson. For repeated use, only one base noun (such as "Cloud" or "Chaser", a matter of personal choice) is generally used as a name.
By default, noun suffixes are considered part of a name, and may be retained in the shortened form. Rules on using noun suffixes to modify proper nouns are given in the (advanced) Noun Forms lesson.
Most noun suffixes describe a noun's uniqueness. Noun suffixes may only appear after nouns. There are seven noun suffixes:
The noun suffix ny (nee, "naturally") is similar to English "naturally" or "of course". The noun suffix jy (chee, "however") is nearly the opposite, meaning "however", "but", or "on the other hand". The noun suffixes Tu (tsuh, "also") and py (pee, "only") mean "this noun, in addition", and "only this noun", respectively. The noun suffix mU (mul, "other") means "the other noun", implying that the noun being discussed is different from one previously indicated, as in English, "hand me the other box". The noun suffix mU (mul, "other") may be used with noun prefixes Ru (ruh, "this") or Ry (ree, "these") to imply "that" or "those" (literally, "this other" or "these other").
Note that Tu (tsuh, "also") ends in ,u (uh), so it may slur with the word that follows it! This can be a little confusing in speech. Fortunately, Tu (tsuh, "also") is the only suffix in Primal that can slur.
Unlike other noun suffixes, the noun suffixes sr (sur, "operator") and zy (zee, "resulting") change the meaning of a noun entirely. The suffix sr (sur, "operator") is similar to the "-er" suffix in English "farmer" or "screwdriver". It makes the noun mean, "that which uses or does".
The suffix zy (zee, "resulting") has a number of uses. It changes a noun to mean, "the result of" or "the product of". It is often used when non-nouns become nouns. It is also used to mark the boundary of proper nouns. These situations are described in the (advanced) Noun Forms lesson.
A noun may be followed by multiple noun suffixes. The suffixes are applied to the meaning of the noun from left to right. Thus, WGpymU (wohl-pee-mul, "wolf only other") means "another lone wolf", while WGmUpy (wohl-mul-pee, "wolf other only") means "the only other wolf". In rare cases, the same suffix may be repeated more than once.
Non-nouns Becoming Nouns
Any syllable that follows a noun prefix, even another affix, becomes a noun. This process is often used to turn verbs and numbers into nouns. A word that has become a noun may take only affixes appropriate for nouns. There are special rules for compound numbers and compound prepositions that become nouns, as discussed in the (advanced) Noun Forms lesson.
If a verb or verb suffix appears immediately after a preposition, the verb or verb suffix becomes a noun just as if it had been preceded by the nu (nuh, "indefinite") noun prefix. In this case, the missing word nu (nuh) is called an implied word. This is discussed in the (advanced) Noun Forms lesson.