Grammar Terms

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Apart from immersion aquisition while living in Тыва (Tuva) itself everyday, a grammatical study is the only way to learn the language. This is an introduction to the terms needed to study from afar.

All languages call an acoustic phenomenon either a simple sound (үн) or a word (сөс). Many languages exist in a written form, using either logograms, syllabaries, or alphabets. English and Tuvan use 26 and 36 glyphs respectively. In either language, each glyph, or letter (үжүк) is either a vowel (ажик үн) or a consonant (ажик звес үн). A meaningful combination of words form a sentence (домак). Let us look at the parts of speech (чугаа кезектери) common to Tuvan and English.

Nouns (Чүве Ады)

A noun is a person place or thing.

Number (Сан)

The feature of Tuvan nouns which is easiest to understand is number. They can be either singular (чаңгыстың саны) or plural (хөйнуң саны). In English, we add s or es to the end of a word to indicate plurality.

Case (Падежи)

In English, a noun's function within a given sentence is determined by sentence word order (домакка сөстерниң туружу). In Tuvan (and other languages), nouns are declined, that is, one alters their morphology (сөс чогаадылгазы). Noun declensions (чүве аттарының падежтерге өскерлири) group nouns by their patterns of endings. The different patterns for indicating function are called cases. There are seven different cases that a Tuvan noun can assume.

Nominative (Адаарының падежи)

This is simple form of the word, used when it is the subject (кол сөс) of a sentence. English typically puts the subject near the beginning of the sentence.

Dative (Бээрының падежи)

Usually indicates the indirect object.

Accusative (Хамаарыштырарының падежи)

Usually indicates the direct object.

Genitive (Омаарының падежи)

Usually indicates possession. This is comparable to the English practice of adding 's or s' .

Allative (Углаарының падежи)

Usually means "onto".

Ablative (Үнериниң падежи)

Usually means "off" or "away from".

Locative (Турарының падежи)

Usually means "in" or "on".

Pronouns (Ат Орну)

Pronouns stand in the place of nouns. The interrogative pronoun (айтытыгның ат орну) is who, whom, what or which in English. The personal pronouns (арынның ат оруннар) are quite complicated in English: I, you, they, etc.

Adjectives (демдек ады)

Adjectives modify nouns.

Adverbs (наречие)

Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.

Postpositions (эдеринчы)

These are similar to English prepositions in that they mark adverbial phrases. Postpositions come at the end of their phrase, unlike prepositions which come before. An English postposition is "ago".

Verbs (кылыг сөзү)

Indicates action, occurence or state. Verbs are conjugated; nouns are declined. If the verb takes an object, it is said to be a transitive verb (шилчилге кылыг сөзү), if not, it is an intransitive verb (шилчилге эвес кылыг сөзү). Verb conjugation (кылыг сөстерниң өскерлири) involves person, number, tense, mood and voice. Also see wp:Verb.

Tense (үе)

Examples in English include the present tense (амгы үе), past tense (эрткен үе) or future tense (келир үе).

Person (арын)

First, second, third.

Moods (сөстерниң наклонениелер)

Indicative (болуушкун наклонениези) , imperative and voluntative mood (дужаал наклонениези), conditional mood (даар наклонениези).

Participles (артынчы)

Conjunctions (эвилел)

Conjunctions connect words, phrases or clauses.

Interjections (аян сөзү)

An interjection (also called a discourse participle) is an independant grammatical unit, only expressing emotion and not connected to the rest of a sentence. Examples in English include Whoa!, Hey! and Oh!.

Vowel Harmony (ажик үннерниң аяннажылгазы)

We speak of vowel harmony if in a given language the vowels can be divided into classes, and words may only contain vowels of one particular class. Tuvan displays vowel harmony based on palatality (a word may contain only front vowels or back vowels), on which rounding harmony is superimposed (there are certain restrictions as to the occurrence of rounded vowels). As inflection and derivation of words in Tuvan takes place through agglutination (adding suffixes), the vowels of the suffixes need to adapt to the quality of the vowels in the word stem, in order to maintain the vowel harmony in words.


English Тыва дыл
word phrase? сөс каттыжыышкыны
lesson кичээл
question sentences айтырыг домактар
questions айтырыглар
answers харыылар
dialog чугаалар