Neo-Quenya has 2 cases that together form the traditional genitive case of an inflected language (e.g. Latin, German or Greek): the genitive and the possessive.
So it is important to know when each is appropriate.
There are 4 situations in which the possessive is used:
1. present owner
- rocco i aranwa "the king's horse"
This means that the horse at this moment belongs to the king. It has no implications of origin or previous ownership.
This is why in English this case is frequently translated by an English genitive.
Of course this ownership is always related to the tense of the verb: it is the present owner at the moment indicated by the verb:
- nas coa i eldava "it's the elf's house"
So this house is at this moment the property of that elf.
- nes parma i vendeva "it was the book of the girl"
In this case the girl was the present owner of the book at the moment of the sentence, but it is quite possible that at this moment she no longer owns it.
The possessive case is also used to denote a property of a person or object:
- huinë i taureva "the gloom of the wood"
- altarë i nerwa "the length of the man"
We also use this case to denote the substance from which something is made:
- rië telpeva "the crown of silver"
This meaning is of course related to using an adjective:
- i telpina rië "the silver crown"
When we use a possessive case the material from which the crown is made is emphasized (just as can be seen by the English translations).
4. subject of nouns with an "about" noun
In situation 6 of the usage of the genitive case we have seen that the words after the preposition "about" are in the genitive. The subject of these words is however in the possessive case. This can again be translated by "of" but in this case "of" is equivalent to the preposition "by":
- quentalë atarwa "the story of (i.e. by) father"
- equessi i naucoiva "the sayings of (i.e. by) the dwarves"
(for more about this see also Verbal nouns)
The possessive is always put behind the noun to which it belongs:
- míri i naucova "the dwarf's jewels"
- tári i eldaiva "the elves' queen"
A possessive can also be used predicatively:
- i corma ná Saurondeva "the ring is Sauron's"
Use of the article
A noun that is accompanied by a noun in the possessive case normally shouldn't get the article i (however the article is sometimes written for poetic reasons).
So we have to take into account that a noun in the possessive can be translated with either an indefinite or a definite article:
- coa ohtarwa "a house of a soldier"/"the house of a soldier"
- coa i ohtarwa "a house of the soldier"/"the house of the soldier"
We discuss each of the numbers separately:
The basic ending is -va after vowels and -wa after consonants.
Most words simply add this ending:
- elda "elf" → eldava
- aran "king" → aranwa
There are two important exceptions:
- words that end on a vowel and of which the penultimate syllable is short (see Phonology), lengthen the final vowel before adding -va:
- tyalië "play" → tyaliéva
- oromë "hornblower" → oroméva
- tano "crafstman" → tanóva
- words of two syllables that contain the diphthong -ui in the first syllable and that end in a vowel, also lengthen this vowel before adding the ending:
- huinë "gloom" → huinéva
- tuima "sprout" → tuimáva
(but e.g. quinga "bow" doesn't contain the diphthong ui because qu stands for cw).
- curo "device" → curuva
- lómë "night" → lómiva
Words that have a stem-form in a consonant use their basic form and not the stem-form:
- fion "hawk" → fionwa (stem-form fiond-)
- tirios "burg" → tirioswa (stem-form tiriost-)
- amil "mother" → amilwa (stem-form amill-)
- toron "brother" → toronwa (stem-form torn-)
- seler "sister" → selerwa (stem-form sell-)
- henet "window" → henetwa (stem-form henets-)
- talan "floor" → talanwa (stem-form talam-)
- words with a stem-form on -ss:
- nís "woman" → nisseva (stem-form niss-)
- lis "honey" → lisseva (stem-form liss-)
- words with a stem-form on -c:
- filit "little bird" → filiqua (stem-form filic-)
- nelet "tooth" → nelequa (stem-form nelc-)
- quesset "pillow" → quessequa (stem-form quessec-)
- words with a long vowel that is shortened in the stem-form:
- tál "foot" → talwa (stem-form tal-)
- nér "man" → nerwa (stem-form ner-)
The ending is -iva:
- macil "sword" → maciliva
- elda "elf" → eldaiva
(note: this ending forms a diphthong when the noun ends in -a, -o or -u)
- words ending in -ë drop this -ë and have -íva as ending:
- lassë "leaf" → lassíva
- words ending in -ië drop this -ië and have -íva as ending:
- mornië "darkness" → morníva
- words ending in -i (or with a stem-form in -i) also get -íva:
- tári "queen" → táríva
- lómë "night" → lómíva
The dual is regular: u-duals get -va, t-duals get -wa:
- ciryat "a pair of ships" → ciryatwa (nom.sing.: cirya)
- aldu "a pair of trees" → alduva (nom.sing.: alda)
When the nominative partitive plural ends in -lli, the possessive ends in -lliva:
- toron "brother" → torolli → torolliva
- macil "sword" → macilli → macilliva
When the nominative partitive plural only has a single l before the final i then the possessive ends in -líva:
- cirya "ship" → ciryali → ciryalíva
- sarat "sign" → sarateli → saratelíva