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. However, the Quenya genitive case doesn't cover all that is in the traditional genitive case, which instead are found in the possessive case, so to differentiate between when to appropriately use a genitive or possessive is key to learning the differences between these Quenya cases.
There is quite an extensive list of situations in which the genitive is used:
- The place where something is made or someone is born is in the genitive:
- aG7ÎE 1T7T`N5^ cirya Tiriono "the ship of Tirion"
- iRm^ `CjzDj^2$`N seldo Alqualondëo "the boy from Swanhaven"
- It has no implication of movement, so the boy was born in Swanhaven but we don't mean that he just arrived from Swanhaven.
2. Previous owner:
- 7Ya;Y `C7E5^ rocco arano "the horse of a king"
- This means that the horse once belonged to the king, but now belongs to someone else.
3. Partitive genitive:
- We use this to denote something that is part of something greater:
- `B `Vj$5%`N5 `Cf#j%t# i elenion ancalima "the brightest of the stars"
- 7Ev% `B `C7E5^ ranqui i arano "the arms of the king"
4. Family relations:
- `B `C7E5^ hÍY2^6 i arano yondor "the sons of the king"
- `B2%8 `Nd1E7Y indis ohtaro "the bride of a soldier"
5. Where a title belongs to:
- `C7E5 iG2#7Y5 aran Sindaron "the king of the Sindar"
- 9R7U `B aY6t#7Y5 heru i cormaron "the lord of the rings"
6. Nouns after "about":
- `VzR,T `C7E5^ equessi arano "the sayings about the king"
- Frequently the preposition "about" is replaced by "of" in English, so we have to be careful about the meaning of this "of":
- `B 5.DaY6 zF1T6 `Cj1R 9C6t#7Y5 i naucor quetir altë harmaron "the dwarves speak of (about) great treasures"
- zF4# iGjt#7Tj°%`N5 quenta Silmarillion "the tale of (about) the Silmarils"
- zF4#j$ 5^m^7Y5 quentalë Noldoron "the history of (about) the Noldor", Noldoron is also spelt as g^m^7Y5.
(for more about this see also Verbal nouns)
7. Composite names of plants or animals:
- `CiR`C `C7E5%`N5 asëa aranion "kings' weed"
8. The word following quanta "full":
- zD4# t#,Y quanta masso "full of bread"
9. The prepositions ~M ú "without" and the adjective `C6nE arwa "with, having":
- ~M aDj^ ú calo "without light"
- `C7E5 `C6nE `Nd1E7T`N5 aran arwa ohtarion "a king with/having soldiers"
- The adjective `C6nE arwa has the plural form of `C6nR arwë, this is used when there is more than one owner:
- 5$7T `C6nR aYj°^ neri arwë collo "men with/having a mantle"
The genitive can be placed in front or behind the noun to which it belongs:
- `B 5~N7R`N `Cm#6 i nórëo aldar "trees of the land"
- `Cm#6 `B 5~N7R`N aldar i nórëo "trees of the land"
There are 2 cases in which the genitive is always put in front:
- When the noun is preceded by a preposition:
- yR `N81Y `C7E5 ve osto aran "like the king of a city"
- 5& 1T7T5^ 1~NqE nu tirino tópa "under the roof of a tower"
- When the noun has both a word in the genitive and in the possessive case:
- `B `Vm#7Y5 t#aGj `C1E6nE i eldaron macil atarwa "father's sword of (coming from) the elves"
A genitive can also be used predicatively:
- `B aY6t# 5~C 8.D7Y2^ i corma ná Saurondo "the ring is (originally) Sauron's"
Use of the article
A noun that is accompanied by a noun in the genitive case normally shouldn't get the article i (however the article is sometimes written for poetic reasons).
So we have to take into account that a noun in the genitive can be translated with either an indefinite or a definite article:
- `B2%8 `Nd1E7Y indis ohtaro "a bride of a soldier"/"the bride of a soldier"
- `Nd1E7Y `B2%8 ohtaro indis "a bride of a soldier"/"the bride of a soldier"
- `B `Nd1E7Y `B2%8 i ohtaro indis "a bride of the soldier"/"the bride of the soldier"
- `B2%8 `B `Nd1E7Y indis i ohtaro "a bride of the soldier"/"the bride of the soldier"
We discuss each of the numbers separately:
The basic ending is \`N -o.
Most words simply add this ending:
- `C7E5 aran "king" → `C7E5^ arano
- 1~C7T tári "queen" → 1~C7T`N tário
- yR2$ vendë "girl" → yR2$`N vendëo
Words that have a stem-form use this stem-form:
- 5~B8 nís "woman" → 5%,Y nisso (stem-form 5%,\ niss-)
- aU7Y curo "device" → aU7U`N curuo (stem-form aU7U\ curu-)
- j~Nt$ lómë "night" → j~Nt%`N lómio (stem-form j~Nt%\ lómi-)
Words on \`N -o have a genitive singular that is identical to the nominative singular:
- 7Ya;Y rocco "horse" → 7Ya;Y rocco
In words on \`C -a this final letter is replaced by \`N -o:
- t~Ct# máma "sheep" → t~Ct^ mámo
Words on \`B`V -ië lengthen the final the "e" to make it \`B~V -ié:
- t^65%`V mornië "darkness" → t^65%~V`N morniéo
- j%`V lië "people" → j%~V`N liéo
The plural adds \`N5 -on to the nominative 'plural' (this is exceptional as all other cases of the plural are based upon the nominative singular):
- `Cm#6 aldar "trees" → `Cm#7Y5 aldaron (nom.sing.: alda)
- `Vj$5% eleni "stars" → `Vj$5%`N5 elenion (nom.sing.: elen)
- 7~CyT rávi "lions" → 7~CyT`N5 rávion (nom.sing.: rá)
- 5%,G nissi "women" → 5%,T`N5 nission (nom.sing.: nís)
Words on \`B`V -ië lengthen the final "e" to \`B~V -ié:
- t^65%`V mornië "darkness" → t^65%~V7Y5 morniéron
- j%`V lië "people" → j%~V7Y5 liéron
In the dual the ending is also \`N -o:
- aG7ÎE1 ciryat "a pair of ships" → aG7Î#1Y ciryato (nom.sing.: cirya)
- `Cm& aldu "a pair of trees" → `Cm&`N alduo (nom.sing.: alda)
- 7~CyR1 rávet "a pair of lions" → 7~CyR1Y ráveto (nom.sing.: rá)
When the noun has a t-dual and the nominative singular ends in a vowel followed by a consonant:
(\j \5 \6 \8 -l, -n, -r, -s), the \`V\ -e- of the nominative dual disappears in the genitive dual:
- `C7E5$1 aranet "a pair of kings" → `C7E4^ aranto (nom.sing.: aran)
- t#aGj$1 macilet "a pair of swords" → t#aGj1Y macilto (nom.sing.: macil)
- `V`C7R1 ëaret "a pair of seas" → `V`C61Y ëarto (nom.sing.: ëar)
Words on \`B`V -ië lengthen the final "e" to make \`B~V -ié:
- t^65%`V mornië "darkness" → t^65%~V1Y morniéto
- j%`V lië "people" → j%~V1Y liéto
We always add -on to the nominative partitive plural:
- aG7ÎEj% ciryali "some ships" → aG7ÎEj%`N5 ciryalion (Nom.Sing: aG7ÎE cirya)