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Learning Matoran: Lesson 5

Posted by Tolkien , in Matoran Language, Language and Etymology Oct 30 2011 · 473 views

Language Matoran Language Pronouns
Hi folks. It's been a terribly long count of years (months), but I'm still, here, writing this stuff. I think it helps keep me sane. . .Whatever the case, if you're here to read this new lesson on the Matoran Language, it might do to read up on some of the older stuff. I don't know, maybe like the previous four lessons?

Lesson 1
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Lesson 4

And now that that it's all fresh in your mind, move on to Lesson Five: Pronouns I:

=l Pronouns I l=

Matoran pronouns have much the same function as they do in English: they replace nouns, serving as the subject or object of a sentence, and fulfill most of the roles played by nouns. Consequently, Matoran pronouns are modified for the same functions that nouns are: Case, Motion, and Time/Location.

However, the current means of modification is through inflection, rather than a particle system. Although pronouns were previously modified by particles, these particles have since become “eroded,” in a sense, and have now developed new pronoun forms.

Pronouns and Case:

Pronouns are inflected for the same three-fold case system of Nominative (Subject), Objective (Object), and Genitive (Possessive).

Now, in English, whereas nouns function in these roles by their Word Order in a sentence, pronouns also have the extra feature of inflection. For example, the Nominative (Subject) form of the first person pronoun is “I”, while the Objective (Object) form is “me” and the Genitive (Possessive) form is “my”. These characteristics manifest in the other persons as well. Third person Nom. “he/she/it”, Acc. “him/her/it”, Gen. “his/her/its”. Second person Nom. “you”, Gen. “your”, etc.

Matoran features a similar—if a bit more complex—structure, with pronouns being marked for the various cases and numbers (singular or plural). As with nouns, we’ll start off with the Case Pronouns:


As is the case with all the pronouns, there are three Persons: first, second, and third. These come in singular and plural forms, the plurals being historically formed from the singulars by a particle -ee, which has since been assimilated to the pronoun stem. There is also a "fourth" person, which is the equivalent of English "one," as in "One is bored when one has nothing to do." This is classified as the "impersonal" subject and has no plural form.

Here are the forms of the nominative pronouns, beginning with the singulars:

1 o – “I”
2 oa – “you”
3 ia, ai – “he/she/it”
4 hua – “one”

Now the plurals:

1 oe, u – “we”
2 ue – “you (pl.), you all”
3 ie – “they”

These pronoun forms are usually placed directly before or after the verb, regardless of the verb’s position in the sentence. This is a pretty strict placement rule.


Next, the objective case forms. Historically the singulars were formed with the addition of a particle aak-. The plurals were formed by a combination of the ee particle and the addition of the n-prefix from the nounal case particles.


1 ako – “me”
2 akoa – “you”
3 akia, akai – “him/her/it”
4 ahua – “one”


1 ngoe, ngu – “us”
2 ngue – “you (pl.), you all”
3 ngie – “them”


Lastly, the genitive pronouns. Singulars are formed with the addition of the genitive particle ui (which you should recognize from the general nounal particles). Plurals are formed by the further addition of plural ee and the n-prefix (with subsequent assimilation):


1 uio – “my”
2 uikoa – “your”
3 uikia, uikai – “his/her/its”
4 uihua – “one’s”


1 moe, mu – “our”
2 mue – “your (pl.)”
3 mie – “their”

Genitives are placed after the nouns they modify in the same way that genitive-case nouns are.

-Usage and Examples:

The usage of the different cases with respect to pronouns is the same as with nouns. Thus, nominative pronouns are used as subjects, objectives are used as direct or indirect objects, and genitives are used to show possession. I will now offer some examples of these different cases forms:

Ia teryo ea matoran.
He/she/it attacked the Matoran.”

Teryo i rahi uikia akia.
His/her/its Rahi attacked him/her/it.

O kanna wo wahi a.
I went through the region.”

Na oro orakhe oa.
You will say words.”

Matoran akia kharmo.
“The/a Matoran made it.

Oe kamo ii koro uio.
We went toward my village.”

Na kanohi moe kharmo ie.
They made our Kanohi (pl.).”

[Note once again that the word order is not crucial in these examples (except for the placement of genitive pronouns, of course): it is the case inflection that determines the role of a noun or pronoun in the sentence.]

This concludes the discussion of case for pronouns. Still to come: Time/Location Particles on Nouns, Motion/Time/Location and Pronouns, Adjectives. Stay tuned.


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Any plans to continue this? I'm loving it so far.

If you have not already settled the issue definitively in your mind, may I make one suggestion? I am of the opinion that placement of an adjective should affect meaning - similar to the emphasis word order has in latin, only much stronger. For instance:
mata nui = great being, as in, of all the beings, he is the being of greatness.
kina nui = great temple, as in, the greatest of all temples.
nui jaga = great scorpion, as in, a scorpion of immense size.
nui rama = great insect, " "
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Codin the Fe-Matoran
Jun 12 2012 12:32 AM
I agree with Matt, really good idea, there. Even if Tolkien has other plans I think I'll still use that.
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@Matt: Great ideas there. I actually had something very similar in mind, whereby the semantics of the adjective nui change according to its syntactic placement. We'll see if I ever get to it though. =P

Nice to see that people still take an interest in this project.
    • 0
Tanu Toa of Earth
Nov 24 2013 09:14 PM

You ought to have used "One does not simply walk into Karzahni" as the example for the fourth (impersonal) person of the nominative case, if just for all of the mental facepalms it would result in...

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Chapter I

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A Short Bio of the...Author?


The author of this blog currently resides in the rather dry, bare, sandy climate of the southwest United States. He is a graduate student and teaching associate at his university, currently working toward a Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics.

His primary interests include such -ologies as mythology, philology, etymology, syntax, and phonology, along with a healthy passion for historical linguistics binding all these bewildering fields together. Some less academic hobbies include reading classical literature and mythology, high and epic fantasy, science fiction, and the occasional Tolkien biography, as well as attempting (and mostly failing) to write fiction modeled after these genres.

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