Sunday, 22 January 2017

Emra, pjesë e parë - emrat e gjinisë femërore

Nouns, part one - the feminine nouns.

Mirëmbrëma, today I'll take a look at the nouns of the feminine gender. As you probably know, the nouns in Albanian are either masculine or feminine in both singular and plural forms (thus a single noun can have 2 different forms, one for singular and one for plural). Sometime ago, there was a third, neuter gender in the Albanian (as far as I know, mostly used for materials, parts of the body and substances), which turned into masculine, ending often in ë - examples include ujë, djathë, drithë... And these actually change their gender from masculine to feminine in plural as far as I know, but that's a topic for another discussion.

An advice for me - pay attention to the definite and the plural form of every new noun you learn. You'll be surprised how many ways of forming the plurals as exceptions exist, especially with the masculine nouns. Also, pay attention to the definite form, it's the best indicator about the noun's gender. Knowing these in the nominative will help you learn how to form the other cases, as a feminine indefinite noun (either singular or plural) is used as a base.

So the feminine nouns. Pretty easy to remember most of their unstressed forms (which in many cases are the same for both singular and plural), and they have rather easy plural/definite formation and recognition. They usually end in a vowel, whether stressed or unstressed. Compared to the masculine, they're more straightforward and with far less exceptions, that's why I started with them.
Definite forms: They divide in a few groups:
1). Ending in ë, and having definite form that changes ë to a: vajza, dita, nena, gota etc. Usually that's the main rule.
2). Ending in stressed i - add an -a to it: shtëpia, kutia, Shqipëria. In many cases the -i at the end of the nouns is stressed, I've seen it a lot more often than an unstressed I.
3). Ending in unstressed -e, replace it with -ja: shoqja, dritarja, lulja.
4). Ending in any unstressed vowel - add -ja: kafeja, gruaja.
5). Ending in -ër, -ërr, -ël, -ëll - drop the ë and add a: motra, letra, ëndrra.

Regarding the formation of the plural...
1). Most of the nouns that end in -i, -a, -e, -o, either stressed or unstressed, have the same form as the indefinite singular one: shtëpi, mace, shoqe, lule.
2). Most of the nouns that end in -ë change the -ë to a: gazeta, vajza, gota.
3). Some of the nouns ending in ë have the same form for singular and plural - these you must remember, but here are some: ditë,  gjuhë, javë, botë.
4). The ones that end in -ër, -ërr, -ël, -ëll again drop the ë and add a: motra, letra, ëndrra.
5). The last group are some irregular ones, these again should be learned - gra (grua), dyer (derë), net (natë) and so on.

The plural definite just add t (or të, if ending in stressed vowel) to the indefinite plural form.

So if you're pattern learner like me, you'll realize that most of the nouns have the same form in both their plural indefinite and their singular definite form. That was something that confused me a lot at first when I started studying, how to distinguish them. Here is the trick - in order to understand whether you talk about "the girl" or about "girls", for example, you should read the context and pay attention to the words around - are the verbs in plural? (if yes, it should be plural) Is that noun an action doer? (if yes, unless it's vajzat, then it's about the girl) These two should help you to get what it is about and hopefully - to understand it easier even when listening to the language.

That was the short "lesson" (not sure how to call it, I'm not too good at explaining, I just have my own ways of spotting patterns), hope you found it helpful.

Shihemi së shpejti!

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