Nouns

There is not much to say about the noun in Talossan that is not common-sense to anyone. We have also already covered the issue of a noun’s grammatical gender, which governs which forms of articles (and other parts of speech, like adjectives) should be used with each noun. We also stressed the importance of accompanying each noun with some other part of speech — usually an article, but also a word like acest (= this) or va (= my).

There are only a couple of other things that an English speaker might find slightly different about Talossan nouns.

Gerunds

A gerund is a verb that is being used as a noun. In English, the form of a verb that becomes a gerund is typically the present participle (the -ing form). For example, English has nouns like “meeting” and “greeting” that have been formed from verbs.

In Talossan, there are indeed some nouns that have formed from the present participle of a verb — for example, el developind (= the development) — the primary form of a gerund in Talossan is the infinitive form, not the present participle.

The infinitive form, of course, is the form akin to English’s “to see” or “to run”. So when you need to use a verb as a noun, you would typically use the infinitive form. This is not unfamiliar in English — “to read is to live” is one example of infinitive verbs being used as gerunds in English. This same sentence in Talossan would be el lirarh c’e el vivarh.

Notice that articles need not accompany gerunds — it is just as proper to omit them as to supply them. For example, lirarh c’e vivarh is also proper for “to read is to live”.

Gerunds often appear in a prepositional phrase expressing a purpose. This is done in English as well. For example, vivéu per cantarh (= I live for singing, or I live to sing).

Adjectives Used as Nouns

The infinitive form and the present participle of the verb are not the only other parts of speech that can serve as nouns in Talossan. In Talossan, as in other Romance languages, it is not uncommon to allow an adjective to stand alone as a noun, if the noun it would be modifying is obvious from context.

For example, where English would say “Is your friend the fat man or the thin man?”, Talossan would perhaps say ¿Isch tu amíc el fäts eda el stiglh? (literally = is your friend the fat or the thin). English often uses a neutral pronoun like “one” (as in is he the fat one or the thin one) if the actual noun is to be omitted, but in Talossan, it is fine to allow the noun to be inferred, which causes the adjective, essentially, to become a qualified noun: el stiglh (= the thin one [man]).

We have discussed how Talossan present and past participle verb forms are used in adjectival contexts. For example, el cióvec borind (= the boring man) and el cióvec borat (= the bored man). Obviously, these adjectives may be used as any others, to stand for an omitted verb: el borind (= the boring [one]).

Formation of Nouns Through Suffixes

We have briefly discussed Talossan suffixes in a previous lecture. Keep in mind that nouns can easily be formed by suffixing other parts of speech, like verbs and adjectives.

There are a great many suffixes that can be used to create a noun. One of these is -maintsch, which is akin to the English suffix -ment. For example, movamaintsch (= movement) is created from the verb movarh (= to move).

Grammatical Gender and Sexual Gender

Grammatical gender and sexual gender are two different things that should not be confused with one another, although they related to one another in some circumstances.

One of these circumstances is exemplified by the fact that the noun garziun (= boy) is a masculine noun, which is not (by the rules given in the previous lecture) what you would expect of a noun ending with -iun to be. In short, any noun that can only ever be describing a noun that has a particular sexual gender will have the same grammatical gender. Another such case is la stulkavinureu (= the girlfriend [of a boy]).

Another circumstance when a noun’s grammatical gender is determined by the sexual gender of the noun itself rather than by its orthography (spelling) is the case of the “common-gender” nouns. These are nouns that include things like professions. That is, a scientist might be male or female, and if it is important to indicate the feminine gender of a person being referred to as the scientist, you would use la sientistà rather than el sientistà.

Notice, however, that you should use sexually-determined articles (and adjectives, etc.) only if it is important to convey the sexual gender. If it does not matter in context whether a particular scientist is male or female (and you don’t wish to make a statement about gender-bias by intentionally choosing the opposite gender to promote the fact that the role of scientist can be filled by a person of either sex), then you should use el sientistà (since masculine is the default grammatical gender for words ending in -istà), even if you happen to know that the scientist is a female.