Sámegillii | På norsk | In English

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Adjectives describe what something or somebody is like, e.g. what this or that looks like. Mus lea 'rukses' biila. (I have a 'red' car.) Son lea 'lihkolaš'. (He/She is 'happy'.)

Adjectives are inflected in different ways. Inflection is determined by the number of syllables in the final foot of the nominative plural form. There are

  • vowel stem adjectives (bisyllabic adjectives), e.g. nuorra - nuorat 'young'.
  • consonant stem adjectives (trisyllabic adjectives), e.g. suohtas - suohttasat 'pleasant', bivnnut - bivnnuhat 'favorite'.
  • contracted adjectives, e.g. njálggis - njálgát 'sweet', stuoris - stuorrát 'big'.

Diphthong simplification and consonant gradation are important things to know about when you are inflecting words.

Adjectives take attribute or premodifier forms when they preceed the head noun of a noun phrase: Sis lea 'fiskes' viessu. (They have a 'yellow' house.) When an adjective stands independent of a noun, for example it comes in the complement, it takes a predicative form: Viessu lea 'fiskat'. (The house is 'yellow'.) Viesut leat 'fiskadat'. (The houses are 'yellow'.)

Adjectives have three degrees of comparison: 'unni - unnit - unnimus' (small - smaller - smallest).

Adjectives can be used as nouns, and therefore they can be inflected in all cases. This occurs when the adjective is itself head of the noun phrase and needs to indicate what functions it has in the sentence. In North Saami there are seven cases. The same inflection patterns are used for adjectives as they are for nouns.

  • The nominative is the basic or dictionary form, e.g. Nieida lea 'nuorra'. (The girl is 'young'.)
  • The accusative is used to mark the object, e.g. Mun oasttán 'hálbbibu'. (I'll buy 'the cheaper one'.)
  • The genitive is the form of the possessor: riggá (the rich one's). The genitive is also used to mark the preposition and postposition complement, e.g. 'Jallaid' gaskkas lei jierbmái. (There was a smart person among 'the fools'.)
  • The illative indicates movement towards or into something/someone: Mun adden eanet vahkkoruđa 'boarrásebbui'. (I gave more weekly allowance to the older one.) Dát lea fálaldat 'riggáide'. (That is a service 'for the rich'.)
  • The locative is used to indicate at/in/on or from. The locative can also be used in expressions of possession equivalent to "to have something": 'Jallas' ii leat ollu jierbmi. ('A fool' does not 'have' much sense.) Sii soitet oažžut veahki 'riggáin'. (They might receive help 'from the rich'.)
  • The comitative often expresses the notion "with": Mun hupmen muhtun 'jallain'. (I spoke 'with a fool'.)
  • The essive is a case expressing state, which might be translated in "as, like": Mun dovden iežan 'jallan'. (I felt 'like a fool'.)

You can read more about adjectives here .

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