The dative is comparable in some sense to a classical dative - it marks the recipient of an action. Examples:
emi mersi nalei
she him.dat sing-3sg - she sings for him
nek es urek siber
me.dat it strange appear.3sgN - it appears strange to me
xnërsi xus lramaHowever, beyond this, it also serves as quirky case subject with a handful of verbs:
you.pl.dat xus fall-3sgN - something bad happened to you
tënk bulyr nïsr kevyk du inrahatThe dative further can serve as a genitive:
who.dat believe.3sg I.2ndsubj that like behave.1sg? - Who(DAT!) believes that I behave like that?
Erkube tebuxu vybaraThe dative is the case used when the possessor is not marked as subject, secondary subject or object of the clause. Topical secondary subjects can own any participant of the clause, subjects can own any participants, objects can own oblique arguments, and oblique arguments can own other oblique arguments. A dative or ablative that is directly in front of a possessed noun, however, can own that noun. Datives are preferred with human possessors, ablatives with inanimates and non-human animates.
Erkub.dat cake.neut.nom suffice.telic3sgN (the verb is vyberet in the atelic form); Erkub's cake sufficed.
Directions with nouns are not given by the dative, most of the time - generally, those are formed by postpositions with the accusative.
In combination with the secondary cases, the dative further has some interesting deals - with the partitive it and the ablative merge and form a single oblique case. With the definite the implied telicity, pastness, 'realisness', absolutely-likely-to-happen futureness, etc, of the statement is slightly strengthened.
With the partitive, the opposite implication is generally acquired, and there's a very weakened definiteness. (However, as noted, it then merges with the ablative.) The possessive should be fairly well understood by now. The reciprocal object will have its own post sooner or later. The secondary subject appears on the dative for two quite opposite reasons:
Promoted Dative Secondary Subjects
Subordinate Dative Secondary SubjectsThe previous kind basically are causers, parties involved indirectly but who cause things to come about. The subordinate dative secondary subjects are embedded in VPs that are objects of the main verb; they either are quirky case subjects or they are datives that serve a topic-like function in the embedded subclause.
Erkub taidënisr rulmunti ake sigi
Erkub wife-dat-2ndsubj tobacco.obliq-part not drink.atelic-3sg - Erkub doesn't smoke tobacco (because his wife doesn't like it)
Garkeb kendynnyx bumal segaThe subordinate kind would be exemplified by
Garkeb desire.dat-pl.neut.2ndsubj water drink.atelic-3sg.neut
Garkeb felt like drinking water, so he did
Firgyk naskannyx barlei ydrerThe embedded verb usually comes before the main verb, but if the semantic difference of the kinds of verbs involved is big enough, the order can be reversed, and the change can signal differences along these lines:
Firgyk field.fem-dat-plur.2ndsubj-plur dry_up.atelic-3sg fear-3sg.neut
Firgyk fears the field will dry up
Firgyk naskannyx ydrei barlei: Firgyk, on the account of the field is worried - it might dry up.
Firgyk ydrei naskannyx barlei: Firgyk worries, the field may dry up
naskannyx barlei Firgyk ydrei: the field drying up has Firgyk worried.The remaining forms - both main objects and secondary objects - will be covered in the next post.