More on Nouns Cases

Unlike the other case endings, the sixth (sasthl) indicates a relationship to a word other than the verb, i.e. to another noun in the sentence. This is usually rendered in English by the preposition 'of' or with an apostrophe, for example, 'he talks to the son of John', 'he drives John's car'. In both these examples John has no relation to the action of the verb: indeed John may be absent, even deceased. This case ending generally indicates a relationship of source or possession, for example, 'John's book' may refer to the book that John purchased, or to the book that he wrote. The word in sasthl is usually placed immediately before the word to which it is related.

The seventh (saptami) case ending indicates the place or time where or when the action takes place, and may be rendered in English by the prepositions 'in', 'on', 'at', 'among', etc., for example, 'he stands on the table', 'it is hot in summer'. A word with saptami case ending is often the first in the sentence, setting the scene as it were.

Strictly speaking, Sanskrit has just seven case endings, however many publications give an eighth, sambodhana, which is used for addressing or calling, for example, 'Oh Lord, hear my prayers', 'John, where are you?'. In fact this is simply a special use of the prathama (first) case ending.

The strictly correct way of tabling the declension of nara is:

eka-vaeana

dvi-vacana

bahu-vacana

prathama

narah

narau

narah

sambodhana prathama

he nara

he narau

he narah

dvitiya

naram

narau

naran

trtiya

narena

narabhyam

naraih

eaturthi

naraya

narabhyam

narebhyah

paneami

narat

narabhyam

narebhyah

sasthl

narasya

narayoh

nar a ii am

saptami

nare

narayoh

naresu

The vocative particle 'he' is traditionally sounded in the paradigm; it is optional in a sentence and may be translated as 'Oh'. Publications that list sambodhana as an eighth case ending, place that row at the bottom of the table, labelling it simply 'sambodhana' and omit the vocative particle he.

The sandhi change of n to n that occurs in eka-vacana trtiya, also occurs in bahu-vaeana sasthi, thus asvanam but vrksanam.

The vibhakti of the nouns are, like the verbs, grouped into three's, so that the prat ham a vibhakti refers to the forms of all three vacana. In practising sounding the full declension of the noun, use the 'correct' table given above, i.e.: narah - narau - narah (pause) he nara - he narau - he narah (pause) naram -narau - naran (pause) etc.

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