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The Kelen noun generally consists of a prefix + the root + a suffix.
The prefixes come in two sets, animate and inanimate.  The nouns
considered to be animate or inanimate will vary by dialect.
Generally, however, all people and nouns referring to people are
animate. Some nouns referring to animals and natural phenomena are
also animate. All other nouns are inanimate.

The prefixes include:
ma- ~ m-
        for animate singular, non-collective
ti- ~ t-
        for animate collective
ja- ~ j-
        for inanimate singular, non-collective
        for inanimate collective

The suffixes include:
-a ~ -e ~ -0
        the generic suffix
        the plural suffix
        the distributive suffix
The generic is used for anything that is neither plural nor distributive.

The plural is used for two or more of a thing and for a large group
of people.  Small groups of people (i.e. couples, triads, a sibling
set, etc.) usually take the generic suffix.

The distributive is used for marking a various group of things that
are considered to be individual and distinct in space or time.

Using the singular & non-collective prefix with the generic  suffix
makes a root singular:
        (singular animate) cousin, relative
        (singular inanimate) "bear"
        (singular inanimate) tree
        (singular inanimate) word

Using the singular & non-collective prefix with the plural suffix makes a root plural:
        (plural animate) many cousins, many relatives
        (plural inanimate) many "bears"
        (plural inanimate) many trees
        (plural inanimate) many words

Using the singular & non-collective prefix with the distributive
suffix results in a  partial reduplication of the initial consonant
of the root and a distributive noun. If the root begins with a vowel,
no reduplication happens:
        (animate distributive)various cousins
        (inanimate distributive) various "bears"
        (inanimate distributive) various trees
        (inanimate distributive) various words

Using the collective prefix with a generic suffix results in a
stative noun.  This makes more sense for some roots than others:
        (animate stative) related
        (inanimate stative) "bear"-like
        (inanimate stative) tree-ish
        (inanimate stative) said

Using the collective prefix with the plural suffix results in a collective noun:
        (animate collective) set of relatives
        (inanimate collective) group of "bears"
        (inanimate collective) group of trees
        (inanimate collective) set of words, an utterance

Finally, using the collective prefix with a distributive suffix again
results  in a partial reduplication of the initial consonant of the
root and a greater plural. Greater plurals refer to an abundance of
things or to all possible instances of a thing. If the root begins
with a vowel, no reduplication happens:
        (animate greater plural) all relatives
        (inanimate greater plural) all "bears"
        (inanimate greater plural) all trees
        (inanimate greater plural) all words, the lexicon

Proper Names

Proper names are usually rendered as bare noun roots, sans  prefixes
and suffixes. However, they will take the prefix Li- when used as the
topic of a sentence. There is also a vocative prefix la(n)- used when
directly addressing a person with a proper name.

Proper Name:            With Li-                Vocative:
árna                    Liárna          lanárna
hémal                   Lihémal         lahémal
márniń                  Limárniń                lamárniń

Clan Names, however, have a more complex morphology.  There are two
forms of each clan name, one ending in –en and the other ending in –a
or some other sufficiently neutral suffix. The –en form is considered
more specific than the other. That said, there are some conventions
as to which prefix uses which form. Prefixes that use the –en form
are the vocative la- as in laxámorten (used to greet an unknown
person of clan Xámorte), the animate ma- as in maxámorten "a person
of Xámorte", the emphatic Li- as in Lixámorten, and the locative sú-
as in súxámorten "at Xámorte".

Other prefixes use the –e form (a variant of -a):
the animate collective ti- as in tixámorte "several people of
Xámorte",  and the directionals rá- or rú- as in rúxámorte "from

Sylvia Sotomayor
Harcourt College Publishing
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