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Grammar 4

a) The grammatical gender

In Surayt, there are two grammatical genders: masculine (abbreviated: m) and feminine (abbreviated: f). Moreover, both nouns and adjectives can appear in either singular (abbreviated: sg.) or plural (abbreviated: pl.).

Usually, singular feminine words end in either -to ـܬܐ or -ṯo ـܬ̣ܐ:

camṯo aunt (sister of the father), paternal aunt ܥܰܡܬ݂ܐ
ṭawto good (f.) ܛܰܘܬܐ
Singular masculine nouns end in -o ـܐ:
cammo uncle (paternal uncle) ܥܰܡܡܐ
ṭawwo good (m.) ܛܰܘܘܐ

Exceptions to this rule are feminine nouns ending in -oـܐ and masculine nouns ending in -to / ـܬܐ:

Feminine: -o / ـܐ

i emo the mother ܐܝ ܐܶܡܐ
i dado wife of the uncle, (paternal uncle’s wife) ܐܝ ܕܰܕܐ
i dukano the store, the shop ܐܝ ܕܘܟܰܢܐ

Feminine words ending in -o ـܐ denote female beings, body parts that occur in pairs naturally, or are loan words.

Masculine: -to / ـܬܐ

u bayto the house ܐܘ ܒܰܝܬܐ
u mawto the death ܐܘ ܡܰܘܬܐ

The ending /t ܬ/ of the masculine words above is part of the word root and thus only coincidentally identical with the feminine ending. The gender of all nouns is clearly marked by the article.


b) The Copula

In Surayt, the copular verb (e.g., the English auxiliary verb ‘to be’) is omitted. Instead, a clipped form of the personal pronoun is used, which comes after the respective word or phrase. 

  Singular Plural
1st Person no (I) am ܢܐ na (we) are ܢܰܐ
2nd Person hat (you) are ܗܰܬ hatu (you) are ܗܰܬܘ
3rd Person yo (he, she, it) is ܝܐ ne (they) are ܢܶܐ


arbci ëšne yo he/she is forty years old ܐܰܪܒܥܝ ܐܷܫܢܶܐ ܝܐ
b Ṭurcabdin ne they are in Turabdin ܒܛܘܪܥܰܒܕܝܢ ܢܶܐ
gawire na we are married ܓܰܘܝܪܶܐ ܢܰܐ
qašto hat you (f.) are a grandmother ܩܰܫܬܐ ܗܰܬ