Introduction to Adjectives

Oof, okay, I'm getting back into the swing of things. Been scrambling after coming back from vacation because of work, grad school and immigration, but hopefully things are going to calm down a little now. Honestly, I haven't even looked at my studies in the past two weeks! I've been doing little translations every day but serious language studying? Not so much. The other life priorities took, well, priority. At least I didn't catch a cold from all the traveling!

I really meant to write a long, involved grammatical post yesterday morning, but then walked outside to find yet another problem I needed to deal with that came up from the day before. It's mostly worked out, I guess, but there's still some lingering effects. So, this will be short though there are more posts to write in the series.

What is an Adjective?

An adjective modifies a noun. It describes it, explains it and defines it. An adjective can be definite , referring to only one specific instance of the object, or indefinite , referring to a general quality.

An adjective is called an īpašības vārds. Indefinite adjectives are referred to as nenoteiktie while definite adjectives are referred to as noteiktie.

Adjectives usually answer kāds / kāda (what kind of?) and kurš / kura (which one?) when doing sentence analysis.

Questions about colors, which are generally asked in the locative, can sometimes be answered in nominative as well as in the expected locative.

For example: Kādā krāsā ir viņas nagi? Zili. -> What color are her nails? Blue.

We have our suspicions as to why this is, but generally, it's unimportant why as long as you don't get too mixed up.

Adjectives Always Agree

This is a great, easy rule to remember: Adjectives always agree in gender, case and number with their noun. This does not imply that the endings of both the noun and adjective will be identical!

Every declinable adjective can take either masculine or feminine form. There's a set of endings for both indefinite and definite use.

The indefinite adjectival endings are almost identical to the 1st and 4th declensions. There is no adjectival ending for the vocative case, which is where it differs from the noun endings. They can be used with any of the six declensions, as long as the gender, number and case match.

There are some adjectives that don't decline, like rozā. While it may look like a feminine definite adjective, it's not considered to have a standard ending, so it doesn't decline at all. This and other loanwords like it get treated like the indeclinable nouns, they just don't change.

How to Decline Adjectives

Even though the indefinites are easy if you already know your nouns, I've filled in the chart here with them as a reference.

Masculine  | indef. |  def.  | dsk: | indef.  |  def.
Nom.  Kas? | -s, -š |  -ais  |      |   -i    |  -ie
Gen.   Kā? |   -a   |   -ā   |      |   -u    |  -o
Dat.  Kam? |   -am  |  -ajam |      |  -iem   | -ajiem
Acc.   Ko? |   -u   |   -o   |      |   -us   |  -os
Ins. Ar ko?|  ar -u |  ar -o |      | ar -iem | ar -ajiem
Loc.  Kur? |   -ā   |  -ajā  |      |   -os   |  -ajos
Voc.   --  |   --   |-ais, -o|      |   --    |  -ie

Feminine   | indef. |  def.  | dsk: | indef.  |  def.
Nom.  Kas? |   -a   |   -ā   |      |  -as    |  -ās
Gen.   Kā? |   -as  |   -ās  |      |  -u     |  -o
Dat.  Kam? |   -ai  |  -ajai |      |  -ām    |  -ajām
Acc.   Ko? |   -u   |   -o   |      |  -as    |  -ās
Ins. Ar ko?|  ar -u |  ar -o |      | ar -ām  | ar -ajām
Loc.  Kur? |   -ā   |  -ajā  |      |  -ās    |  -ajās
Voc.   --  |   --   | -ā, -o |      |   --    |  -ās