Chapter 10: Minor Declension Nouns

"Minor" declensions are so called because there are many fewer words that follow these patterns than follow the Strong and Weak declensions (declensions 1 through 4). Nevertheless, several important and common words follow these minor declensions, and you need to be able to recognize them.

There are three important minor declensions: the u-Declension, the r-Declension ("family words") and the Radical Consonant Declension.

 

u-Declension Nouns

 

Most u-declension nouns end in "u," although the u-declension does contain some other nouns that end in consonants but nevertheless follow the same paradigm as those that end in "u." Remember that not all nouns that end in "u" fall into the u-declension.

 

Some u-Declension Nouns:

Old English Modern English
sunu son
hond hand
wudu wood
weald forest
medu field

 

The endings for these nouns are given in the table below

(a dash - indicates that the stem gets no additional ending)

 

u-Declension Nouns Paradigm

Case Singular Plural
Nominative - or a a or u
Genitive a a
Accusative - or a a or u
Dative and Instrumental a or u um

 

 

u-Declension Singular Nouns: Examples

Case Old English Translation
Nominative sunu son (subject)
Genitive suna of the son
Accusative sunu son (direct object)
Dative and Instrumental suna

with the son

son (indirect object)

 

 

u-Declension Plural Nouns: Examples

Case OldEnglish Translation
Nominative sunu sons (subject)
Genitive suna of the sons
Accusative sunu sons (direct object)
Dative and Instrumental sunum

with the sons

sons (indirect object)

 

 

r-Declension Nouns ("family words")

 

These nouns included the "family words," such as "mother," and "father."

 

Some r-Declension Nouns

Old English Modern English
fæder father
broðor brother
modor mother
sweostor sister

 

The endings for these nouns are given in the table below

(the dash - indicates that the stem gets no additional ending)

r-Declension Nouns Paradigm

Case Singular Plural
Nominative - ru or ra or ras
Genitive - or res ra
Accusative - ru or ra or ras
Dative and Instrumental - or er um or rum

 

 

r-Declension Singular Nouns: Examples

Case OldEnglish Translation
Nominative fæder father (subject)
Genitive fæderes of the father
Accusative fæder father (direct object)
Dative and Instrumental fæder

with the father

father (indirect object)

 

 

r-Declension Plural Nouns: Examples

Case OldEnglish Translation
Nominative fæderas fathers (subject)
Genitive fædera of the fathers
Accusative fæderas fathers (direct object)
Dative and Instrumental fæderum

with the fathers

fathers (indirect object)

 

 

Radical Consonant Declension Nouns

Radical Consonant Declension nouns are nouns where vowels in the noun change (like Modern English "foot" changing to "feet" in the plural) either in addition to, or in place of, adding an ending to the stem.

 

Some Radical Consonant Declension Nouns:

Old English Modern English
monn man
fot foot
to tooth
boc book

 

The endings for these nouns are given in the table below.

(the dash - indicates that the stem gets no additional ending)

 

Radical Consonant Declension Nouns Paradigm

Case Singular Plural
Nominative - -
Genitive es a
Accusative - -
Dative and Instrumental

vowel changes from "o" to "e"

monn ==> menn

um

 

 

Radical Consonant Declension Singular Nouns: Examples

Case OldEnglish Translation
Nominative fot foot (subject)
Genitive fotes of the foot
Accusative fot foot (direct object)
Dative and Instrumental fet

with the foot

foot (indirect object)

 

 

Radical Consonant Declension Plural Nouns: Examples

Case OldEnglish Translation
Nominative fot feet (subject)
Genitive fota of the feet
Accusative fot feet (direct object)
Dative and Instrumental fotum

with the feet

feet (indirect object)

 

Chapter 10 Vocabulary Words

Some exercises to practice translating Minor Declension Nouns

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