[Back to Table of Contents]
Prev: [Source Case]
Next: [Vocabulary Practice 4]
[Printable (pdf) version of this lesson]

Lesson 23
Goal Case



to give


Degree Marker: to a trivial degree; slightly; hardly




town, city [mi (leaf) + with (person)]


Prefix (verb): to finish VERBing; to complete VERBing




to change




way; path; road


to carry

Along with the Goal Case, we get the conjunction “údimú” (whither—another fairly-archaic English form meaning “to where”). Not a question-word, this conjunction introduces a clause that fulfills the Goal case-role—as in the English sentence, “I know whither the birds fly.”

Goal Case

[VP CP–S (CP–O) CP–Goal]

The Goal Case Phrase is that toward which the action of the Verb is directed. To mark a Noun as the Goal of a sentence, use the suffix –dim.” Of course, if the Noun ends in a consonant we’ll have to insert “e” to separate the consonants.

When Suzette first created Láadan, she elected to use –de for the Source Case and –di for the Goal Case. However, there are languages in which the vowels “i” and “e” are indistinguishable, or nearly so, one from the other. For speakers of such languages, Suzette allowed an alternate suffix, –dim.” Once the second generation began working with Láadan after Suzette’s death, it seemed that, to be as inclusive as possible, these two suffixes should be as distinct as possible—and that taking the alternate Goal Case suffix for a standard was the least disruptive way to accomplish this.


Bíi thad sháad Máyel wa.

Michael can come/go.

Bíi thad sháad Mayel bethedim wa.

Michael can come/go (to) home.


Bíi eril sháad Máyel nudim wa.

Michael came hither (to here).

Bíi eril sháad Máyel núudim wa.

Michael came/went thither (to there).

Bíi eril sháad Máyel hidim wa.

Michael came/went to this/that place.

Bíi eril sháad Máyel beyedim wa.

Michael came/went somewhither (to somewhere).

Bíi eril sháad Máyel radim wa.

Michael came/went nowhither (to nowhere).

Báa eril sháad Máyel bebáadim?

Whither (to where) came/went Michael?

In the first example above, we see the deixis on “sháad” disambiguated in favor of “come” rather than “go.” You may not recognize the rather archaic form “hither.” It’s Goal Case in English and means “to here” (“nudim” in Láadan). There are a few other English Goal Case forms: “thither” means “to there” (“núudim” in Láadan); “whither” means “to where” (“bebáadim” in Láadan); “nowhither” means “to nowhere” (“radim” in Láadan).

English is persnickety about needing to know whether someone or something is “coming” or “going.” In reality, this is a distinction without a difference. Láadan doesn’t make the distinction and works just fine, as a language, without it.

Bíi eril om le shoneth wa.listen to this pronounced

I taught peace.

Bíi eril om le shoneth nedim wa.

I taught (to) you peace.

Bíi eril om le nedim wa.

I taught (to) you.

Bíi eril nohom le wa. listen to this pronounced

I finished teaching.

Bíi eril dúuhom le shoneth nedim wa.

I failed to teach you peace.

With any communication verb (“om” in this case), the one doing the communicating is the Subject (“le” here), the thing being communicated (here “shon”) is the Object, and the one to whom the Object is being communicated (here “ne”) is the Goal. These case assignments remain even when one or more of the case phrases are omitted (as in the first and third examples above). Other verbs we already know that would fall into this category are “ban” (to give), “di” (to speak) and all its derivatives, “eb” (to buy/sell), “lalom” (to sing), and “wida” (to carry).

Bíi aril wida le bal belidedim wa.

I will carry bread to the house.

Bíi aril wida le bal belid omáthodim wa.

I will carry bread to the teacher’s house.

Bíi aril wida le bal belid omátho nethadim wa.

I will carry bread to your teacher’s house.

Notice that “bal,” above, does not have an Object Case suffix; there is no ambiguity since “bread” cannot carry “me” anywhere. Nevertheles, the Object Case sufffix would be grammatically correct (if quite formal) if the speaker/writer elected to include it.

Notice also how the Possessive interacts with the Goal Case. The Goal Case suffix moves to the end of the possessive phrase: first to “omáthodim,” then to “nethodim.”

Bíi ril sheb le wa. listen to this pronounced

I change.

Bíi ril shebehel le wa. listen to this pronounced

I change trivially. –or– I hardly change.

Bíi ril nasheb le wa. listen to this pronounced

I begin to change.

Bíi ril nosheb le wa. listen to this pronounced

I finish changing.


Translate the following into English.


Bíi aril mesháad edin wehehátha bode nudim wa.


Báa wida omid berídan lalomáthath bebáadim?


Bíi dubel ebalá wohowa wobaleth wehedim wáa.


Bíi nahom sherídan netha Láadan Másha bedim wa.


Bíi eril ban Elízhabeth wolaya wobabíth dená omáthodim wa.


Bíi ul dúuhim ra héena eshonátho Halishónidim wa.

In #1, we finally get to resolve the ambiguity we couldn’t in the previous lesson: “sháad” here would clearly be translated “come” because the movement from the mountain is to here.

In #2, did you have any trouble with “lalomá?” It’s a straighforward doer-formation from “lalom” (to sing); it means “singer.” Just in case you were wondering, “lomá,” a similar formation using “lom” (song) would mean “song-writer” since –á means “maker of” as well as “doer of.”

In #4, we notice once again that personal names do not receive Case suffixes.

Incorporate the second noun as a Goal; translate into English before and after.


Bíi ril memina duthahá i ehá wonée womudath wa.

wohíya wohurahu déelathu


Báa eril eb hothul Mázhareth betha mewobun womazheth?



Bíi rilrili medoth meworabalin woháawith shonáth wa.

woliyen woholin


Bíi ril thad den Ánetheni wohéeya wohaláth wáa.

woyom wohoth


Bíi eríli meshumáad onida lenetha wáa.

wohóya wobeth lenetho


Báa eril lalom ehomá belid dathimáde wo.


Did you perceive the meaning of “ehá” in #7? We know that we can add e– to the beginning of a word to mean “science of” whatever the word means. We can also add –á to the end of a word to mean “one who does” whatever it is. And we can add both to mean “one who does the science of” whatever. So, if we use just the prefix and the suffix with no word between, we mean “one who does science” with no particular science specified—or simply “scientist.” Of course, we must add the “h” to separate the two vowels.

Translate the following into Láadan.


Is the carpenter going to change the window into a door?


The frightened mouse jumped from the gray stone to the earth.


The sage said [didactically] to Steven, “It was stormy and rainy, and now the sky is fleecy-clouded, but the weather will be bad [obviously].”


Did the caregiver perceive to whom Matthew and Suzette promised to needlework?


The farmer asked me, “Whither is the sailor swimming?”


I stated to X, “At last X arrived at the harbor.”

In #13, did you have trouble with “carpenter?” Don’t be too hard on yourself; it’s not as straightforward as some –á formations. The agentive suffix –á does mean “doer,” but it also means “maker.” A “carpenter” makes houses: “belidá.”

In #18, did you notice that there is no Type-of-Sentence Word? Since this sentence is framed as a response to #17, by the nature of conversation, no declarative Type-of-Sentence Word is required. If, on the other hand, the replier were to pose a question in return, that would require a Type-of-Sentence Word.

Of course, if the farmer in #17 had wished to speak less formally, the interrogative Type-of-Sentence Word would also have been optional; there is a form of the interrogative pronoun in that sentence that makes it quite clear a question is being posed.

Also in #18, what did you make of the English verb “arrive”? Would it help to observe that “to arrive” is to “finish coming/going”? We have a prefix, no–”, that means “to finish;” seems “nosháad” would be an adequate formation for “to arrive.”




The storekeeper’s cousins will come hither from the mountain.


Whither is the horse carrying the singer’s aunt?


The baker is trying to take the bread to a store.


Your niece is beginning to teach Marsha Láadan (teach Láadan to Marsha).


Elizabeth gave a red bird to the teacher’s assistant.


The peace-scientist’s heart-sibling does not hope to fail to travel to California.



The healer and a scientist are moving an alien pig.

Bíi ril memina duthahá i ehá wonée womudath wohíya wohurahu déelathudim wa.

The healer and a scientist are moving an alien pig to the small garden gate.


Did Margaret’s grandmother buy/sell the new cars?

Báa eril eb hothul Mázhareth betha mewobun womazheth bebáadim?

To whom did Margaret’s grandmother sell the new cars?


Young children may follow the peace-maker.

Bíi rilrili medoth meworabalin woháawith shonáth woliyen woholinedim wa.

Young children may follow the peace-maker to the green forest.


Anthony can help the sick worker.

Bíi ril thad den Anthony wohéeya wohaláth woyom wohothedim wáa.

Anthony can help the sick worker to a safe place.


Our families flew long ago.

Bíi eríli meshumáad onida lenetha wohóya wobeth lenethodim wáa.

Our families long ago flew to our beautiful home.


Did the education-specialist sing from the needleworker’s house?

Báa eril lalom ehomá wohu wodimede bebáadim? listen to this pronounced

To whom did the education-specialist sing from the needleworker’s house?



Báa aril sheb belidá demeth áathedim?


Bíi eril oób wohéeya wohedemid wolíithin wohudede donidim wa.


Bíi eril di wothá Thíben bedim, “Bíidi eril meham rohoro i lali, i ril bol thosh, izh aril rathal ro wi.”


Báa eril láad nayahá údimú medibé medathim Máthu i Shuzhéth?


Bíi eril dibáa ábedá ledim wa, “Báa ilisháad eshá bebáadim?”


Bíi eril dibíi le bedim wa, “Eril nosháad be réeledim doól wáa.”