Shilha pronouns distinguish between male and female gender in both singular and plural forms of the second and third person. There are several sets of pronouns, each for different contexts. Five common paradigms are given below. The first paradigm of possessive pronouns is used for some specific associative relations such as kinship terms (e.g. baba-k 'your (m) father', baba-tnɣ 'our father') and spatial relation terms, as in ɣ-eddaw-s 'its underpart' (lit. in-under-its). The second set of possessive pronouns consists of the preposition nn 'of' and the first paradigm, e.g. tigmmi-nn-k [təɡəmːinːək] 'your (f) house' (lit. house of you), aydi-nn-sn [æjdinːəsən] 'their (m) dog' (lit. dog of them (m)). The 3sm independent pronoun ntta 'he' may be shortened to ntt. The 3sf direct object pronoun appears as stt after a dental stop, e.g. krfat stt 'shackle her!' and also after the particle 'ad'. The 1s possessive pronoun has several allomorphs; after a consonant, the form inu is used and after a vowel the form nu. The final u is realized as w when followed by a vowel-initial word.
Some pronominal paradigms in Shilha Independent Direct object Indirect object Possessive 1 Possessive 2
1s nkk(in) yyi -yyi -ø (i)nu
2sm kyy(in) k a-k -k nn-k
2sf kmm(in) km a-m -m nn-m
3sm ntta(n) t a-s -s nn-s
3sf nttat (tt a-s -s nn-s
1p nkkwni a-(n)ɣ a-(n)ɣ -t-nɣ nn-ɣ
2pm kwnni kwn a-wn -t-un nn-un
2pf kwnnimti kwnt a-wnt -t-unt nn-unt
3pm n(it)tni tn a-sn -t-sn nn-sn
3pf n(i)tnti tnt a-snt -t-snt nn-snt
s = singular, p = plural, m = male, f = female, ø = zero morpheme.
Nouns are marked for gender, number, and case. There are two genders, masculine and feminine. There are several ways to mark plurality in Shilha. Common plural formations are:
* the affixation of i-…-n for masculine nouns starting in a, or ti-…-in for feminine nouns starting with ta-, e.g. a-fullus 'rooster, cock' > i-fullus-n or ta-gan-t 'forest' > ti-gan-in.
* several kinds of vowel change, for example a…a…u > i…u…a (a-gayyu 'head' > i-guyya) or
* in ethnonyms and loanwords, prefixation of the word id or ida, (id-bllarj 'storks' < Gr. pelargos; ida ssur 'walls' < Arabic, ida wsmlal 'the Ida Ousemlal people' < asmlal sg.). The use of ida is a characteristic feature of poetic language. Sometimes a combination of vowel change and affixation is used, e.g. ilf 'wild boar' > alfiwn or ass 'day' > ussan. Double consonants are often shortened and single consonants doubled, e.g. a-fus 'hand' > i-fass-n, a-gllid 'king' > i-gld-an.
Shilha nouns come in two cases, commonly called état libre (EL) and état d'annexion (EA), that are marked by prefixes. A noun appears in the état d'annexion in a number of syntactic contexts. The most important among these is when the noun occurs as a subject in postverbal position, e.g. isu wa-gʷmar 'the horse (a-gʷmar) drinks', y-azzl wu-ššn 'the jackal (u-ššn) runs', or tnwa t-fiyyi 'the meat (ti-fiyyi) is cooked, done'. Nouns are also in the état d'annexion after numerals and most prepositions: sin wu-lawn 'two hearts (u-lawn, sg. ul)', tamart n u-rgaz 'beard of the man (a-rgaz)', ifta s dar t-mɣart 'he went to the woman (ta-mɣart)'.
In most other cases, nouns have the état libre or unmarked case; this is also the form in which the noun would appear in a dictionary. Nouns starting with u or tu in the état libre have wu and tu in the état d'annexion. Other forms cannot simply be predicted from the unmarked form, cf. for example a-fus (EL), u-fus (EA) 'hand' but a-fud (EL), wa-fud (EA) 'knee', and ta-gra (EL), t-gra (EA) 'bowl' but ta-ɣla (EL), ta-ɣla (EA) 'lamb'. Another term for the état d'annexion is état construit or construct state.