Nouns inflect for motility (motile, sessile) and number (singular, plural). This mean that each noun has potentially four forms: motile singular, motile plural, sessile singular, and sessile plural. Not all nouns will have all four forms, and some nouns will have identical forms in two slots for phonological reasons.
Nouns come in a variety of noun classes. The most basic division yields two noun classes - animate and inanimate, with animate nouns considered to be naturally motile and inanimate nouns naturally sessile. Noun class is realized in two ways - first, the form (motile or sessile) that the noun takes as a subject of a verb of stance, and second, the pronoun used to reference this subject. This gives us four noun classes, numbered 1-4, where 1 and 2 are animate and 3 and 4 are inanimate. Looking at paradigm patterns can yield a different set of noun classes.
Class 1 nouns have two patterns. Kinship terms have one pattern, and all other class 1 nouns follow the class 2 pattern, but still take the class 1 pronouns. Class 1 nouns include all rational animates, or potentially rational animates (like babies). All class 1 nouns take ma as a motile singular pronoun.
Kinship nouns take the class 2 suffixes in motile singular and plural, but use a different set of sessile suffixes, namely -eya (singular) and -navi (plural). For example:
mother, female parent
Other class 1 nouns use the class 2 paradigm: the motile plural suffix is -na and the sessile singular and plural suffixes are -ava and -navi:
Of those that do end in -i, the i becomes y before a. Finally some nouns exist as both a kinship term and a regular class 1 noun. For example:
a girl, a young female
daughter, female offspring (any age)
Class 2 nouns include all other animates, including celestial and atmospheric phenomena, many terms referring to water, and the word for "word" sode. Class 2 also includes body parts and animal parts. Body parts can also take class 3 inflections if they are detached. All class 2 nouns take ha as a motile singular pronoun.
sea; generally plural: surf; saltwater
Class 3 nouns include tangible inanimates, such as objects, tools, artifacts and other things that can be touched. Class 3 nouns also include all plants and parts of plants. All class 3 nouns take di as a sessile singular pronoun.
a cart or wagon
Class 4 nouns include intangible things, abstract concepts, and anything that doesn't fit in the other three classes. Class 4 nouns also include all plants and parts of plants. All class 4 nouns take da as a sessile singular pronoun.
want, need, desire
Some nouns do not lose the final vowel before the class 1/2 plural suffixes. Many of these end in -i, but not all. For example:
Of those that do end in -i, the i becomes y before a, but disappears before e, ɨ, or i.
a cart or wagon
Some noun bases end in -h which assimilates to the following consonant. Nasals will also assimilate to a following nasal.
a man, a male person