|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Monday, September 11, 2000, 5:56|
At 4:04 pm -0400 10/9/00, Jonathan Chang wrote:
>In a message dated 2000:09:10 12:56:34 PM, robert@APEXWOOD.COM writes:
>>I'm not a linguist but I am tring to create a language and I was
>>> wondering if there was a min. number of noun cases needed in a language
>>> to keep it clear. is it better to have more or less affix cases etc.
> Pidgin, creole and many isolating/analytical languages do without case
True. These languages may be said, I guess, to possess one case; but that
IMHO is pretty meaningless.
The answer to the _minimum_ number of cases has got to be two.
Both Old French and Old Provençal got along with just two - the nominative
& the oblique. One assumes that generally communication was clear.
Obviously a greater use of prepositions was needed than with a language
which has, say, twenty or so cases.
Romanian nouns & adjectives get along even now with just two cases. I've
never discovered what they call them (I seem to recall that we had a
discussion about that on this list a few months back) but one corresponds
to the old Latin Nominative & Accusative, and the other to the old Genitive
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]