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Re: cases

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 >inflections.
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 & Dative. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================