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Re: cases

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Sunday, December 1, 2002, 20:20
En réponse à Florian Rivoal <florian@...>:

> > Nominative for subject > accusative for direct object > dative for indirect object > gentive for possession > vocative for calling >
Classical Greek, and Latin since Dative and Ablative are more often than not identical :) .
> first question : Am i right with these 5?
Your definitions are correct and there are languages working with those cases :)) .
> second : what other functions do these cases occasionaly have?
This can be highly language-dependent. For instance, Latin had those constructions called "Absolute Ablative" where an infinite form (usually a participe) was put in the ablative case, and its subject was in the ablative case too!!! Those constructions were used to replace circumstancial subclauses and were frequent in poetry and speeches. Also, German uses the dative instead of the nominative for the subject of verbs of feeling (a remnant of the fact that originally those verbs were impersonal, and the *receiver* of the feeling was rendered with an oblique case. Old English had that too, and a remnant is the expression "methinks").
> third :What other cases can there be, and what is there use? >
There are plenty of cases out there, but you can think of: instrumental: the means or instrument used to accomplish the action, beneficiary: the one for whom/which the action is done, causative: the cause of the action, And of course you can make plenty of spatial cases like Finnish has. Basically anything which can be rendered with a preposition in French can be a case :)) .
> I am know there is also difference between accusative systems, and > ergative systems. I am mainly intrested in accusative for the moment, > but if some one wants to say something about ergative too, he is > welcome. >
Ergative systems are different from accusative systems only for the two main cases used for the subject and the object of a verb. In fact, you can understand things by thinking in terms of roles: the subject of an intransitive verb (S), the subject of a transitive verb (A, for agent) and the object of a transitive verb (P, for patient). Nominative-accusative languages group S and A together (nominative), and put P alone (accusative). On the other hand, ergative languages use the same case for S and P (absolutive) and leave A alone (ergative). And of course, there are those languages called active which treat S, A and P all differently :)) . And the image is more blurred by languages which seem to use different systems depending on whether the subject is animate, willing, etc... :))) . But for a simple image just take what I said before. If you want an example of a purely ergative language, look at my Azak, it's on my webpage. It also has quite a lot of cases, so you can see what can be used ;))) . And for a language which uses cases in quite strange ways, look at my Moten ;))) . Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>