Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: cases

From:The Gray Wizard <dbell@...>
Date:Monday, September 11, 2000, 10:52
> From: Mario Bonassin > > Hi > > 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.
One of the primary uses of case is discriminatory. In intransitive constructions there is only one argument (S-function) and, therefore, from a functional viewpoint, no need to discriminate this NP from any other. In transitive construction, however, there are two NPs (A-function and P-function) requiring discrimination to avoid ambiguity. When case is used to disambiguate these, different cases are used to distinguish the A-function from the P-function argument. Since it is never necessary to distinguish morphologically between the S-function and the A-function arguments, nor between the S-function and the P-function arguments, (they never co-occur), either case could be used to mark S-function arguments. This disambiguation would require a minimum of 2 cases. Depending on how these cases are distributed, one gets either a nom/acc cases system (S and A using one case [nom], while P uses a different case [acc]) or an ergative case system (S and P using one case [abs], while A uses a different case [erg]). Many other uses of case could be eliminated by using periphrastic means. Adpositions frequently substitute for locative cases for example. David David E. Bell The Gray Wizard "Wisdom begins in wonder." - Socrates