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Re: cases

From:Robert Hailman <robert@...>
Date:Sunday, September 10, 2000, 19:57
Mario Bonassin wrote:
> > 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. > > Thanks > Mario
That's a really hard question to answer. I don't think there is a minimum, but you have to remember that any function that cases serve in language will have to be dealt with another way in a language without the case in question. For example, English doesn't have an ablative case, so we use the preposition "from" instead (in most cases). The typical alternatives to case are post/prepositions (hearafter reffered to as prepositions and word order. For an example, in Ajuk, my constructed language, I decided to compromise with 7 cases. Some people think that's a lot, some people think that's not many at all. German has 4, Latin has 6, and Finnish has 18 (IIRC), so it's all relative. Since the word order in Ajuk is fairly unrestriced, word order can't serve the purpose of case (like it does in English), so everything else is dealt with using prepositions. The reason Finnish has so many cases, if I understand correctly, is because it has cases in situations where most languages use prepositions. I remember reading somewhere that the Finnish cases could be the fused postpositions. Hope this helps. I'm no linguist either, most of us here aren't. -- Robert