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Re: cases

From:Padraic Brown <pbrown@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 12, 2000, 13:06
On Mon, 11 Sep 2000, Thomas R. Wier wrote:

>Padraic Brown wrote: > >> On Mon, 11 Sep 2000, Thomas R. Wier wrote: >> >> >Nik wrote: >> > >> >> "Thomas R. Wier" wrote: >> >> > That would make them "core" and "oblique" cases, respectively. >> >> >> >> But those aren't the terms traditionally used. They're called >> >> Nominative/Accusative and Genitive/Dative. There's also a Vocative case >> >> which is usually the same as nominative/accusative, but does differ for >> >> some nouns. >> > >> >Calling the Romanian cases "nominative/accusative" and >> >"genitive/dative" is about like calling English's cases >> >"nominative/vocative" and >> >"accusative/dative/ablative/instrumental/locative" just because Latin >> >happened to use those names for those functions. >> >> Why? At least Romanian is a Latin derived tongue. > >And this determines the terminology we should use for Romanian... why?
Never said it did. Though there is a certain historical continuity (which may be the reason their cases have the names they have). Only that the comparison is not so good in my opinion. On account of the fact our Germanic language never had certain of the cases that would otherwise be ascribed, if given a Latin structure (i.e., abl. and loc.)
>> I'd call our cases nominative, genitive and dative/accusative. > >I wouldn't -- why make distinctions that aren't really there?
Never said you had to.
>Most modern >grammars of English use Subjective and Objective today, since the objects >of pronouns are never distinguished from the objects of prepositions.
I wouldn't subscribe to that cos it leaves out the possesive.
>Also, >the <'s> suffix really isn't a case, since it acts more like a clitic. You might call >that the genitive clitic, however.
That's nice. Meseems there's too much arguing over trivial things. If your point is that each language is individual and should have its _own_ system given its _own_ terms then fine. My point is that this can be taken too far and that there is something to be said for names (or labels) that can be used across languages.
> >The general point is: we as linguists should write grammars of languages >based on the phenomena seen in those languages themselves, not based >on any preconceived notions of the way the world works (like "the direct >object is the accusative case"). > >> >The names of the cases in a given language ought to be given >> >according to the function of the cases in that language, and not just >> >because some other language happened to have cases which overlap with >> >those of the language in question. Remember: every language's case >> >system is unique, and so the labels we apply to them are fairly >> >arbitrary. >> >> On the other hand, it is pretty damned handy to have names that are >> similar across several language (families). It's just a matter of >> learning how they all use their cases. > >Of course. No one has said you can't call a case the "accusative" if it >happens to behave a lot like, say, Greek or Latin's accusative. But that >still doesn't change the fact that "accusative" is just a label we use as a >tool to examine a phenomenon, not the phenomenon itself.
Sure. It's _all_ labels. Some just happen to have a certain convenience; even if they may not suit one's sensibilities. Padraic.
>====================================== >Tom Wier | "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero." >======================================