|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 7:49|
Eldin Raigmore wrote:
> On Mon, 10 Nov 2008 12:49:43 -0800, Campbell Nilsen
> <cactus95@...> wrote:
>> Right, right. But the instrumental is ONLY used in "by means of"
>> consttructions. This case is used for ONLY ONE[save prespositional] PURPOSE.
This is not true of the instrumental case in Russian. In IE languages
with case system, each case normally has more than one use.
> You're wondering what to do with demoted agents, or rather, what to call
> what you do with them.
> Most nominative-accusative languages with passivization, in which the
> demoted agent may or must be explicit, put it in a case used for something
> else as well; instrumental, or perlative, or prolative, or prosecutive, or vialis,
It's always AFAIK a case also used for something else (I haven't heard
of the last two cases listed above). Also, I believe, a distinction is
made between demoted animate & inanimate subjects, e.g.
(a) He was hit on the head _by a rock_ (<-- A rock hit him on the head).
(b) He was hit on the head by an intruder (<-- An intruder hit him on
In Latin 'by a rock' is just the plain ablative case, whereas 'by an
intruder' is the preposition _a/ab_ followed by the ablative case.
In ancient Greek 'by a rock' is just the plain dative case (Greek had no
ablative), whereas 'by an intruder' is _hypo_ followed by the genitive case.
In both languages, 'by a rock' is treated in exactly the same way as any
any other _instrumental_ phrase, i.e. the same as 'with a rock' in, say,
'He struck the intruder with a rock.' But the animate agent is
translated by a preposition followed by the case demanded by that
If you want a specific case for an animate agent of a passive, then the
obvious name is surely _agentive_ as, indeed:
> If you mean constructions such as "The ball was kicked
> by the girl" where "girl" is in the special case, how
> about "agentive case"?
David J. Peterson wrote:
> Actually, I think it's usually called the objective, though
> I have seen it called non-nominative.
> On Nov 10, 2008, at 4∞33 PM, Mark J. Reed wrote:
>> Isn't that what English's all-purpose non-nominative case is called as
>> On 11/10/08, David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...> wrote:
>>> The traditional name in the literature is "oblique".
Traditionally all cases except the nominative (the 'casus rectus', i.e.
'upright case') have been called 'oblique cases'.
Where, as for example in Old French & Old Provençal, one has a two case
system - nominative & 'non-nominative' - the latter is normally called
the 'oblique case'.
IME English is said to have three cases: Nominative, Objective &
Possessive. If one counts the possessive as a case, then both the
objective & the possessive are 'oblique cases'.
But the behavior of the possessive _'s_ is as an clitic rather than a
fusional case ending, so I guess one could then regard English as having
just a nominative & oblique. But that seems to me somewhat illogical
because if the possessive is excluded, surely English nouns are
caseless! Only personal pronouns then show case distinctions - and they
certainly have possessive forms!
Personal pronouns, indeed, often have a more elaborate case system than
nouns, e.g. in Old French & Old Provençal while nouns had only two
cases, the 3rd person pronouns had three, since they retained (as they
still do) special forms for the indirect object (i.e. dative).
Frustra fit per plura quod potest
fieri per pauciora.
[William of Ockham]