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Re: Case

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Saturday, July 10, 1999, 16:31
Whoa... why is my signature file suddenly kicking in when it didn't
before?  !

nicole wrote:
> > My conlang used to have a really really elaborate case system, with > probably about twenty five different cases. Recently I decided to > change this to just a few: > nominative > accusative > dative > genitive > prepositional(?)-does anyone have a better name for that-its for use > after prepositions, obviously
Hi, Nicole. Why not make the "dative" case the one you use after prepositions? When cases become elaborate (dative, ablative, locative, comitative, etc.) it's because they are specifying the ways in which nouns are recipients of the action (who is the recipient of an act of giving? dative. Who is situated in a specific place? locative. Who is included with the agent? comitative, etc.) I pick dative arbitrarily; Old English reduced its cases to four (five if you count the instrumental-- by what means was the object used?), but it did something a little interesting with its few cases, like lots of inflected languages. Some verbs took the genitive for their object, some took the dative, some took the accusative. Case in point: _neotan_, "to enjoy," takes the genitive as its object: "I enjoy, or make use (of) the land. "The land" would be in the genitive. Another interesting example, this time with prepositions. Before English had the distinction between "in" and "into," motion inside a contained space and motion into or out of a contained space was expressed by changing the case: like the dative of rest and the accusative of motion. So you would say something like: He cumth on threate (dative): "he comes in a troop." But: he cumth on threat (acc.), "he enters into the troop." An important rule to know when you're translating "Wulf and Eadwacer," for instance (one of the most mysterious poems in _The Exeter Book_. Will the speaker's lover be endangered if he marches in with his own troop, or will he be endangered if he enters the hostile troop? Correct answer: B ... he is alone and entering the hostile troop because it's accusative. You could do something like that in your language: you could simplify the number of cases to a few, and then make up rules for them whereby it is the verb that governs which case is to be used. Simpler, you could retain nom/gen/acc without prepositions and just use the dative with your preposition of choice. "Dative" can mean the recipient of any indirect action. Sally ============================================================ SALLY CAVES (bragpage) (T. homepage) (all else) ===================================================================== Niffodyr tweluenrem lis teuim an. "The gods have retractible claws." from _The Gospel of Bastet_ ============================================================