|From:||Sally Caves <scaves@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, July 10, 1999, 16:31|
Whoa... why is my signature file suddenly kicking in when it didn't
> 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:
> prepositional(?)-does anyone have a better name for that-its for use
> after prepositions, obviously
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
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
had the distinction between "in" and "into," motion inside a contained
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
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
dative with your preposition of choice. "Dative" can mean the recipient
of any indirect action.
http://www.frontiernet.net/~scaves/Teonaht.html (T. homepage)
http://www.frontiernet.net/~scaves/contents.html (all else)
Niffodyr tweluenrem lis teuim an.
"The gods have retractible claws."
from _The Gospel of Bastet_