Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Latin (was Language universal?)

From:Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 7, 2001, 12:47
On Wed, 7 Feb 2001, Raymond Brown wrote:

> At 3:03 pm -0500 6/2/01, Yoon Ha Lee wrote: > >Interesting. :-) Actually, I've been wondering how, if the vocative is > >only marked on singular 2nd-declension masculine nouns (and even then not > >always as in "puer" and "ager" type nouns?) in Latin, how you can call > >all the other vocatives a case when they look just like the nominative. > > Good question. > > >But maybe they *were* marked and dropped out. =^) > > No - it was because grammar jargon was first developed by the Greeks, where > vocative singulars are much more marked. The Romans tended to take over > and (mis)translate Greek terms fairly unquestioningly; the Greeks have a > vocative - so must Latin.
Oh! Sort of like how English (as far as I can tell) inherited bunches of Latin-y terminology (and eventually prescriptions like not splitting infinitives) from the Romans?
> In fact I agree with Yoon Ha. It seems to me to make much more sense to > talk about _five_ cases for Latin nouns, adjectives & pronouns: nom., acc., > gen., dat. & abl. [British order :) ]; and to treat the vocative like the > locative, i.e. vestigial case forms retained for a small set of nouns.
Our prof calls it nominative/vocative. :-p There's a locative? Gee, I'll look forward to finding out about it. (British order? Oh dear. I remember how screwed up I was in German because I self-studied from a book that had Nominative, accusative, genitive, dative; and the textbook in the classes I ended up taking switched dative and genitive.)
> >And then again, to be fair, I should probably also be quibbling over > >things like neuters being the same in accusative, nominative *and* > >vocative. :-p > > That goes right back to Proto-Indo-European - the Romans merely inherited it.
Ah. :-) Thanks for the info.
> >(Any Latin pedants out there, I've only been in 3 weeks > >of class so my knowledge is definitely incomplete!) > > Don't worry - take it from someone who's being doing Latin for some 50 > years, you're doing just fine!
Wow--that's a lot of Latin! =^) I have a long way to go (I someday want to read Vegetius' _De Re Militari_ and Caesar's Gallic Wars in something resembling the originals). Si vales, valeo, YHL (I have no idea how to mark macrons with ASCII)