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Re: Tabassaran: Cases

From:Doug Dee <amateurlinguist@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 27, 2002, 19:12
There's a book you might want to find: _Case, Typology and Grammar_ edited by
Anna Siewierska & Jae Jun Song.

It has a chapter "The Great Daghestanian Case Hoax" by Bernard Comrie & Maria

They note that although you can count 47 or 53 cases (depending on dialect)
in Tabasaran, the figure is misleading, as you don't have to know that many
independent cases.  Most are local cases made up of several morphemes.  That
is to say, there are 7 or 8 possible morphemes for spatial orientation
(meaning things like "under", "behind",  "in", etc.).  You then have 3
choices for a further morpheme to indicate "motion towards", "motion from",
or "lack of motion".  That gives (7 or 8) * 3 = 21 or 24 "cases" but only 10
or 11 actual morphemes to learn.  To each of those, you can add a further
suffix which generally indicates a less specific sort of motion or location
(eg, it changes "from X" to "from the direction of X").  That doubles the
number of "cases" to 42 or 48.