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Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Wed 04 Oct 2017, 04:07
by Ehesh
I was a very big fan of noun cases when i started creatng my language. However, after running into some recent info on Russian and Korean I save that Grammatical case tend to stop being used.

For example in Russian although you can have free word order to the extensive cases, there is still a prefered order to be used. And in Korean you do not use it in colloquial conversations. [O.o]

I just do not want to use it if it tends to be dropped out. Whats the point? I mean, a bit of cases would be ok, but I was planing on the following:


Nominative
Vocative
Accusative
Instrumental
Dative
Genitive

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Wed 04 Oct 2017, 05:11
by Axiem
It's not like noun cases appear ex nihilo. Sure, in some languages they seem to be on their way out; but I'd bet there's other languages where they're starting to form.

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Wed 04 Oct 2017, 05:19
by Ehesh
Axiem wrote:It's not like noun cases appear ex nihilo. Sure, in some languages they seem to be on their way out; but I'd bet there's other languages where they're starting to form.
I would like to see an example on a language where they are beginning to form, if any. [:D]

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Wed 04 Oct 2017, 06:58
by Iyionaku
Ehesh wrote:I would like to see an example on a language where they are beginning to form, if any. [:D]
Some dialects of Spanish (from Latin America) tend to evolve an accusative case. While in Standard Spanish the direct object is unmarked, those dialects tend to use the preposition "a" almost mandatorily.

Pedro vio María
Pedro see.PRET.3SG Maria
Pedro saw Maria.

Pedro vio a María
Pedro see.PRET.3SG ACC Maria
Pedro saw Maria.

Over time, this preposition could fall out of use again, or begin to be bound to the noun, evolving to a clitic. From that, it can become a noun case (although I haven't fully understood the process of a clitic evolving to a real affix).

Another example is Turkish, where the postposition ile (together with) tends to be bound to the former noun and be applied vowel harmony, making it a noun suffix -l[e/a] that marks comitative case.

Standard:

Ben Sam ile filmi görüyoruz.
Ben Sam with film-ACC watch-PROG-1SG
Ben and I are watching the film.

Colloquial:

Ben Samla filmi görüyoruz.
Ben Sam-COM film-ACC watch-PROG-1SG
Ben and I are watching the film.

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Wed 04 Oct 2017, 11:53
by Xing
Cases may disappear with time, as they have in many European languages. But I don't think cases are any different that other kinds of inflection in this respect. In fact, it would be strange if languages would forever keep all those inflectional categories it has at a given time.

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Wed 04 Oct 2017, 13:38
by shimobaatar
Iyionaku wrote: Some dialects of Spanish (from Latin America) tend to evolve an accusative case. While in Standard Spanish the direct object is unmarked, those dialects tend to use the preposition "a" almost mandatorily.

Pedro vio María
Pedro see.PRET.3SG Maria
John saw Maria.

Pedro vio a María
Pedro see.PRET.3SG ACC Maria
John saw Maria.
In all varieties of Spanish I've heard or read about, including the standard (or whatever I've been taught), "a" is only used when the object is human (or sometimes, more broadly, animate) and specific, as in your second example. I don't think I've ever seen or heard something like the first example from a fluent speaker.

Am I mistaken about this being present in the standard? Are there dialects I've never encountered before where "a" is used for all direct objects? Is "a" sometimes dropped, allowing sentences like the first example?

Also, "Pedro" = "John"?

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Wed 04 Oct 2017, 18:46
by Egerius
shimobaatar wrote:Also, "Pedro" = "John"?
Either it's “I'm just gonna use the most common name in both the example and the translation, regardless of meaning” or Iyionaku just made a mistake. It's a mischief, either way.

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Wed 04 Oct 2017, 19:55
by Iyionaku
Egerius wrote:
shimobaatar wrote:Also, "Pedro" = "John"?
Either it's “I'm just gonna use the most common name in both the example and the translation, regardless of meaning” or Iyionaku just made a mistake. It's a mischief, either way.
Iyionaku just made a mistake. You can tell from all the other occurrences of "Pedro." [xD]

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Wed 04 Oct 2017, 21:29
by idov
Nominative, vocative, accusative, instrumental, dative and genitive seems like a perfectly good case inventory to me. Cases often drop put. PIE had eight, but even today there are Indo-European languages which retain all of them.

Specificity, definiteness and animacy all correlate positively to the use of "the accusative a". Which combinations of these result in the preposition being used depend on the dialect.
Actually, one can ask the same question about the Turkish example:

Ben Sam ile filmi görüyoruz.
Ben Sam with film-ACC watch-PROG-1PL
Ben and I are watching the film.

Ben Sam ile film görüyoruz.
Ben Sam with film watch-PROG-1PL
Ben and I are watching a film.

Notice the -i suffix dropping when the object is indefinite.
Turkish and Spanish are far from alone in this. There are something like three hundred other languages where similar circumstances matter.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Different ... ct_marking < Source

Prepositions don't like to attach to their nouns and become prefixes for whatever reason. Postpositions do, but they are often hindered. There are often attributive adjectives, demonstratives or numerals in the way and even then a huge majority of languages put their relative clauses after the head and the postposition ends up far from its noun.
In those few lucky cases where everything lines up, like in Japanese, there may seem to be many cases though there aren't.
You think <neko wo> means "cat" in the accusative case but then you find something like <neko dake wo>, "only the cat" and <wo> appears more like a postposition.

Personally, I think everything has lined up for Spanish so that it eventually will have case prefixes.

Sometimes, cases stack to form new ones. So Proto-Uralic had inessive -s, partitive -ta and essive -na. Soon they were combined like this: -sta, -sna. That's where Finnish got -sta(, out of,) and a new inessive case, -ssa, from. 3 cases became 4.

Also, I didn't know that Iyionaku was prone to illeism.

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Wed 04 Oct 2017, 23:05
by Frislander
idov wrote:Nominative, vocative, accusative, instrumental, dative and genitive seems like a perfectly good case inventory to me. Cases often drop put. PIE had eight, but even today there are Indo-European languages which retain all of them.
Which languages are these? Not even Balto-Slavic has retained all 8 cases.

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Thu 05 Oct 2017, 02:49
by esoanem
Apparently Sinhala has 8 cases (but the instrumental and locative are clitics not retained from Sanskrit) and Armenian's only merged the nominative & vocative (which are already highly syncretic in PIE). The fact Sanskrit appears to retain all 8 means it wouldn't be too surprising if there are some conservative languages which do retain them (particularly in rural or isolated areas where languages tend to be more conservative) but certainly none of the major languages of the subcontinent do.

I got a few potential leads from wikipedia but none conclusive: Khowar retains "a great part of Sanskrit case inflexion" but the article doesn't say how big and I can't chase the citation, Garhwali has 8 cases but I can't read devnagri so can't check that they are in fact Sanskrit retentions and not innovations as in Sinhala, lastly Romani may be relevant (particularly Slovakian Romani which apparently has 9 cases all with the same names as the indo-european ones with the addition of an indirect) but it's unclear to me how or if the endings are Indo-European in origin.

Edit: after some more digging, khowar may retain all Sanskrit's cases maybe (the endings are plausibly connected to Sanskrit's), and the declensions given here for Romani are very similar indeed. I haven't found stuff for Garhwali but these other two look like they might retain all 8 cases of PIE

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Thu 05 Oct 2017, 02:57
by Khemehekis
Also:
Iyionaku wrote:
Ben Sam ile filmi görüyoruz.
Ben Sam with film-ACC watch-PROG-1SG
Ben and I are watching the film.

Ben Samla filmi görüyoruz.
Ben Sam-COM film-ACC watch-PROG-1SG
Ben and I are watching the film.
Your name is Sam? And they don't have a first-person singular pronoun in Turkish?

Re: Do noun cases tend to fall out with time?

Posted: Thu 05 Oct 2017, 20:59
by Keenir
Khemehekis wrote:Also:
Iyionaku wrote:
Ben Sam ile filmi görüyoruz.
Ben Sam with film-ACC watch-PROG-1SG
Ben and I are watching the film.

Ben Samla filmi görüyoruz.
Ben Sam-COM film-ACC watch-PROG-1SG
Ben and I are watching the film.
Your name is Sam? And they don't have a first-person singular pronoun in Turkish?
ben=I
benim=my

maybe they meant "Sam and I"?