A lot of European languages, especially Finnish (not an INDO European language) have cases. English for the most part doesn’t. Other languages don’t. I have seen maps of grammar features around the world. Is there one for grammatical case? And, are cases (like other features in European languages including English) rare outside Europe?

1 Answer 1


First, English does have case (He saw him, I saw them, They saw me...). Second, here is a map. "Rareness" is not a geographical property, it is a genetic property – it is rare in Niger-Congo and Austronesian, which are originally languages spoken outside of Europe. It is common in Uralic which is spread across Europe and Asia.

  • 100% true. I forgot about that. Feb 1, 2020 at 17:12
  • Though it is vestigial in English, as it is in most Romance languages, and some others.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 2, 2020 at 12:12
  • I think it's perfectly coherent to talk about rareness as a geographical property though, considering the importance of language contact. In fact it's probably more relevant to talk about rareness in the Sinosphere vs Indosphere instead of rareness within Tibeto-Burman and Austroasiatic, etc. Feb 8, 2020 at 8:23

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