Wikipedia lists something called the 'multiplicative case' in its template of grammatical cases. However, on the (stub) article of said case, it lists only two Uralic languages in which it is found - Hungarian and Finnish - but proceeds to suggest that in both of these languages it serves an adverbial role, which it claims causes it to be 'not considered a real case' in either of these languages.

Besides these two languages, is it present in any natural languages in an uncontroversial/accepted way? Alternatively, is the multiplicative case found in any common conlangs?

Other than the Wikipedia article, and the references within it (all of which are simply analyses of its use in Hungarian and Finnish specifically), I could find no real original mention of it elsewhere. If it does not seem to appear in any natural languages in an unprotested manner and is essentially unmentioned aside from this one article, why does it warrant being considered its own case, rather than just some quirk of morphology (at least, naturally)?

1 Answer 1


Some languages (e.g. Georgian) have adverbial case which turns adjectives and nouns into adverbs, and it's a 'real' case. However, as far as I know, it's not used in the multiplicative meaning.

Generally speaking, if in a language several parts of speech can be declined, there can hardly exist a case which is used exclusively with just one part of speech, the case system applies to all the parts of speech in a language, by default all the declinable words in a language have all the case forms, even if for some words they can coincide. If you assume there's the multiplicative case in a language and it means ‘X times’, then nouns as the most “casy” words must have it, too, but here we face a problem — while it's OK to say ‘five times’, saying something like ‘John times’ or ‘air times’ meaning multiplication has little sense, if any.

By the way, as a sidenote, why not assume English also has the multiplicative case? Look: one - once, two - twice, three - thrice. ;)

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    This is, presumably, also the reason why multiplicativity is usually considered a property of numerals, rather than a case (which is generally a property of nominals). Languages like Latin that have separate multiplicatives normally consider them a separate set of numbers, like ordinals and cardinals, rather than a ‘case’ of the numbers. May 17, 2021 at 17:42
  • Thanks for your answer - you've really helped to clear up this specific case (pun intended). One thing I'm still not sure about, though, is where the line is drawn between when a certain morphology is/isn't classified as a case. As in, you say that in Georgian adverbial cases are considered "a 'real' case", whereas the article for the Multiplicative Case implies that in Hungarian at least, adverbial cases shouldn't be considered 'real' as such. Where/why is this distinction drawn cross-linguistically? Thanks. May 18, 2021 at 8:14
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    I don't believel there is such a distinction drawn "cross-linguistically".
    – Colin Fine
    May 19, 2021 at 16:10

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