Some Danish time nouns, e.g., torsdag (Thursday) and formiddag (forenoon) can have a special -s form, torsdags and formiddags, respectively. These words occur with the preposition "i", "i torsdags" (last Thursday) and "i formiddags" (last forenoon). What grammatical feature can we assign to such forms?

Initially I thought they were related to the dative case, but we have "på torsdag" (next Thursday) without -s. One source, https://sproget.dk/raad-og-regler/artikler-mv/sprogligt-politikens-sprogklumme/12-marts-2008/i-sommer-eller-i-sommers, explains it as "fortidighed" (past-ness). But I am not sure we should call it preterite or past tense. Or should we? A past tense does not necessarily have an -s form, e.g., "sidste torsdag" (last Thursday). And it is not genitive case.

As far as I understand, the -s form also appears in (at least) Swedish.

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    Despite what that article says, I believe it is historically a specialised, adverbial use of the genitive case that specifically marks pastness. Formally, though not semantically, this is similar to the adverbial genitives found (often with an excrescent -t) in English words like amongst, always, towards, etc. – and not least to the ones found in German, where it’s clear it’s an actual genitive in origin: morgens, mittags, eines Tages (but analogically eines Nachts, rather than einer Nacht, showing that it’s not synchronically considered identical to the genitive anymore). Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 10:37
  • @JanusBahsJacquet — Slavic languages also have adverbial genitives, e.g. in Ukrainian and Polish “this year” in the Nominative case is a noun phrase (question ‘what?’) and in the Genitive case it has an adverbial meaning (question ‘when?’).
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 12:10
  • As for Norwegian, we have dialectal "i morges", meaning "this morning", which is analogous to the Danish forms you observed. But I don't see any other similar forms in Norwegian. "i torsdags" simply doesn't go in Norwegian. Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 9:19


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