Specifically I'm interested in the split between Structural Case and Morphological case.

Structural Case has been part of Chomskyan syntactic theory since at least Government & Binding (GB). Roughly, Case Theory in GB and the minimalist program state that all nominals in a grammatical sentence must have Structural Case and they move away from their base positions to get it.

Morphological case, or m-case, is the more familiar case (nominative, accusative, dative) that surfaces phonologically on nominals in languages which do so. The most recent theories of m-case that I am aware of derive from Alec Marantz's 1991 paper "Case and Licensing" (which was later reissued as an intro to Reuland (2000)).

When I last checked, Nominative and Accusative were assumed to be Structural Case and the rest were sort of up in the air.

  • 3
    Could you explain a bit more about what you know so far about these concepts?
    – Cerberus
    Nov 4, 2011 at 3:35
  • Indeed, it will be better to explain what you know so far and what would you like to know specifically. As per the FAQ, we don't encourage open-ended questions.
    – Louis Rhys
    Nov 4, 2011 at 3:50
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    @LouisRhys I wouldn't consider this question open-ended, as I know exactly what would constitute an answer ("X is currently working on it?" or "It was investigated in paper Y by Z"). you're right, I suppose I should give a bit more background, though.
    – Dan Milway
    Nov 4, 2011 at 10:33

2 Answers 2


It's not clear what you mean by the word "recent" (i.e. how much you already know).

By the way you worded your question, I assume you're interested in generative syntax? If so, see references in Pesetsky and Torrego's 2011 article in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Minimalism, Bobaljik and Wurmbrand's 2011 article in The Oxford Handbook of Case, and chapter 4 in Theories of case by Miriam Butt (2006).


I think you can consult a good reference about case and checking in Minimalism. There is a book called "Flexible Syntax: A Theory of Case and Arguments", written by Ad Neeleman, Fred Weerman.

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