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62 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

The World Atlas of Language Structures Online Chapter 49 lists 84 languages with at least 6 distinct cases (24 of them with at least 10 cases). A number of them are spoken in remote areas of Australia ...
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42 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

Though as some other posters have noted, some Russians may use dialect case forms, anyone who is out of diapers uses the full case system. Case is a core concept of the language. The very idea that ...
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  • 599
41 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

The question has been well answered for specifics. I'd only want to add that a little thought would have answered it in general: most of language learning happens before a learner ever goes to school, ...
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27 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

Morphological complexity as such as is not related to the level of schooling. Some of the most morphologically complex languages are spoken by people without any education. So, all Russian and German ...
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25 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

All people use cases in Russian. Uneducated people may make some typical mistakes however, so use cases and other things wrongly, but the number of such possible characteristic mistakes is limited. ...
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22 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

I live in Poland, and my first language is Polish, a slavic language somewhat related to Russian, with a quite complicated case system. From my experience, I can confirm what others have written: ...
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21 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

People who natively speak a language that has grammatical cases do generally use them commonly and consistently. Like all language features, case systems do also evolve, and it's quite common for ...
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19 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

Cases are properly used by pre-school children Any kid who can speak the language can use the cases properly. There may be edge cases where "the prescribed way to say this is X, don't use Y" - which ...
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  • 424
15 votes
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What is "case"?

There are multiple definitions of case, but the differences in conventional terminology between languages also just have a lot to do with different traditions for teaching grammar. Morphological case ...
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14 votes
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What are the subjective and objective genitives?

You've basically got it. The terms "subjective genitive" and "objective genitive" come from the classical grammatical tradition (as opposed to modern linguistics), and are mostly used when analyzing ...
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13 votes
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Why does "brother" have the instrumental case in this Polish sentence?

I don't understand either grammatically or morally, how is "brother" an instrument with which the subject goes on a walk. You are right, brother is not an instrument here. "I go with ...
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  • 8,550
12 votes
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Do languages ever get new cases?

Yes. One well-known example of a case emerging as we write is the Russian neo-vocative: In modern colloquial Russian given names and a small family of terms often take a special "shortened"...
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12 votes

Is a final -u in Semitic languages known outside of Akkadian?

That Akkadian word-final -u is the Nominative case ending, the other case endings being -a for Accusative and -i for Genitive. Thus, the case forms of the noun bētu 'house' are: Nom.: bētu Acc.: ...
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11 votes
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What is the meaning of the Latin names of grammatical cases (in general, not in Latin)?

The traditional Latin names are formed from the supine stems of verbs—basically, a way of turning a verb into a noun, and then into an adjective. Nōminātivus, for example, comes from nōmināre "to name"...
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11 votes
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Is it possible in Sanskrit to distinguish between the names Rāma and Rām i.e. राम and राम् when used in a sentence?

In the dictionaries, the Sanskrit name राम (Rāma), together with most other Sanskrit words, is given in the form of the stem. राम (Rāma) is the stem, and in a sentence it can be used only as a direct ...
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10 votes
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Declensions in Polish

I can recommend this book: Słownik odmiany rzeczowników polskich by Stanisław Mędrak. The good news is that it's exactly what you want: a dictionary that lists all the noun declension paradigms. The ...
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10 votes
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Languages preserving loanword inflections

A great number of loanwords from Ancient Greek have been integrated into Czech with great attention to the original forms. For instance, many Ancient Greek nouns from the third (athematic) declension ...
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10 votes

What is the difference between case and adpositions?

Semantically (in terms of meaning)? There's no real difference. Some languages might use an adposition for a certain meaning, while other languages use noun case. The underlying meaning can be exactly ...
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9 votes
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Why are these Sanskrit words in the nominative case

They are not nominative. Both of them are neuter nouns, which means that nominative and accusative look the same. In fact, they are in accusative case and you might want to call it "accusative of ...
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9 votes

Why does "brother" have the instrumental case in this Polish sentence?

The preposition z meaning 'with' takes the instrumental case, is all. E.g. Mieszkam w domu z ogrodem You say The instrumental case is used to indicate the instrument/object with which an action or ...
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  • 6,782
8 votes

Why do two English personal pronouns — "you" and "it" — lack an objective case?

I would not say that these pronouns lack an objective case. It is just that the subject (nominative) and object (accusative) forms are identical. In Old English, as in virtually all Indo-European ...
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  • 22.7k
7 votes

Are there signed languages that have a case system?

Sign languages generally do not have rich case systems because they tend to be much more head-marking than, say, English. By this I mean that a translation of your Latin sentences into a hypothetical ...
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  • 4,348
7 votes

How do linguists distinguish between case endings and postpositions, especially in languages which have both and/or have no traditional grammar?

This is a fundamental question in morphology that has consequences going far beyond the simple distinction between case endings and postpositions (which, by itself, is effectively quite thorny in many ...
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7 votes

How dissimilar must case endings be to each other?

If there was a language where the case endings were just -a, -e, -i, -o, and -u, would speakers find these too similar to each other? Consider modern Russian, which has six cases: nominative, ...
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  • 53.3k
7 votes

Need for English not to have many grammatical cases

Portuguese doesn't have a case system. Neither has Spanish, or French, Catalan, or Italian. A case system means that nouns (and possibly adjectives) take different forms for different grammatical ...
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7 votes

As French is a so-called Roman language, where are the cases?

Language families classify languages according to their history. Italian, French, Spanish and so on are Romance languages because there was a gradual evolution from Latin to these languages. Evolution ...
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7 votes
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Are dative governing verbs in IE languages mainly inherited from PIE, or later developed within each IE language?

It is natural for a language that has the Dative case to use this case after verbs that have their action addressed for / to[wards] somebody or something, like “to help” and “to give”. In Russian, the ...
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7 votes
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why in Polish we change ją to jej when negating the phrase?

Yes, you do understand correctly what those sentences mean. In the Slavic languages in general and in Polish in particular, the direct object of a verb is in the Accusative case when the verb is ...
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  • 16.3k
7 votes
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Is there a question about the number of cases in Proto-Indo-European?

There is some uncertainty in what "Proto-Indoeuropean" actually means. The traditional reconstruction with the 8 cases and the rich verbal inflection system reflects a state more precisely ...
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6 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

German (it seems quite analytic so not too dependent on case for expressing meaning? This is true only to a certain extent: it is quite frequently possible to choose between alternative constructions ...
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