26

"The loss and weakening of unstressed syllables at the ends of words..... had disastrous effects on the inflectional system, since many endings now became identical." — (Barber, 1993: 157) There is no simple answer to the question, why exactly English has lost the majority of its inflections. Here's just one idea: The articulatory stress began to fell on ...


11

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"—it's "the case for naming". When other case names were needed for other languages, they tended to also be formed from Latin verbs. So here are the meanings ...


11

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 address (like in “Rāma, come here!”) since the Vocative case of this noun coincides with its stem. This stem, since it ends in -a, belongs to the so-called a-...


10

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 bad news is that there are over 500 such paradigms. Crazy, I know. But of course they have a lot in common, and they are grouped into six main classes: class ...


10

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 preserve their stem consonants when declined in Czech. Consider the proper name Paris (the Greek mythological prince). In the table given on the linked page, ...


8

The language possesses nouns, adjectives, and a definite article Nouns and adjectives are both inflected for number and case and show agreement The definite article is not inflected, but is invariable for gender, number and case. Arabic fits these criteria.


8

Well, maybe because Standard German is an artificial construct based on the Middle High German language of the Bible and many Germans learn it as sort of a second language (after their native dialect). So it's deemed to be pretty conservative. English speakers, on the other hand, seem to adopt language changes into their literary language faster than ...


7

As curiousdannii said, it's a type of inflection. In Latin, adjectives were traditionally classified as nouns (nomina; specifically nomina adjectiva); the nouns that weren't adjectives were called "substantives" (nomina substantiva). Latin adjectives and substantives are very similar morphologically, so it makes sense to group them together when talking ...


7

Generalising from fdb's answer about Arabic and postmortes' answer about Maltese: there are several languages in the Semitic family that have these three properties. Inflected nouns and adjectives are in Proto-Semitic, but definiteness was not a morphological category at that stage. However, some languages developed prefixes and suffixes for this purpose (...


7

It differs from language to language but in general, it is attributed to the case forms becoming too similar to maintain the distinction due to various sound changes. E.g. in Old French, this is typically explained as a result of the Germanic invasion in Gallia. The Germanic languages of the day are estimated to have had a dynamic accentuation, meaning that ...


6

This is more likely to happen when the original language is fairly well known amongst the community of writers–speakers of the adopting language. Latin often does it for Greek words. That is, one usually has two options in Latin: either one translitterates the Greek endings directly into Latin, or one Latinises the entire paradigm. Which option is chosen ...


6

I am not sure about “intrinsic”. It is, however, main-stream Indo-Europeanist theory that the suffix * -es marks both the genitive singular and the nominative plural m/f in proto-Indo-European. Though I would concede that this does not really answer your question but merely projects it back to a hypothetical proto-language.


6

"Subject" is not defined as the argument which agrees with the affixes of the verb. Sometimes, "subject" is defined as that argument which verbs agree with. In the modern era, you might start with the paper by Ed Keenan, "Towards a universal definition of “subject”", in Li (ed) 1975 Subject and topic. Keenan had about 30 properties that he associated with ...


5

I always thought that English lost its cases as a result of Viking settlement. Although the root words were quite often the same, the inflections were different. However, it was found that if the Danes and the English used prepositions instead of inflections, the two tongues became mutually intelligible. There are a number of papers available on this subject,...


5

Welsh is another such language, to some extent at least. Nouns and adjectives do not inflect for case; most nouns and a subset of adjectives inflect for number; the majority of adjectives do not inflect for number, though. All adjectives inflect for gender. There is no indefinite article, but there is a definite article. The definite article has three ...


4

Maltese exhibits these properties (which you might have expected after @fdb's answer since Maltese is the "Arabic" European language). The definite article in Maltese is il- and does not change according to number or gender. I can't quite claim that it's invariable as it changes to ic- in front of a c, ix- in front of an x and so on for the so-called sun ...


3

Quote from An Introduction to Old English by George Leslie Brook, page 51: §132 The cardinal numerals from 4 to 19 generally remain uninflected when they stand before a noun; when they follow a noun and when they are used as nouns they are declined like the plurals of nouns of the i-declension; nom. and acc. m. and f. -e, n. -u; gen. -a, dat. -um. §133 The ...


3

English is not alone in that. The languages of mainland Scandinavia also lost the case system. And so did the western Romance languages, which did not lose the full vowels in the endings. Also German shared stress on the first sylllable, so it is an unlikely root cause. Among the Romance languages the easternmost representative, Romanian, kept the case ...


3

I'm not sure I understood what you want to know: Whether there are languages with more than six cases, or languages where ablative is used for more than "by, by whom, with, from, in, on"? There definitely are languages with a richer case system, usually agglutinative languages. E.g. Finnish has 15 cases, Hungarian about 18 (for Hungarian it's a little ...


3

The development of arbitrary morphological classification results from innumerable factors that obscure the relationship between form and function. For example, there may be a sound change that developed in the language that raises word-final mid vowels. Roots might arbitrarily end with /i/ vs. /e/, and there could be a rule of palatalization where /k/ → [č] ...


3

From 280 of Benjamin W. Fortson's Indo-European Language and Culture: The Italic subjunctive is not a continuation f the Proto-Indo-European subjunctive, which became a future. There are at least three subjunctive morphemes found in Italic, of which one continues the PIE athematic optative and the other two are of unknown origin. For the details of how the ...


2

This trait is directly inherited from Latin. A verb like laudare has subjunctive forms with an e: laudem, laudes, laudet, lauemus, laudetis, laudent while other verbs form their subjunctive with an a, e.g. vivere has: vivas, vivas, vivat, vivamus, vivatis, vivant.


2

In Turkish, a plural declension is not needed if the noun is modified by a numeral. (If it is used, it is emphatic.) In fact, it is not needed with any modifier that already implies plural. arkadaş (friend) arkadaşlar (friends) bir arkadaş (one friend) iki arkadaş (two friends) birçok arkadaş (many friends, a lot of friends) çok fazla arkadaş (too many ...


2

There are two main senses in which people speak of conjugations (as countable things). One is (seemingly) arbitrary lexical classes such as -er, -ar, -ir verbs in Spanish. The other is classes of formal distinctions made, such as past, present, future, perfective, negative, focus etc. Such as there is a generally accepted theory, it would be that languages ...


2

In the Latin first and second declensions the identity of the Nom. pl. and Gen. sg. is probably accidental. The former is imported from the pronominal declension, where the PIE ending for o-stems was *-oy, which regularly became -ei in early Latin and -ī in Classical Latin. The latter is of unknown origin, but is shared with Celtic. That these two are ...


2

I am not sure how those things work in English, but in Portuguese we don't use "conjugar" or "declinar" like that; one does not usually conjugate a verb when using it in a flexed form in normal speech or writing. In this case, we rather use the substantive "concordância" and the related verb "concordar": "o verbo concorda em número e pessoa com o sujeito": "...


2

German does so, too. It preserves plural forms from English (really frequently), Italian, and Spanish; but usually not from French (Garage, pl. Garagen), Latin (Museum, pl. Museen), nor Greek (Thema, pl. Themen)..


2

That's Greenberg's Universal #39: Where morphemes of both number and case are present and both follow or both precede the noun base, the expression of number almost always comes between the noun base and the expression of case. Though Greenberg's sample was small, I can't seem to find later counterexamples. The closest thing I could find is the standard ...


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