eight case or five?

From: RoyRM@aol.com
Date: Wed Aug 30 1995 - 19:48:01 EDT

This question might be better suited for the grammar list, but I thought I'd
throw it out here anyway, since I know several on the list can give a good
opinion on it.

I was wondering about the reasons between some choosing an eight case system
and others a five case. I know of the top that the eight case is more
focused on usage and the five case on structure, but what makes one decide to
go with one or the other?

Along the same lines, do those using an eight case system start beginning
students on it right away? It seems like it might be confusing to do so,
since right away they would need to determine whether the form they are
looking at is, say, a genitive or an ablative. But then, maybe students
would learn better if they were concentrating on more than just memorizing

It also seems that the eight case system is not a popular today (though I
don't think Dr. Winbery has revised his _Syntax of NTG_, and its probably on
everyone's shelf!). Is it dying out as, perhaps, the popularity of A. T.
Robertson wanes?

Where do the linguists stand on this? Is function more important in
classification than form? Or, does form get preminence in a language that
has such an easy breakdown?

Anyway, just some idle thoughts from somebody who obviously spends to much
time thinking on trivial things!


Roy Millhouse
Grandview, MO


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