Re: eight case or five?

From: Bill Chapman (
Date: Fri Sep 01 1995 - 14:09:41 EDT

> Date: Thu, 31 Aug 1995 11:54:35 -0600
> From: "Edgar M. Krentz" <>

> Historical grammar lets us know that there were eight cases. There are
> vestiges of some of these cases in unusual words. Greek XAMAI ("on the
> ground") is often identified as a survival of the locative case.
> So where do linguists stand on this? Historical linguists (using a
> diachronic method) understand how the usages of the five case system
> reflect the earlier eight case system in the usage of Greek or Latin.
> Descriptive structural linguists (using a synchronic analysis of language
> in a given period or collection of texts, such as the Septuagint or the New
> Testament, e.g. Nida) seek to describe the use of the language as it occurs
> in these texts.
> Cordially, Ed Krentz

In the sections I quoted above, it seems that you describe an "older"
language with more "form-ality" that devolves into a "younger"
language with less complexity. If I pursue that line of reasoning
(mine, not necessarily implied by your post), and look at a "modern"
language like English with only a subjective and objective case,
the pattern appears to hold true.

This is very curious. From whence does the advanced, yet ancient,
form-full, language come? Now, I am thinking of cave-people grunting
and pointing (like we see in the movies), and wonder how a formal,
eight-case language could have come about, particularly if languages
tend to simplify over time.

Can some Historical Linguist help me?

Thanks, Bill

Bill Chapman . .
P.O. Box 1262 . Mississippi State, MS 39762 . (601) 323-3092

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