Re: 'instrumental-comitative dative' - beginners guide to grammatical terms

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Jun 17 1999 - 08:12:34 EDT

<x-rich>At 4:26 PM +0100 6/16/99, Jonathan Ryder wrote:

<excerpt>"Carl W. Conrad" wrote:

<excerpt>So far as "instrumental-comitative case" is concerned, I'd
suggest looking at


(i.e. Smyth's Greek Grammar, #1503).

Occasionally there is (pedagogical) discussion on this list as to

we should teach/learn a five-case system or an eight-case system. When

start out in Greek on the case-system, I usually go over the following

elementary introduction; here's the account I offered of it last Fall

this list in a brief thread entitled "Re: 5 case system vs. 8 case

>At 2:56 AM -0500 10/22/98, Byron P. Knutson wrote:

>>I was out looking at grammars today ( haven't bought any for a few

>>and it seems that all those I've found that are new are 5 case

>>grammars. ATR pushed the 8 case system and I thought many thought
highly of

>>his work and scholarship enough to follow it. The newer scholarship

>>have reasons for going back to the 5 case system like the Classical

>>grammars do/did. Is there any discussion on this by those who have
kept up

>>on this aspect of the research?


>I don't think this is so much a matter of research, personally. I work

>with Classical Attic than with Koine, and I only refer to five cases,
but I

>think that some of the functions are so readily distinguishable in
terms of

>original IE cases that I teach the cases at the outset as:

> Partitive Genitive: basic sense of "part of," "some of"

> Pertinentive or Adnominal Genitive: basic sense of "of"

> Ablatival Genitive: basic sense of "from"

> True Dative: basic sense of "to," "for"

> Instrumental-Comitative Dative: basic sense of "with"

> Locative Dative: basic sense of "in," "on," or "at"

>Of course Nominative and Accusative are distinct cases reasonably

>defined; and some would refer to Vocative as a real case, although I'd

>it's just a form of the noun without a distinct ending.


>It's true that some secondary Genitive meanings may appear difficult

>assign to one of the three Genitive categories, and I think that more

>economy is involved in the historical assimilation of originally

>case functions to a smaller number of case endings--but it's hard to

>too precise about that. I just personally think it's easier to

>understand--and explain-- the great bulk of functional case usages if

>are broken down as I have suggested in terms of the historical IE


I hope that helps a little, but there's a sizable literature on the

</excerpt>Ok so far, but what about prepositions. Do the cases
following the prepositions still fit into the 8 categories suggested
above? The example we've been discussing (EN + dative) obviously does.
Would it be true to say that EN + dative is always
'instrumental-comitative'? Can such statements be made about all
prepositions with their respective cases?


I think it may generally be said that prepositions tend to be used with
only ONE of the alternative categories under a case, but it is not
really so simple or cut-and-dried. EN is normally used (originally
used) with a Locative dative to indicate stationary position; however,
it is already used even in classical Attic with an Instrumental dative
to express means and it is quite frequently so used in the LXX; I've
often had the sense that EN was used with a dative by the LXX
translators whenever they encountered the Hebrew preposition "B'"--but
I can't vouch for this as more than a surmise. Nevertheless it is
certainly the case that many instances of EN + Dative in the GNT are
pretty clearly instrumental and the EN needs to be conveyed in English
by "with" or "by means of."

What one really needs to do is to STUDY the prepositions and the range
of their usage in each of the cases; this is the sort of thing I meant
to suggest in my long, pedantic discussion of PROS; there are
fundamental senses to each of the prepositions, even if some of them
occasionally overlap, like hUPER and PERI; one needs to learn these
basic senses of the prepositions that govern more than one case and see
how they work with the basic senses of each of the cases. Smyth's full
several-page discussion of the prepositions is very useful in this way.

Carl W. Conrad

Department of Classics, Washington University

Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243



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