History of the Research on Case

Barry J. Blake

in The Oxford Handbook of Case

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199206476
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 History of the Research on Case

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology


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Current western methods of analysing language follow a tradition that can be traced back to the Greeks, who developed criteria for determining word classes and terminology for describing word classes and grammatical categories. One of the main criteria was case, which for the Greeks was a system of word forms that signified relationships in sentences. The main word class to exhibit case forms was the noun, which for the Alexandrine Greeks included the adjective. Other word classes to show variation for case were pronouns, articles, and participles. In ancient Greece, there were five cases. This article looks at the contributions of the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Modistae to the study of case and grammar, as well as Pāṇini's kāraka theory, and the works of L. Hjelmslev and R. Jakobson. It also traces the history of research on case in regions other than Europe.

Keywords: Greeks; Romans; Arabs; Modistae; case; grammar; Pānini; kāraka theory; L. Hjelmslev; R. Jakobson

Article.  5110 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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