Case and Declensional Paradigms

James P. Blevins

in The Oxford Handbook of Case

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Case and Declensional Paradigms

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology


Show Summary Details


Case plays a central role in declensional paradigms, as reflected in the way that declensions are traditionally described as ‘case paradigms’. Case is often the declensional feature with the largest and most heterogeneous inventory of values, and much of the structure of declensional paradigms derives from patterns within the case system. Some types of patterns are more ‘purely morphological’ in the sense that they relate sets of forms that do not comprise any kind of natural morphosyntactic class. It is the prevalence and intricacy of these morphological patterns that make case paradigms particularly relevant for general theories of morphology. Three types of patterns are especially salient in case systems. The first involves a split within case systems. The second declension-internal pattern, which often cuts across other divisions, reflects the organisation of case forms within a paradigm into form classes or ‘cohorts’. The third pattern concerns the implicational structure that arises from the ‘relative informativeness’ of the members of a paradigm. This article explores the structure of case paradigms, focusing on case syncretism, implication and reversal, and stem syncretism.

Keywords: case; declensions; declensional paradigms; morphology; cohorts; case paradigms; case syncretism; implication; reversal; stem syncretism

Article.  7745 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.