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Nik Taylor wrote:

> "Thomas R. Wier" wrote:
> > Afterall, as John said, you have Esperanto as an example (nominative
> > with prepositions --> contrary to universals).
>
> Are you sure that's a universal?  Surely a language that had only
> recently gained cases would use the nominative for most adpositions,
> since that was the original form, the form that the adpositions which
> had become cases were attached to.  I ask because Watakassí uses
> absolutive for some prepositions.

But that's the thing:  a language that has only recently gained a case
system would have grammaticalized (cannibalized, if you will) its
adpositions to create that very system.  And, for the reason Ed has
already mentioned, adpositions in languages with morphological case
distinctions are usually used to  *specify* a further nuance of meaning
already generally conveyed by the case itself.  They begin as adverbs
or particles, being only optional, and slowly become obligatory through
attrition of the case's use.  After a while, adpositions may help motivate
the collapse of the case system to which they were originally only
peripherally connected, and assume all of the cases' uses.  That is,
at any rate, how it happened in many IE languages.

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Tom Wier <[log in to unmask]>
ICQ#: 4315704   AIM: trwier
"Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero."
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