On Thursday, March 18, 2004, at 04:03 AM, Henrik Theiling wrote:

> Hi!
> Michael Martin <[log in to unmask]> writes:
>> Now, along the same lines, in a sentence like, "I went to the man's
>> house" my assumption would be that "man" is in the genitive and "house"
>> is in the dative case. Is that correct? Now what about, "we heard the
>> man's voice"? Would the same pattern hold? "Man" in genitive, "voice"
>> in dative?
> Again, it depends on the language.  First of all, yes, 'man' is in
> genitive case.

Except that "man's" will always be genitive if the language expresses
possession with the genitive case. What may vary is the case of "house";
that will depend on what case the preposition (or postposition) for "to"

> In German, the first 'house' is dative case, since 'zu' (spatial 'to')
> selects that.  This is an exception, however; usually, motion towards
> a location selects accusative case.

Yep - this is a marked tendency in IE langs that retain a case system.
On Thursday, March 18, 2004, at 06:03 AM, Nik Taylor wrote:

> Herman Miller wrote:
>> English speakers are taught to use the nominative after "than" (under
>> the theory that "than" is "really" a conjunction), but I've never heard
>> anyone use it that way in actual speech.
> I sometimes do, actually,

Yes, I've heard it also - nearly always in the form "...than I".

> The prescriptive rule is actually that you use the nominative if the
> pronoun is compared to another nominative, object if it's compared with
> object,

'sright - but case is so weak in English that, as we know, the
unprescriptive "between you and I" has become so common that it seems
almost the norm - ach!

>  e.g., "He's taller than she",

Nope - I wouldn't say that - I'd say: "He's taller than her" - treating
'than' as a preposition

> but "I hate her more than him",
> since "than him" is considered to be an ellipsis of "than [I hate] him"

By some - in practice "I hate her more than him" is ambiguous, as some
will say it when they mean "I hate her more than he [does]", treating
'than' as a preposition. But context and/or emphasis will usually make it
clear. Written out of context it would be understood the way you say.

> *Actually, on second thought, I think I usually just use "be" or "do"
> with the subjects, e.g., "He's taller than she is", "I ate more cookies
> than she did"

Yep - if a subject form is used, i.e. 'than' is a conjunction then
normally in this neck of the woods a pro-verb  of some sort will be used,
e.g. I hate her more than he does.

> ("I ate more cookies than her" would sound wrong to me,

Sounds fine to me  :)

Thus: if a single word follows, 'than' gets treated as a preposition; if
'than' is a conjunction it has to be followed by a verb or pro-verb. That
IME is the normal use in this neck of the woods.

But I'll say no more on 'than' as I'm sure it'll turn into YAELT   :)

So to return to where we started from ....................

On Thursday, March 18, 2004, at 03:19 AM, Michael Martin wrote:
> If I understand correctly, the basic answer to my question of what case
> to use is: it's up to me to make the rule.

Spot on!

> And, yes, my intention for
> my conlang is to have prepositions, but it never occurred to me that
> the exact meaning of the preposition could be dependent upon the case
> of the noun it is being used with.

Oh yes, and it can be quite idiomatic. To give a couple of examples from
ancient Greek:

dia + ACC. = on account of
dia + GEN. = through

meta + ACC. = after
meta + GEN. = with

[log in to unmask]    (home)
[log in to unmask]   (work)
"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language."         J.G. Hamann, 1760