On Thursday, March 18, 2004, at 03:27 PM, Matthew Kehrt wrote:

> direct object of the verb?  (Obviously, in the sentence "I hit him", "him"
> is in the accusative as well as being the direct object.  Or maybe not:
> in American schools at least, this is called the "objective" form of the
> pronoun, as it is also used for indirect objects and "objects of
> prepositions".)

That is precisely what we were taught in the UK 50 years ago  :)

By that time we knew about accusative & dative in Latin - we were taught
Latin grammar before English grammar in those far off days. It was
explained (correctly) that the Old English accusative & dative cases had
fused to give a single form for the accusative-dative in our pronouns and
that this form is called the 'objective case' in modern English because,
as you say, it is used for the direct object of a verb, the indirect
object of a verb and the object of a preposition. It's an example of the
"collapsing of cases" that Philippe referred to.

The Latin ablative was, in fact, the fusion of _three_ different PIE cases:
  instrumental, locative, ablative.

Things worked out differently in the formation of ancient Greek (which had
no ablative):
- the genitive was formed from an amalgam of the PIE genitive & ablative
- the dative was formed from an amalgam of PIE dative, instrumental &
locative cases.

On Thursday, March 18, 2004, at 04:47 PM, Henrik Theiling wrote:

> Languages often use terms like 'locative', 'adessive' for a case if
> that seems sensible for the usage of the case, while languages that do
> not have such a case, like German or Latin, use such a term for a
> semantical role only.

Actually Latin did retain a vestige of the locative case. For the most
part, as I said above, it got melted in with that instrumental & the 'real
ablative' to give the Classical Latin ablative case. But the names of
cities, towns and "small islands"* as well as a few other words such as
'rus' (country[side]), 'uesper' (evening)  retained locative forms. In
the singular the endings are:
1st dec. -ae (e.g. Romae = in Rome; Lutetiae = in Paris)
2nd. dec. -i (e.g. Londinii = in London; Corinthi = in Corinth)
3rd. dec. -i (e.g. Carthagini = in Carthage; ruri = in the country;
uesperi = in the evening)
4th dec. - one noun only: domi = at home

In post-Augustan Latin the ablative, without a preposition, generally
replace the earlier distinctive locative, i.e. Carthagine, rure, uespere.
All plural city/town nouns used the ablative but without a preposition, e.
g. Athenis (in Athens), Gadibus (in Cadiz).

[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