Talk:Oblique case

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in ergative languages[edit]

I find it very odd (actually, wrong and contradictory) that the absolutive case of ergative languages is referred here as a kind of oblique case. An oblique case is supposed to be a marked/secondary case, as opposed to the unmarked/primary/citation/direct case which corresponds to the "plain" form of a word. In accusative languages like English, the primary case is the nominative and the secondary/marked/oblique case is the accusative (a word in the nominative is said to be in its "plain" or unmarked form and this is the form used to cite the word; e.g. "I" and "who" are the plain forms while "me" and "whom" are the oblique forms); if there are other cases apart from those two, like the dative in Latin and German, these are also oblique cases. But in ergative languages (such as Basque), the primary/unmarked case is the absolutive, while the ergative is secondary and marked (e.g. in Basque the "plain", primary form of the first person singular pronoun is "ni", in the absolutive, while the ergative form "nik" is a clearly marked, secondary case just like other oblique cases such as the dative "niri" and the genitive "nire"). Uaxuctum 12:17, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I don't think it really says that; it's trying to contrast nominative/oblique with absolutive/ergative. It perhaps can be clearer. -- Smerdis of Tlön 14:55, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Style[edit]

Yeah, so this article is really hard to read for someone who has a rudimentary understanding of linguistics.

In linguistics (or generally in the linguistic sciences), an oblique case (Lat. casus generalis) is a noun case of analytic languages that is used generally when a noun is the predicate of a sentence or a preposition. An oblique case can appear in any case relationship except the nominative case of a sentence subject or the vocative case of direct address.
Too many parentheticals in the first sentence makes it really hard to follow. Can appear in any case relationship? What does that mean?
Languages with a nominative/oblique case system also contrast with those who have an absolutive/ergative case system. In ergative-absolutive languages, the absolutive case is used for a direct object (the subject will then be in the ergative case); but the absolutive case is also used for the subject of an intransitive verb, where the subject is being passively described, rather than performing an action.
I have very little idea what I'm being told in this paragraph.
Bulgarian, the only analytic Slavic language, also has an oblique case - or, rather, two of them at pronouns (cf. English "Give me that ball" and "Give that ball to me") and one (syntactically and grammatically speaking) at nouns.
Also has an oblique case? There weren't any listed before it. And the sentence goes on to be packed pull of parentheticals. Syntactically and grammatically speaking? Is that even necessary? And wouldn't syntactically imply grammatically? And is this paragraph even relevant? NickelShoe 19:46, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
Um...please? NickelShoe 19:36, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Well i am ignoring all the comments exept the first one for this topic. The page is too hard to understand i agree. Most pages on wikipedia are accessible to most and start with basic understanding. I am not saying the more complex analysis of the oblique form in linguistics should not be included. But the first paragraph should be weitten in such a way that any person wondering what oblique form is can find out without having to read masses of text and referring to several or more other pages. PAGE OVERHAUL!! Wuku (talk) 10:43, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Misc[edit]

As I understand it, Bulgarian is not the only analytical slavic languages, the closely related Macedonian language being the other one (and don't get political about this, al you Bulgarians! :)) JAL, 2006-07-24

Merge with Object (grammar)?[edit]

Should this article be merged with Object (grammar)? FilipeS 01:24, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Bulgarian[edit]

I don't really understand why the Bulgarian example is an oblique case, since there seems to be a distinction between dative and accusative. I think the object forms of pronouns in English and Dutch would be better examples. Ucucha 16:49, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

I am a speaker of two synthetic Slavic languages (Serbo-Croatian and Slovenian) and could not help noticing that these languages display the same grammatic construct: 'Baci mi loptu'/'Vrzi mi žogo' (SC/SLO for 'throw me the ball') 'Baci meni loptu'/'Vrzi meni žogo' (SC/SLO for 'throw the ball to me (not him))

so I'm not exactly sure as to what the analytic nature of the Bulgarian language has to do with the oblique case.

Marko — Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.163.87.246 (talk) 22:18, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Our article says, "These personal pronouns have both a short and a long form for the accusative and the dative." It sounds as though the difference in form is not acc vs dat. — kwami (talk) 19:41, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Odd sentence fragment found tacked on the end of this section: "and this website is a good website." Flag for review. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 97.127.230.55 (talk) 02:46, 30 April 2018 (UTC)

me - genitive[edit]

The article says that ˝me˝ is not used in the genitive case of possession, but in rural English it very often is ˝That's me tractor you's stealin'˝ 93.96.96.27 (talk) 00:21, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Added. — kwami (talk) 19:41, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that's actually the same. Thats a sound change changing my to mi - but it doesn't sound the same as "me" because its unstressed and lax. "Me" in "Me tractor" doesn't sound the same as the "me" in "Me Tarzan you Jane".·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:17, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Clearer explanation required[edit]

I'm afraid that the explanation of what the oblique case is, does not do much for those without profound knowledge of linguistics. Someone with a deep understanding of the subject matter should make an attempt at making things clearer. LaughingSkull (talk) 00:44, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

I'll have to second that. I came here after encountering the term "oblique case" elsewhere, and I still have *no* idea what it means. And I do have some "basic plus" knowledge of grammar (although mainly in a language other than English). 85.228.188.241 (talk) 00:07, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

merg (acc/dat)[edit]

The recently created Dative/Accusative is a content fork for this article. I'm sure there are languages with an acc/dat (objective?) case, but not in English, and the article was created to illustrate English (is the link from English object pronouns). — kwami (talk) 19:37, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

The article created is not a content fork for this article. It is in fact written in opposition to the claim that English has lost its dative and accusative cases and somehow shifted to an oblique case. English does not have an oblique case and the argument that it does is very much counter to established and accepted linguistic descriptions of the language. Even within the oblique case article it is proposed that that case is used in languages in which there are only two cases, nominative and a single 'everything that's not nominative' case. Even under the mentions of English given herein, it is admitted that the language does not fit this description as it also has a genitive case.

The Dative/Accusative article does not propose there being a dative/accusative case nor of there being any tie to the oblique case. It does however, correctly note that it refers to a single set of identical forms used for both the dative and accusative cases in languages which have both dative case and accusative case but in which the morphological forms used for each case have merged into a single combined form (yet still representing either dative or accusative depending on the case in which it appears via syntax). Arguing that English now has an oblique case rather than a dative and an accusative case based on the pronouns for each being identical is no different than arguing that English has only a single case because if you look at nouns, John/book/shopping could all be subject, direct object, or indirect object all having the same form. So, along those lines, does that mean that we should drop nominative from the case lineup as well?

Don't merge.Drew.ward (talk) 04:14, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

It's both unsourced and factually incorrect; although the terms 'accusative' and 'dative' are used in some English grammars, it's generally accepted that they are the same thing. There is certainly no difference between having two cases which are the same, and having one case which does two things: Both are a single morphological form that covers two syntactic roles. — kwami (talk) 07:04, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
The FORMS are the same, the cases not. If you can't separate consideration of forms from the cases themselves then you shouldn't be editing anything on case. Sorry. And this is neither unsourced nor original research. Your pushing the idea of a new case in English IS on the other hand either your own original research or that of a minority of people who do not represent the consensus.Drew.ward (talk) 07:24, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Of course the forms are the cases! Case is a morphological category. An inflectional form. If the forms are the same, the case is the same. You're confusing case, a morphological category, with case role, a syntactic category. The only question is whether the difference between "I" and "me" is one of case at all, not how many cases "me" is. Jesperson put "case" in scare quotes, and Quirk, Hudson, and Blevins deny that English has case at all, rather than positional allomorphs. But the only reason the terms 'dative' and 'accusative' are used with English is the influence of Latin, German, etc. grammar. "Me" is a single case; whether we call it objective, oblique, or dative/accusative is merely a terminological preference. — kwami (talk) 07:35, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Support merge of Dative/Accusative into this article. I agree that case is a morphological category and should not be confused with grammatical function. We do not need two articles on this case. We should discuss the content and name of the merged article separately. But see sections #Different meanings of oblique case and #Proposed move to Objective case, below. --Boson (talk)
  • Support merge as long as the dative/accusative case article has no sources it is AfD fodder. It also clearly makes the argument that the use of Objective or oblique case for languages such as English is wrong, and as such it should be included as an alternative point of view in the articles about those cases - if sources are produced.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:13, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Different meanings of oblique case[edit]

The term "oblique case" is sometimes used to refer to forms of pronouns like "me" in English but, in view of the differing terminology, we should explain the different meanings in more detail. There are a number of issues.

  • We need to state which authorities use the term "oblique case" to refer to a single case (like the example me in English).
  • The 'normal' meaning is: any one of a number of cases, excluding the nominative and the vocative. In other words, there are "oblique cases" collectively (e.g. accusative, and dative), not a single "oblique case". As quoted elsewhere from Crystal, "oblique . . . refers to the form taken by a noun phrase (often a single noun or pronoun) when it refers collectively to all the case forms of a word except that of the unmarked case . . . [my emphasis]
  • The 'normal' meaning of "oblique case" is not really described at all in this article.
  • Huddleston and Pullum, in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language do not use the term "oblique case"; the index redirects to other terms. They use the term accusative case for words like me. This is not restricted to direct objects (" . . . The nominative is not restricted to subject function . . . and the accusative is likewise not restricted to object function . . .").
  • Quirk et al., in A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, use the term "objective case" for words like me, reserving "oblique cases" for the 'normal' meaning that includes different cases. ("In the main, formal English follows the normative grammatical tradition which associates the subjective pronouns with the nominative case of pronouns in inflectional languages, and the objective case with the oblique cases (especially accusative and dative cases) in such languages.")
  • Greenbaum, in The Oxford English Grammar, also uses "objective case" for words like me. The term oblique object is mentioned as being used (by others) in the sense of prepositional object (e.g. to her)

We should perhaps add (sourced) material here (or elsewhere) discussing the view that English does not have case, and the view that English has analytic case in addition to inflectional case (treating "to" and "of" as case markers for dative and genitive, respectively. --Boson (talk) 12:03, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

"Objective case" suffers from the same problem you object to with oblique: "Spanish has two objective cases" (DAT and ACC), etc. For either, the singular, esp. with the, is used to specify that a single case is being referred to.
Yes, objective case is probably more common that oblique case re. English. However, this is part of a larger shift in terminology: objective goes with subjective and possessive; oblique goes with nominative and genitive. In some of our articles we do use "subjective", and in such cases "objective" is appropriate.
I've seen a distinction between an oblique case for the single marked case of a language, and objective case for the single non-nominative, non-genitive case of some Germanic languages, but I don't know how general this is.
BTW, an "oblique object" is s.t. different, at least as I've seen it: in I begrudged him his success, 'his success' is an oblique object, as it can be expressed w the prep. 'for'.
I don't understand Crystal's definition. Taken literally, it makes little sense: "oblique is the form when it refers to all the forms" – so, is it "a form", then? that is, a single case? What does "refer to" mean? "Correspond to", maybe? The only way I can get your reading is by changing "is the form" to "is the term", but now we're getting into OR. Sloppy definitions like this plague Crystal's dictionary. The Routledge dictionary, though, gives the traditional Latin def you were looking for, and is very clear about it. But although "objective" is used in a couple entries (like Bulgarian), it is never explicitly defined.
BTW, I think the whole "analytic case" thing is opening a can of worms. It is highly dependent on theory, and so is infinitely arguable. The normal, morphological use of the word "case" is much more straightforward: with rare exception, you either have a different morphological form or you don't.
kwami (talk) 12:21, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree that Crystal's definition is not very clear, but the only sensible (and possible) interpretation of it seems to me to be in agreement with most other common definitions. I assume it was his (not very successful) attempt to get round the problem of giving the definition of a singular lemma for a word that is normally used to refer to a set or class, the traditional dictionary solution being something like "any one of several . . .". He tried to get round that clumsy phrasing by using "collectively" ("when it refers collectively to all the case forms of a word except that of the unmarked case, or nominative "); in context "this term refers to the form taken by a noun phrase (often a single noun or pronoun)" can only be interpreted as "the form taken in any specific instance " (i.e. the accusative OR dative OR genitive . . .) .
I also agree that the "analytical" business opens up a can of worms, and I don't think we should address it until other problems have been sorted out. In the long run, though, I think it might deserve a brief mention, possibly in a footnote, with a link to another article where it is better explained. If done well, I think it might help to avoid the confusion between form and function.
--Boson (talk) 16:37, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Proposed move to Objective case[edit]

Since this article seems to be mainly about the English "objective case", and "oblique case" is - at best - ambiguous, I would suggest moving that content to Objective case (which currently redirects here). If any encyclopedic material should emerge on oblique cases as a class, that could be kept at "Oblique case", but, for the present, I would have this page redirect to the new Objective case. Hatnotes and terminological notes reflecting the above should, of course, be provided. I don't think there is an ideal solution, but I believe this would be a good compromise and supported by WP:COMMONNAME. --Boson (talk) 12:03, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Its coverage is largely w English because this is WP-en and we use English examples when we can. However, its scope is more general than that, or at least it should be.
Objective case is just as ambiguous: Spanish has "two objective cases", dative and accusative, whereas English has one. Same for oblique, and for many languages locative. We don't avoid the term locative case for Latin just because other languages may have two or three "locative cases".
There is another ambiguity: In Tongan, the objective pronouns are inalienably possessive pronouns, while the subjective pronouns are alienably possessive pronouns.
There is possible confusion between oblique case and an oblique (non-core) argument, though. But then there are oblique objects as well, and those are core.
There may be a sometime distinction between OBJ, which excludes GEN, and OBL, which includes it, but I'm not sure how well that can be justified overall.
In Case Grammar, if I've got it straight, objective is specifically the direct-object role, whereas oblique is the generic object role.
Objective tends to be used by the same sources which use subjective and possessive, generally specifically for English. I think this can be reflected in the articles that specifically deal with English. Oblique reflects a more WP:WORLDVIEW approach.
Part of the change in terminology for English is due to discomfort with the idea that these are cases at all. But since this article is specifically about the objective/oblique case, such concerns are of secondary importance.
Quirk uses objective and subjective. Blevins uses subject and general forms (he doesn't believe they're case). Allerton uses oblique and nominative, as does Keith Brown – not that I think much of generative grammar, but it's been influential. The Germanic Languages (Routledge) seems to mostly use subject vs. oblique; 'objective' is specifically D.O. — kwami (talk) 12:33, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Kwami you have yourself in several places pointed out that the Oblique would include genitive yet that this is not the case in English. You and others here have also pointed out that most of the sources you are drawing upon list objective as only representing the direct object role. Just these two points show that 1. objective and oblique should not be merged; and 2. that English does not have an oblique (because you have admitted it has a genitive).Drew.ward (talk) 15:40, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
No, different sources use these terms differently. Both are used for the English case – as are accusative and dative (either one covering both DO and IO). There is also a difference between languages – the dative in German is not the same as the dative in Greek. And then there's a difference between cases and thematic roles which may go by the same names. The question is which would be better for us to use. You have yet to provide any source for your usage, and certainly not for the dubious claim that English has two different cases which are the same. — kwami (talk) 16:09, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
It looks to me as if the article could be about three completely different topics, and at least two are being conflated:
  1. The 'normal' (WP:COMMONNAME) meaning of oblique case, as defined by Crystal, Merriam-Webster (www.m-w.com), etc., viz.: any one of the cases except the unmarked one in the language concerned; that would include accusative, dative, genitive, ablative, etc., depending on the language. If this is the topic of the article, the opening paragraph ["A (pro)noun in the [my emphasis] oblique case can generally appear in any role except as subject, for which the nominative case is used."] neeeds changing, since it only makes sense to talk of an oblique case, not the oblique case.
  2. A single, specific, morphologically defined case that can be used, for instance, in the role of a direct or English object, like the English me. This appears to be the topic of (at least) most of the article.
  3. A 'deep structure' case. None of the article seems to be (deliberately) about this topic, though it may be muddying the waters.
I would suggest we leave out the deep-structure case, which is something completely different, and decide whether the article is about oblique cases (in the sense - approximately - of all non-nominative cases in the appropriate languages) or about a specific case (such as the one possibly used for direct and indirect objects in English).
Could you provide a quotation for the use of "oblique case" to mean a specific case (such as the case of me in English, i.e. not nominative/subjective but also not genitive/possessive)?
--Boson (talk) 16:33, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

The intention was to have an article that explains what the oblique/objective case is, just as we have articles on other cases, so that if you come across a gloss of 'dative', 'ablative', 'oblique', etc, you'll be able to look up what this means. The complication of 'the X case' vs 'an X case' arises with other cases as well: there may be more than one locative etc. in a particular language, but that doesn't mean that we don't use the term 'locative' when there is only one (as in Latin).

Quotes: Sure. The following quotes are from various authors in Ekkedard König & Johan van der Auwera, eds. 1994. The Germanic Languages (Routledge).

  • Marijke van der Wal & Aad Quak, Old and Middle Continental West Germanic, p. 84. "Inflectional loss for the nouns and the reduction of the personal pronouns to only two forms, subject and oblique, made it impossible for the impersonal construction to survive [in Dutch]."

Dutch has three cases in its PNs, with ik – mij – mijn corresponding to English I – me – my, so this is a parallel situation to English with its genitive.

  • John Ole Askedal, Norwegian, p. 232. "The personal pronouns are the only nominal category of Modern Norwegian to exhibit a morphological case distinction between a subject ('nominative') and a non-subject ('accusative' or 'oblique') form".

As in English and Dutch, there are also possessive pronouns, as shown in Table 8.5, with the column headings,

" Subject form  |  Oblique form  |  Inflected adjectival possessive  |  s-genitive "
  • Hartmut Haberland, Danish, p. 324: "Whereas there is a distinction in pronouns between a non-oblique (nominative, subject) and an oblique (accusative, non-subject) case, there are no corresponding traces of the historical inflectional system of nouns.' P. 328: 'Pronouns retain two case forms, sometimes called nominative and accusative, since they typically express subjects and objects ... The term accusative is misleading, though, since apart from the function of expressing direct and indirect objects, the oblique form has a number of other function as well, like in prepositional phrases (jeg stoler på dig 'I trust (in) you'), predicatively (det er ham 'it's him'), and in comparisons (jeg er større end dig 'I am bigger than you')."

These are all parallel to the English oblique/objective, and they illustrate why I don't care for the term 'objective': in "Who, me?" and "It's me"!, me is not an object, nor is it in "Me and Jim went to the store", which would be standard English if our teachers didn't keep telling us that me can't be a subject.

In Table 10.3, the column headings for the Danish pronouns are,

" Non-oblique  |  Oblique "

The possessive PNs aren't listed because they're in the next table.

  • Bruce Donaldson, Afrikaans, p. 491. "The personal pronouns preserve the only living remnants of case in Afrikaans, but even here the distinction between subject and oblique case pronouns is only to be found in the singular."

Afrikaans also has possessive PNs, as in Table 15.6.

For Gothic they do speak of the various oblique cases, just as in Latin, as there are separate accusative and dative cases. 'Objective' is used in a couple articles as well, though not to the extent that 'oblique' is, so it seems to be author choice which to use. But this is the first time I remember seeing the term "non-oblique" for the nominative! — kwami (talk) 17:42, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Here are the instances of "objective":

  • Ans van Kemenade, Old and Middle English, p. 133. "The distinction between dative and accusative was lost: both came to appear as 'objective' case, cf. a number of constructions such as the double object construction"

(scare quotes in original)

  • Erik Andersson, Swedish, pp 289–290. "The genitive covers a wide range of meanings. Possessive genitive [owner, user, etc.] Partitive genitive ['the members of the association'] Nexus genitive is either subjective, objective or temporal ['the attack of the enemy', the performance of the play', 'today's attack'] ... In many of these cases the genitive can be replaced by a prepositional phrase [etc.] But this possibility does not apply to a genitive for owner or user, or a subjective genitive."

Here the author uses "accusative" for the OBL/OBJ case, as in 'the boy in the picture is me'; "objective" is a semantic relation of i.a. the genitive.

  • Silke Van Ness, Pennsylvania German, p 428. "The nominal morphology for the younger speakers continues to syncretize in its convergence toward English so that the common case will function not only as the subjective and objective case, but also as the indirect object"

The "common case" is the conflated NOM-ACC. That is, 'objective' is accusative, not oblique.

  • Ekkehard König, English, p 539. "Only pronouns have preserved a three-term distinction between a nominative ('subjective'), accusative ('objective') and a genitive ('possessive') form".

Here objective is parallel to subjective and possessive rather than to nominative and genitive, a pattern I've seen over and over. — kwami (talk) 18:39, 22 March 2012 (UTC)


  • Henry Sweet and Otto Jespersen both argued that the terms accusative and dative shouldn't apply to English case. Sweet preferred "common case" for the case covering the meanings of the old english accusative and dative cases, Jespersen proposes Objective. Morgan Callaway Jr. argued that the distinction between the two existed even though it had no morphological marking. Concerning the Number of Cases in Modern English. Morgan Callaway, Jr. PMLA , Vol. 42, No. 1 (Mar., 1927), pp. 238-254. It would require very good sources to decide which interpretation is the prevalent today - and it would still require us to include the earlier views of Jespersen and Sweet. Ten years later 'Case' in Modern English F. G. Cassidy. Language , Vol. 13, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1937), pp. 240-245 summed up the debate - saying that it boiled down to the accurate use of distnction between case form and case function. That is exactly the pivot of the debate between Kwami and Drew today - Drew favors a functional definition of case, kwami a formal. The question of formal versus functional approaches happens to be the main un-settled issue in linguistics still at this day and a POV fork is unlikely to settle it.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:53, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
It's unrelated to the formal/functional debate, actually. Rather, it's morphological vs. syntactic. And in formal linguistics, at least in Case Theory, there's "case" (the inflection) vs "Case" (the function). Others speak of "analytic case", "abstract Case", "deep Case", "case roles", or "thematic roles". But generally, without some sort of dab (or unless people are being sloppy), case is a morphological category for both formal and functional linguists. In the Routledge dict., the entry for case says, "Grammatical category of inflected words which serves to indicate their syntactic function in a sentence", and speaks of cases being lost or replaced, which couldn't happen unless they were morphological. Crystal's dict. also defines case morphologically, and says that, "In languages which lack morphological variations of this kind, the term 'case', as traditionally used, does not apply." (The non-traditional use is then capitalized, as above.) ELL2 states that "Case is essentially a system of marking dependent nouns for the type of relationship they bear to their heads", and the entire article is morphological. Payne's Morphosyntax presents case as morphological throughout. That's the default position. — kwami (talk) 20:33, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
No, Kwami it is related because morphology is a formal category and Drew is talking about syntactic functions (syntactic roles are functions).·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:23, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Morphology and syntax are both formal categories, the difference is a matter of scope. But when you said "The question of formal versus functional approaches happens to be the main un-settled issue in linguistics", it sounded like you meant formalist vs functionalist linguistics, which is the main battleground in linguistics today, and morphology vs. syntax has nothing to do with that. — kwami (talk) 21:36, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
No syntax has two meanings - one of them is formal (word order), the other is functional (namely syntactic roles) (syntactic roles are the functions connected to formal word order positions or morphological marking). And in this sense the question of whether to define case formally as a morphological phenomenon or as a functional phenomenon related to syntactic roles is very much the same debate as formalism versus functionalism in contemporary linguistics.
This is off topic for the article, but that's not what the functionalist/formalist debate is about: it's about whether we treat language as a predominantly formal or functional phenomenon. Do we see it based on structure? or on function? Both formalists and functionalists deal with both word order and syntactic roles, with both morphological case and case roles (e.g. case grammar [functionalist] and case theory [formalist]), with both phonetics (form) and phonology (function), etc. No functionalist ever ignored morphology or word order because it was in the wrong camp! But for the functionalist, the form derives historically from its function and use, whereas for the formalist it derives from underlying or innate structure: nature vs nurture, hard-wiring vs frequency effects, etc. — kwami (talk) 23:22, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
P)lease don't lecture me on the formal functional debate i do know what that is about. And your definition is also the same as my definition since it follows that if one wants to see language as a functional phenomenon then one would tend to prefer functional definitions of grammatical categories and vice versa if one prefers formalism.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:38, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree, we definitely don't want a POV fork. That is why I support the merge above. My concern is that this article is (possibly) talking about two fundamentally different meanings of oblique case (that should probably be dealt with in two separate aticles, whatever they are called)
  • a class of cases, any one of a number of cases excluding the nominative (or similar)
  • a specific case, defined morphologically.
I don't regard this as a POV fork; I don't think the facts are in dispute here, merely the terminology, which is a problem only if the article title includes the word "oblique", which effectively has two (or more) meanings. I am not very happy with the word "objective" either, though it does seem to be one of the most common terms for that meaning of "oblique".
The other problem is the issue of whether to define case morphologically or syntactically. I would tend to favour retaining both of these in this article, though one could probably argue about the weight to be given to each position. However, I would not necessarily regard this as a POV fork since syntactic function and morphology are two different topics, regardless of whether the word "case" is used (correctly or incorrectly).
A problem with the term common case is that it is used for English nouns, referring to the non-genitive (also called plain case).
I also wonder if it is a good idea to mix up English and other languages. Would it be better to have everything about the case of English pronouns in one place and have separate articles on other languages kept free of anything specific to English (except for examples without undue weight, of course)? In my opinion, the overall structure of the set of articles and the actual content of the articles should be made clear, regardless of the terminology used; the article titles should then be reviewed and, if necessary altered to reflect the actual content. --Boson (talk) 21:16, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
The Latin, Gothic, etc. use of oblique cases is trivial. We can cover that under grammatical case, and make a mention of it here. I don't think it warrants anything more than that.
Morph/syntax should reflect our sources, including whatever Drew digs up, but what I've seen has been almost exclusively morphological. Some talk about case marking on verbs, but it's still morphology, and would not apply here. But if you take a look at, say, thematic relation or a similar article, no-one is positing "oblique" as a syntactic/semantic "deep" case: its utility is purely morphological.
Yeah, 'common case' is no good, IMO.
We already have articles specific to English: English personal pronouns, object pronoun, etc. IMO, an article on a case should be about the case, not about a language. Same as any of our other case articles. Of course, you choose the sample languages which fit, so in this case we'd expect a lot of English.
Agreed. Titles are secondary to content. — kwami (talk) 21:36, 22 March 2012 (UTC)


Oxford concise dictionary of English Grammar:[edit]

  • oblique 1. Designating any case other than subject(ive). In an inflected language, all inflected cases of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives (other than subject(ive), i.e. NOMINATIVE) are covered by this umbrella term. In English the term is occasionally applied to the object forms of those pronouns that have them.
  • objective 1. (n. & adj.) (The case) expressing the object. The differences between Subjective pronouns (or subject pronouns) (e.g. I, she, they, etc.) and objective pronouns (or object pronouns) (e.g. me, her, them, etc.) can be described in terms of subjective and objective case. 3. (n. & adj.) (In Case Grammar.) (Designating) one of six original cases, defined by meaning, that underlie surface structure. This case, sometimes also called AFFECTED or PATIENT, is narrower than the traditional object case.
  • case 1. The functional role of a noun or noun phrase in relation to other words in the clause or sentence. 2. The form of a word (shown by inflection) expressing this. In English (unlike Latin, which has six cases) the only distinction of case in nouns is between the COMMON case (i.e. the ordinary base form for the singular: boy, with plural boys) and the GENITIVE (boy's, boys'). Even this analysis is disputed, since the genitive inflection can be added not only to a word, but also to a phrase (e.g. the King of Spain's daughter), which may not even end with a noun (e.g. the man opposite's car).·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:44, 31 March 2012 (UTC)


Merriam-Webster[edit]

Oblique case refers to any case except the Nominative or Vocative (thus possessive and object cases are the oblique cases.) I have corrected the introduction. (EnochBethany (talk) 16:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC))

The dictionary is not a reliable source, and in any case your edit would be more appropriate for Wiktionary. — kwami (talk) 16:35, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Saying that Merriam-Webster is not a reliable source is absurd. It is a standard and long-established authority. The edit is directly appropriate to this article. Please do not revert it or edit war over it. I have not reverted or erased anything in this article. But I have made an addition. (EnochBethany (talk) 16:05, 21 October 2013 (UTC))

The Concept of Case[edit]

The concept of case is greatly confused and misunderstood. Case has commonly been confused with suffix use. But even suffixes in English are often neglected. For example, what case is the -ward case? North is a noun as in the sentence, "John walked to the North." "To" here supplies the case; prepositions indicate case just as suffixes do in inflected languages. The suffix -ward could have been used: "John walked northward." In high school, there was no vocative case in my English classes. But the particle O could have been called the case marker of the vocative case: "O John, come here." And O might have been called a preposition in this use. Compare, "To John I come." IMHO, there are many, many cases; most not named as such, but roughly equal in number to the variety in suffixes that indicate relation to the sentence plus prepostions, plus word-order markers. Probably picking some of them to call "oblique," is questionable and arbitrary.(EnochBethany (talk) 16:27, 21 October 2013 (UTC))

please rewrite this article[edit]

This article is a mess. I am comfortable with the subject material as I am a researcher in area - but I cannot follow the main article. The discussion on the talk page is much clearer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.250.86.130 (talk) 02:43, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

casus generalis[edit]

What's casus generalis?
"oblique case" in Latin is "casus obliquus" (cf. Latin-German: Kasus obliquus, Obliquus, obliquer Kasus).
Google book search has these results for "casus generalis":

  • "Im Mittelpersischen gab es keine verschiedenen Casus mehr, sondern nur einen Casus generalis." - 'In Middle Persian there were not different cases anymore, but just a general case'. I.e.: casus generalis is a single case - so pretty much like with english substantive (the house, to the house, of the house), if one doesn't label forms with -'s (house's) genitive or possessive case anymore.
  • "[...] italischen Sprachen [...] die Übernahme griechischer Lehnwörter im Akkusativ erfolgt. Dieser beginnt damit seine Rolle als Casus generalis anzutreten." - 'in italic languages worrds were adopted in their accusative form. Thus this case is becoming a general case'. That sounds like one case is replacing all others and thus becoming the only case, similiar to english substantives (see above).
  • "In some Serbian Torlak dialects [...] we also find feminine forms in the so called casus generalis (historical Accusative)". That sounds like the accusative case replaced all other cases and became the only case.
  • "Klwnn zeigt, daß das Wort aus der Vulgärsprache [...] ins Syrische gelangt war. Der Akkusativ [chelÓnEn - greek letters, capital ones instead of macrons] war bereits zum Casus generalis geworden" - 'The word klwnn shows that the word came from the vulgare language into the syric language. The accusative [greek word form] already became the general case.' That sounds like the accusative case replaced all others, at least all other word forms in case of this single word.
  • "eine steigende Tendenz zur Durchbrechung von Rektionsregeln zugunsten eines casus generalis (=Nom./Akk.)" - 'a tendency of breaking inflection rules to form a general case (=nom./acc.)". That sounds like some speakers of a language ignore the correct inflection rules in a way that a general case is formed whose single form is like the nominative and accusative form. Like cf. german "drei Männer gehen" and "dreien Männer gab er" (nominative and dative case) with english "three men go or are going" and "to three men he gave" (like a single general case).
  • Erben (1972 [..]) erläutert [...], dass lat. casus genitivus eine "unrichtige Lehnübersetzung" [..] ist [...]. Die angemessene lateinische Entsprechung sei "casus generalis, d. h. Kasusform, welche die Gattung oder den Zugehörigkeitsbereich der näher bestimmten Größe angibt, bei adverbalem Gebrauch den Wirkungsbereich der Verbalhandlung". - 'Erben explains that lat. casus genitivus is a wrong translation. Die correct latin term would be casus generalis'. I.e.: casus generalis = genitive. While there were/are many antique latin terms for genitive case (casus patricus, casus patrius, casus paternus, casus interrogandi), I've not found "casus generalis" used for this. The different between this "casus generalis" and the above ones can be explained this way: Latin generalis (-e) (adjective) means both, "Of or belonging to a kind or species, generic (very rare)" which is the sense used here, and "Of or relating to all, general" which is the sense used above.

So: Accourding to this google book search results "casus generalis" should be a single case (i.e. there are no other cases) which is something different than "casus obliquus" (there is also the casus rectus or there are the casus recti). -EXplodit (talk) 11:26, 3 July 2015 (UTC)