[Ads-l] Loss of the English dative "home"? / "Exit out of"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 10 00:43:27 UTC 2015

On Feb 9, 2015, at 4:35 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> At 2/9/2015 02:13 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> On Feb 9, 2015, at 1:06 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>> > On Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 8:40 AM, guy1656 at centurylink.net <
>> > guy1656 at centurylink.net> wrote:
>> >
>> >> Isn't "whom" and it's derived words all we have left of the dative in
>> >> English?
>> >>
>> >> Related question: Do 'hence, hither, whence, and whither' still mark
>> >> accusative (if they ever did?)
>> >>
>> >
>> > "Him," "them," and " 'em" are also historical datives. In the Slavic
>> > languages, this -m still marks the dative.
>> And even closer, in German (dem, einem, …)
> Let's not be male chauvinist pigs.  There's also "her".
> And (in both languages) aren't they also accusative markers?  "I gave him <something>" / "I hit him".  I won't attempt the analog in German.

The claim was just that the -m forms in English were historical datives, not that they function that way now.  The idea is there's been neutralization or conflation toward the dative in these cases; the so-called "objective" case can descend historically from a dative or not.  But in German there's still a distinction in the forms I cited:  "einem" and "dem" are dative-marked masculine indefinite and definite articles respectively, "einen" and "den" their accusative counterparts.  And Wilson informs us that this is true in Slavic as well, which I hadn't known.  

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