Lexicalization of case markers

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at UNIVIE.AC.AT
Thu Jan 4 07:56:23 UTC 2007

Dear all,

>> (Kazuha Watanabe):
>>   I was wondering if anyone know any languages where a case marker is
>> lexicalized.   Thank you so much.
> (Christian Lehmann:)
>  If you are looking for a case marker that becomes a
> lexeme, i.e. a stem with lexical meaning, that would be a case (not of
> lexicalization, but) of degrammaticalization. There you may end up looking
> pretty long.

It also depends on what counts as a "case marker". Degrammaticalization may
be possible with adverbial case markers.
A Finno-Ugric handbook example: North Saami "haga" (adverb, postposition)
'without' from an abessive (caritive) suffix *-ktA(k).

And, certainly, case-marker-like elements (adpositions, derivational
affixes) in specific sub-functions may be degrammaticalized:
>(Stefan Georg:)
> Now, in Afrikaans, this ³van² also acquired the meaning of ³surname, family
> name² - in Dutch names this is a very frequent element: van Dale, van de
The same happened in Komi, where the -ov suffix of Russian surnames was
lexicalized to "ov" 'surname'.

But does anyone know examples of a "core grammatical" case marker (such as
genitive or accusative) being degrammaticalized? (In Finno-Ugric, these are
typically too short to be used as word stems.) Is this what Kazuha Watanabe
originally meant?

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johanna Laakso
Universität Wien, Institut für Europäische und Vergleichende Sprach- und
Literaturwissenschaft (EVSL) | Abteilung Finno-Ugristik
Universitätscampus Spitalgasse 2-4 Hof 7, A-1090 Wien
Tel. +43 1 4277 43019, (VoIP) +43 599664 43019 | Fax +43 1 4277 9430
johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at | http://homepage.univie.ac.at/Johanna.Laakso/

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