Lexicalization of case markers

Henning Andersen andersen at UCLA.EDU
Thu Jan 4 19:23:22 UTC 2007

Dear all,

I think Christian is right, one will have to look long before finding 
good examples of case markers being lexicalized.

Eng. *bus* has long been recognized as a clipping, that is, part of a 
lexical expression, created to stand in for the whole. At first a 
stylistic variant of *omnibus*, *bus* soon became the primary 
expression for 'bus' and in the minds of many speakers lost any 
connection with *omnibus*. The *omnibus* connection has been 
thoroughly forgotten, except by philologists.
The creation of *bus* had nothing to do with its original status of 
case marker. Hence there is no reason to speak of it as a 
degrammaticalization. Since it was part of a lexeme to begin with, 
there is no lexicalization either. One might speak of its 
codification as a clipped variant of *omnibus* and its subsequent 
dissociation from it.

Fi. ta (+umlaut) similarly has the appearance of a clipping. It is as 
yet merely a stylistic (casual speech) variant of the whole word for 
Since the clipped form of mita retains a grammatical function of 
mita, there is no reason to speak of degramma(ticaliza)tion here. One 
might wonder if it will be codified in the specific function 'what 
did you say'; if so, one might consider describing the change as a 

Here is a product of phonological deletion. In standard Russian, 
initial /j/ is lost before /i/. Hence the pronominal stem /j-/ '3rd 
person', which occurs in j-ovo [jivo] 'acc.gen.sg.masc.nt', j-omu 
[jimu] 'dat.sg.masc.nt', etc. has no realization in j-im [im] 
'instr.sg.masc.nt', j-ix [ix] 'acc.gen.loc.pl', j-im [im] 'dat.pl', 
j-im'i [im'i] 'instr.pl'. In other words, the case endings /ix/, 
/im/, /im'i/ serve as full words. But one might say that they imply 
the phonologically zero stem /j-/.
(There are varieties of Russian where [j] has been restored 
(analogical restitution) in these pronominal forms, though not before 
any other, now initial, /i/ vowels.)
This example, too, involves neither degrammaticalization nor lexicalization.



>Dear all,
>   I was wondering if anyone know any languages where a case marker is
>lexicalized.   Thank you so much.
>Kazuha Watanabe
>Cornell University
>Department of Linguistics

|||||   Henning Andersen

|||||   Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
|||||   University of California, Los Angeles
|||||   P.O.Box 951502
|||||   Los Angeles, CA 900095-1502

|||||   Phone: +1-310-837-6743.  Fax by appointment
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