Lexicalization of case markers

Nicholas Ostler nostler at CHIBCHA.DEMON.CO.UK
Wed Jan 3 19:06:56 UTC 2007

Dear Kazuha

 From your name, you appear to be Japanese: have you considered the 
Japanese case-marker ga (nominative, perhaps originally genitive) which 
can occur as a sentence opener, to mean 'but'?

de, demo (historically derived from ni te (mo), of which the first 
element is a dative marker) also coocur as sentence openers, to mean 'but'.

All these presumably result when preposed nominalizations that head a 
full sentence are  reanalyzed as compound sentences with a co-ordinating 
conjunction. The case marker on the nominalization is reanalyzed as a 
conjunction. Subsequently, it becomes free-standing, with its preceding 
clause only implicit.

(It seems quite normal for conjunctions to become freestanding 
particles, e.g. quamquam in Latin, and (the equivalent) however in English.)



Kazuha Watanabe wrote:
> 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

Nicholas Ostler 

Chairman, Foundation for Endangered Languages
Registered Charity: England and Wales 1070616
172 Bailbrook Lane, Bath, BA1 7AA, England
nostler at chibcha.demon.co.uk

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