[Lingtyp] terminological question about local cases/adpositions

Jussi Ylikoski jussi.ylikoski at oulu.fi
Sat Mar 27 16:20:23 UTC 2021

Dear Christian,

Thank you for the Austerlitz reference and Cabecar data. It might be true that the Southern Permyak local case system is one of the richest indeed, as the default local cases and the 'top' case series have as many as two times five members (rest, motion to / from / through / up to). Robin Baker's (1985) monograph "The development of the Komi case system: A dialectological investigation" describes these and some analogous series quite thoroughly.

Best regards,


Frá: Christian Lehmann <christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de>
Sent: laugardagur, 27. mars 2021 16:48
Til: Jussi Ylikoski <jussi.ylikoski at oulu.fi>; Gilles Authier <gilles.authier at gmail.com>; LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org <LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Efni: Re: [Lingtyp] terminological question about local cases/adpositions

As regards rich local case systems, my original source  was:
Austerlitz, Robert 1980, "Typology and universals on a Eurasian east-west continuum." Brettschneider, Gunter & Lehmann, Christian (eds.), Wege zur Universalienforschung. Sprachwissenschaftliche Beiträge zum 60. Geburtstag von Hansjakob Seiler. Tübingen: G. Narr (Tübinger Beiträge zur Linguistik, 145); 235-244.
Austerlitz says the richest case system "in the Eurasian belt" is the Permiak one. However, not being a specialist on this, I have no intention to argue about it.

Cabecar works like those languages which I mentioned in my original question, combining the NP with a form which specifies the spatial region and then leaves the specification of the  local relation to other components of the clause, including some elementary postpositions which may end the phrase. The form designating the spatial region may be a relational noun or a postposition (grammaticalized from a region noun). For the superior region, there are even two:

  *   postposition kí̱ 'on', grammaticalized from a region noun meaning 'surface'
  *   region noun tsá̱ 'top', grammaticalized from body-part noun 'head'.

These two are essentially synonymous in the literal local sense. The former has many more abstract senses, too.

Am 27.03.21 um 15:30 schrieb Jussi Ylikoski:

Dear all,

I feel I ought to change the subject line, but won't do that since the substance of my question is related to and inspired by the one discussed in this thread.

To shortly comment on Christian's original query, I'd like to point out that there are actually not that many Uralic languages with a rich local case systems - instead, they are found in Hungarian and the Finnic branch of the family (including Finnish and Estonian), but barely in the seven less know branches of Uralic (certain dialects of Permic languages being the exception). Even then, only "external" and "vicinal" (Gilles' superlocative and apudlocative) series exist, whereas the "internal" local cases can be regarded as unmarked default local cases. Instead, languages of Caucasus are those that display truly rich local case systems, as far as they can be regarded as case systems (Comrie & Polinsky 1998).

My own question today: While many "Super", "superlocative" or 'top' cases can indeed be found in Uralic and in the languages of Caucasus (Ossetic (Indo-European) included), are there any other corners of the world with such specialized cases? In other words, I'm looking for morphological case distinctions as seen in the following Finnish word pairs:

lipasto-ssa 'in the drawer' vs. lipasto-lla 'on the drawer'

tule-ssa 'in the fire' vs. tule-lla 'on the fire'

mere-ssä 'in the sea' vs. mere-llä 'on the sea'

I'd be happy to locate similar morphological distinctions outside the Uralic family and the Causasus region.

Best regards,



Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
Rudolfstr. 4
99092 Erfurt

Tel.:   +49/361/2113417
E-Post: christianw_lehmann at arcor.de<mailto:christianw_lehmann at arcor.de>
Web:    https://www.christianlehmann.eu
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