Carl W. Conrad
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Wed Jul 25 19:56:36 EDT 2001
At 1:12 PM -0500 7/25/01, Ron Thomas wrote:
>I'm reading, in Summers, of there being 8 cases (Dana & Mantey). In other
>grammars (Mare, Hewett) I read of there being only 5. Reason?
This is no little question; indeed it has in the past roused a rather
heated discussion on this list with strong positions being taken by those
who, like myself, are unwilling to abandon the historical, diachronic
perspective on Greek grammar and by those who would ideally like to throw
out traditional categories and write a descriptive grammar of the cases as
actually found and used in Hellenistic Greek grammar. You'll hear lots of
responses. In the meantime, this message which I sent to the list a couple
of years ago (16 June 1999) may work as a starter:
Occasionally there is (pedagogical) discussion on this list as to whether
we should teach/learn a five-case system or an eight-case system. When I
start out in Greek on the case-system, I usually go over the following very
elementary introduction; here's the account I offered of it last Fall on
this list in a brief thread entitled "Re: 5 case system vs. 8 case system":
>Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 05:15:18 -0500
>To: Biblical Greek <b-greek at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
>From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>
>Subject: Re: 5 case system vs. 8 case system
>At 2:56 AM -0500 10/22/98, Byron P. Knutson wrote:
>>I was out looking at grammars today ( haven't bought any for a few years)
>>and it seems that all those I've found that are new are 5 case system
>>grammars. ATR pushed the 8 case system and I thought many thought highly of
>>his work and scholarship enough to follow it. The newer scholarship must
>>have reasons for going back to the 5 case system like the Classical Greek
>>grammars do/did. Is there any discussion on this by those who have kept up
>>on this aspect of the research?
>I don't think this is so much a matter of research, personally. I work more
>with Classical Attic than with Koine, and I only refer to five cases, but I
>think that some of the functions are so readily distinguishable in terms of
>original IE cases that I teach the cases at the outset as:
> Partitive Genitive: basic sense of "part of," "some of"
> Pertinentive or Adnominal Genitive: basic sense of "of"
> Ablatival Genitive: basic sense of "from"
> True Dative: basic sense of "to," "for"
> Instrumental-Comitative Dative: basic sense of "with"
> Locative Dative: basic sense of "in," "on," or "at"
>Of course Nominative and Accusative are distinct cases reasonably clearly
>defined; and some would refer to Vocative as a real case, although I'd say
>it's just a form of the noun without a distinct ending.
>It's true that some secondary Genitive meanings may appear difficult to
>assign to one of the three Genitive categories, and I think that more than
>economy is involved in the historical assimilation of originally distinct
>case functions to a smaller number of case endings--but it's hard to get
>too precise about that. I just personally think it's easier to
>understand--and explain-- the great bulk of functional case usages if they
>are broken down as I have suggested in terms of the historical IE
I hope that helps a little, but there's a sizable literature on the subject.
You might look at the archives for Oct 22-24, 1998 for one of the earlier
threads on this subject.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
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