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Good day, all!

Read through....the question is at the end.

English cases, though no longer taught as such, are still somewhat present and remnants of the cases in Old English. During the time between say, 1300 and the present, we lost most of the inflections that were present before 1300, but some of the words -- particularly the possessive pronouns -- retained their inflections.

The four cases of Old English are:

Nominative
Genative
Accusative
Dative/Instrumental

The Nominative case gets its name from the idea that it is the 'naming' case. It identifies the subject of the sentence by name.

The Genative case gets its name by pointing out the 'genesis' of the noun. "Brother of mine", "Goblet of silver". Generally, anywhere 'of' is used, the object of the preposition will be in the Genative case.

Now Accusative and Dative leave me baffled. How did they get their names?

Accusative seems to bring to mind one accusing another. Even in Russian, Винительный (vi-NI-tyl-ni) is the name of the Accusative case and the root verb of that is Винить (vi-NIT), to blame, accuse. But how does that apply to the case of a noun in the general role of Direct Object? Or is the premise of Accusative case being equivalent to the Direct Object faulty altogether?

Dative conjures in me the idea of dates. In linguistics, the Dative case is generally used to indicate the Indirect Object. The question becomes, "how/where does the concept of date intersect with the idea of Indirect Object?

Now naturally there are prepositions that require a specific case. In English all prepositions require the Accusative case (the Dative case seems all but lost in Modern English). In German hilfen, to help, requires the Dative, whereas sehen, to see, requires an Accusative object. Whereas this makes perfect sense, there are other that make no sense. This is not the thread for that discussion.

My question, after all that, is this:

Where did the different grammatical cases get there names?

Thanks!
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Comments  (Page 2) 
"The rose gives the boy a girl" may make no sense to the less poetical of English speakers, but could be epigrammatic to the more sensitive reader (or to the florist looking for a Valentine's Day slogan). Perhaps her affections are bought a trifle cheap, however. She might have held out for a dozen.
--slowpez
All cases have their source in Latin. If you speak only English, then this will be a very hard concept to understand.

Peter
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