So that I don't have to post yet another thread, I'm going to ask another question here. I don't really like adpositions all that much (well, I guess postpositions are okay to me) but I really love cases. So, what if instead of using the adpostitions I used cases? Would it be too much? And would it be cliche at all?
Whether or not it's "too much" is up to you, and depends on things you haven't told us yet.
The Tsez language, it is said, has around 200 cases.
Most languages with more than some vague number of cases, have a tendency for the case-markings to be regular-ish "compoundoids"; that is, the "case-marking" may be two or more morphemes.
at 2.1.1. Noun-inflection
, at 220.127.116.11
(especially the table 18.104.22.168.1
). There are some 52 to 104 case-like meanings there that could all be expressed by different cases, if you wanted to.
Some languages -- I believe Finnish and Hungarian and Hindi and Turkish may be among them -- have case-endings that seem to be made up out of two or three different morphemes.
You could have all three of prepositions and postpositions and cases; each combination could mean something different. If you had three prepositions (with lack of a preposition meaning something), three postpositions (with lack of a postposition meaning something), and four cases (one of which is zero-marked), you could make up to 64 combinations of them. I believe something like that is attested in some natlangs.
And some natlangs allow you to use two prepositions (or two postpositions) on one noun; as if you could say "on to the house" or "in to the house" (instead of "onto" and "into").
You could do something similar. Your case-"endings" could be composed of, say, three morphemes, each of which could have, say, six or seven or eight values, leading to 216 or 343 or 512 cases. Or, maybe, just two morphemes, one with eight and one with twelve values, leading to 96 cases. Or something like that.
You may be wondering whether the "syntactic" or "grammatical" cases can be expressed with adpositons or with cases; and the answer is, they can be expressed either way.
For the moment, let's assume I'm talking about Nominative, Accusative, Dative, and Genitive.
Tagalog's "ang" is kind of a combination definite article and nominative preposition. (German also has words that are at once articles and case-markers).
Spanish uses an accusative preposition for direct objects which are specific and animate (or maybe it's definite and animate, or maybe it's specific and human; I admit my memory is imperfect); but nonspecific inanimate direct objects don't need to be so marked.
English uses "to" for a dative preposition, and "of" for a genitive preposition; but English genitives can also use the "-'s" ending (the "Saxon genitive").
And classical European languages use many cases -- six in Sanskrit, eight in Latin, and so on.
Read Barry J. Blake's book "Case"
. It should guide you in setting up your case-system.
Remember that adpositions frequently come, diachronically, from words that were other parts-of-speech in an earlier form of the language or in an ancestral language; often, these were adverbs, but they could have been almost any part-of-speech.
Also remember that case-endings frequently come, diachronically, from words that were postpositions in an earlier form of the language or in an ancestral language.
So, I'd say, you should be able to say in your 'lang just about anything that another language would need adpositions to say, by using only cases and adverbs, or cases and other words that aren't adpositions, or just plain only cases.
, and, if you want, other features and chapters having to do with cases or with adpositions.
And it wouldn't be something that's never happened in a natlang, nor something that's never been done in a conlang.