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The morphological expression of case 
in Övdalian

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to document and describe the case system of the most conservative variety of Övdalian still spoken (‘Traditional Övdalian,’ TÖ). The system is compared with the four-case system of Old Swedish (OS) and the three-case system of Classical Övdalian (CÖ) described by Levander (1909). I argue that TÖ distinguishes three cases, but in full noun phrases, only manifests a two-case system, where Dative case is opposed to a Direct case comprising nominative and accusative functions. Pronouns generally show a different alignment, distinguishing nominative from objective cases. I focus on the nominal suffixes, which distinguish gender, number, definiteness, and case, as well as declension class. I argue that TÖ nouns have only one suffix, where OS had three, and CÖ was in transition between two suffixes and one. I examine the patterns of syncretism, and suggest that some can be explained in terms of markedness cooccurrence restrictions, but not others. I also briefly discuss adnominal modifiers (determiners and adjectives).

References

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