Case variation and case alternation in Indo-European and beyond

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This paper deals with one of the aspects of the diachronic study of case, variation and competition of two or more cases in some particular function(s). The paper studies both formal parameters (markedness of case forms, interaction between declensional types) and functional features (overlapping of case semantics, semantic roles encoded, semantic specificity of cases) relevant for case competition. On the basis of evidence from languages with well-attested documented history, I outline possible approaches to the study of a tentative hierarchy of parameters that play an important role for the choice of case in the situation of competition and can be used to make plausible suggestions on the outcome of case competition. Keywords: case; case variation; case syncretism; paradigmatic pressure; analogy; markedness; substrate; Indo-European; Identifiability; Distinguishability; Primary Argument Immunity Principle


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