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The loss of lexical case in Swedish

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Abstract

One of the most fundamental changes in the history of the Germanic languages was the loss of inflectional case marking. This paper will discuss the mechanisms involved in the decline of inflectional case systems with special reference to the loss of lexical case in Swedish. It will be seen that the decline of lexical case was by no means a straightforward affair. The tendency towards loss was powerfully counteracted by tendencies of maintenance, which managed to slow down the eventual collapse of the case system. Ultimately, these opposed tendencies can be identified as the conflicting interests of the speaker and the hearer, or ease of production vs. ease of perception. This will be illustrated by a case study in changes in prepositional case assignment. <b></b>

References

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