Cases in Hungarian, Estonian and Finnish

dihydrogen monoxide

Senior Member
Slovene, Serbo-Croat
How big of a grammatical mistake is it if you mix up numerous "locative" cases in Estonian,Finnish and Hungarian? Can they sometimes be interchangable? Are some of them not used or used only in certain contexts or are there dialects that use some cases and not others. Can we tell if there was grammaticalization involved in forming those "locative" cases and can we say that the suffixes are Proto-Uralic in origin.
 
  • AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    How big of a grammatical mistake is it if you mix up numerous "locative" cases in Estonian,Finnish and Hungarian?
    I can't speak for Finnish or Estonian, but in Hungarian, mixing up two locative suffixes is a mistake as big as mixing up two prepositions in Indo-European languages.

    Can they sometimes be interchangable?
    No, I think in Hungarian the meanings are kept distinct, just like in the house / into the house / from the house / near the house, etc. in English.

    are there dialects that use some cases and not others.
    I don't know of any such Hungarian dialects.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I have a limited knowledge of Finnish, but I recall how punctilious the Finns were and corrected me immediately if I used a wrong ending of the illative (-aan/-iin or -ille). The tricky thing in Finnish is that when you want to say "I am going to X - place" you use one of the two, but they belong strictly to the particular name.
     

    Armas

    Senior Member
    Finnish
    If you mean locative cases in literally locative sense, there aren't any differences in Finnish except possibly some words that allow variability. The only one I can think of is piha "yard" which can get either outer or inner locative, e.g. pihassa/pihalla "in the yard".
    The same locative cases are used in non-locative senses as well and there we have at least a couple of differences between dialects.
     

    dihydrogen monoxide

    Senior Member
    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    If you mean locative cases in literally locative sense, there aren't any differences in Finnish except possibly some words that allow variability. The only one I can think of is piha "yard" which can get either outer or inner locative, e.g. pihassa/pihalla "in the yard".
    The same locative cases are used in non-locative senses as well and there we have at least a couple of differences between dialects.
    I mean additional cases that are not known outside of Indo-European languages, that are mostly locative in nature.
     

    dihydrogen monoxide

    Senior Member
    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    I can't speak for Finnish or Estonian, but in Hungarian, mixing up two locative suffixes is a mistake as big as mixing up two prepositions in Indo-European languages.
    I put "locative" because I am talking about cases that are only known to these three languages that come after locative, but they mostly express, according to my really limited knowledge, at/in/into, which in Indo-European languages could be classifed as locative cases.

    In Indo-European languages in/into/on can be interchangeable in some cases or there is really no difference. So if you use one case to describe into the house and the other one to say in the house, maybe then the who can be interchangeable because in some cases into and in don't make that big of a difference. Can you express a sentence in Hungarian like I was with a friend:

    a) I was friend 'suffix that expresses with'
    b) I was friend + preposition with the meaning of with
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    So if you use one case to describe into the house and the other one to say in the house, maybe then the who can be interchangeable because in some cases into and in don't make that big of a difference.
    Calling these Hungarian suffixes "cases" is problematic. I suppose this term originates in a Latin-based descriptive tradition.
    I think "postposition" is a more suitable term.
    In Hungarian, the suffixes to express location and motion are never interchangeable.

    Can you express a sentence in Hungarian like I was with a friend:

    a) I was friend 'suffix that expresses with'
    b) I was friend + preposition with the meaning of with
    I'm sorry, can you please explain what you mean? :confused: There are no prepositions in Hungarian.
     

    dihydrogen monoxide

    Senior Member
    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    Ok, in European languages in some cases on the lake and in the lake can mean the same, but is expressed through one case. Now, can Hungarian use two different cases to say in a European languages manner on the lake and in the lake and mean the same thing but using different cases. In European languages in some contexts on/in/into doesn't make a difference in meaning.

    By b) I meant that you would have a standalone word meaning with, but since you don't have that but express that with a case. So, there must have been a time in Hungarian or in Proto-Uralic where prepositions were used, maybe those prepositions became endings in cases.
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Now, can Hungarian use two different cases to say in a European languages manner on the lake and in the lake and mean the same thing but using different cases. In European languages in some contexts on/in/into doesn't make a difference in meaning.
    If I understand your question correctly, the answer is no, you can't mix up two 'spatial suffixes' without changing the meaning or affecting the grammaticality of the phrase.

    So, there must have been a time in Hungarian or in Proto-Uralic where prepositions were used, maybe those prepositions became endings in cases.
    No, I don't think so. As far as I know, most suffixes developed from nouns.
     

    dihydrogen monoxide

    Senior Member
    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    Are there cases where spatial cases experienced borrowing endings from one another? If you have to say a sentence like:

    A boat is in the sea. A boat is on the sea.

    Would Hungarian use a case for in or on the sea or would in the sea signify the boat had sunk. If I'm thinking in terms of European languages, sometimes some languages prefer in/on as the correct choice, would that apply to Hungarian, where one case would be correct and would signify European in/on.

    If I say, I have you on my mind, would you use a case that would be equivalent to European on or European in?

    As far as I understand, these languages do not say on+noun, rather noun+suffix with the meaning of (at,in,on, with).
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    There's no such thing as European on and European in. Portuguese and Spanish use em/en for situations that can be translated as at, in, on, or by, in English, for instance. That is why Portuguese and Spanish speakers have such a hard time learning the English prepositions of place in on, at, by, or in German in, an, auf, bei, etc. We mostly use em/en for almost everything.

    Try to be more clear, define your terms, and we'll see if we can help.

    By the way, I don't know what The boat is in the sea in English means.
     
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    Jaaguar

    Member
    Estonian
    mix up numerous "locative" cases in Estonian [---]? Can they sometimes be interchangable?
    In Estonian, we often use adessive (alalütlev) when grammatically correct would be allative (alaleütlev). Like, we say "Mul tuli hea mõte," instead of "Mulle tuli hea mõte." ("A good idea occurred to me"). The probable reason is that the ending of the allative is -le and the ending of the adessive is -l, so it's barely audible if you swallow the "e".

    In sloppy spoken language we might say say "Kus ta läks?" (seesütlev) instead of "Kuhu ta läks?" (sisseütlev) ("Where did he go to?")

    In- and on-cases can sometimes be interchangeable. Some people would say "Islandis" ("in Iceland") and some would say "Islandil" ("on Iceland"). That's because Iceland is both an island and a country.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Calling these Hungarian suffixes "cases" is problematic. I suppose this term originates in a Latin-based descriptive tradition.
    I think "postposition" is a more suitable term.
    It's not mutually exclusive at all. Both affixes and adpositions can be analyzed as case-forming, although only with affixes the case will be expressed morphologically (however, some studies indicate objective existence of cases on the syntactical level anyway, morphologically expressed or not).
    The main question is if these units are affixes or adpositions in Hungarian. However, as long as 1) they cannot exist in isolation, 2) they cannot be separated from the word by some other word (i.e. sufficiently autonomous segment) and 3) they aren't phonetically independent, there's absolutely no reason to consider them as something else than affixes.
     
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