Accusative is the case of the direct object. The case of the indirect object is dative.It has nothing to do with the Latin accusative case, of which function is the same as our indirect objects.
A is also an indirect object marker in Spanish. Conversely, a is used as a direct object marker in other RL, too, though much less frequently than in Spanish.What is a bit confusing is that a, à has become an indirect object maker in other Romance languages (Fr: Je donne l'argent à Pierre).
Your so right! I was thinking in ablative case. I'm sorry, I'm going to fix it right away.Accusative is the case of the direct object. The case of the indirect object is dative.
As you described, the "personal a" in Spanish is a direct object marker. So it would not be wrong to call it an accusative marker. It is derived from the Latin preposition ad (=to) which required an accusative. What is a bit confusing is that a, à has become an indirect object maker in other Romance languages (Fr: Je donne l'argent à Pierre).
The use of a removes other ambiguities too, most notably in reflexive sentences:The fact that, on the whole, there is less likely to be ambiguity when the direct object is inanimate would seem to explain why the use attaches to human (and animal) direct objects only. However, in earlier forms of Spanish examples can be found both of a being used for inanimate direct objects and not being used for human direct objects - indeed to an extent this still persists in modern Spanish.
The use of a(d) before a human direct object can be traced back to Vulgar Latin. No one is quite sure why the use arose, but the general explanation is that it was to avoid ambiguity. In Latin, word order was fairly free because case endings marked the syntactic relationship between nouns in a sentence. Presumably, as case endings were dropped word order became more important to determine the syntactic function of a noun, but obviously there was not an overnight switch from one to the other.
The fact that, on the whole, there is less likely to be ambiguity when the direct object is inanimate would seem to explain why the use attaches to human (and animal) direct objects only. However, in earlier forms of Spanish examples can be found both of a being used for inanimate direct objects and not being used for human direct objects - indeed to an extent this still persists in modern Spanish.
In modern Spanish, the use of a tends to be restricted to known human beings (and animals). In Busco al camarero que habla inglés you know the English speaking waiter exists. In Busco (a) un camarero que hable inglés you are uncertain of his existence.
It should also be noted that, whilst it does not have anywhere near the same freedom as Latin, word order in Spanish is a little freer than in, say, French. Information considered important may come first and in relative clauses the verb may precede the subject. This means that a may also be used to designate an inanimate direct object to avoid ambiguity. In La regla que perjudica al asunto... we know for sure that the rule prejudices the affair, but in La regla que perjudica el asunto... we are uncertain whether the rule is prejudicing the affair, or the affair is prejudicing the rule.
Not an entirely unreasonable position for a teacher to take - when learning a language "why?" is not always a good question - you have to accept that things are the way they are....my teacher said, "Well, that is just the way it is"
It is good to have an enquiring mind....it was like a red rag etc and I just had to find out.
Not quite. Latin changed wherever it was spoken, including in Italy. Side by side with the changes Latin was preserved (though not quite in its classical form) as a written language. It was only when the spoken and written forms had diverged considerably that the vernaculars started to be written. Even in Ancient Rome the spoken language must have differed from the written language.So, the answer appears to be, that as latin moved away from its cultural and literary home, it became less inflected;
I do not think it is as simple as that. When looking at the history of a language it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that some earlier form was "intermediate". However, at any given moment in history a language is a complete system. I do not think that at any time there was ambiguity because language cannot be ambiguous if it is to be a useful means of communication. The loss of case endings and strategies to compensate for the loss must have taken place simultaneously....the lack of case endings leading to ambiguity. The construction that I refer to as "personal a" and others, were used to restore clarity.
Actually southern italian dialects use a lot this strange (for me) a.In southern Italy you may hear Chiama a Marco (Call Marco). This isn't considered standard Italian, though.
In Romanian you use the preposition pe, which is obligatory when the direct object is definite, as the Spanish a: O iubesc pe mama mea (I love my mom). Here the pronoun o (her) has to be duplicated before the verb, like saying (I) her love (to) mother my.
2.2. Se venden casas o se vende casas. Aunque tienen en común el omitir el agente de la acción, conviene no confundir las oraciones impersonales (carentes de sujeto y con el verbo inmovilizado en tercera persona del singular) y las oraciones de pasiva refleja (con el verbo en tercera persona del singular o del plural, concertando con el sujeto paciente). La confusión puede darse únicamente con verbos transitivos, pues son los únicos que pueden generar ambos tipos de oraciones: Se busca a los culpables (impersonal) / Se buscan casas con jardín (pasiva refleja).
En el castellano antiguo solo existían las oraciones de pasiva refleja, que no planteaban ningún problema cuando el sujeto denotaba cosa: «Se cantan cosas torpes e malas» (Cuéllar Catecismo [Esp. 1325]); pero cuando el sujeto denotaba persona se producían casos de ambigüedad entre los significados reflexivo, recíproco y de pasiva refleja; así, una oración como Se tratan bien los pobres podía tener una interpretación reflexiva (a sí mismos), recíproca (entre sí) o de pasiva refleja (por alguien que no se menciona). Para evitar la ambigüedad se fue extendiendo la práctica de anteponer al sustantivo de persona la preposición a, cuando la oración debía interpretarse como pasiva refleja: «Que se respeten a los prelados de la Iglesia» (Palafox Carta [Esp. 1652]). Finalmente se inmovilizó el verbo en singular, dando lugar a la estructura impersonal con se del español actual: «A pesar del régimen excepcional con que se trataba a los reclusos extranjeros» (Chavarría Rojo [Ur. 2002]). Así pues, las oraciones impersonales nacen solo referidas a persona.