Why are "za" "před" "nad" "pod" "mezi" instrumental?

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Kwunlam

Senior Member
Cantonese
Ahoj! I would like to ask how come "za" "před" "nad" "pod" "mezi", when not using for motions, are instrumental case but not locative case. I understand that grammatical stuffs do not always have explanations. But in case there might be some historical reasons, it would be useful for me to memorize them efficiently. Thank you in advance!
 
  • werrr

    Senior Member
    That's because all of them are improper prepositions.

    Mezi is locative (!) of the noun mez tourned into preposition.

    Před, nad and pod are compounds of respective prepositions with -d (resp -dъ) which is commonly traced to IE *dhē- meaning to put/set/place/lay (thereof the meaning of location).

    Za is obscure preposition likely of pronomial origin. It has the biggest number of rections of all Czech prepositions, namely genitive, accusative and instrumental, so it is really exceptional.
    But notice nouns zad, záď, záda of similar origin like před, pod and nad.
     
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