LINGUIST List 6.1376

Sun Oct 8 1995

Sum: Case-marked expletives

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. console, Sum: Case-Marked Expletives

Message 1: Sum: Case-Marked Expletives

Date: Sat, 07 Oct 1995 19:50:06 Sum: Case-Marked Expletives
From: console <>
Subject: Sum: Case-Marked Expletives

In "LINGUIST List: Vol-6-801. Fri 09 Jun 1995", I posted the following
	1) are there languages with case-indication on locatives
	2) if so, can these locatives be used as expletives
these questions were motivated by an analysis of the English
there-expletive, as in _there arrived three girls_.

The answers were that
 (1) yes there are languages with case marked locatives,
 (2) no, none of the languages uses those as expletives
(the latter could of course be just an accidental gap, or an effect
of too few languages having been looked at).

Thanks a lot to all respondants, and here are some more details
of the responses:

 From: Lance Eccles <>
Turkish marks "here", "there", "where" for case:

TO buraya suraya oraya nereye
AT burada surada orada nerede
FROM buradan suradan oradan nereden

Suraya etc ("there, not far away") has a cedilla under the s.
I don't think these can be used in the way described in your second

most of the Germanic languages except for German & Yiddish
use 'there' for so-called "expletive" function:
e.g. E there, D daar, Fri der (I think), Dan der, etc. Only German &
Yiddish use 'it', I believe. I'm sure others can fill you in more here,
but that's a start.

Lezgian has something akin to what you are looking for, see my 'A
grammar of Lezgian', Berlin: Mouton, 1993. No use in expletives, I'm
afraid, but locative adverbs, which are case-marked as in many other
languages for locative cases (cf. English th-ere, th-ence, th-ither--
you could think of these as the locative, ablative and allative case
forms; in Lezgian such an analysis is necessary), such locative adverbs
also have an Absolutive case, and can be used as intransitive subjects
and direct objects (I'm not sure about ergative case at the moment).
For example: an-a 'there', an-iz 'thither', Absolutive case anag
(morpgologically this is quite irregular).
Best, Martin Haspelmath

 From: Stavros Macrakis <>
Turkish locatives are formed in a very regular way.
	<demonstrative> + ra + <case ending>
Take the following elements:
	bu	this (near me)
	Su	that (near you)
	o	that (over there)
	ne	which?
These can be used as is as adjectives (bu kitap = this book) or as
pronouns (o go"rdu"m = I saw that). They can be declined normally
(with a "pronominal n" in some cases): (onun kitap = o (Genitive)
kitap = the book of that one).
They can be composed with the "locative" element "ra", although they
cannot be used "bare" in that case:
	burada	= bu + ra + da (Locative case)
		= here
	oradan = o + ra + dan (Ablative case)
		= from there
	burasi = bu + ra + si (hard-to-define suffix, approx = "its")
		= "this/here" as in "This is Radio Ankara"
I do not believe these are used as expletives, but they can certainly
be used as literal locatives (adam oraya gitti = a man went thence).
For more info, check G.L.Lewis's Turkish Grammar.

Yup'ik (Eskimo) has ~30 demonstrative pronouns and a similar
number of demonstrative adverbs showing various aspects of location,
shape, and relative movement. All are case-marked, although the adverbs
don't have all the cases available to noun stems.
	I don't think any of these can be used in exactly the sense of
English expletive 'there', but my knowledge of Yup'ik is very limited. A
reference is Yup'ik Eskimo Grammar, by Reed et al, Fairbanks, AK, Alaska
Native Language Center, pp. 256 ff.
	-Burns Cooper

thanks again,
Michal Starke.
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