number of cases in PIE

From: Andy Howey
Message: 17863
Date: 2003-01-21

Hello, all:

I was wondering how many cases there really were in PIE, or more
specifically, Late PIE. I specify Late PIE because according to most
information I've read, PIE went through an earlier "ergative" stage first.
In any case, most sources seem to agree that there were eight cases:

nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, ablative, locative,
and vocative.

However, Dr Letas Palmaitis argues any cases other than nominative,
genitive, dative, and accusative are innovations for that particular
language (group). He claims that Prussian, and by extension
Sudovian/Yatvingian, maintain the archaic PIE four-case structure. He
claims that where one case might have a particular function in one language
group, that function will be taken over by (a) different case(s) in other
language groups. He doesn't seem to take into consideration that the
languages most closely related to Prussian, Latvian and Lithuanian, and then
the Slavic languages have, or had, at least seven grammatical cases. If
you're interested, you can read his argument at -- it's the section

I have a book, in German, on Prussian grammar (Altpreussische Grammatik by
Jan Endzelin) that indicates remnants of the instrumental and locative
cases. So, it seems to me that Prussian might be the innovator in dropping
the additional cases. MIght that be because of early contact with Germanic?

I would appreciate any clarification on this.

Thank you very much:

Andy Howey