Tid: Torsdagen 13 oktober kl. 15.00 - 17.00
Plats: C307

Postseminarium äger rum direkt efter seminariet i institutionens pentry.


The term ‘vocative’ was originally used to describe an inflectional category of nominals found in several Indo-European languages. In these languages, nouns and adjectives are inflected for number, gender, and case. Vocative is not a gender and not a number, and has often been called a case. But other case markers inform about syntactic relationships, and vocative markers do not do that. Linguistic discussions about vocative have mainly revolved around the question whether vocative should be regarded as a case or not.

A more promising approach, in my view, is to study the type of utterances in which vocative forms occur in some languages. Utterances designed to select a specific addressee and consisting of only a noun phrase seem to exist in all languages. The most typical ones consist of a name only:
(1) Jim! (English)
(2) Mpande! (Zulu)
(3) Brute! (Latin)

‘Call’ is the term I use for this type of utterance. In the seminar, a small typological study of the grammatical properties of calls will be presented. Several types of marking exist; inflection is one option. Marking of calls seems to work differently from other kinds of grammatical marking in several respects.