Feature GB071: Are there morphological cases for pronominal core arguments (i.e. S/A/P)?

Patrons: Jakob Lesage



This question is about phonologically independent pronouns only; indexes are irrelevant. Morphological case involves any type of case marking that is phonologically bound (affixes, clitics, tone, alternation, vowel lengthening, etc.). Core arguments are those having S, A or P function. If a bound marker distinguishes S from non-S pronouns, this counts as 1. Optional marking and marking with portmanteau morphemes (e.g. a marker both indicates that a noun phrase is plural and that it has P function) also count.


  1. Code 1 if core case can be marked on pronouns using tone, affixation, suppletion, or any other kind of bound marking.
  2. Code 0 if core argument functions are only marked on pronouns with phonologically free adpositions.
  3. Code 0 if core argument functions are only indicated using constituent order.
  4. Code 0 if case marking on pronouns is not mentioned in the grammar or in the examples. Write 'not mentioned' in the comment column.
  5. Code ? if you have reason to believe that the author may have missed case markers (e.g. because they do not analyze tone) or specific case-marking functions of other morphemes.


Eipomek (ISO 639-3: eip, Glottolog: eipo1242)

In Eipomek, phonologically independent pronominal subjects may be marked with the bound morpheme -de (Heeschen 1998: 171–172). Eipomek is coded 1.

na-de  bo-am-ne-buk,          an-de  dob-nama-lam
1SG-S  carry-PRF-1SG.PRS-when 2SG-S  take-FUT-2SG
‘It is me who has carried it, and you will take it.’ (Heeschen 1998: 172)

Lardil (ISO 639-3: lbz, Glottolog: lard1243)

Lardil has different pronouns for different case functions (Klikeid 1976: 107–108). Lardil is coded 1.

Nominative Accusative
1SG ngata ngithaa-n
2SG nying-ki ngimpee-n
3SG ni-ya niwee-n

Abun (ISO 639-3: kgr, Glottolog: abun1252)

In Abun, there are no morphological cases at all, not for pronominal noun phrases and not for non-pronominal noun phrases. It is coded 0 for this feature (Berry & Berry 1999: 48–49). Argument functions are solely indicated by means of word order:

a. men  kas
1PL  run
‘We ran.’ (Berry & Berry 1999: 49)

b. men  gwa  Isak
1PL  hit  Isak
‘We hit Isak.’ (Berry & Berry 1999: 49)

c. Isak  gwa  men
Isak  hit  1PL
‘Isak hit us.’ (Berry & Berry 1999: 49)

Further reading

Comrie, Bernard. 2013. Alignment of Case Marking of Pronouns. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Haspelmath, Martin 2009. Terminology of Case. In Andrej L. Malchukov & Andrew Spencer (eds), The Oxford handbook of case, 505–517. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Spencer, Andrew. 2009. Case as a morphological phenomenon. In Andrej L. Malchukov & Andrew Spencer (eds), The Oxford handbook of case, 185–199. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Note that Spencer does not count clitics as morphological case, while in Grambank they are counted as such.)


Berry, Keith & Christine Berry. 1999. A description of Abun: a West Papuan language of Irian Jaya. (Pacific Linguistics: Series B, 115.) Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.

Heeschen, Volker. 1998. An ethnographic grammar of the Eipo language. (Mensch, Kultur und Umwelt im Zentralen Bergland von West-Neuguinea, 23.) Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.

Klokeid, Terry J. 1976. Topics in Lardil grammar. Cambridge: MIT. (Doctoral dissertation.)

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0 absent 1209
1 present 1023
? Not known 141



Name Glottocode Family Macroarea Contributor Value Source Comment