Locative case

Locative case

Locative (also called the "seventh case") is a grammatical case which indicates a location. It corresponds vaguely to the English prepositions "in", "on", "at", and "by". The locative case belongs to the general local cases together with the lative and separative case.

The locative case exists in many language groups.

Indo-European languages

The Proto-Indo-European language had a locative case expressing "place where", an adverbial function. The ending depended on the last vowel of the stem (consonant, a-, o-, i-, u-stems) and the number (singular or plural). Subsequently the locative case tended to merge with other cases: the genitive or dative. [Buck, page 172] Some daughter languages retained it as a distinct case. The locative case is found in:
* modern Balto-Slavic languages (see however prepositional case)
* some classical Indo-European languages, particularly Sanskrit and Old Latin
* uncommon, archaic or literary use in certain modern Indian languages (such as Marathi in which a separate ablative case has however disappeared)


The Latin locative case is extremely marginal, applying only to the names of cities and small islands and to a few other isolated words. The Romans considered all islands to be "small" except for Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Crete, and Cyprus. Much of the case's function had been absorbed into the ablative. For singular first and second declension, the locative is identical to the genitive singular form, and for the singular third declension the locative is identical to the ablative singular form. For plural nouns of all declensions, the locative is also identical to the ablative form. The few fourth and fifth declension place-name words would also use the ablative form for locative case. However, there are a few rare nouns that use the locative instead of a preposition: Domus-->Domī (at home), Rūs-->Rūrī (in the country), Humus-->Humī (on the ground), Militia-->Militiae (in military service, in the field), Focus--> Focī (at the hearth; at the center of the community). In archaic times, the locative singular of third declension nouns was actually interchangeable between ablative and dative forms, but in the Augustan Period the use of the ablative form became fixed.

The first declension locative is by far the most common, because so many Roman place names were first declension: mostly singular (Roma, Rome; Hibernia, Ireland; etc, and therefore Romae, at Rome; Hiberniae, at Ireland), but some plural (Athenae, Athens; Cumae, Cuma etc., with Athenis, at Athens; Cumis, at Cumae). But there are a number of second declension names that would have locatives, too (Brundisium, Brundisi; Eboracum, York; with locatives Brundisi, at Brundisium; Eboraci, at York, etc.

Note that the locative is used to indicate a place "where" (we would prefix the place name with "at" or "in") as opposed to "to which" (we would prefix the name with "to"). (Walking "in Rome" is not the same as walking "to Rome".)

Slavic languages

Unusual in other Indo-European branches but common among Slavic languages, the ending depends on whether the word is a noun or an adjective (among other factors).


There are several different locative endings in Polish:

* -ie Used for singular nouns of all genders, ie. "niebo → niebie". In a few cases, the softening indicated by "i" has led to consonant alternations:
** "brat → bracie"
** "rzeka → rzece"
** "noga → nodze"
** "rower → rowerze"
** "piekło → piekle"For a complete list, see [http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Polish/Hard_and_soft_consonants Polish hard and soft consonants] .

* -u Used for:
** Some masculine singular nouns, ie. "dom → domu, bok → boku, brzuch → brzuchu, worek → worku*, nastrój → nastroju*, deszcz → deszczu, koń → koniu, Poznań → Poznaniu, Wrocław → Wrocławiu, Bytom → Bytomiu**" [* In a few cases, a vowel change may occur, ie. ó → o, or a vowel may be dropped. ** Final consonants in Wrocław and Bytom used to be soft, which is still reflected in suffixed forms, hence -i-.]
** All neuter singular nouns ending in "-e", ie. "miejsce → miejscu, życie → życiu"
** Some neuter singular nouns ending in "-o", ie. "mleko → mleku, łóżko → łóżku, ucho → uchu"
* -i Used for:
** Feminine nouns ending in "-ia", ie. "Kasia" ("Katie") → "o Kasi" ("about Katie"), "Austria → w Austrii" ("in Austria")
** Feminine nouns ending in "-ść", ie. "miłość" ("love") → "o miłości" ("about love")
* -ach Used for plural nouns of all genders, ie. "kobiety" ("women") → "o kobietach" ("about women")
* -ich / -ych Used for plural adjectives of all genders, ie. "małe sklepy" ("small shops") → "w małych sklepach" ("in small shops")
* -im / -ym Used for masculine and neuter singular adjectives, ie. "polski język" ("Polish language") → "w polskim języku" ("in the Polish language")
* -ej Used for feminine singular adjectives, ie. "duża krowa" ("big cow") → "o dużej krowie" ("about a big cow")


In the Russian language, the locative case is often and recently called the prepositional case. This is because the case is only used after a preposition and not always used for locations, and other cases can be used for locations too, e.g. "у окна́" ("by window") - the genitive case. Statements such as "в библиотеке" "v biblioteke" ("in library") or "на Аляске" "na Aljaske" ("in Alaska") show the usage for location. However, this case is also used after the preposition "о" ("about") as in "о студенте" "o studente" ("about the student").

Nevertheless a few words preserve a distinctive form of locative case: "лежать в снегу́" "lezhatʲ v snegu" (to lie in the snow), but "думать о снеге" "dumatʲ o snege" (to think about snow). Other examples are рай "ray" (paradize) - "в раю" "in the paradize", дым "dɨm" (smoke) - "в дыму́" "v dɨmú", бок "bok" (side) - "на боку́" "na boku". The stress marks here signify that the stress is made on the last syllable, unlike the dative case that has the same spelling.

Sometimes the locative case is used only is stable word combinations, while prepositional is used in general - дом "dom" (house), на дому="at house", only used to denote work activity (actually this is English "at home"), на доме="on the house" is used to denote roof on the house or such.

Turkic languages

Some Turkic languages have a locative.


The locative case exists in Turkish. For instance, in Turkish, "elim" means "my hand", and "elimde" means "in my hand", so using "-de" and "-da" suffixes, the locative case is marked. "'-te", "-ta" and "-da" are the variations, depending on the sound of the root they suffix. Ex: "kentte" (in the city).


The locative case exists also in Uzbek. For example, in Uzbek, "shakhar" means "city", and "shakharda" means "in the city", so using "-da" suffix, the locative case is marked.

Finno-Ugric languages

Some Finno-Ugric languages have a locative.

Inari Sami

In Inari Sami, the locative suffix is -st.

* kyeleest 'in the language'
* kieđast 'in the hand'.


In the Hungarian language, nine such cases exist, yet the name locative case refers to a form "(-t/-tt)" used only in a few city/town names along with the inessive case or superessive case. It can also be observed in a few local adverbs and postpositions. It is no longer productive.

* "Győrött" (also "Győrben"), "Pécsett" (also "Pécsen"), "Vácott" (also "Vácon"), "Kaposvárt" and "Kaposvárott" (also "Kaposváron"), "Vásárhelyt" (also "Vásárhelyen")
* "itt" (here), "ott" (there), "imitt", "amott" (there yonder), "alatt" (under), "fölött" (over), "között" (between/among), "mögött" (behind) etc.

The town/city name suffixes "-ban/-ben" are the inessive ones, and the "-on/-en/-ön" are the superessive ones.


The Etruscan language has a locative ending in -thi: velsnalthi, "at Velznani", with reference to Volsinii.




External links

* [http://www.zabaznov.ru/rusyaz.html Lokativ in Russian language (in Russian)]

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