Loss of Morphological Case in English and Danish


  • Anna-Merete Thinggaard Aarhus University


Danish, English, Case loss, Language change


This paper examines why case morphology was lost in English and Danish. This is done by first outlining the developments of case from the earliest stages of both languages until case was left only on the personal pronouns as in the present-day varieties of the languages. I present two hypotheses that may contribute to an explanation of this loss of case: distinctiveness and structural vs. non-structural case. Furthermore, a comparison of English and Danish is made in order to better understand what factors may or may not cause languages to change on the basis of these two hypotheses. References to other Germanic languages are made when it proves useful. I argue that, while it is possible that phonological distinctiveness plays a part in the development, it is more likely that the non-structural cases have a higher susceptibility to loss than structural cases since non-structural cases are easier to replace. This is done by considering the nouns and the personal pronouns respectively in relation to the two hypotheses.


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How to Cite

Thinggaard, A.-M. (2022). Loss of Morphological Case in English and Danish. Journal of Language Works - Sprogvidenskabeligt Studentertidsskrift, 7(1), 5–21. Retrieved from https://tidsskrift.dk/lwo/article/view/132781