Monthly Archives: July 2008

Six cases in English?

A few weeks ago, I received the following question from Nicola McLelland, on behalf of Martin Durrell.

"I certainly remember (and may have told you about) an English grammar which my father had at home when I was a boy. This listed six cases for English, i.e.

  • Nominative ‘the man’
  • Vocative ‘O man!’
  • Accusative ‘the man’
  • Genitive ‘of the man’
  • Dative ‘to the man’
  • Ablative ‘by the man’

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Date of Lily’s grammar

Could anyone help elucidate the question of the publication date of Lily’s Short Introduction to Grammar? Vorlat (1975) lists it as 1567, but she also writes that it was authorized as the only Latin grammar by Henry VIII in 1540. The copy in Alston’s series English Linguistics is dated 1549, and this edition can also be found in EEBO. So what am I to make of this? Did earlier copies of the grammar circulate? Lily lived from 1468 to 1522 (Vorlat 1975), so it would seem that the grammar only became popular well after his death. By what date does one refer to the grammar in a paper?