Prolative case

Prolative case

The prolative case (also vialis case) is a declension of a noun or pronoun that has the basic meaning of "by way of".

In the Finnish language, it has a highly restricted, almost fossilized meaning "by (medium of transaction)". For example, "postitse" ("by post"), "puhelimitse" ("by phone"), "meritse" ("by sea"), "netitse" ("over the Internet"). The prolative is considered more to be an adposition by some Finnish grammarians as a result of the fact that it does not show agreement on adjectives like the other Finnish cases.

The vialis case in Eskimo-Aleut languages has a similar interpretation, used to express movement using a surface or way. For example, by way of or through the house.

Basque grammars frequently list the nortzat / nortako case (suffix -tzat or -tako) as "prolative" (prolatiboa). However, the meaning of this case is unrelated to the one just described above for other languages and alternatively has been called "essive / translative, as it means "for [something else], as (being) [something else]"; e.g., hiltzat eman "to give up for dead", lelotzat hartu zuten "they took him for a fool. The meaning "by way of" of the case labelled prolative in the above languages is expressed in Basque by means of the instrumental (suffix -[e]z).


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