Case, at first sight, would appear to be something very simple: at the surface it is just about the morphological form or certain nominal elements- whether we say he or him. However, when one just slightly scratches the surface, a hint that things are not so simple begins to show. Cut deeper, and you'll find that it is one of the most complex phenomena in the human linguistic system with huge amounts of variation crosslinguistically, not only in terms of the forms distinguished and on which elements, but also in terms of what these distinctions are used to indicate.
Moreover, it has been known since the end of the 1970s that Case is not just important for those languages which have many different Case forms, such as Hungarian, but also for languages which make no such distinctions whatsoever, such as Chinese.
In this course we will be looking into some of the complexities of Case systems across human languages and presenting some of the syntactic theories which have been put forward to account for them.