Locative case
Locative is a grammatical case
Grammatical case
In grammar, the case of a noun or pronoun is an inflectional form that indicates its grammatical function in a phrase, clause, or sentence. For example, a pronoun may play the role of subject , of direct object , or of possessor...

 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
Lative case
Lative is a case which indicates motion to a location. It corresponds to the English prepositions "to" and "into". The lative case belongs to the group of the general local cases together with the locative and separative case...

 and separative case.

The locative case exists in many language groups.

Indo-European languages

The Proto-Indo-European language
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 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. Some daughter languages retained it as a distinct case. The locative case
In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and articles to indicate number , case , and gender...

 is found in:
  • modern Balto-Slavic languages
    Balto-Slavic languages
    The Balto-Slavic language group traditionally comprises Baltic and Slavic languages, belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. Baltic and Slavic languages share several linguistic traits not found in any other Indo-European branch, which points to the period of common development...

     (see however prepositional case
    Prepositional case
    Prepositional case is a grammatical case that marks the object of a preposition. This term can be used in languages where nouns have a declensional form that appears exclusively in combination with certain prepositions...

  • some classical Indo-European languages
    Indo-European languages
    The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

    , particularly Sanskrit
    Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

     and Old Latin
    Old Latin
    Old Latin refers to the Latin language in the period before the age of Classical Latin; that is, all Latin before 75 BC...

  • uncommon, archaic or literary use in certain modern Indian languages (such as Marathi
    Marathi language
    Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

     in which a separate ablative case
    Ablative case
    In linguistics, ablative case is a name given to cases in various languages whose common characteristic is that they mark motion away from something, though the details in each language may differ...

     has however disappeared)


In Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, the functions of the locative case were mostly absorbed by the ablative
Ablative case
In linguistics, ablative case is a name given to cases in various languages whose common characteristic is that they mark motion away from something, though the details in each language may differ...

, but a separate locative is found in a few words.

The Latin locative case applies only to the names of cities and small islands and to a few other isolated words. The Romans considered all Mediterranean islands to be small except for Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

, Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

, Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, and Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. Britannia
Britannia is an ancient term for Great Britain, and also a female personification of the island. The name is Latin, and derives from the Greek form Prettanike or Brettaniai, which originally designated a collection of islands with individual names, including Albion or Great Britain. However, by the...

 was also considered to be a "large island." There are a few nouns that use the locative instead of a preposition: domus becomes domī (at home), rūs becomes rūrī (in the country), humus becomes humī (on the ground), militia becomes militiae (in military service, in the field), and focus becomes focī (at the hearth; at the center of the community).

For singular first and second declension
In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and articles to indicate number , case , and gender...

, 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.

In archaic times, the locative singular of third declension nouns was actually interchangeable between ablative and dative
Dative case
The dative case is a grammatical case generally used to indicate the noun to whom something is given, as in "George gave Jamie a drink"....

 forms, but in the Augustan Period the use of the ablative form became fixed.  Therefore, both forms "rūrī" and "rūre" may be encountered.

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, Brindisi; Eboracum, York; with locatives Brundisiī, at Brindisi; Eboraci, at York, etc.)


In Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

, the locative merged with the Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 dative, so that the Greek dative represents the Proto-Indo-European dative
Dative case
The dative case is a grammatical case generally used to indicate the noun to whom something is given, as in "George gave Jamie a drink"....

, instrumental
Instrumental case
The instrumental case is a grammatical case used to indicate that a noun is the instrument or means by or with which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action...

, and locative. The dative with the preposition ἐν en "in" and the dative of time (e.g., τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ tēî trítēi hēmérāi "on the third day") are examples of locative datives.

Germanic languages

The locative case had merged with the dative in early Germanic times, and was no longer distinct in Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic language
Proto-Germanic , or Common Germanic, as it is sometimes known, is the unattested, reconstructed proto-language of all the Germanic languages, such as modern English, Frisian, Dutch, Afrikaans, German, Luxembourgish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, and Swedish.The Proto-Germanic language is...

 or any of its descendants. The dative did however contrast with the accusative case
Accusative case
The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of prepositions...

, which was used to indicate motion towards a place (that is, it had an allative
Allative case
Allative case is a type of the locative cases used in several languages. The term allative is generally used for the lative case in the majority of languages which do not make finer distinctions.-Finnish language:In the Finnish language, the allative is the fifth of the locative cases, with the...

 meaning). This difference in meaning between dative and accusative is present in all the old Germanic languages, and survives today in all Germanic languages that retain a distinction between the two cases.

Slavic languages

Unusual in other Indo-European branches but common among Slavic languages
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

, the ending depends on whether the word is a noun or an adjective (among other factors).


The Czech language
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 uses the locative case to denote location (v České Republice/in the Czech Republic), but as in the Russian language
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, the locative case may be used after certain prepositions with meanings other than location (o Praze/about Prague, po revoluci/after the revolution). Cases other than the locative may be used to denote location in Czech as well (U Roberta/at Robert's house -genitive, or nad stolem/above the table -instrumental).

See Czech declension
Czech declension
Czech declension describes the declension, or system of grammatically-determined modifications, in nouns, adjectives, pronouns and numerals in the Czech language. There is a system of 7 cases in Czech...

 for declension patterns for all Czech grammatical cases, including locative.


There are several different locative endings in Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

  • -ie Used for singular nouns of all genders, e.g. 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 Polish hard and soft consonants.
  • -u Used for:
    • Some masculine singular nouns, e.g. syn → synu, dom → domu, bok → boku, brzuch → brzuchu, worek → worku*, nastrój → nastroju*, deszcz → deszczu, miś → misiu, koń → koniu, Poznań
      Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

       → Poznaniu, Wrocław → Wrocławiu, Bytom
      Bytom is a city in Silesia in southern Poland, near Katowice. The central-western district of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union - metropolis with the population of 2 millions. Bytom is located in the Silesian Highlands, on the Bytomka river .The city belongs to the Silesian Voivodeship since...

       → Bytomiu** [* In a few cases, a vowel change may occur, e.g. 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, e.g. miejsce → miejscu, życie → życiu
    • Some neuter singular nouns ending in -o, e.g. mleko → mleku, łóżko → łóżku, ucho → uchu
  • -i Used for:
    • Feminine nouns ending in -ia, e.g. Kasia ("Katie") → o Kasi ("about Katie"), Austria → w Austrii ("in Austria")
    • Feminine nouns ending in -ść, e.g. miłość ("love") → o miłości ("about love")
  • -ach Used for plural nouns of all genders, e.g. kobiety ("women") → o kobietach ("about women")
  • -ich / -ych Used for plural adjectives of all genders, e.g. małe sklepy ("small shops") → w małych sklepach ("in small shops")
  • -im / -ym Used for masculine and neuter singular adjectives, e.g. polski język ("Polish language") → w polskim języku ("in the Polish language")
  • -ej Used for feminine singular adjectives, e.g. duża krowa ("big cow") → o dużej krowie ("about a big cow")


In the Russian language, the locative case has been largely superseded by the prepositional case
Prepositional case
Prepositional case is a grammatical case that marks the object of a preposition. This term can be used in languages where nouns have a declensional form that appears exclusively in combination with certain prepositions...

. This case is used only after a preposition and not always to indicate location, while other cases can also be used to specify a location, e.g. the genitive case as in у окна́ ("by the window"). Statements such as "в библиотеке" v biblioteke ("in the library") or "на Аляске" na Alyaske ("in Alaska") demonstrate the usage of the prepositional case to indicate location. However, this case is also used after the preposition "о" ("about") as in "о студенте" o studente ("about the student").

Nevertheless a number of masculine nouns (150 or so) exist a distinct form for the locative case, used only after "в" and "на". These forms end in "-у́" or "-ю́": "лежать в снегу́" lezhat v snegu (to lie in the snow), but "думать о снеге" dumat o snege (to think about snow). Other examples are рай ray (paradise) - "в раю́", дым dym (smoke) - "в дыму́" v dymú. (As indicated here by the accent marks, the stress is always on the last syllable, unlike the dative case forms with the same spelling.) A few feminine nouns ending in the soft sign
Soft sign
The soft sign , also known as yer, is a letter of the Cyrillic script. In Old Church Slavonic, it represented a short front vowel. As with its companion, the back yer, the vowel phoneme it designated was later partly dropped and partly merged with other vowels...

, such as дверь and пыль, also have a locative form differing from the prepositional in that the stress shifts to the final syllable, thus "на двери́" na dverí ("on the door") but "при две́ри" pri dvéri ("by the door"). These distinct forms are sometimes referred to as "second locative" or "new locative" because it developed independently of the true locative case which existed in the Old Russian.

With some words, such as дом dom (house), the second locative form is used only in certain idiomatic expressions while the prepositional is used elsewhere. For example, "на дому́" na domu ("at the house" or "at home") would be used to describe activity performed at home, while "на до́ме" ("on the house") would be used to specify the location of the roof.


In the Armenian language
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

 non-animate nouns take -ում (-um) for the locative. Animate nouns (referring to persons especially) do not take the locative.
  • համալսարանը (hamalsaranə, the university) → համալսարանումը (hamalsaranumə, in/at the university)
  • ճաշարան (chasharan, a restaurant) → ճաշարանում (chasharanum, in/at a restaurant)


The locative case exists in Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

, as the suffix generally specified by "-DA". For instance, in Turkish, okul means the school, and okulda means in the school. The morpheme may exist in four different forms, depending on the preceding consonant and vowel. The first phoneme of the locative, "D", changes according to the previous consonant: it is "t" after voiceless consonants, but "d" elsewhere. The vowel changes depending on the phonetic characteristics of the previous vowel: it is "a" after a preceding back vowel
Back vowel
A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Back vowels are sometimes also called dark...

, and "e" after a preceding front vowel
Front vowel
A front vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far in front as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Front vowels are sometimes also...

, congruent with the vowel harmony
Vowel harmony
Vowel harmony is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels that occurs in some languages. In languages with vowel harmony, there are constraints on which vowels may be found near each other....

 of the language. This gives four different versions of the morpheme:
  • -ta, as in "kitapta", "in the book".
  • -te, as in "kentte", "in the city".
  • -da, as in "odada", "in the room".
  • -de, as in "evde", "in the house".


The locative case exists also in Uzbek
Uzbek language
Uzbek is a Turkic language and the official language of Uzbekistan. It has about 25.5 million native speakers, and it is spoken by the Uzbeks in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia...

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

Inari Sami

In Inari Sami
Inari Sami
Inari Sámi is a Uralic, Sami language spoken by the Inari Sami of Finland. It has approximately 300 speakers, the majority of whom are middle-aged or older and live in the municipality of Inari. According to the Sami Parliament of Finland 269 persons used Inari Sami as their first language. It is...

, the locative suffix is -st.
  • kyeleest 'in the language'
  • kieđast 'in the hand'.


In the Hungarian language
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

, 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
Inessive case
Inessive case is a locative grammatical case. This case carries the basic meaning of "in": for example, "in the house" is "talo·ssa" in Finnish, "maja·s" in Estonian, "etxea·n" in Basque, "nam·e" in Lithuanian and "ház·ban" in Hungarian.In Finnish the inessive case is typically formed by adding...

 or superessive case
Superessive case
The Superessive case is a grammatical declension indicating location on top of, or on the surface of something. Its name comes from Latin supersum, superesse: to be over and above....

. It can also be observed in a few local adverbs and postpositions. It is no longer productive.

  • Győrött
    -Climate:-Main sights:The ancient core of the city is Káptalan Hill at the confluence of three rivers: the Danube, Rába and Rábca. Püspökvár, the residence of Győr’s bishops can be easily recognised by its incomplete tower. Győr’s oldest buildings are the 13th-century dwelling tower and the...

     (also Győrben), Pécsett
    Pécs is the fifth largest city of Hungary, located on the slopes of the Mecsek mountains in the south-west of the country, close to its border with Croatia. It is the administrative and economical centre of Baranya county...

     (also Pécsen), Vácott
    Vác is a town in Pest county in Hungary with approximately 35,000 inhabitants. The archaic spellings of the name are Vacz and Vacs.-Location:...

     (also Vácon), Kaposvárt and Kaposvárott (also Kaposváron), Vásárhelyt
    Hódmezővásárhely , Romanian: Ioneşti) is a city in south-east Hungary, on the Great Hungarian Plain, at the meeting point of the Békés-Csanádi Ridge and the clay grassland surrounding the river Tisza...

     (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 Estonian language has a set of six locative cases, three interior and three exterior ones. They are formed by adding a suffix to the genitive form of the noun.

The interior locative cases are:
  • Illative - majasse 'into a/the house', or the irregular short form majja which is used mostly
  • Inessive - majas 'in a/the house'
  • Elative - majast 'from inside a/the house'

The exterior locative cases are:
  • Allative - majale '(on)to a/the house'
  • Adessive - majal 'on (top of) a/the house' or 'at a/the house'
  • Ablative - majalt 'from a/the house'


All nouns have a regular version of all these six cases, but many words have a more commonly used irregular short version for the illative case which, instead of adding a sse suffix to the genitive, change their stress/phoneme length without adding an extra syllable for the suffix.

Estonian, like some Indo-European languages (Latin, Russian, Irish), does not normally use the verb to have to show possession. The adessive case and the verb to be is used instead. For example, I have a house in Estonian would be Mul on maja in which mul is in the adessive case, on is the third singular of to be (is), and maja is in nominative, not accusative. So maja is the subject, on is the verb and mul is the indirect object. This could be translated to English as At me is a house or A house is at me or There is a house at me. For this reason, it has been argued that the Estonian adessive case is really a dative one. Statistically, the majority of the occurrences of the exterior locative cases show possession, not location (also Ta andis mulle maja 'He gave (to) me a house', Ta võttis minult mu maja 'He took from me my house').



Standard Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

 behaves like Estonian. The forms of the six local cases vary slightly from Estonian, with one form being affixed differently:

The interior locative cases are:
  • Illative - [taloon] 'into a/the house'; cf. maahan 'into the land', sateeseen 'into the rain'
  • Inessive - talossa 'in a/the house'
  • Elative - talosta 'from inside a/the house'

The exterior locative cases are:
  • Allative - talolle '(on)to a/the house'
  • Adessive - talolla 'on (top of) a/the house' or 'at a/the house'
  • Ablative - talolta 'from a/the house'

Use of adessive in possession:
  • Minulla on talo 'I have a house' (lit. "a house is at me")


The Etruscan language
Etruscan language
The Etruscan language was spoken and written by the Etruscan civilization, in what is present-day Italy, in the ancient region of Etruria and in parts of Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna...

 has a locative ending in -thi: velsnalthi, "at Velznani", with reference to Volsinii
Volsinii or Vulsinii , is the name of two ancient cities of Etruria, one situated on the shore of Lacus Volsiniensis , and the other on the Via Clodia, between Clusium and Forum Cassii...



In Cree
Cree language
Cree is an Algonquian language spoken by approximately 117,000 people across Canada, from the Northwest Territories and Alberta to Labrador, making it the aboriginal language with the highest number of speakers in Canada. It is also spoken in the U.S. state of Montana...

, the locative suffix is -ihk.
    • misâskwatômin (Saskatoon berry) → misâskwatôminihk (at the Saskatoon berry) = "[in] Saskatoon
      Saskatoon is a city in central Saskatchewan, Canada, on the South Saskatchewan River. Residents of the city of Saskatoon are called Saskatonians. The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Corman Park No. 344....

      , SK"
    • misâskwatôminiskâ- (be many Saskatoon berries) → misâskwatôminiskâhk (at the place of many Saskatoon berries) = "[in] Saskatoon, SK"
    • mînis (berry) → mînisihk (at the berry) = "[in] Saskatoon, SK"


In Innu-aimun
Innu-aimun or Montagnais is an Algonquian language spoken by over 11,000 people, called the Innu, in Labrador and Quebec in Eastern Canada...

, the locative suffix is -(i)t.
    • shipu (river) → shipit (at the river)
    • katshishkutamatsheutshuap (school) → katshishkutamatsheutshuapit (at school)
    • nuitsheuakan (my friend) → nuitsheuakanit (at my friend's house)
    • nipi (water) → nipit (in the water)
    • utenau (town) → utenat (in town)

External links

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