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I'm not completely familiar with the technical jargon of verb tenses in English (sorry), but what do you mean when you say that, in English, the vocative case isn't marked? Reason I ask is because of the form "Sing in me, O muse", which is vocative. I don't believe "O" has any other function in English, so is that not a mark? -- PaulDrye
I couldn't think of any other use for O either but you can make English vocative case sentences without O or any other mark. --rmhermen
Given vocative examples without marker can be made in English, that justifies the "unmarked" description. The existance of O I think qualifies as practically vestigial, rather like the word both doesn't indicate English actually has a dual number in addition to singular and plural. -- kd5mdk
The usage is often associated with old poetry and the Bible, and I'm not sure it was ever used commonly - is it not probable that English, and other Western European languages, did not develop this use of 'O' themselves but that it's a mere translation of the Greek (omega) used in the same way? Its use in Latin seems poetic, and could come from Greek (which was to the Romans the language of the Classicas too) and the Greek of the Bible and Classical Latin and Greek generally influenced this in poetic English? If someone has a reference that could clarify this, it would be worth putting in. Can't find anything on the internet as 'O' is not the most specific of searchwords. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 10:40, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
The article currently states: The vocative case is the case used for a noun identifying the person being addressed. At least in Polish and I'm almost sure that in other Slavic languages as well, a vocative case of any verb may be used i.e. not only people, but also abstracts (eg. ciemności! = O, darkness) and objects (książko! = O, book) may be addressed and if so, these nouns are then used in the vocative case. Of course the two latter situations are rare compared to addressing people, but sometimes these forms are indeed used. The section Vocative-like expressions in English also provides examples that addressing people is not the only use of this case. As I hope to be agreed with, now I'm going to add appropriate examples to the Polish section of this article, but would like someone to update the article's initial paragraph as I'm having problems with terminology. Gdabski 23:11, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
Right you are! The Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian language example of which I can think is the song "Beograde" ('O, Belgrade', to stick with our way of representing vocative in English, and not forgetting that "Beograd" is the root (i.e. nominative form).) Language is open-ended. Adam Mathias 02:12, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I have removed the references to vocative cases in Arabic, Chinese, and Korean, because they are not "vocative cases" in the grammatical sense. "A" or "ya" as described in Korean or Arabic are either interjections or grammatical particles, and they are not grammatically necessary. In Chinese, the use of "a" as the first syllable for calling someone is not grammatically necessary, but rather a common way of constructing nicknames. 阿明 is a nickname rather than the vocative case, as we can still use the same word to refer to him even if the name is not used in the vocative case. Same as in English, a person named Robert may be called Bob. However, the word "Bob" is not restricted in the vocative case, but the nickname can be used in the nominative, dative, or accusative cases. Wng 05:16, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Chinese, Korean, or Arabic should not be listed here unless someone can cite their sources that these languages indeed have the vocative case. Chinese and Korean nouns do not even have noun declension. Arguments that seem to indicate that "Bob" is the vocative case of "Robert" or "dad" is the vocative case of "father" should not be in this article. --Wng 08:45, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I am not a linguistics scholar and do not want to pronounce upon the question of whether a vocative must be a case, a separate form of each word; but I do know enough Chinese to be sure that "Ah" before a name is not a vocative. That is, not unless "Hey" is a vocative in English (as in "Hey John!"). --Evangeline 18:25, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Tragically, nobody here seems to know what Wikipedia is about! To call something a "vocative case" you need to have a secondary source calling it that. All the remaining discussion is irrelevant to the article and would be more appropriate on a forum. The fact that Chao speaks of a "vocative expression" in Chinese is also irrelevant - "vocative expressions" exist in absolutely all human languages, including English "(Hey) John!", and are not identical to vocative case. --188.8.131.52 (talk) 17:31, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
After confirming with Noun case, there seems to be only one remaining argument for the Chinese section's place in this article, the topic of which at present is exclusively the vocative case and not vocative expressions. That argument is P0M's suggestion that you cannot say "my a di", proving that "a di" is not just a vocative expression. In fact, in Taiwan it is perfectly acceptable to say "我阿公 [wo a gong]", "我阿媽 [wo a ma]", "我阿姨 [wo a yi]", etc., proving that 阿 [a] clearly does not function there as a vocative case. Unless a native putonghua speaker suggests otherwise, modern Chinese seems to have lost whatever vocative case it might once have had.
The Chao Yuen Ren citation is about fifty years old and has not proven the existence of a true vocative case. As such, I am deleting the section until someone provides positive evidence of the existence of a modern vocative case or wishes to write a section about the purported Middle or Early Chinese vocative case. The existing content is entirely about vocative expressions. Wiggin01 (talk) 08:21, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
There should be no comma after O, as in "O my God." If you are using Oh and not O, that is completely different. Entbark 18:53, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
Is there a rule for polysyllabic nouns taking a vocative ending in any of the Russian or Slavic languages? If a noun has three or more syllables, does that prevent it from taking a vocative form? 184.108.40.206 (talk) 18:19, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
"In informal neutral speech, the nominative is increasingly used in place of the vocative, but this is regarded as bad style in formal situations."
It's not true. It happens only with proper names. Appellative nouns must stay in Vocative, when the context needs it. Sentences like **"Pan profesor, mogę się o coś zapytać?" 'Professor, can I aks a question', **"Powiedz mi, przyjaciel" 'tell me, friend', **"co robisz, dureń" 'what are you doing, idiot' are UNGRAMMATICAL and are not used by any speaker of Polish, no matter if it's formal or unformal speech. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 15:14, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
According to the Hindi-Urdu grammar page, that language has a vocative case; it is not listed among the Indo-European languages retaining a vocative case. Stifynsemons (talk) 05:04, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
The article lists "Mr. President" and "Madam Chairman".
Should we also include other formal ways of addressing people like "Your Honor," "Your Majesty," "His Highness," etc.?
I know the third-person conjugation is often used when using these addresses, for example "Is His Highness well today?"
Though Swedish doesn't have a vocative case, maybe it should be mentioned that Swedish adjectives do change when used as a part of a vocative phrase, similarly to Icelandic: (en) kär vän - (a) dear friend; Kära vän! - dear friend!
Furthermore, if I'm not mistaken, sometimes the definite forms of Swedish nouns are used in vocative phrases instead of undefinite forms, such as "Hej, farsan!" - "Hi, daddy!" where "farsa" means "daddy", and "farsan" otherwise means "the daddy, the father". Further examples may be "gumman", "tjejen" etc.
I know these are not examples for a real vocative case, but I don't think they are less relevant here than English 'O' either.
Abcd9999 (talk) 15:01, 12 June 2012 (UTC)