The origins of the western Uralic s-cases revisited: historiographical, functional-typological and Samoyedic perspectives
The paper presents a comprehensive reappraisal of the origins of the so-called s-cases in Saami, Finnic, Mordvin and Mari. According to the received view, the element *-s- that is present in most of the basic local case markers in these languages originates in the so-called *s-lative whose origin has remained unknown. As the dominant theory suffers from various methodological shortcomings, alternative proposals have also been presented yet largely ignored. As the first functionally and typologically substantiated hypothesis on the issue, the paper proposes that the s-cases originate in Proto-Uralic postpositional phrases. Confronting the daunting task of identifying cognates of the s-cases elsewhere, it is proposed that they can be related to at least the Samoyed local cases with the element *-ntə-.