Seeing so many similarities in grammatical structure between Sanskrit and Latin, why is it that Latin does not have an instrumental case as Sanskrit does?

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    Sanskrit also has a dual (in addition to singular and plural) and a locative that Latin doesn't (really) have, and Greek doesn't even have an ablative. I would guess that it's just another example of syntaxes simplifying, and the meanings of more specialized cases got lumped together with other cases. Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 1:28
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    Side note: if you Google "PIE cases", you might not get what you expect. Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 1:29
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    @MarJohnson: Bookcases with lots of volumes by Pokorny, I presume?
    – Cerberus
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 1:35
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    @Cerberus Wouldn't that be fun? Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 1:37
  • @MarJohnson isn't there a locative species of the dative in classical latin which periodically declines slightly differently (e.g. in the word locus)?
    – virmaior
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 6:09

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure there is more of a "why" to it than the fact that, in Latin, the ablative mostly absorbed the Proto-Indo-European instrumental's functions as the latter disappeared, just as the Greek dative did (which also happened to absorb some functions of the Proto-Indo-European ablative as it disappeared in Greek). Some other functions of the ablative were absorbed by the genitive in Greek. The Latin subjunctive also absorbed functions of the Proto-Indo-European optative, etc.

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