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Latin has seven cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative, vocative, locative. What are their relative frequencies in classical Latin?

I suppose an answer would have to be based on analyzing an annotated corpus or something similar.

I have no other motivation for this than idle curiosity, although I suppose one could use this information to argue that one really should learn all the cases — at least the first five.

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+50

From the Perseus Database, the frequency of the cases is as follows:

Nouns (19630):

  • accusative 31.6%
  • ablative 25.8%
  • nominative 22.6%
  • genitive 13.6%
  • dative 4.6%
  • vocative 1.2%
  • locative 0.2%
  • unknown 0.4%

Adjectives (7497):

  • accusative 33.0%
  • nominative 31.6%
  • ablative 21.8%
  • genitive 8.6%
  • dative 4.2%
  • vocative 0.6%
  • locative 0.0%
  • unknown 0.0%

Pronouns (6289):

  • accusative 33.1%
  • nominative 32.0%
  • ablative 13.1%
  • dative 13.1%
  • genitive 8.5%
  • vocative 0.1%
  • unknown 0.1%
| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    Thanks! That was very quick for such a thorough answer. ;) – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 20 at 18:15
  • I find the unknown to be generally high. I guess unknown should account the times of ambiguity? – d_e Apr 21 at 6:50
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    @d_e Certain words in certain contexts are ambiguous as far as assigning the case with any certainty. This was done "semi-automatically" and revised as much as possible. You can find more information about the PerseusDL Treebank at Github. – Expedito Bipes Apr 21 at 10:46
  • Thank you for this answer and the link to the database. Both are very helpful. – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Apr 22 at 14:57

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