The Vocative Case: Romanian versus Latin

  • Ioana Costa University of Bucharest


The vocative is a residuary case in most Indo-European languages, mirroring a particular Proto-Indo-European status. Its syntactical function is preserved in the descendant languages, but the morphological aspects are strongly simplified. In Latin, not unlike the cognate languages, the general tendency is toward a formal overlapping with the nominative case. The Romanian vocative is, in the Romance frame, surprisingly multifarious. It displays four distinct variants: desinence and intonation; desinence, intonation and prolongation of the final vowel; intonation and vowel prolongation; solely intonation. Old Romanian texts attest the tendency of gradually replacing the vocative form with the nominative form, perceived as more expressive. On the other hand, there is an observable development of the formal marks specific to this syntactical function; these marks are only partially inherited from Latin. In nowadays Romanian language the formal specificity of the vocative case is not diminishing – on the contrary, some colloquial vocative forms (not yet acceptable in the frame of the linguistic norm) emphasize an unambiguous linguistic will to maintain this case, while the general tendency is to reduce as much as possible the differences between the actual two cases of the Romanian language, nominative-accusative and genitive-dative.
Aug 30, 2015
How to Cite
COSTA, Ioana. The Vocative Case: Romanian versus Latin. European Journal of Language and Literature, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 2, p. 26-30, aug. 2015. ISSN 2411-4103. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 29 nov. 2020. doi: