AskDefine | Define locative

Dictionary Definition

locative n : the semantic role of the noun phrase that designates the place of the state or action denoted by the verb [syn: locative role]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Indicating place, or the place where, or wherein.
    a locative adjective
    the locative case of a noun


  1. The locative case


grammatical case
  • Bosnian: lokativ
  • Croatian: lokativ
  • Czech: šestý pád
  • Icelandic: staðarfall
  • Latin: casus localis
  • Latvian: lokatīvs
  • Lithuanian: vietininkas
  • Russian: местный падеж
  • Slovak: šiesty pád , lokál
  • Slovene: mestnik
  • Spanish: caso locativo
  • Swedish: lokativ

Extensive Definition

Locative (also called the seventh case) is a grammatical case which indicates a location. It corresponds vaguely to the English prepositions "in", "on", "at", and "by". The locative case belongs to the general local cases together with the lative and separative case.

The locative case in various languages

The locative case exists in many language groups.

Indo-European languages

The Proto-Indo-European language had a locative case expressing "place where", an adverbial function. The ending depended on the last vowel of the stem (consonant, a-, o-, i-, u-stems) and the number (singular or plural). Subsequently the locative case tended to merge with other cases: the genitive or dative. Some daughter languages retained it as a distinct case. The locative case is found in:


The locative case is used fairly commonly in Classical Latin to indicate a place "where" (we would prefix the place name with "at" or "in") as opposed to "to which" (we would prefix the name with "to"). (Walking "in Rome" is not the same as walking "to Rome".)
The first declension locative is by far the most common, because so many Roman place names were first declension: mostly singular (Roma, Rome; Hibernia, Ireland; etc, and therefore Romae, at Rome; Hiberniae, at Ireland), but some plural (Athenae, Athens; Cumae, Cuma etc., with Athenis, at Athens; Cumis, at Cumae). But there are a number of second declension names that would have locatives, too (Brundisium, Brundisi; Eboracum, York; with locatives Brundisi, at Brundisium; Eboraci, at York, etc. Also the Latin "focus" ("hearth", used figuratively for any center of community attention, has a locative, "foci", " at the hearth".) Third, fourth, and fifth declension place names are few or none, but the locative of the fourth-declension domus (home) is quite well known (domi, at home).


In the Russian language, the locative case is often and recently called the prepositional case. This is because the case is only used after a preposition and not always used for locations. Statements such as "в библиотеке" v biblioteke ("in library") or "на Аляске" na Aljaske ("in Alaska") show the usage for location. However, this case is also used after the preposition "о" ("about") as in "о студенте" o studente ("about the student").
Nevertheless a few words preserve a distinctive form of locative case: "лежать в снегу́" lezhatʲ v snegu (to lie in the snow), but "думать о снеге" dumatʲ o snege (to think about snow). Other examples are дом dom (house) - "на дому" na domu, дым dɨm (smoke) - "в дыму́" v dɨmú, бок bok (side) - "на боку́" na boku. The stress marks here signify that the stress is made on the last syllable, unlike the dative case that has the same spelling.

Turkic languages

Some Turkic languages have a locative.


The locative case exists in Turkish. For instance, in Turkish, elim means my hand, and elimde means in my hand, so using -de and -da suffixes, the locative case is marked. -te, -ta and -da are the variations, depending on the sound of the root they suffix. Ex: kentte (in the city).


The locative case exists also in Uzbek. For example, in Uzbek, shakhar means city, and shakharda means in the city, so using -da suffix, the locative case is marked.

Finno-Ugric languages

Some Finno-Ugric languages have a locative.

Inari Sami

In Inari Sami, the locative suffix is -st.
  • kyeleest 'in the language'
  • kieđast 'in the hand'.


In the Hungarian language, nine such cases exist, yet the name locative case refers to a form (-t/-tt) used only in a few city/town names along with the inessive case or superessive case. It can also be observed in a few local adverbs and postpositions. It is no longer productive.
  • Győrött (also Győrben), Pécsett (also Pécsen), Vácott (also Vácon), Kaposvárt and Kaposvárott (also Kaposváron), Vásárhelyt (also Vásárhelyen)
  • itt (here), ott (there), imitt, amott (there yonder), alatt (under), fölött (over), között (between/among), mögött (behind) etc.
The town/city name suffixes -ban/-ben are the inessive ones, and the -on/-en/-ön are the superessive ones.


The Etruscan language has a locative ending in -thi: velsnalthi, "at Velznani", with reference to Volsinii.



  • Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin
locative in Bosnian: Lokativ
locative in Bulgarian: Местен падеж
locative in Catalan: Cas locatiu
locative in Czech: Lokál
locative in Danish: Lokativ
locative in German: Lokativ
locative in Esperanto: Lokativo
locative in Spanish: Caso locativo
locative in French: Locatif
locative in Croatian: Lokativ
locative in Italian: Locativo
locative in Icelandic: Staðarfall
locative in Latin: Locativus
locative in Hungarian: Locativus
locative in Macedonian: Локатив
locative in Dutch: Locatief
locative in Japanese: 処格
locative in Norwegian Nynorsk: Lokativ
locative in Norwegian: Lokativ
locative in Polish: Miejscownik
locative in Portuguese: Caso locativo
locative in Russian: Местный падеж
locative in Serbian: Локатив
locative in Serbo-Croatian: Lokativ
locative in Finnish: Lokatiivi
locative in Swedish: Lokativ
locative in Ukrainian: Місцевий відмінок
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