Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.


Continue reading...


see inflectioninflection,
in grammar. In many languages, words or parts of words are arranged in formally similar sets consisting of a root, or base, and various affixes. Thus walking, walks, walker have in common the root walk and the affixes -ing, -s, and -er.
..... Click the link for more information.



inflection of a noun, pronoun, or nonfinite verb form by case. Case meanings are expressed in all languages, but not all languages have declensions. In languages with declensions, case meanings acquire a regular morphological expression—as part of a word form—that is obligatory for all or most words. Languages also have certain indeclinable words, such as pal’to (“overcoat”), Dante (“Dante”), and Chili (“Chile”) in Russian.

The grammatical content of declension varies with the morphological type of a language. In inflected languages, case inflections express not only case meaning but also the grammatical category of number; the grammatical category of gender is often expressed as well. For example, the ending -ōrum in the Latin word librōrum (“of books”) combines the meanings of genitive case, plural number, and masculine gender. In agglutinative languages, case markers express only case meanings. The declensional system in many languages is not uniform even for a particular part of speech.

Indo-European languages have several types of nominal declensions, which depend on characteristics of the stem. In the comparative historical grammar of the Indo-European languages, and especially the Slavic languages, the declensional type is determined by the characteristics of vocalic and consonantal stems: a-stem, o-stem, n-stem, s-stem, and so on. Declensions can also be differentiated according to the forms of certain principal cases. In Latin, for example, declensions are distinguished according to forms of the genitive singular, the first declension having -ae, the second declension having -ī, and so forth. Certain groups of words belong to a mixed declension, in which paradigms of various declensions are combined.

In the course of time, a declensional system may be simplified and made regular. In Russian, for example, the rich older system of substantival declension was replaced by a system of three basic types—called the first, second, and third declensions—whose differentiation is related to gender distinctions and for which the principal form is that of the nominative singular: dom (“house,” first declension), voda (“water,” second declension), and noch’ (“night,” third declension).

In certain languages, declension has been lost entirely. It may be noted that the system collapses more rapidly for nouns than for pronouns. In English and French, for example, nouns are not declined, whereas pronouns have preserved two case forms, one combining the functions of various oblique cases, as with the English “I” and “me” and the French je and me. The loss of declension reflects the development in a language of analytic means for expressing grammatical meanings, as a result of which the role of case inflections is taken over by prepositions, articles, and other auxiliary words.


Meillet, A. Vvedenie v sravnitel’noe izuchenie indoevropeiskikh iazykov, 3rd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1938. (Translated from French.)
Zalizniak, A. A. Russkoe imennoe slovoizmenenie. Moscow, 1967.
Vinogradov, V. V. Russkii iazyk, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1973.


References in periodicals archive ?
Recalling the relationship between content and expression in Jakobson's analysis of declension and grammatical gender (fonction morphologique; Dec11 characterised by zero expression, Dec12 by the positive expression -a), we see that the consequence of the analysis is a scenario in which the positive expression has positive content (suprug-a specifies female sex), while the zero expression has zero content (suprug-O makes no specification of the sex of the referent).
These might include the optionality of morphological marking, the variation between morphological and lexical marking of adnominal person, the defectivity of the genitive and dative slots of the possessive declension, and the disparity of concatenation in secondary declension strategies" (p.
In other words, because the preferred second language dictionary would not provide detailed information on declension and conjugation, it cannot be said that a dictionary is part of a process of 'dumbing down'.
McCallum questions Chinese and Japanese primary sources, analyzing the declension of names of known persons and their possible relationships to the patron and artist, and the meanings of their titles in the society of the time.
Grammar is also approached intuitively with the emphasis placed on how the words strung together sound and look--not which memorized declension fits this circumstance.
By Olasky and Perry's overheated telling, the men who served as advance scouts for this wild toboggan ride of moral declension were very bad men indeed and elitist, and smug, and arrogant as well.
She tells me she was a Latin scholar at school and her favourite declension was Veni Vidi Visa (I came, I saw, I shopped).
Asked about the assembly government's approach to openness, Mr Morgan lauded the protection of official whistle blowers with a memorable one-liner: ``We haven't yet started to teach children in primary school the declension, `I brief, you leak, he/she blows the whistle'.
As the tension rises, a silent vowel or unusual declension could prove to be each competitor's undoing.
These classes are briefly reviewed in order to show how they gave way to the weak declension (-ed) over a period of 1500 years.
Chapter 4, provocatively titled "The Christian Nation Question," challenges the familiar assertion in current scholarship that "the vast majority of Americans at the time of the Founding were 'unchurched'," and, by extension, America was in a state of spiritual declension (p.
Anyone wishing to trace this sorry declension should read R.