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Path Case

In case languages that have one, the Path Case describes the route the Subject takes to get from the Source to the Goal—whether or not the Source and/or Goal is explicitly mentioned.

Suzette Haden Elgin’s teaching grammar was published without this case. The functionality of the Path was given using the Place Case and a postposition describing the Subject’s route relative to that Place.

Much later, when Suzette was suffering from the dementia that would eventually take her life, she released the Path Case to those working with Láadan, saying that she had “forgotten” it in publishing the second edition of her teaching grammar.

In retrospect, it seems clear that Suzette considered including a Path Case in Láadan when she was creating Láadan but decided this functionality did not require a separate case. When her cognition was in decline, she found her notes on the Path Case but had forgotten that she’d decided against including it.


As released in Suzette Haden Elginís later days, the Path Case phrase (identified by the suffix “–mu”) was usually followed by a locatory postposition clarifying the relation of the route to the noun phrase involved. The Path Case element would sometimes occur without the postposition; in this situation, it would be translated “by way of” or something similar.

Second Generation

The second generation working with Láadan have decided to honor Suzette’s sense that the Path Case functionality is amply serviced using the Place Case along with a postposition. We have also created a new postposition “ob” (by way of) to give the functionality of the Path Case without postposition.

Given this circumstance, we will not be using the Path Case in these lessons. Nevertheless, you may come across one of the very rare documents including the Path Case. It will benefit you to know what was intended, and you will be able to translate it as though it utilized the Place Case.


The examples below will present the Path Case version followed by the English and then the normative Place Case version.

Bíi eril doth le ruleth (olinedim) [beth lethode] <wethemu> {wethemu óobe} wa.

I followed the cat (to the forest) [from my home] <by way of the road> {along the road}.

Bíi eril doth le ruleth (olinedim) [beth lethode] <wethesha ob> {wethesha óobe}.


Báa aril wida Méri anath dememu ihé?

Will Mary carry the food in front of the window?

Báa aril wida Méri anath demesha ihé?


Báa aril wida Méri anath nudim bebáamu?

How (by what route) will Mary carry the food hither?

Báa aril wida Méri anath nudim bebáasha ob?