This article deals with the approach to the dative case in Kajkavian and Štokavian grammars from 1604 to 1859. We concentrate on seventeen grammars, primarily focusing on their presentation of the meaning of the dative case. Remarks related to the meaning of the dative are mainly found in the parts of these grammars discussing syntax, and to a lesser extent in other parts. A significant feature of the majority of the grammars examined is their presentation of what modern grammars consider dative and locative (constructions) under the same umbrella of the dative case or the “third” case. The reason for this is a “morphology first” rule: the identical morphological form (in the singular) influenced grammarians’ conceptualization of what are considered typical dative constructions (e.g., those with the preposition k) and locative ones (e.g., those with the preposition u in static contexts) as dative constructions. Including the dative and locative prepositions in the scope of a single case in the singular led to an implicit assumption about the semantic profile of the dative: it occurs in static and dynamic constructions, and its semantic profile is different in the singular and plural.
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