Mark is burbling this morning. He is fizzing; he is crackling with enthusiasm. And why? Because his brain has alighted on something called the instrumental case.
And what is that? I hear you cry. Sounds like something the Mafia would use…
Well, read on – for according to Mark, no other Germanic language has it. He talks excitedly, waving his arms about like Magnus Pyke:
after several cups of espresso. ‘Not even Icelandic!’ he continues. ‘Not even Gothic!!!’ He waves his arms furiously as though swatting flies. ‘Not even Runes!!!’
He desperately wants me to be impressed, but I really don’t care that English, while it has lost all its cases – all those tedious things I learnt in Latin like dative and ablative and genitive – it still keeps the instrumental case.
‘And what is the instrumental case?’ I hear you oh-so-wearily cry.
‘Well,’ explains Marknus Pyke, ‘it’s in phrases like the more, the merrier’.
Sounds like a Mob to me…