One sees a lot of discussion about a "new vocative case" in modern Russian; however, I am not asking about that.

My question is this -- in the instances where only one of the six standard cases is used, which of the six is used to express the vocative?

My first guess would have been nominative, because they are similar. However, in German, for many expressions of a seemingly vocative nature, accusative is used instead: "guten Morgen!", for example. And actually the same seems to be true in English (although there one would describe it as the objective case) -- "Lucky me!".

So, when an entirely different construction isn't used, which of the six standard cases are used to replace the vocative in modern Russian?

  • 3
    I can not recall any language where vocative is replaced by anything rather than nominative. Nice question to linguistics SE btw )
    – shabunc
    Oct 14, 2016 at 10:22
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    @V.V. What about it? Oct 14, 2016 at 13:32
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    @V.V это не дательный если что )
    – shabunc
    Oct 14, 2016 at 15:15
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    "guten Morgen" is NOT a place where vocative semantically used. Guten morgen rather means "I wish you good morning". Here the "you" would have to be placed in Vocative if it was not omitted and the language had Vocative, not "morning". The Vocative is used for the addressee.
    – Anixx
    Oct 15, 2016 at 1:06
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    @Anixx - "You" in the Vokative case in that sentence? The Vocative case is used when you can put "Oh!" before a word, but you cannot squeeze "Oh!" into "I wish you good morning".
    – Yellow Sky
    Oct 17, 2016 at 12:17

2 Answers 2


Vocative forms (used addressing someone ) correspond to the nominative case.

Девушка, как вас зовут? Больной,назовите фамилию. Наташа, как я рада, что ты позвонила.

There's also a short form of names and some words:

Саш, Кать, мам, бабуль.

and archaic and religious words:

Чего тебе надобно, старче?(Пушкин).

боже, господи, владыко.

  • 2
    Just to clarify, мам, бабуль are examples of that so-called new vocative that the author is referring to, so it's not to be confused with short-form of nominative. Nobody can say "мам сделала мне бутербродов" или "бабуль перешла дорогу". It's not just a short form.
    – shabunc
    Oct 14, 2016 at 10:12
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    Где у меня написано это?
    – V.V.
    Oct 14, 2016 at 12:47
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    Where did you read it (in case you don't accept Russian )?
    – V.V.
    Oct 14, 2016 at 13:10
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    Я не спорил с вами - я просто добавил пояснение, сейчас отредактирую комментарий, чтобы это было очевидней.
    – shabunc
    Oct 14, 2016 at 13:33
  • +1, но мои 5 копеек сверху :D Во-первых, сокращения действительно ближе к звательному падежу. ОП спрашивал про основную шестерку, а сокращения туда не вписываются. Во-вторых, ваши устаревшие/религиозные - это именно реликты звательного падежа, которые выбиваются из общих правил.
    – Kaworu
    Oct 20, 2016 at 7:30

"Vocative" case always may be replaced with a nominative case, because it's just a shortening of initial form of names ended with -а, -я. For example:

(кто?) Дим, иди сюда! — (кто?) Дима, иди сюда! — nominative case


Вижу (кого?) Диму — accusative case

Special forms like Господи, Боже, Отче are traditional and cannot be replaced with Господин, Бог, Отец in addressing to God.

  • In both 21st century editions from the Russian Bible Society, Jesus begins the Lord's Prayer with the words "Отец наш...". Отче is only used once in only one of the editions. In Revelation 16:9 we find an address to God which begins: "Да, Господь Бог всежержитель..." While it is true that Боже and Господи are still used in many places, their replacement with the nominative form is not infrequent.
    – David42
    Aug 3, 2017 at 21:31

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