Note: I am not a linguist, nor do I have lots of experience with "other" languages. This is something I read some time ago, I don't actually even have a credible source...
In some languages, at least Polish (of which I am a native speaker) and some other Indo-European languages (slavic, Latin...), words have multiple cases which are used to denote relations between words. In Polish there is a base word which can be modified into cases (with some very rough mapping--again, no 1-1 mapping possible):
szkoła ("school", the root is "szkoł")
szkoły (used in negations and as genitive, like の, negative は, ...)
szkole (locative, like で, に)
szkołę (accusative, like を)
...and so on (Polish has 7 cases, some languages have much more). As you can see, the difference is in the suffix, although some of the suffixes actually modify the root part of the word.
There is a hypothesis that even in slavic languages those suffixes come from distinct words that were simply appended to the base word -- but later when those languages developed further, those suffixes were merged into the base word. And the hypothesis claims that in Japanese this process has simply not happened due to some unknown reason. So while English has dropped the cases system, quite a lot of languages might had a similar mechanism which was similar to Japanese particles.