PDA

View Full Version : I have a technical grammatical question



Carl Frensch
Saturday, June 10th, 2006, 03:39 PM
I'd like to get an enlightenment about a grammatical point:
If I want to say "A threefold hail to victory for our team!", without a verb, must I open the sentence using the accusative case? "Ein dreifaches Sieg-Heil für unsere Mannschaft!", or must "Gruß" be inferred, hence implying "Einen dreifachen.."
What gives the grammatical gender, "(das) Heil", or the idea of "Gruß" or "Wunsch", which are of the masculine gender?
Moreover, are adjectives in -fach invariable or must the declension also be applied to them?
By the way, "for", in Old English, ruled the dative case. Why the accusative in German, is there an underlying notion of (at least symbolic) movement when using "für"?
Thanks.

Janus
Saturday, June 10th, 2006, 04:13 PM
There are no certain rules for creating an elypse (term for incomplete sentence).You simply have to think of the party you leave out and what you want to say.The accusative "ein dreifaches Heil..." is indeed correct. The adjectives must be declined but yours was already correct.The gender of dreifaches gives the word Heil.I would not say Sieg-Heil in Germany by the way ;)

Spjabork
Saturday, June 10th, 2006, 05:04 PM
"Ein dreifaches Sieg-Heil für unsere Mannschaft!", or must "Gruß" be inferred, hence implying "Einen dreifachen.."
The first sentence is correct, but you should use the preposition 'auf' insread of 'für'. This would have been "good" German until recently. Nowadays, many Germans don't follow stylistic rules so strictly. You may consider this as sort of "decay" or simply as "language change". I personally still would only say "Ein Heil auf unsere...", but many younger Germans - under 25 - wouldn't.


What gives the grammatical gender, "(das) Heil", or the idea of "Gruß" or "Wunsch", which are of the masculine gender?If you use 'Heil' or 'Sieg-Heil', the gender is determined by 'Heil' which is neuter. If you use 'Sieg-Heil-Gruß', the last part is the "Grundwort" of a compound noun. And the gender is always determined by the Grundwort. So it would be masculine: "Einen dreifachen Sieg-Heil-Gruß". The preposition to be used in that phrasing should be 'an', not 'auf'. (There exsists a German Navy-march: "Gruß an Kiel!")
But what is true for 'Heil +' also holds for 'Gruß +'.


Moreover, are adjectives in -fach invariable or must the declension also be applied to them?Again it's a matter of style. Usually, the adjective must be inflected (declined). But a cheer is (or can be) regarded as sort of "none usual" expression. It's rather similar to "poetry". In solemn or "archaic" usage it is allowed to use adjectives without inflection, sometimes for the sake of rhythm/euphony: "Ein dreifach Hoch auf unsern Kaiser usw."


By the way, "for", in Old English, ruled the dative case. Why the accusative in German, is there an underlying notion of (at least symbolic) movement when using "für"?
In German, there are two prepositions:
1. 'vor' = 'before'; 'in front of'. If somethig/somebody is situated 'b/ifo' the object is used in Dativ. If something/somebody is being placed or is placing itself/himself 'b/ifo' the object requires Akkusativ.
2. 'für' = 'for'. It is always used with Akkusativ (in Standard German).

Tryggvi
Saturday, June 10th, 2006, 05:16 PM
I'd like to get an enlightenment about a grammatical point:
If I want to say "A threefold hail to victory for our team!", without a verb, must I open the sentence using the accusative case? "Ein dreifaches Sieg-Heil für unsere Mannschaft!", or must "Gruß" be inferred, hence implying "Einen dreifachen.."
What gives the grammatical gender, "(das) Heil", or the idea of "Gruß" or "Wunsch", which are of the masculine gender? Always the gender of the noun.
Ein dreifaches Sieg Heil für unsere Mannschaft! (das Sieg Heil)
Einen dreifachen Heilsgruß für unsere Mannschaft! (der Heilsgruß)
Both are grammatically correct but stylistically not very good.


Moreover, are adjectives in -fach invariable or must the declension also be applied to them? They must also be declined.

For example:
der einfache Mann
des einfachen Mannes
etc.

By the way, "for", in Old English, ruled the dative case. Why the accusative in German, is there an underlying notion of (at least symbolic) movement when using "für"? This might have historical reasons, but nowadays there just are certain pronouns that always demand the accusative case:
durch, für, gegen, ohne, um, wider (that's all of them)
You simply have to remember them.
Einen dreifachen Heilsgruß für unsere Mannschaft!
That's modern German. You could also write it without pronoun but with dative case:
Unserer Mannschaft einen dreifachen Heilsgruß!
That's classic German and stylistically much better.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Sunday, June 11th, 2006, 04:05 AM
I'd like to get an enlightenment about a grammatical point:
If I want to say "A threefold hail to victory for our team!", without a verb, must I open the sentence using the accusative case? "Ein dreifaches Sieg-Heil für unsere Mannschaft!", or must "Gruß" be inferred, hence implying "Einen dreifachen.."
What gives the grammatical gender, "(das) Heil", or the idea of "Gruß" or "Wunsch", which are of the masculine gender?
Moreover, are adjectives in -fach invariable or must the declension also be applied to them?
By the way, "for", in Old English, ruled the dative case. Why the accusative in German, is there an underlying notion of (at least symbolic) movement when using "für"?
Thanks.

Carl, I am having a little trouble with "for" taking the dative case, even in Old English. Do you have an example? It seems to me that special accusative case nouns have been dropped in English. For instance, we have "Who" and "Whom" but no "Whon".

Haldís
Sunday, June 11th, 2006, 04:20 AM
Carl, I am having a little trouble with "for" taking the dative case, even in Old English. Do you have an example? I can do this for him. :)


It seems to me that special accusative case nouns have been dropped in English. For instance, we have "Who" and "Whom" but no "Whon". During the Middle English period the accusative and dative pronouns merged into a single objective pronoun. The dative only survives in a few set expressions: methinks, whom, etc.

There was an English accusative pronoun "hwone". Likewise, "him" is a remnant of both the Old English dative "him" and accusative "hine", "her" serves for both Old English dative "hire" and accusative "hīe", etc.

Spjabork
Sunday, June 11th, 2006, 04:37 AM
The dative only survives in a few set expressions: methinks, whom, etc. How do you know 'me' & '-m' indicate dative here??


There was an English accusative pronoun "hwone". Likewise, "him" is a remnant of both the Old English dative "him" and accusative "hine", "her" serves for both Old English dative "hire" and accusative "hīe", etc.Yes, but the question was, whether the preposition 'for' ruled the dative case (=i.e. required dative object) in Old English? I'm not totally sure about that. Means: I don't dare rule it out.;)

Haldís
Sunday, June 11th, 2006, 05:18 AM
How do you know 'me' & '-m' indicate dative here?? "Whom" descends from the Old English dative pronoun "hwām." It indicates possession that was expressed by the dative. "Methinks" means "it seems to me" and it comes from the days of Old English in which it was constructed as "me" (the dative case of the personal pronoun) + "thinks" (what meant "to seem").


Yes, but the question was, whether the preposition 'for' ruled the dative case (=i.e. required dative object) in Old English? Yes, "for" required usually the dative case and always when it could be placed without prep directly after the main verb, provided that the verb has a direct object as well.

You build a house (acc) for me (dat).
You build me (dat) a house (acc).


I'm not totally sure about that. Means: I don't dare rule it out.;)
http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/research/rawl/IOE/advconprep.html ;)

Spjabork
Sunday, June 11th, 2006, 06:27 AM
"Whom" descends from the Old English dative pronoun "hwām." It indicates possession that was expressed by the dative.Certainly stems the Modern English word 'whom' etymologically from the Old English word 'hwam', i.e. they are the same etymon.
But at a certain time during the Middle English period, 'hwam' and 'hwone' merged into 'whom'. Or better, 'whon' was dropped and 'whom' took over its functions. These funcions (Dativ+Akkusativ) are called now "object case". And in the modern sentence, you can't perceive whether 'whom' expresses "dative" or "accusative": it simply expresses "object".;)


"Methinks" means "it seems to me" and it comes from the days of Old English in which it was constructed as "me" (the dative case of the personal pronoun) + "thinks" (what meant "to seem").
The same construction in German is: 'mich dünkt' =Akkusativ.


Yes, "for" required usually the dative case and always when it could be placed without prep directly after the main verb, provided that the verb has a direct object as well.
Again: Modern English 'for' and Modern German 'für'/'vor' are one and the same etymon. But in modern times, the meaning of English 'for' is exclusively rendered by German 'für' which is always used with Akkusativ.

The doublette 'o' / 'ü' = 'vor' / 'für' in German for English only 'o' = 'for' also is found in 'Tor' / 'Tür' in German against only 'door' in English.
('Tür' is a small door, 'Tor' is a big door = gate, gateway)

Carl Frensch
Sunday, June 11th, 2006, 04:40 PM
I must search through the Old English texts I've read most recently, I'm sure that I noted at least one instance of use of "for" (French pour, German für) followed by an article-adjective-noun word-set clearly showing the dative form.
Early Old English distinguished the accusative forms mec and þec (with a dot on the "c", hence palatalized), cognates of mich and dich, from the dative forms me and þe. But the forms are not as often attested as the fused accusative-dative me and þe.

Spjabork
Sunday, June 11th, 2006, 05:58 PM
Early Old English distinguished the accusative forms mec and þec (with a dot on the "c", hence palatalized), cognates of mich and dich, from the dative forms me and þe. But the forms are not as often attested as the fused accusative-dative me and þe.Yes, the merger into object case must have started already in Old English. And the fusion began gradually with confusion.:)

Leofric
Tuesday, June 13th, 2006, 03:43 AM
About accusative and dative in Old English, it should be noted that the two cases merged before the end of the Old English period into what linguists call an oblique case. Many languages have only a nominative/oblique distinction, including late Old English. The use of "whom" or "him" in Modern English should therefore not be interpreted as evidence that dative was used in a given context. The 'm' ending was the ending for the oblique case by the time the Old English period ended.

In the present-day personal pronoun paradigm, we continue to have the nominative/oblique system established in the OE period (with genitive thrown in for good measure — but then, we still use genitive for common nouns all the time, anyway).

EDIT: I just realized Carl Frensch has already said this. Sorry.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Wednesday, June 14th, 2006, 05:10 AM
Obviously, I am a pigmy in the company of linguistic giants. How about some prepositions which take the "dative" case in English? Example: Between us there can only be friendship. Or: Which of them is the best? I have been told that the word "them" is of Norse inspiration and so would have been plugged into English grammar after Old English.

Carl Frensch
Monday, June 26th, 2006, 09:41 PM
Dear Dr. Wolff,
Your meekness honors you. Perhaps you haven't dived into certain intricacies of Old English as deep as some of us did, but your contribution to Skadi brings us occasional posters back to our proper, secondary place.

---

The Black Sun sings and speaks for us,
It pulses in phase with our hearts.
---

Leofric
Tuesday, June 27th, 2006, 06:26 PM
How about some prepositions which take the "dative" case in English? Example: Between us there can only be friendship. Or: Which of them is the best? I have been told that the word "them" is of Norse inspiration and so would have been plugged into English grammar after Old English.
I'll approach your post in reverse order here.

First, most of the Norse inspiration occurred during the Old English period rather than after. Furthermore, the Norse influence has to be understood not as influence from a foreign language at that point, but rather as dialectal shift. Old Norse and Old English were two different dialects of the same language rather than two separate languages.

Second, you're not going to find any prepositions in Modern English that only take the dative. By now, we have only nominative, genitive, and oblique cases for our pronouns. Nominative is for subjects ("I am crazy about linguistics"); genitive is for possession ("Linguistics is my passion"); oblique is for all objects ("My professors like me, because linguistics gives me a thrill"). This three-part system was already in place by the end of the Old English period.

Third, about dative in Old English, it should first be understood that the Old English dative was a combination of Indo-European dative, ablative, locative, and instrumental. That means that it was kind of a mishmash that serves lots of strange purposes. It often didn't occur with prepositions. It could be used on its own to show an indirect object or as an adverbial, and that's where you'd be most likely to find it. Prepositions are a newer sort of thing in IE languages, and so were less common in OE than in ModE.

When it comes to prepositions, most of them could take either accusative or dative objects, as in Modern High German — dative for static location and accusative for dynamic location. "The boy threw a ball over(acc.) the roof that's over(dat.) my house." A few, rarer ones governed particular cases. Unfortunately, my study has not taken me deep into the OE prepositional system. All I know about preopsitions governing the dative is that beneothan ('beneath') is one of them.

And finally, you will never be a pygmy in any field, Doctor.