Usage of его/её versus свой/своя??
I have a question on the usage of the Russian words его/её and свой/своя, both meaning "his/her". In one of my Russian classes , I had to translate the sentence "He loves his grandmother", so I wrote Он любит его бабушку. My teacher said it's uncorrect; the correct translation would be Он любит свой бабушку, which literally means "he loves his own grandmother". If I say Он любит его бабушку, people will think that he loves his (meaning another person's, who is also present) grandmother. Okay....so, when exactly should a person use yego/yeyo and svoy/svoya? I'm bilingual in Hungarian and English, and none of these languages convey such a thought of having to distinguish "his/her own" from "his/her", so I have no idea. My Russian-speaking friend is not sure, but she said it might be that yego/yeyo is used in sentences like "this is his/her something", while svoy/svoya is used in sentences involving an action: "someone's doing something with his/her something". For example, Это его чемодан (this is his suitcase) versus Он открыл свой чемодан (he opens his suitcase). Is this correct?
Basically you use "свой/своя/своё/свои" when the owner of whatever you are talking about is thе subject of the sentence. If the subject is someone or something else you use его/её/их.
Your example is correct. In "это его чемодан" the suitcase is the subject. The suitcase does't own itself, someone else owns it, so you use "его".
In "он открыл свой чемодан" the subject is he, and the suitcase is his, so you use "свой".
Then you have "Ivan told Vasiliy that he had opened his suitcase". The subject is Ivan and by using "свой" or "его" you clarify whose suitcase it is.
Иван сказал Василию, что открыл его чемодан (suitcase is Vasiliy's)
Иван сказал Василию, что открыл свой чемодан (suitcase is Ivan's)
Thanks!!! My friend was on the right track then. The subject of the sentence is the owner- that's easy to remember.
Could somebody please tell me if this is like the use of Sein/Ihr against Dessen/Deren in German?
I believe Dessen/Deren correspond to "whose" in English. I do not think German has an analogue of "свой/своя/своё/свои" which is really a reflexive possessive pronoun referring back to the subject of a sentence. I can easily use it instead of "my" if I am the subject of a sentence: "Я приду со своей женой"="I will come with my wife". While you can use "моей" here as well, "своей" sounds better: Russian has a general preference for such reflexive pronouns (whenever they can be used without ambiguity).
I mean in a different sense; "Der Man, sein Kind und dessen Bruder..." dessen here still means his like sein does, but it's changed to show who owns what. This might not change your response, but thanks anyway :)
OK, I was not familiar with this usage of Dessen/Deren, so please disregard my answer.
Alright, thanks anyway. I don't know the name for this construction, it's just used in posh language, I think it might be the same or similar to the Russian differentiation though