Knabinoj VS Knabinojn
Saluton! / Hello!
Can someone explain why in EO it is sometimes Knabinoj and othertimes Knabinojn (using examples for both cases).
Dankon! / Thanks!
Hundo atakis la knabinojn = A dog attacked the girls.
Hundon atakis la knabinoj = The girls attacked a dog.
It is knabinojn because of the accusative in Esperanto. Knabinojn is used when it is the object of a sentence.
A basic sentence consists of three parts: a subject, a verb, and an object. They vary in order with different languages, but Esperanto’s word order is the same as English’s in that respect: it is a SVO (subject, verb, object) language.
The Accusative in Esperanto:
The accusative is used when a noun is the object of a sentence. An object is something that something is happening to. For example:
La knabo konas knabinojn.
In that example, knabinoj is the object, so it takes the accusative ending -n, which makes it knabinoj.
Knabinoj doesn’t have the accusative ending so it is the subject of the sentence. For example:
Knabinoj konas la knabon.
Knabinoj is the subject, so the accusative ending is not taken.
The verb "sciias" should be "scias" in both examples. And the second example needs the accusative ending on "la knabo" to make it "Knabinoj scias la knabon."
Also, considering that people are the objects of the sentences "konas," not "scias," should be used for those examples.
The -n ending on nouns marks them as being in the accusative case. The most common use for this is to mark the object of a verb. In English we mainly use word order to make this distinction. In Esperanto, the accusative case serves this function.
For example, "La patrino prizorgas la knabinojn." means "The mother cares for the girls." but "La patrinon prizorgas la knabinoj" would mean "The girls care for the mother."
Other examples: "Knabo havas libron." - "A boy has a book." "Picon manĝis miaj amikoj." - "My friends ate pizza." "Mi amas vin" - "I love you." "Min amas vi" - "You love me."
Subject-verb-object, the word order used in English, is still the most common, but the accusative case, not word order, determines the meaning of the sentence.
While it may seem unusual to English speakers, the accusative case is found in many languages. For example, I see you are also learning German. German has an accusative case, so if this hasn't come up yet in your German lessons, you are getting a preview of the concept now.