"We talk about my car."
Translation:Wir sprechen von meinem Auto.
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Von is always followed by a dative, über is a "two-way" preposition - if it's used to state a (static) position, it's dative ("Über den Wolken", song title...), otherwise it's accusative, like here. One more example:
- Ich hänge die Lampe über den Tisch ("over the table", acc., motion/destination)
- Die Lampe hängt über dem Tisch ("over the table", dat., position)
However, in the sense of "about", über is always followed by an accusative, like here.
What's the semantic difference between "über mein Auto" and "von meinem Auto"?
I think it is like 'we speak about my car' and 'we speak of my car' respectively.
Why not "um" (in its meaning of about) instead of "von"? Is the 'about' meaning of "um" related more to location/proximity perhaps?
Um = around, so my understanding of um=about would be "round about". As you said "a physical location" as opposed to "talking about something". I maybe wrong, I usually am. ;)
Auto is a car specifically whereas Fahrzeug refers to a vehicle I think, notice the word Zeug in this word, helps me to remember