https://www.duolingo.com/ilmolleggi

Genitive in Danish (and the posessed item's definite or indefinite nature)

ilmolleggi
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Hello everybody As I went through the genitive lesson kept reasoning on Italian terms (my native language) where you only have a prepositional genitive (as in the english the food of the region) so I wondered why the possessed item wasn't definite. In Italian you can/must distinguish between for example

  • The wife of the sheik. (La moglie dello sceicco)

  • The wife of one sheik. (La moglie di uno sceicco)

  • A wife of the sheik. (Una moglie dello sceicco)

  • A wife of one sheik. (Una moglie di uno sceicco)

Whereas with the so-called genitive saxon in English you have only two choices

  • The sheik's wife (it's definitely that one sheik but is it one or the wife? Usually this is understood as the wife, right?)

and

  • A sheik's wife (this is usually understood, if I'm not mistaken, as either most usually one wife of one sheik or possibly as one wife of THE sheik)

So my question is:

Are the four nuances there in Danish (it wouldn't be hard with the definite suffixes) or is it like the English genitive saxon?

P.S.: I realise one could say

  • The sheik's one wife

but then it would mean the sheik only has one wife in all, whereas

  • one wife of the sheik

means the opposite. So this doesn't change the problem (especially as one could say

  • the one wife of the/a sheik

so this nuance exists in both systems. Then again if someone can tell me whether this other nuance exists in Danish I'd love to hear it).

3 years ago

2 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Steven_Dorey

I'm not sure about Danish but here are a few comments about English:

"The sheik's wife (it's definitely that one sheik but is it one or the wife? Usually this is understood as the wife, right?)"

In English, "the sheik's wife" would usually be interpreted as the one and only wife of a specific sheik. If the wife was one of many wives for the same sheik, it would probably say "one of the sheik's wives".

"A sheik's wife (this is usually understood, if I'm not mistaken, as either most usually one wife of one sheik or possibly as one wife of THE sheik)"

In English "a sheik's wife" would usually be interpreted as the one and only wife of an unspecific sheik. For example, if you saw a woman walking down the street, you might think to yourself "she is a sheik's wife". That would mean that you believe that this specific woman is the wife of an unspecific sheik; a sheik about whom you know nothing. When saying "a sheik's wife", we're not sure who the sheik is is but we can assume that the woman is his one and only wife because, if the hypothetical sheik had more than one wife, it would be more common in English to say "one of the wives of a sheik" or "one of a sheik's wives".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eagersnap
eagersnap
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Af far as I can tell it would be the same in Danish as in English.

3 years ago
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