The proper english translation should read: "To whom does the cat belong?" Not "whom does the cat belong to?" If you're going to use "whom" then go all the way with the formal grammar.
And now I wonder if there is a cognate to who, since "hvem" apparently cognates so nicely to whom.
In rituals, pretending to be high class, old fashion, the word «hvo» may be used. It is probably of Danish origin. From the online dictionary, it is stated to be outdated. It is synonymic to “hvem”:
Looking it up in the online etymology dictionary returns a hit for “who”: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=who
“Whom” seems to originate from “who” if I get this text right? http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=whom
“Hvem” originates from Norrøn “hveim”, dative of “hverr”. http://www.nob-ordbok.uio.no/perl/ordbok.cgi?OPP=hvem
"Whom" is the objective case of "who" and is derived from "hwam", the dative case of "hwa". The word stem has the same origin, but I don't think you can say "whom" originated from "who".
hi thelmajf, but don't you think that language is ultimately defined by useage, not by rules in the long term? english has been moving to ending in prepositions for some time, and eventually it will become "standard english" because grammarians will be unable to enforce natural linguistic changes made by people. additional evidence of this would be words in german and dutch like 'anrufen' or 'opstaan'.
Actually the whole "ending in prepositions" thing was a 17th Century grammarian's attempt to make English (a primarily Germanic language) to be more like Latin, a language which was viewed, at the time, to be perfect. If you study Middle and Old English texts (almost another language, but…) you will see that prepositions often end sentences as far back as Beowulf.
fredcapp, ah! thanks for the historical scoop!
although i have a very brief familiarity with old english, but it was so long ago that i don't remember that aspect of the grammar. now were are my OE texts?!
as an edit, i loved the sound of OE when i took a course as an undergrad an ice-age ago. your comments inspire me to pick it up again!
In English you're technically not supposed to end a sentence in a preposition, but in practice it happens a lot.
This "rule" is incorrect. English allows sentences to end with a preposition.
To cite an often used quote "This is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put."
Sentences can end in prepositions...
Examples: Which table is the cat sitting ON Which house do you live IN What country are you traveling TO
I like 'to whom' in the beginning of the sentence, but I would also like to add 'to' to the end: 'To whom does the cat belong to?' This might be wrong, but to me it sounds right. Where's a linguistic Jedi master when you need one?
There's a name for what you are suggesting, but I never learned it. I just know that it exists. Since this is phrased as a question it can be turned around (The cat belongs to whom? etc.) and see if all of the words you are wanting to use still fit.
Ok, I see. This is a clever trick. So my suggestion does in fact have an extra 'to', it seems.
My Norwegian contact says you could interpret this to mean "Who does the cat own?".
The context wouldn't clarify the meaning... you'd have to know the personality of the cat. :)
"Whose cat is this?" - not literal, but probably a little more common in English.
It's nice that you all at least got the general meaning of the sentence. I translated it as, who belongs to the cat?
Bronzdragon presented a similar translation, just above yours. I am a native Norwegian speaker and to me your translation is correct ;-) . My pronunciation of the sentence depends slightly upon who is belonging to who. In any case, I would not phrase a question using this wording. I would perhaps say, “Hvem eier katten?” which is also slightly ambiguous. Independent of the ambiguity my preferred term would be, “Hvem sin katt er det?” (Whose cat is this? - the same as the suggestion of jairapeytan, beneath).
Correct (as already stated). A more common phrase would be, "Det er min katt".
Different meanings: In one, the cat belongs to someone. In the other, someone belongs to the cat.
That isn't a properly constructed sentence, but 'Whom does the cat belong to' is fine.
"Who has the cat?" - is it possible? The meaning is the same, or almost the same.
Katten tilhører meg. Mens jeg er borte har du katten.
The cat belongs to me. While I am away, you have the cat.
I am not 100 % certain about the grammar (thnx FredCapp) of the English part. The Norwegian is good.
No complaints about your English from this quarter. (Except for the spelling of grammar but that's a hard word)
"Who owns the cat?" was what I typed (seemed logical), and it was accepted!
I can't help but be amused at the fact that this can mean either "Who does the cat belong to?" or "Who belongs to the cat?". In software terminology we have the concepts of master/slave and peer-to-peer. Perhaps "tilhører" has more of a peer-to-peer meaning? In English, "belongs to" is definitely a master/slave meaning. What I'm getting at is maybe "belongs to" is not such a good translation of "tilhører"; maybe it should be something like "associates with". Then you would get "Who does the cat associate with", or "who associates with the cat". Now the two meanings are essentially the same.
So if "hvem tilhører katten?" means "to whom does the cat belong?" how do you write, "whom belongs to the cat?"?
I would cat err I mean cut this Gordian knot by suggesting: 'personen tilhører katten' and not the reverse way but since cats do not care much about possesions 'personen eier katten' and not the reverse way.