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Thread: Wessen

  1. #1
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    Wessen

    I remember the first time I read that "wessen" was the genitive of "wer." The next day, in my German class, I said something like "Wessen ist diese Kuli?", and got a verbal slap on the wrist from my teacher. Why, then, is this classified as a "genitive", when it is acting much more like a possessive? The reason I'm asking about this is that I'm writing something where I say that "whose" is an example of case in English, but then I was not so sure about it and decided to ask the Germans, since cases are more or less extinct in English. The equivalent of "wessen" in Russian is "чей", which, to my knowledge, is not classified as the genitive of "кто".

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    OK, it should be "wessen Kuli ist das?". In my opinion, "wessen" is the equivalent to "whose". You would say "whose pen is this?", right? I

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    I am aware of the way it is written correctly, and the reason I am asking about "whose" in the German forum is because "wessen" is indeed the equivalent to "whose." I am writing something where I say "whose is an example of case in English", but then I wasn't so sure about it, since it doesn't really act like it has case. But since "wessen" does have a case for sure, and it is essentially the same thing as "whose", I decided to ask the Germans, who know about cases in their own language much better than English-speakers do. So why exactly is this classified as a genitive?

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    since it doesn't really act like it has case.
    How does it act exactly? But I don
    blame Canada

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    Guys, I'm not concerned at all with translating "wessen" and "whose." Here is the problem:

    1)I feel drawing parallels in one's own language is helpful in understanding other languages.
    2)I am writing an introduction to the Russian case system.
    3)Since cases are largely unfamiliar to English-speakers, I wanted to use a few examples from English, including "he/him" and "who/whose."
    4)I was then unsure if "whose" was really an example of case, since it acts much more like a possessive.
    5)There are very few people around who know about the case system of older forms of English.
    6)However, there are very many people around who know about the case system of German.
    7)Since "whose" is equivalent to "wessen", I decided to ask about "wessen" in order to resolve my question about "whose."
    So, why exactly is "wessen" classified as the genitive of "wer", when it is acting more like a possessive? For example:

    You cannot modify "Buch" with "wem", "wer", or "wen."
    But you can modify the meaning with "wessen Buch", much like "sein Buch" or "mein Buch."

    Russian follows a much more predictable pattern; you cannot modify "книга" with either "кто", "кому", "кого", or "кем". "Кого книга" is not the same kind of construction as "моя книга." The "кто" does not become a possessive like "мой" or "свой". For "wessen", a different word is used: чей, which is in nominative form.

    The end question is: Is "whose" really an example of case in English, as it is in German? And why exactly in German is "wessen"(the equivalent of "whose") classified as having a case?

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    Schuldigung. Habe offensichtlich deine Frage falsch verstanden, aber ich bin ganz sicher, dass du eine Antwort bekommen wirst wenn Starik die Frage sieht. Er ist ja der K
    blame Canada

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    Is there a similar construction in Swedish?

    I think it would be easier to understand for me if there are really two words in German, spelled in exactly the same way but gramatically different:
    "wessen" which acts like чей, and used in such sentences: "Wessen Buch ist das", and "wessen" which acts like a true genitive of "wer", and used in such sentences: "Wegen wessen?" That one "wessen" can be used in both situations, however, is rather strange to me.

    Would it be possible to translate these sentences by using "wessen"?
    "С чьего голоса поют правозащитники?"
    "По чьему повелению?"
    etc.

    Edit: It just came to my mind that Russian "его" and "её" in the type of sentence "Это его книга" are acting in similar ways to "wessen", although they are classified as genitives. However, while perhaps awkward-sounding, I think it is entirely possible to use it as a normal genitive - for example, "Это книга - его?"

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    No, unfortunately not. Swedish is in this case just like English. There is a word for "whose" but that other "wessen" you
    blame Canada

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    Ah-ha! (Pardon the Scandinavian pun )

    So in Swedish, there are different words for "whose" and the genitive of "who", much like in Russian. So why exactly is it that the word(s) in German, a closely related language, are the same? Do those words in Swedish sound similar to each other? I am beginning to think that it is indeed a form that is spelled exactly the same but with no etymological relation. Of course, it could just be a special rule in German, or something.

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    [quote=Kamion]Schuldigung. Habe offensichtlich deine Frage falsch verstanden, aber ich bin ganz sicher, dass du eine Antwort bekommen wirst wenn Starik die Frage sieht. Er ist ja der K

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    Hrhrmmm. This section apparently has the answer:

    [quote]Attributiver Gebrauch des Genitivs

    Die Formen des Genitivs k

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pravit
    Ah-ha! (Pardon the Scandinavian pun )

    So in Swedish, there are different words for "whose" and the genitive of "who", much like in Russian. So why exactly is it that the word(s) in German, a closely related language, are the same? Do those words in Swedish sound similar to each other? I am beginning to think that it is indeed a form that is spelled exactly the same but with no etymological relation. Of course, it could just be a special rule in German, or something.
    I
    blame Canada

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    Verrrry strange! And interesting, for us pedants(or in my case, wannabe pedant). I'm thinking that English may have used a different word there, but it just degenerated into "whose" along with the loss of the rest of the case system. I mean, do you really think that back in the day they used just one word for "who" as a direct and indirect object? Which is why I really don't like the word "whom", BTW. So imprecise.

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    I agree with your theory. It
    blame Canada

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    Dunno if I like "whom", actually. The English case system has been simplified so much that it seems pointless to keep it around as a marker for all non-nominative and non-genitive forms of "who."

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    Umm, just stumbled over this thread.

    Nominativ - Wer oder was?
    Genitiv - Wessen?
    Dativ - Wem?
    Akkusativ - Wen oder was?

    Wessen Kuli ist das? - Der Kuli des XXX. (Genitiv)
    Wessen Kuli ist das? - XXXs Kuli. (Possessiv)

    The genitive has always been used in different ways, just have a look at its use in the Latin language.

    Genitivus subiectivus:
    amor liberorum - die Liebe der Kinder (Ursache/Urheber)
    Genitivus obiectivus:
    timor tyrannis - die Furcht vor dem Tyrannen (Ziel)
    Genitivus possessivus:
    domus regis - das Haus des K

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    Hm, I didn
    blame Canada

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    [quote=Kamion]Hm, I didn

  19. #19
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    First of all, you don't say Wegen wessen, you would say wessentwegen. Similarly:

    meinetwegen instead of wegen meiner
    deinetwegen instead of wegen deiner
    seinetwegen instead of wegen seiner
    ihretwegen instead of wegen ihrer
    unsertwegen instead of wegen unser
    euretwegen instead of wegen euer

    [quote=Kamion]And then I came to think of another mind-boggling thing:

    German - Der Mann, dessen Auto auf der Stra

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    [quote=awb]First of all, you don't say Wegen wessen, you would say wessentwegen. Similarly:

    meinetwegen instead of wegen meiner
    deinetwegen instead of wegen deiner
    seinetwegen instead of wegen seiner
    ihretwegen instead of wegen ihrer
    unsertwegen instead of wegen unser
    euretwegen instead of wegen euer

    [quote=Kamion]And then I came to think of another mind-boggling thing:

    German - Der Mann, dessen Auto auf der Stra
    blame Canada

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