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Genitive vs Dative showing Possesion

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Genitive vs Dative showing Possesion

Postby jgcooper » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:13 pm

hello everyone.

i come to you with a doubt of mine, when first learning latin we're usually told that genitive is for possesion, and dative is for indirect objects. but while reading some actual latin i often find the use of dative to show what i understand as possession,
such as:

"quid nomen TIBI est?"

"quid agit dexter oculus TIBI?"

vs the expected

"quid nomen TUUM est?"

"quid agit dexter oculus TUUM?"


i understand the first at least as being "what is for you?" as in "what name happens to be for you?", or just simple using it as possessive "what is your name?" but the use of dative in the second one simply escapes me, unless it is a simple substitution of the dative in stead of the genitive.

i've seen this happen in german i belive, and since i dont speak any other language with a functional case system, i dont quite understand the nature of it.

does anyone know the "guidelines" for the use of one or another in this matter?

thanks
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Re: Genitive vs Dative showing Possesion

Postby Swth\r » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:40 pm

Dative of possession only occur with ESSE,as far as my knowledge can go... MIHI EST means "I have": MIHI NOMEN EST XXXXX = I have the name XXXXX. TIBI FILIAE SUNT = You have daughters, etc. The dative of the 2nd sentence that you quoted is not of possession. It rather is of interest (ethical).

QUID NOMEN TIBI EST? = What name do you have? What is YOUR name? (Litterally: what name is in your possession?)
Note also that QUID NOMEN TUUM EST? = What name is YOURS? :wink:

Of course, if you translate word by word, it seems that QUID NOMEN TUUM EST? in the Latin equivalent for English "What is YOUR name?"
Dives qui sapiens est...
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Re: Genitive vs Dative showing Possesion

Postby jgcooper » Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:24 am

oh, alright, so is the use [to your knowledge] always and only with esse?
could you think of any particular reason why in that sentence for example ["quid nomen tibi est"] is used the dative, instead of the genitive?
so it is assisted by ESSE, perhaps it is used only with certain nouns or something, haha.

by the way, what would you think the use would be in

"quo tempore exis tibi uestes?"

would tibi be used as [lit] "when do you leave your clothes?", possessive; or perhaps it'd be just dative as in "when do you get yourself out of your clothes?"

i hopes this makes any sense,
just digging into this matter.

thanks!
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Re: Genitive vs Dative showing Possesion

Postby thesaurus » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:33 am

jgcooper wrote:oh, alright, so is the use [to your knowledge] always and only with esse?
could you think of any particular reason why in that sentence for example ["quid nomen tibi est"] is used the dative, instead of the genitive?
so it is assisted by ESSE, perhaps it is used only with certain nouns or something, haha.

by the way, what would you think the use would be in

"quo tempore exis tibi uestes?"

would tibi be used as [lit] "when do you leave your clothes?", possessive; or perhaps it'd be just dative as in "when do you get yourself out of your clothes?"

i hopes this makes any sense,
just digging into this matter.

thanks!


The dative of possession becomes more tricky when you get into poetry, as sometimes it's used for what I'm guessing are mostly metrical reasons (when there is no "esse"). However, in my experience, you'll just see the dative of possession with "esse" and names or relationships (filus mihi est).

As for why it doesn't take the genitive, I suppose there are deep Indo-European syntax reasons underlying it, but for whatever reason it just doesn't. This is why we call them idioms--they're just quirks languages have (idiom deriving from the word for "individual" in Greek).

"quo tempore exis tibi uestes?" I don't think "tibi" is natural or expected here, and I don't think you'd see this perhaps outside of poetry. I'd expect not the genitive, but a pronominal adjectlive like "tuas vestes." (Also, "when" would probably be "quando," and interrogative.)
Last edited by thesaurus on Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Genitive vs Dative showing Possesion

Postby thesaurus » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:36 am

Since I'm not sure you should trust what I say on a hunch (which is almost everything I say), I recommend reading this short section in Allen and Greenough Latin Grammar which confirms the "esse" question, as well as gives you some interesting minor cases and examples:

http://books.google.com/books?id=-ntfAA ... #PPA205,M1
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Genitive vs Dative showing Possesion

Postby jgcooper » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:50 am

thanks! that was very helpful!

thesaurus wrote:sometimes it's used for what I'm guessing are mostly metrical reasons (when there is no "esse").


i was expecting the other this other reason when others didnt make much sense, it being used for metrical purposes.

thesaurus wrote:It's especially used with human relationships (filius mihi est) and parts of the body (pedes mihi sunt).


this is also, some kind of rule i was looking for, something to somehow predict its use, so that i could aso use it [this sort of idiom] correctly. just like english has its things, and if you spoke all "correctly" and out of the book, it wouldnt sound right. just imagine the look romans would give me :lol:


thesaurus wrote:I suppose there are deep Indo-European syntax reasons underlying it


i also always consider this, the all might PIE question mark.

the weird thing, is that i did not see "quo tempore exis tibi uestes" in poetry, perhaps it was isolated and out of context, i read it in a book which goes over sentences and such. and wouldnt "quo" be interrogative there, and tempore adverbial/ablative? making it equal to "quando"?

thanks!
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Re: Genitive vs Dative showing Possesion

Postby Imber Ranae » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:59 pm

The Latin dative of reference is often best translated with the possessive case or possessive pronoun in English in certain instances, though it isn't technically showing possession. Take as an example from Bennett's Latin Grammar Nobis hostes in conspectum venerant "In reference to us, the enemies had come into view," i.e. "The enemies had come into our view". But you'll notice that the possessive idea is not contained to any particular noun, but rather that the reference of the dative to the whole phrase implies it. So the dative cannot simply be appended to any noun, like a genitive or possessive pronoun can, to show possession, but it may imply possession when used in tandem with a verb or phrase that would make the possessive relationship obvious.

It seems to be most commonly used to show possession of things which are felt to be intrinsically part of a whole (usually a person), as with parts of the physical body (mihi manus lavo "I wash my hands"; mihi comas pecto "I comb my hair"; etc.), as also with less tangible things like thoughts, beliefs, intentions, perceptions, or whatever else is considered to constitute oneself or be uniquely related to oneself (cf. the example from Bennett).

I suppose with quo tempore exis tibi vestes the clothes are considered to be an extension of the body.
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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