Dative example in Assimil L'allemand = mistake?

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Dative example in Assimil L'allemand = mistake?

Postby jeffers » Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:21 am

In chapter 41, exercise 1 reads, "Du musst unbedingt in den Englischen Garten gehen." As Garten is masculine I would have expected it to be "im Englischen Garten". Is this a mistake?
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Re: Dative example in Assimil L'allemand = mistake?

Postby Speakeasy » Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:34 am

The sentence is correct as it stands. In German, “in” is a “two-way” or "mixed" preposition which governs (a) the accusative where movement is described, and (b) the dative where location (i.e., no movement) is described. So then, two examples might be:

"Du musst unbedingt in den Englischen Garten gehen." (movement, therefore accusative)

"Du musst unbedingt in dem (im) Englischen Garten sein." (stationary, therefore dative)

The later editions of Assimil L'allemand contain a summary of grammar in the appendices. The reference is "prépositions 'mixtes'. Um, er, meiner Meinung nach.
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Re: Dative example in Assimil L'allemand = mistake?

Postby jeffers » Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:15 pm

Thank you, that makes sense now.

Speakeasy wrote:The later editions of Assimil L'allemand contain a summary of grammar in the appendices. The reference is "prépositions 'mixtes'. Um, er, meiner Meinung nach.

I can't find this in the grammar summary of my edition (2012), but it is in the index and I've found out it's covered in lesson 49 (review).
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Re: Dative example in Assimil L'allemand = mistake?

Postby Speakeasy » Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:36 pm

jeffers wrote:... I can't find this in the grammar summary of my edition (2012), but it is in the index and I've found out it's covered in lesson 49 (review).
In my opinion, Assimil's summary grammar is so summarized as to be next-to-useless for the beginning language learner. By way of comparison, Cortina's German course has a much better grammar in the appendices. While there are "too many" good grammars available for students of German (and I own far too many of them), you might find German Verbs & Essential of Grammar to your liking.
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Re: Dative example in Assimil L'allemand = mistake?

Postby jonm » Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:50 pm

jeffers wrote:I can't find this in the grammar summary of my edition (2012), but it is in the index and I've found out it's covered in lesson 49 (review).

Hi jeffers, fellow beginner here doing the same course. Just wanted to point out in case you missed it that there's also a short explanation in note 4 of lesson 41.
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Re: Dative example in Assimil L'allemand = mistake?

Postby jeffers » Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:51 pm

jonm wrote:
jeffers wrote:I can't find this in the grammar summary of my edition (2012), but it is in the index and I've found out it's covered in lesson 49 (review).

Hi jeffers, fellow beginner here doing the same course. Just wanted to point out in case you missed it that there's also a short explanation in note 4 of lesson 41.


Are you using the English version? Because the French version (as I read it) deals with the locative use only, with nothing about movement except to refer to the destination, e.g. "nach Hamburg". Perhaps the translator to English noticed that the note need more explanation of the accusative used for movement and added to what the French covered?
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Re: Dative example in Assimil L'allemand = mistake?

Postby jonm » Sun Mar 15, 2020 3:54 pm

jeffers wrote:Are you using the English version? Because the French version (as I read it) deals with the locative use only, with nothing about movement except to refer to the destination, e.g. "nach Hamburg". Perhaps the translator to English noticed that the note need more explanation of the accusative used for movement and added to what the French covered?

Ah, I didn't think of that. Yeah, I'm using the English version. So that explains it. Here's what the note in the English version says. Sounds like the translator did indeed expand on the French version in this instance. I can see how that sentence in the exercises would be pretty confusing without any explanation in the lesson!

Assimil German note.png
Assimil German note.png (122.63 KiB) Viewed 420 times
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Re: Dative example in Assimil L'allemand = mistake?

Postby Neurotip » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:08 pm

It's one of those things that seems bizarre (to an English speaker) when you first come across it, but if I understand correctly it's quite widespread among Indo-European languages. Some Slavic languages do it, Icelandic certainly does, and I believe both Latin and classical Greek did something similar as well?
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Re: Dative example in Assimil L'allemand = mistake?

Postby jeffers » Sat Mar 21, 2020 2:22 pm

Neurotip wrote:It's one of those things that seems bizarre (to an English speaker) when you first come across it, but if I understand correctly it's quite widespread among Indo-European languages. Some Slavic languages do it, Icelandic certainly does, and I believe both Latin and classical Greek did something similar as well?


Classical Greek certainly has some prepositions change the required case based on the meaning, although at this point I couldn't possibly think of any off my head.

It's interesting that at first I wrote that "some prepositions change their meaning depending on the case"... which is true in a way, but really the opposite of what the speaker/writer is doing. Just an example of how we tend to look at things from outside a language.
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Re: Dative example in Assimil L'allemand = mistake?

Postby Neurotip » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:59 pm

jeffers wrote:It's interesting that at first I wrote that "some prepositions change their meaning depending on the case"... which is true in a way, but really the opposite of what the speaker/writer is doing. Just an example of how we tend to look at things from outside a language.

If a single phonological form acting as a preposition can take two different cases with different meanings, is this one word with two meanings or two different words? Discuss. (10 marks)
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