Schnee (schnee) wrote,

Cases, cases

Just like German, Icelandic has four cases (nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive), and just like in German, verbs can take objects in more than one case.[1] What's neat, though, is that (unlike in German) pretty much all combinations of cases are possible. Here are some examples:[2]

First object
Second object(none)Það rignir.
(It rains.)
Ég keypti súkkulaði.
(I bought chocolate.)
Ég gleymdi buxunum mínum.
(I forgot my pants.)
Ég sakna hennar.
(I miss her.)
accusativeÞetta kostaði mig þúsund krónur.
(That cost me a thousand crowns.)
Hann gaf mér bókina.
(He gave me the book.)
Ég bið þig þess.
(I'm asking this of you.)
dativeLofaðu mér því.
(Promise me that.)
Hann óskaði mér alls góðs.
(He wished me all the best.)

The only thing I haven't been able to find is a verb taking two distinct genitive objects at the same time.

There's no point to this, I just thought it was neat. :P

  1. English, of course, has only some remnants of its case system, notably in the inflection of personal pronouns; but verbs taking more than one object do occur in English as well, to wit:

    He gave me the book.

    Due to the lack of case markers the word order is less flexible, though. In German and Icelandic, for that matter), you could say both

    Er gab mir das Buch. / Hann gaf mér bókina.


    Er gab das Buch mir [und nicht dir]. / Hann gaf bókina mér [en ekki þér].

    In the latter, the emphasis would be on "mir" and "mér", underlining the fact that it is in fact "me" who's given the book. In English you'd have to resort to a proposition to express the same thing:

    He gave the book to me [and not to you].

  2. BTW, if anyone's got a suggestion on how to make HTML tables look reasonably good without resorting to complicated stylesheetery that's entirely unworkable for simple LJ posts with some inline HTML, I'd love to hear it. Say what you want about the HTML of 25 years ago, but at least it works.

Tags: icelandic, linguistics

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