Questions about direct & indirect objects

Macnerd
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Questions about direct & indirect objects

Postby Macnerd » 2016-12-15, 13:54

In English, the sentence "I gave Tom the book." is perfectly valid. Or the sentence can be written as "I gave to Tom the book. " or "I gave the book to Tom.". In German, proper names can't be inflected, right?

I found the following on a webiste. The "literally" is my comment. My comment may not be the literal translation.
DATIVE OBJECT + ACCUSATIVE OBJECT

Ich schicke meiner Mutter einen Brief.
I am sending a letter my mother.

Literally: I am sending my mother (indirect object) a letter (direct object).

DATIVE OBJECT + ACCUSATIVE PRONOUN

Ich schicke ihn meiner Mutter.
I am sending it to my mother.
Literally: I am sending it (direct object) my mother (indirect object).

DATIVE PRONOUN + ACCUSATIVE OBJECT

Ich schicke ihr einen Brief.
I am sending a letter to her.
Literally: I am sending her (indirect object) a letter (direct object).

DATIVE PRONOUN + ACCUSATIVE PRONOUN

Ich schicke ihn ihr.
I am sending it to her.
Literally: I am sending it (direct object) her (indirect object).


So, in German, I reckon that the sentence has to be rewritten to make Tom the object of the preposition "to". So, I guess that the 1st example is the one that I would choose because both Tom & my mother are nouns. Am I correct?

kevin
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Re: Questions about direct & indirect objects

Postby kevin » 2016-12-15, 22:03

Macnerd wrote:In English, the sentence "I gave Tom the book." is perfectly valid. Or the sentence can be written as "I gave to Tom the book. " or "I gave the book to Tom.". In German, proper names can't be inflected, right?

They can, but I think mostly just for the genitive case.

Of course, in many dialects, personal names carry a definite article which is inflected for the other cases, too, so in spoken German, it's often possible to distinguish a dative name from an accusative one.

So, in German, I reckon that the sentence has to be rewritten to make Tom the object of the preposition "to". So, I guess that the 1st example is the one that I would choose because both Tom & my mother are nouns. Am I correct?

All of the examples are possible for Tom as well (why wouldn't they?). You just replace "meiner Mutter by "Tom", or "ihr" (her) by "ihm" (him).

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linguoboy
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Re: Questions about direct & indirect objects

Postby linguoboy » 2016-12-16, 5:32

Remember that human minds aren't computer parsers. We rely on much more than just grammatical inflexions to make sense of sentences--such as the real-world knowledge that we generally send letters to people and not vice versa.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons


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