Grammar Analysis Check?

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MegaLoler
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Grammar Analysis Check?

Postby MegaLoler » 2017-05-07, 15:13

Hi! I'm doing a grammar analysis exercise, identifying the case of noun phrases and coloring them accordingly with highlighters. I was wondering if anyone could check this little snippet for me before I do the rest to make sure I'm on the right track? O: I'm a little confused about some of the cases after some prepositions.

Also I have a few questions:
  1. What case would you say "sechs Jahre" is in "Als ich sechs Jahre alt war"?
  2. And "sechs Monate" in "und schlafen sechs Monate"?
  3. And also what would you say the case is for a stand-alone noun phrase, like where it says "Meine Zeichnung Nr. 1."

(Also I didn't really do Genitive so don't worry about that. XD)

Thank you for any help! ^_^

Edit: Also I guess I'm really marking for roles rather than inflections.

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Re: Grammar Analysis Check?

Postby Babbsagg » 2017-05-07, 16:45

First of all, I wouldn't mark prepositions like "für", since they can't have a case (at least that's my understanding, I'm not really an expert on linguistics). But maybe you were supposed to mark them too.

Aside from that I think you did an excellent job, that's not an easy text to analyse--except that you just marked genitives with the same colour as the word they're referring to, but you already said you didn't bother with that.

I noticed only one mistake: in "China von Arizona unterscheiden", you correctly marked China as accusative, but Arizona is dative. "von" is always followed by dative case.

1. + 2. "sechs Jahre" and "sechs Monate" are accusative. (in singular it would be "einen Monat"--"ein Monat" would be incorrect)

3. I think "Meine Zeichnung Nr. 1" could be either nominative (if used as an isolated phrase) or accusative (if used as an extension of the previous sentence--with which I mean: if it's still the object of the previous sentence's verb). I'd tend to the former, but the latter is possible.

Example with a masculine noun:
Ich habe gestern einen Hund bekommen. Mein erster Hund.
Ich habe gestern einen Hund bekommen. Meinen ersten Hund [bekommen].

Both are possible.
Thank you for correcting mistakes!

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Re: Grammar Analysis Check?

Postby linguoboy » 2017-05-07, 18:55

Babbsagg wrote:Example with a masculine noun:
Ich habe gestern einen Hund bekommen. Mein erster Hund.
Ich habe gestern einen Hund bekommen. Meinen ersten Hund [bekommen].

Both are possible.

Cheers for clarifying this. I default to non-nominative in these circumstances because using nominative feels like interference from English. But it makes sense if you think of the first example as expanding to "[Er ist] mein erster Hund."
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Re: Grammar Analysis Check?

Postby kevin » 2017-05-07, 19:58

I would strongly prefer accusative in this example. Nominative only works for me if an implicit "Es ist ..." is understood.

Consequently, I would also mark "meine Zeichnung Nr. 1" as accusative, because I understand it as an object for "vollenden".

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Re: Grammar Analysis Check?

Postby Babbsagg » 2017-05-08, 1:52

I just wrote a comment that went so out of hand that I'll just start anew, hoping to end up with a tidier version. The more I was thinking about it, the more I agreed with kevin and leaned towards accusative.


@MegaLoler

Don't let me confuse you. That exercise probably has one correct answer, and I'm pretty sure now it's accusative.


@kevin

I think I was reading it as a kind of exclamation (correct term?) in which the noun is the subject now--although an exclamation where it remains object is possible too.

Thinking of it the other way, as a quasi-dependent clause that could also use a dash (Gedankenstrich) instead of a full stop, it'd have to remain the object.

The reason why I was reading it the former way was that it basically says the same thing, which led me to believe it's "[Das ist] meine Zeichnung Nr. 1". In my head, I was reading it aloud with strong breaks separating it from the other sentences--but of course that was just my interpretation, the text itself doesn't hint at such breaks, and sadly it doesn't even use paragraphs (which could give a hint).

But I guess in written speech such an exclamation is rather unlikely, and it's more likely to be a quasi-dependent clause that just emphasises through repetition (I don't know the technical term for this). So now I also think it's accusative here.


@linguoboy

As I just said, I guess the nominative "exclamation" is rather unlikely in written speech. It's safer to use accusative, but the nominative version is still possible under certain circumstances. If someone uses nominative, it's not necessarily incorrect.

With my own example, I tried to think up a similar case to the one in the text, but I made a mistake: "Meine Zeichnung Nr. 1" is just a repetition; my example adds new information. Thus, the same train of thought behind the interpretation may not apply.
Last edited by Babbsagg on 2017-05-08, 3:22, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Grammar Analysis Check?

Postby MegaLoler » 2017-05-08, 10:36

Thank you very much for your replies!

All of the points about the case of an isolated noun phrase make perfect sense. ^_^

I might have been a little misleading in calling it an exercise, haha. It's actually an exercise I gave to myself mainly to familiarize myself with inflections. The text is The Little Prince translated into German, taken from here, and compressed to fit on six printed pages. And I have this page printed as reference.

Babbsagg wrote:First of all, I wouldn't mark prepositions like "für", since they can't have a case.

May I ask why this is? I marked them according to various charts found on the internet which put "für" in the category of prepositions which always take the accusative case. Maybe you were referring to instances like "für Léon Werth" and "für Geographie, Geschichte, Rechnen und Grammatik" where the objects of the prepositions are names or without articles?

That reminds me though! I didn't question it, and it doesn't really affect my primary reason for doing this, but I am curious. I marked "dafür" accordingly as accusative. Does it make sense to mark pronominal adverbs for case? I would have also marked "dazu" as dative, for example, had I encountered it, seeing that "zu" falls into the category of prepositions that always take the dative case.

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Re: Grammar Analysis Check?

Postby linguoboy » 2017-05-08, 15:18

MegaLoler wrote:
Babbsagg wrote:First of all, I wouldn't mark prepositions like "für", since they can't have a case.

May I ask why this is? I marked them according to various charts found on the internet which put "für" in the category of prepositions which always take the accusative case.

Prepositional phrases aren't the same as noun phrases. They always contain a noun phrase which functions as the prepositional complement, but the head is a preposition and prepositions--as Babbsagg says-- are caseless. So if your intention is to mark only noun phrases, it doesn't make sense to mark prepositions, too. It would be analogous to marking the verb along with its object complement. Yes, certain verbs take complements in the accusative and others in the dative (or nominative or--rarely--genitive), but the verb itself has no case.

Da-compounds are tricky. They often function as adverbs or conjunctions rather than true prepositional phrases with an anaphoric pronoun. If marking them for case helps you to memorise which pronouns take what case, then it's arguably a worthwhile exercise.
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Re: Grammar Analysis Check?

Postby Babbsagg » 2017-05-08, 16:01

I feel like giving them cases, my reasoning being that "dafür" is in principle a substitute for "für diese Handlung" (die Widmung). Likewise, "dazu" usually means something like "zu dieser Sache" or "zu diesem Zweck".

I find it harder if "dafür" is used in the sense of "but (instead)", as in "I haven't done this, but I've done that". Often in the sense of an apology or an excuse. In theory, I could untangle it to(?) "anstatt dieser Sache" ("instead of this"), which would contain a case again. But that feels pretty disconnected already, so I... ah forget this, I give up.
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Re: Grammar Analysis Check?

Postby linguoboy » 2017-05-08, 16:28

Babbsagg wrote:I feel like giving them cases, my reasoning being that "dafür" is in principle a substitute for "für diese Handlung" (die Widmung). Likewise, "dazu" usually means something like "zu dieser Sache" or "zu diesem Zweck".

Except when it simply means "in addition" or "also" (which IME is its most common meaning).
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Re: Grammar Analysis Check?

Postby Babbsagg » 2017-05-08, 16:35

I think that's what I was thinking about when I said "zu dieser Sache", as in "in addition to this".
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Re: Grammar Analysis Check?

Postby MegaLoler » 2017-05-08, 20:30

Oh! I see the difference now. I was marking the preposition along with its noun phrase, and so I was inconsistently marking both prepositional phrases for the cases that their contained noun phrases would decline by as well as noun phrases by themselves. Thank you for pointing it out.

I think I went into this with a sort of vague idea of marking phrases by their role in the sentence and that idea sort of blended unknowingly with the idea of marking noun phrases for case. Which is actually how I ended up not marking genitives. I think now I'll stick more clearly just to marking noun phrases for case, including genitives. I do have a clearer picture of what I'm doing now. Thank you for your input!


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