Grammatical problems!

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Grammatical problems!

Postby TimmyP » 2012-10-24, 19:23

To all those native speakers of Icelandic!

This sentence came up in class today, and I'm convinced that it isn't grammatically correct. But could you guys confirm it for me, thanks! The thing that doesn't seem to make any sense is the use of sig, which I think should be something like hann.

Jón sagði Maríu að þú elskaðir sig.

Thanks for the confirmation!

On a side note, isn't this sentence a bit strange anyway, can you really say something like hann elskaði sig, I don't think so at least!

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Re: Grammatical problems!

Postby deardron » 2013-01-09, 18:49

I'm not a native speaker, but I would say that this sentence is correct as long as it means "Jón told María that you loved him (i.e. loved Jón)".

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Re: Grammatical problems!

Postby Þröstur » 2013-02-13, 16:39

I would probably say that it's ungrammatical, as sig always refers back to the subject. The subject of the clause here is þú:

[Hann sagði [að þú elskaðir sig]]

Since sig is part of the subordinate clause, it refers back to þú, and is therefore incorrect. Instead we should use hann, and you have the same ambiguity as in English as to whether hann refers to the subject of the main clause or someone else.

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Re: Grammatical problems!

Postby dunkelwald » 2013-02-14, 21:49

This sentence is probably grammatical. It's an instance of a long-distance reflexive where, unlike comparable constructions in most other European languages, a reflexive can refer back to an argument in the matrix clause of the subclause the reflexive occurs in.

While Þröstur's analysis is perfectly fine for English reflexives, in Icelandic the same constraint does not hold.

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