Do you know any rule how I can decide (formally), wheter a German sentence contains a Genitivus subjectivus or a Genitivus objectivus?

Example: "der Besuch des Botschafters". Here, the ambassador visits, so "des Botschafters" is a genitivus subjectivus.

--> one rule could be that if the construction GENITIVE-OBJ + verbalized noun (here: "Der Botschafter besucht") exists, it's a Genitivus subjectivus.

"zum Besuch der Bundesrepublik nach Bonn" --> Genitivus objectivus, since "Die Bundesrepublik besucht" doesn't make any sense (and is, very probably, not found in any German corpus).

So, I would have one rule. But I don't know if there would be others, so I'd like to ask you if you know other rules / formal test which I can do in order to decide wheter it's an objectivus or a subjectivus?

At the end, I'd like to put the ideas and the rules in my code. I've a big, annotated corpus available, so it would be possible to do some checks.

  • 3
    In all the languages where I've encountered it, the idea of subjective and objective genitives is only a way of interpreting the genitive. If they were formally distinguishable then they'd be called different cases. – curiousdannii Jun 15 '17 at 22:39
  • @curiousdannii That's true, but nevertheless, there are sometimes good strategies one can use for interpreting things that are not formally distinguishable. An example I came across recently is the meaning of pronominal verbs in French. All meanings are formally identical, but certain meanings are more frequent overall and certain semantic categories are more likely to have certain relationships with the pronominal. I wonder if a question like this (the particular strategies for interpreting German genitives) would be good on German Language Stack Exchange. – Luke Sawczak Jun 16 '17 at 5:09
  • Similar problem in English with relative infinitive clauses; the man to run can be either subject or object of run, but in some cases it's clear: the man to see is object, but the man to do it is subject. I know of no good strategies for choosing that don't involve wide-scale context interpretation. – jlawler Jun 17 '17 at 14:02
  • @Review This is not a language-specific usage question. It's a question about formal methods of linguistic classification, so it's on-topic here. – lemontree Jun 27 '17 at 8:44

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