2

For examples, in German there are certain verbs that always use the dative cases and others that always use the accusative case. Is there a logical or semantical reason for this?

Does the use of a certain case alter the way speakers of the language perceive or interpret the meaning of the verb/sentence? For examples, say we have two languages (A and B) and a verb (X). If language A uses the accusative case with verb X, but language B uses the dative (why would they do in the first place? Shouldn’t the meaning of some verbs be UNIVERSAL?), will this in turn result in that speakers of language A will have a slightly different notion of verb X than those of language B, even if the general idea behind the verb is the same for both speakers?

10
  • 1
    In German, there are also verbs that take the genitive, like bedürfen or *sich erfreuen" Jan 3 at 8:29
  • 1
    An average speaker of any language has not a slightest idea about all of those cases, governings and alignments of yours, they just speak their language and that's all. Could you possibly suggest a way in which the idea of “I thank you” in, say, German, where danken needs a dative object, can be different from that of, say, Russian, where the the corresponding verb благодарить needs accusative, and from English where thank needs an objective pronoun? What kind of technique would you use to establish if there is a difference or those three verbs mean exactly the same?
    – Yellow Sky
    Jan 3 at 11:08
  • I vote to close this question as opinion-based unless it is reformulated to fit the framework of this SE.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jan 3 at 11:13
  • 2
    This is interesting to ponder, but I don’t think it’s possible to answer in generic terms. Each case would have to be evaluated within the specific framework of what logic governs how an individual language uses the cases it has as its disposal, because meanings of verbs are emphatically not universal. Even then, it’s not always clear-cut – for example, Icelandic spúa and æla both mean ‘to vomit’, but spúa takes the dative and æla takes the accusative. And it’s almost impossible to know for sure if two speakers have exactly the same notion of a verb, even within the same language. Jan 3 at 14:34
  • @Janus Bahs Jacquet “Icelandic spúa and æla both mean ‘to vomit’, but spúa takes the dative and æla takes the accusative” — In fact, both verbs take the dative. See, for example, Cleasby and Vigfusson “æla, … 2. to throw up, vomit; æla öllu upp”, and in 1907 poet and editor Jónas Guðlaugsson wrote (concerning Danish opposition to the idea of creating an Icelandic national flag): “… sjálfum frelsisgarpinum Brandes … varð svo bumbult af þessu, að hann ældi Amagerkáli út um alla Höfn.”
    – Segorian
    Jan 3 at 17:10

1 Answer 1

2

Cases, like prepositions, are somewhat arbitrary.

One proof of this is that they vary within a language and over time.

will this in turn result in that speakers of language A will have a slightly different notion of verb X

Maybe we could find examples where the notion is linked to case, and case is actually the cause and not just an effect.

But people overwhelmingly just don’t think about cases, prepositions, tenses, grammatical gender, auxiliary verbs etc of their native languages.

1
  • 2
    Relevant but niche joke: Warum schneide d Preisse in de Prifinge immer so schlecht ab? Weil se *zur* Schul gehe, aber net *in* d Schul. Jan 3 at 22:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.