1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

ל as possessive dative

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by triptonizer, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. triptonizer Senior Member

    Ghent - Belgium
    Nederlands - België

    I have been looking into the use of ל as a possessive marker in modern Hebrew in verbal clauses. This seems mainly to be used with body parts:

    לטאה רטובה רצה לו על היד

    To native speakers does this sound completely synonymous to על היד שלו?

    With another type of possession: עף לגלעד הכדור לשיחים

    Again, does this “just” mean “Gilads ball”, or is there an added sense of: “this happened to him”, perhaps suggesting that he was playing with it at the time?
    Whereas עף הכדור של גלעד לשיחים just states the ownership of the ball, anyone could have been playing with it when it disappeared?

    So far I only found examples where the action or event happens to (or by) the thing possessed, but the owner is affected as well, like in: הוא תפס לי את המקום
    Can you perhaps come up with examples where this connection with the verbal action is looser on non-existent?

    Thank you!

    EDIT: additional question. All the examples above have definite things possessed. Is it also possible to say
    עף לגלעד כדור לשיחים A ball of his, one of Gilads balls?
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  2. amikama

    amikama sordomodo


    Only "this happened to him". The ball doesn't necessarily belong to Gilad:
    עף לגלעד הכדור של יוסי לשיחים.


    Yes, but again it isn't necessarily one of Gilad's balls but any ball.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  3. bazq Senior Member


    זמן רב תהיתי על קנקנם של מבני משפטים כגון אלה.
    מנין הגיעה צורת ההתבטאות הזאת?
    "נשבר לי הלב" לעומת "נשבר לבי/הלב שלי"
    "נפל לי העט" לעומת "נפל העט שלי"

    היש יודע?

  4. origumi Senior Member

    This is not limited to Hebrew. In Latin for example, the word mihi ("to me") can also mean "as it concerns to me", "in regard to me", similar to the examples above.

    BTW, I think that talking about dative in Hebrew is out of context as IE cases do not apply, although the reason behind them does. Also, possession does not seem inherent in this form, it's a side effect. As in amikama's explanation: "it isn't necessarily one of Gilad's ...".
  5. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
  6. bazq Senior Member

    Yes, I'm aware that constructions like "קר לי" or "כואב לי" are of Yiddish origin, but they are different from "נשבר לי" (verb + dative), aren't they?
    "ניסיתי להתניע אך המכונית לא נדלקה לי"
    It can be used with active verbs as well, not just passive:
    "עף לי הכדור"
    "נסעה לי המכונית לבד"
    "החייל זז לי" (like when you play a video game or something)
  7. arielipi Senior Member

    נשבר הלב שלי
    sounds like ileg to me
    נשבר לי הלב
    לבי נשבר
    הלב שלי נשבר
    all sound more correct; i know technically theyre all correct, just saying my 2 cents.
    whats your question bazq?
  8. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    Pretty sure they are all of the same origin.
  9. bazq Senior Member

    Ok, I've found this in Kings 1, 1, 1:
    "והמלך דוד זקן בא בימים, ויכסוהו בבגדים, ולא יחם לו"

    I guess this is similar to the "verb + dative" cases, or am I missing something?

  10. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    How about הוא גנב לו את האופניים? Is that yet another construction or is it the same as one of the examples already given?
  11. triptonizer Senior Member

    Ghent - Belgium
    Nederlands - België
    Hi all

    I've been away from the forum for a couple of days only to find all these interesting contributions, thank you! Instead of replying each of them separately, I'll give you my own summary and conclusions, please correct if you think I'm wrong.

    I'll continue to use the dative terminology now and again, well aware that it is a not so correct shortcut for “ל + (pro)noun as a circumscription of what the dative function represents in languages that have productive case endings”.

    Let's differentiate between some uses that can/should be clearly distinguished:

    -“possessive” mainly with body parts (inalienable possession): לו על היד purely synonymous to על היד שלו

    -so called “experiencer dative”, sentences like קר לי (dative construction), typical for many Indo-European languages, and most probably of Yiddish origin (compare in German: Mir ist kalt, Es tut mir leid etc.)
    @basq: at first glance yes indeed 1 Kings 1:1 might well be an example of this construction and obviously prior to any Yiddish influence

    - indirect object in a broader sense, not necessarily implying possession, but rather “it happened to”: נפל לי העט, עף לו הכדור and Airelibre's: הוא גנב לו את האופניים In line with Amikama's remarks I guess you could imagine something like הוא גנב לו את האופניים של החברה שלו (impossible with the body parts above), but without this addition the most obvious meaning remains that it's his bike/ball etc. no?
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013

Share This Page