BCS: The Use of the Genitive as a Direct Object

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by 123xyz, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    In a thread about the verb "trebati", the "da-konstrukcija" and the word order of clitics, the above sentence was provided, and I got curious as to why the relative pronoun "kojeg" is used, since it is a genitive form, although the verb "primiti" is supposed to take accusative objects. I know genitive forms are used instead of the accusatives when the object is animate, but the pronoun "kojeg" here refers to "poklon", which is inanimate (presumably, although a living thing could be given as a gift; still, I don't think that's the reason for the genitive usage here). Perhaps it is genitive because the word "poklon" is in the genitive, but relative pronouns, as far as I know, take the case appropriate for the role they play in the relative clause they are placed in and not the case of the noun they refer to, which is in a different clause. Could it be that it is a mistake? It is a translation of a book from what I gather in the original thread, so I don't think I should except a mistake in an official translation.

    I have found this though:

    Akuzativ za živo zamjenice
    koji često se pogrješno upotrebljava za neživo, npr: *tanjur kojeg sam razbio, *cvijet kojeg sam ubrao. Kad je riječ o neživomu, treba međutim upotrebljavati akuzativ za neživo koji:tanjur koji sam razbio, cvijet koji sam ubrao.

    Thank you in advance
  2. Anicetus Senior Member

    If by "mistake" you mean "non-standard", then it is a mistake. It's probably not a typo and it's not congruent with poklona; it's just an animate accusative form used instead of an inanimate form, which many people actually do.

    Note that this only applies when koji is used in isolation, to start a relative clause -- it doesn't apply when koji is congruent with an inanimate noun, so nobody would say *kojeg si poklona primio? Well, except in those dialects which have lost the animate-inanimate distinction.

    In a similar manner, as you probably know, ga and njega are the only possible accusative forms of on and even ono (the personal pronoun, not the demonstrative one), whether they refer to animate or inanimate. Accusative identical to genitive simply leaves less place for confusion than accusative identical to nominative. That's actually the same way genitive singular became the accusative singular form for masculine animate nouns in the first place, once sound changes in Common Slavic had erased the distinction between their accusative and nominative singular forms.

    Anyway, that's obviously a rather strange translation. In my opinion, the word order is much more problematic than kojeg. Additionally, normativists, at least the Croatian ones, wouldn't like the word poklon very much either, they'd prefer dar.
  3. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    Thank you for the reply (and the additional data in it), Anicetus; so it is indeed non-standard (that is what I meant by "mistake").

    As for the translation being unusual, that's what many people pointed out in the original thread ("trebalo je" instead "je trebalo"). Never mind that, it was just context.

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