Er klopfte an das Fenster... (dative vs. accusative)

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venkatkk

Senior Member
Tamil
“Er klopfte an das Fenster einer Schneiderei.”

In the above sentence why is accusativ used instead of dativ? The question could be asked wo klopft er? And the answer would be an dem Fenster einer schneiderei. I don’t understand the wohin/wo distinction used to identify which case is used for wechselpräpositionen. As far as I can see most of the cases answer the wo question and hence I usually think dativ should be applied..I‘d appreciate it if someone can give some clearcut way to recognise the difference between the two.
 
  • bearded

    Senior Member
    I don’t understand the wohin/wo distinction
    ''Klopfen an..'' requires the accusative case. The wo/wohin distinction is not so clear in this case, but the movement you make for knocking is perceived like a movement towards/against something, i.e. a direction. Many prepositions governed by German verbs just have to be learned together with the relevant cases, as often the perception is different in other languages.
    Natives might illustrate the use of 'klopfen' more precisely.
    With abstract verbs it is even more difficult (examples: bestehen auf + dative, verzichten auf + accusative..).
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I don’t understand the wohin/wo distinction
    I can understand. It is a bit like saying the same thing with two different terminologies. You ask wo for the dative and wohin for the accusative et vice versa. If you don't know what case to use you also don't know how to ask.

    What you should ask yourself is if the noun describes a location (dative) or a target (accusative) of the action. Often, like in this case it is both and then you have to ask what defines the meaning of the expression. If the meaning were location then you could say Er klopft an dem Fenster. But that could, e.g., mean that he is standing by the window and knocks on a piece of metal he holds in his hand. You obviously don't want to include that in the possible meanings of the sentence. What you want to say is that the window is the target of the action and therefore you have to use accusative.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The wo/wohin distiction works in many cases, but not always.
    Oh, nein, nicht das schon wieder! As we recently discussed at length, for non-native speakers, the “wo/wohin” distinction doesn’t work at all, und schon gar nicht “in many cases”!
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    :confused::confused::confused: Ich habe nicht die leiseste Ahnung, worauf Du hinauswillst. Ganz ehrlich.

    Ich dachte, wir wären im anderen Thread zu einem gemeinsamen Verständnis gekommen. Offensichtlich lag ich da falsch, aber ich habe keine Lust, die ganze Diskussion wieder aufzuwühlen.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Jetzt hör aber bitte auf! Bei Ortsbestimmungen mit entsprechenden Verben und einer echten Lokativ- Direktivergänzung funktioniert diese Unterscheidung hundertprozentig und ist für Deutschlernende sehr hilfreich (und das ist die große Überzahl der Fälle!)
    Siehe
    Verben mit Akkusativ- und Direktiv-Ergänzung - mein-deutschbuch.de
    Es erfordert aber den gleichen Aufwand einem Englischsprecher den Unterschied zwischen wo und wohin zu erklären, wie ihm zu erklären, ob man Dativ oder Akkusativ nehmen soll. Als Verstärkung des einmal gelernten mag das hilfreich sein; als Erklärung aber kaum.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Wäre “Richtung/Bewegung mit Ziel erfordert meist Akkussativ -- und ein allgemeiner Ort, der kein Ziel ist, erfordert meist Dativ“, verständlicher?

    An die Tür klopfen (Tür ist Ziel der Klopfbewegung.)

    Er klopft an der Tür. = Er steht an der Tür und klopft.
    Es klopft an der Tür. (Tür ist Ort des Klopfens.)

    Er klopft an das Fenster. Klopfen gibt hier ebenfalls das Ziel der Handbewegung an.
    Er klopft am Fenster. Das gibt den Ort des Klopfens= des Schalls an.

    Es gibt aber leider, wie angedeutet, Ausnahmen, wie “jemandem etwas geben.“
     
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    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "Ziel vs. Ort" is very good, but it's not 100% reliable, because in order for it to work you have to be able to use German-language logic to reliably determine whether it's "Ziel" or "Ort" in each and every case, and if you're a non-native speaker, you won't necessarily always be able to apply the right logic, which brings us back to the tautological problem with "wo/wohin." That said, unlike "wo/wohin," "Ziel vs. Ort" is actually useful, because "Ziel vs. Ort" invokes extralinguistic logic that will in fact work the majority of the time regardless of the native language of the person trying to assign the right case. Like many other things, it's a useful heuristic. Non-native speakers should appreciate its usefulness while recognizing that on its own it won't guarantee error-free usage every single time.

    Hutschi, "jemandem etwas geben" is a different case, since it doesn't involve a two-way preposition. "Ziel vs. Ort" is only applicable to two-way prepositions.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Es gibt aber leider, wie angedeutet, Ausnahmen, wie “jemandem etwas geben.“
    This is a "true" dative. The dative of Wechselpräpositionen is an etymological locative, which merged morphologically with the dative in Germanic but is semantically a very different bird. They are very easy to distinguish: As Elroy said, the locative sense is tied to a specific set of prepositions.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Yes, that is true. I just wanted to say that it is not valid in so

    By the way: Ziel vs. Ort iscan be translated to Wohin vs. wo. me cases, like in "Wechselpräpositionen".

    In case of "Ziel" there is the logic that there must ber a kind of vector: from somewhere to a destination.
    If it is not a kind of vector, it does not work even if it is a kind of destination.


    Example: Ich gehe auf die Straße = from somerwhere to the streat. Streat is the destination.
    Ich gehe auf der Straße: Straße is the place where I go. I may have a destination, but the treat is not the destination.


    In case of "klopfen" it is more complicate. Destination vs. place is here literally. The destination is the place. The logic is not that the sound is the destination.

    Some examples for the logic:
    Ich klopfe an die Tür. The destination of the movement is the door.
    Es klopft an der Tür. = I hear the sound of knocking at the door. It is the place of the sound.
    Er klopft an der Tür. = He makes a knocking sound at the door.

    Ich schreibe an/auf die Tafel. The board is the destination of the chalk.
    Ich schreibe an/auf der Tafel. The board is the place where I write with the chalk.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    Ich schreibe an/auf die Tafel. The board is the destination of the chalk.
    Ich schreibe an/auf der Tafel. The board is the place where I write with the chalk.
    Also this has been the object of long discussions in the forum (see for example here: Ich schreibe (etwas) an die / der Tafel). But, as elroy has expressed in #13, such subtle distinctions only correspond to a purely German logic and look very artificial to non-natives.
    An explanation like ''the board is the destination of the chalk'' sounds frankly ridiculous to my ears (no offense meant, Hutschi).
    In my reply in #2, I wrote ''often the perception is different in other languages'', and this is a crucial point for me.
    The Ort/Ziel distinction only works well ''bei Ortsbestimmungen mit entsprechenden Verben und einer echten Lokativ-Direktiv-Ergänzung'', as JCK wrote above.
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    Ich dachte, wir wären im anderen Thread zu einem gemeinsamen Verständnis gekommen. Offensichtlich lag ich da falsch, aber ich habe keine Lust, die ganze Diskussion wieder aufzuwühlen.
    Ich habe auch keine Lust, dieses Thema noch einmal aufzuwärmen.
    Nur kurz: das einzige, worauf wir uns geeinigt hatten, war, dass wir im Grunde das Gleiche meinen, aber es aber mit anderen Worten ausdrücken!
    "Ziel vs. Ort" is very good, but it's not 100% reliable
    Nicht 100% aber mindestens 90% (über den Daumen gepeilt), und das ist schon mal was wert!
    Den Rest (z.B. Ausdrücke wie "an die Tafel schreiben/ an die Tür klopfen" usw.) lernt man am besten als feststehenden Ausdruck.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    dass wir im Grunde das Gleiche meinen
    Ja, genau, aber Deine Reaktion in diesem Thread gab mir den gegenteiligen Eindruck. ;)
    Nicht 100% aber mindestens 90% (über den Daumen gepeilt), und das ist schon mal was wert!
    Auf jeden Fall. Daher auch mein "very good" (was als sehr großzügig gelten sollte ;)).
    (z.B. Ausdrücke wie "an die Tafel schreiben/ an die Tür klopfen" usw.)
    Für mich (aber jeder Nicht-Muttersprachler ist natürlich anders) gehören das schon zur 90 %, denn hier kann ich auf jeden Fall das "Ziel" nachvollziehen. Richtig krasse, weil rätselhaft anmutende, Fälle, die man tatsächlich am besten einfach als Ausnahmen hinnimmt, sind für mich etwa "der Sessel steht im Wohnzimmer und gehört dahin", "ich bringe das Schild an der Wand an" und (das weniger rätselhafte aber auf keinen Fall intuitiv erfassbare) "sein Name ist ins Buch eingetragen" (alles schon ausführlich im Forum behandelt, Links zu den Threads liefere ich auf Wunsch gerne).
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Also this has been the object of long discussions in the forum (see for example here: Ich schreibe (etwas) an die / der Tafel). But, as elroy has expressed in #13, such subtle distinctions only correspond to a purely German logic and look very artificial to non-natives.
    An explanation like ''the board is the destination of the chalk'' sounds frankly ridiculous to my ears (no offense meant, Hutschi).
    In my reply in #2, I wrote ''often the perception is different in other languages'', and this is a crucial point for me.
    The Ort/Ziel distinction only works well ''bei Ortsbestimmungen mit entsprechenden Verben und einer echten Lokativ-Direktiv-Ergänzung'', as JCK wrote above.
    The main difference is between languages like Greek or German that have retained the case system and languages like English and Italian that have lost it. In the former, the distinction is still grammaticalised while they can but don't have to be made (e.g. in English you can use into instead of in to express a destinative meaning). When a meaning is grammaticalised, this means that you have to have an opinion on whether or not you mean it in a locative or destinative sense even if the information isn't really needed in a specific context and by opting for one form you have to exclude the other interpretation. To write something an der Tafel and an die Tafel have different meaning but this difference rarely ever matters.

    A similar effect occurs, e.g., in the opposite direction where when translating the German sentence er lügt you have to express if he is a habitual liar (he lies) or if he lies only n this particular case (he is lying) whereas in German can make the distinction (e.g., by saying er lügt regelmäßig or an dieser Stelle lügt er) but you are not forced to make it. This is equally difficult for Germans always to be aware of the distinction as it is for English or Italian speakers to always be aware of the locative/destinative distinction.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    the locative/destinative distinction.
    Thank you for your clear explanation and opinion, berndf. (*)
    On the other hand, am I correct in supposing that the locative/destinative distinction is hardly possible with 'abstract' verbs (such as bestehen auf+dative , verzichten auf+accusative) and with those the respective case is just a matter of usage, and can therefore only be learned by heart?

    (*) However, I find that your illustration is still within a very German logic. Even if we had cases, I don't think that we'd ever consider 'to write on something' like a target or a direction. For me, ''on the board'' is the place/location on which I write, and the door is the very location on which I knock. I do not write or knock 'onto/towards' anything... We would use dative (or ablative, in Latin), I'm sure. That's what I meant with my ''different perceptions'' according to/depending on languages.
     
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    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    For me, the issue is not that German makes a distinction that English does not. As you have demonstrated, this is simply a cross-linguistic phenomenon; I'm sure you can take any pair of languages and find features that are grammaticalized in one and not the other, and vice versa.

    The issue for me is that some products of the system, for lack of a better phrase, are less intuitive than others, even with everything I know about the system, how it works, how it differs from the languages I speak natively, what tricks I can use to navigate the system, etc.

    I think as non-native speakers whose native languages don't make this distinction, our goal is not so much to come to terms with the fact that there is a distinction, but to figure out how to reliably (and, ideally, automatically) make that distinction. As human beings, we are naturally wired to look for order and consistency (even where it may not be found), and this is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the process of second language acquisition. Things that don't seem to have an explanation (that resonates with us) irritate us, and it's hard to simply accept that "that's the way it is."

    In many cases, even though there is an explanation, it can be so hard to pin down, or so counter-intuitive, that there may as well not be an explanation (a great example of this is "der Sessel ist im Wohnzimmer und gehört dahin").

    I'm sure the same can be said of the progressive-simple present distinction in English, from the perspective of a native speaker of German.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    ...

    (*) However, I find that your illustration is still within a very German logic. Even if we had cases, I don't think that we'd ever consider 'to write on something' like a target or a direction. For me, ''on the board'' is the place/location on which I write, and the door is the very location on which I knock. ...
    So you have to use: Ich schreibe auf der Tafel. - and this is correct.
    And in connection with the door, you can use:

    Ich klopfe an der Tür an. (Ich klopfe an der Tür.
    is correct but seldom used. "Anklopfen" is more idiomatic.

    The problem ist that "schreiben" and "klopfen" cannot be classified fully as verbs of movement with destination and without. They are between, and they have a kind of broken dimension structure, like a strand. (This is a metaphor I provide for this.)
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I do not write or knock 'onto/towards' anything.
    Scribo super tabulam. But that would be an easy win as super+ablative has a very special meaning.

    But take a better example, scripsit in librum = he wrote in the book. Browsing through attestations of that sentence I get the impression Latin uses accusative even in some cases where I would have expected ablative. But those might be mistakes. By and large the difference in meaning between scripsit in librum and scripsit in libro is much the same as between er schrieb ins Buch and er schrieb im Buch.
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    Back to the OP:
    I don’t understand the wohin/wo distinction used to identify which case is used for wechselpräpositionen.
    I‘d appreciate it if someone can give some clearcut way to recognise the difference between the two.
    Perhaps, these definitions might help you (in most situations):
    Under certain circumstances the dative (or the accusative) is used with the following "two-way" prepositions: an, auf, hinter, in, neben, entlang, über, unter, vor, and zwischen.
    When these prepositions delineate a spacial area, and the verb's action or lack of action remains entirely within the area (> Wo spielt sich die Szene ab?/ Wo (an welchem Ort) findet etwas statt?) , they take the dative. If the verb indicates movement that crosses the border into that area, the preposition takes the accusative case.
    When these prepositions delineate a spacial area, and the verb indicates movement that crosses the border into that area (> Wohin bewegt sich etwas/jemand? Was ist sein Ziel?) the preposition takes the accusative (if the action is entirely within the area, then it takes the dative case).
    But, as the previous discussion shows, there is not always a clearcut way to recognise the difference between the two.

    Here's an example for both (and the difficulty :eek: to understand): why first dative, then accusative ?
    habe ich mich hinterm Auto ins Gras geworfen
    Wo spielt sich die Szene ab?
    (hinterm Auto)
    Wohin bewegt sich etwas/jemand? (ins Gras)
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I think as non-native speakers whose native languages don't make this distinction, our goal is not so much to come to terms with the fact that there is a distinction, but to figure out how to reliably (and, ideally, automatically) make that distinction. As human beings, we are naturally wired to look for order and consistency (even where it may not be found), and this is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the process of second language acquisition. Things that don't seem to have an explanation (that resonates with us) irritate us, and it's hard to simply accept that "that's the way it is."
    The point I am trying to make is that you won't develop a good intuition unless you bare in mind that German grammar forces speakers to make a distinction. The fact that you have to choose causes the mere non-use of one form to modify or specialise the meaning of the other. This is like the habitual meaning of the simple present developed only with the grammaticalisation of continuous form.

    Both sentences, A. Er klopft ans Fenster and B. Er klopft am Fester are grammatically well formed and semantically meaningful. This inevitably causes the meanings to specialise. In this case, A. marks the knocking on the window as the purpose of the action and B. marks the fact that the knocking happens at the window as circumstantial.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Here's an example for both (and the difficulty :eek: to understand: why first dative, then accusative ?
    habe ich mich hinterm Auto ins Gras geworfen
    Wo spielt sich die Szene ab?
    (hinterm Auto)
    Wohin bewegt sich etwas/jemand? (ins Gras)
    I don't understand your point here. This is an example where locative vs. destinative heuristic works perfectly. I don't see any "difficulty", once this heutistic has been properly understood.
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    This is an example where locative vs. destinative heuristic works perfectly.
    For us native speakers it does, but obviously not for foreigners. Otherwise gvergara wouldn't have asked the question.
    I don't see any "difficulty", once this heuristic has been properly understood.
    That's the point. :cool:
     
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    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    Oh, nein, nicht das schon wieder! As we recently discussed at length, for non-native speakers
    No, we did NOT discuss this at all.

    We discussed about the sense of substituting the question "Dative or accusative?" by "Wem or wen?" and I agreed with you that this does rarely help if at all.

    We did not discuss location vs. direction / Ziel vs. Ort. This is indeed a pretty good rule of thumb for very many situations and asking "wo?" or "wohin?" helps a lot.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    We did not discuss location vs. direction / Ziel vs. Ort. This is indeed a pretty good rule of thumb for very many situations and asking "wo?" or "wohin?" helps a lot.
    Understanding the difference between wen? end wem? and the difference between wo? and wohin? amounts to the same thing. To explain the difference between wo klopfst du? and wohin klopfst du? is as easy or difficult to understand the difference between ich klopfe ans Fenster and ich klopfe am Fesnster. It is actually quite difficult to explain to an English speaker why German has two words for where?.
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    the difference between wen? end wem? and the difference between wo? and wohin? amounts to the same thing
    Not really, because wem/wen can be used in a lot more cases, many of them having nothing at all to do with wo/wohin.

    (1) Wem gebe ich etwas? Wen unterrichte?

    These questions do not help.

    However, "in/into" in English or "wo/wohin" in German can be explained and intensify the location vs. direction explanation.

    English speaker why German has two words for where?
    Yes, but it is more easily explained that direction and location makes a difference -- and exactly that is reflected by wo/wohin. I do not see the close parallel to wen/wem in non-where questions like (1). Further, English has on/onto, in/into, where/whence, where to, where from and similar distinctions as well.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Yes, but it is more easily explained that direction and location makes a difference -- and exactly that is reflected by wo/wohin.
    If this helped, the old "movement" explanation would be sufficient, which it obviously isn't because we are having these questions all the time. It is as logical to illogical to ask Wohin gehört das Bild? as it is to say Das Bild gehört an die Wand. If we said Das Bild gehört an der Wand, which would be perfectly sensible, then we would also as Wo gehört das Bild?
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    If this helped, the old "movement" explanation would be sufficient
    No, because "movement" is conceptional worse than the concepts of "location vs. direction" or "Ort vs. Ziel", or "change vs. state".

    obviously isn't because we are having these questions all the time
    Because people are studying, learning and do not know enough about "change vs. state" / "Ziel vs. Ort". Not because our explanations are bad.

    It is as logical to illogical
    You made up your mind. I disagree. Explanations with "change vs. state" and "Ort vs. Ziel" are sensible from my point of view, and have helped many people. This is a different issue than "Wem gebe ich etwas? Wen unterrichte ich?" in which I agree that questions do not help.

    Wohin gehört das Bild?
    I agree that the main difficulty sometimes (like here with "gehören") originates from the fact that not all German verbs convey a clear concept of "Ziel vs. Ort". Some verbs are just difficult, no matter how you explain them and have to be learnt by heart.

    However, very many questions can be answered by asking oneself whether it involves "direction / change" or is about "state / location", e.g. "Ich fahre in die Stadt. / Ich bin in der Stadt." or "Ich hänge das Bild an die Wand. / Das Bild hängt an der Wand."
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Explanations with "change vs. state" and "Ort vs. Ziel" are sensible from my point of view, and have helped many people.
    Of course this heuristic is useful. And you need this very same heuristic to explain the difference between wo? and within? as you need to explain the difference between accusative and dative Wechselpräpositionen. The question participles have no extra explanatory power.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    @Kajjo, "wo/wohin" doesn't work if you mean "Check what you already know for sure about which one is used ("wo" or "wohin") (which is the way this "trick" is usually packaged by well-meaning native speakers making a misguided attempt to help). If you mean, "Ask yourself whether you think it's probably "wo" or "wohin," based on whether it's "Ziel" or "Ort," then like "Ziel vs. Ort," it's a heuristic that can be helpful, as it's basically just saying the same thing in a different way. Except that "wo/wohin" is far less likely to resonate with a non-native speaker - especially a beginner! - than "Ziel vs. Ort," the reason being that "Ziel vs. Ort" (or "target/destination" vs. "location") actually means something independently of any specific language, and can be usefully invoked to help with case assignment. What you need to realize is that for many non-native speakers - not least beginners - "hin" has little to no meaning and is just a pesky little particle that German learners have to contend with just because the language gods decided to make German learners' lives harder by adding this enigmatic nuisance to the repertoire of German when most languages (and most likely the learner's own) are just fine without it. (In English, you can sometimes use "to" where German uses "hin," but only sometimes, and I don't think it's ever required.) Of course, "hin" is a morpheme and has meaning, but it's not intuitive. So to "Ziel vs. Ort," the struggling German learner is likely to respond with a :idea:; to the red version of "wo vs. wohin," with a :confused: (and to the blue version, with a :eek:).
     
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    bearded

    Senior Member
    I get the impression Latin uses accusative even in some cases where I would have expected ablative. But those might be mistakes. By and large the difference in meaning between scripsit in librum and scripsit in libro is much the same as between er schrieb ins Buch and er schrieb im Buch.
    It seems that for schreiben in/auf Latin used by default scribere in+ablative (see example from Plautus's Pseudolus: in libro scribuntur litterae JI pseudolo.,
    and from one of Cicero's orationes: tabula... in qua scriptum fuisse Le opere di M. Tullio Cicerone).
    When scribere in was used with accusative, mostly there could be other connotations, like addition, inscription, enrollment and others.

    As for the Ort/Ziel distinction, this terminology seems to be unfit for Italian students of German, because in the Italian grammar terminology there is an Am-Ort-Ergänzung and a Zum-Ort-Ergänzung (complemento di stato in luogo vs. complemento di moto a luogo), and therefore, as soon as they see the word Ort, they would ask ''am oder zum Ort?''.
     
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    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Hi, I want to give an example, where the heuristic works in "German" logic, but not in spacial logic.

    Compare:
    • Ich hänge das Bild an die Wand - accusative - wall is destination, state change
    • Das Bild hängt an der Wand - dative - wall is the place, no stae change
    It does not work good with the verb "aufhängen" (zusammengesetzt, trennbar)
    • Ich hänge das Bild an der Wand auf. Basically in spatial logic is the same as Ich hänge es an die Wand.
      In German logic, the wall is the place where I put the picture to. Here Germans ask "wo", but there is no real and easy to explain difference to "wohin" here.
      Some such combined verbs use dative. And in some cases the case is not clear even to Germans, or it changes the meaning.
    There are not many such verbs, in for these it is not helpful, you have to learn them.


    The pure movement rule has much more exceptions.

    The following examples are all movements:
    Ich laufe auf der Straße.
    Ich laufe auf die Straße.
    Das Flugzeug fliegt in der Luft.
    Das Flugzeug fliegt in die Luft. (fuzzy.)
    Das Haus fliegt in die Luft. (figurative, it explodes.)
    Ich schwimme im Wasser.
    Die Kugeln rollen auf dem Boden.

    In all such examples the pure movement rule is misleading and does not help. The place vs. destination rule works directly or figuratively.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    As for the Ort/Ziel distinction, this terminology seems to be unfit for Italian students of German, because in the Italian grammar terminology there is an Am-Ort-Ergänzung and a Zum-Ort-Ergänzung (complemento di stato in luogo vs. complemento di moto a luogo), and therefore, as soon as they see the word Ort, they would ask ''am oder zum Ort?''.
    Complemento di stato in luogo and complemento di moto a luogo are only about physical location. Ziel is much broader (target, goal, destination, final purpose) and also Ort in this discussion has to be understood as shorthand for location in space and/or time or condition, environment in which an action takes place.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    Complemento di stato in luogo and complemento di moto a luogo are only about physical location.
    When it is not physical, we say complemento di (stato in/moto a) luogo figurato (=übertragen), so the problem of the term 'luogo(Ort)' remains. As for myself, I know what Ort means in German (location, condition, as you say..), but ital. Deutschlernende might not know it, that's why I think that terms Ort/Ziel are not suitable for them. Maybe Stellung/Richtung (position/direction, posizione/direzione) would fit.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Maybe Stellung/Richtung (position/direction, posizione/direzione) would fit.
    Hardly. The very fact that many text books misleadingly describe the logic of Wechselpräpositionen in these spatial terms (position/direction) leads to most of these threads.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Hardly. The very fact that many text books misleadingly describe the logic of Wechselpräpositionen in these spatial terms (position/direction) leads to most of these threads.
    Example: Ich gehe an der Straße entlang. This walk has definitely a direction but not a strict position. But it has dative. The streat is not the destination, but the place where you are walking.
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    asking "wo?" or "wohin?" helps a lot.
    Asking "wo?" or "wohin?" alone probably doesn't help a lot, but asking the whole questions "Wo spielt sich die Szene ab?/ Wo (an welchem Ort) findet etwas statt?" vs. "Wohin bewegt sich etwas/jemand? Wechselt es/er den Ort?/ Was ist sein Ziel?" is really very helpful.

    Let's test it with Hutschi's examples:
    Wo befindet sich etwas/jemand?/ Wo spielt sich die Szene ab?/ Wo (an welchem Ort) findet etwas statt?
    Ich laufe auf der Straße.
    Das Flugzeug fliegt in der Luft.
    Ich schwimme im Wasser.
    Die Kugeln rollen auf dem Boden.

    and even:
    Ich hänge das Bild an der Wand auf.

    "Wohin bewegt sich etwas/jemand? Wechselt er/es den Ort? (very important!) / Was ist sein Ziel?"
    Ich laufe auf die Straße.
    Das Flugzeug fliegt/ steigt in die Luft (= in die Höhe).
    Das Haus fliegt in die Luft.


    Only with verbs where the notions of "state / location" or "direction / change" aren't (any more) perceptible, it doesn't help.

     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    and from one of Cicero's orationes: tabula... in qua scriptum fuisse Le opere di M. Tullio Cicerone).
    Hier hätte ich auf Deutsch auch Dativ verwandt (auf der geschrieben gewesen...).

    Auf der Tafel war geschrieben... beschreibt den Inhalt dessen, was dort steht.

    Auf die Tafel wurde geschrieben... beschreibt den Vorgang, der aus einer leeren eine beschriebene Tafel macht.

    Beachte auch, dass im erstem Satz Zustandspassiv und im zweiten Vorgangspassiv steht. Die jeweils andere Passivformen würden die Bedeutungen der Sätze recht merkwürdig verdrehen.

    scribere in+ablative (see example from Plautus's Pseudolus: in libro scribuntur
    Hier hätte ich auf Deutsch wohl tatsächlich Akkusativ verwandt.
     
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