euch dank' ich redlichen Rath (Wagner; danken: transitive)

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Scholiast, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Ein Gutes Neues!

    Here's another Wagnerism, on which I would welcome comments from native speakers.

    Towards the end of Götterdämmerung, Act III, Brünnhilde is about to toss the accursed Ring back to the Rhinemaidens, singing:

    ...des Rheines schwimmende Töchter,
    euch dank' ich redlichen Rath...

    All the Wörterbücher I have been able to consult define danken as an intransitive verb. So my question is, is this merely a Wagnerian oddity, or is there an (older?) usage of the verb danken with a direct (accusative) object as well as a dative of the person(s) to whom thanks are owed?
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  2. ablativ Senior Member

    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  3. Demiurg

    Demiurg Senior Member

    The transitive variant of "danken" (jemandem etwas danken) is still used in phrases like:

    Man hat ihm das nie gedankt.

    But nowadays one would prefer "für":

    Man hat ihm nie dafür gedankt.
    euch dank ich für redlichen Rat ...
  4. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    According to (Grimms "Deutsches Wörterbuch) they used the genitive if they wanted to show the object you are thanking for.
    It is obsolete now (it became obsolete already in the 18th century).
    Example (from Grimm)
    "ich dank euch gern eurer tat" Fastnachtsp. 450, 1. - note that "Tat" is uppercase in modern spelling.
    Sometimes the form is used in historical novels to mark the old language style.

    Grimm gives multiple examples for historical usage.

    The form with accusative is used in some phrases, Demiurg gave an example.
    Actually it is also used in some spells (Verwünschungen): Grimm: "das danke dir der teufel! das danke dir der henker! man sagt in Hessen das danke dir Herodes!" (Note old spelling of "Teufel".)
    I read such things in fairy tales and I suppose they keep it alive.

    Grimm also gave the historic development of the prepositions but I am afraid this would be out of topic and too much quotation. You can read it in the given link, however.

    In "euch dank' ich redlichen Rath"
    I am not sure whether it is "für" or "with".

    It may be it is a corrupted form of the genitive:
    "euch dank' ich redlichen Rathes"
    In this case it is clearly "for"-"für den Rat"

    But it can also mean "euch danke ich mit redlichem Rat/schulde ich redlichen Rat".
    I owe you good advice.

    When reading the sentence in the context, I think ablative is right and it is "verdanke ich".

    This is Grimm's entry

    Note the modern examples in the Duden. for usage of accusative objects
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  5. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    There is a site with a parallel translation of Götterdämmerung

    which is satisfactorily translated as
    which explains the -en ending of redlichen when -em would be expected.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  6. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Wow, Hutschi, I was only asking what I thought was a simple question, and in response I receive a whole essay! My thanks though also to ablativ (please refer to PM), demiurg and Hutschi for this wealth of informative comment.

    I did look at Grimm, though perhaps too cursorily, before posting here, but what Hutschi cites...
    [my emphasis]

    ...seems to answer the question.

    The possibility of redlichen Rath[es] as a genitive occurred to me, but I am now sufficiently satisfied that this was in Wagner's intention accusative.

    Thanks to you all, but I am afraid there may be further enquiries to come from the same source.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  7. Demiurg

    Demiurg Senior Member

    I think it's rather simple in this case (=> Duden: denken, Bedeutung 1.b.):
    It's getting clearer in the next verse:

    .. euch dank' ich redlichen Rath:
    Was ihr begehrt, ich geb es euch: aus meiner Asche nehmt es zu eigen!
  8. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Renewed thanks, demiurg...

    ...but you hear a "but" coming, nicht wahr...?

    The line continues:

    was ihr begehrt ["...what you demand..."]

    ich gebe es euch, aus meiner Asche nehmt es euch ["I grant it you, from my ashes take it as your own (rightful property)"]

    But thanks too for those idiomatic examples of Ungangssprache in your bullet-pointed Beispiele.

    I have another couple of queries about Wagnerian German, but in compliance with the Forum Rules must bore you by posting new threads therefor.
  9. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    [eurerem] is not in the text.

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