Icelandic: genitive pronoun vs. possessive adjective

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Gavril, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA

    What determines whether you use the genitive form of a pronoun -- mín, þín, etc. -- or the corresponding possessive adjective -- minn, þinn, sinn etc.?

    For example,

    Togarinn minn/mín er tuttugu metra langur.

    Þetta hús er mín/mitt.

    I can't remember if this was discussed here before (I did do some searching), but if it has, feel free to close this thread.

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  2. myšlenka Senior Member

    I think the answer lies in the terminology itself. The genitive pronouns are probably complete noun phrases by themselves whereas the possessive adjectives are simply adjectives, e.g. part of a noun phrase.

    The genitive is governed by certain verbs and prepositions so that's why you get:
    1) Komðu til mín!
    2) Ég saknar hennar.

    The possessive adjectives agree with the gender, case and number of the noun in question.
    3) Togarinn minn er tuttugu metra langur.
    4) Þetta hús er mitt.
  3. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Hi myšlenka,

    I was wondering specifically about which to use (genitive pronoun or possessive adjective) when modifying a noun. Sorry for not making that clearer.

    It's clear that possessive adjectives can be used to modify nouns, but I think I've seen genitive pronouns used as well. I even recall writing a sentence on WR that contained a possessive adjective form like þinni, and an Icelandic speaker correcting this to the pronominal form þín -- but I may be misremembering.
  4. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    There is this thread, but what happened there was the other way around i.e. you used þín but it was corrected to þínum.
    Is that the thread you were wondering about? I only had a quick look though, didn't see any others it could have been.
  5. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    I'm not sure. I notice that I used pronominal þín in a few other sentences on that thread (where a possessive adjective would have had a different case form) and NMMIG didn't correct them.

    I did a search for the phrase "bróðir mín" to see how common it was, and I haven't found many non-Faroese examples yet, but I did find the sentence (written by an Icelandic speaker),

    Is there a contextual reason for using mín here?
  6. NoMoreMrIceGuy Senior Member

    My bad. I forgot to fix this one:

    Ef þú annast ekki tannhirðu þína, munu tennur þínar verða rotnar.

    The most likely explanation being that I'm not sure tannhirða is used that way. I would be more inclined to say Ef þú hirðir ekki um tennur þínar... or Ef þú stundar ekki góða tannhirðu... I'm not sure that you annast tannhirðu.
  7. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    It doesn't seem to be a very common phrase, but I did find a page with the sentence, "Börn geta ekki annast tannhirðu sjálf fyrr en um tíu ára aldur".

    What about the sentence I quoted with bróðir mín ("Til hamingju með afmælið bróðir mín") -- why do you think mín is used here rather than minn?

  8. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    That Tweet wasn't from an Icelander.
    She's a Cebuano speaker living in Iceland. A mistake, I'm guessing.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  9. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    I wondered why the poster had such an un-Icelandic name (though people use all sorts of handles online and not all of them match their nationality).

    I did a little more searching and found some examples of "bróðir min" with unaccented "i", but very few with accented "mín".
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  10. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    I'm going to rephrase my question, because I don't think I put it clearly enough:

    1. Is it appropriate to use a genitive pronoun after a noun when a possessive adjective is also available? (E.g., Togarinn mín er tuttugu metra langur.)

    2. Can you use a genitive pronoun, rather than a possessive adjective, after the verb vera? (E.g., Þetta hús er mín.)

  11. Silver_Biscuit

    Silver_Biscuit Senior Member

    English - UK
    1. No.
    2. No.

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