prietene!/prietenul meu!

Riverplatense

Senior Member
German — Austria
Bună seară,

I have a question regarding the Romanian vocative. Is there something like «possessive vocative» in Romanian, too, and if, how frequent or idiomatic is it? I mean, are both following forms correct, and if, are both really thinkable in everyday life?
  1. Unde ești, prietene?
  2. Unde ești, prietenul meu?
Or is there any other reasonable alternative?

Thank you!
 
  • farscape

    mod-errare humanum est
    Romanian
    Let's assume George is my friend :

    1. Personal communication, message, etc.:
    - Unde ești, George? (As in Where are you, I'm looking for you)
    2. Same, but because George knows he is (or is not!) my friend, this sounds somewhat emphatic:
    - Unde ești, prietene?
    3. Theatrical effect:
    - Unde ești (tu), (George,) prieten al meu? (Where are thou, friend of mine)
    4. This one works too, similar to #3, if I add a qualifier:
    - Unde ești, prietenul meu din copilărie? (Where are you, my childhood friend?)

    I left out a couple of other less relevant variations; I'd never use Unde ești, prietenul meu? though.

    Unde este prietenul meu? works just fine but that form takes us away from your question.

    The closest I can think of for the English Where are you, my friend? is Unde ești, prietene? and I can go a bit overboard with Unde ești, prieten al meu?

    Hope this helps a bit
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    Small correction:
    Romanian salute is:

    Bună seara (literally: "good evening the")

    But to answer your questions, Romanian does not have a
    From the sentences you propose in the title of your thread,
    one is correct and often heard in daily spoken Romanian:

    Prietene! - "hey, friend!"

    while the second is wrong:
    Prietenul meu!

    If I would here such sentence I would treat it as the beginning of a bigger sentence like:
    "Prietenul meu este Ion"
    and I would ask you what do you mean by this.

    Even a sentence like:
    Prieten al meu!
    is wrong and certainly is not perceived as "Hey, friend!"
     

    Riverplatense

    Senior Member
    German — Austria
    Bună seara (literally: "good evening the")

    Thank you!

    [...] the second is wrong:
    Prietenul meu!

    Thank you, that's what I wanted to know. In fact, in many languages you can have something like Hello my friend etc., where the possessive adjective assumes only an expressive/affective function and isn't necessary as a determiner. And I was wondering if in Romanian the explicit vocative in prietene! does the same and thus makes such a kind of possessive vocative unnecessary.
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    Excuse my English errors and cut sentences in the previous post - rush and copy/paste.

    Well, Romanian does not have something like Hello my friend! as you described it above.

    A sentence equivalent to this and grammatically correct would be:

    Bună, prieten al meu!

    But I never heard such in my life on street, might be used in poetry or literature.


    On the matter of preservation of Latin vocative for masculine nouns in Romanian, as far as I read there are 2 hypotheses:
    1. Latin vocative preserved as is, but confirmed by the Slavic vocative which has a similar termination for masculine nouns.
    e.g. bulg. брат/ братe = "brother"/"hey, brother!"

    2. Latin vocative lost at some point and Slavic vocative was loaned for both masculine and feminine nouns
    Note:
    The feminine vocative is definitely of Slavic influence:
    e.g. Romanian prietenă (nominative) / prieteno (vocative)
    Bulg. майка/ майкo(= "mother"/"hey, mother!")

    Note: Romanian masculine nouns have, in fact, one of 2 possible forms of vocative:
    - one for the nouns + postponed definite article
    e.g.
    lup / lupule ("wolf"/"hey, woulf the!")
    om / omule ("man"/"hey, man the!")
    - another for the noun without article
    e.g.
    prieten / prietene ("friend"/"hey, friend!")
    vecin / vecine ("neighbour",/"hey, neighbour!")
    There are some rules described in grammar books on what form of vocative a masculine noun has, but I don't find them now. We, as native speakers, chose from memory the form we heard from other people in our life time.

    So, a Slavic influence seems to happened on vocative after Romanian acquired the postponed definite article (we cannot know in what century this article appeared, I guess 5th or 6th when there was a late Vulgar Latin here, not yet Romanian).

    The biggest problem in finding the most probable hypothesis is the lack of written sources, the oldest surviving document in Romanian being from 1521 AD and the language in it does not present grammatical features with major differences than modern Romanian.

    I just wanted to emphasize that Romanian differs so much from other Romance languages in this matter of vocative that I don't find any analogy in Romanian for Hello my friend! with the same meaning.
     
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    Caktus

    Member
    Romania - Romanian
    Could you please tell me which linguists support the hypothesis that Romanian masculine singular vocative forms come from Slavic?

    2. Latin vocative lost at some point and Slavic vocative was loaned for both masculine and feminine nouns
    Note:
    The feminine vocative is definitely of Slavic influence:
    e.g. Romanian prietenă (nominative) / prieteno (vocative)
    Bulg. майка/ майкo(= "mother"/"hey, mother!")
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    Al. Rosetti (ILR 1986, pages 278-279) quotes Danish linguist Kristian Sandfeld on this explanation.
    Vocativul in -e al numelor masculine a fost explicat, și el, de unii cercetători, prin slavă (Kr. Sandfeld, revista Grundriss der romanischen Philologie, I, pag. 530; Linguistique balkanique. Problèmes et résultats, Paris 1930, 2. Auflage, Paris 1968, pag. 147 și următoarele).
    ("The vocative in -e of the masculine nouns was explained, also, by some researchers, from Slavic (Sandfeld...)")
    But Rosetti contradicts this explanation in the same text, concluding:
    El provine, de fapt, din vocativul latin în -e (cf. lat. lupe, gr. luke, iar în latina vulgară Alexandre etc.) întrebuințarea lui a fost întărită de vocativul slav în -e.
    ("It comes, in fact, from the Latin vocative in -e (cf. lat. lupe...) its usage was strengthen by the Slavic vocative in -e.")

    The main point in this debate are the masculine nouns vocatives in -le.
    According to Rosetti, Pușcariu (Dacoromanica) and other Romanian linguists, these forms appeared in Romanian later than -e forms, but not under Slavic influence, and they were following a pattern established in Vulgar Latin.
    Th. Capidan observes that Aromanian also has a vocative in -e, thus he thinks the Latin inheritance is proven.
    Other linguists (not Romanians, but this is not the main point here) explain these forms as late development, and assert this happened under Slavic influence citing some Bulgarian vocatives ending in -le: sestra (nom.) / sestro (voc.), but also sestro le! (vocative + interjection); bog (nom.) / bože le! (an interjection used with vocative meaning: "O, my god!"). Sandfeld adds here that all other Romance languages lost the vocative in -e, so he is circumspect on the assumption that only Romanian preserved it.

    Reference: Al-Rosetti-Istoria-Limbii-Romane-1986.pdf

    Kr. Sandfeld, see page 147: Kristian Sandfeld - Linguistique_balkanique_problemes_et_resultats.pdf

    Kr. Sandfeld Jensen, see pages 530, 592: Grundiss der romanischen Philologie 1904-1906.pdf
     
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