sie haben Beziehungen in die Provinz (accusative?)

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Mozzerfan99

Senior Member
English - England
Hi,
I was having a little bit of trouble with the sentence 'Selbst namhafte Stars haben Beziehungen in die Provinz', and more specifically the phrase 'in die Provinz'.
First off, could anybody explain to me what 'Provinz' means in this context (unfortunately context doesn't really help you work it out, I read the whole article and still don't know what they're getting at to be fair). But also, why is the accusative used here rather than the dative? Surely if the relationships are being had in the Provinz, there is no sense of motion towards, so why is the dative not being employed here?

Danke im Voraus :)
 
  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    could anybody explain to me what 'Provinz' means in this context
    Die Provinz is the same as the province (="the" province as such, not a particular one); contrasts with capital, metropolis.

    But also, why is the accusative
    Their (the stars') contacts/connections/relations reach into the province. Accusative is about direction, target, aim and not about motion. That frequently heard and read explanation with motion does more harm then good. Direction, target, aim often involves motion. But as far as the semantics of the accusative is concerned, that is incidental and not conceptual.
     

    Dan2

    Senior Member
    US
    English (US)
    Mozzer: Note that in English we say, "They have connections (or ties) to ..." That may help you feel better about the accusative.:)

    As for "Provinz", compare Engish "provincial".
     

    Mozzerfan99

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Ok I think I understand now. So the translation would be something along the lines of 'reaching into the province'...

    So would zur work? Would that change the meaning at all?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Yes, zur Provinz means that your are connected to the province as such (people and countryside) while both in der Provinz and in die Provinz is about connections to certain people there.
     

    Mozzerfan99

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Oh I think I see what you mean, so zu means more literally to, so it is ties to the countryside itself, but because it is in, it means to things in countryside?
    So...
    Beziehungen zur Provinz - ties to the countryside itself
    Beziehungen in der Provinz - relationships within the countryside
    Beziehungen in die Provinz - ties reaching into the province (although I'm still not clear on the difference in English meaning with the accusative and dative)
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    :thumbsup:

    With the preposition in it is easier for an English speaker than with other Wechselpräpositionen. Before accusative and dative became indistinguishable in English, English had exactly the same logic as German. To continue to be able to express the difference also after the loss of the formal case distinction, the alternative preposition into became popular to express the former accusative meaning while in remained possible as well. Hence, in modern English a phrase is a former accusative, if both in and into are possible and a former dative, if only in is possible.

    Former accusative:
    He looked into her eyes.:tick:
    He looked in her eyes
    .:tick:

    Former dative:
    He was into a state of shock.:cross:
    He was in a state of shock
    .:tick:

    If you concentrate of the examples with the preposition in this rule may help you to develop an intuition for Wechselpräpositionen based on your intuition in your own language. And developing an intuition for something in a foreign language is always much better then learning complicated rules.
     
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    Mozzerfan99

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thanks and I do understand the general difference, it is really just that specific example (in die Provinz/in der Provinz) where I don't understand the subtle difference in what they are conveying.
    My best guess is that with the dative, the implication is that he is for example dating someone within the Provinz or has family there... So is the implication that with the accusative, he has ties there while he has outside, rather than having relationships while he is there, if you see what I mean?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    In this particular case, the difference is only a tiny nuance. Both express essentially the same fact but they offer a slightly different viewing angle. With dative it expresses the mere existence of the contacts, in accusative the focus is on your ability to use them (reach out to them).

    EDIT: There is also another interpretation: You may use accusative to emphasise that you have connections far away, reaching as far as the province. In this case you would normally add bis: Sie haben Beziehungen bis in die Provinz.
     
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    Dan2

    Senior Member
    US
    English (US)
    Hence, in modern English a phrase is a former accusative, if both in and into are possible and a former dative, if only in is possible.
    In the case of an "accusative", often only "into" is possible:
    He has good insights into (in:cross:) German grammar.
    Speak into (in:cross:) the microphone, please.
    She came into (in:cross:) a large sum of money.
    He walked right into (in:cross:) a large pit.
    It broke into (in:cross:) several pieces.
    (Cf.: It broke in several places - dative.)
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    In the case of an "accusative", often only "into" is possible:
    He has good insights into (in:cross:) German grammar.
    Speak into (in:cross:) the microphone, please.
    She came into (in:cross:) a large sum of money.
    He walked right into (in:cross:) a large pit.
    It broke into (in:cross:) several pieces.
    (Cf.: It broke in several places - dative.)
    These seem to be cases where the semantic difference between dative and accusative is so important that an ambigious in would be too strange to allow it. Would you agree?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I'm not sure why "into" is often required in English, but I agree with Dan that it is (more examples: "Could you look into that option for me?", "He's into music and sports", "I ran into my friend at the grocery store", "His behavior played into the worst male stereotypes", "He didn't buy into the idea that education is a right"), so a more useful heuristic might be "accusative if into is correct in English; dative if it is not."

    As for "Beziehungen in die Provinz," I'm honestly still confused as to what this is supposed to mean, and I usually find Bernd's explanations very clear. "Bis in die Provinz" is clear, but "in die Provinz" on its own sounded wrong to me and I would have thought it was a mistake or a typo. :confused:

    Also, "the province" in English can only mean one particular province.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Also, "the province" in English can only mean one particular province.
    The main difference is that you use a pars pro toto singular in German while you use Plural in English ("the provinces"). Otherwise it is meaning is very similar.
    As for "Beziehungen in die Provinz," I'm honestly still confused as to what this is supposed to mean, and I usually find Bernd's explanations very clear. "Bis in die Provinz" is clear, but "in die Provinz" on its own sounded wrong to me and I would have thought it was a mistake or a typo.
    Can you explain your problem with my explanation a bit more?
    In this particular case, the difference is only a tiny nuance. Both express essentially the same fact but they offer a slightly different viewing angle. With dative it expresses the mere existence of the contacts, in accusative the focus is on your ability to use them (reach out to them).
    I thought it was rather straight forward. But obviously not.
     
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    Perseas

    Senior Member
    I may be mistaken, but I feel that "sie haben Beziehungen in die Provinz" is not formal language. It seems to me as an ellipsis. Probably is JClaudeK's (#11) "Beziehungen zu (target) Leuten (, die) in der Provinz (leben)" the formal version of the sentence , but then what would be the difference from "Beziehungen in der Provinz"?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The main difference is that you use a pars pro toto singular in German while you use Plural in English ("the provinces"). Otherwise it is meaning is very similar.
    I wouldn't use "the provinces" for "the countryside" if that's what you mean. In US English, "the provinces" means exactly that: the specific group of provinces (divisions within a federal nationstate, such as Canada) the speaker is thinking of.
    Can you explain your problem with my explanation a bit more?
    I'm just struggling to connect the syntax with what you're saying about the meaning. Pinning down what's happening at the syntax-semantic interface seems to be requiring a lot of cognitive gymnastics.

    Er hat Beziehungen in die Provinz. = Ihm ist dank seiner Beziehungen möglich, sich in die Provinz zu versetzen? :confused::confused::confused: = Er hat Beziehungen, die ihm erlauben, sich in die Provinz zu versetzen? :confused::confused::confused:

    Are there any other accusatives that work the same way?
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    Er hat Beziehungen in die Provinz. = Ihm ist dank seiner Beziehungen möglich, sich in die Provinz zu versetzen? :confused::confused::confused: = Er hat Beziehungen, die ihm erlauben, sich in die Provinz zu versetzen? :confused::confused::confused:
    Ehrlich gesagt, elroy, ich kann nicht verstehen, wie Du zu einer solchen Deutung kommen konntest. Ich weiß, dass Deine :confused: einen Zweifel ausdrücken, aber trotzdem...Ein Umzug...:D Oder auch ''sich in die Lage der Provinzleute versetzen'': weit hergeholt.
    Für mich bedeutet er hat Beziehungen in die Provinz ''er hat Beziehungen, die sich über die Provinz erstrecken''. Ein bis vermisse ich in diesem Satz. Berndfs Erklärung (''focuses on your ability to use them/ reach out to them'') finde ich - mit Verlaub - etwas 'neblig'.

    PS. I realised just now that the previous discussion was in English. Sorry. But Mozzerfan's enquiry shows that he (like all others in this thread) understands German well...
     
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    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Das Wort "versetzen" war vielleicht schlecht gewählt, aber ich hatte überhaupt keinen Umzug im Kopf, keine Sorge. :D Ich habe damit versucht, Bernds Erklärung irgendwie auf Deutsch wiederzugeben und mir fiel nichts besseres als "sich versetzen" ein. Ich hätte wohl extra dazuschreiben müssen, dass ich bei der Wahl des Verbs nicht sicher war. Jedenfalls ging es bei Bernd auf Englisch um die Fähigkeit, irgendwie (seelisch oder geistig) "in die Provinz" zu gelangen sozusagen, aufgrund der Beziehungen zu den Menschen, die dort sind. Also wenn dieser Akkusativ stimmt, muss man den Satz doch irgendwie mit "in die Provinz" umschreiben können, sodass der Sinn klar wird und man auch nachvollziehen kann, wieso die Struktur "Beziehungen in die Provinz haben" die Bedeutung hat, die sie angeblich hat (allein das Verb "haben" legt ein Präpositionalobjekt mit "in" + Akkusativ gar nicht nahe, finde ich!).

    Wie gesagt, mit "bis" hätte ich keine Probleme, aber der Satz hat eben kein "bis" und Bernd gibt uns eine andere Bedeutung an, auch wenn er die "bis"-Deutung auch für möglich hält.
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Für mich bedeutet er hat Beziehungen in die Provinz ''er hat Beziehungen, die sich über die Provinz erstrecken''.
    Genauso verstehe ich es auch.
    Ich habe übrigens einige Beispiele im Internet gefunden, wo die Bedeutung von "in die Provinz" eindeutig ist:
    -Expeditionen in die Provinz.
    -Zu wenige Zuwanderer ziehen in die deutsche Provinz.
    -Die Spuren führen in die Provinz.
    -Ab in die Provinz!
    -Eine Reise in die Provinz!
    -Champions-League-Sieger Colin Bell geht in die Provinz.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    -Expeditionen in die Provinz.
    -Zu wenige Zuwanderer ziehen in die deutsche Provinz.
    -Die Spuren führen in die Provinz.
    -Ab in die Provinz!
    -Eine Reise in die Provinz!
    -Champions-League-Sieger Colin Bell geht in die Provinz.
    Diese Beispiele sind doch sonnenklar und stellen die normalsten Anwendungen von "in" + Akkusativ dar, sie sind also für ein Verständnis unseres merkwürdigen Satzes leider viel zu rudimentär. ;)

    Fällt irgendjemandem sonst ein Beispiel mit "etwas in + Akkusativ haben" ein? :eek::eek::eek:

    Mir fällt noch ein: Wenn "Beziehungen in die Provinz haben" geht, geht denn auch "Beziehungen nach Chicago haben"? :eek::eek::eek:
     

    JClaudeK

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

    Senior Member
    Diese Beispiele sind doch sonnenklar und stellen die normalsten Anwendungen von "in" + Akkusativ dar, sie sind also für ein Verständnis unseres merkwürdigen Satzes leider viel zu rudimentär. ;)
    Ja, ich hätte noch schreiben müssen: "Im Gegensatz zu unserem merkwürdigen Satz sind diese Sätze eindeutig". ;)

    Mir fällt noch ein: Wenn "Beziehungen in die Provinz haben" geht, geht denn auch "Beziehungen nach Chicago haben"? :eek::eek::eek:
    Meiner Meinung nach geht es um das gleiche Muster.

    cross-posted with JClaudeK
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I wouldn't use "the provinces" for "the countryside" if that's what you mean.
    No, that is not what it means. The meaning is also listed in Webster's (the provinces : the parts of a country that are away from large cities), so it is probably not a British - American thing but it might be an issue of age. The term is what you call "bildungsbürgerlich" in German. It has often a disparaging meaning and corresponds to the use of pagi (plural of pagus) in the late Roman empire: where the hillbillies live, the "pagans".
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I'm just struggling to connect the syntax with what you're saying about the meaning. Pinning down what's happening at the syntax-semantic interface seems to be requiring a lot of cognitive gymnastics.
    It is the general semantics of the accusative. As it expresses destination it generally implies purpose and, hence, action. The dative on the other hand has largely a passive connotation.
    In this particular case, the difference is only a tiny nuance. Both express essentially the same fact but they offer a slightly different viewing angle. With dative it expresses the mere existence of the contacts, in accusative the focus is on your ability to use them (reach out to them).
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I'm sorry, but I still don't get it, and repeating your prior explanation doesn't help. :p I understand the accusative very well but as I said I don't see how the construction "etwas in + Akkusativ haben" makes any sense whatsoever. "Haben" is passive; where's the "purpose" or "action" in "haben"? :confused::confused::confused: Can you say "Ich habe Pflanzen in den Garten" to mean "I have plants in the garden that I can access whenever I want"??? :confused::confused::confused:

    As for "the provinces," I've never heard it used that way in US English. But I don't understand why you say "the countryside" isn't what you meant. "The parts of a country that are away from large cities" is exactly what "the countryside" means. :confused:
     
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    Perseas

    Senior Member
    I understand the accusative very well but as I said I don't see how the construction "etwas in + Akkusativ haben" makes any sense whatsoever.
    "Beziehungen in + Akkusativ" does not seem to be an unusual construction at all.
    -Das Thema auf diesem Text ist die Beziehungen in die Familie.
    -Wir sind in privaten Beziehungen in das soziale Netz unseres Umfeldes eingebunden...
    -Deutsche Firmen prüfen ihre Beziehungen in die Türkei.
    -...galt als Netzwerker und hatte Beziehungen in die ganze Welt.
    -Mosambik hatte zu Zeiten der DDR sehr gute Beziehungen in die DDR hinein...
    -er stammte aus einer wichtigen Familie und hatte Beziehungen in die Politik.
    -Madeleine Linscott (Hilary Swank) kannte Short und Short hatte Beziehungen in die besten Familien der Stadt.
    -Die Freundin eines der Tatverdächtigen hatte Beziehungen in die Gegend.

    (Source: Internet)
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I'm sorry, but I still don't get it, and repeating your prior explanation doesn't help. :p I understand the accusative very well but as I said I don't see how the construction "etwas in + Akkusativ haben" makes any sense whatsoever. "Haben" is passive; where's the "purpose" or "action" in "haben"? :confused::confused::confused: Can you say "Ich habe Pflanzen in den Garten" to mean "I have plants in the garden that I can access whenever I want"??? :confused::confused::confused:
    Try to visualise a giant octopus sitting in London, Paris or Berlin who reaches out with its tentacles into the cities of the provinces and firmly hold their "connections" and you got the overall picture.
    As for "the provinces," I've never heard it used that way in US English. But I don't understand why you say "the countryside" isn't what you meant. "The parts of a country that are away from large cities" is exactly what "the countryside" means. :confused:
    :confused::confused::confused:
    I suppose you wouldn't call cities like Pittsburgh or Detroit which are clear in the provinces and not in the capital "countryside", would you?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Try to visualise a giant octopus sitting in London, Paris or Berlin who reaches out with its tentacles into the cities of the provinces and firmly hold their "connections" and you got the overall picture.
    I'll work on it. :D
    I suppose you wouldn't call cities like Pittsburgh or Detroit which are clear in the provinces and not in the capital "countryside", would you?
    I wouldn't say they were "in the provinces" because as I said I don't use that phrase that way, but the Merriam-Webster definition you cited ("the parts of the country that are away from large cities") overlaps to a great extent with "the countryside" (I guess the exception would be medium-sized cities). It says "large cities," not "capital cities"!
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    In policentric countries like the US it is probably less obvious. In French, e.g., en province simply means not in Paris.

    Here is a definition from the open access online Oxford dictionary which matches the use in French and German better than the Webster definition:
    (the provinces) BritishThe whole of a country outside the capital, especially when regarded as lacking in sophistication or culture:I made my way home to the dreary provinces by train
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    (the provinces) BritishThe whole of a country outside the capital, especially when regarded as lacking in sophistication or culture:I made my way home to the dreary provinces by train
    It says "British," so maybe this is a US-British difference after all. ;)
    "Ich habe keinen Einsicht in jene Welt."
    ("keine Einsicht")

    I would be on board with "Ich habe [Beziehungen in die Provinz]" by analogy with "Ich habe keine [Einsicht in jene Welt]" but in that case I would be inclined to understand "in die Provinz" as "zur Provinz," which Bernd said it was not.

    I think it's starting to grow on me, though. :p
     
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    Dan2

    Senior Member
    US
    English (US)
    I had "keinen Einblick" in mind but wrote "Einsicht" by analogy to English "insight".
    I think both work: keinen Einblick / keine Einsicht in + Akk haben
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Yes, you're probably right, but syntactically the prepositional phrases are unrelated to "haben." Again, because Bernd said that "Beziehungen in die Provinz" was different from "Beziehungen zur Provinz," I wondered if the prepositional phrase was actually governed by "haben," as a way of trying to wrap my head around what I still find to be a strikingly unpalatable German construction. :p
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Hier habe eine sehr typische Verwendung gefunden (Beziehungen in... [Akkusativ] haben). Vielleicht wird ja meine Erklärung verständlicher, wenn man einen typischen Kontext sieht:
    Leider ist es in vielen Unternehmen so, dass nicht nach Qualifikation befördert wird, sondern je nachdem "wer die besseren Beziehungen in die Chefetage hat" (ohne irgendjemandem etwas unterstellen zu wollen). Mit einer Mitarbeiterin wie beschrieben umzugehen, und dann noch mit der Aussicht, dass sie vielleicht die Vorgesetzte wird, ist klarerweise sehr schwierig.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    Dank diesem Beispiel ist bernfs Erklärung jetzt ein bisschen weniger 'neblig' oder 'unpalatable':), scheint's mir.
    Dan2s Beispiel ruft andererseits einen Zweifel in mir hervor: ist der Akkusativ nach ''Einsicht/Einblick haben in...'' nur deshalb da, weil in diesen Wörtern die Partikel ein zu finden ist, welche hier einem hinein entspricht und deshalb (wegen Richtung/Bestimmung..) den Akkusativ erfordert?
    Dies wäre dann bei Beziehungen nicht der Fall.
     
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