Dative Examples Dative Case Dative Case Greek Dative Form in Latin Nominative Ablative Genitive German Dative Prepositions
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In general, the dative marks the indirect object of a verb, although in some instances the dative is used for the direct object of a verb pertaining directly to an act of giving something. In Russian and Swiss German, for example, the verb "to call (by telephone)" is always followed by a noun in the dative.
The thing being given may be a tangible object, such as "a book" or "a pen", or it may be an intangible abstraction, such as "an answer" or "help".
In some languages, the dative case has assimilated the functions of other now-extinct cases. In Ancient Greek, the dative has the functions of the Proto-Indo-European locative and instrumental as well as those of the original dative.
Sometimes the dative has functions unrelated to giving. In Scottish Gaelic and Irish, the term dative case is misleadingly used in traditional grammars to refer to the prepositional case-marking of nouns following simple prepositions and the definite article. In Georgian, the dative case also marks the subject of the sentence in some verbs and some tenses. This is called the dative construction.
The dative was common among early Indo-European languages and has survived to the present in the Balto-Slavic branch and the Germanic branch, among others. It also exists in similar forms in several non-Indo-European languages, such as the Uralic family of languages, and Altaic languages.
Under the influence of English, which uses the preposition "to" for both indirect objects (give to) and directions of movement (go to), the term "dative" has sometimes been used to describe cases that in other languages would more appropriately be called lative.
"Dative" comes from Latin cāsus datīvus, meaning "case for giving", a translation of Greek δοτικὴ πτῶσις, dotikē ptôsis "inflection for giving", from its use with the verb didónai "to give". Dionysius Thrax in his Art of Grammar also refers to it as epistaltikḗ "for sending (a letter)", from the verb epistéllō "send to", a word from the same root as epistle.
The Old English language, current until approximately sometime after the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, had a dative case; however, the English case system gradually fell into disuse during the Middle English period, when in pronouns the accusative and dative merged into a single oblique case that was also used for all prepositions. This conflation of case in Middle and Modern English has led most modern grammarians to discard the "accusative" and "dative" labels as obsolete, often using the term "objective" for oblique.
While the dative case is no longer very common in modern English usage, it survives in a few set expressions. One good example is the word "methinks", with the meaning "it seems to me". It survives in this fixed form from the days of Old English (having undergone, however, phonetic changes with the rest of the language), in which it was constructed as "[it]" + "me" (the dative case of the personal pronoun) + "thinks" (i.e., "seems", < Old English thyncan, "to seem", a verb closely related to the verb thencan, "to think", but distinct from it in Old English; later it merged with "think" and lost this meaning).
The dative case also survives, albeit rarely, in the ethic dative, used to express one's interest in a matter. This only occurs with pronouns. For instance, in the sentence, "Cry me a river," "me" is used not only to express the recipient of the action but the form is used sarcastically in American English to express the speaker's disinterest in the action.
The pronoun whom is a remnant of the dative case in English, descending from the Old English dative pronoun "hwām" (as opposed to the nominative "who", which descends from Old English "hwā") — though "whom" also absorbed the functions of the Old English accusative pronoun "hwone". It is also cognate to the word "wem" (the dative form of "wer") in German. The OED defines all classical uses of the word "whom" in situations where the indirect object is not known – in effect, indicating the anonymity of the indirect object.
Likewise, "him" is a remnant of both the Old English dative "him" and accusative "hine", "her" serves for both Old English dative "hire" and accusative "hīe", etc.
In Modern English, an indirect object is often expressed with a prepositional phrase of "to" or "for". If there is a direct object, the indirect object can be expressed by an object pronoun placed between the verb and the direct object. For example, "He gave that to me" and "He built a snowman for me" are the same as "He gave me that" and "He built me a snowman". Here, the object pronoun "me" has the same function as a dative pronoun in a language that distinguishes accusative and dative cases.
In English, the same sentence may be rendered: "I sent the man the book." The indirect object here is marked by standing in front of the direct object. The normal word order in German is also to put the dative in front of the accusative (as in the example above). However, since the German dative is marked in form, it can also be put after the accusative: Ich schickte das Buch dem Mann.
Certain German prepositions require the dative: aus, außer, bei, entgegen, mit, nach, seit, von, zu, and gegenüber. Other prepositions (an, auf, hinter, in, neben, über, unter, vor, and zwischen) may be used with dative (indicating current location), or accusative (indicating direction toward something). Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch (dative: the book is lying on the table), but Ich lege das Buch auf den Tisch (accusative: I put the book onto the table).
In addition, the four prepositions wegen ("because of"), trotz ("in spite of"), [an]statt ("in place of") and während ("during"), which require the genitive in formal language, are most commonly used with the dative in colloquial German. For example, "because of the weather" is expressed as wegen dem Wetter instead of the formally correct wegen des Wetters. Other prepositions requiring the genitive in formal language, are combined with von ("of") in colloquial style, e.g. außerhalb vom Garten instead of außerhalb des Gartens ("outside the garden").
Note that the concept of an indirect object may be rendered by a prepositional phrase. In this case, the noun's or pronoun's case is determined by the preposition, NOT by its function in the sentence. Consider this sentence:
Here, the subject, Ich, is in the nominative case, the direct object, das Buch, is in the accusative case, and zum Verleger is in the dative case, since zu always requires the dative (zum is a contraction of zu + dem). However:
In this sentence, Freund is the indirect object, but, because it follows an (direction), the accusative is required, not the dative.
All of the articles change in the dative case.
|Indefinite article (and other "ein-words")||einem||einer||einem|
Some German verbs require the dative for their direct objects. Common examples include folgen, helfen, and antworten. In each case, the direct object of the verb is rendered in dative. For example:
These verbs cannot be used in normal passive constructions, because German allows these only for verbs with accusative objects. It is therefore ungrammatical to say: *Ich werde geholfen. "I am helped." Instead a special construction called "impersonal passive" must be used: Mir wird geholfen, literally: "To me is helped." A colloquial (non-standard) way to form the passive voice for dative verbs is the following: Ich kriege geholfen, or: Ich bekomme geholfen, literally: "I get helped". The use of the verb "to get" here reminds us that the dative case has something to do with giving and receiving. In German, help is not something you perform on somebody, but rather something you offer them.
The dative case is also used with reflexive (sich) verbs when specifying what part of the self the verb is being done to:
Cf. the respective accord in French: "Les enfants se sont lavés" (the children have washed themselves) vs. "Les enfants se sont lavé" [uninflected] "les mains" (... their hands).
German can use two datives to make sentences like: Sei mir meinem Sohn gnädig! "For my sake, have mercy on my son!" Literally: "Be to me to my son merciful." The first dative mir ("to me") expresses the speaker's commiseration (much like the dativus ethicus in Latin, see below). The second dative meinem Sohn ("to my son") names the actual object of the plea. Mercy is to be given to the son for or on behalf of his mother/father.
Adjective endings also change in the dative case. Another factor that determines the endings of adjectives is whether the adjective is being used after a definite article (the), after an indefinite article (a/an), or without any article before the adjective (many green apples).
Except the main case (Dativus), there are several other kinds:
In Russian, the dative case is used to indicate the indirect object of an action (that to which something is given, thrown, read, etc.). In the instance where a person is the goal of motion, dative is used instead of accusative to indicate motion toward. This is usually achieved with the preposition κ + destination in dative case; К врачу, meaning "to the doctor."
Dative is also the necessary case taken by certain prepositions when expressing certain ideas. For instance, when the preposition по is used to mean "along," its object is always in dative case, as in По бокам, meaning "along the sides."
Other Slavic languages apply the dative case (and the other cases) more or less the same way as does Russian, some languages may use the dative in other ways. The following examples are from Polish:
Other kinds of dative case are also used in Serbo-Croatian language: Dativus finalis (Titaniku u pomoć "to Titanic's rescue"), Dativus commodi/incommodi (Operi svojoj majci suđe "Wash the dishes for your mother"), Dativus possessivus (Ovcama je dlaka gusta "Sheep's hair is thick"), Dativus ethicus (Шта ми ради Бони? "What is Boni doing? (I am especially interested in what it is)") and Dativus auctoris (Izgleda mi okej "It seems okay to me").
Unusual in other Indo-European branches but common among Slavic languages, endings of nouns and adjectives are different based on grammatical function. Other factors are gender and number. In some cases, the ending may not be obvious, even when those three factors (function, gender, number) are considered. For example, in Polish, 'syn' ("son") and 'ojciec' ("father") are both masculine singular nouns, yet appear as syn → synowi and ojciec → ojcu in the dative.
Both Lithuanian and Latvian have a distinct dative case in the system of nominal declensions.
Lithuanian nouns preserve Indo-European inflections in the dative case fairly well: (o-stems) vaikas -> sg. vaikui, pl. vaikams; (ā-stems) ranka -> sg. rankai, pl. rankoms; (i-stems) viltis -> sg. vilčiai, pl. viltims; (u-stems) sūnus -> sg. sūnui, pl. sūnums; (consonant stems) vanduo -> sg. vandeniui, pl. vandenims.
Adjectives in the dative case receive pronominal endings (this might be the result of a more recent development): tas geras vaikas -> sg. tam geram vaikui, pl. tiems geriems vaikams.
The dative case in Latvian underwent further simplifications - the original masculine endings of both nouns and adjectives have been replaced with pronominal inflections: tas vīrs -> sg. tam vīram, pl. tiem vīriem. Also, the final "s" in all Dative forms has been dropped. The only exception is personal pronouns in the plural: mums (to us), jums (to you). Note that in colloquial Lithuanian the final "s" in the dative is often omitted, as well: time geriem vaikam.
In both Latvian and Lithuanian, the main function of the dative case is to render the indirect object in a sentence: (lt) aš duodu vyrui knygą; (lv) es dodu [duodu] vīram grāmatu - I am giving a book to the man.
The dative case can also be used with gerundives to indicate an action preceding or simultaneous with the main action in a sentence: (lt) jam įėjus, visi atsistojo - when he walked in, everybody stood up, lit. to him having walked in, all stood up; (lt) jai miegant, visi dirbo - while she slept, everybody was working, lit. to her sleeping, all were working.
In modern standard Lithuanian, Dative case is not required by prepositions, although in many dialects it is done frequently: (dial.) iki (+D) šiai dienai, (stand.) iki (+G) šios dienos - up until this day.
In Latvian, the dative case is taken by several prepositions in the singular and all prepositions in the plural (due to peculiar historical changes): sg. bez (+G) tevis (without thee) ~ pl. bez (+D) jums (without you); sg. pa (+A) ceļu (along the road) ~ pl. pa (+D) ceļiem (along the roads).
In modern Eastern Armenian, the dative declension is attained by adding any article to the genitive declension:
dog = շուն
GEN > շան (of the dog; dog's) with no articles
DAT > շանը or շանն (to the dog) with definite articles (-ն if preceding a vowel)
DAT > մի շան (to a dog) with indefinite article
DAT > շանս (to my dog) with 1st person possessive article
DAT > շանդ (to your dog) with 2nd person possessive article
There is a general tendency to view -ին as the standard dative suffix, but only because that is its most productive (and therefore common) form. The suffix -ին as a dative marker is nothing but the standard, most common, genitive suffix -ի accompanied by the definite article -ն. But the dative case encompasses indefinite objects as well, which will not be marked by -ին:
Definite DAT > Ես գիրքը տվեցի տղային: (I gave the book to the boy)
Indefinite DAT> Ես գիրքը տվեցի մի տղայի: (I gave the book to a boy)
The main function of the dative marking in Armenian is to indicate the receiving end of an action, more commonly the indirect object which in English is preceded by the preposition to. In the use of "giving" verbs like give, donate, offer, deliver, sell, bring... the dative marks the recipient. With communicative verbs like tell, say, advise, explain, ask, answer... the dative marks the listener. Other verbs whose indirect objects are marked by the dative case in Armenian are show, reach, look, approach...
Eastern Armenian also uses the dative case to mark the time of an event, in the same way English uses the preposition at, as in Meet me at nine o' clock.
The term "dative" is grammatically similar to the Sanskrit word "datta". "Datta" means "gift" or "the act of giving". The dative case is the fourth in the usual procedure in the declension of nouns (chaturthi-vibhakti).
As with many other languages, the dative case is used in Hungarian to show the indirect object of a verb. For example, Dánielnek adtam ezt a könyvet (I gave this book to Dániel).
It has two suffixes, -nak and -nek; the correct is selected by vowel harmony. The personal dative pronouns follow the -nek version: nekem, neked, etc.
This case is also used to express "for" in certain circumstances, such as "I bought a gift for Mother".
In the Northeast Caucasian languages, such as Tsez, the dative also takes the functions of the lative case in marking the direction of an action. By some linguists, they are still regarded as two separate cases in those languages, although the suffixes are exactly the same for both cases. Other linguists list them separately only for the purpose of separating syntactic cases from locative cases. An example with the ditransitive verb "show" (literally: "make see") is given below:
|Кидбā ужихъор кIетIу биквархо.|
|"The girl shows the cat to the boy."|
The dative/lative is also used to indicate possession, as in the example below, because there is no such verb as "to have".
|Кидбехъор кIетIу зовси.|
|"The girl had a cat."|
As in the examples above, the dative/lative case usually occurs in combination with another suffix as poss-lative case; this should not be regarded as a separate case, however, as many of the locative cases in Tsez are constructed analytically; hence, they are, in fact, a combination of two case suffixes. See Tsez language#Locative case suffixes for further details.
Verbs of perception or emotion (like "see", "know", "love", "want") also require the logical subject to stand in the dative/lative case. Note that in this example the "pure" dative/lative without its POSS-suffix is used.
|ГIалир ПатIи йетих.|
|"Ali loves Fatima."|