Old English Dative Case + Word Order

Nov 2015
30
Northamptonshire, England; Ancestral Home: Essex,
I know this isn't really the place to talk about grammar, but I've been struggling to understand how the dative case works in Old English. I start off by knowing that the dative case is for an indirect object or recipient, but when I look at the sentence se wer on þam sweartan hætt gesohte me eft giestranniht on Wiktionary, I don't understand why the definite article is written as the dative þam, and not in the accusative þone, because shouldn't it be the direct object instead? I've been trying my hardest lately to learn and understand Old English, but this, along with the fact that I don't know where the dative is even supposed to go in a sentence in Old Enlgish, is really bugging me :(

And yes, before anyone says it, English IS my native language...thank you very much.

Any help is greatly appreciated,

thank you :)

Will
 
Jan 2014
1,989
Regnum Francorum (orientalium) / Germany
I'm in no way an expert of OE, but the grammar of modern German is said to be similar to that of OE (German grammar is far more conservative than English). So I can look how it works in modern German.

Could you provide a translation of this phrase in modern English?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mercian
Nov 2015
30
Northamptonshire, England; Ancestral Home: Essex,
I'm in no way an expert of OE, but the grammar of modern German is said to be similar to that of OE (German grammar is far more conservative than English). So I can look how it works in modern German.

Could you provide a translation of this phrase in modern English?
Hi Carolus. Thank you for your reply :)

The sentence reads:

the man in the black hat paid me a visit again last night

but it's literal translation is:

the man in the black hat sought me again yesternight.

Thank you again!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Carolus
Jan 2014
1,989
Regnum Francorum (orientalium) / Germany
Hi Carolus. Thank you for your reply :)

The sentence reads:

the man in the black hat paid me a visit again last night

but it's literal translation is:

the man in the black hat sought me again yesternight.

Thank you again!

se wer on þam sweartan hætt gesohte me eft giestranniht , Old English

he man in the black hat sought me again yesternight. Modern English

Der Mann in dem schwarzen Hut besuchte mich wieder in der gestrigen Nacht. Modern German

I marked the important part in green. There is also a dative case in the German text.

If OE follows the same grammatical rules as Modern German, then the Dative case depends on the preposition "on". In German (and probably OE) prepositions require a grammatical case (genitve, accusative or dative case).

But what is a man in the black hat? Does it mean´that he lives in a black hat? (a bit bizarre) Or does hat have a different/alternative meaning? Or does it mean that he wears a black hat (man with the black hat on)?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mercian
Nov 2015
30
Northamptonshire, England; Ancestral Home: Essex,
se wer on þam sweartan hætt gesohte me eft giestranniht , Old English

he man in the black hat sought me again yesternight. Modern English

Der Mann in dem schwarzen Hut besuchte mich wieder in der gestrigen Nacht. Modern German

I marked the important part in green. There is also a dative case in the German text.

If OE follows the same grammatical rules as Modern German, then the Dative case depends on the preposition "on". In German (and probably OE) prepositions require a grammatical case (genitve, accusative or dative case).

But what is a man in the black hat? Does it mean´that he lives in a black hat? (a bit bizarre) Or does hat have a different/alternative meaning? Or does it mean that he wears a black hat (man with the black hat on)?
Wow, this is really helping me to understand everything now, I just want to say that you're the coolest, thank you so much for helping me like this. As for the slightly confusing phrase, the man in the black hat means that the man in question is wearing a black hat, this is because on was used in the West Saxon dialect of Old English, and in as the Anglian form (e.g. in Mercia, and Northumbria), but both had on the same meaning, from what I know atleast.

Humorous to think of it that way though, in my opinion, just some guy living in a hat, lol ;)

Just asking, but I'm not familiar with how you would find the case for a preposition, would you happen to know how Carolus?
 
Jan 2014
1,989
Regnum Francorum (orientalium) / Germany
Wow, this is really helping me to understand everything now, I just want to say that you're the coolest, thank you so much for helping me like this.
you're welcome.:)

Just asking, but I'm not familiar with how you would find the case for a preposition, would you happen to know how Carolus?
I do it automatically (I'm a native speaker). Non-native speakers have to learn it by heart whether to use genitive, dative or accusative cases. When I learnt Latin in school I had to learn with every preposition the respective cases.

There are some prepositions that go with accusative or dative case. But the use of the case depends on the meaning.

in or auf + accusative describe a movement to a place, while in or auf + dative describe the place where something is happening.

e. g. Ich gehe in das Haus. (accusative) I go into the house. - you are outside and you enter the building.

Ich gehe in dem Haus. (dative) I go in the house = you are already in the building and you just go from one room to another room.

or Die Katze springt auf den Tisch (accusative) The cat jumps onto the table (from the floor).

Die Katze springt auf dem Tisch (dative). The cat jumps on the table (the cat is on the table and makes some jumps).


Humorous to think of it that way though, in my opinion, just some guy living in a hat, lol ;)
:lol:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mercian
Nov 2015
30
Northamptonshire, England; Ancestral Home: Essex,
you're welcome.:)



I do it automatically (I'm a native speaker). Non-native speakers have to learn it by heart whether to use genitive, dative or accusative cases. When I learnt Latin in school I had to learn with every preposition the respective cases.

There are some prepositions that go with accusative or dative case. But the use of the case depends on the meaning.

in or auf + accusative describe a movement to a place, while in or auf + dative describe the place where something is happening.

e. g. Ich gehe in das Haus. (accusative) I go into the house. - you are outside and you enter the building.

Ich gehe in dem Haus. (dative) I go in the house = you are already in the building and you just go from one room to another room.

or Die Katze springt auf den Tisch (accusative) The cat jumps onto the table (from the floor).

Die Katze springt auf dem Tisch (dative). The cat jumps on the table (the cat is on the table and makes some jumps).




:lol:

Hi Carolus! Really sorry for the extremely late reply, I've been very busy. Thank you so much for all of this information, it has really helped me to better understand how I should speak in Old English, you're a life saver ;) I've actually also been using this information you've given me in sentences I've made up as exercises, and it's definitely furthered my skills in Ænglisc ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Carolus