Weduwnaar

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Mellifera
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Weduwnaar

Post by Mellifera » Tue May 05, 2015 11:59 am

Hoi forum,

Ik heb dit in een omschrijving van een boek gevonden:

"Finkel an Libor zijn sinds kort weduwnaar."

Why not weduwnaars? Is there no plural for of this noun? Or is it used in different context?
Last edited by Mellifera on Thu May 07, 2015 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Weduwnaar

Post by BrutallyFrank » Tue May 05, 2015 1:02 pm

They refer here to the status of each individually, even if they are mentioned together. I don't think that using plural would be wrong, though.
"Moenie worrie nie, alles sal reg kom" (maar hy het nie gesê wanneer nie!)

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Re: Weduwnaar

Post by Mellifera » Tue May 05, 2015 4:49 pm

Does it mean you can say "Anne en Maria zijn weduwe."?

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Re: Weduwnaar

Post by ngonyama » Tue May 05, 2015 6:58 pm

Yes, as a predicate that is usual. I suppose Dutch looks upon 'weduwe zijn' as a fixed combination. It certainly works that way for occupations.

Jan, Piet en Klaas zijn piloot, Kees en Jaap jurist.

Often you would add ''allebei'' or ''beiden'', ''alle twee'' or "allemaal" when it refers to more than 2:

A en B zijn allebei weduwe.
Jan, Piet en Klaas zijn allemaal piloot, Kees en Jaap allebei jurist.

But if it is not a predicate, say if you want to talk about both of them:

Beide weduwen (or: weduwes) kwamen op bezoek.
De drie piloten en twee juristen kwamen ook.

Notice that this is in line with what happens with adjectives used as predicates: they remain uninflected:

De grote bomen.
De bomen zijn groot (not: grote)

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Re: Weduwnaar

Post by Mellifera » Tue May 05, 2015 7:25 pm

Thank you for explanation, ngonyama.

I've checked my ANS but couldn't find anything about it.

So mainly this phenomenon occurs with profession/status nouns?

And can it occur with more abstract character defining nouns? For example "A en B zijn allebei bon-vivant."? Of klinkt het raar?

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Re: Weduwnaar

Post by ngonyama » Tue May 05, 2015 11:00 pm

As with weduwe: yes there is a plural: weduwnaars, but it is often not used as a predicate:

Frank en Jan zijn allebei weduwnaar sinds enige tijd
De beide weduwnaars zijn weer aan het uitgaan, dus zal het wel goedkomen met ze.

In the first sentence ''is weduwnaar'' describes a quality like "... zijn groot, ... zijn klein" and then the word is not declined.

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Re: Weduwnaar

Post by Mellifera » Wed May 06, 2015 5:36 pm

That's weird, I could swear there was more discussion than this in the thread.

Did it get deleted? :\

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Re: Weduwnaar

Post by BrutallyFrank » Wed May 06, 2015 5:44 pm

No ... you made two topics with the same name ... the other one got more responses. :wink:

Edit: they are merged now
"Moenie worrie nie, alles sal reg kom" (maar hy het nie gesê wanneer nie!)

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Re: Weduwnaar

Post by ngonyama » Wed May 06, 2015 5:55 pm

Mellifera wrote:Thank you for explanation, ngonyama.

I've checked my ANS but couldn't find anything about it.

So mainly this phenomenon occurs with profession/status nouns?

And can it occur with more abstract character defining nouns? For example "A en B zijn allebei bon-vivant."? Of klinkt het raar?
Nee dat klinkt heel gewoon! - On the contrary bon-vivants would be strange.

I think the point is here that in contrast to e.g. Russian a copula like zijn (быть) does not require concordance in number. Take e.g.:

Het is een vis -- это ― рыба
Het zijn vissen -- эти ― рыбы

Or can you still say это in the latter case? In Dutch "het" will not change. It looks upon the fish as a collective I suppose.

(Sorry for the Russian: I don't know any Ukrainian)

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Re: Weduwnaar

Post by Mellifera » Thu May 07, 2015 7:34 pm

BrutallyFrank wrote:No ... you made two topics with the same name ... the other one got more responses. :wink:

Edit: they are merged now
Oh, thank you, Frank! Totally didn't notice when I did that.

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Re: Weduwnaar

Post by Mellifera » Thu May 07, 2015 9:33 pm

ngonyama wrote:
Nee dat klinkt heel gewoon! - On the contrary bon-vivants would be strange.

I think the point is here that in contrast to e.g. Russian a copula like zijn (быть) does not require concordance in number. Take e.g.:

Het is een vis -- это ― рыба
Het zijn vissen -- эти ― рыбы

Or can you still say это in the latter case? In Dutch "het" will not change. It looks upon the fish as a collective I suppose.

(Sorry for the Russian: I don't know any Ukrainian)
Ok I think I got it. It doesn't matter if there are two subjects and a verb in plural, the predicate noun will be singular if it refers to a status/some quality of both subjects.

I was confused because I haven't seen anything like that before. In English you can't say " A and B are a widower.". There're however some collective nouns in English that require a verb in plural even though the form of a noun itself is singular. For example: "The jury disagree about the verdict." or "The team are relaxing after the game." This appears if you want to convey that members of a group don't act in unison. (In the second example each member of the team is doing their own thing.) But it's still not the same, so I was thrown off track.

In Dutch, in this case, it's kind of the other way around actually. You have two subjects (A and B) or a plural subject (They) and a plural verb, but the predicate noun is singular. Confusing.

There's no equivalent in Russian and Ukrainian.

The examples you've given don't have a copula. There is no "is". Это/эти are just pronouns (This or it/these) that serve as subjects. In modern Russian you don't really usually use a form of "быть" in present tense (and the present tense form of "быть" is "есть", it's irregular.), it became archaic I guess. You do however use a form of "быть" in past and present:

past: "Это была рыба." present: "Это рыба." future: "Это будет рыба." <-- (Admittedly weird examples, but I'll keep them.)

So, it kind of sounds like cavemen talk in present tense: "Это рыба" - This/it fish. "Книга зеленая." - Book green, etc.

In Old Slavic, and, consequently, in Old Russian, you did have a copula in present tense: https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%B1%D ... 1%82%D0%B8

So, Ivan the Terrible would say: "Аз есмь царь." I am tsar.
Nowadays, Putin would say: "Я царь" I tsar.

You still can find present tense Modern Russian "быть" in some cases. Usually in bookish context, quotes of authors, for example:
"Любовь есть единственная разумная деятельность человека" - Л.Н. Толстой

And in fixed phrases/patterns: "Do you have ...?" = "У тебя есть ...?" (Literally: "Bij jou is ...?")

There are probably more examples, but nothing comes to mind right now.

Anyway, the bottom line is:
"A en B zijn weduwnaar." was a rather hard concept for me to grasp since it's not reflected in any of the languages that I speak.
Thanks for help, though. Now it's clear and I can sleep sondly again. :)

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