Interrogative pronoun "wiens"

[voornaamwoorden]
A pronoun replaces a noun or another pronoun. E.g. 'he', 'which', or 'her'. There are different types of pronouns: personal, possessive, indefinite, relative... You can post your questions about Dutch pronouns here.
Post Reply
robert-alexander
Nieuwkomer
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 3:46 pm
Mother tongue: German

Interrogative pronoun "wiens"

Post by robert-alexander » Fri May 08, 2015 4:08 pm

Hi!
Shouldn't wiens also be mentioned in the interrogative pronouns section? Or is there any other pronoun (or any alternative like van wie --> dative instead of the genitive) to ask for a possessor?

ngonyama
Superlid
Posts: 1317
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:15 am
Country of residence: United States
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English
Third language: German
Fourth language: French
Fifth, sixth, seventh, ..., languages: Russisch, Xhosa

Re: Interrogative pronoun "wiens"

Post by ngonyama » Fri May 08, 2015 4:18 pm

It probably should be mentioned. It is still used. Somewhat. Especially for persons

Wiens vrouw is dat?

Perhaps more as relative

Ik de zag de man wiens vrouw bij mij in het koor zit

But don't be surprised to hear:

Ik de zag de man waarvan de vrouw bij mij in het koor zit

Our case system is still dying off more and more. A dative/accusative wien I have not seen in a looong time.

robert-alexander
Nieuwkomer
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 3:46 pm
Mother tongue: German

Re: Interrogative pronoun "wiens"

Post by robert-alexander » Fri May 08, 2015 4:42 pm

So you state that you could ask Wiens vrouw is dat?. What would be the more common construction? Is it Van wie is dat de vrouw? If you knew that the possessor you are asking for is female, could you also (should you) apply wier instead of wiens, e.g.: Wier echtgenoot is deze man? (the latter sounds very unfamiliar, doesn't it? But is is it right from a grammatical point of view?)

Teodor
Superlid
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:17 am
Country of residence: Belgium
Mother tongue: Dutch (Flanders)
Second language: Serbo-Croatian
Third language: French
Fourth language: English

Re: Interrogative pronoun "wiens"

Post by Teodor » Fri May 08, 2015 5:19 pm

robert-alexander wrote:So you state that you could ask Wiens vrouw is dat?. What would be the more common construction? Is it Van wie is dat de vrouw?
That's a possibility. Also, "Wie z'n vrouw is dat?" (or "Wie haar/d'r man is dat?") wouldn't be unusual in colloquial speech. In writing, however, this isn't really used.
If you knew that the possessor you are asking for is female, could you also (should you) apply wier instead of wiens, e.g.: Wier echtgenoot is deze man? (the latter sounds very unfamiliar, doesn't it? But is is it right from a grammatical point of view?)
There isn't any reason why a very traditionalist grammarian would disapprove of such a construction, but it does indeed sound very (as in: very very) artificial.

Also, not only is our case system eroding (as ngonyama noted), so is our system of grammatical gender. That goes for nouns (most people wouldn't know anymore if kast and boek are male or female nouns), but also for the less frequently used pronounced wiens and wier (and the even less used diens and dier). So don't be surprised if, when reading texts written by people who love to appear 'intelligent', you stumble upon constructions such as 'de vrouw wiens echtgenoot'. Constructions of that type would, of course, be disapproved upon by the abovementioned traditionalist grammarian.

robert-alexander
Nieuwkomer
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 3:46 pm
Mother tongue: German

Re: Interrogative pronoun "wiens"

Post by robert-alexander » Fri May 08, 2015 5:56 pm

Thanks for your replies. Your explanations were wicked helpful.

Post Reply