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Re: Genitives NPs as Relative Clauses

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Thursday, November 15, 2001, 12:34
En réponse à John Cowan <cowan@...>:

> > Actually, the objective genitive is quite alive in English: > > my acquittal = X acquitted me > his tormentor = X tormented him > Irene's adoption = X adopted Irene > Caesar's murder = X murdered Caesar > the love of God = God loves X (subjective) or X loves God (objective) > hatred of war = X hates war > punishment of the criminal = X punishes the criminal > (as opposed to "punishment of the law" (subjective)) >
Oh! Sorry, I didn't know. In French, the objective genitive is nearly completely dead. "His tormentor" couldn't be translated directly in French (the translation sounds really ackward to me), nor "my acquittal". The other examples could be translated directly in French, but they sound to me more like fixed expressions, than like expressions appearing from a productive process.
> > In my Azak, I solved this problem by having two different genitive > cases: a > > genitive subjective and a genitive objective > > English can use its two genitive forms in this way. While in general > there is no distinction between "X's Y" and "the Y of X" except that > one is usually more felicitous than the other, in the double-barreled > form "X's Y of Z", as in "John's adoption of Irene", X is always > subjective genitive and Z is always objective genitive.
We'd say: "l'adoption d'Irène par John". The use of an agent complement ("par" is the preposition used to include the agent in a passive sentence) as noun complement shows that the structure is seen as passive in French: "l'adoption d'Irène par John" is equivalent to "Irène a été adoptée par John", not to "John a adopté Irène". So in this case, the genitive complement is still subjective, even though it's the subject of a passive sentence. That's how I would see the other examples too (I mean naturally: if I want to transform these expressions into sentences, I naturally come up with passive sentences, not active).
> > It is also possible to use "Y of Z" vs. "Y of Z's" to make a > distinction > between subjective/objective genitives and other kinds. Thus, > many a philosopher today is a student of Kant (= X studies Kant),
This expression is absolutely impossible in French. "Un étudiant de Kant" would only mean "a student of Kant's". To say "a student of Kant", we have to say "un étudiant en Kant" (like: "a student of philosophy": "un étudiant en philosophie"), though using "en" with a name sounds awfully ackward to me. I'd simply say: "un gars qui étudie Kant" :))) . but
> a student of Kant's would have to have been dead for a century. > In this case, "Kant's student" is parallel to "a student of Kant's" > except that it is definite. >
French genitive form with "de" is definitely subjective only, even in forms that would seem to be objective, but in fact feel passive to my French taste. To render objective genitives, we're obliged to use other prepositions or even subclauses. Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.


John Cowan <jcowan@...>