Possessive Pronoun Agreement

Clark   Friday, June 11, 2004, 10:23 GMT
I thought it would be silly to start a topic for my one question, so I will ask my question and then discuss it further.

My question is for any German-speaker; do German possessive pronouns agree with the thing they possess? For example, how would one say "my dogs" in German? If I am talking about my two dogs, I would make "my" into "meine" because of the plural noun, right? And what about the gender issue? Would the adjective have to agree in gender also?

My thinking is that it would be the same as in French and other European languages (besides English). DO most European languages have some sort of pronoun/adjective agreement?

In French, "my dogs" would be "mes chiens." "My plants" would be "mes plantes." But if I said "my plant" I would say, "ma plante" because "plante" is feminine. So even though I am a male, I would say "ma plante."

So if I take the same example as I did in French and apply it to German, would I get the same results?

French = ma plante--mes plantes
German = meine Pflanze--meine Pflanzen
English = my plant--my plants
Tom   Friday, June 11, 2004, 14:09 GMT
Both adjectives and nouns have to match the number and gender, but you gave no examples of adjectives.

German has only one plural gender, but Polish, and (I believe) Spanish, have two. Compare "los angeles" (the angels - masculine) vs. "las vegas" (the meadows - feminine).
Jeff   Friday, June 11, 2004, 16:18 GMT
Another reason that makes english easy to learn and practical .
Xatufan   Monday, June 14, 2004, 01:35 GMT
Tom: Spanish is my first language, and you are right: there are two genders for the singular and two for the plural.
Orion   Monday, June 14, 2004, 02:28 GMT
Right. German only has the one plural form. Example:

Der Hund. [The dog]
Der ist mein Hund. [That is my dog]

Die Katze [The cat]
Die ist meine Katze. [That is my cat]

Das Kind [The child]
Das ist mein Kind. [That is my child]

All become:
Die Hunde / Die Katzen / Die Kinder [The dogs, the cats, the children]
Die sind meine Hunde / Katzen / Kinder [Those are my dogs / cats / children]

As Tom & Xatufan both said, Spanish has singular (masculine & feminine) and plural (masculine & feminine). El, La, Los, Las
Pentatonic   Monday, June 14, 2004, 15:40 GMT
You are correct but it's not quite as simple as it appears in your post because you have to take grammatical case into account:

die Pflanze = meine Pflanze (my plant)
der Vater = mein Vater (my father)
das Auto = mein Auto (my car)
mein Rotes Auto (my red car)
I have to wash my car's tires =
Ich muß die Reifen meines Autos waschen.
I have to wash my red car's tires =
Ich muß die Reifen meines roten Autos waschen.
I drive my car =
Ich fahre mit meinem Auto.

Orio   Monday, June 14, 2004, 16:32 GMT
Pentatonic: "You are correct but it's not quite as simple as it appears in your post because you have to take grammatical case into account"

I didn't want to overcomplicate the example :-)

German uses nominitive and accustive, plus occasionally genative, right?

As a reader of ancient greek, I know all TOO much about grammatical case.

For example, the definite article "the":
(Phonetically, & without diacritical marks. Some sound similar, but are spelled differently in Greek. I wish I could display Greek characters here...)

M. Singular F. Singular N. Singular M. Plural F. Plural N. Plural
Nominative ho hey tow hoy hai tah
Genitive too taes too tone tone tone
Dative tow tae tow toy..s ta..ice toy..s
Accusative tone taen tow toos tahs tah

And there are other cases like Vocative too, of course.

As for modern languages, I hear Russian is still very case-structured, although I can't confirm that as I know no Russian.
Orion   Monday, June 14, 2004, 16:34 GMT
Shoot. What am I saying? Of course German uses dative & genative. I wasn't thinking of prepositions. Been a long time since I've actually spoken German. :-)
Dulcinea del Toboso   Monday, June 14, 2004, 18:27 GMT
Russian has three genders and six cases (nominative, prepositional, accusative, genitive, instrumental, and dative).

Gender can usually be determined by the ending of the noun, though there are exceptions. Nouns that end in the 'soft sign' must be memorized as to being masculine or feminine.

There is no gender distinction in the plural.

Adjectives and possessive pronouns must agree in gender and case with the noun.