Genitive case

Genitive case

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In grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

, genitive (abbreviated ; also called the possessive case
Possessive case
The possessive case of a language is a grammatical case used to indicate a relationship of possession. It is not the same as the genitive case, which can express a wider range of relationships, though the two have similar meanings in many languages.See Possession for a survey of the different...

or second case) is the grammatical case
Grammatical case
In grammar, the case of a noun or pronoun is an inflectional form that indicates its grammatical function in a phrase, clause, or sentence. For example, a pronoun may play the role of subject , of direct object , or of possessor...

 that marks a noun
Noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

 as modifying another noun. It often marks a noun as being the possessor of another noun but it can also indicate various relationships other than possession; certain verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

s may take arguments in the genitive case; and it may have adverb
Adverb
An adverb is a part of speech that modifies verbs or any part of speech other than a noun . Adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives , clauses, sentences, and other adverbs....

ial uses (see Adverbial genitive
Adverbial genitive
In grammar, an adverbial genitive is a noun declined in the genitive case that functions as an adverb.-Adverbial genitives in English:In Old and Middle English, the genitive case was productive, and adverbial genitives were commonplace. While Modern English does not fully retain the genitive case,...

).

Placing the modifying noun in the genitive case is one way to indicate that two nouns are related in a genitive construction
Genitive construction
In grammar, a genitive construction or genitival construction is a type of grammatical construction used to express a relation between two nouns such as the possession of one by another , or some other type of connection...

. Modern English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 typically does not morphologically
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 mark nouns for a genitive case in order to indicate a genitive construction; instead, it uses either the s clitic
Saxon genitive
In English language teaching, the term "Saxon genitive" is used to associate the possessive use of the apostrophe with the historical origin in Anglo Saxon of the morpheme that it represents...

 or a preposition (usually of). However, the personal pronouns do have distinct possessive forms. There are various other ways to indicate a genitive construction, as well. For example, many Afroasiatic languages place the head noun (rather than the modifying noun) in the construct state.

Depending on the language, specific varieties of genitive-noun–main-noun relationships may include:
  • possession
    Possession (linguistics)
    Possession, in the context of linguistics, is an asymmetric relationship between two constituents, the referent of one of which possesses the referent of the other ....

     (see possessive case
    Possessive case
    The possessive case of a language is a grammatical case used to indicate a relationship of possession. It is not the same as the genitive case, which can express a wider range of relationships, though the two have similar meanings in many languages.See Possession for a survey of the different...

    , possessed case
    Possessed case
    The possessed case of a language is a grammatical case used to indicate a relationship of possession. It differs from the possessive case in that the latter one marks the possessor, while the former one marks the possessed....

    ):
    • inalienable possession
      Inalienable possession
      In linguistics, inalienable possession refers to the linguistic properties of certain nouns or nominal morphemes based on the fact that they are always possessed. The semantic underpinning is that entities like body parts and relatives do not exist apart from a possessor. For example, a hand...

       ("Janet’s height", "Janet’s existence", "Janet’s long fingers")
    • alienable possession ("Janet’s jacket", "Janet’s drink")
    • relationship indicated by the noun being modified ("Janet’s husband")
  • composition (see Partitive case
    Partitive case
    The partitive case is a grammatical case which denotes "partialness", "without result", or "without specific identity". It is also used in contexts where a subgroup is selected from a larger group, or with numbers....

    ):
    • substance ("a wheel of cheese")
    • elements ("a group of men")
    • source ("a portion of the food")
  • participation in an action:
    • as an agent
      Agent (grammar)
      In linguistics, a grammatical agent is the cause or initiator of an event. Agent is the name of the thematic role...

       ("She benefited from her father's love") – this is called the subjective genitive (Compare "Her father loved her", where Her father is the subject.)
    • as a patient
      Patient (grammar)
      In linguistics, a grammatical patient, also called the target or undergoer, is the participant of a situation upon whom an action is carried out. A patient as differentiated from a theme must undergo a change in state. A theme is denoted by a stative verb, where a patient is denoted by a dynamic...

       ("the love of music")  – this is called the objective genitive (Compare "She loves music", where music is the object.)
  • origin ("men of Rome")
  • reference ("the capital of the Republic" or "the Republic's capital")
  • description ("man of honour", "day of reckoning")
  • compounds ("doomsday" ("doom's day"), Scottish Gaelic "ball coise" = "football", where "coise" = gen. of "cas", "foot")


Depending on the language, some of the relationships mentioned above have their own distinct cases different from the genitive.

Possessive pronoun
Possessive pronoun
A possessive pronoun is a part of speech that substitutes for a noun phrase that begins with a possessive determiner . For example, in the sentence These glasses are mine, not yours, the words mine and yours are possessive pronouns and stand for my glasses and your glasses, respectively...

s are distinct pronouns, found in Indo-European languages such as English, that function like pronouns inflected in the genitive. They are considered separate pronouns if contrasting to languages where pronouns are regularly inflected in the genitive. For example, English my is either a separate possessive adjective or an irregular genitive of I, while in Finnish, for example, minun is regularly agglutinated
Agglutination
In contemporary linguistics, agglutination usually refers to the kind of morphological derivation in which there is a one-to-one correspondence between affixes and syntactical categories. Languages that use agglutination widely are called agglutinative languages...

 from minu- "I" and -n (genitive).

In some languages, nouns in the genitive case also agree
Agreement (linguistics)
In languages, agreement or concord is a form of cross-reference between different parts of a sentence or phrase. Agreement happens when a word changes form depending on the other words to which it relates....

 in case with the nouns they modify (that is, it is marked for two cases). This phenomenon is called suffixaufnahme
Suffixaufnahme
Suffixaufnahme is a linguistic phenomenon used in forming a genitive construction, whereby prototypically a genitive noun agrees with its head noun...

.

In some languages, nouns in the genitive case may be found in inclusio
Inclusio
Inclusio is a term with two distinct but analogous meanings in grammar and literature. This article discusses both.-Grammar:In linguistics, inclusio is syntax for the relationship between a noun in genitive case and head noun of the phrase....

 – that is, between the main noun’s article
Article (grammar)
An article is a word that combines with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. Articles specify the grammatical definiteness of the noun, in some languages extending to volume or numerical scope. The articles in the English language are the and a/an, and some...

 and the noun itself.

Many languages have a genitive case, including Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

, Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

, Basque
Basque language
Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

, Belarusian
Belarusian language
The Belarusian language , sometimes referred to as White Russian or White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people...

, Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

, Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

, Estonian
Estonian language
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities...

, Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

, Gaelic, Georgian
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, Icelandic
Icelandic language
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese.Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the...

, Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

, Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, Latvian
Latvian language
Latvian is the official state language of Latvia. It is also sometimes referred to as Lettish. There are about 1.4 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and about 150,000 abroad. The Latvian language has a relatively large number of non-native speakers, atypical for a small language...

, Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

, Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

, Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

, Bosnian
Bosnian language
Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

, Serbian
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Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

, Croatian
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Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

, Slovene, Turkish
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Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 and Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

. English does not have a proper genitive case, but a possessive ending, -’s (see below), although pronouns do have a genitive case.

Non-positive marker


Some uses of English genitive are enclitic, since in these uses the -'s applies to a phrase rather than a single word. An example is "The King of Sparta’s wife was called Helen." The strictly genitive of the phrase would be: "Sparta's king's wife," but the correct title is not "Sparta's king" but the King of Sparta, so the strictness of the grammar is sacrificed for a more idiomatic expression. Thus in "The King of Sparta’s wife" the -’s indicates possession not by Sparta, the word to which it is attached, but rather by the entire phrase the King of Sparta as if it were a single word.

Despite the above, the English possessive did originate in a genitive case. In Old English
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

, a common singular genitive ending was -es. The apostrophe in the modern possessive marker is in fact an indicator of the e that is "missing" from the Old English
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

.

The 18th century explanation that the apostrophe might replace a genitive pronoun, as in "the king’s horse" being a shortened form of "the king, his horse", is doubtful. This his genitive
His genitive
The his genitive is a means of forming a genitive construction by linking two nouns with a possessive pronoun such as "his"...

 appeared in English only for a relatively brief time, and was never the most common form. The construction occurs in southern German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 dialects and has replaced the genitive there, together with the "of" construction that also exists in English. One might expect on the basis of "her" and "their" that plurals and feminine nouns would form possessives using -’r, such as "the queen’r children": "his" or "hys" could be used for nouns of any gender throughout most of the medieval and Renaissance period, but this does not clearly explain the total absence of such forms.

Remnants of the genitive case remain in Modern English
Modern English
Modern English is the form of the English language spoken since the Great Vowel Shift in England, completed in roughly 1550.Despite some differences in vocabulary, texts from the early 17th century, such as the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible, are considered to be in Modern...

 in a few pronoun
Pronoun
In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun , such as, in English, the words it and he...

s, such as whose (the genitive form of who
Who (pronoun)
The pronoun who, in English, is the interrogative and relative pronoun that is used to refer to humans.The corresponding interrogative pronouns for non-sentient beings are what and which, and the relative pronouns are that and which...

), my/mine, his/her/hers/its, our/ours, their/theirs, etc. (See also declension in English.)

English uses


The English construction in -’s has various uses other than a possessive marker. Most of these uses overlap with a complement marked by "of" (the music of Beethoven or Beethoven’s music), but the two constructions are not equivalent. The use of -’s in a non-possessive sense is less prevalent, and more restricted, in formal than informal language.

Origin


In the genitive of origin, the marker indicates the origin or source of the head noun of the phrase, rather than possession per se. Here "of" can often be replaced with "from".
  • Men of Rome

Subject


When the noun is related to a verb, the genitive is subjective, because it represents the subject of the verb when the noun phrase is turned into a sentence.
  • Beethoven’s music (Beethoven composes music)
  • Fred Astaire
    Fred Astaire
    Fred Astaire was an American film and Broadway stage dancer, choreographer, singer and actor. His stage and subsequent film career spanned a total of 76 years, during which he made 31 musical films. He was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute...

    ’s dancing
    (Fred Astaire dances)
  • my mother’s teaching (My mother teaches)


Most of these phrases, however, can still be paraphrased with of: the music of Beethoven, the teaching of my mother.

Object


In the objective genitive, the marker modifies a noun that can be rephrased as a verb, and the marker represents the object of that verb.
  • love of my mother (I love my mother)

Classification


In the classifying genitive, the marker specifies or describes the head noun.
  • the Hundred Years’ War
  • a day's pay
  • two weeks’ notice
  • speech of an appropriate tone
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • a man’s world
  • runner’s high
  • the Teachers’ Lounge


The paraphrase with of is often un-idiomatic or ambiguous with these genitives, introducing the likelihood of misunderstanding.
  • **the war of a Hundred Years
  • **the pay of a day
  • **notice of two weeks

Purpose


In the genitive of purpose, the marker identifies the purpose or intended recipient of the head noun. In this case, the genitive must be paraphrased with for rather than of: shoes for women.
  • women’s shoes
  • children’s literature

Genitive of measure


Forms such as "a five mile journey" and "a ten foot pole" use what is actually a remnant of the Old English genitive plural form which, ending in /a/, had neither the final /s/ nor underwent the foot/feet vowel mutation of the nominative plural. In essence, the underlying forms are "a five of miles (O.E. gen. pl. mīla) journey" and "a ten of feet (O.E. gen. pl. fōta) pole".

Apposition


In the appositive genitive, the marker represents something equal to the main noun.
  • Dublin’s fair city


This is not a common usage. The more usual expression is the fair city of Dublin.

Double genitive

  • that hard heart of thine ("Venus and Adonis"
    Venus and Adonis (Shakespeare poem)
    Venus and Adonis is a poem by William Shakespeare, written in 1592–1593, with a plot based on passages from Ovid's Metamorphoses. It is a complex, kaleidoscopic work, using constantly shifting tone and perspective to present contrasting views of the nature of love.-Publication:Venus and Adonis was...

     line 500)
  • this extreme exactness of his ("Tristram Shandy"
    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is a novel by Laurence Sterne. It was published in nine volumes, the first two appearing in 1759, and seven others following over the next 10 years....

    , chapter 1.IV)
  • Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby’s is a Friend of Mine
    I Sing the Body Electric (Bradbury)
    I Sing the Body Electric! is a 1969 collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury. The book takes its name from a line in Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.-Contents:The collection includes these stories:* "The Kilimanjaro Device"...

  • a picture of the king’s (that is, a picture owned by the king, as distinguished from a picture of the king, one in which the king is portrayed)


Some writers regard this as a questionable usage, although it has a history in careful English. "Moreover, in some sentences the double genitive offers the only way to express what is meant. There is no substitute for it in a sentence such as That’s the only friend of yours that I’ve ever met, since sentences such as That’s your only friend that I’ve ever met and That’s your only friend, whom I’ve ever met are not grammatical." "[T]he construction is confined to human referents: compare a friend of the Gallery/ no fault of the Gallery." Some object to the name, as the "of" clause is not a genitive. Alternative names are "double possessive" and "oblique genitive". The Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

says that this usage was "Originally partitive, but subseq. ... simple possessive ... or as equivalent to an appositive phrase ...".

Adverb



The ending "-s" without the apostrophe, used like an adverb of time, is considered to be a remnant of an Old English genitive. There is a "literary" periphrastic form using "of".
  • closed Sundays
  • nowadays
  • of a summer day


The ending "-ce", forming genitives of number and place:
  • once, twice, thrice
  • whence, hence, thence

Finnic genitives and accusatives


Finnic languages
Finnic languages
The term Finnic languages often means the Baltic-Finnic languages, an undisputed branch of the Uralic languages. However, it is also commonly used to mean the Finno-Permic languages, a hypothetical intermediate branch that includes Baltic Finnic, or the more disputed Finno-Volgaic languages....

 (Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

, Estonian
Estonian language
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities...

) have genitive cases.

In Finnish, prototypically the genitive is marked with -n, e.g. maa – maan "country – of the country". The stem may change, however, with consonant gradation
Consonant gradation
Consonant gradation is a type of consonant mutation, in which consonants alternate between various "grades". It is found in some Uralic languages such as Finnish, Estonian, Northern Sámi, and the Samoyed language Nganasan. In addition, it has been reconstructed for Proto-Germanic, the parent...

 and other reasons. For example, in certain words ending in consonants, -e- is added, e.g. mies – miehen, and in some, but not all words ending in -i, the -i is changed to an -e-, to give -en, e.g. lumi – lumen "snow – of the snow". The genitive is used extensively, with animate and inanimate possessors. In addition to the genitive, there is also a partitive case
Partitive case
The partitive case is a grammatical case which denotes "partialness", "without result", or "without specific identity". It is also used in contexts where a subgroup is selected from a larger group, or with numbers....

 (marked -ta or -a) used for expressing that something is a part of a larger mass, e.g. joukko miehiä "a group of men".

In Estonian, the genitive marker -n has elided with respect to Finnish. Thus, the genitive always ends with a vowel, and the singular genitive is sometimes (in a subset of words ending with a vocal in nominative) identical in form to nominative.

In Finnish, in addition to the uses mentioned above, there is a construct where the genitive is used to mark a surname. For example, Juhani Virtanen can be also expressed Virtasen Juhani ("Juhani of the Virtanens").

A complication in Finnic languages is that the accusative case
Accusative case
The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of prepositions...

 -(e)n is homophonic to the genitive case. This case does not indicate possession, but is a syntactic marker for the object, additionally indicating that the action is telic
Telicity
In linguistics, telicity is the property of a verb or verb phrase that presents an action or event as being complete in some sense...

 (completed). In Estonian
Estonian language
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities...

, it is often said that only a "genitive" exists. However, the cases have completely different functions, and the form of the accusative has developed from *-(e)m. (The same sound change has developed into a synchronic mutation of a final m into n in Finnish, e.g. genitive sydämen vs. nominative sydän.) This homophony has exceptions in Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

, where a separate accusative -(e)t is found in pronouns, e.g. kenet "who (telic object)", vs. kenen "whose".

A difference is also observed in some of the related Sámi languages
Sami languages
Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami...

, where the pronouns and the plural of nouns in the genitive and accusative are easily distinguishable from each other, e.g., kuä'cǩǩmi "eagles' (genitive plural)" and kuä'cǩǩmid "eagles (accusative plural)" in Skolt Sami
Skolt Sami
Skolt Sami is a Uralic, Sami language spoken by approximately 400 speakers in Finland, mainly in Sevettijärvi, and approximately 20–30 speakers of the Njuõˊttjäuˊrr dialect in an area surrounding Lake Lovozero in Russia. Skolt Sami used to also be spoken on the Neiden area of Norway,...

.

Slavic languages


In Slavic languages
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 such as Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian language
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

, Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

, etc., both nouns and adjectives reflect the genitive case using a variety of endings depending on whether the word is a noun or adjective, its gender, and number (singular or plural).

Possessives


To indicate possession, the ending of the noun indicating the possessor changes to а, я, ы or и, depending on the word's ending in the nominative case. For example:
Nominative: "Вот Антон" ("Here is Anton").
Genitive: "Вот карандаш Антона" ("Here is Anton's pencil").


Possessives can also be formed by the construction "У [subject] есть [object]":
Nominative: "Вот Сергей" ("Here is Sergei").
Genitive: "У Сергея есть карандаш" ("Sergei has a pencil").


In sentences where the possessor includes an associated pronoun, the pronoun also changes:
Nominative: "Вот мой брат" ("Here is my brother").
Genitive: "У моего брата есть карандаш" ("My brother has a pencil").


And in sentences denoting negative possession, the ending of the object noun also changes:
Nominative: "Вот Ирина" ("Here is Irina").
Genitive: "У Ирины нет карандаша" ("Irina does not have a pencil").

To express negation


The genitive case is also used in sentences expressing negation, even when no possessives are involved. The subject noun's ending changes just as it does in possessive sentences:
Nominative: "Мария дома?" ("Is Maria at home?").
Genitive: "Марии нет дома" ("Maria is not at home," literally, "Of Maria there is none at home.").


Use of genitive for negation is obligatory in Slovene, Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 and Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

. Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, Belarussian, Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

 optionally employ genitive for negation. In Czech, the negative genitive is perceived as archaic, as is in Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

, Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

 and Bosnian
Bosnian language
Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

.

Partial direct object


The genitive case is used with some verbs and mass noun
Mass noun
In linguistics, a mass noun is a noun that refers to some entity as an undifferentiated unit rather than as something with discrete subsets. Non-count nouns are best identified by their syntactic properties, and especially in contrast with count nouns. The semantics of mass nouns are highly...

s to indicate that the action covers only a part of the direct object (having a function of non-existing partitive case), whereas similar constructions using the Accusative case
Accusative case
The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of prepositions...

 denote full coverage. Compare the sentences:
Genitive: "Я выпил воды" ("I drank water," i.e. "I drank some water, part of the water available")
Accusative: "Я выпил воду ("I drank the water," i.e. "I drank all the water, all the water in question")

Prepositional constructions


The genitive case is also used in many prepositional constructions.
  • Czech prepositions using genitive case: od (from), z, ze (from), do (into), bez (without), kromě (excepting), místo (instead of), podle (after, according to), podél (along), okolo (around), u (near, by), vedle (beside), během (during), pomocí (using, by the help of), stran (as regards) etc.

German


The genitive case is used in the German language
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 to show possession. For example:
  • das Heft der Schülerin (the book of the schoolgirl) - Feminine
  • das Heft des Schülers (the book of the schoolboy) - Masculine


An s is simply added to the end of the name if the identity of the possessor is specified. For example:
  • Claudias Buch (Claudia's book)


There is also a genitive case with German pronouns
German pronouns
German pronouns describe a set of German words with specific functions, such as being the subject of a clause, or relating the main clause to a subordinate one.Germanic pronouns are divided in to six groups;...

 such as 'dein' (your) and 'mein' (my).

The genitive case is also used for objects of some prepositions (e.g. trotz [despite], wegen [because of], [an]statt [instead of], während [during]), and is required as the case of the direct object for some verbs (e.g. gedenken, sich erfreuen, bedürfen, ermangeln; Usage: wir gedachten der Verstorbenen - We remembered the dead; wir erfreuen uns des schönen Wetters - We're happy about the nice weather.).

All of the articles change in the genitive case.
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Definite article des der des der
Indefinite article eines einer eines (no article)


Adjective endings in genitive case:
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Definite article -en -en -en -en
Indefinite Article -en -en -en -en
No article -en -er -en -er

The following prepositions can take the genitive: außerhalb, innerhalb, statt, trotz, während, wegen, and dank.

Altaic languages


(Altaic is a proposal; on this point of grammar, the included languages behave similarly.)

Japanese


The Japanese possessive is constructed by using the suffix -no 〜の to make the genitive case. For example:
Nominative: 猫 neko ('cat'); 手 te ('hand, paw')
Genitive: 猫の手 neko-no te ('cat's paw')

It also uses the suffix -na 〜な for adjectival noun; in some analyses adjectival nouns are simply nouns that take -na in the genitive, forming a complementary distribution
Complementary distribution
Complementary distribution in linguistics is the relationship between two different elements, where one element is found in a particular environment and the other element is found in the opposite environment...

 (-no and -na being allomorph
Allomorph
In linguistics, an allomorph is a variant form of a morpheme. The concept occurs when a unit of meaning can vary in sound without changing meaning. The term allomorph explains the comprehension of phonological variations for specific morphemes....

s).

Korean


The possessive in Korean can be formed using the ending -ui '의'.
This is a car. igeoneun jadongchayeyo. 이거는 자동차예요.
This is the man's car. igeoneun namja-ui jadongchaeyeo. 이거는 남자의 자동차예요.

Turkish


The Turkish possessive is constructed using two suffixes: a genitive case for the possessor and a possessive suffix
Possessive suffix
In linguistics, a possessive affix is a suffix or prefix attached to a noun to indicate its possessor, much in the manner of possessive adjectives. Possessive suffixes are found in some Uralic, Altaic, Semitic, and Indo-European languages...

 for the possessed object. For example:
Nominative: Kadın ('woman'); ayakkabı ('shoe')
Genitive: Kadının ayakkabısı ('the woman's shoe')

Semitic languages


Genitive case marking existed in Proto-Semitic, Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

, and Ugaritic. It indicated possession, and it is preserved today only in literary Arabic
Literary Arabic
Modern Standard Arabic , Standard Arabic, or Literary Arabic is the standard and literary variety of Arabic used in writing and in most formal speech....

.

Akkadian

Nominative: šarrum (king)
Genitive: aššat šarrim (wife of king = king's wife)

Arabic


Called المجرور al-majrũr (meaning "dragged") in Arabic, the Genitive case functions both as an indication of ownership (ex. the door of the house) and for nouns following a preposition.
Nominative: بيت baytun (a house)
Genitive: باب بيت bābu baytin (the door of a house) باب البيت bābu l-bayti (the door of the house)


The Arabic genitive marking also appears after prepositions.
e.g. باب لبيت bābun li-baytin (a door for a house)


The Semitic genitive should not be confused with the pronominal possessive suffixes that exist in all the Semitic languages
e.g. Arabic بيتي bayt-ī (my house) كتابك kitābu-ka (your [masc.] book).

Names of stars


Names of astronomical constellations are Latin, and the genitives of their names are used in naming objects in those constellations, as in the Bayer designation
Bayer designation
A Bayer designation is a stellar designation in which a specific star is identified by a Greek letter, followed by the genitive form of its parent constellation's Latin name...

 of stars. For example, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo
Virgo (constellation)
Virgo is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Its name is Latin for virgin, and its symbol is . Lying between Leo to the west and Libra to the east, it is the second largest constellation in the sky...

 is called Alpha Virginis, which is to say "Alpha of Virgo", as virginis is the genitive of virgō.

Scientific names of species


Scientific names
Binomial nomenclature
Binomial nomenclature is a formal system of naming species of living things by giving each a name composed of two parts, both of which use Latin grammatical forms, although they can be based on words from other languages...

 of living things sometimes contain genitives, as in the plant name Buddleja davidii
Buddleja davidii
Buddleja davidii , also called summer lilac, butterfly-bush, or orange eye, is a native of Sichuan and Hubei provinces in central China and of Japan. It is widely used as an ornamental plant, and many named varieties are in cultivation. B...

, meaning "David's buddleia". Here Davidii is the genitive of Davidius, a Latinized
Latinisation (literature)
Latinisation is the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style. It is commonly met with for historical personal names, with toponyms, or for the standard binomial nomenclature of the life sciences. It goes further than Romanisation, which is the writing of a word in the Latin alphabet...

version of the English name, not capitalized because it is the second part of a scientific name.

External links