Appendix talk:Proto-Germanic/unseraz

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Shouldn't there be a distinction made between the genitive of the personal pronoun and the possessive pronoun? In early Middle Dutch the two seem to be distinct, see possesive and genitive personal pronoun. Even in later Dutch there is a difference between onzer and ons. Jcwf (talk) 03:47, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

That distinction didn't really exist in Proto-Germanic. When the genitive of the personal pronoun was called for, some case form of the possessive determiner was used instead. I don't know which case; in Gothic the genitive pronoun is identical to the neuter plural form of the determiner. —CodeCat 03:58, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Ah! Would it be useful to show the split in the descendents? Or at least to show what is going on, because it is a little strange to click on the genitive in the personal pronoun table and then to find yourself on the possessive page without knowing this. It is also strange not to show forms like onser (dum) and onzer (nl) that do descend from unseraz. It incorrectly creates the impression that the -r was lost in Dutch but kept in German e.g.Jcwf (talk) 06:12, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
But that is exactly what happened. The -er of the Dutch word is a case ending, more specifically the genitive feminine/plural. But in German it is part of the word stem and appears in every form, the genitive actually has another -er: unserer. This is also more obvious when you compare the dative masculine forms: Dutch onzen, German unserem. As for showing the split, I don't really know. What was the genitive form of the pronoun actually used for, other than for case agreement with a verb or a preposition? It certainly wasn't used the way a genitive was more often used, to modify a noun to show possession/relationship, because that is when the determiner was used. This is kind of a strange relic inherited from Indo-European, where the first/second person and reflexive possessives behave as adjectives while others (including the 3rd person) use the genitive form of the pronoun or noun. You can see the exact same thing in Latin too: the possessive meus is an adjective, and its genitive singular form meī is used as the genitive form of the pronoun. —CodeCat 14:55, 5 March 2013 (UTC)