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Old 29.03.2011, 14:12
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[DE] Object or subject 1st

Whilst "relaxing" in the bog at work, this notice was on the door "In unserer Hand liegt die Gesundheit anderer".
Fairly self-explanatory, I thought, but why the object first? Surely "Die Gesundheit anderer liegt in unserer Hand" is equally grammatically correct? Does the first version have more "impact"? It's not the only time I've seen this sentence structure, but, well, I had time to dwell on this one
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Old 29.03.2011, 14:14
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

It is passive voice
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Old 29.03.2011, 14:22
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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It is passive voice
Is it?
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Old 29.03.2011, 14:23
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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Whilst "relaxing" in the bog at work, this notice was on the door "In unserer Hand liegt die Gesundheit anderer".
Fairly self-explanatory, I thought, but why the object first? Surely "Die Gesundheit anderer liegt in unserer Hand" is equally grammatically correct? Does the first version have more "impact"? It's not the only time I've seen this sentence structure, but, well, I had time to dwell on this one
I asked myself a similar question in similar circumstances. We have notices in the Ladies' here at work, too.

I think it's more... poetic/dramatically effective?... to put the prepositional phrase "In unserer Hand" (where it's happening/located) at the beginning... Then in that grammatical form, the verb follows directly afterwards.

Don't we do that in English a bit in some ways? (except for the verb following directly afterwards )

Puddy
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Old 29.03.2011, 14:28
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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Is it?
My thoughts too. There's no indication it's passive.
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Old 29.03.2011, 14:29
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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Is it?
Beats me

EDIT: Genitif
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Old 29.03.2011, 14:40
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

No, it is not passive. In German you generally put what you want to emphasize most at the beginning of the sentence. So, in your example, the emphasis is on the fact that we (in unserer Hand) are all responsible for the health of others. This effect would be reduced if the sentence were in a typical subject-verb-object construction.

We have some similar constructions in English but English is more limited than German in this regard because of the lack of cases. Cases allow you to put parts of the sentence almost anywhere without leading to confusion. In English, however, word order is more important.
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Old 29.03.2011, 15:14
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

I don't think this is passive either. Neither does the sentence have an object. It has a prepositional phrase (genitive, indicating location) + verb + subject with relative clause

In unserer Hand liegt die Gesundheit der Andere.

Much like this sentence in English; only we can't do all those freaky word order changes without sounding like Yoda :

The cat from next door sleeps in our flower bed.

Puddy

I really should do some work
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Old 29.03.2011, 15:21
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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I don't think this is passive either. Neither does the sentence have an object. It has a prepositional phrase (genitive, indicating location) + verb + subject with relative clause

In unserer Hand liegt die Gesundheit der Andere.

Much like this sentence in English; only we can't do all those freaky word order changes without sounding like Yoda :

The cat from next door sleeps in our flower bed.

Puddy

I really should do some work
Perfect explanation.
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Old 29.03.2011, 15:24
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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I don't think this is passive either. Neither does the sentence have an object. It has a prepositional phrase (genitive, indicating location) + verb + subject with relative clause

In unserer Hand liegt die Gesundheit der Andere.

Much like this sentence in English; only we can't do all those freaky word order changes without sounding like Yoda :

The cat from next door sleeps in our flower bed.

Puddy

I really should do some work
Of course, not object, but couldn't think of the correct term at the time.

Wait a sec "In unserer Hand" is dative, surely?
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Old 29.03.2011, 15:29
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

It is really simple: All languages have in common that they need to be able to precisely explain a situation. Different languages have different ways to do so: In English, you have relatively few word forms, but therefore fairly strict rules on the syntax. The position of a word defines the semantics of a sentence. In Latin for example is basically everything defined through the form of a word - you can therefore order them pretty much any way you like within a sentence - really cool if you try to write a poem but really annoying for students... German is in the middle of both: More word-forms and therfore more grammatically and semantically correct ways to order the same sentence. Only difference is typically an emphasis on the most important part of the sentence.
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Old 29.03.2011, 15:33
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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Of course, not object, but couldn't think of the correct term at the time.

Wait a sec "In unserer Hand" is dative, surely?
Yeah, that one gets me too...

gentitive for location/direction? e.g. In unserer Hand or zum Bahnhof (to the train station)

Dative for possession? e.g. der Andere = of the other person.

...Oooh I do love this grammar stuff
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Old 29.03.2011, 15:37
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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Yeah, that one gets me too...

gentitive for location/direction? e.g. In unserer Hand or zum Bahnhof (to the train station)

Dative for possession? e.g. der Andere = of the other person.

...Oooh I do love this grammar stuff
Dative for location
Genitive for possession
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Old 29.03.2011, 15:41
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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Dative for location
Genitive for possession
Indeed My memory of highschool German are getting foggier!
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Old 29.03.2011, 15:52
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

In spoken slang, always bet on Dativ. Genitiv is dying out... or as a popular writer puts it: "Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod".

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Old 29.03.2011, 16:02
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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In spoken slang, always bet on Dativ. Genitiv is dying out... or as a popular writer puts it: "Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod".
I think I'd need a transcript of that to get the full picture
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Old 29.03.2011, 22:18
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

Just puts more emphasis on the first part
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Old 29.03.2011, 22:39
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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Dative for location
Genitive for possession
Yes, but no genitive with the preposition "in" - that's where you have the lovely accusative/dative battle to overcome!

in this case, "der Andere" is genitive and I believe that it is not relative. A relative clause would be introduced by adding further information about "die Andere".

The passive voice is quite easy to spot in German. Some form of the verb werden is usually involved - context will let you know that it's not just the simple future tense.

On a tangent, I was watching "Rette die Million" recently, and a German couple lost 650k, not knowing the difference between the Perfekt and Präteritum past forms!
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Old 30.03.2011, 08:26
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

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that's where you have the lovely accusative/dative battle to overcome!
The way I remember it;

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On a tangent, I was watching "Rette die Million" recently, and a German couple lost 650k, not knowing the difference between the Perfekt and Präteritum past forms!
Sounds like one of those "scream at the telly" moments.
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Old 31.03.2011, 17:50
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Re: [DE] Object or subject 1st

It's anderer, Genitiv indefinite with strong ending.
If you want the definite, then it's der anderen with weak ending, it's plural.

"Emphasize" is a generic term. Sure is that the first place is a special place. The word is actually topicalization. Sentence structure is devided in two parts of speech (since Aristoteles, revamped by the functionalists linguists): Topic and comment (also called Thema - Rhema by Germanists). Look up functional perspective, Prager School and functional grammar.
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