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Henrik Theiling wrote, quoting myself:

> Actually, spoken German also does much of this.  Instead of 'er'
> ('he'), people say 'der' ('the'), so the definite article may be used
> as a pronoun.  Using the real pronoun in spoken language often sounds
> very awkward to me, like using the wrong register (namely, written
> German).  The rule applies to the whole set of articles/pronouns in
> all cases, gender and number:
>
>   Der          hat der          den          schon   gegeben.
>   The-m-sg-NOM has the-f-sg-DAT the-m-sg-ACC already given
>   He           has to-her       him          already given
>  'He has already given it to her.'

That is interesting, thanks. Although I notice that the second 'der'
should be 'die', as it's feminine. :-)

Incidentally, I have friends who live in this German village:
http://www.multimap.com/map/browse.cgi?X=1165000&Y=6500000&scale=25000&coordsys=mercator

(Neubrunn), and I visited them in February 2000. So I've seen a bit of
this particular part of the German countryside. I've also been to
Frankfurt.

> > Incidental: the "exception" alluded to here is that the masculine
> > gender would indicate the commencement of the action while the
> > feminine gender would indicate its conclusion. Hence:
>
> Well, that's strange, I'd say. :-)  But funny.

Certainly it is strange. I like exotic features in grammars, and the
associations between gender and time in Gzarondan are an idea that I
have exploited to the full. :-)

> > However, you *can* mark the possessing entity as nominative, bearing in
> > mind that the meaning of the sentence will be different. This is called
> > the "retropossessive" form. For example, compare:
> >
> >     Ren-ryniu cynt -- her sword
> >     Reniu-ryn cynt -- she with the sword
>
> Why would you not simply swap it?  Like 'the sword's her'?  Maybe
>
>       cynt-ryn
> or    ren cynt ryn

I think you meant to say _cynt-ren_ or _ryn cynt ren_. It's the sword
that has the inanimate gender.

In English you can say "the dog's master" as easily as "the man's dog"
but Gzarondan is a little more strict about the hierarchy of
possession when there is one. Of course, not everything is possible in
English - you can say "the book's cover" but I would be very surprised
to hear "the cover's book". That said, I daresay that there are
dialects of Gzarondan in which the retropossessive is not used.

Adrian.