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Question 1: I found the clause "ich, der ich seit 20 Jahren seinem Volke diene" in my textbook. The book says that its English translation is "I, who have been serving my people for 20 years". Why seinem Volke for my people, not meinem Volke? Is the English translation wrong? If the translation and grammar are totally right, can you show me some similar examples?

Question 2: I read in my textbook that if the antecedent is first or second personal pronoun, the pronoun (antecedent) is repeated in the relative clause, as follows:

  • du, der/die du ja nicht alles wissen kannst.
  • für mich, die ich noch gar nicht ordentlich lesen konnte.

Is that rule applied only to ich and du? What about er, sie, wir, ihr and Sie? I'd like you to choose the right, natural one in the pairs below in bold. (I've improvised the sentences, so there can be some mistakes. Your correction would be appreciated.):

  • Das Geschenk ist für sie, die sie / die morgen Geburtstag hat.
  • Wir, die wir / die arm sind, haben immer Hunger.
  • Für euch, die ihr / die so weit weg wohnt
  • Er, der er / der alles weiß, ist weggegangen.
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2  
Please avoid to write more than one question in a single post. This will help to keep topics clear in the long run. Thank you. –  Takkat Sep 2 '13 at 14:39
    
Ohne Kontext vermute ich, dass es im Text eine dritte Person existiert, deren Volk die erste Person dient, und dass es möglicherweise nicht deren Volk ist, sondern eben das des anderen. Wieso beginnt das Beispiel mit einem kleinen "i" - wie beginnt denn der Satz? –  user unknown Sep 2 '13 at 22:43
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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Q1: The German sentence and the English translation don't match.

"ich, der ich seit 20 Jahren seinem Volke diene"

is possible, but it means

"I, who have been serving his people for 20 years".

Here, the speaker serves someone else's people.

Your intuition is right. In order to express that the speaker serves his own people, it is:

"ich, der ich seit 20 Jahren meinem Volke diene"

"I, who have been serving my people for 20 years".


Q2: Relative pronouns are inherently third person in German, hence:

Das Geschenk ist für sie, die morgen Geburtstag hat.

Er, der alles weiß, ist weggegangen.

"Wir" and "Ihr" are first and second person, respectively. Therefore, the rule you mention counts for them, too:

Wir, die wir arm sind, haben immer Hunger.

Für euch, die ihr so weit weg wohnt

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2  
Here's the canoo.net link to second your answer to Q2. And here in English –  Em1 Sep 2 '13 at 14:11
    
Shouldn't it be "meinem Volk"? Why would you use Volke? –  Lars Pötter Sep 2 '13 at 16:36
    
@Lars Pötter: Because the old form is used in the original translation as well, I would guess. (And it is fitting, since no-one would say a sentence like this today.) –  chirlu Sep 2 '13 at 17:06
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@Jin I'm not sure if I understand. Do you mean to change "ich, der ich seit 20J. meinem Volk diene" to "ich, der seit 20j seinem Volk dient", or "ich, der ich mich nie geweigert habe" to "ich, der sich nie geweigert hat"? - If yes, note that you have to change "meinem" to "seinem" if you do so but if it's already "seinem" in the first place, it's still "seinem" because you referring to someone else's country. –  Em1 Sep 3 '13 at 7:32
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@Jin You got it. It's ambiguous then if you don't have any context. But in continuous text you should get the necessary information to figure out whom "seinem" is referring to. "Der Kaiser von China kehrte mir den Rücken zu. Und ich, der 20 Jahre seinem Volke gedient hat, stehe nun mit leeren Händen da." - "Ich, der Kaiser von China und der 20 Jahre seinem Volke gedient hat, überlasse meinem Sohn den Thron." –  Em1 Sep 3 '13 at 8:46
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Question 1: The translation is wrong. "seinem Volke" is clearly not my people.

Question2: The rule applys to all. So it is :

sie, die sie

Wir, die wir

euch, die ihr

Er, der er

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2  
"Er, der er" and "sie, die sie" are wrong. –  Em1 Sep 2 '13 at 16:56
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@Em1: Not completely impossible, but unusual and highly marked. - I'm missing "der Sie" etc. from the answers so far. –  chirlu Sep 2 '13 at 17:08
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