I don't understand why this isn't ,,Millionen von syrischen Kindern......" or "Millionen syrischer Kinder...." instead of ,,Millionen syrische Kinder...", that is to say, either using dative or a more obvious genitive.

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    Millionen syrische Kinder is the subject. Who or what suffers? So it has to be in … nominative. It's not the Millions who belong to some syrische Kinder. – Janka Mar 7 '17 at 23:01
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    @Janka No, that's not the answer to the problem. Of course the subject here is the nominal-phrase [Millionen syrische Kinder]. Millionen syrischer Kinder would be a Genitivus Partitivus and correct as well. The question is, why it is not obligatory to use Genitivs Partitivus here. – jonathan.scholbach Mar 8 '17 at 1:59

The construction behind

Millionen syrische Kinder

is called "Apposition mit Kasusangleichung".

Millionen syrischer Kinder

would be "partitiver Genitiv (Genitivus Partitivus)". For more information see de:wikipedia: Apposition and canoonet


I came across the same thing a while ago when I saw ein Glass Wasser and wondered why there is no von used there. Surprisingly, I realised that in my mother tongue, Persian, we use it in the same way with no preposition:

یک لیوان آب بده لطفا Give me a glass of water please.

And if in Persian we add ِ , the meaning could change in some circumstances:

یک لیوانِ آب بده لطف Give me a glass which I can use for drinking water.

The persian equivalent of "of" shown by a small slanted dash in the second example changes the meaning in Persian, but whether it is also the case in German I highly doubt it.

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