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The words “der Ihren” appear in the following text from a comic book:

Person A: Der Legende nach haben jedes Jahr zwei tapfere Krieger eines Stammes versucht, den Goldenen Fluss zu erreichen.

Person B: Wohl um den Wohlstand der Ihren für ein Jahr zu sichern.

I am guessing that „der Ihren” is the adjective form of the possessive pronoun ihr, (3rd person plural) in the genitive and used as emphasis. Linguee gives an example:

Ich gebe meine Wünsche nicht auf, sondern lebe anders mit den Meinen und offen gegenüber Anderen.

Is my parsing of „der Ihren” correct and that the adjectival form in the comic book text is used to emphasize that prosperity is in the ownership of the tribe who sent the two warriors versus other tribes?

Sources:

  1. Lustiges Taschenbuch LTB 544 – Fast schon zu Furios! - Seite 234.
  2. https://www.linguee.com/english-german/search?source=auto&query=Ich+gebe+meine+W%C3%BCnsche+nicht+auf%2C+sondern+lebe+anders+...&full_query=Ich+gebe+meine+W%C3%BCnsche+nicht+auf%2C+sondern+lebe+anders+mit+den+Meinen+und+offen+gegen%C3%BCber+Anderen.

2 Answers 2

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As you correctly said, "der Ihren" is a nominalised possessive adjective which comes from the pronoun "ihr". It is used as an genitive attribute to "den Wohlstand".

Not nominalised they're seen in ellipsis a lot and can be used in combination with a definite article. You have Definite article + Possessive Adjective.

Wir haben 3 Kinder, wir lieben [unsere | unsere Kinder | die unseren | OUTDATED: die unseren Kinder].
Wir haben 10 Äpfel, jeder isst [seine | seine (eigenen) Äpfel | die seinen | OUTDATED: die seinen Äpfel].

Then, nominalised, they have two specific meanings.

  1. Living beings who belong to ...

Jesus versammelte [die Seinen]. (Jesus gathered his people, those who belonged to him.)

  1. Doing your job, alternatively, doing your part

Jesus tat [das Seine].(Jesus did his part/what he was able,responsible,had to do)

Your sentences have use-case 1). It's just a noun phrase, so of course we can put it in Genitiv as the attribute of some other noun.

But I disagree in your idea that it emphasizes. This would mean that it is already clear whose prosperity it is.

Your first example:
Without the Genitiv attribute, it is just "den Wohlstand". It should be clear that just mentioning it doesn't tell us enough about whose it is - unless, and this can be debated in your example, it is very clear from context. Or, lastly, if the concept of prosperity in general is meant.

How about using "ihren Wohlstand"? Grammar-wise, it would be clear that the two warriors are meant - because among other things, the two warriors are Plural, the tribe is Singular. However, meaning-wise, "ihren" could refer to the people of the tribe. So the question: Whose prosperity? That of the two warriors, or that of their tribe too? would not have a clear answer.

Wohl, um den Wohlstand für ein Jahr zu sichern. (whose?)
Wohl, um ihren Wohlstand für ein Jahr zu sichern. (whose exactly?)
Wohl, um den Wohlstand [ihres Stammes | der Ihren] für ein Jahr zu sichern. (now it's clear)

"Der Ihren" and "ihres Stammes" both answer this question. "Der Ihren" can be seen as more formal or elegant than mentioning "Stamm" a second time.

In your second example, we don't have any information like "Stamm" which would help us circle in a certain group that could be meant by "die Meinen" (family? friends? All of them?), so it has to be taken as "those who I feel belong to my closest circle or I care about" from context.

Also: You can insert -ig- in the possessive adjectives without meaning change: Der meine/meinige, Der Meine/Meinige.

Source: Dudenband 4, p.279f.

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    @CarstenS I removed it so it is more clear that it is not the answer to the whole question Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 2:39
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The construction is more common in the singular: "Die deinen" means "your loved ones" (literally: Those that are yours).

Your first example could be concatenated and simplified to "zwei tapfere Krieger eines Stammes versuchen, den Goldenen Fluss zu erreichen, um den Wohlstand der Ihren zu sichern". "Ihren" refers to a "possession" of the warriors (not the tribe!), namely those that "belong to them": "Their" tribe.

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