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I was wondering whether it might be possible to formulate a phrase in German using the syntax mentioned in the question above - or more precisely, whether this would be considered a valid formulation in its appropriate context?

For example, in English (though one may find it increasingly outdated to do so), one might intentionally place their possessive pronoun after a term of endearment, when addressing another affectionately. Perhaps the most common use I can think of would be:

darling of mine

Might a similar construction exist in German? For example, could we say:

Schatz mein

Furthermore, if this is an appropriate construction, could I ask whether there are limitations on its use cases? Could one say "Schmetterling meines" or would that be entirely inappropriate?

Apologies if this all amounts to absolute gibberish in German. Nonetheless, any orientation on anything relevant to this would be very much appreciated!

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  • You talk of possessive pronouns after the noun they qualify. But that first example of yours is not an example of that construction. To be an example of your construction, it would have to be "darling my".
    – Rosie F
    Apr 8 at 19:18
  • @RosieF I seem to believe that possessive pronouns are of the type: "mine, yours, hers, his, etc." as opposed to the possesive determiners "my, your, her, etc.". Perhaps I am mistaken? Certainly, it may have been wiser to write Schatz meiner in my German transliteration attempt. Apr 10 at 18:07

2 Answers 2

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There's no such construction as "Schmetterling meines" in German, but there at least exists something that's even more similar to the English pattern:

Das ist der Schmetterling von mir.

You may want to note, though, that a phrasing like this in German is typically seen as quite lowbrow or even uneducated. It doesn't have the poetic, if a bit fusty, ring of the English version at all.

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  • perfect. thank you! just to be absolutely certain I haven't misunderstood you, there is no specific singificance of you having picked Schmetterling, as Schatz obeys the same grammatical (and idiomatic) rules? Apr 6 at 18:14
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    @fruitlessfruitjuice Basically yes, what I said would also apply to "Schatz von mir". As I side note, you may find something like "Schätzelein mein" in poetry or song lyrics, but those are their own can of beans, so to speak. Apr 6 at 18:24
  • Thank you once more! I look forward to the myriad permutations of German once I'm fluent enough to read its poetry. Apr 6 at 18:42
  • Note that "von mir" is ambiguous here: It could either mean "mine" or "the one I gave you", which is not the same.
    – tofro
    Apr 7 at 9:39
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    @tofro And presumably also, if depictions are involved, ‘the one that depicts me’? E.g., das ist das Bild von mir is ambiguous in the same way that ‘that’s my picture’ is in English (that’s the picture that shows me / that’s the picture that belongs to me). Apr 7 at 11:12
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For example, in English (though one may find it increasingly outdated to do so), one might intentionally place their possessive pronoun after a term of endearment, when addressing another affectionately.

It's somewhat similar in German – it's not too uncommon to find the construction "X mein" in old poems or songs, and it's usually a form of endearment. Examples:

The construction is often chosen to fit a rhyme with "...ein", but the last example shows that it can also occur without the need for a rhyme.

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