1. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    My-ness

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by thirdwind, Nov 7, 2013.

    Whenever we talk about phrases like "my body" or "my mind," the word "my" implies possession. So what is it that is doing the possessing? Is it simply out of linguistic convenience that we take the mind or the body to be possessable objects? I'm sure other languages handle possession differently, so it would be great if people who know other languages could share how possession is handled (if different from English). I'm actually very curious about this.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    In Spanish things become magically broken rather than saying he broke it or I broke it.

    And if you add the pronoun to the verb that already contains it you are emphasizing the pronoun, but that's because the verb form goes with the pronoun.
    So, "Yo estoy aqui" is saying, "I am here," while "Estoy aqui" is how one says, "I am here," without emphasis on I.​
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Languages differ in the importance and logicality they place on possession. In most Romance Languages, like Spanish, body parts are only ever refereed to with the possessive where there is a need to distinguish between one person and another. If a doctor is asking you about your symptoms, for example, the logic of the responses being clearly about you and no one else would cause all references to be simply the, never my.

    This is quite correct, in that subject pronouns are dropped (pro-drop) unless there is a need to indicate one person rather than another to clear confusion, otherwise, subject pronouns are not heard. Hearing them is the first red flag that a latino has been raised in the U.S. and fallen under the influence of English where pro-dropping is not possible. Just as an aside, not all languages with verbs that carry as much information as Spanish verbs allow for pro-dropping. You don't hear pro-dropping in Russian and Russian verbs carry even more information than Spanish verbs.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Also, Spanish places less emphasis on possessive in regards to the body. Instead of I wash my hands and face, in Spanish I wash the hands and the face. She brushed the hair or teeth not HER hair or teeth.
     

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