Is she kissing her own husband or someone else's?
Let me explain the difference between “hennes" and “sin” in Norwegian. It is an all-important distinction, as you will see from my screencast.
Below is the transcript of the screencast:
Hi! Today we're going to talk about the difference between 'sin' and 'hennes'. My slides are in Norwegian but I’ll try to explain this in English.
We have two sentences on this slide, the first one is:
Hun kysser mannen sin. (She's kissing her husband.)
The second one is:
Hun kysser mannen hennes.
If you translate that to English it’s "She's kissing her husband", so the same as the previous sentence. But there is a difference there. And the difference is in that "hun kysser manner sin" means that she’s kissing her own husband while "hun kysser mannen hennes" means that she’s kissing someone else’s husband.
In English you would know it depending on the context but in the Norwegian we have two different words for it.
Jeg kysser mannen min.
We'll look at it in first person ("I'm kissing my husband"). In this sentence ‘Jeg’ and ‘min’ are both referring to the same person.
Du kysser mannen din.
‘Du’ means you and in this sentence ‘Du’ and ‘din’ are both referring to the same person. And the example we saw:
Hun kysser mannen hennes/sin.
‘hun’ and ‘hennes’ are not referring to the same person.
‘Hun’ is one person and ‘hennes’ is another person, so what we're saying that sentence is she's kissing someone else’s husband. If we want to say that she’s kissing her own husband we have to say "Hun kysser mannen sin."
And we use ‘sin’ in third person, so we use ‘sin’ with ‘han’ (he) and we also use it with ‘de’ (they).
We use ‘sin’ to show that the person or the thing we're talking about is somehow connected or owned by the subject, by ‘hun’, ‘han’ or ‘de’.
But we have to remember that we can never use ‘sin’ in the in the subject. ‘Sin’ can never be a part of the subject. The next example I’ve written:
Hun og mannen hennes vant 1 million kroner i lotto! (She and her husband won 1 million kroner in lottery!)
"Hun og mannen hennes" is the subject of that sentence.
We can’t have ‘sin’ there, even though ‘hun’ and ‘hennes’ are both referring to the same person, we have to use ‘hennes’ because it’s a subject.
The next sentence:
Han sier at hun og mannen hennes vant 1 million kroner i lotto!
In this sentence "Han sier at" (he says that) – ‘hun’ is the subject, but then we have a subordinate clause, and that clause is "at hun og mannen hennes vant 1 million kroner i lotto".
"Hun og mannen hennes" is the subject of that clause and since it’s the subject we can’t have ‘sin’ there. We have ‘hennes’ even though ‘hun’ or ‘hennes’ are referring to the same person.
That’s it! Thank you for listening or as we say in Norwegian:
Takk for at du hørte på!