This particular collection ended up in the University Library of Heidelberg as the stamp Bibl: Univ: Heidelb on the back of the first page a j verso shows. There it was separated again when in the nineteenth century spare copies of pamphlets were sold off; hence the blue stamp with Dvplvm duplicate marking it as being for sale. The pamphlet did not enjoy its new found independence for long.
In it changed hands again and moved to England. The empty padding pages prepared the pamphlet for teaching at the Taylorian: it became a scholarly item ready for annotations by students and scholars. Although these modern pages have been respectfully left blank, the pamphlet has been intensively studied since that time.
It forms an important link between studies in Theology, Historical Linguistics, Translation Theory, and History of the Book, and regularly features in handling sessions for undergraduate and graduate students. We hope that it will encourage other colleagues to follow suit with their own editions, continuing to fulfil the pedagogical aim of the collection when it was built up in the nineteenth century.
The following is a practical guide based on my experience of teaching the Sendbrief and of teaching German prose translation. Early modern German was written to be performed. You can listen to a recording of the Sendbrief online. We have not normalized the spelling, because the inconsistency is part of the reality of written German at the time. The main rule of thumb is to pronounce the words like their modern German equivalents regardless of differences in spelling. Early modern prints use full stops, brackets, question marks, and virgules as punctuation marks. Early prints took over from manuscripts some handy ways to save space.
The Roman alphabet had only one symbol for u and v and one for i and j. Sometimes umlaut is not indicated but implied, especially when v is used instead of u , e. Note that tz always sounds like modern German z , i. While in medieval German each letter would have been sounded, e.
In most instances a following e or h indicates a long preceding vowel, but this is not consistent, e. The equivalent modern German text with normalized punctuation, capitalisation, no abbreviations, and umlaut:. It was not the first German version of the Bible, or even the first in print, but it was the first to reach a mass audience.
A vernacular Bible in the hands of the laity was also a powerful weapon to challenge Church practices which had no scriptural basis.
It was not just the fact that Luther translated the Bible that was important: it was also the way he did it. Like others before him, Luther cultivated a sense-for-sense, as opposed to a word-for-word, approach. His great innovation was a translation style close in register to colloquial speech, but with a simple eloquence that brought the original text alive. In the Sendbrief Luther offers general advice on translation as well as a defence of some of the specific translation choices he made in his German New Testament. The same questions preoccupy translators today, whether they are working with sacred texts or not.
The Sendbrief affords us a glimpse into the translation technique of one its most successful exponents. His syntax and vocabulary are plain and direct, his tone sometimes academic but more often informal, and the text is interspersed with colourful turns of phrase. His arguments are, in keeping with academic discourse at the time, a combination of appeals to reason or authority, ridicule, and invective. Luther wrote the Sendbrief in September at the fortress of Coburg in Saxony.
At this time the Imperial Diet i. Luther did not attend, as he had been declared an outlaw at the Diet of Worms in , and was relatively safe only in Saxony under the protection first, of the supportive Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony d. As well as corresponding with Melanchthon and his other colleagues at Augsburg, Luther spent his confinement at Coburg working on his translation of the Old Testament and on polemical writings such as the Sendbrief.
Luther focuses mainly on the first of these topics, and uses the Sendbrief to set out his views on translation. On 12 September Luther sent the manuscript to his friend Wenceslaus Linck of Nuremberg with instructions for its publication. Linck had the text printed there with a foreword of his own dated 15 September The B print appears to be based closely on A, but there are differences which make it possible that B was in fact copied from a now lost predecessor of A.
By , 14 authorized and 66 unauthorized versions had appeared. At the same time as he was writing the Sendbrief , Luther was completing the translation of the Old Testament, parts of which had already been published in instalments. Why was this controversial? During the Middle Ages there were few vernacular translations of the whole Bible.
This suited the Catholic Church, which considered vernacular languages inferior to the sacred languages of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and which, by keeping the Bible in Latin, could maintain a monopoly on interpretation. Even after the appearance of printed German Bibles in the late fifteenth century, there is no evidence of widespread demand for Holy Scripture in this form, and the Bible continued to be accessible largely through verse adaptations, sermons, and selected readings.
We discuss in Section 4 below the particular translation choices which Luther defends in the Sendbrief. First we summarize the theological reasons why they were controversial. The terms relevant to this controversy are faith, grace, justification, and works. The official Church position was that a person is justified by a combination of faith in Christ and works, i.
Luther, by contrast, held that a person is justified by faith alone. Moreover, while his opponents believed that, when people are justified, divine grace is infused into them, altering them intrinsically, Luther held that grace is a favour which is imputed to people but remains outside them. A further point of contention between Luther and his opponents which is relevant to the Sendbrief is the authority of Scripture.
For Luther, by contrast, Scripture meant the Bible in its original languages rather than the Vulgate, and Scripture was the sole authority. Away from the scholarly debates about ancient Biblical languages, Luther appealed to the authority of Scripture in a more obvious way, by condemning Church practices which had no scriptural basis at all. This he did most famously by attacking indulgences in his Ninety-Five Theses of The latter part of the Sendbrief from b4v   Page references refer to the quire marks.
In the Sendbrief Luther offers general advice on Bible translation, and comments on specific examples. His general advice can be summarized under the following headings:. The qualities of a good translation. Fast nicht. Es ist alles nicht mehr so intensiv und klar und rein wie beim ersten Mal. Aber du kannst nicht mehr anders. Am Samstag, um Es war eine schwere Geburt.
Ich hielt sie in meinen Armen, schaute ihr in die Augen und war verzaubert. Mein Tollpatsch. Ich war so voller Freude. Ich bin verliebt. Es ist so schlecht, dass man sogar daran zweifelt, dass Shakespeare der Autor ist. Und all das scheinbar ohne ersichtlichen Grund. Bis das Blut von sich selbst berauscht zum Dirigenten des Geschehens wird. Und damit ein Dritter lacht. Ein unheilvoll irres Lachen …. Hieronymus Bosch c. Source: Wikimedia. Es ist nicht zu dick aufgetragen. Als Ruder dient ein abgebrochener Ast. Die Kirche, ja, die Kirche spielt auf der Laute dazu. Und die Gesichter erst.
Gesichter, die es nicht gibt, nicht geben kann. Grotesk, oder? Bosch hat sie gesehen. Gesichter, an deren Existenz man kaum zu glauben wagt. Die Menschheit kennt sie und versteckt sich vor ihnen. Vor diesen mit einem schmutzigen Schwamm, so scheint es, verschmierten Grimassen. Sie sehen alle gleich aus. Diese grauen Mausgesichter mit den krummen Nasen und den leeren Fischaugen. Aber Nichtsein ist Tod. Sie sind nicht sie selbst. All die Jahre waren sie nicht sie selbst. Mit ihm haben sie ihre Leere vermehrt und ihrem Dasein eine Definition gegeben. Wir sind wie er, er ist wie wir.
Er ist einer von uns. Er ist wir. Nicht ich. Kollektive Verblendung kurz vor dem Abgrund. Ein Schritt weiter und es gibt dich nicht mehr. Du lebst, aber hast kein Bewusstsein. Mit jedem Atemzug. Ich bin da! Dich zu holen! Auf dem Weg in ein erfundenes Russland, das es nicht gibt, hat man ihnen Waffen gegeben. Ein ewiger Niemand, eine ewige Null hat eine Kalaschnikow in die Hand genommen und ist nun eine Gruppe. Kann Hand anlegen. Trotzdem legen sie sich mit der Waffe schlafen. Die Kalaschnikow kann sprechen. Die Kalaschnikow setzt Zeichen. Sie ergibt sogar Sinn.
Sie sind nicht Sohn, nicht Bruder, nicht Vetter. Aber nur durch solche Bande schaffte und schafft man es im Donbas nach oben. Man hat sie ausgenutzt, bestohlen und weggeworfen. Wie geht das — Sein? Wie geht das — Ich-selbst-sein? Sie brauchen einen Kopf. Sie tappen durch kalte Dunkelheit und grapschen nach der ausgestreckten Hand, die ihnen Heimat zu sein scheint. Im Westen gibt es so eine heftige Sehnsucht nach der Vergangenheit nicht. Die Vergangenheit ist schlechter als das Heute. Eine Illusion. Eine Falle. Russland existiert nicht. Das Klicken der Fotoapparate. Der fremde Tod ein Erinnerungsfoto.
Genauer: Der eigene und der fremde Tod. Laut Franz Boas kann es auch innerhalb einer Gesellschaft Formen kultureller Ungleichzeitigkeit geben. Im Klartext: Die Menschen leben in verschiedenen Epochen, kalendarisch befinden sich aber alle im einundzwanzigsten Jahrhundert. Seit vierzehn Jahren. Raub- und Subsistenzwirtschaft ist bei uns im Donbas weit verbreitet. Da gibt es noch viel zu holen. Bunt- und Schwarzmetall. Man gibt es beim Schrottplatz ab. Man lebt davon. Stehlen ist nicht gut. Aber man stiehlt bei sich selbst. Der Boss hat Verbindungen nach oben. Sie zeigen ihre Zufriedenheit, indem sie von Wahlplakaten oder aus dem Fernseher grinsen.
Gejagt wird nicht nur nach Stahl und Metall. Der Schacht ist meist sehr tief. Ohne Licht, ohne Versicherung, ohne Technik. Es ist dunkel. Es ist auch Natur. Den einen gibt die Natur Fische und Bananen. Den anderen Kohle. In Eimern wird sie weggeschleppt. Any adjective can be used as an adverb simply by placing its uninflected form within the sentence, usually towards the end.
Some adverbs are formed by adding -weise to adjectives and nouns in the plural form, and mean "regarding", "with respect to", or "-wise" in English. Construction of new adverbs of this sort is usually frowned upon. Much of the material in this section will be explained in greater detail in the chapter on prepositions. German has a complex system of adverbs based on prepositions, which are used to indicate direction of motion, location, time, and other concepts. English also possesses such a system, though it is used less. Consider the following sentences in English:.
In both English and German, prepositions and particles derived from prepositions are treated as adverbs. In many cases, these prepositional adverbs are associated with specific verbs. In the first two examples, the italicized prepositions are used as adverbs of motion; in the first example, the word "out" indicates the direction "out of the apartment"; in the second case, "over" not only means means the direction "towards", but also implies visitation of a residence.
The third and fourth examples correspond to separable-prefix verbs in German. The word "up" is integral to the verb, which would have a different meaning without the adverb. In the fourth example, it is not even possible to "look someone", whereas it is possible to "look someone up," or "look a candidate's resume over". English even has inseparable prepositional prefix verbs; compare "to look s. The adverbs in the fifth example correspond to da-, wo-, hin- and her- compounds in German. Such compounds are often used in legal texts in English. In such compounds, the object of the preposition is replaced with the words "there" or "here", compounded with the preposition.
The German system of adverbs based on prepositions is considerably more rigorous, and forms the basis of a large part of the language's morphology. A remnant of this in English can be found when describing a child's upbringing. As in English, prepositional adverbs in German to varying degrees alter the meaning of their associated verb. Separable-prefix verbs. This topic is better explored in the chapter on verbs. Separable prefixes are themselves adverbs.
As in English, many of them are integral to the meaning of the verb. Fangen means "to catch," whereas anfangen means "to begin". Most prepositional adverbs are treated as part of the root word in the infinitive, and are used as such in the construction of participles. However, not all possible separable-prefix verbs are lexical; "vorbeikommen" to come over , "vorbeibringen" to bring over , and so on, may not all be listed in a dictionary. It is better to learn "vorbei" as an adverb implying visitation.
The German prefix in is of note. It has two adverbial forms. As in it describes location; when describing movement, it becomes ein. Thus, for example, darin means "in there", whereas darein means "in to there". Another example is the word, einleiten , to introduce. Hin- and her-. Prepositional adverbs of motion are usually based on hin- , implying motion or direction away from the speaker, and her- , implying motion or direction towards the speaker.
Hin and her are themselves stand-alone adverbs meaning the same thing, and describe less-specific motion or direction. One example in which hin is an integral separable prefix is the verb hinrichten , which means "to execute. Not all verbs formed from hin- and her- compounds are lexical. Some examples of hin- and her- compounds are:. Da- compounds are also adverbs, corresponding to "there-" compounds in English. They replace specific prepositional objects. Although are used principally in legal texts and therefore sound formal in English, they are often employed in written and spoken German and are convenient replacements for long and complicated prepositional phrases.
Their comprehension and active use are essential in German. Da- compounds are formed by adding da- before the preposition, with an "r" inserted before prepositions starting with a vowel. There are exceptions to this, and da- compounds are given a fuller treatment in the chapter on prepositions. Hier- and dort- compounds also exist in German, though they are used less frequently. As in English, they are considered formal, and are used primarily in academic and legal texts.
They are best memorized as vocabulary. A noun is a word that can be used to refer to a person, place, thing, quality, or idea, that is, a part of speech. It can serve as the subject or object of a verb. For example, a table ein Tisch , eine Tafel or a computer ein Computer. What makes nouns in German special is that they must start with a capital letter in the written language. German, unlike English, has more than one way to make nouns plural, and plural form, like gender, must be memorized with every noun.
There are twelve different ways to form plurals in German. They are formed by affixes at the end of the word, and the umlaut of the vowel of the stem. When German nouns are used in the plural, their gender becomes irrelevant. The plural can almost be thought of as a gender on its own. In the plural, the definite article is always "die" when using the nominative and accusative cases. When using the dative case, "den" is the definite article of all plurals.
8Unter den Menschen gibt es welche, die sagen:»Wir glauben an Gott und an Und wenn Gott wollte, würde Er ihr Gehör und ihr Augenlicht fortnehmen. Wenn dann von Mir eine Rechtleitung zu euch kommt, dann haben Dann müssen sie entweder in rechtlicher Weise behalten oder im Guten freigegeben werden. Damit hatte er nicht gerechnet; er war sichtlich beeindruckt 2. Falls mir der Dellbriick nochmal in die Parade fährt, wenn ich die Leute dazu gewinnen will, uns bei den Wahlen zu unterstützen, dann knallt's. in Gottes Erdboden ruhen - 10 be in heaven, 10 have passed away das Paradies auf Erden haben path ' 10 have.
All plurals not ending in -n or -s affix an -n. I saw the old men as they played chess. I played chess with the old men. The old men's chess game was not very exciting. Although gender and plural form are often arbitrary, there exist certain suffixes whose gender and plural form are regular. They are mainly feminine. Many masculine nouns are formed by verbal stems without a suffix. Many of these receive an umlaut in their plural form. German, like many other languages, gives each noun a gender: Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter. Plural nouns also act differently not only with the verb of the sentence, but the article preceding it.
However, not all German Nouns are randomly allocated a gender. The following notes will apply to most nouns but not all. This is derived from the diminutive form of Maid old, rarely used - Maidchen. There are far more masculine nouns than of either of the other genders. The masculine nominative definite article is der. The feminine Gender article is die. It is used in the nominative and accusative singular case.
It is also used to indicate nominative and accusative plural for nouns of any gender. The definite article of neuter countries is only used when there is an adjective, e. The definite article of masculine and feminine countries is always used, e. As most German articles can not be attributed to certain rule, it is best to always learn the article when learning the noun. You may think of the article as necessary information belonging to every noun.
You avoid a lot of looking-up-time that way. Most dictionaries do not give the article. Instead, you find different sets of abbreviations which tell you to which class the noun in question belongs. Note: The possessive is not a case of the personal pronoun; rather, it's a pronoun itself. This table shows the possessive pronoun's stem, which is declined as an ein- word that is, like the indefinite article "ein".
The genitive case indicates possession or association, and is equivalent to, and replaces, the English word "of". Strict replacement of the genitive case with the word "of" maintains the word-order of the German nominal phrase: possessed - possessor in genitive. The genitive case also replaces "'s" in English, though reversing the word order possessed then possessor, vs. English: possessor then possessed. German itself also uses an "s" though without the apostrophe to indicate possession, in the same word order as English. It is used mainly with proper nouns, such as "Goethes Heimat", as well as for compounding words.
Standard genitive constructions are used with nouns and modifiers of nouns such as articles and adjectives, and the inflection they receive implies possession. The first noun may be in any case and may occur in any part of the sentence; the second noun, which possesses the first noun, immediately follows the first noun, and is in the genitive case.
The noun in the genitive case need not have any modifiers - e. Proper treatment of the genitive case, including all of the declensions, is found in another part of this book. German pronouns have genitive forms, but they are used only rarely nowadays, mostly in archaic or formal German. In many cases, a preposition can be added to allow a different case to be used. The possessive pronouns mein-, dein-, unser-, etc. Alternatively, one could think of possessive pronouns, for example, "mein-", as replacing the phrase, "of me". Directly translated, "mein-" means "my" in English.
The car belongs to the friend, and the friend belongs to "him". For illustrative purposes, one could conceivably rewrite the prepositional phrase as "without the car accusative case of the friend of him". German's rendering is far less awkward. Despite the difficulty many people have in learning German declensions, case endings in German correspond to each other to a considerable degree.
Specifically, the pronouns bear an obvious resemblance to their parent direct articles. Learning the corresponding third-person declensions side by side allows some people to comprehend the declension pattern more easily. As discussed above, possessive pronouns replace the genitive case for pronouns. In this table, they will be placed where the genitive case is, so that their similarities to other parts of speech that actually are in the genitive case can become clear. German is very rigorous in its use of gender, and will use the pronoun corresponding to the gender of the referential noun, regardless of whether the noun being referenced is a person unlike English, which uses "it" for everything not a person or other entities animals, ships in certain contexts.
Many English speakers have trouble with this, especially in spoken language. Mastery is nonetheless possible with a proper understanding of German declension, use of a few rules of thumb for example, nouns ending in "-chen" are usually neuter , and a considerable amount of practice. Like the s's added to masculine and neuter nouns in the genitive, this is a remnant from when German inflected all of its nouns. Other languages based on declension, such as Russian and Latin, retain that characteristic. Sometimes one will notice an "-e" after masculine and neuter nouns in the dative case, such as the dedication on the Reichstag building - "Dem deutschen Volke", "for the German People".
Here is the ultimate syntax guide for a main clause. German allows a considerable amount of syntactical freedom as parts of speech are indicated through case, rather than syntax. Nonetheless, there are conventions to follow, especially ones that reduce the ambiguity of pronouns. This is the officially-sanctioned syntax of a main clause.
However, German syntax is not written in stone. One has considerable latitude in the way one constructs one's sentence. Before fleshing out the topic, here are some rules, conventions, and words of advice:. Put it in its correct position. For example, you must not split something like, "mit einem Buch", for that is a prepositional phrase, i. Many other sentence elements are, however, only one word. You get a lot better at this as time goes on.
Number one: pronouns before nouns. It doesn't happen very often, though. Put the important stuff at the end. Then you get to your verb, which gives all of the words in the sentence meaning, resulting in a crescendo of emotion and understanding. Or not. But you see how that might work. It will seem perfectly natural that the verb is in the second position, and that the other verbs are at the end. Getting used to subordinate clauses takes more time, but eventually your words go to the right place.
Don't worry about making mistakes, but also try not to forget which verb you have waiting in your head until the sentence ends. Get used to explaining things in terms of "nominative", "accusative", "dative", and "genitive". Same goes for "linking-" and "helping-verbs". Start talking about modal verbs, and modal-like verbs. Syntax is easier.
Second position does not equal second word , as you can see above. However, there is only one group of words allowed before the conjugated verb. Such groups of words are called "phrases". While you can put very long phrases in front of the conjugated verb you mustn't use two. This is a big difference between English and German syntax. Sometimes you have to use more than one verb part in a clause. This is true for Perfekt forms, separable verbs, modals etc. Only one of these verbs is conjugated.
The conjugated verb stays in second position, the other part goes to the end. Sometimes there are even three verbs in a sentence. These usually involve modals and perfect tenses. The conjugated verb is in the second position. The remaining two verbs are at the end of the clause, building inwards that is to mean, what would be the second verb in English is placed at the end, and what would be the third verb is placed before the second verb. In English, you need the position of phrases to determine whether a noun phrase is a subject or an object.
In German the cases tell you which role is assigned to a certain noun phrase. Therefore, the word order is less strict. However, you can put everything there you want to stress.
This is very common with phrases about time or place Examples 2, 3, 7. English speakers need to remember that the first position is restricted to exactly one phrase. You can even put objects in first position Example 8. You do it mostly, if you want to emphasize the object or if you have to repeat the sentence because your partner has not understood this particular part of it. If the subject is not in first position, it goes directly after the conjugated verb Examples 2, 3, 7, 8 , unless preceded by a reflexive pronoun or an accusative or dative pronoun.
However, when looking at wild German sentences you will find structures that do not follow these principles but are nonetheless correct. This is very frequent in spoken language. Mostly the deviation from the neutral structure is caused by a special focus. While they are not wrong, it would be inappropriate to use them all the time.
Therefore it is best to learn the principles described here. If you have mastered them and can use them without thinking about it, you can try some of the deviations. Time seems to be a very important concept for German speaking people. It is mostly mentioned very early in the sentence, either at the very beginning in the first position which means that the subject goes directly after the conjugated verb i.
The sentence "Ich war im Kino gestern" is not exactly wrong, but it would sound weird in most situations. It could be used though in a casual conversation when putting special emphasis on "im Kino", but it's not the regular sentence pattern. The order of objects is different for nouns and pronouns. Pronouns always come before nouns, and reflexive pronouns come before everything except nominative pronouns.
ADDA , mentioned above, is a good way to remember the prescribed order of cases for pronouns and then nouns. As sentences can contain only two objects, here are the three possible combinations deriving from ADDA:. This includes adverbs and prepositional phrases describing how, why, and by what methods the event of the sentence has taken place. In German grammar the term Nachfeld is used to describe parts of the sentence that come after the second part of the verb. The Nachfeld is neglected in most learner's grammars. It is mostly used in spoken language, when people add something to a sentence as an afterthought or with special emphasis.
In written language it is important for comparisons. You put them almost exclusively in the nachfeld. Now try to convert the sentence to the perfect. If you follow the normal sentence structure rules you would have to write: Peter hat mehr Geld als Paul verdient , but this is almost never done. The sentence best accepted by a majority of German speakers is: Peter hat mehr Geld verdient als Paul.
The comparison is put after the past participle. Note that the two items being compared must be in the same case. Du verdienst mehr Geld als ich. This is also correct grammar in English, though it is now almost obsolete among native English speakers. Interrogatives questions change word order in the first two fields or so. There are two kinds. In a question based on a verb, the conjugated verb comes first. Following that is the same string of pronouns first and nouns thereafter and other sentence elements and finally the remaining verbs that was detailed above. The main difference between questions and statements is that the freedom of the first position is eliminated; the item you wanted to emphasize must now find a different position in the sentence.
The ascending-order-of-importance convention still holds. The second kind of question involves a question word or wo-compound, which always comes at the beginning, and is immediately followed by the conjugated verb. They are then followed by the remaining parts of the sentence in the order outlined above. Be mindful of the case of the question word, and make sure never to use a wo-compound when referring to a person.
Imperatives commands also slightly alter the aforementioned main-clause sentence structure. Imperatives are formed in several ways:. This sequence - verb in imperative form, perhaps followed by the person to whom it is directed in the nominative case depending on the kind of imperative used, however - is then followed by all of the other elements of the sentence, in the aforementioned order.
German-speakers, like English-speakers and the speakers of many other languages, consider the use of the imperative mood to be rude, and, as in English, use a conditional or subjunctive construction to convey requests. This will be dealt with in a different section of this book. Before moving on to subordinate and relative clauses, we must address coordinating conjunctions and parallel clauses.
A coordinating conjunction is a conjunction that connects two clauses that are able to stand alone, i. As coordinating conjunctions connect two independent clauses, they do not affect word-order in the two clauses. The first clause is often separated from the second with a comma - especially if it is a long or complicated clause - after which follows the coordinating conjunction and the second clause. Note how "entweder" functions as an adverb. English speakers should take note of the difference between aber and sondern , both of which can be translated directly as "but".
Aber means "however". Sondern means "rather". Many other languages make this distinction. Coordinating conjunctions are rather straightforward, and the number of coordinating conjunctions is few. Subordinate and relative clauses introduce information regarding the main clause that needs to be expressed as a separate clause. They are collectively called "dependent clauses" because they are unable to stand by themselves as independent clauses. Usually, subordinate and relative clauses occupy a part of the main clause that was not fully explained; subordinate clauses tend to fulfill more abstract missing sentence elements than relative clauses do.
Here are a few examples in English:. This last example has two subordinate clauses: because we knew and that you were having a rough time. Subordinate clauses are usually set off by a subordinating conjunction , such as that , because , when , if , and so on. In English, it is sometimes possible to omit the subordinating conjunction, specifically that , resulting in sentences such as, "I know you are unhappy," which is perfectly acceptable in English.
Such an option does not exist in German. Relative clauses relate one element of a clause to another clause by way of a relative pronoun. The system of relative pronouns in German is considerably more extensive than that of English. In German, both subordinate clauses and relative clauses affect syntax, in most cases by moving the conjugated verb to the end of the clause. Both subordinate clauses and relative clauses are set off by a comma in German, which can frequently be omitted in English. We should now examine the two types of clauses in greater detail, and then return to their syntax.
Subordinate clauses are always set off by a comma, and begin with a subordinating conjunction. Here is a list of all subordinating conjunctions in German. Note how all of them answer a question presumably introduced in the main clause:. Furthermore, all interrogative question words, such as wie , wann , wer , and wo , and wo-compounds, may be used as subordinating conjunctions.
Subordinate clauses provide information missing in the main clause. Consider the previous two examples. In both cases, the subordinate clause answered the question, "what? Other subordinate clauses provide information that would otherwise have been provided by one of the several parts of speech. In this example, the subordinate clause, set off by the conjunction, "als", answers the question, "when? The syntax regarding subordinate clauses will be discussed later. At this point, a property of subordinate clauses that is not altogether shared with relative clauses should be pointed out.
Subordinate clauses are themselves parts of speech for the main clause, and to a limited extent can be treated as such. Consider the following two sentences, which are equivalent:. Note how, in the second sentence, the subordinate clause occupied the first position , immediately followed by the conjugated verb. In reality, the use of subordinate clauses as parts of speech integrated into the main clause is limited; they are, for aesthetic reasons, restricted to the first position and to following the main clause.
At both times they are set off from the main clause by a comma. This subordinating conjunction accomplishes the same functions as the English construction, "by [do]ing something By requiring a subject in the clause, the German construction is less susceptible to ambiguity than English is; consider the sentence, "by leaving the door open, the robbers were able to enter the house," which is lacking an agent for the door being left open, even though such a construction is common in spoken English.
This section must make note of the differences between the words, als , wenn , and wann , all of which can mean "when" in English. Als refers to a single event or condition in the past, usually expressed using the preterite tense. Wann is the interrogative word for "when". It's use as a subordinating conjunction is limited to indirect questions and immediate temporal events. Wenn is the most versatile of the three, and has several other meanings beyond its temporal meaning.
In the temporal space wenn describes, events are less recognized, or focuses on a condition, rather than an event. Finally, "wenn" has one other principal function. It also means, "if", and is used in conditional and subjunctive statements. In many ways, a relative clause is a lengthy description of an item in the main clause. Minimally, a relative clause takes a part of speech from the main clause, known as the antecedent and uses it in the dependent clause. What connects the two is a relative pronoun. As should already be published in this book, the following declension table is provided:.
Relative pronouns are similar to the definite article, with the exceptions of the dative plural and the genitive case being marked in bold. Note that the distinctions between "that" and "which"; and "that" and "who" in English do not exist in German, where everything is described with a standard set of relative pronouns with no regard to how integral the qualities described in the relative clause are to the antecedent.
As relative clauses take one item from the main clause and use it in some way in a dependent clause, it is important to consider how relative pronouns work to avoid confusion. All words in German possess gender, number singular or plural , and case. The main clause , as it relates to the antecedent , determines the gender and number of the relative pronoun; the relative clause determines its case.
In order to use relative clauses successfully, it is critical that this point be understood. Gender and number are "inherent" to the antecedent; no grammatical agent could conceivably change those properties. The relative pronoun's case is determined by its role in the relative clause, i. Consider the following examples, all based on "the man", who is masculine and singular, and apparently not well-liked. In each of these examples, the gender and number of the relative pronoun were determined by the antecedent, while the case of the relative pronoun was determined by its role in the relative clause.
Note particularly the genitive example, wherein the relative pronoun, meaning whose , modified a feminine noun, without his gender being affected. Whenever you construct a relative clause, be mindful of this rule. Don't confuse yourself with its complexity, especially regarding the genitive case.
As discussed in the chapter on personal pronouns, the word "whose", as well as other possessive pronouns such as "my", "your", and so forth, is a pronoun and not an adjective. The pronoun always expresses the characteristics of its antecedent, viz. However, if the antecedent is not a person, and the relative pronoun falls within a prepositional phrase, a wo-compound is frequently substituted:. Relative clauses almost invariably follow the item that they are modifying or the main clause as a whole with the gender and number of the relative pronoun indicating - to some extent - which potential antecedent it is referring to.
Very rarely do they precede the main clause. Exceptions to this come in the form of aphorisms and proverbs:. One final property of relative clauses should be discussed. Relative clauses in some way describe their antecedent. The rules governing attributes in German are considerably more flexible than in English, because the German case system reduces ambiguity.
This allows the German speaker to turn a relative clause into an extended attribute, which is essentially a long adjective. Compare the following two sentences, which are equivalent:. Such a construction is ludicrous in English, but not-uncommon in German. The experienced reader of German will, with practice, be able to read through such an item without difficulty. It would be best to review what we have learned about subordinate and relative pronouns before discussing their syntax. Dependent clauses - both subordinating and relative clauses - modify or in some other way describe the antecedent clause upon which they are based.
Subordinating clauses provide a variety of ways in which new information can relate to the main clause, many of which are adverbial in nature e. Relative clauses modify and describe entities already mentioned in the main clause. Generally speaking, only subordinate clauses have the ability to occupy the first position in a main clause. Subordinate and relative clauses have similar syntax. Indeed, neglecting the verbs, they have a syntax similar to main clauses. Recall the syntax described at the beginning of this chapter. That syntax will form the basis of the Mittelfeld in dependent clauses.
Once again, no dependent clause will contain each of these elements. But understanding the position of pronouns is critical. The same conventions listed under the main clause schema apply.
The way the verbs are arranged depends on the number of verbs in the verb-phrase, and the presence of a modal verb. This is the simplest case. Such a clause has one verb, conjugated based on the person and number of the subject of the sentence. This conjugated verb is placed at the end of the clause. A clause with two verbs has one conjugated verb and one verb in the infinitive. In a main clause, the conjugated verb will be in the second position, and the infinitive verb will be at the end of the clause. In a dependent clause, both verbs will be at the end of the clause, with the conjugated verb last.
This supports the principle of "building inwards". Sentences with three verbs typically involve a modal verb, whose presence complicates matters terribly. Let us think of some examples in English. And so on. The problem is, after you've learned how to put your verb at the end of the sentence in a main clause, and after you've learned how to "build inwards" in dependent clauses, and after you've pulled your hair out, night after night, sitting in a cafe in Seattle declining relative pronouns, German grammar throws yet another rule at you, this one so pointless and downright counter-productive, and it seems like German grammar is simply making fun of you at this point, that you leap out of your seat, scream "woo hoo!
The modal verb or the modal-like verb has to be at the end of the verb phrase, regardless of whether it has been conjugated. In cases where it has not, the conjugated verb moves to the beginning of the verb phrase. Let's look at our examples above. This one is straightforward, because the modal verb is the conjugated verb, allowing the clause to follow the "build inwards" principle. The modal verb must come last. No semantic or logical reason for this. Note here that the modal verb does not form a past participle when it has main verb to modify.
Note the somewhat sensible placement of "nicht". Another verb that can take another verb without forming an infinitive clause is bleiben e. These verbs never form infinitive clauses, and the verbs that are used with them go at the end of the sentence. Infinitive clauses are another kind of clause found in German, and are equivalent to infinitive clauses in English. Consider the following examples in English:. Infinitive clauses are formed after verbs that do not regularly take other verbs. They indicate purpose, intent, and meaning of the action in the main clause. As such, infinitive clauses have no subject , or no nouns in the nominative case.
Here are the above examples in German:. Infinitive clauses are usually found after a main clause, though it is possible for them to occupy the first position of a main clause. They are always set off by a comma. Of particular interest is the construction, " um Um is placed at the beginning of the clause, after which follows a standard infinitive clause.
Whereas "in order" is frequently omitted from English infinitive clauses of this sort, " um " is always included such clauses in German. The Mittelfeld follows the standard syntax of main clauses, though without nominative nouns and pronouns. At any rate, infinitive tend to be rather short. Verbs in the infinitive form always come at the end, immediately preceded by the word zu.
In the case of separable-prefix verbs, such a verb is written as one word, with the word zu between the prefix and the main verb; e. German verbs can be classified as weak or as strong. Weak verbs are very regular in their forms, whereas strong verbs change the stem vowel. These verbs are examples of Separable Prefix Verbs.