German dependent clauses

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Macnerd
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German dependent clauses

Postby Macnerd » 2016-12-09, 19:53

I asked the following question on another German language forum last week. They have yet to answer my question. So, I'm trying another German language forum.

I know that in German the verb goes at the end of a dependent clause. Well, I have a "worst case scenario" for you. Suppose that there's a noun clause that's modified by an adjective clause which is modified by an adverb clause! What's the word order? I can't provide an example so I hope that you can.

kevin
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Re: German dependent clauses

Postby kevin » 2016-12-09, 20:50

Not sure if I completely understand what you're looking for and why this should be a "worst case" for word order, but how close is this example to the structure you have in mind:

Er hat einen Hund, der immer bellt, wenn es regnet.

If this is what you mean, and because you're specifically asking for the word order, I'll give you this option as well:

Er hat einen Hund, der, wenn es regnet, immer bellt.

Both options are correct and sound natural.

Macnerd
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Re: German dependent clauses

Postby Macnerd » 2016-12-09, 22:42

A noun dependent clause modified by an adjective dependent clause & the adjective dependent clause is modified by an adverb dependent clause is grammatically feasible.

I used Google to translate the sentence in your reply.

According to Google it means "He has a dog that always barks when it rains" .

"Er hat einen Hund (He has a dog)" is an independent clause.

The second translation is "He has a dog that, when it rains, always barks.".

"That always barks" is modifying "dog" & "when it rains" is modifying "that always barks".

So the word order is basically the same as in English.

Interesting! It is interesting that German uses "der" for "that".

I'd love to create a language. I've spent hours on Wikipedia & YouTube & the internet learning about grammar & syntax.

I'm going to have a lot of questions to ask on this forum!

kevin
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Re: German dependent clauses

Postby kevin » 2016-12-10, 10:24

Maybe I was confused because I thought you were asking about the word order in some advanced special case, but now it seems you're just interested in German word order in general?

Macnerd wrote:So the word order is basically the same as in English.

It may look like it from this simple example, but it's not really the case. English uses SVO, whereas German has V2 (verb-second) word order in main clauses and SOV in dependent clauses. It looked the same because my example doesn't have an object in the dependent clauses.

This is the effect that V2 word order has. In simple sentences, the first position is taken by the subject, so putting the (finite) verb second looks like the English SVO. However, if you add something like an adverbial phrase at the beginning, the verb still takes the second position and the subject moves to after it:

Ich sehe das Haus
"I see the house"

Jetzt sehe ich das Haus
"Now see I the house"
Now I see the house

A relative clause with an object looks like this:

Er hat einen Hund, der den Briefträger beißt.
"He has a dog that the postman bites"
He has a dog that bites the postman.

Interesting! It is interesting that German uses "der" for "that".

The relative pronoun is declined and most of its forms are identical with the definite article. In this case it's "der" because "Hund" is masculine and singular and we need the nominative case because it's used as the subject of the relative clause.

For example, if you used it as the object in the relative clause, in English the actual word order would change, but in German you just use different cases (accusative for the relative pronoun and nominative for the "Briefträger"):

Er hat einen Hund, den der Briefträger beißt.
"He has a dog that the postman bites"
He has a dog that the postman bites.

I'd love to create a language. I've spent hours on Wikipedia & YouTube & the internet learning about grammar & syntax.

How many different languages did you check yet? Definitely a good idea to get familiar with different concepts if you want to avoid creating a copy of English, just with different words.

Macnerd
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Re: German dependent clauses

Postby Macnerd » 2016-12-10, 14:45

Let's say that the subject is a noun dependent clause which is modified by an adjective dependent clause which is in turn modified by an adverb dependent clause. Because of V2, the verb of the independent clause comes next. Are 3 dependent clauses in a row syntactically correct as a subject?

How many different languages did you check yet? Definitely a good idea to get familiar with different concepts if you want to avoid creating a copy of English, just with different words.

Lots! Native American, Hebrew, Arabic, Danish, Swedish, Yiddish, Spanish, French, Portuguese. I have a list of Ogden's Basic English. OOPS! We're getting off of the subject.

kevin
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Re: German dependent clauses

Postby kevin » 2016-12-10, 18:20

Macnerd wrote:Are 3 dependent clauses in a row syntactically correct as a subject?

So essentially my first example, except that the relative clause modifies the subject now instead of the object, right? There's no reason why it wouldn't be correct. Or if you want it a little more complex:

Wer einen Hund hat, der immer bellt, wenn es regnet, besitzt einen bei Regen bellenden Hund.
"Who a dog has, that always barks, when it rains, owns an at rain barking dog."


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