denn, weil (coordinating / subordinating conjunctions)

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Rid, May 8, 2006.

  1. Rid Banned

    Nor
    Could someone explain to me the words that move the verb to the end of a sentence?

    I.E. ob

    If the list is too long to write/post, then if someone could please tell me the linguistic term for these words I would gladly be willing to look them up for myself :)
     
  2. MrMagoo

    MrMagoo Senior Member

    Westphalia, Germany
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    The words you mean are called "subordinating conjunctions" (= Subordinierende or Unterordnende Konjunktionen), while with "coordinating conjunctions" (= Koordinierende or Nebenordnende Konjunktionen), the word order remains.

    This link might be helpful:
    http://class.georgiasouthern.edu/german/grammar/gr-konj.htm

    All the best
    -MrMagoo
     
  3. Rid Banned

    Nor
    Thanks a bunch, MrMagoo :)
     
  4. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    I just wanted to mention one strange thing about German. Correct me if I am wrong. Normally we can assume that subordinating conjunctions introduce something that can't stand alone as a sentence.

    However, "denn" and "weil" are problems. The second is a "verb kicker", but the first is not. In many cases interchanging these two conjunctions does not change the meaning in English at all. :(

    Gaer
     
  5. MrMagoo

    MrMagoo Senior Member

    Westphalia, Germany
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    Hmm, you're right.
    "weil" btw is on it's way to become a "non-verb kicker", too ;)
    So, there might be a few exceptions of the rule, but this should have a reason though, maybe "denn" has been a conjunction with a different meaning in former times which would justify a coordinating form... I'll see if I can find out something about it. ;)

    -MrMagoo
     
  6. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    weil = because (subordinating conjunction in both languages)
    denn = for (coordinating conjunction in both languages)
     
  7. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    Check "for" online, Merriam-Webster, as a conjucntion. Note the fact that the definition shown there is followed by "because" as a synonym.

    "For" and "because" are not always interchangeable. In fact, both you and I can think of countless cases which prove they are not, but in some sentences the meaning is either the same or all but the same.

    "He agreed, because he had no other choice."
    "He agreed, for he had no other choice."

    In this case, "for he had no other choice" most definitely can't stand on it's own. "For" is used as a subordinate conjunction in my opinion, whether it is classified as such or not.

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. ;)

    It appears you are assuming that "because" must be translated with "weil", and "for" must be translated with "weil".

    If I have understood you correctly, I disagree. :)

    Gaer
     
  8. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    Yes, the meaning is the same, but the grammatical classification is different.

    A coordinating conjunction is not considered part of its clause. The clause "he had no other choice" can stand alone.

    I see what you're saying, but for some reason "for" is classified as a coordinating conjunction and "because" as a subordinating conjunction. In English this matters very little, because the word order is not affected by what type of conjunction it is - unlike in German.

    No, "must" is a strong word. However, I would venture to say that whatever difference in nuance exists between "because" and "for" exists between "weil" and "denn." In fact, I do hear a tiny difference between "because" and "for" - not necessarily in meaning, but perhaps in emphasis? And I hear it between "weil" and "denn."
     
  9. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    Elroy,

    According to what I have just read, you are 100% correct. I'm not going to try to add to your quotes, because they will just disappear when I quote your replise to my comments, and no one will be able to follow the logic.

    I found this example on a site covering coordinating conjunctions:

    I hate to waste a single drop of squid eyeball stew, for it is expensive and time-consuming to make.

    However, I see no difference in meaning between that and this:

    I hate to waste a single drop of squid eyeball stew, because it is expensive and time-consuming to make.

    I do perceive some difference, but I'm not quite sure what it is. The sentence with "for" seems a bit more formal, a bit more old-fashioned. I also have the impression that the sentence with "for" might be a bit more common in BE.

    Let me reply to just one thought:
    I agree, and "emphasis" may be part of it. I also think that there is an indefinable difference in nuance between "weil" and "denn", but it does not feel the same to me. :)

    At any rate, I think we are talking about things that are quite subtle and very complicated when considering nuances.

    Gaer
     
  10. optimistique Senior Member

    Also I wanted to add that the difference between 'weil' and 'denn' (apart from their different "conjunction type") is that one is pragmatic and the other semantic. I cannot explain the difference exactly, ask a semantic for that, but I can give an example:

    Es hat geregnet, denn die Strasse ist nass.
    *Es hat geregnet, weil die Strasse nass ist.

    The street being wet is an argument for saying that it has rained, because the street being wet is the result of it having rained.
    The street being wet, however, cannot be the reason why it has rained. That's why you can't use 'weil', because it gives a reason.

    When you turn it around:

    Die Strasse ist nass, denn es hat geregnet.
    Die Strasse ist nass, weil es geregnet hat.

    Then both are possible. You see that 'denn' is wider in meaning, just like the English 'because'. The confusion for English speakers is because 'denn' and 'weil' can sometimes (but not always) be interchangeable, and English has no exact equivalent of 'weil' with its typical meaning.
     
  11. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic

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