German passive participle after nouns inflected or not?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Chigch, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Chigch Senior Member

    Nagoya, Japan
    Mongolian
    In modern German, do passive participles also appear after a noun as in 'The car stolen was mine' ?
    In that case, are they still inflected?
     
  2. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Give an example of a sentence in which you would use the expression.
     
  3. Chigch Senior Member

    Nagoya, Japan
    Mongolian
    For example, there is such a context that I made myself:
    Many cars are stolen in this area every year because of the bad security. Yesterday, it was reported again that some good cars were stolen away.

    And I would say 'The cars stolen were mine'.
    I think this is natural in English.
    What I want to know is whether a participle following a noun is natural and whether it is inflected as adjectives in Modern German.

    Is there anybody who knows about this?
     
  4. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    According to my school German the sentence should be. “Die gestohlene autos sind meine”.
    The Independent Possessive Pronoun in plural is meine (the singular forms being: mein, meins, meine for respectively masculine, neuter, and feminine).
    So far as I know, their declension follows the same rules as for adjectives, also in the word order as in this example.
    Maybe the native speakers can confirm/correct me.
     
  5. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    Hello
    The normal sentence in German should be 'Die gestohlenen Autos gehoerten mir'. You might say 'die gestohlenen Autos waren meine', but it would be colloquial. But since the question was about declension/non-declension of participles, I would reply that participles behave like usual adjectives, i.e.: declined if attribute (die gestohlenen Autos), not declined if predicate (die Autos waren/wurden gestohlen). In English I would say 'the stolen cars', but also 'the cars stolen' is possible. The second construction is not possible in German (you cannot say 'die Autos gestohlen'.
     
  6. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    Bulgarian
    En English, both are possible: The stolen cars were mine and The cars stolen were mine. The latter is highly influenced by French and not possible in German.
     
  7. Chigch Senior Member

    Nagoya, Japan
    Mongolian
    Hi Tamarin,

    What do you mean by 'highly influenced by French'?
    Do you mean that the latter construction is originated from French historically?
    Is 'The cars stolen were mine' possible in Modern French?
     
  8. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    In modern French (and other Romance languages) the construction 'the cars stolen were mine' is standard:
    Fr: les automobiles volées étaient les miennes / It: le automobili rubate erano mie.
    Since English is originally a Germanic language, but was strongly influenced by old French, Tamarin's statement that the word sequence the cars stolen (not possible in Germanic languages) could be due to French, is quite reasonable.
     
  9. Chigch Senior Member

    Nagoya, Japan
    Mongolian
    Thank you for explaining.
     
  10. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I am not quite sure this is the right explanation. In older Germanic languages, the position of the attributive adjective was flexible, this also includes older German. With specific regard to attributive participles, I think in early late modern High German the preference in German was approximately as it is in English today: Single attributive participles were usually placed before the head noun and attributive participle phrases usually after the head noun. Today this use is still recognized as "German" but sound extremely archaic. Examples (please note that adjectives placed before the head noun where usually inflected and those placed after it usually not):
    English Older German Modern German
    The running horse Das laufende Pferd Das laufende Pferd
    The horse running around the stable Das Pferd laufend um den Stall Das um den Stall laufende Pferd


    Postpositioned adjectives remained popular in poetic language until the mid 19th century (das Röslein rot). There are certain contexts where postpositions adjectives are still in current use and do not sound poetic but are usually separated by a comma to indicate the unusual sequence:
    Label on a tin: Erbsen, fein.
    Advertisement: Schöne, geräumige Wohnung, ruhig gelegen.
     
  11. Chigch Senior Member

    Nagoya, Japan
    Mongolian
    A very interesting phenomena.
    I am very curious why there was such a change concerning the position of participles in German.

    By the way, do you think this influenced Modern English (The cars stolen were mine) ?
    As far as I know, Old English also had the pattern as Modern English and Old German.
     
  12. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    My suspicion would be regularization, i.e. reduction of variants combined with more stringent inflection rules.
     
  13. Chigch Senior Member

    Nagoya, Japan
    Mongolian
    What does this mean concretely ?
     
  14. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    1) Elimination of post-positioned adjectives.
    2) Elimination of non-inflected attributive adjectives.
     
  15. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    I don't know for sure, but I would question whether the acceptability of English "The car stolen was mine" should be attributed to French. That would leave unexplained why "The car red was/is mine" is totally ungrammatical.

    "The car stolen was mine" means exactly "The car that was stolen was mine". There seems to be a rule of English that allows the relative pronoun + a form of the verb "to be" to be omitted, but only under certain circumstances, as for example when the form of "to be" serves to form the passive, as is the case here.

    Note that altho that the interpretation of the missing passive in "The car stolen was mine" is of a past passive ("that was stolen"), the understood tense is context-dependent. For ex., in "The car stolen is always mine!" a present passive ("that is stolen") is understood.
     
  16. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Moderator note:
    Response to this remark split off here. Please don't reply in this thread.
     

Share This Page