nach fünf Jahren zivilem Engagement

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Dupon, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. Dupon Senior Member

    Chinese
    UN-Sprecher David Wimhurst erklaert: “Wir sorgen hier für einen funktionierenden Rechtsstaat, dafür, … dass Menschenrechte geachtet und die Grenzen gesichert werden”.
    Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge nach fünf Jahren zivilem Engagement aufmerksam: Die Blauhelme sicherten nicht nur die Wahlen im Jahre 2006, sie trugen auch zur Katastrophenhilfe bei, als Haiti 2008 stark überschwemmt wurde.

    Here zivilem Engagement is a Dativ, but I think it is not the object of the verb "macht". Is it the Dativ after the preposition "nach"?
    But why there is "fünf Jahren" between "nach" and "zivilem"?

    Thanks!
     
  2. perpend

    perpend Senior Member

    American English
    I'm curious at this point, too, Dupon.

    I think you could read it two ways:
    ... nach fünf Jahren von zivilem Engagement ...
    ... nach fünf Jahren zivilem Engagement ... ("von" elided).

    "fünf Jahren" seems like an adverbial phrase to me. Where would you place it?
     
  3. Dupon Senior Member

    Chinese
    I would agree with "... nach fünf Jahren von zivilem Engagement ..."
    "... nach fünf Jahren zivilem Engagement ..." just sounds not like German. The word order is more like Chinese...

    Hope some native speakers could give some explaination.

     
  4. manfy Senior Member

    Singapore
    German - Austria
    :thumbsup:
    Grundaussage: "Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge aufmerksam".
    Welche Erfolge? "Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge nach zivilem Engagement aufmerksam"
    Mehr Details zum Engagement: "Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge nach fünf Jahren zivilem Engagement aufmerksam"
     
  5. Schimmelreiter

    Schimmelreiter Senior Member

    Deutsch
    Basically, the prepositional object is auf die Erfolge.

    The prepositional object is expanded into a noun phrase by the adverbial nach fünf Jahren.

    nach fünf Jahren
    is modified by the apposition zivilem Engagement, which is in the dative to agree with fünf Jahren. Such agreement is in the nature of appositions.

    I'd prefer the partitive genitive over the apposition: nach fünf Jahren zivilen Engagements. This would be similar to English grammar (following five years of civil efforts), with of + noun corresponding to the German genitive.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  6. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Strictly speaking the dative is wrong here. It is a colloquial replacement of the partitive genitive (nach fünf Jahren zivilen Engagements). Today this is largely accepted even in standard language, especially in Austria and Switzerland but recently also in Germany. If I had written that sentence in high school in the 1970 my teachers would probably have marked it as a grammar fault.

    EDIT: Crossed with Schimmelreiter. @SR: I don't think the analysis as an apposition makes sense here. For me it is still a instance of replacement of partitive genitive by dative... And I still perceive it as a grammar fault in contexts that require standard language. When I read things like this is renowned newspapers like FAZ or NZZ it makes my teeth cringe.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  7. Schimmelreiter

    Schimmelreiter Senior Member

    Deutsch
    Let's compare it with an apposition in the accusative (which I wouldn't use either but replace with the partitive genitive again): Sie wurden für fünf Jahre ziviles Engagement ausgezeichnet.

    I believe fünf Jahren is a measurement, like drei Kilogramm: either mit drei Kilogramm feingemahlenem Mehl or mit drei Kilogramm feingemahlenen Mehls​: apposition vs. partitive genitive.
     
  8. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    If it is a measurement, you can omit that measurement without changing the basic meaning of the sentence:
    Sie wurden für fünf Jahre ziviles Engagement ausgezeichnet.
    Sie wurden für ziviles Engagement ausgezeichnet.:tick:

    And now try this with our sentence:
    Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge nach fünf Jahren zivilem Engagement aufmerksam.
    Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge nach zivilem Engagement aufmerksam.:eek:
     
  9. Schimmelreiter

    Schimmelreiter Senior Member

    Deutsch
    Ja, das klingt blöd. Die Frage ist, ob das Blödklingen die grammatikalische Analyse beeinflusst. Tatsächlich stellten sich ja die Erfolge nach zivilem Engagement ein. Man könnte ja auch sagen:

    Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge nach fünfjährigem zivilem Engagement aufmerksam.
     
  10. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I'd say yes.

    Let me add a formal, syntactic description of the difference between the two cases:
    It is a characteristic of appositions that they are on the same recursion level in the syntax tree as the NP they follow. Consequently, if NP+apposition is preceded by a preposition, the preposition equally applies to both:
    Er steht auf drei Tonnen Beton – He is standing on three tons (of material) and he is standing on concrete.
    Er schimpfte auf Karl den Großen – He railed against Charles and he railed against the great one.

    In our sentence, nach only applies to fünf Jahre. If you applied it to ziviles Engagement the sentence would completely change its meaning: It would mean that success only occurred after ziviles Engagement was stopped, i.e. it would mean exactly the opposite than what is meant. Hence, ziviles Engagement can only be analyzed as attributing fünf Jahre and hence only as partitive genitive.

    This is not exactly the same statement. I would (at least tentatively) undertand this to mean that ziviles Engagement was limited to five years and I don't detect this connotation in the original sentence. The original sentence only says that five years have elapsed and that these five years were spent with ziviles Engagement. It does not imply anything about how much longer it would last.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  11. Schimmelreiter

    Schimmelreiter Senior Member

    Deutsch
    · Your analysis is excellent.

    · We agree that Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge nach fünf Jahren zivilem Engagement aufmerksam​ had better be rephrased to include the partitive genitive: Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge nach fünf Jahren zivilen Engagements aufmerksam​.

    · We agree that the dative is a colloquial replacement of the partitive genitive.

    · Why can’t we also agree that the colloquial dative is a dative because it’s used as an apposition: The use of an apposition is colloquial here.

    · What’s the alternative? Saying that the dative functions as a colloquial replacement of the partitive genitive without being in appositional agreement with the preceding noun? This would lead to colloquial sentences like *Sie wurden für fünf Jahre zivilem Engagement ausgezeichnet/*Ich habe zwei Kilo blauen Weintrauben gekauft.

    · Bottom line: You’re perfectly right to say there can’t be an apposition in Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge nach fünf Jahren zivilem Engagement aufmerksam in standard German. But I believe it is an apposition and, hence, colloquial. I don’t see a tendency towards colloquially replacing the partitive genitive with a non-appositional, non-agreeing dative. It’s the apposition that makes nach fünf Jahren zivilem Engagement colloquial.
     
  12. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Because I believe that colloquial replacement of the partitive genitive is a more accurate description of what has actually happened and how the syntax tree is actually parsed by modern speakers. I believe that speakers actually understand Jahre as the head noun of the NP and zivilem Engagement as an attribute of this head noun and the that the preposition applies only to the NP as a whole and not to individual parts of it separately.

    I also believe that the following sencence are both well-formed in colloquial German:
    Sie wurden für fünf Jahre ziviles Engagement ausgezeichnet. (Apposition)
    Sie wurden für fünf Jahre zivilem Engagement ausgezeichnet. (Colloquial partitive dative)
     
  13. Schimmelreiter

    Schimmelreiter Senior Member

    Deutsch
    You accept this sentence as colloquial, so your reasoning is consistent. I haven't come across this phenomenon (yet).
     
  14. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    My argument is based on my own intuition as native speaker of both registers. It would be interesting to research, if this intuition is reflected in actual usage.
     
  15. manfy Senior Member

    Singapore
    German - Austria
    I have trouble seeing this as colloquial! (not some of your other examples, though)

    Would you say the same about these extended versions?
    Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge nach nur 3 Tagen (an/von) zivilem Engagement aufmerksam, um von den Schwierigkeiten und Unruhen des anfänglich rein militärischen Einsatzes abzulenken.

    as opposed to:
    Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge nach nun zivilem Engagement aufmerksam, um...

    as opposed to:
    Er macht stolz auf die Erfolge des nun zivilen Engagements aufmerksam, um...
     
  16. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    In these particular examples there is on purpose no opposition between standard and colloquial. I tried to prove my point with a reductio ad absurdum assuming there were no such thing as a colloquial partitive dative and the dative in this sentence were an apposition that would also be valid in standard language. The reductio ad absurdum was then based on the contention that if it were an apposition then it should be possible to remove fünf Jahren and still arrive at the same basic statement. In #10 I presented that arument in more detail.
     

Share This Page