Exbraciated...is this an English word invented by Germans?

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kalamazoo

Senior Member
US, English
I ran into this word in the Deutsch forum. I made a tangential comment that I didn't think this was actually an English word, but my comment got deleted for being off-topic, which it was, but not before the poster replied that it was a term used in linguistics. I searched for 'exbraciated' in the German forum and saw that it was being used a fair number of times. But then I searched all of WR forums, and it only appeared in the German forum, plus one entry elsewhere that was also associated with German. I can't find it in the OED or in Linguee. So I began to think that although this word looks like a real English word, maybe it is just a word that Germans thought up and started to use in English.
 
  • Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    I've never heard of if, and googling it I find most results come from texts written by Germans. Is it a thing in German linguistics? :confused:
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    You can find lots of examples in the Deutsch forum, but here is one: " Another interpretation might be: it is the separable particle, and the part ''in die Disko'' is exbraciated (taken out) for style reasons: but I prefer the former reading). " Here is another: " Als is not a preposition but a conjunction. Hence als Kind cannot be a prepositional adverb. I would call it an adverbial apposition. And yes, as such it can be exbraciated into both, the post-field of a main and a subordinate clause. " These are in italics because this is the word I searched for; they are not italicized in the original posts.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Google Translate says the original German term means literally "to put outside the brackets" thus ex + brace + ate = to make outside the braces. :) but it also just means to exclude or ignore.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Yes, that is what the German word means, but they are using an English word that doesn't seem to be a real English word at all. You can see that the word is related to the Latin word for "arm" (think 'embrace' for instance, or "brachiate" like Tarzan or 'bracelet' and brackets are like arms around something also). They seem to be using the word 'exbraciated' to mean that a clause or an expression can be moved into a different place in a German sentence. The odd thing about this to me is that Germans are writing in English (excellent English) using an "English-seeming" word that doesn't seem to be an actual English word.
     

    morior_invictus

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    So I began to think that although this word looks like a real English word, maybe it is just a word that Germans thought up and started to use in English.
    It could be. I have never heard of it, but then again, I'm not a linguist.
    This chapter examines a construction which has existed in all Germanic languages at some stage in their history. In English it is known variously as 'sentence brackets/brace/frame', 'two-pronged predicate' and 'embraciation'; in German Satzklammer, verbale Klammer, Satzrahmen, Einklammerung, Zangenkontruktion; and in Dutch it is typically referred to as the tangkonstruktie.
    [...]
    In Modern Dutch, prepositional phrases occasionally leak out of the brace, but otherwise it is a fixed feature of the language [...]
    In German, for example, it is referred to as Ausklammerung or an instance of unvollständiger Rahmen. The term most current in recent literature is exbraciation (originating from Vennemann 1974).
    Source: BURRIDGE, K. Syntactic Change in Germanic: Aspects of Language Change in Germanic with Particular Reference to Middle Dutch. 1993


    Theo Vennemann is a German historical linguist.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    I'm not a linguist OR a German-speaker OR a historian. What chance do I have?

    To me "brachiated" means "travelled by swinging from branch to branch". That's the closest word I know in English.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    It's common enough for specialized cultural theory or philosophy written in English to adopt terms from German or French especially, when there is no direct translation into English. I've never heard this word before but it's the kind of term that does get used this way.
     
    It could be. I have never heard of it, but then again, I'm not a linguist.

    Source: BURRIDGE, K. Syntactic Change in Germanic: Aspects of Language Change in Germanic with Particular Reference to Middle Dutch. 1993


    Theo Vennemann is a German historical linguist.
    The term 'embraciation' exists in English, in linguistics. But note the thread is about "exbraciation." Perhaps the OP misspelled the word.

    442 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 62, NUMBER 2 (1986)
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/414684 · PDF file
    and cultural factors, but she offers only plausible scenarios: "the disappearance of embraciation in English, for example, may also be due partly to ... influences from French.' (See Lightfoot 1979a, Ch. 7,

    -----
    ADDED: Note that Motor in post #8 quotes a text (Burridge) that uses both terms {DELETE-->}(I think) interchangeably.
     
    Last edited:

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    The term 'embraciation' exists in English, in linguistics. But note the thread is about "exbraciation." Perhaps the OP misspelled the word.
    No, I don't think so.
    Exbraciation is the logical antonym to embraciation. Actually you do have the term extraposition in English, which seems to be similar to the idea of exbraciation. But it's not unthinkable that these terms describe different governing logics that cause the movement of sentence constituents. (At least some google hits seemed to suggest a difference.)

    I googled "extraposition vs exbraciation" and got quite a number of results, many of which come from British and American universities.
    One book that is cited quite often is " "Motivations for exbraciation in Old English" (1977) " by Robert P. Stockwell from UCLA.

    Personally I see 'exbraciation' as linguistics jargon and I don't find it surprising that you cannot find it in "normal dictionaries".
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    It is an English word; it just hasn’t made it into dictionaries — many words haven’t.

    It’s a common term in linguistics. It’s no surprise that here on WRF, it’s almost exclusively found in the German forum: German is the most widely spoken and studied language whose syntax features exbraciation.
     
    I wonder if we have an example from an expert of exbraciation in English. It is somewhat like the distancing of prepositions, as in a sentence such as this: The new king tore the old palace and all its turrets down.

    Or is it that German allows a sentence that's not good in English such as this: At the casino, he spent by a factor of ten over. [overspent by a factor of ten].
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    I wonder if we have an example from an expert of exbraciation in English. It is somewhat like the distancing of prepositions, as in a sentence such as this: The new king tore the old palace and all its turrets down.
    I'm not really an expert, but basically it does follow the idea in your example with the verb phrase "to tear <something> down."
    "Tear" and "down" creates a verb bracket that encloses the direct object. In English you're allowed to move the object to the end, ie. The new king tore down the old palace and all its turrets.

    Ontop of that we have a lot more verb brackets in German, created by the finite auxiliary verb and a non-finite main verb, which allow this sort of exbraciation in some cases but not in others. And the concept behind this is explained with "exbraciation"...or something like that. :rolleyes: German grammar can be rather complicated to learn or explain.

    Old English was very similar in its structure to Old High German, which in turn is still close to Modern German. Based on the book title I posted above, it's safe to assume that this concept of exbraciation was also prevalent in Old English.
     
    I'm not really an expert, but basically it does follow the idea in your example with the verb phrase "to tear <something> down."
    "Tear" and "down" creates a verb bracket that encloses the direct object. In English you're allowed to move the object to the end, ie. The new king tore down the old palace and all its turrets.

    Ontop of that we have a lot more verb brackets in German, created by the finite auxiliary verb and a non-finite main verb, which allow this sort of exbraciation in some cases but not in others. And the concept behind this is explained with "exbraciation"...or something like that. :rolleyes: German grammar can be rather complicated to learn or explain.

    Old English was very similar in its structure to Old High German, which in turn is still close to Modern German. Based on the book title I posted above, it's safe to assume that this concept of exbraciation was also prevalent in Old English.
    Thanks for the explanation. :thumbsup: :thank you: (Spellcheck is asking if I mean "excruciation"!! )
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    "Verb bracket" seems to be another such term. :)
    :D Well, it's linguistics jargon. I thought that the idea of 'syntactic/semantic/etc. bracketing' is a fairly common concept in linguistics in general. But granted, jargon terms are not always self-explanatory.

    Or is it that German allows a sentence that's not good in English such as this: At the casino, he spent by a factor of ten over. [overspent by a factor of ten].
    Yes, that exists too.
    If you translate "I can see that" into German, you get "I can that see", which of course is totally unacceptble in English. Here, the modal 'can' and the verb 'see' create a verb bracket that encloses the object. Exbraciation is not allowed in this case, but it is obligatory in some other cases, and facultative in again some other cases. o_O:D

    I'm starting to understand why your spellcheck (rightfully) suggested "excrutiation." ;)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    If you translate "I can see that" into German, you get "I can that see", which of course is totally unacceptable in English. Here, the modal 'can' and the verb 'see' create a verb bracket that encloses the object.
    Yes. That ties in with BURRIDGE, K. Syntactic Change in Germanic: Aspects of Language Change in Germanic with Particular Reference to Middle Dutch. 1993 (see #8 above and, specifically, here.)
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It strikes me that exbraciate as a verb means the action of taking something that is in brackets and putting it outside them, as you would do in mathematics with common factors:

    To convert the expression (AB+AC) into the expression A(B+C), you are moving A outside the brackets.

    I can't think of a single-word English verb for this action, but there is one in German (though it's actually a composite of an adverb and a verb), and this word (which is not permitted here) would, if literally translated into Latin, come out precisely as "exbraciate".
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    :D Well, it's linguistics jargon. I thought that the idea of 'syntactic/semantic/etc. bracketing' is a fairly common concept in linguistics in general. But granted, jargon terms are not always self-explanatory.
    Yes, but what I'm saying is that like exbraciate, it seems to be literally translated from the German term and not used by native English speakers about English. It may well be that native English speakers do use it about other languages, but I have no way of knowing that.
     
    The website Easy Deutsch's page for "sentence brackets" gives such an example.
    Thanks Paul. So there is a range of examples, e.g. with 2 verbs, such as--in parallel-- the English examples (mine)
    :

    B2: I have with {great regret that my hand was forced} gone to the City Police to report the incident.
    B3: I would {if there are no other options} go to the police about this matter.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Yes, I considered parenthesize and de-parenthesize but that does not quite capture the function in Germanic languages - English has lost it although "I have much money expended and do sorely regret it" was the sort of thing that was at one time acceptable.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Perhaps you mean 'facilitative' ?
    He means “optional.” False friend. ;)
    like exbraciate, it seems to be literally translated from the German term and not used by native English speakers about English.
    “exbraciate” is used in English to refer to any language in which it’s relevant. I haven’t tried to find out the native languages of all the authors who have used it in linguistics publications, but I’m sure some of them are native speakers of English.
     
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