Größe - Subjektgröße, Objektgröße (grammar)

radagasty

Senior Member
Australia, Cantonese
I am having trouble understanding the meaning of the noun Größe as a grammatical term, as none of the definitions given in the dictionary, here or on the Duden website, seems to apply. For instance, in a textbook on Hebrew Grammar, I read:

» Prädikativ-Ergänzungen bzw. -Angaben, d.h. Satzglieder, die weder Aktant (Subjekt oder Objekt) noch Adverbiale sind: Sie dienen der Identifizierung (durch Gleichsetzung bzw. Klassifizierung) oder der näheren Beschreibung folgender Größen: (a) der Subjektgröße, wobei man von Subjektsprädikativ-Ergänzung oder -Angabe sprechen kann, z.B.: וְהָיִיתָ מֶּלֶךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל (b) der Objektgröße, was zur Bezeichnung Objektsprädikativ-Ergänzung oder -Angabe führt, z.B.: מְשַׁחְתִּיךָ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל. «

I am having trouble understanding the word Größe, and of course its compounds Subjektgröße and Objektgröße. What are their equivalents in English?

Thanks in advance.
 
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  • Kajjo

    Senior Member
    This is not an established term, but seems to be a quite artificial pseudo-linguistic term with the same meaning as Subjekt or Objekt.

    The German term appears to try to extend the mathematical "Größe" (quantity and dimension) to linguistics, however, without providing a sensible concept, at least not in the cited paragraph. Maybe the terms are defined in other parts of the script.

    Maybe the author wanted to coin a term that is more general as Objekt itself, so that Objektgröße includes not only direct and indirect objects, but also object clauses and the like. However, Objekt can be understood in this sense anyway.

    Tip: Just ignore the -größe and treat the words as if simply Subjekt or Objekt were written.
     
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    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Hi Radagasty,

    I found a document:
    https://www.gs.uni-heidelberg.de/md.../felder_form-funktion-perspektivenwechsel.pdf

    • Die jeweilige Subjektgröße hat einen konstitutiven Einfluss auf die Zuordnung: Bsp.: „Wir dürfen heute also nicht das konsumieren, was wir unseren Kindern und Enkeln als Zukunftschancen eröffnen wollen.“
    • Die Zuordnung ist dem Subjekt von außen auferlegt: 15 Bsp.: „Angesichts der schwierigen weltwirtschaftlichen Lage, die natürlich unmittelbare Auswirkungen auf die Konjunktur und das Wachstum in Deutschland hat, müssen wir eines erkennen: Es ist jetzt nicht die Zeit, neue Forderungen zu stellen, ohne zu neuen Leistungen bereit zu sein.“

    I think they mean the properties of the subject.

    In your case they compare "König von Israel"="King of Israel" (Translated with Google translator). You can compare the properties of the king with properties of other persons.
    Usually "Größe" has two meanings in German at the same time: value and name of the property.

    --
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I agree with Kajjo's understanding that the author tries to find a term for a common category to which both subject and object belong. But his dismissive tone is completely inappropriate. Like most Hebrew grammers written in German this text probably dates from the mid 19th century, the pinnacle of German Orientalistik. At this time Western grammarians were struggling with developing adequate terminology for Semitic grammar.

    In modern valency theoretical terminology you would probably speak of the arguments of a verb. In the first example melekh `al-Yisrael is a predicative extension of the subject argument of hayita, which is the second person singular masculine implicit in the conjugational form and in the second example it is a predicative extension of the object in mshaHtikha, the clitic second person singular masculine object -kha. I am not quite sure why this wouldn't be an adverbial governed by the preposition l-. Maybe @elroy can shed some light on it. His Hebrew is far better than mine. But that is another story. After all, we are not discussing Hebrew grammer here.
     
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    radagasty

    Senior Member
    Australia, Cantonese
    Thank you, Kajjo, Hutschi and Berndf for your comments. The extract is actually from the current (2016) edition of Lettinga and Siebenthal’s Grammatik des Biblischen Hebräisch, it may surprise you to learn, and not from some 19th century text.

    At any rate, the consensus seems largely to be take Größe is somehow intended as a term used to cover both the subject and the object, but isn’t that how Aktant is used in the same sentence? The latter is another word I didn’t understand, but the explanation in brackets suggests that meaning.

    At any rate, how one would translate the passage into English? Here is my attempt, but I would appreciate it if someone could supply the missing words:

    “Predicative complements or modifiers, i.e., sentence elements which are neither ________ (subject or object) nor adverbials: They serve to identify (through identification or classification) or to describe more closely the following ________: (a) the _____________, wherein one may speak of a subject-predicative complement or modifier, e.g., וְהָיִיתָ מֶּלֶךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל (b) the ______________, that which leads to the designation of an object-predicative complement or modifier, e.g., מְשַׁחְתִּיךָ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל.”

    I think I grasp what the sentence is saying about the grammar of the Hebrew examples, but I am having difficulty translating passage into English, because I don’t understand the key terms Aktant and Größe.

    P.S., What does › was zur Bezeichnung Objektsprädikativ-Ergänzung oder -Angabe führt ‹ ‘leads to the designation of an object-predicative complement or modifier’ mean? Does is simply mean that you can speak of it as ‘an object-predicative complement or modifier’?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Thank you, Kajjo, Hutschi and Berndf for your comments. The extract is actually from the current (2016) edition of Lettinga and Siebenthal’s Grammatik des Biblischen Hebräisch, it may surprise you to learn, and not from some 19th century text.
    It does indeed. Thank you.
    isn’t that how Aktant is used in the same sentence?
    Good point. Could it be that they use Aktant for the grammatical subject and object, i.e. the implicit nominative pronoun ata in the first sentence and for the clitic accusative pronoun -kha in the second sentence while Größe means the actual referents (Joroboam and Jehu, respectively)? Would that make sense?
     

    radagasty

    Senior Member
    Australia, Cantonese
    Could it be that they use Aktant for the grammatical subject and object, i.e. the implicit nominative pronoun ata in the first sentence and for the clitic accusative pronoun -kha in the second sentence while Größe means the actual referents (Joroboam and Jehu, respectively)? Would that make sense?

    Hmm... I am not sure that is how it is being used, since, by my reading, Größe seem to refer also to elements of a sentence, rather than to the referents themselves. (Of course, German is not my strongest language, so I may be misinterpreting things.)

    I am, I have to say, also having difficulty working out the definition of Aktant. The definition given by Wiktionary is [Substantiv m.] » Linguistik, Dependenzgrammatik: von der Valenz einer Wortart, insbesondere eines Verbs abhängiges, für die Bildung eines grammatikalischen Satzes obligatorisches oder fakultatives Satzglied «, but I don't understand this definition, or, at least, I cannot see that it is a complete definition. I would translated this as “an obligatory or optional sentence element for the formation of a grammatical sentence, depending of the valency of a part of speech, especially of a verb”, but does this actually define anything? Perhaps I have mistranslated the definition.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I am, I have to say, also having difficulty working out the definition of Aktant.
    It is an umbrella term for the referents all the nouns and noun equivalents that depend on a verb, i.e. subject, predicative nouns, direct, indirect and propositional objects. Valency theory essentially sees a verb as a function with a number of argument, the Aktanten. I gave Jim a book: give(subject, indirect object, direct object) = give(I, Jim, book). For this way or looking at it you need a common term for those semantic elements.
     

    radagasty

    Senior Member
    Australia, Cantonese
    Could it be that they use Aktant for the grammatical subject and object, i.e. the implicit nominative pronoun ata in the first sentence and for the clitic accusative pronoun -kha in the second sentence while Größe means the actual referents (Joroboam and Jehu, respectively)?

    Having now made somewhat more progress through the Hebrew grammar in question, I think you are right here about the distinction between Aktant and Größe. I am still struggling to define the latter, or come up with an equivalent English term, but it does seem to mean the actual referents of the subject/object.
     

    PoulBA

    Member
    Danish
    Aktant, a sentence member in valency grammar. As opposed to various free complements the aktant is determined by the lexical content of a governing word, such as subject and object of a transitive verb. In "The man built a greenhouse in his garden" "the man" and "greenhouse" are aktants, but "the garden" a free complement. (My translation - aktant | lex.dk – Den Store Danske - except that the original uses a Danish king and a palace)
    if you substitute "entity" for "Größe", I think your sentence from the Hebrew grammar reads quite nicely
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Aktant, a sentence member in valency grammar. As opposed to various free complements the aktant is determined by the lexical content of a governing word, such as subject and object of a transitive verb. In "The man built a greenhouse in his garden" "the man" and "greenhouse" are aktants, but "the garden" a free complement. (My translation - aktant | lex.dk – Den Store Danske - except that the original uses a Danish king and a palace)
    Yes, that agrees with what has been explained before.

    if you substitute "entity" for "Größe", I think your sentence from the Hebrew grammar reads quite nicely
    In what way? Replacing Größe by Entität doesn't make is any clearer to me. Could you explain? Do you agree or disagree with the explanation proposed in #7 and its corroboration in #10?
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    Replacing Größe by Entität doesn't make is any clearer to me.
    Well, I regard the idea to use "entity" in ENGLISH translation to mean "Größe" as quite fitting. We were all looking for an equivalent like that. In German, Entität/Größe are close enough together so that back-translation would fit, too.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Well, I regard the idea to use "entity" in ENGLISH translation to mean "Größe" as quite fitting. We were all looking for an equivalent like that. In German, Entität/Größe are close enough together so that back-translation would fit, too.
    Unless I have an idea what Größe means in the given context I can't possibly know if it is fitting. I gave my understanding and @radagasty is now agreeing and based on that interpretation Entität and by extension English entity doesn't make it any clearer to me. So, I still don't know if it is a fitting translation.
     
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