Johann rief ich an. (fronting)

I was wondering if anyone could possibly tell me which of the below are possible? (The capitalized-letter words mean that they get/bear prominences like strong stresses and/or high pitches.) Thank you so much in advance for your kind help.

1. Johann rief ich an.
2. Johann rief ICH an(, nicht SIE).
3. Johann RIEF ich AN(, nicht BESUCHTE ich).
4. Johann, ich rief ihn an.
5. Johann, ICH rief ihn an(, nicht SIE).
6. Johann, ich RIEF ihn AN(, nicht BESUCHTE ihn).

If any plural number of the above are possible, I wonder what the nuances between or among them are.

In English, the below are said to be admissible:
John I called. (= Regarding John, I called him. = If you ask about John, I called him. = When it comes to John, I called him.)
John, I CALLED him(, not VISITED him).
(I fail to know whether or not "I" could be stressed too.)
 
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  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    The elefant in the room is missing:
    JOHANN rief ich an.

    If you front the object then it is automatically prominent. It doesn't make sense to front Johann and then stress ich.
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    Default order:

    Ich rief Johann an.

    With emphasis on Johann:

    Johann rief ich an.

    If any plural number of the above are possible, I wonder what the nuances between or among them are.
    All versions are theoretically possible, but the stress pattern is mostly unlikely.

    Please note that the versions with comma usually imply that "ihn" is not equal to Johann, so the meaning drastically changes. With comma, "Johann" is an interjection and possible addressee of the sentence, not the object!

    It doesn't make sense to front Johann and then stress ich.
    That's very important: If you front "Johann" is is automatically stressed by word order. To stress another word later is possible, but rarely done.
     

    WhyNot?

    Member
    German - Germany
    You can't put Johann at the beginning of the sentence and than stress the verb, it doesn't work.

    You could say:
    Ich RIEF Johann AN / Ich habe Johann ANGERUFEN (nicht besucht).

    Wrong! Of course you can start the sentence with Johann, and then stress the verb RIEF AN, as in:

    Johann RIEF ich AN!

    It's just that the more common form (nowadays) would be: Ich RIEF Johann AN.

    BUT:

    Mind the difference between the two: "Johann RIEF ich AN." clearly states Johann as the (semantic) centre of the sentence, whereas "Ich RIEF Johann AN." keeps the "Me" (ich) as the main actor of the sentence, that is: There is more weight to the "Ich" in that sentence as related to the weight of the "Johann" (object) than in the sentence that starts with Johann, where the weight ratio of the Me and that Johann are inverted. It is a slight difference, correct, but it IS one! ;-)

    (Maybe, in a society, where to be self-centred is tending to be a key societal value, such differences tend to disappear.
    Nevertheless ... ;-) ... But that would be another topic, anyway. :)
     
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    WhyNot?

    Member
    German - Germany
    4. Johann, ich rief ihn an.
    5. Johann, ICH rief ihn an(, nicht SIE).
    6. Johann, ich RIEF ihn AN(, nicht BESUCHTE ihn).

    Hi kimko_379

    If you imagine that the person speaking (or thinking) is in a state of being absorbed by nostalgic reminiscence, than one could even consider sentences 4.,5., and 6. as being correct, though, in such case, it would be advisable to replace the comma by a dash that indicates that the person speaking (thinking) is in such a state:

    So: 4a: Johann - ich rief ihn an. 5a: Johann - ICH rief ihn an. 6a: Johann - ich RIEF ihn AN.

    Or even: Johann ... ich rief an an. 5a: Johann ... ICH rief ihn an. 6a: Johann ... ich RIEF ihn AN.

    <-- The dots now replacing the dash, but meaning almost the same, just that the (inner) break of not speaking/thinking in words one would consider to be slightly longer, now.

    Best wishes

    WhyNot?
     
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    WhyNot?

    Member
    German - Germany
    Two more options:

    Johann RIEF ich an. --> Means something like: I kept my promise! Or: Why the hell do you now tell them (whoever) I didn't?!

    Johann rief ich AN. --> Means something like: Come on, don't play the idiot! Of course, I didn't send him a fax!! Or just: Nothing else would have been sensible in that situation!!
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    Wrong! Of course you can start the sentence with Johann, and then stress the verb RIEF AN, as in:

    Johann RIEF ich An.
    Johann RIEF ich an.

    I don't agree.
    I can't help stressing "Johann" (heavy stress!) in a sentence like "Johann rief ich an!"
    In such a construction, it wouldn't sound natural/ idiomatic at all to stress the verb (too).
     
    What about the correspondence between the German sentences in question and the English ones:
    John I called. = When it comes to John, I called him alright.
    John, I CALLED him(, not VISITED him). = When it comes to John, I called him, not visited him.

    How do you discern the presuppositional blended-nominatives/accusatives (or blended semi-subjects/semi-objects or semi-themes/semi-rhemes) from the focal ones, like in the below English sentences?:

    I CALLED John. = I (or I/my doing something to/with him) and John are the presuppositions, and CALLED is the focus.
    I called JOHN. = My calling is the presupposition, and JOHN is the focus.
    John I called. = John is the presupposition. "I called" is the focus.
    John she called. = John is the presupposition. "She called" is the focus.
    John, I CALLED. = John and I (or I/my doing something to/with him) are the presuppositions. Calling is the focus.
     
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    I call the above fronted (= topicalized or left-dislocated) "John's" "blended nominative/accusative" because they are accusatives in the traditional grammar but semantically = cognitively equivalent with the below nominatives:
    John got my/her call. (The whole sentence is the focus like in "Watch out! A car is coming [toward us]!/A tree is about to fall down on us!")
    JOHN got my/her call.
    John got MY/HER call.
    John, he got my/her call.
    John, he got my CALL, not my VISIT.
     
    What about the correspondence between the German sentences in question and the English ones:
    John I called. = When it comes to John, I called him alright.
    John, I CALLED him(, not VISITED him). = When it comes to John, I called him, not visited him.

    How do you discern the presuppositional blended-nominatives/accusatives (or blended semi-subjects/semi-objects or semi-themes/semi-rhemes) from the focal ones, like in the below English sentences?:

    I CALLED John. = I (or I/my doing something to/with him) and John are the presuppositions, and CALLED is the focus.
    I called JOHN. = My calling is the presupposition, and JOHN is the focus.
    John I called. = John is the presupposition. "I called" is the focus.
    John she called. = John is the presupposition. "She called" is the focus.
    John, I CALLED. = John and I (or I/my doing something to/with him) are the presuppositions. Calling is the focus.
    Correction:
    Read the last ex. "CALLED" as "CALLED him" like before.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    The elefant in the room is missing:
    JOHANN rief ich an.

    If you front the object then it is automatically prominent. It doesn't make sense to front Johann and then stress ich.
    Mostly it may make no sense.
    But it can:

    JOHANN rief ICH an.
    Es war ich, der Johann anrief. Niemand anderes rief Johann an. Und es war Johann, ich rief nicht Paul oder Erwin an sondern Johann.

    It needs context, of course.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    You could say:
    Ich RIEF Johann AN / Ich habe Johann ANGERUFEN (nicht besucht).
    I think it is very hard to stress ist. (I aree that it is possible, but strange.)

    If I got a connection, I can replace it by:

    Ich telefonierte mit Johann.
    Else: Ich versuchte, Johann anzurufen.

    But you can change also:

    Angerufen habe ich Johann. - This avoids the verb bracket. And here you can stress both.

    Hi kimko, note: The finite verb remains at 2. Place.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I'm afraid that none of you all has yet answered all my above related questions on the German fronting-using focuses-or-presuppositions-clarifying-methods. Would anyone answer, please?
    I don't think this separation of stress and topic as we know it from languages like French or Japanese doesn't really exist in German (nor in English, for that matter). Topic prominent constructions also stress the topic. I mean, you probably could put vocal stress on other parts of the sentence but that would sound unnatural.
     
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    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Hi kimko,

    One thing: We have a kind of main stress and additionally a kind of weaker stress (second level stress) additional to unstressed parts in spoken language. This helps to give additional links.

    I use to stress here as "betont, spoken louder/stronger" and "emphasized" as "hervorgehoben, marked to be important"

    In spoken texts it is no problem to hear the stress and other forms of emphasizing (length, melody, dynamic, movements like gestures). The speakers stress usually appropriately if they know the language well enough.
    Misunderstandings may be in written language.
    There you can use hints like word order, flavoring particles, sound patterns deriving from words, and you can mark the words.
    In the forum we are marking words (bold, uppercase, italic, underlined, colorized) rather extensively. In texts like stories it is very seldom.
    Here word order, word cluster, sentence markers and stile help to understand it.

    There are several rules:

    1. If the first word is not the subject it is kind of emphasized (hervorgehoben.)
    2. The last word is often emphasized, it has a special position. Mostly the brain works in a way that you remember the begin end the end rather well.
    3. If you repeat something, it is kind of emphasized (hervorgehoben).


    ---

    The methods in written and spoken texts are different.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I don't think this separation of stress and topic as we know it from languages like French or Japanese doesn't really exist in German (nor in English, for that matter). Topic prominent constructions also stress the topic. I mean, you probably could put vocal stress on other parts of the sentence but that would sound unnatural.
    I short add-on to what I wrote before:
    I know what you are after because I have been living in French speaking countries for quite a while now and French has, like your language, topic prominence as a concept in its own right. German really doesn't. If topic prominence exists at all then it is a by-product of stress. Topic prominent constructs are very popular with French advertisements and you would often hear things like "<product xyz>, j'en veux" in TV ads. But despite all my years in the French speaking world, this still sounds pretty strange to my German ears.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    "Das will ich unbedingt kaufen." In written language it is normal style, and "unbedingt" is stressed.
    "Das" has to be clear by content. "will" is unstressed by default. The cause: "Unbedingt" is a flavouring particle with high prominence.
    In spoken form your stress cluster is possible.
    In written form you will have to mark the words as stressed in some way.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    XYZ, weil ich es mir wert bin!
    This is a real world example and, not really surprisingly, a translation of a famous French ad slogan: "****, parce que vous le valez bien", in newer ads also "****, nous le valons bien".

    But in German ads post-position is completely normal:

    Ich nehme XYZ!

    You realize that this is different? It stresses XYZ and does not allow you to separate stress and topic marker.

    Nur noch XYZ!
    :thumbsup: This is a way around in German: The nur adds the additional stress.
     
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    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    This is a real world example and, not really surprisingly, a translation of a famous French ad slogan: "****, parce que vous le valez bien", in newer ads also "****, nous le valons bien".
    :thumbsup:
    Allerdings ohne "mir".
    Wörtlich: "XYZ, weil ich es mir wert bin // weil ich/ wir es verdient habe(n)/ verdiene(n)."
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    :thumbsup:
    Allerdings ohne "mir".
    Wörtlich: "XYZ, weil ich es mir wert bin // weil ich/ wir es verdient habe(n)/ verdiene(n)."
    In der deutschen Version ist es aber tatsächlich mit mir. Ist halt keine 100% wörtliche Übersetzung. Warum auch? Es soll sich ja in der Zielsprache halbwegs natürlich anhören.
     

    Gernot Back

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    JOHANN rief ich an.

    If you front the object then it is automatically prominent. It doesn't make sense to front Johann and then stress ich.
    Of course, you can stress both, and it makes perfect sense:

    Johann habe ich angerufen, Martha hast du angerufen!
    As for Johann, it was me, who called him, but Martha, that was you, who called her!
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Of course, you can stress and front both, and it makes perfect sense:

    Johann habe ich angerufen, Martha hast du angerufen!
    As for Johann, it was me, who called him, but Martha, that was you, who called her!
    Yes, but the wasn't the question. The question was if you could front Johann and stress ich instead of Johann and not in addition to Johann.

    I take your reply as proving my point: Separation of topic (expressed by fronting) and stress (expressed by vocal stress) is simply not on the radar of German native speakers.
     
    Yes, but the wasn't the question. The question was if you could front Johann and stress ich instead of Johann and not in addition to Johann.

    I take your reply as proving my point: Separation of topic (expressed by fronting) and stress (expressed by vocal stress) is simply not on the radar of German native speakers.
    Excuse me, I fail to see your point: whether by fronting or stressing, I wonder how you could express the focuses and the presuppositions in the mere-nominatives-from-the-beginnings and in the blended/unified "cognitive/semantic cases/Kasus" of the accusatives+nominatives. Thank you in advance for your further replies, folks.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    OK then. If you don't see my point, maybe I misunderstood your. In all your examples:
    1. Johann rief ich an.
    2. Johann rief ICH an(, nicht SIE).
    3. Johann RIEF ich AN(, nicht BESUCHTE ich).
    4. Johann, ich rief ihn an.
    5. Johann, ICH rief ihn an(, nicht SIE).
    6. Johann, ich RIEF ihn AN(, nicht BESUCHTE ihn).
    you fronted Johann, yet you didn't stress it. Can you explain why?
     
    OK then. If you don't see my point, maybe I misunderstood yours. In all your examples:

    you fronted Johann, yet you didn't stress it. Can you explain why?
    No, sir, I did not even know that the fronted "Johann" always gets a stronger stress; in fact, I have never gotten any formal education on the phonetics of any languages: pronunciations, stresses, intonations, phrasings, or anything at all; I have only READ (too/extremely) few German documents, without any help of audio-visual materials.
     

    Gernot Back

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    My question was why you fronted Johann if it is not about stress.
    As I understand it, fronting is only about marking the topic while stress is also about marking the crucial point within the comment.
    de.wikipedia.org said:
    Als Ausdrucksmittel für die Thema-Rhema-Struktur dienen im Deutschen vor allem die Betonung (des Rhemas), die Satzgliedstellung (Thema am Satzanfang, Rhema am Satzende) …
    Thema-Rhema-Gliederung – Wikipedia (underlined by me)
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    As I understand it, fronting is only about marking the topic while stress is also about marking the crucial point within the comment.
    Yes, that's what I've been saying zillions of times in this thread (including in response to your previous post). Yet @kimko_379 said he didn't understand what I was talking about although his native language is a famously topic prominent one. And now I wanted to know why he fronted Johann if it is neither a stress nor a topic marker.
     
    My question was why you fronted Johann if it is not about stress.
    A few of those frontings-using sentences were originally part of Dr. Hutschenreuther's/Hutschi's recent example sentences in one of conversations between him and me.
    I just had wanted to check to see if German has the counterparts or equivalents to the above English sentences and had asked him.
    As I said above, I have no inkling/Ahnung about what words in what kinds of German sentences get stresses and/or prominences; please forgive me all those "irresponsible" offhand random questions of mine.
    In any case, with or without stresses on "Johann" or whatever words, I was wondering if you could possibly give me the German counterparts or equivalents.
     
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