Shamilova Zaira Mekhtievna
Academy Anji
сandidate degree searcher at the Dagestan Scientific Centre RAN

In this article the author raises the issue on the participles in the German language. The main goal is to reveal participles: whether they can be regarded as transpositions in the whole sense or not. On the basis of structure studying and peculiarities of their formation in the language under discussion, it has been stated that the participles in the German language cannot be transpositions as the participle-forming suffixes in the mentioned above language could not be regarded as verb-adjecting morphemes.

Keywords: comparison, formation of participles, morpheme, participle, reveal, sense, structure, suffix, the German language, transpositions

Category: Philology

Article reference:
Shamilova Z.M. To the question of verb forms in the function of adjectives in the German language // Humanities scientific researches. 2018. № 1 [Electronic journal]. URL:

View this article in Russian

The article is devoted to the definition of the status of the participles in the modern German language as a grammatical class of words.

To our opinion first and foremost it is important to learn what kind of definition of adjectives is given in the modern German linguistics. So, Elke Hentschel and Petra Vogel in the book «German Morphology» («Deutsche Morphologie») 2009 implicate to adjectives non-finite verb form in which both verbal and adjective characteristics can be combined. Due to this fact theycall them as «verbal adjectives» (see original: Bei Patrizipien handelt es sich um infinite Verbformen, die im Hinblick auf ihre Eigenschaften zwischen Verb und Adjektivstehen; gelegentlich warden sie deshalb auch als Verbaladjektive bezeichnet) [Hentschel, Vogel 2009, p. 232].

In ancient grammars these forms have been considered as separate parts of speech on the basis of this feature; in the description of Latin grammar adjectives have a dual nature – as a verb part of speech, and as an adjective part of speech. Verbal characteristics of adjectives are shown in the fundamental verb government. Also such verbal grammatical categories appear by participles as: the aspect and tense. Adjective characteristics can be seen in the ability to function like a participle – in matching languages ​​- in gender, number and case with the defining word [Hentschel, Vogel 2009, p. 232].

According to the point of view of a germanist O.I. Moskalskaya in the German language, basing on the nature of syntactic use, participles are fundamentally different from the personal forms of a verb by the fact that they cannot act in a function of verbal predicate. At the same time they are widely used in those syntactic functions, which are particularly characteristic of adjectives – in the function of coordinating attributive, in the predicative function and in the function of predictive attributive [Moskalskaya 2004, p. 313].

Let us turn to an example.

Alle ihre Dörfer wurden zerstort und niedergebrannt, alle ihre Felder in Weide verwandelt – ‘All their villages were destroyed and burned, all the fields are turned into pasture’ (K. Marx).

According to the same author, the system of German participles is determined by the interaction of the following two grammatical categories of the verb: 1. category of genus and category of aspect.

Category of genus, from her point of view, is peculiar to participles of transitive verbs. The author interprets that the participle I and participle II of transitive verbs are opposite and correlative in respect of genus. So, the participle I can be considered as a form of active voice and whereas the participle II – passive voice, for example:

die fragende Frau — die gefragte Frau;

das rufende Kind — das gerufene Kind.

“Einfach gemachte Sachen die dein Zuhause schöner machen” – ‘Simply made things that make your home more beautiful’.

Category of aspect that has not been developed in the German language in finite verb forms can be detected by participle in all the history of the German language [Moskalskaya 2004, p. 314].

Modern germanists agree that the German language does not have the category of aspect of a verb. In other words, it seems to be very difficult to determine the completeness or incompleteness of action out of context. This is what distinguishes the German verb from the verb in the English language, where a temporary form itself determines the form of the verb, whereas in the German the aspect can be identified by some semantic and word-formation features only: phasis ability (schlafen – einschlafen), intensity (trinken – saufen) and causative ability (springen – sprengen). This idea was expressed in the work of R. Kozmova «Zur Grammatikalisierung der Kategorien des Verbs: Tempus, Genus und Modus» [Kozmova 2004: 235-242].

Many of the problems related to semantics do not find a clear solution. Even such a problem, as the formation of participles linguists interpret in different ways.

Some germanists suppose that the following scheme can be applied for building Participle I:

Infinitive + Suffix – d

This view has been shared by one of the modern germanists I.P. Tagil. In his book «Deutsche Grammatik» (2013) he distinguishes this scheme as a fundamental in the formation of present participle and supplies the following examples:

machen + d = machend ‘making’, sprechen + d = sprechend ‘speaking’, laufen + d = laufend ‘running’. Exceptions are: seined with the meaning ‘existing’ [Tagil 2013: 218].

However, the majority of Germanists (O.I. Moskalskaya 2009, I.B. Myshkova 2007, A.O. Mikhalenko 2010, Simmler 1998, Motsch 2004, Duden 2006, E.Hilke 2011) still agree that the Participle I (das Partizip I) of all verbs is formed from the verb base in Präsens using the suffix – (e) nd: seh – end (seeing), steh – end (standing), sag – end (speaking). The suffix – nd can be received by verbs which base is ending in - er, – el, for example: feier – nd (celebrating), lächel – nd (smiling).

Verb base + Suffix(e)nd

In the formation of the Participle II of weak verbs in the German language both prefix and suffix can take part. There is a model in the structure of the language, which can be relatively written as ge-+ _____ + – (e) t / (e) n (this includes all variations). Root vowel remains unchanged: sagen – gesagt (say), machen – gemacht (do), studieren – studiert (study). Suffix -et is received by verbs the basis of which ends in d, t, chn, dn, ffn, gn, tm: gelandet (adhering to the shore), geleitet (directional),geordnet (ordered)

The second participle of strong verbs is formed with the suffix -en. In this case we see that the root vowels have changes: beginnen – begann – begonnen (start).

In this regard the point of view of E.I. Kudrikova seems to be interesting. In particular, she supposes that the Participle I and Participle II both have a dual nature and basing on this fact the participles I and II have nominative characteristics along with the predicate ones [Kudrikova 2003, p. 110].

The analysis of constructions with impersonal forms of the verb indicates that the Participle II is often used to characterize the inner condition of the subject or of his appearance: “Ich war so aufgeregt, dassichnicheinschlafenkonnte” – ‘I was so excited that I could not fall asleep. ”

The Participle I in attributive function is used to organize relations characterization: Den blinkenden Tau an den Halmensahernicht” – ‘He did not see the sparkling dewdrop on the stalk’ (E. Strittmatter). In the functions of the circumstances it usually expresses the accompanying action: “… dannlegtesie den Finger mahnend auf die Lippen und gingleiseweiter” – ‘Then warning she puta finger to his lips and silently went on’ (Stefan Zweig).

According to the point of view of E.I. Kudrikova very often we can observe that in the constructions there are relationships of characterization, especially when the Participle II is used for describing condition or appearance of the subject [Kudrikova 2003, p. 112].

The suffixes of the German participles, especially when talking about the Participles I have different functions and may function both as the Russian participle in perfective aspect and gerund along with adverb. On the basis this fact we can suppose that participles of the German language are not complete transposits as it can be applied to Russian participles.

Comparison of the Russian and German participles showed that Russian participles and their German equivalents have a common with adjectives declension system, their correspondence with the noun in case shows great importance on the morphological level.

If we look at the German participle in syntactic aspect, it should be noted that these participles have a greater degree of predication as compared to the Russian ones as in the German language (as long as in English) there are complexes that fully realize the verbal characteristics of the participles [Zolotareva 2005].

Despite the resonances that are rising from the definition of Participle I building, the presence absence of aspect category it can be said that the German participle suffix – (-e)nd -, serving for the formation of Participle I, which is characteristic for all kinds of active verbs that express a long incomplete action and coinciding in all respects with the predicate: blühen – blossom – blühend – blooming; lachen – laugh – lachend – laughing; spielen – to play – spielend – playing; tanzen – dance – tanzend – dancing, etc .; der angekommene Zug – ‘train arrived’ Partizip II transposes a verb not only to a participle, but also partly to other parts of speech.

On the basis of above mentioned we come to conclusion that the German participles do not have morphemes that can totally adject a verb as it takes place in the Russian language, for example. By this we can say that the German participles can be regarded as incomplete morphological transposits. The same can be regarded to participles of the Lezgin language (one of the Caucasian language).

  1. Hentschel E., Petra M. Vogel. De Gruyter Lexicon Deutsche Morphologie. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 2009.
  2. Moskalskaya, O.I. (1956)The grammar of the German language. Theoretical course. Moscow, 1956.
  3. Kozmová R. (2004) Zur Grammatikalisierung der Kategorien des Verbs: Tempus, Genus und Modus // ebd., 2004.
  4. Tagil,I.P. (2013) Deutsche Grammatik. Auf der Grundlage der neuenamtlichenRechtsschreibregeln. Moscow, 2013.
  5. Kudrikova E.I. (2003). Problems of interpretation of monopredicative simple sentence in the German language // Language and culture. Novosibirsk, 2003.
  6. Zolotoreva R.I. Some typological similarities and differences of impersonal forms in Russian and German languages // The success of modern science [].URL:ö?id=7829 (visit date: 23.11.2015).

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