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Complex phrases

 
 
Phrases – especially noun phrases – can contain more than one attribute. There are two different kinds of relations between the attributes of such a complex phrase: coordination and subordination.

Coordination
Subordination
Coordination and subordination
 
Coordination and subordination in adjective and participle phrases 


Coordination

Coordinate attributes are attributes that qualify the same head word. This can be shown by dividing the phrase into sub-phrases:

Complex phrase
Sub-phrases
 
head attributes   head attribute
(der) Weg vom Dorf auf den Hügel  =   (der) Weg vom Dorf
  (der) Weg auf den Hügel
 
head attributes   head attribute
(die) Reise der Freunde nach Berlin   =  (die) Reise der Freunde
(die) Reise nach Berlin

Compound phrases also consist of coordinate sub-phrases:

Compound phrase Sub-phrases
 
head attributes   head attribute
(die) Bestimmung des Ortes und der Zeit   =   die Bestimmung des Ortes
die Bestimmung der Zeit
 
attribute head   attribute head
hohe, gefütterte Schuhe  =   hohe Schuhe
gefütterte Schuhe


Subordination

A subordinate attribute is an attribute of a head word that, on its turn, is an attribute of another head word. The different relations between attributes and head words can be shown by dividing the complex phrase into sub-phrases:

Complex phrase
Sub-phrases
 
head attribute head attribute
(der) Weg zum Dorf auf dem Hügel  =   (der) Weg zum Dorf
head attribute
Dorf auf dem Hügel
 
head attribute head attribute
(das) Auto der Freunde aus Berlin  =   (das) Auto der Freunde
head attribute
Freunde  aus Berlin
 
head attribute head attribute
(die) Bestimmung des Ortes der Handlung  =   (die) Bestimmung des Ortes
head attribute
Ort der Handlung
  
attribute head attribute head
hohe gefütterte Schuhe  =   hohe attribute head
gefütterte Schuhe


Coordination and subordination

A complex phrase can contain both coordinate and subordinate attributes:

die Reise der Freunde meiner Schwester nach Amsterdam

The attributes (A) der Freunde meiner Schwester and nach Amsterdam are coordinate. They both qualify the same headword (H) die Reise. The attribute meiner Schwester is subordinate. It qualifies the headword der Freunde:

 H
A
A
die Reise
H
A
nach Amsterdam
der Freunde meiner Schwester

More complex combinations of coordinate and subordinate attributes are possible:

H
A
A
die Zweifel
A
 H
 H
A
besorgter
 H
A
an der Qualität
 H
A
Eltern aus dem Dorf  der Schule ihrer Kinder

H = head of the (sub-)phrase
A = attribute
coordination  =       A           A         subordination    =     A
     A     


Coordination and subordination in adjective and participle phrases

Coordinate adjective and participle phrases are very often connected without und. In spoken language, both phrases are equally stressed. In written language, the phrases are separated by a comma:

Er hat hohe, gefütterte Schuhe gekauft.

In this example, both the adjective and the participle qualify the same head word:

attribute   attribute head
hohe, gefütterte Schuhe

Paraphrase: Er hat hohe Schuhe gekauft und die Schuhe sind gefüttert.

Subordinate adjective or participle phrases are not equally stressed. The second phrase is less stressed than the first phrase. In writing, the two phrases are not separated by a comma: Er hat hohe gefütterte Schuhe gekauft.

In this example, gefütterte qualifies the head Schuhe. The adjective hohe qualifies the whole noun phrase gefütterte Schuhe:

attribute
head
hohe attribute head
gefütterte Schuhe

Paraphrase: Er hat hohe und nicht niedrige gefütterte Schuhe gekauft.







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