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An inflective is an infinite and non-inflected verb form , which is created in German by deverbal reduction , i.e. H. by omitting the infinitive ending -n or -en ( e.g. sigh from sigh, tumble from tumble).

The Inflektiv jokingly as Erikativ designated by Erika Fuchs , the translator of Mickey Mouse - Comics popularized this grammatical form in English. But it was invented earlier.

In English, the inflective corresponds to the basic word of the infinitive without "to" ( sigh , cough ), which can also be interpreted as a nominal stem. Utterances in the inflective are a special form of interjection and, like this, are used syntactically unconnected as sentence-valued utterances. The verbs from which they are formed, often called onomatopoeic sounds and noises ( squeak , stuttering ) or mimic and gestural actions ( grins , scratch head , brake! ) That the speaker or especially in the comic also runs an animal or thing.

Differentiation from interjection and onomatopoeia

In contrast to interjections and onomatopoeia in the narrower sense of the word , which by definition cannot be changed in their form (unconjugable and undeclinable) and do not belong to any other part of speech, utterances in the inflective are formed from existing verbs according to a fixed morphological pattern. They are therefore also distinguished from full interjections (interjections in the narrower sense) as lexeme interjections. The underlying verbs can for their part have an onomatopoeic character, be derived from real onomatopoeia or describe a process that can be associated with a sound as circumscribing onomatopoeia. The onomatopoeic character can also be emphasized or added by special reduplicating graphics (squeaky; bremssss!) .

History and Development

The form of the inflective can already be found in Wilhelm Busch's Max und Moritz and Otto Ernst's Appelschnut , but only gained popularity in German through the translations of English-language comics from the middle of the 20th century. In particular, Erika Fuchs coined in the 1950s in their translations of the Mickey Mouse comics numerous new interjections like sigh , huge amount , Prassel or brooding and extended its application to non man-made noise and silent process of.

The grammatical term inflective was introduced in 1998 by the German scholar Oliver Teuber.

The Inflektiv found from the comic to the youth language input and evolved with the advent of the Internet in the language of the chat rooms to a mass phenomenon as network jargon since then to other forms of communication such as e-mail and SMS has impacted. In the course of this development, complex multi-part interjections in the inflective became common in the German-speaking chat, which, in addition to the inflective verb form, also connect other parts of the sentence (with the exception of the grammatical subject) and retain the verb form closing position typical of infinitive phrases, e.g. B. * sichwegduck * , * love-smile * or * bite into the edge of the table * . Inflectives of this multi-part type can also be found in some younger German comic authors such as B. Philip Tägert (Fil) again.

Presentation and marking

In comics, inflectives appear in a caption to the depicted figure or thing or in a speech bubble - often in round brackets and in italics to differentiate from literal speech . In spoken language, they can be marked by voice changes, special intonation and accompanying facial expressions or gestures. In the chat, the inflective is marked in writing by enclosing asterisks or angle brackets (e.g. * good-hearted look * ). The ironic marking by imitated elements from XML / HTML , BBCode or programming languages , e.g. B. <approval search> is true </ approval search> or CONSENT SEEK is true END OF CONSENT SEEK .

Expressions in the inflective are to be distinguished from intervening speaker-related utterances in the third person, which correspond to the form of the stage directions in stage texts and are used in chat forums and role-playing games on the Internet similar to inflectives marked with asterisks or angle brackets ( * looks faithful * , * Nick1 cuddles Nick2 * ). Such meta-contextual parentheses can be influenced by the inflective if the verb is inflected - i.e. not an inflective - and the utterance is formed as a main clause , but the verb appears in the final position typical of the inflective, deviating from the standard language norm ( * Nick1 Nick2 cuddles * : subject-object-verb ), as the German standard language only provides for the subordinate clause . Inflective utterances are also to be distinguished from the syntactically linked terms (words, phrases) of an utterance marked by asterisks, in which this type of emphasis is used, similar to spelling with capital letters, for emphasis ( I am * not * interested , I am NOT interested ).

Different spellings are common for complex multi-part inflectives:

  • Separate spelling: jump into the lake ,
  • simple summary: indenseespring ,
  • Compilation with Binnenmajuskel : InDenSeeSpring ,
  • mixed separate and combined spelling : indenSee spring ,
  • Separated with an underscore : in_den_See_spring ,
  • Separated with a hyphen : in-den-See-spring .

See also


  • Elke Hentschel, Harald Weydt: The parts of speech in German. In: Vilmos Ágel , Rita Brdar-Szabó (ed.): Grammar and German grammars. Budapest Grammar Conference 1993. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1995, ISBN 3-484-30330-1 , pp. 39-60 ( Linguistic Works 330).
  • Peter Schlobinski: * cuddle - cuddle back - cuddle you completely *. Inflective and inflective constructions in German. In: Journal for German Linguistics. 29, 2, 2001, ISSN  0301-3294 , pp. 192-218.
  • Oliver Teuber: fasel descriptive mention - the inflective as a word form of German. In: German Linguistics. 141/142, 1998, ISSN  0072-1492 , pp. 7-26.

Web links

Wiktionary: Erikativ  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Inflective  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. And hurry up, darn, darn, darn! Powder in the bowl of the pipe. Wilhelm Busch: Max and Moritz. Fourth match : . WikiSource. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  2. "No, you have to say 'Close!' First." The word "Close" marks the opening of the door. So I say "close" and she enters. (Text from Project Gutenberg )
  3. Oliver Teuber: fasel descriptive mention - the inflective as a word form of German. See bibliography.