Congruence (grammar)

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In linguistics , congruence means the regular correspondence of words or parts of sentences with regard to grammatical features. The congruence is thus a mechanism that leads to the inflection (inflection) of words.

Congruence relationships often capture several characteristics at the same time. In a German sentence, for example, subject and verb match with regard to the characteristics of person and number . For example, in the sentence "Some Leut e in the hall laughing en " congruent subject and verb in the expression "3. Person ”of the characteristic“ Person ”and the expression“ Plural ”of the characteristic“ Number ”. Furthermore, in the German noun phrase article , adjective and noun match in the expression of the characteristics case , number and gender (if there are forms for them). For example, "a show at em older s man s " the words into these features the characteristics dating, singular and masculine.

Since congruence is defined as agreement with regard to grammatical features, it is not a question of a phonetic agreement of the inflected forms, even if this may also be present in some cases. The two endings in “lang e Sätz e ” indicate congruence, the endings in “lang e Brett er ”, “lang e E-Mail s ”, however, likewise.

Delimitation: congruence and direction

Congruence is a relationship between two parts of a sentence in such a way that both have a certain characteristic. It is therefore of Directorate delineate, in which only a part of the sentence a feature bears and the other part requires this there. Example:

Das Theaterstück gefiel den Kindern sehr gut.

In this example , the verb “liked” rules the dative case on the addition “to the children”; since the dative feature is only present in the complement and not in the verb, this is a case of direction, not congruence. In the interior of the dative object, on the other hand, there is congruence in the dative and plural features : "d- en child -er-n ". The dative is thus assigned to the object as a whole by direction, and through the rule of congruence it then spreads internally to every single word; these are two separate mechanisms. Likewise, in the above example there is congruence between the words “that” and “theater piece”, although the characteristic, neuter, can only be seen in the article form “that”. Nevertheless, the noun “theater piece” clearly carries the neuter attribute itself; hence this, too, is a case of congruence, not rule.

Congruence forms of verbs

In many languages, subject and predicate are in congruence or agreement. In German both must match in person and number . That is why the ending of the finite verb must match the subject.

In the example sentence “She picked up the red piece of paper.” The verb (“picked up”, 3rd person singular) congruent with the subject (“she”).

Congruence forms of adjectives

As KNG congruence (mnemonic: K ö N i G s congruence) refers to the (for example, in German and Latin required.) Consistency of K asus , N umerus and G enus at determiners , adjectives and nouns within a noun phrase. In other words: The other parts of speech follow the noun in case, number and gender.

Examples from German

"The beautiful house is for sale."

“Schöne” and “Haus” are both in the nominative singular neuter, they relate to each other and are therefore congruent in case, number and gender.

"The big man sees the dirty street."

"Große" and "Mann" are both nominative singular masculine, "dirty" and "Straße" are both accusative singular feminine.

See also


  • Main difficulties of the German language (= Der Große Duden , 9). Dudenverlag, Mannheim 1965, pp. 358–384 (later under the title: Duden, Doubts of the German Language ).
  • Snježana Kordić : The grammatical category of the number . In: Helmut Jachnow , Boris Norman, Adam E. Suprun (eds.): Quantity and grading as cognitive-semantic categories (=  Slavic study books . NF, volume 12 ). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2001, ISBN 3-447-04408-X , p. 62–75 ( Online [PDF; 1,2 MB ; accessed on February 1, 2013]).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Latin congruentia 'agreement , French accord , english agreement or concord .