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Indirect Passive Voice (WAS: Copula)

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 18:33

Steven Williams <feurieaux@...> writes:
>... > My German professor explains the 'kriegen/bekommen' > passive as also usually having something to do with > the difficulty of an action: "Er kriegt den Zahn > gezogen" implies a degree of difficulty, as opposed to > another alternative, "Er laesst sich den Zahn ziehen", > which has semantically pretty much the same meaning, > though with the implication that the tooth-pulling was > fairly simple. >...
Interesting that there is another construction that might be generally used! I was not linguistically aware of that. But frankly I doubt that this is a general connotation. The prototypical example, and maybe one of the first to be used in written language, would be: Ich kriege ein Buch geschenkt. I get a book given_as_present. This and more examples I can think of, does not have any connotation of difficulty. vs. Ich lasse mir ein Buch schenken. I let me=DAT a book give_as_present But there is clearly a focus difference, yes. But not wrt. difficulty. My impression is that a) both alternatives stress the passiveness of the subject and b) the 'lassen' alternative stresses the initiative of the subject (the action was somehow initiated by the subject to be performed by someone else), while the 'kriegen' alternative stresses that the subject was more or less uninvolved in the initiation of the action: Er läßt sich den Zahn ziehen. => He went to the dentist and asks for extraction. Er kriegt den Zahn gezogen. => The dentist decided that it is necessary to extract the tooth. Er läßt sich ein Buch schenken. => He decided that he wants a certain book and expresses a wish to get it from someone else. Er kriegt ein Buch geschenkt. => Someone else decided which book was good to be given as a present. **Henrik


Steven Williams <feurieaux@...>