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The word Satz can mean, among other things:

  • Clause: "A verb along with its subject and their modifiers."
  • Sentence: "A grammatically complete series of words consisting of a subject and predicate, even if one or the other is implied, and typically beginning with a capital letter and ending with a full stop."

This can lead to problems when discussing languages. Today, I failed the assignment "Schreiben Sie einen Satz", by writing a sentence instead of a clause. What other words could be used instead of Satz for these meanings in order to avoid this problem?

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I realise that this is not a single word request, but I didn't want to create the double-word-request tag. –  Tim N Jun 7 '11 at 20:13
    
@Tim I think that you have to give more information on your assignment. I have great doubts that it was just "Schreiben Sie einen Satz". –  Phira Jun 7 '11 at 20:29
    
@thei: The question is independent of the anecdote. I want words that the teacher could have used instead of Satz to clearly distinguish the two possible interpretations of the assignment. –  Tim N Jun 7 '11 at 20:33
    
@thei: The actual assignment was "Schreiben Sie bitte einen langen Satz", which was supposed to have a pedagogic point regarding adverbs. –  Tim N Jun 7 '11 at 20:34
1  
@Tim Basically, if your teacher wanted you to write a sentence with an adverb he may or may not have communicated this, but the problem here is not with the word "Satz". If anything, it was with the word "lang". –  Phira Jun 7 '11 at 20:55

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

A random google result:

Dieser Satz besteht aus einem Hauptsatz und einem kausalen Nebensatz, der zwei Partizipialsätze enthält.

At the moment, I cannot think of a linguistic situation where the single word "Satz" means clause and not sentence. So I am awaiting more details on your assignment to clear up this problem.

In a linguistic context, "Satz" means "sentence" and "clause" means

ling. Satzteil {m}

ling. Teilsatz {m}

ling. Gliedsatz {m}

ling. Nebensatz {m}

ling. satzwertige Konstruktion {f}

as cited from dict.cc

There is no ambiguity, so I don't really know what else to say.

There may have been some other incompleteness in the teacher's assignment, but demanding a long sentence does not imply a demand of a sentence with a sub-clause.

Edited to add:

A sentence without a sub-clause is a "einfacher Satz", but I think that the point of your anecdote is that your teacher gave his own ad-hoc definition of "langer Satz" before (maybe in your absence). And it is this definition of "long" which is the problem here.

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dict.cc translates "Satz" to "clause". Also, it makes sense that a Nebensatz is a Satz. –  Tim N Jun 7 '11 at 20:36
    
@Tim I suggest that you click on clause and read: ling. Satzteil {m} ling. Teilsatz {m} ling. Gliedsatz {m} ling. Nebensatz {m} ling. satzwertige Konstruktion {f}, all the "ling" entries point to other words. –  Phira Jun 7 '11 at 20:37
    
The first translation is still "Satz {m}", even if it doesn't get a "ling". Perhaps it's understood in a linguistic context, but in the example above, I still hold that "Satz" is ambiguous. –  Tim N Jun 7 '11 at 20:39
4  
No, if you say "Schreiben Sie einen langen Satz", it does not mean "Write a long clause". –  Phira Jun 7 '11 at 20:48
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Definitely not ambiguous. "Satz" always refers to a sentence. –  user12889 Jun 8 '11 at 0:42

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