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On Takkats advice i separated this part from this question:

"Senkenden Hauptes schlief sie langsam ein" - is this grammatically correct?

A (maybe) possible (but nowadays uncommon) abbreviation of

Während sie das Haupt senkte, schlief sie langsam ein.

The anwers here should focus on and explain what options one has in German to abbreviate a subordinate clause by use of participle structures. Maybe you give out a terminus for the grammatical structure and a short example?

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I think it is more an abbreviation of 'Während sich ihr Haupt senkte, schlief sie langsam ein.' When you start sleeping your possibilities to do things actively are very limited. –  bernd_k Jul 30 '11 at 13:20
    
@bernd you can also take the example Erhobenen Zeigefingers formulierte er seine Drohung. Thats interchangeable and not the main point driving this question... –  Hauser Jul 30 '11 at 13:54
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

In German it's a bit different, I try to compare my language and yours :-D

In English you can use the participle for this, make two to one:

I saw the girl yesterday. She went down the stairs. ➜ I saw the girl going down the stairs...

  • In German the same could be done by using a Relativsatz or a Infinitivkonstruktion, e.g.:

    Gestern sah ich das Mädchen. Sie ging die Treppe hinunter. ➜ Ich sah das Mädchen die Treppe hinuntergehen.

  • Especially after sensory verbs, you could use different type of subordinate clauses in German:

    Ich sah, wie das Mädchen die Treppe hinunterging.

In addition to that you can use the participle to eliminate subordinate clauses:

As she went to the principal she was angry. ➜ Going to the principal she was angry.

  • In German you can use Partizip I and II:

    Indem sie ein fröhliches Liedchen pfeift, erledigt Yanina ihre Hausaufgaben. ➜ Ein fröhliches Liedchen pfeifend, erledigt Yanina ihre Hausaufgaben. (Partizip I)

    Als wir am Schwerter Bahnhof ankamen, nahmen wir sofort ein Taxi. ➜ Am Schwerter Bahnhof angekommen, nahmen wir sofort in ein Taxi. (Partizip II)

For further reading: Participles Partizip I and II

Some examples from: http://www.english-work.com

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Oh I see, in an instant it's done :) –  infinitesimalLeanne Jul 30 '11 at 13:39
    
:)) thx again. I'm totally new here. Next time I'll format it :)) –  infinitesimalLeanne Jul 30 '11 at 15:10
    
+1 great anwer and self introduction. How did you came upon this site? We need more german women ;) –  Hauser Jul 30 '11 at 20:04
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