Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When writing project plans or the like, there are often 2 ways to nominalize verbs in order to describe activities, for instance:

Using a suffix:

Testen

  1. Entwicklung von Testspezifikationen

  2. Generierung von Testdaten

  3. Durchführung der Tests

  4. Auswertung der Ergebnisse

vs.

Using the infinitive:

Testen

  1. Entwickeln von Testspezifikationen

  2. Generieren von Testdaten

  3. Durchführen der Tests

  4. Auswerten der Ergebnisse

I know, both are correct, but which one should be the preferred form? I assume, the text should be consistent, so should I always use the same form? However, sometimes there are not both forms possible (or uncommon), for instance:

Lesen / Studieren des Konzepts <--> Lesung(!?) / Studierung(!?) / Studium des Konzepts


Aufnehmen von Berichten <--> Aufnehmung(!?) / Aufnahme von Berichten

Sometimes there are even 3 or more ways:

Konzipieren / Konzipierung / Konzeption des [...]

Any recommendations here?

share|improve this question
2  
You confused infinitive and suffix (which should be derivative). –  Toscho Sep 12 '13 at 12:54
    
@Toscho Yes, oops ;) Thx, fixed that. –  marsze Sep 12 '13 at 13:07
    
In many cases I'd just not use nouns but verbs and avoid an overly complicated structure. Frequently these nouns go along with passive voice, making the text yet another tad harder to read. In a project plan I'd rather write "Alice entwickelt die Testspezifikation", "Berta stellt Testdaten zusammen", "Conrad führt die Tests durch", etc. –  Robert Feb 26 at 14:43

5 Answers 5

Recommendation:

  1. Would one way be confusing? (e.g. Konzeption is used in the meaning of Konzept as well as das Konzipieren.) Then use the other.

  2. Have you used the term before in the same paper? Then use the same form used before.

  3. Are you inside a structure, where the question arises multiple times at the same point? (e.g. your enumeration above) Then use the same form everywhere inside the structure.

  4. Is there a widely used derivative (what you describe as "suffix")? (e.g. Entwicklung but not necessarily Generierung) Then use that.

  5. Use the Nominalization (what you describe as infinitive).

share|improve this answer

I would also read from the infinitive form like "Auswerten" more weight on the action, while "Auswertung" is geared more towards the results of the evaluation.

share|improve this answer
    
Correct! In some cases, a slightly different meaning is conveyed. –  marsze Sep 14 '13 at 9:18

Whatever we "feel" as being the better choice can be seen if we look closely at the examples give.

  • In case we speak of the nominalized verb das Testen we may also want to choose a nominalized verb in the following.

  • If however we have a proper noun to where the following section relates we may prefer to use a suffixation to build a proper noun from a verb (in case there is no other noun available).

We can see this if we silghtly change the context of the given example (note that difference in meaning basically resulted in changing two letters only):

Suffixation:

Unter einem Test verstehen wir die

  1. Entwicklung von Testspezifikationen

  2. Generierung von Testdaten

  3. Durchführung der Tests

  4. Auswertung der Ergebnisse

Nominalized verb:

Mit Testen meinen wir das

  1. Entwickeln von Testspezifikationen

  2. Generieren von Testdaten

  3. Durchführen der Tests

  4. Auswerten der Ergebnisse

At the end it is more an issue of style than of grammar even though there is a slight shift in meaning as was nicely explained in the answer altready given.

share|improve this answer

Consider also that nominalized forms do have differences in meaning:

Bei der Nominalisierung werden verbale Ausdrücke in nominale Ausdrücke umgeformt, indem man Verben, Adjektivverben oder Funktionsverbgefüge durch Nomen ersetzt:

  • Nominalisierung von Verben:
    1. nominalisierter Infinitiv:
      • treffen - das Treffen
        parken - das Parken
    2. Nomen auf „ung“:
      • gründen - die Gründung
        fordern - die Forderung
    3. lexikalisiertes Nomen:
      • ankommen - die Ankunft
        beabsichtigen - die Absicht

Nominalisierte Infinitive (1) bezeichnen meist nur das Geschehen selbst, evtl. existierende parallele Formen (2,3) weisen demgegenüber oft Bedeutungs- unterschiede auf

das Danken (Geschehen) - der Dank (abgeschlossene Handlung)
das Mischen (Geschehen) - die Mischung (Ergebnis)
das Bescheinigen (Geschehen) - die Bescheinigung (Mittel)
http://www.wirtschaftsdeutsch.de/lehrmaterialien/grammatik-nominalisierung-A.pdf

share|improve this answer

There are actually three ways to do this (or four if you count the Latin import). The third way is the obscure suffix "icht", which was occurs so far as I know only in the word "kehricht", or "sweepings". I learned this fact from an earlier discussion on this same site, involving some of the same parties as in the present discussion.

Oddly enough, last week I wrote an article about the three different ways of making a verb into a noun, in which I compare the English, German, and Yiddish systems. I submitted this article to the local Jewish weekly and I expect it to appear in print tomorrow. I have put up a PDF of my article here. I hope you like it.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.