I am reading the Nibelungenlied's translation by Karl Simrock. One of the first few verses reads:

Die Minnigliche [Kriemhild] lieben brachte keinen Scham,
Um die [Kriemhild] viel Recken warben, niemand war ihr [Kriemhild] gram.

I would like to know to proper syntax for lieben. It seems to me to be an infinitive, in which case the sentence would read: to love the lovely lady brought no shame.

However, I would expect the preposition zu before it, as I was taught, as in die Minnigliche zu lieben.

Is my reading correct? If so, should I expect to see more "flying infinitives" like this? If not, would anyone explain the syntax?

  • 1
    I think you are right, except that zu in connection with infinitives can't be considered a preposition. – chirlu Jun 28 '15 at 21:21
  • 1
    This kind of translation is no modern German. It uses a lot of old words and constructions. The "zu" is lacking, most probably to get the rhythm right. You should look out for a second translation. – rogermue Jun 29 '15 at 4:30
  • It should also be considered, this is no modern text. There will most possibly be structures or sentences that sound queer regarding today's German. – Daniel Jun 29 '15 at 21:40

Your reading is correct, lieben is an infinitive, or, to be more exact: a "free infinitive" which doesn't use zu.

Nevertheless, zu lieben would also be correct in this context, i.e. "Die Minnigliche [Kriemhild] zu lieben[,] brachte keine Scham". One could also imagine a permutation, something like "Es brachte keine Scham, die minnigliche Kriemhild zu lieben", where es and zu would be indispensable.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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