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What does traditional German grammar say about a phrase that (at least superficially) centers on a noun, for example, as in this (from Kafka's Der Verschollene)?

»Wer ist auf dem Gang?« ertönte Klaras Stimme, und man sah sie aus einer nahen Tür sich vorbeugen, eine große Tischlampe mit rotem Schirm in der Hand.

By “centering” I mean:

  • Everything else in the phrase hangs on the noun. In the sample, eine determines Tischlampe, and große and mit rotem Schirm in der Hand modify it.

  • The noun itself is not connected to the rest of the sentence by any visible connector.

In response to the helpful comments requesting that I be more specific about what I actually want to know, I will say that I would like references to published text on grammatical treatment of noun centered phrases as defined above (though I will also accept the substance of such treatment as remembered by the member providing the answer). I think a phrase “organized around a noun and lacking an obvious connection to the rest of the sentence” is a conspicuous phenomenon, and it is not unreasonable to expect that grammatical attention would have been paid to it.

For example, a grammatical treatment might (a) assimilate the phrase to a broader class of noun-centered phrases (other examples being time expressions like eines Tages), (b) give that class a convenient name, (c) state that the noun must be in the accusative in the subclass to which the Tischlampe example belongs (perhaps tracing the requirement to a Greek or Latin origin), and (d) analyze the phrases as adverbial and modifying the whole sentence in which they occur.

Related posts

You don’t need to read what is below to answer the question.

To this earlier post, I got the answer that den Rücken der Türe zugewendet was a shortened form of der der Türe den Rücken zugewendet hat. (So the phrase ends up modifying a noun antecedent, ein Herr.) As interesting as it was, the analysis wasn’t entirely satisfying because it depended on the fortuitous presence of a participle and could not be generalized to cover a broader class of phrases.

To this post in English StackExchange, I got the answer that her chin on the table top was short for with her chin on the table top. This was unsatisfying because the analysis was English specific. (You couldn’t similarly say that the German equivalent had a suppressed mit as it would require a dative.) I expect that traditional grammar would have invented a scheme that covers these closely related languages. For instance, French also gives you examples like this (from Camus's L’Étranger):

La garde était aussi au fond, le dos tourné.

  • Could you be a bit more specific to what you actually would like to know? As it stands, the question seems to broad for SE. – Gerhard Oct 14 '15 at 7:08
  • Apart from that - and if this helps you at all - I'd be tempted to call this kind of phrase "Nominalstil", although I am not quite sure whether this applies to your example. Most commonly found in law texts. – Gerhard Oct 14 '15 at 7:15
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Indeed such constructions have been studied by grammarians since antiquity, and they are generally known as absolute constructions (absolute in the sense of ‘independent of other things’). The most well-known example from Latin is the ablativus absolutus.

The 4th edition of Duden grammar (Mannheim 1984) considers these constructions in marginal number 1044; the section is entitled Im Kasus bestimmte Glieder außerhalb des eigentlichen Satzverbandes. It distinguishes three types: absoluter Akkusativ as in the example from the question; absoluter Nominativ („Peter will nun doch auswandern, ein schwerer Entschluß“); and Anredenominativ („Mein lieber Herr Schulz, das ist vollkommen richtig“).

The question also mentions two related constructions in German that are not considered absolute by the grammar:

  • Adverbialgenitiv (marginal number 1042), an example of which is eines Tages;
  • satzwertige Partizipialkonstruktion (marginal number 1189); of this den Rücken der Türe zugewendet is an instance.
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As far as I understand you are wondering about phrases like this:

Anton betrat die Bank, eine Waffe in der Hand und mit finsterem Blick.
Anton entered the bank, a weapon in his hand and scowling.

So also kam Ines zur Feier: eine Teekanne auf dem Kopf und einen Teppich um die Schultern.
This way Ines came to the celebration: a teapot on her head and a carpet around her shoulders.

As you see there is the same construction in english, also in your example sentence:

»Wer ist auf dem Gang?« ertönte Klaras Stimme, und man sah sie aus einer nahen Tür sich vorbeugen, eine große Tischlampe mit rotem Schirm in der Hand.
»Who is on the corridor?« sounded Klaras voice, and you saw her leaning forward from a near door, a big table lamp with red umbrella in her hand.

Those phrases are constructed by the pattern

<accusative object> <locative preposition> <dativ object>

This construction is binding the accusative object in a local manner to the object, so you know where the thing, named by the accusative object, is located.

The whole construction itself is not connected to the rest of the sentence with any other particle, but in all cases you can add the modal preposition »mit« (with) that will connect the phrase to the rest:

Anton betrat die Bank, mit einer Waffe in der Hand und mit finsterem Blick.
Anton entered the bank, with a weapon in his hand and scowling.

So also kam Ines zur Feier: mit einer Teekanne auf dem Kopf und (mit) einem Teppich um die Schultern.
This way Ines came to the celebration: with a teapot on her head and (with) a carpet around her shoulders.

But, as you can see, now the accusative object becomes a dative object. But the semantic meaning is the same.

So this construction is just another way to express, that the sentences subject appears with a special item in/on/around/... one of its parts.

»Wer ist auf dem Gang?« ertönte Klaras Stimme, und man sah sie aus einer nahen Tür sich vorbeugen, mit einer große Tischlampe mit rotem Schirm in der Hand.
»Who is on the corridor?« sounded Klaras voice, and you saw her leaning forward from a near door, with a big table lamp with red umbrella in her hand.

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