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I learned of two similar meaning words:

Umgebung (fem, noun): Surroundings (Source)
umgebend (adj): Surrounding source

Are there any relation between these two words? Similar to how we can turn verbs into adjective by participals, can we turn noun as well by some rule?

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    Umgebung is not neuter but feminine.
    – RHa
    Apr 12, 2022 at 6:10
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    There is also umgeben (verb) - to surround
    – xyldke
    Apr 12, 2022 at 6:37
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    The word "umgebend" is an adjective (i.e. not a noun) and must therefore not be capitalized! You wrote it with an uppercase first letter which is wrong. I corrected this. Apr 12, 2022 at 7:37

2 Answers 2

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You can not turn nouns into adjectives, but you can create adjectives from nouns:

Nouns
der Mann, das Weib1, die Sache, ...
the man, the woman, the thing, ...
Adjectives
männlich, weiblich, sächlich, ...
masculine, feminine, neuter, ...

You can also create verbs from nouns:

Nouns
der Regen, das Land, der Stress, ...
the rain, the land, the stress, ...
Verbs
regnen, landen, stressen, ...
to rain, to land, to stress, ...

And of course you also can create nouns from adjectives and verbs:

Adjectives
schön, reich, schwarz, ...
beautiful, rich, black, ...
Nouns
die Schönheit, der Reichtum, die Schwärze, ...
the beauty, the richness, the blackness, ...

Verbs
fahren, gehen, singen, ...
to drive, to walk, to sing, ...
Nouns
die Fahrt, der Gang, der Gesang, ...
the ride, the walk, the singing, ...

But the word "umgebend" does not derive from the noun "die Umgebung" nor is it the other way round. This is because both words derive from a verb: umgeben = to surround

I already have shown that nouns can be created from verbs, so umgeben → die Umgebung (to surround → the surrounding) should no longer be surprising. But you can also create adjectives from verbs.

Verbs
tragen, akzeptieren, biegen, ...
to carry, to accept, to bend, ...
Adjectives
tragbar, akzeptabel, biegsam, ...
portable, acceptable, flexible, ...

And of course also verbs from adjectives

Adjectives
alt, ruhig, schön, ...
old, calm, beautiful, ...
Verbs
altern, beruhigen, verschönern, ...
to age, to soothe, to beautify, ...

But: The word "umgebend" is not an adjective. It is something that lives in a realm between adjectives and verbs. This realm is the kingdom of participles. A participle has properties of verbs and properties of adjectives, but all participles are created from verbs. And this is why some textbooks don't count participles as a distinct kind of words, but as inflections of verbs. So, there are two ways to interpret this fact.

Here are examples:

Verbs
gehen, stehen, umgeben, ...
to walk, to stand, to surround, ...
present participles (Partizip I)
gehend, stehend, umgebend, ...
walking, standing, surrounding, ...
past participles (Partizip II)
gegangen, gestanden, umgegeben, ...
walked, stand, surrounded, ...


I have given a lot of examples, but you also can see, that the mechanisms that are used to create these new words are very various. If you have questions about some of these mechanisms you should ask distinct questions, because the whole topic of creating new words from existing words is too broad for just one question.


1 Although the translation Weib → woman is correct, you should not translate woman → Weib. Better translate woman → Frau. The word Weib is outdated. When it is used today than most often in a pejorative manner.

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    An important difference between present participles and adjectives is that present participles can only rarely be used as predicates, so Der Mann ist stehend is wrong, or at least it would sound very odd. There are exceptions though: Der Film ist aufregend.
    – RDBury
    Apr 12, 2022 at 18:31
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Perhaps this is answerable with a dictionary; using one which lists etymologies would be more useful. The two words are derived from umgeben = "to surround". The first one, Umgebung is formed from the suffix -ung, which has a meaning similar to "-ing" in English. To quote Wiktionary: "forms nouns from verbs, usually describing either an event in which an action is carried out, or the result of that action." In other words Umgebung is formed in exactly the same way that "surrounding" is in English. The second word umgebend is the present participle of umgeben. In English the present participle is formed by adding "-ing", but it's a coincidence that the "-ing" used this way is the same as the "-ing" noun forming suffix. Note that DWDS does not even list umgebend since its meaning can be directly derived from umgeben. The English translations are spelled the same but are different parts of speech and have different meanings. The noun: "It took me a moment to get used to my surroundings." The adjective: "The house fire soon spread to the surrounding trees."

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    Could you suggest a good dictionary which contains the information you said Apr 12, 2022 at 8:10
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    @Buraian: I use the English Wiktionary myself, but supplemented by DWDS and the German Wiktionary. But the information in English Wiktionary is often incomplete, for example it doesn't say anything about umgebend being a participle; I already knew how to recognize a present participles in German. I have a few other sites I go to for more specialized information. I don't know of a dictionary that has all the information you might need, and until someone creates one it's best to have several bookmarked.
    – RDBury
    Apr 12, 2022 at 17:39

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