"Lauten" is not a Prädikativverb.
However, it used similarly to "sein" in one case.

Meine Telefonnummer lautet "0123456789".

Here, the quote is a noun. But in which case? I have also seen it without quotes:

Mein Name lautet Luther.
Das Urteil lautete, alle Gelder zu beschlagnahmen.

So what is the object of "lauten"? It can't be Nominativ, otherwise it would be a Prädikativverb - right?

Although the Valenzgrammar does not list "lauten" specifically, "lauten" is used as a synonym for "heißen" in one explanation of "heißen" used with a predicative complement.

Duden may have not provided a complete list, or has a different list of criteriums, although they state that Prädikativverben simply have a subject predicative, which is the case for "heißen".

  • 1
    Why can't it be? E.g. in a period Western, someone might well say "Mein Name lautet 'Großer Bär'", which is certainly a nominative. Jun 27, 2023 at 6:20
  • It is not by duden grammar, and they usually have experts writing their grammar books Jun 27, 2023 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


The traditional classification of verbs in to intransitive, transitive, predicate, etc. is an oversimplification. This is true for English, though the discrepancies can be glossed over, but the classification really breaks down in German with its more complex case system, and where verbs come in more varieties: dative, reflexive, impersonal, prepositional and many combinations thereof. A more practical system is valence theory, and in my opinion the best (though still incomplete) resource for this is Elektronisches Valenzwörterbuch deutscher Verben on the grammis site. They assign each meaning of a verb a code or set of codes, for example the first meaning of heißen is give the codes K sub and K akk. Publishers want their dictionaries to be readable by mere mortals so such coding schemes are rarely used and instead labels using vague pronouns are sometimes used, for example DWDS gives ⟨›jmdn. heißen‹ + Nomen⟩ as a label for a different meaning of heißen. German speakers can use endings to infer the required cases etc. without a masters degree in computational linguistics. Unfortunately grammis doesn't have an entry for lauten and DWDS doesn't always use labels. Wiktionary uses the traditional classification system when possible, and sometimes a more complicated label is used such as "with dative object", but Wiktionary is far from complete and many verbs have no labels at all.

The upshot is that you shouldn't get hung up on verb labels; there is no perfect system for them. I think part of the confusion is that you're trying to assign a label to the verb itself and not a specific meaning; different meanings often have different valences. From HalvarF's answer it's clear that for the meaning in question a nominative object is possible, but you shouldn't infer then that it must be a predicative verb since it might just be it's own type.

  • Although the question is still not fully answered, your link to the valency dictionary is really helpful so I marked it as answered. Jun 28, 2023 at 16:58

There are no object valences, there's only a valence for a quality:

Deine Telefonnummer lautet wie?
Wie lautete das Urteil?

You can use an adjective or a direct citation in that spot, but you can also use lauten like a Prädikativverb and use e.g. a noun in nominative (Gleichsetzungsnominativ) or an infinitive clause or Dass-Nebensatz.

Annes Vorschlag lautet gut. (i.e. klingt gut)
Meine Telefonnummer lautet "0123456789".
Die erste Zeile des Gedichts lautet "Am grauen Strand, am grauen Meer".
Das Wort für einen Bürger Frankreichs lautet Franzose.
Sein Name lautet Großer Bär.
Das Urteil lautete, alle Gelder zu beschlagnahmen.
Das Urteil lautete, dass die Beklagte den Schaden ersetzen muss.

  • Why is it not classified as one in duden then? or anywhere else i could not find it? Jun 27, 2023 at 11:41

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