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Yesterday I asked a question here about turning attributes of adjectives into adverbs which was answered very beautifully by Hubert Schölnast. But I have one more question, which I think is worthy of it's own post on the same matter. Consider the English sentence:

An open-air museum is a day trip suitable for all ages.

Which would be the preffered translation? and why?

  1. Ein Freilichtmuseum ist für alle Altersklassen ein geeigneter Tagesausflug.

  2. Ein Freilichtmuseum ist ein geeigneter Tagesausflug für alle Altersklassen.

I get a feeling that it is 1., but I can't explain why.

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  • I don't understand the headline, btw, i.e. not the "turned into an adverb" part...
    – Alazon
    Aug 9, 2023 at 13:15
  • 1
    As a native speaker I'd pick 2 in a heartbeat. It just rolls better off the tongue. This is for writing, e.g., an ad for open-air museums, or a booklet for tourists. If you're writing an official document, use the „ein für alle Altersklassen geeigneter Tagesausflug“, but otherwise I'd avoid it. Aug 9, 2023 at 22:01

3 Answers 3

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I share your intuition. A German sentence can in general be divided into two regions: topic and comment. The comment with the new information is the second part. So in (2) above you tend to make "for all ages" the main message. In (1) this is backgrounded, and the main message is that it will make for a nice trip. It seems more likely that this would be the main point. But it depends on the specific context. And both is grammatically correct, of course.

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I don't think I can explain this theoretically/grammatically, but if I had to choose between the two options given, I would also choose 1., albeit with a small word shift:

Ein Freilichtmuseum ist ein für alle Altersklassen geeigneter Tagesausflug.

I like another version even better:

Ein Tagesausflug ins Freilichtmuseum ist für alle Altersklassen (gut) geeignet.

The focus on "suitable for all ages" that I feel in the English version is best achieved that way.
It's also less bumpy that way, because strictly speaking, a museum isn't an excursion.

In this sense, version 1. could also be rephrased as:

Ein Besuch im Freilichtmuseum ist ein für alle Altersklassen geeigneter Tagesausflug.

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  • Yes, you also moved "für alle Altersklassen" leftward in your first variant, just not as far as in S-Brian's proposal, you put it right left to the noun. But apparently everyone agrees that they would like to get it out of the focus...
    – Alazon
    Aug 9, 2023 at 13:58
  • @Alazon, what do you mean with "moved 'für alle Altersklassen' leftward"? My Version 1. only differs from the Original Poster's in the way, that I moved the "ein" leftward. Aug 9, 2023 at 14:05
  • I mean "für alle Altersklasssen" occurs farther to the left than in S-Brian's Nr. 2. -- I thought that all solutions try to avoid it as the final item of the sentence.
    – Alazon
    Aug 9, 2023 at 14:12
  • I see.. Yes, you're right. Aug 9, 2023 at 14:27
1

Ein Freilichtmuseum ist für alle Altersklassen ein geeigneter Tagesausflug.

That word order is the default as it puts the adverbial before the predicative.

Ein Freilichtmuseum ist ein geeigneter Tagesausflug für alle Altersklassen.

That word order on the other hands employs a Nachfeld behind the predicative as it puts the adverbial there. You emphasize the adverbial that way.

However, you should consider a third option:

Ein Freilichtmuseum ist ein für alle Altersklassen geeigneter Tagesausflug.

That's the paranthetic word order that makes the adverbial an argument of the predicative as it is encapsulated between its article and its core.

Paranthetic word order is super common in German as we love pre-packaged noun phrases that we can re-use and shuffle around as we see them fit. A follow-up sentence may contain the whole phrase as

Diese für alle Altersklassen geeigneten Tagesausflüge stehen im Gegensatz zum Beispiel zu Besuchen in Kunstmuseen, die Jugendliche erfahrungsgemäß gar nicht interessieren.

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  • Your second example cannot be a Nachfeld position. If you make the Nachfeld visible by inserting an additional verb, this would correspond to: "Ein Freilichtmuseum kann ein geeigneter Tagesausflug sein für alle Altersklassen". Which is odd.
    – Alazon
    Aug 9, 2023 at 14:07
  • The predicative is a part of the predicate as a finite verb is. So anything that follows it is a Nachfeld item.
    – Janka
    Aug 9, 2023 at 15:36
  • Since it does not behave as a nachfeld item on its own, as just demonstrated, you would have to assume that "Tagesausflug für alle Altersklassen“ is one constituent. That seems also possible. -- The question "where is the copula complement in the German clause" warrants a question in the linguistics forum.
    – Alazon
    Aug 9, 2023 at 16:52

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