Constructions Gehören-Passiv In Modern German


The purpose of this research is to study the German construction gehören-Passiv, its internal and external structure; determine its status in the grammatical structure of the modern German language. Their study in modern linguistic literature is spontaneous and there are still scientific disputes and discussions on determining their status in the German language. In the inner axis of the considered constructions, as a rule, a whole complex of semantic features of grammatical meanings is presented, which is overlooked when studying by German germanists. But as our empirical material shows, these terms do not exactly meet the stated requirements and do not give an accurate definition of their status and usage in the language. The methods of research of language units used in our work allow us to take a different look at their linguistic Trinity: form – meaning – purpose, to generalize the theoretical and practical conclusions, to approve them in the status of «semi-morphologized structures» or «semi-grammaticalized constructions» and to raise them to the rank of an independent language unit in the modern structure of the German language. The studied material can be used in the analysis of infinitive constructions with the particle zu or bekommen + Passiv in modern German, since there are many points of contact between these structural formations at both the surface and deep levels.

Keywords: Participle II of the main verb, semantic actants, structural-semantic relationships, the Passive Voice, the modal mean, the internal form


The grammatical status of certain language units is usually built on the basis of oppositional reversibility, if the smallest language units have a binary or trinary opposition, for example, the category of mood in German is formally divided into three opposites Indikativ :: Konjunktiv :: Imperativ, the category of voice consists in Aktiv :: Passiv :: Stativ, the morphological category of gender in nouns includes three oppositions Maskulinum :: Femininum :: Neutrum, the category of certainty is divided into two binary counter-terms Kategorie der Bestimmtheit :: Kategorie der Unbestimmtheit. While in the gehören-Passiv under consideration, in contrast to the above-mentioned categories, we do not find a direct, dependent dichotomous opposition, an opposite structural analog, and an inversely proportional relationship with one or another formal counter-term.

Problem Statement

In modern German, in addition to the main, i.e. morphological, way of expressing the passive voice, there are a number of other structural and semantic means of formal representation of the semantic feature of the voice. Such formations in modern German include the artistic constructions gehören-passive and bekommen-passive. Their structural composition consists of two word forms, such as the auxiliary verbs gehören, bekommen, erhalten, kriegen and the participles of the second main verb. These structures, being derived forms of the morphological form of the passive voice, in their internal form contain semantic features of collateral meanings that are syncretically associated with modal values, the identification of which becomes possible due to the conversion of their internal syntax.

Research Questions

  • These formations are derived forms of the passive voice werden + Passiv and are its invariant in the transmission of collateral meanings from the lexico-semantic group of transfer verbs and Verba dicendi.
  • In our research, in the name of the studied gehören-Passiv constructions, we adhere to the scientific term «semi-morphologized constructions» or «semi-grammaticalized constructions», which were introduced into the orbit of scientific interests by a number of Russian germanists (Muryasov, 2011).
  • In this paper, we intend to study the external and internal features of semi-morphologized gehören-Passiv constructions in the modern structure of the German language and determine their functional status.

Purpose of the Study

In this paper, the main object of our research is to examine the expression gehören-Passiv for the purpose of expressing the semantic feature of collateral meanings and accompanying modal meanings in modern German.

Let's start with the fact that these structural formations in German are a fusion or synthesis of two grammatical meanings, where semantic features of grammatical (passive and modal) meanings are simultaneously interfaced with each other. Modality in the considered structures implies the implementation of necessary and appropriate actions that are grammatically attributed to the indirect complement, superficially represented in the analyzed constructions in the form of the dative case.

With this structure, the speaker expresses, as a rule, a censure or prohibition on the implementation of any actions by an indirect subject in an external, non-linguistic environment. The indirect agent expressed by these structural entities must:

  • first, to be endowed with a certain code of honor and dignity in the representation of an outsider;
  • secondly, observe and unconditionally comply with all recognized moral and ethical standards and requirements;
  • third, without any complaints or unnecessary objections, follow the generally accepted rules of behavior in society;
  • fourth, to act in different extralinguistic situations exclusively in a positive, positive way, for example: Das gehörtе ihm gesagt (He needs to be told) ~ Das musste ihm gesagt werden (He should have been told that); Das gehörte ihm lange Zeit vorher gemacht (He should have done it a long time ago) ~ Das musste von ihm lange Zeit vorher gemacht worden sein (It should have been done by him long ago); Ihm gehörte geholfen – (He needed help) and etc.

The formation of the expression gehören-Passive in modern German is characteristic of all verbs characteristic of the passive voice werden + Passiv. The main object of actualization in the studied structures is to bring to the fore its indirect complement, expressed in the dative case, i.e., the dative actant. In semantic terms, it is characterized as the direct addressee, to whom, in fact, the action represented by these predicates is turned or addressed. In General, these are predicates that have a double strong connection in their valence relation in a sentence with a mandatory feature of the expression of dative or accusative actants. This group of verbs usually includes predicates of speech and transmission.

The implementation of the dative actant is caused by the need to change the behavior, views and actions of a third person in relation to a particular range of phenomena in both the personal and public life, for example.:etc.

Research Methods

The main methods of studying language tools in our work are transformational, component and distributive methods. With their help, it was possible to identify the formal-military and content features inherent in the studied phrases in modern German.

The methods of scientific analysis used in our work allowed us to confidently strengthen our assumption that the deep structure of semi-morphologized constructions gehören + Passiv presents semantic features of grammatical meanings of modality and passivity, and that there are hidden predicative relations between the second participle of the main verb and the indirect complement, superficially represented in the studied formations in the form of the dative case distantly.

The transformation of the analyzed constructions into active expressions quite clearly shows that the transformed sentences will necessarily represent the initiator or causator of the action or effect being called, structurally expressed in the form of the nominative case, for example.:

The latter predicative formation in German can also be transformed into a passive one, but the action expressed by it will be more conscious and purposeful in terms of its external implementation in non-linguistic reality:.

German phrases gehören-Passiv in addition to expressing collateral meanings in their complex of semantic features manifest the attitude of the speaker to the action of a third person, an assessment of his previous deeds and actions, which were apparently negative.

The analyzed structure according to the range of values is close to the infinitive constructions gilt es + zu + Infinitiv es lohnt sich + zu + Infinitiv, but unlike them in structure gehören-Passiv implicitly expressed semantic features edification, advice, recommendations, instructions, sermons in the form of "lesson learned" or "information to note."

The German constructions es gilt + zu + Infinitiv and es lohnt sich + zu + Infinitiv in the content plan indicate a more strict and immediate requirement to perform certain actions, for example, Es gilt, ihm darüber zu sagen (It is important to tell him about it), i.e. Es muss ihm darüber unbedingt gesagt werden (he must be told about this); Dresden lohnt sich, zu besuchen (Dresden is worth visiting), I.e. Dresden muss besucht werden (Dresden is worth to visit); es lohnt Sich, IHM darüber zu sagen (It is worth to tell him), i.e. Es muss ihm darüber gesagt werden (He should be told about this, etc. (Gabdullin & Dmitrichenkova, 2013).


A comparative analysis of the main (werden-Passiv) and indirect (gehören-Passiv) means of expressing voice meanings made it possible to establish a number of common and distinctive features between them.

Based on the undertaken structural-semantic analysis of the two voice expressing structure werden-Passiv and gehören-Passiv, the following motivated explanation can be given for their appearance in the grammatical structure of the language and their functional usage in the language system. The transformational method, which formed the basis of the studied constructions, revealed a number of features that provide a clue to their formal appearance in the German language. This structural unit by its materialization in the combined body of the German language grammatical means allows us to solve two important problems that were established in the course of our study of its internal syntax, as well as its individual structurally significant units, obtained as a result of the breakdown of their intra-syntagmatic relations, around which, in fact, and these or those kinds of predicative and notional connections begin to take shape, the simplified syntactic representation of which occurs under the pressure of the communicative goals and tasks of the participants in the speech environment (Gabdullin, 2018).

A comparative analysis of the two constructions of werden-Passiv and gehören-Passiv for the expression of their inherent voice properties made it possible to detect the change of actants from one position to another. Their use and movement in the studied propositive structures are directly dependent on their communicative and informative significance in the proposal, as well as on the intentions of the person manifesting certain types of maxims and intentions. When the actant is shifted from one syntactic position to another at the superficial level of sentences with gehören-Passiv, such a semantic role of the actant as the animated recipient agent (beneficiary or recipient) is actualized, at the same time combining the attribute of the addressee, for the benefit or in the name of whom, in fact, this or that action takes place.

In contrast, the grammatical subject designated by the main grammatical form of the passive voice can be both animate and inanimate, and in the sentence, as a rule, it is under the external influence coming from the main carrier of the predicative sign, i.e., the participle of the second main verb. The or or represented in the gehören-Passiv turnover expresses, as a rule, with rare exceptions, the immanent attribute of the agent, i.e. animate person or living creature, for example:etc.

In addition to examining the morphological properties of the gehören-Passiv constructions, we would like to dwell in detail on some syntactic features, namely, on existing word-order relations.

The syntactic space of gehören-Passiv constructions can be conditionally divided into three zones, into three spheres: the forefield, the middle, and the beyond the field parts. From a topological point of view, the formal elements of the structures being disassembled will be separated and spaced in a certain order, linearly localized in one or another section of the entire syntactic field (Gabdullin, 2016, p. 76).

So, in the forefield part, either an indirect complement in the form of the dative case or a grammatical subject in the nominative case, which will enter into direct predicative relations with the auxiliary verb gehören, directly localized in the middle part of the syntactic construction with the gehören-Passiv construction, can be variably represented.

The irregular form of the participle of the second main verb will close the part of the whole structure. This structural unit at a distance will consist of gravity with an indirect complement in the dative case, since this component of the sentence in a very distant, indirect form will express the semantic attribute of the patient, thereby indicating in absentia the vector orientation to the subject of its influence with the aim of translating it into other quality condition, for example:.

The empirical material in relief and convex showed that the indirect complement in the form of the dative case in the analyzed turns is the product of the realization of two opposing valence forces. The first of them finds its contact materialization from the auxiliary verb gehören, and the second in a distant form from the spoken connection of the participle of the second main verb.

When communicatively dynamic consideration of semi-morphologized revolutions of gehören-Passiv the main theme is always an indirect addition in the form of the dative case, and rheme, i.e. the new information will be the vector impact of two opposing forces, simultaneously emanating both from the variable form of the verb gehören, and from the conditional connection of the participle of the second infinitive of the main verb.

The auxiliary verb gehören in semi-morphologized structures gehören-Passiv will neutralize and lose its main meaning, attracting other semantic attributes of the level of grammatical categorization, for example, modality and collateral. They will semantically rethink and express more a subjective assessment, position, attitude or judgment, opinion, assessment of the speaker to the action of a third party, which under certain conditions will potentially or hypothetically move from the attributed meaning of the participle of the second main verb to an indirect complement, which is in this case a patient.

In addition, the unchanging form of the main verb, presented in the analyzed examples by the participle of the second, clearly shows implicitly, linearly and distantly hidden latent predicative signs of the implementation of the notional connection of an indirect complement in order to refine it and transform it into a different qualitative state (Muryasov, 2016).

The studied empirical material clearly demonstrated that the doer of the action is rarely expressed in the constructions being disassembled. This phenomenon significantly brings the studied turnover closer to the main grammatical form of expressing werden-Passiv voice meanings, where its productivity is similarly low.

In addition, the semi-grammatical construction of gehören-Passiv is rarely used in other temporary forms. Thus, the auxiliary verb gehören in the gehören-Passiv construction was most often found in the present tense of Präsens and a little less often in the tense of Präteritum. In passing, we note that we have not identified cases of the use of the semi-morphologized construction gehören-Passiv in the temporary form Perfekt, in the form of future tenses Futur or in German forms of the subjunctive time Konjunktiv.


Summing up our observations, we can draw the following conclusions:

  • In addition to the main way of expressing the passive voice in the German grammar system werden-Passiv, there are a number of other analytically formed structures with the transmission of similar meanings, for example, the semi-grammatical construction of gehören-Passiv.
  • An indirect supplement, otherwise called a dative actant in modern linguistic literature, is endowed in the internal form of the gehören-Passiv construction with two semantic attributes: on the one hand, he is a recipient and patient, and on the other, the addressee, for the benefit of given semi-morphologized construction action.
  • Gehören-Passiv constructions lead to a significant reduction in bulky and redundant structures of varying degrees of complexity at a linear level.
  • An indirect supplement during field examination can be located both in the initial and in the middle part of the gehören-Passiv construction.
  • Temporarily, the gehören-Passiv constructions are used, as a rule, in the form of Präsens-gehören-Passiv and Präteritum-gehören-Passiv.

The German construction with gehören-Passiv through its formation promotes a compact and syncretic expression of collateral and modal meanings, formally accelerating, thus, their entry into the linguistic or speech environment.


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  • Gabdullin, S. S. (2018). Constructions lassen + sich + Infinitiv in Modern German. Scientific journal Izvestiya Smolenskogo State University, 2(42), 233.

  • Gabdullin, S. S., & Dmitrichenkova, S. V. (2013). On the external and internal structure of semi-morphologized constructions in modern German. Scientific journal “Vestnik RUDN”. Ser. Educational Issues: Languages and Specialty. Publishing House of RUDN.

  • Muryasov, R. Z. (2011). Verb typology in different structural languages. Paradigmatics and functional-semantic categories of the verb. LAP LAMBERTAcademic Publishing GmbH & Co. KG.

  • Muryasov, R. Z. (2016). The typology of the verb in different structured languages [Monograph]. RIC Bashkir State University.

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23 December 2022

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Gabdullin, S. S., & Dmitrichenkova, S. V. (2022). Constructions Gehören-Passiv In Modern German. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization- ISCKMC 2022, vol 129. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 442-448). European Publisher.