Navigation – Plan du site
Le verbe

Weather verbs in Latin, German, and other languages. Contrastive and typological remarks

Les expressions météorologiques en latin, en allemand et dans d’autres langues. Remarques comparatives et typologiques
Manfred Kienpointner
p. 57-67


Cette contribution présente une description contrastive des modèles syntaxiques de base en latin et en allemand employés pour les procès météorologiques. Cette description contrastive est enrichie de quelques remarques sur les verbes/expressions météorologiques en japonais et en turc. Ensuite, une « échelle météorologique » est proposée comme un tertium comparationis, où les expressions météorologiques sont placées sur un continuum avec un « pôle phénoménologique » et un « pôle entitaire ». Cette échelle météorologique est illustrée et justifiée par des exemples tirés de plusieurs langues indo-européennes et non indo-européennes. Finalement, l’échelle météorologique est comparée à quelques autres approches typologiques.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

1. Introduction

1This paper first presents an overview of sentence patterns containing weather verbs/weather expressions in Latin and German. The focus will be on basic, that is, unmarked sentence patterns describing precipitation processes, such as pluit in Latin and es regnet in German. But some predicates referring to cyclic natural events, which differ from precipitation events syntactically and semantically, will also be dealt with briefly (e.g. advesperascit or es dämmert). In a second step, this bilateral comparison will be extended towards a multilateral comparison, taking into account some Japanese and Turkish weather verbs/expressions (cf. Ogawa et al. 2014).

2Furthermore, a tertium comparationis, the so-called “meteo-scale”, will be sketched out, that is, a conceptual model which situates language-specific sentence patterns containing weather expressions as preferred spaces on a continuum between two poles: the “phenomenon pole” and the “entity pole”, with intermediate spaces in between. At the phenomenon pole, a weather process is represented as a pure process, with the help of verbs only. At the entity pole, the main forces and objects involved in weather processes (e.g. the sun) are represented as nouns, often accompanied by semantically rather “weak”, general verbs which are not “weather-specific”. In the intermediate zone of the continuum, both entities and the weather process are referred to. Here we find either semantically “weak” subjects such as impersonal pronouns + verb, or nouns combined with cognate verbs. Finally, a few other typological approaches to meteorological verbs/expressions will be discussed.

2. Contrastive overview: Latin and German weather verbs/expressions

  • 1 Cf. Kühner and Stegmann, 1912, p. 4; Pinkster, 2015, p. 193-4.

3The basic or prototypical expression for the verbal description of weather phenomena in (Classical) Latin is the impersonal verb form (3rd pers. sg., present tense). Here is a selection of the most common weather expressions in (Classical) Latin,1 together with the corresponding expressions in German and English:

Basic Latin weather expressions:
Pluit – tonat – ningit – grandinat – rorat – fulget or fulgurate or fulminat – nubilat – ventus spirat or Auster / Corus / Notus / Septentrio flat / spirat – lucet – luciscit or dilucescit or illucescit – vesperascit or invesperascit or advesperascit.

Basic German weather expressions:
Es regnet – es donnert – es schneit – es hagelt – es taut – es blitzt – es bewölkt sich – der Wind weht – die Sonne scheint or es ist sonnig – es dämmert – es wird dunkel or der Abend dämmert – es wird hell or es wird Tag or der Morgen graut.

Basic English weather expressions:
It’s raining – there’s thunder or it’s thunder! (a normal answer to questions such as what is that?) – it’s snowing – it’s hailing – the ice or the snow is thawing – there’s lightning or it’s lightning! (a normal answer to questions such as what is that?) – it’s getting cloudy – the wind is blowing – the sun is shining or it’s sunny – dusk is falling – dawn is breaking.

4Although I cannot provide an exhaustive justification of the distinction between prototypical and marked expressions for weather phenomena, some criteria for making this distinction are given below. One of the quantitative criteria is frequency, with basic weather expressions being much more frequent than marked constructions. As far as Classical Latin is concerned, unfortunately, this argument is not particularly strong because we have only few instances of pluit and other weather expressions in the available texts. Still, pluit without further arguments appears 4 times in the corpus Library of Latin Texts, Series A (= LLT-A) in texts from the 1st century BC, whereas the marked construction such as imbres cadunt occurs only once, and this passage is part of a poetic text (Ov. Met. 11, 526), and the singular version of this sentence, imber cadit, does not appear at all in LLT-A in texts of the same period. As far as German is concerned, a Google test (performed on May 27, 2015) showed that es regnet ‘it is raining’ occurred 588.000 times, whereas der Regen fällt ‘rain is falling’ (monovalent verbs such as fällt in der Regen fällt commonly occur without local adverbials) was found only 83.000 times. Similar results have been established for Spanish by Meulleman and Stockman (2013, p. 119), who report that there is a frequency of 79% of avalent llueve ‘it is raining’ in a corpus of 1.000 occurrences of this verb.

5There are also qualitative criteria for the (un)markedness of weather expressions: the basic or prototypical sentence patterns are usually shorter, syntactically less complex and semantically simpler representations of meteorological phenomena than their marked counterparts (cf. also Pinkster 2015, p. 854-5). And it is remarkable that even Augustine (354-430 AC), while using pluit with the explicit subject deus/dominus approximately 100 times according to the LLT-A, gives the following comment which shows that weather verbs in Augustine’s time were still normally used without explicit subject:

Ita enim dicimus: pluit, serenat, tonat, et si qua sunt talia, nec addimus quis id faciat; quia omnium mentibus sponte sese offert excellentia facientis, nec verba desiderat. (Aug. In psalm. 9, 1)

  • 2 For occasional occurrences of hoc as a subject pronoun, e.g. hoc lucescit, cf. Pinkster, 2015, p. 1 (...)

6As far as the verbal presentation of meteorological phenomena is concerned, a quick look at the lists presented above shows the main typological difference between Latin, German, and English: while Latin most of the time expresses the weather processes exclusively with the verb (zero valency),2 German and English generally have the neuter pronouns es or it as a subject (of monovalent verbs). Occasionally, however, semantically more substantial subjects (nouns) occur as the prototypical expressions in German and English (e.g. Germ. der Wind weht or die Sonne scheint; Engl. the wind is blowing or the sun is shining). Such nouns as subjects are very rare in Classical Latin, but cf. the following examples:


Ventus spirat. (Varro Rust. 1, 52, 2)


Auster flat. (Vitr. 1, 6, 1)

  • 3 Cf. also Lambert, 1998, p. 306; Bauer, 2000, p. 100-1.

7Following Lucien Tesnière (1966, p. 239),3 I classify the prototypical Latin weather verbs as avalent verbs, that is, as verbs without argument. This point of view, however, has been questioned both in traditional grammar and in Generative Grammar.

  • 4 Cf. Havers, 1931, p. 100-1 for a religious explanation of Ancient Gr. Ζεὺς ὕει and Lat. Iuppiter pl (...)

8In traditional grammars,4 it has been assumed that verbs like pluit and tonat have an elliptic subject, namely, Iuppiter or other gods. These subjects were often replaced by the Christian God in Christian texts (with an especially high frequency of the formula Deus /Dominus pluit super iustos et iniustos; cf. Pinkster, 2015, p. 195).

  • 5 Cf. Chomsky, 1981, p. 240; Ruwet, 1986, p. 44, n. 3; Oniga, 2007, p. 193.

9In Generative Grammar, where the assumed universal principle “every sentence has a subject” implies that languages such as Latin are “pro-drop-languages”, it is argued that an underlying subject “pro” is present in deep structure, but dropped in the surface structure.5

  • 6 Cf. Kienpointner, 1995, p. 76; 2010, p. 234-5; Pinkster 2015, p. 192-5.
  • 7 Cf. Kühner and Stegmann, 1912, p. 4; Touratier, 1994, p. 326; Lambert 1998, p. 310; Bauer, 2000, p. (...)

10I would like to argue against both assumptions.6 First of all, weather verbs normally occur without gods as subject in texts of the Classical Latin period;7 however, as mentioned above, in post-Classical Latin texts, written by Christian authors, we also frequently find deus or Dominus as subject. It is almost exclusively in poetic or religious or metaphorical contexts that we sometimes find weather verbs with gods or concrete meteorological entities as a subject, see ex. (3)-(6) (cf. Oniga, 2007, p. 193). Even in these contexts weather verbs can occur without argument, e.g. (7) and (9) (Pinkster, 2015, p. 194):

  • 8 The only instance in the LLT-A!


Iove fulgente, tonante (Cic. Nat. deor. 2, 65)


Iove tonante, fulgurante (Cic. Div. 2, 42)


Aurora rorat. (Ov. Met. 13,621f)8


Non densior aere grando, nec de concussa tantum pluit ilice glandis. (Verg. Georg. 4, 80f)


Hinc tonat, hinc missis abrumpitur ignibus aether. (Ov. Fast. 2, 495)

11Furthermore, from a comparative perspective, Bauer (2000, p. 106) concludes that no Indo-European language has exclusively personal weather verbs and that the occurrence of subjects is never systematic in old Indo-European languages such as Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin.

12The following small collection of examples illustrates the prototypical, avalent use of weather verbs and verbs for cyclic events in Classical Latin:


Ante rorat quam pluit. (Varro Ling. 7, 58)


si fulserit, si tonuerit (Cic. Div. 2, 149)


Caesar, ubi luxit, omnes senatores senatorumque liberos, tribunos militum equitesque Romanos ad se produci iubet. (Caes. Civ. 1, 23, 1)


Ipsi comprehensi ad me, cum iam dilucesceret, deducuntur. (Cic. Cat. 3, 6)


Itaque tum de foro, cum iam advesperasceret, discessimus. (Cic. Verr. 2, 4, 147)

13Finally, as Pinkster (1990, p. 23) has argued, unlike one- or more-place verbs, basic Latin weather verbs are not nominalised, with an agent in the genitive:


a. pater amat → amor patris

b. Iuppiter pluit → *pluvium Iovis (no instance in the LLT-A)

  • 9 Cf. e.g. Ruwet, 1986, p. 45; 1991, p. 90.

14I will now turn to the generative analysis of weather expressions. Against this analysis, which assumes that weather verbs in languages such as Latin have an underlying subject (small “pro”), I would like to argue that Latin weather verbs such as pluit, unlike most other one- or more-place Latin verbs, where a missing overt subject can be regularly inserted on the basis of our contextual knowledge, cannot be supplemented with a subject (apart from the clearly marked contexts mentioned above). Moreover, the generative approach would reduce the contrasts between Latin and languages such as German to the existence or inexistence of overt morphological forms of the subject pronoun, without any further functional difference,9 while I would like to argue that the common German, English, and French constructions with pronoun differ from Latin weather verbs also functionally.

  • 10 See already Tesnière, 1965, p. 239 on il pleut. On Germ. es regnet, see Engel, 2004, p. 105-6; Helb (...)
  • 11 Eroms, 2000, p. 190; Heringer, 2001, p. 85; Wellmann, 2008, p. 189.

15However, I would also like to argue against those who assume that German, English, and French weather verbs have zero valency.10 Similarly, I would like to argue against those who assume that German weather verbs with es are one-place verbs with a syntactic subject, which, however, lacks a semantic role.11

  • 12 On Germ. es, see Corrodi, 1925, p. 8; Weinrich, 1993, p. 391-2; 403; Wermke et al., 2005, p. 412-13 (...)

16I prefer to follow those who argue that pronouns such as German es, English it and French il, as the subjects of weather verbs, are part of a sentence pattern with a one-place verb and a subject, which also has a semantic function.12

17As far as German is concerned, this position can be justified by the following facts (cf. Kienpointner, 1995, p. 77-81):

    • 13 See ex. (14) and Corrodi, 1925, p. 8; cf. Lambert, 1998, p. 308.

    The neuter pronoun es can be substituted, albeit only minimally so, with the demonstrative pronoun das, which leads to an emphatic meaning.13

  1. Furthermore, there are semantically closely related one-place sentence patterns with semantically more substantial subjects, such as der Regen fällt ‘the rain is falling’; cf. similar cases such as es stürmt ‘it is stormy’ vs. der Wind weht ‘the wind is blowing’. These nouns, however, form a semantic paradigm together with the semantically weaker pronouns (cf. Lehmann, 1991, p. 193).

  2. Furthermore, es can be moved (15), a fact which confirms the status of es as a syntactic argument (cf. Wermke et al., 2005, p. 412).

    • 14 Cf. Corrodi, 1925, p. 26; Bolinger 1977, p. 79.

    Finally, es has a semantic function, i.e. it can refer to the entities causing or undergoing a weather process.14 This means that the semantic functions “Processed” (“the entity that undergoes a process”, cf. Dik, 1997, p. 118) or “Force” (“the non-controlling entity instigating a process”, ibid.) can be assigned to es. The semantic function “Force” appears most typically with basic weather verbs whose subjects are nouns and which can hardly be substituted with es while at the same time keeping their meteorological meaning (16):


Es regnet. ‘It is raining.’ vs. Das regnet! (lit. ‘That’s raining!’) or Wie das heute wieder regnet! (lit. ‘How that is raining again today!’)


Es regnet wieder. / Jetzt regnet es wieder!


Die Sonne scheint. ‘The sun is shining.’ vs. *Es scheint. (lit. ‘It’s shining.’); Der Donner grollt. ‘The thunder is rumbling.’ vs. *Es grollt. (lit. ‘It’s rumbling.’)

3. A typological perspective

18Comparing the contrastive sketch of Latin and German weather expressions presented above with further languages such as Turkish and Japanese, we can see that they either are closer to the prototypical Latin strategy of presenting the pure phenomenon, the weather process as such, or are closer to German and English, where the involved entities are presented explicitly, with a noun as subject. However, unlike in German and English, sentence patterns with impersonal pronouns as subject are not common in weather expressions in Turkish or Japanese.

19For example, the following prototypical Turkish (17)-(20) and Japanese (21)-(24) sentence patterns express both the entities involved in the weather process and the process itself, often with semantically redundant, cognate nouns and verbs (nom = nominative):





is raining

‘It is raining.’





is raining

‘It is snowing.’





is thundering

‘There is thunder.’





is darkening

Dusk is falling.’






‘Rain is falling.’






‘Snow is falling.’




God’s gong-nom


‘There is thunder.’




Day- nom


‘Dusk is falling.’

20In colloquial Turkish and, likewise, in spoken Japanese, some weather verbs can also be used without subject (prog = progressive):




‘Is raining.’




‘Is thundering.’




‘Is raining.’

  • 15 Cf. Malchukov and Ogawa, 2011, p. 26; Ogawa et al. 2014, p. 120.

21At a higher level of abstraction, the Latin, German, Turkish, and Japanese examples presented above can all be situated on a continuum of the verbal presentation of weather events, with an entity pole and a phenomenon pole, and an area in between. This continuum can be called the “meteo-scale”, that is, “a cline between ‘verby’ and ‘nouny’ constructions with the ‘cognate’ type in between”.15 In the “cognate” type, both the entities and the process are explicitly mentioned with the help of nouns and verbs which are etymologically related.

22From a cognitive point of view, Langacker (1991, p. 366-7) takes the example of the verbalization of the concept “rain” or ”raining” in order to illustrate a similar classification. According to this classification, either entities (such as water) or processes (the falling of water from the sky) are “profiled” as the figure in relation to some ground, with cognate constructions as a third type in between, where entities and processes redundantly cover the same conceptual content.

23At the entity pole, the entities involved in the weather processes are mentioned explicitly, with a noun. Often, these nouns are combined with semantically general or meteorologically “weak” verbs, which are not only used in relation to weather phenomena. So they are not “meteo-specific” (e.g. Germ. fallen ‘to fall’, Engl. shine, Lat. cadere, Turk. çakmak ‘to hit’, Jap. hikaru ‘to shine’). So it is the noun which enables these sentence patterns to refer to states of affairs of a meteorological nature. At the phenomenon pole, only the weather process, without the involved entities, is expressed by the weather verb alone, and “these constructions with zero subjects of impersonal verbs are very common cross-linguistically” (Malchukov and Ogawa, 2011, p. 25). In between, both the entities and the weather process are mentioned explicitly, either by a semantically “weak” neuter personal pronoun plus a verb, as in German or English, or by a cognate noun and a cognate verb, as sometimes occurs in Turkish or Japanese.

  • 16 For the non-Indo-European examples, see Hill et al., 1998, p. 868, van Valin and LaPolla, 1997, p. (...)

24Figure 1 presents the meteo-scale. To keep the presentation as short and simple as possible, I refrain from giving detailed morpho-syntactic glosses of the illustrative examples. However, whenever the language-specific structures deviate considerably from languages such as English, Latin, or German, I provide literal translations, sometimes also accompanied by a free translation. When the languages are less known, I provide information about their genetic affiliation.16

Figure 1: The Meteo-Scale


Phenomenon Pole

Area in between

Entity Pole

Realisation: Pure verb: V

Pro + V / N + cognate V

N + “weak” V

I. Indo-European languages:
pluit / ninguit
piove / nevica
llueve / nieva
várṣati ‘snows’
Ancient Gr.
ὕει / νείφει
Modern Gr.
βρέχει /χιονίζει
prší ‘rains’ / sněží ‘snows’
svetaet ‘dawns’ = ‘dawn is breaking’

Non-Indo-Europ. languages:
Jap. (coll.)
futte-iru / kuraku naru ‘is raining’ / ‘is getting dark’
Turk. (coll.)
yağıyor / gürlüyor
‘is raining’ / ‘is thundering’

havazik ‘snows’
sataa ‘rains’
tuulee ‘blows’ = ‘the wind is blowing’

Hopi (Uto-Aztecan)
yooyoki ‘rains’
Lakota (Siouan)
magaju ‘rains’
Guaraní (Tupí-Guaraní)
oki ‘rains’

Beja (Cushitic)
Bireet-iini ‘is raining’

I. Indo-European languages:
es regnet / es schneit
it’s raining / it’s snowing
il pleut / il neige
het regent / het sneeuwt

N + cognate V:
der Wind weht ‘the wind is blowing’
grom gremit ‘thunders thunder’

II. Non-Indo-Europ. languages:
kaminari-ga naru
‘God’s gong is gonging’
yağmur yağıyor
‘rain is raining’
Even (Tungusic)
udan udnan ‘rain rains’

esik az eső ‘rains the rain’
Mari (Uralic)
jür jüreš ‘rain rains’
Mari (Uralic)
lum lumeš ‘snow snows’
Udmurt (Uralic)
zor zore ‘rain rains’

Amharic (Semitic)
zənab yə-zänbal ‘rain is raining’

I. Indo-European languages:
ventus spirat
die Sonne scheint
the sun is shining.
Rus. i
djot dožd’ ‘goes rain’
idjot sneg ‘goes snow’
slunce svítí
‘sun shines’

II. Non-Indo-Eur. languages:
şimşek çakıyor
‘lightning is hitting’
xià yŭ le
‘fall rain already’ =
‘rain is falling’
xià xuě le
‘fall snow already’ =
‘snow is falling’

Somali (Cushitic)
dabaysha baa socota
‘the wind walks’ =
‘the wind blows’
Kabyle (Berber)
te-kkat lehwa
‘is hitting rain’ = ‘rain is hitting’
Kabyle (Berber)
D ageffur.
‘is/was rain’ = ‘it’s raining’

25In the following, I would like to give a few comments with reference to the meteo-scale. There are some meteorological phenomena which seem to “lend themselves” more to the expression at the phenomenon pole because the involved entities are normally not experienced as clearly delimited entities in reality (e.g. darkness, dusk, dawn).

26In this way, expressions such as Latin advesperascit, Russian večereet or Japanese kuraku naru (all having the literal meaning of ‘is getting dark’) seem more “natural” than Turkish gün kararıyor (lit. ‘day is getting dark’, i.e. ‘dusk is falling’) or English dusk is falling. However, the Turkish and English constructions and similar ones in other languages can be explained by the fact that they contain meteorologically unspecific verbs, that is, verbs which are not restricted to meteorological phenomena (Turk. kararmak ‘getting black’; Engl. fall) and therefore need the “meteo-specific” noun (Turk. gün ‘day’, Engl. dusk).

27In a similar way, it seems to be “more natural” that you can say die Sonne scheint ‘the sun is shining’ in German, but not (at least not in a meteorological sense) es scheint ‘it is shining’, because the sun is a clearly delimited entity. The same holds true for Czech slunce svítí (‘the sun is shining’). These syntactic patterns thus seem to be more “naturally” situated at the entity pole.

  • 17 1986, p. 50; 1991, p. 106-12.

28I will now turn to some brief comparative remarks concerning other typological approaches to weather verbs. Here I would like to mention Ruwet’s17 distinction between a “Single-word Focus” and a “Experience-splitting Approach”. Ruwet, in a way, also situates weather expressions on a continuum between the description of pure processes or of entities undergoing these processes, and refers to many examples of weather expressions in (non-)Indo-European languages. The main difference between his generative point of view and the position I would like to defend here is 1) that Ruwet (1986, p. 44, n. 3) is willing to accept an analysis with an underlying “pro”-subject also in languages focussing on the phenomenon pole (Latin, Italian, etc.) and 2) that Ruwet (1986, p. 45; 48) takes the identity of truth conditions of quasi-synonymous sentences as a proof of their semantic identity. For example, the following sentences are all considered semantically equivalent by Ruwet:


Fr. Il tombe de la pluie.


Engl. It’s raining.


It. Piove.

29However, I would argue that they are only identical as to their reference and truth conditions, but different as far as language-specific meaning is concerned (cf. Kienpointner, 2008) because they refer to different sections of the meteo-scale. For example, (28) would be a little closer to the entity pole than French il pleut, with the semantically “weak” pronoun il, because the rain is here represented by a noun (la pluie), and thus more explicitly portrayed as an entity. Likewise, in English the entity undergoing the weather process is only referred to with the semantically weak it in (29). And in Italian piove (30) we have a presentation of the “pure process”, situated at the phenomenon pole.

30As far as other recent generative typological approaches are concerned, similar critical comments apply to Bleotu (2012). I agree with her standpoint that weather verbs can be assigned semantic roles, that is, “Theme” or “Cause/Agent”. However, as in the case of Ruwet, I doubt that Bleotu’s (2012, p. 78-9) derivation of different language-specific weather verbs/expressions from a common underlying abstract structure “fall (rain)” (the unaccusative case) or “cause (fall (rain))” (the unergative case) can account for the subtle semantic differences between the surface realisations of the assumed identical underlying structures.

31Another interesting typological approach was developed by Mettouchi and Tosco (2011). It is based on the description of weather expressions in Afro-Asiatic languages. These languages are classified according to the partial or total backgrounding of either the entities or the processes involved in precipitation events or cyclic meteorological events. This typology comes close to the meteo-scale presented above.

  • 18 Cf. Meulleman and Stockman, 2013; Meulleman, 2015.

32Further interesting contributions to the comparative study of weather expressions come from Meulleman.18 The main focus of Meulleman’s analyses are Indo-European languages such as French, English, or Russian. Here she tries to assign weather verbs a status as unaccusative, unergative, or transitive verbs and describe their different semantic roles. Furthermore, Meulleman describes the (un)acceptability of utterances containing weather verbs or expressions of cyclic events, if these expressions are combined with additional elements (e.g. adverbs).

4. Conclusion

33There is still a lot of work to be done to justify the meteo-scale as a useful theoretical concept for the categorization and typological classification of weather verbs/expressions in the languages of the world. However, it seems to me that, at least for the moment, the meteo-scale can be considered as a convenient tool to generalize the contrastive description of weather verbs/expressions found in specific languages such as Latin, German, Turkish, and Japanese. This could lead towards a more comprehensive view and interpretation of these fascinating expressions, both in Indo-European and in non-Indo-European languages.

Haut de page


Bauer, B., 2000, Archaic Syntax in Indo-European, Berlin.

Bleotu, A. C., 2012, Why does IT always rain in me? On weather verbs, in B. Surányi and D. Varga (eds.), Proceedings of the First Central European Conference in Linguistics for Postgraduate Students, Budapest, p. 59-81.

Bolinger, D., 1977, Meaning and Form, London.

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M., 2006, Cambridge Grammar of English, Cambridge.

Chomsky, N., 1981, Lectures on Government and Binding, Dordrecht.

Corrodi, H., 1925, Das Subjekt der sogenannten unpersönlichen Verben, Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung 5 (1/2), p. 1-36.

Dik, S. C., 1997, The Theory of Functional Grammar, ed. by K. Hengeveld, vol. 1, Berlin.

Engel, U., 2004, Deutsche Grammatik, Munich.

Erben, J., 1980, Deutsche Grammatik, Munich.

Eroms, H. W., 2000, Syntax der deutschen Sprache, Berlin.

Grimm, J. and Grimm, W., 1862, Deutsches Wörterbuch, vol. 3, Leipzig.

Havers, W., 1931, Handbuch der erklärenden Syntax, Heidelberg.

Helbig, G. and Buscha, J., 1991, Deutsche Grammatik. Ein Handbuch für den Ausländerunterricht, Berlin.

Heringer, H., 2001, Lesen lehren lernen, Tübingen.

Hill, K. C. et al. (eds.), 1998, Hopi Dictionary/Hopìikwa Lavàtutuveni, Tucson.

Kienpointner, M., 1995, Sentence patterns in Latin and German: A contrastive analysis, Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics 30, p. 65-84.

Kienpointner, M., 2008, The case for core meaning, in K. Korta and J. Garmendia (eds.), Meaning, Intentions and Argumentation, Stanford, p. 77-112.

Kienpointner, M., 2010, Latein – Deutsch kontrastiv, Tübingen.

Kühner, R. and Stegmann, C., 1912, Ausführliche Grammatik der lateinischen Sprache, vol. 1, Hannover.

Lambert, P.-Y., 1998, L’impersonnel, in J. Feuillet (ed.), Actance et valence dans les Langues de l’Europe, Berlin, p. 295-345.

Langacker, R. W., 1991, Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, vol. 2, Stanford.

Lehmann, Ch., 1991, Predicate classes and participation, in H. Seiler and W. Premper (eds.), Partizipation, Tübingen, p. 183-239.

Malchukov, A. and Ogawa, A., 2011, Towards a typology of impersonal constructions. A semantic map approach, in A. Malchukov and A. Siewierska (eds.), Impersonal Constructions, Amsterdam, p. 19-56.

Mettouchi, A. and Tosco, M., 2011, Impersonal configurations and theticity: The case of meteorological predications in Afroasiatic, in A. Malchukov and A. Siewierska (eds.), Impersonal Constructions, Amsterdam, p. 307-322.

Meulleman, M. and Stockman, N., 2013, La inacusatividad en los verbos meteorológicos en español: un análisis comparativo de llover y amanecer, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 90 (2), p. 117-132.

Meulleman, M., 2015, The linguistic encoding of weather and other natural phenomena: The supremacy of space in Dutch, English, French and Russian, Lecture presented at the University of Innsbruck (May 19, 2015).

Ogawa, A., Weinberger, H., and Kienpointner, M., 2014, Witterungsverben im Deutschen, Türkischen und Japanischen. Eine typologische Fallstudie, Moderne Sprachen 58, p. 111-146.

Oniga, R., 2007, Il latino. Breve introduzione linguistica, Milan.

Pinkster, H., 1990, Latin Syntax and Semantics, London.

Pinkster, H., 2015, Oxford Latin Syntax, Oxford.

Quirk, R. et al., 1985, A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Harlow.

Ruwet, N., 1986, Note sur les verbes météorologiques, Revue québécoise de linguistique, 15 (2), p. 43-55.

Ruwet, N., 1991, Syntax and Human Experience, Chicago.

Salo, M., 2011, Meteorological verbs in Uralic languages – are there any impersonal structures to be found, in A. Malchukov and A. Siewierska (eds.), Impersonal Constructions, Amsterdam, p. 395-438.

Tesnière, L., 1966, Éléments de syntaxe structurale, Paris.

Touratier, Ch., 1994, Syntaxe latine, Louvain-la-Neuve.

Van Valin, R. D. and LaPolla, R. J., 1997, Syntax. Structure, Meaning, and Function, Cambridge.

Weinrich, H., 1982, Textgrammatik der französischen Sprache, Stuttgart.

Weinrich, H., 1993, Textgrammatik der deutschen Sprache, Mannheim.

Wellmann, H., 2008, Deutsche Grammatik, Heidelberg.

Wermke, M. et al., 2005, DUDEN-Grammatik, Mannheim.

Zifonun, G., Hoffmann, L., and Strecker, B., 1997, Grammatik der deutschen Sprache, Berlin.

Haut de page


1 Cf. Kühner and Stegmann, 1912, p. 4; Pinkster, 2015, p. 193-4.

2 For occasional occurrences of hoc as a subject pronoun, e.g. hoc lucescit, cf. Pinkster, 2015, p. 194.

3 Cf. also Lambert, 1998, p. 306; Bauer, 2000, p. 100-1.

4 Cf. Havers, 1931, p. 100-1 for a religious explanation of Ancient Gr. Ζεὺς ὕει and Lat. Iuppiter pluit; Grimm and Grimm, 1862, p. 1112, give a similar, but more general interpretation of Germ. es; cf. the critical discussion in Corrodi, 1925, p. 1-2; Bauer, 2000, p. 102.

5 Cf. Chomsky, 1981, p. 240; Ruwet, 1986, p. 44, n. 3; Oniga, 2007, p. 193.

6 Cf. Kienpointner, 1995, p. 76; 2010, p. 234-5; Pinkster 2015, p. 192-5.

7 Cf. Kühner and Stegmann, 1912, p. 4; Touratier, 1994, p. 326; Lambert 1998, p. 310; Bauer, 2000, p. 106.

8 The only instance in the LLT-A!

9 Cf. e.g. Ruwet, 1986, p. 45; 1991, p. 90.

10 See already Tesnière, 1965, p. 239 on il pleut. On Germ. es regnet, see Engel, 2004, p. 105-6; Helbig and Buscha, 1991, p. 624-5; Zifonun et al. 1997, p. 713; 1079; on Engl. it’s raining, Carter and McCarthy, 2006, p. 379.

11 Eroms, 2000, p. 190; Heringer, 2001, p. 85; Wellmann, 2008, p. 189.

12 On Germ. es, see Corrodi, 1925, p. 8; Weinrich, 1993, p. 391-2; 403; Wermke et al., 2005, p. 412-13; Bleotu, 2012, p. 61. On Engl. it, Bolinger, 1977, p. 84-5; Quirk et al., 1985, p. 348-9; Langacker, 1991, p. 365. On Fr. il, Weinrich, 1982, p. 103.

13 See ex. (14) and Corrodi, 1925, p. 8; cf. Lambert, 1998, p. 308.

14 Cf. Corrodi, 1925, p. 26; Bolinger 1977, p. 79.

15 Cf. Malchukov and Ogawa, 2011, p. 26; Ogawa et al. 2014, p. 120.

16 For the non-Indo-European examples, see Hill et al., 1998, p. 868, van Valin and LaPolla, 1997, p. 27; Malchukov and Ogawa, 2011, p. 25-6; Mettouchi and Tosco, 2011, p. 311, 314; Salo, 2011, p. 400-1, 405, 426, respectively. For information about the examples taken from English, Czech, Russian, Turkish, Japanese and Chinese, I would like to thank Leona Cordery, Jana Valdrová, Yüksel Güzel, Akio Ogawa, Shi Xu, and Astrid Kienpointner.

17 1986, p. 50; 1991, p. 106-12.

18 Cf. Meulleman and Stockman, 2013; Meulleman, 2015.

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Manfred Kienpointner, « Weather verbs in Latin, German, and other languages. Contrastive and typological remarks », Pallas, 102 | 2016, 57-67.

Référence électronique

Manfred Kienpointner, « Weather verbs in Latin, German, and other languages. Contrastive and typological remarks », Pallas [En ligne], 102 | 2016, mis en ligne le 20 décembre 2016, consulté le 22 août 2017. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/pallas.3561

Haut de page


Manfred Kienpointner

Professor, University of Innsbruck

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Licence Creative Commons
Pallas – Revue d'études antiques est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

Haut de page
  • Logo Presses universitaires du Midi