Nibelung’s Gold – Vocabulary and Grammar Notes

- Verb Phrases
Present Simple Tense
Past Simple Tense
- Infinitives
Passive Voice
Vocabulary Development – Word Families

Every sentence has a verb and every verb has a tense. The verb phrases are the key to the sentences and the sentences are the key to the text. Look at the verb phrases for this episode:

Verb Phrases

there was
were short and hairy
had long beards
mined the gold
dug tunnels
accumulated a vast hoard of gold
were ruled by
were brothers
were called
were incredibly rich
had a vast hoard of gold
stole the gold
took all the gold out
put all the gold into another cave
discovered the theft
argued with his brother
wanted the gold back
wanted his share
quarreled
decided to separate
decided to go their separate ways
did not want to live together any more
decided to divide the gold
decided to share it out between them
was difficult to divide the gold up
was very beautiful
were many nuggets
was shaped differently
were large
were small
had pieces of quartz in them
could not find a way
could not find a way to divvy the gold up
was called
was very valuable
should have been called
wasn’t called
was called

Let’s analyse the verb phrases. Look at the first three:

Basic Verb Patterns

there was
were short and hairy
had long beards

The first two are “be” verb patterns but they are not the same. The first one is “there to be”:

there was
there is
there will be

It shows existence: There was a race of dwarves.

The second one is “be” verb plus adjective. It gives a description with an adjective.

The third one is “had”plus object. The object is a noun.

Teacher ‘s Notes

Note that the most basic forms of the “be” verb are:

there to be
be plus adjective
be plus noun
then other verbs like “had”

Existence – Being – Having

there is/there are
I am / you are / she is / he is / it is / we are / they are
I have/ you have /she has / he has / we have / they have

Philosophy

Being and having are two fundamentally different ways of looking at life. There is what I have and there is what I am.

– what I have
– what I am

The philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm wrote about “haben and “sein” which is German for “having” and “being”.

His book is called: “To have or to be?” in English. You can read more about it at wikipedia. It is an important book.

Past Simple Tense

Let’s look at the next three:

mined the gold
dug tunnels
accumulated a vast hoard of gold

They are all past simple tense transitive verbs. You can see the object of each verb:

the gold
tunnels
a vast hoard of gold

Past Simple Tense – “be” verb

Look at the next four verb phrases:

were ruled by
were brothers
were called
were incredibly rich

Notice that two are passive and two are not.

The first one is passive. The second one is “be” verb plus noun (brothers). The third one is passive. The fourth one is “be” verb plus adjective (rich).

Transitive Verbs

Look at the next four:

had a vast hoard of gold
stole the gold
took all the gold out
put all the gold into another cave

They are all past simple tense, but the fourth one is irregular. Look at the table:

have – had
steal – stole
take – took
put – put

“Put” does not change its form.

Look at the next four verb phrases:

discovered the theft
argued with his brother
wanted the gold back
wanted his share

These are also in past simple tense.

Past Simple Tense with Infinitive

Look at the next group of verb phrases:

quarreled
decided to separate
decided to go their separate ways
did not want to live together any more
decided to divide the gold
decided to share it out between them

The first one is normal past simple tense. The fourth one is negative:

did not want to live

The other four use a combination of two verbs:

decided to separate
decided to go
decided to divide
decided to share

Past Simple Tense – “be” verb

The next six examples of past simple tense all use “be” verbs but they are not all the same. Four use adjectives. One uses passive voice. One uses a noun with “there is”

was difficult to divide the gold up
was very beautiful
there were many nuggets
was shaped differently
were large
were small

Adjective

was difficult to divide the gold up (adjective followed by infinitive)
was beautiful
were large
were small

Passive Voice

The pattern “be” verb plus past participle indicates passive voice:

was shaped differently
were shaped differently

Look at the variations:

they were all shaped differently from each other
they were all shaped differently from one another

Look at this possibility:

One in particular was shaped differently to all the others. It had a unique form. It was completely round!

Noun

“There were many nuggets” is an existence phrase which uses “there to be” plus noun.

Past Simple Tense

The next three are quite straightforward:

had pieces of quartz in them
could not find a way
could not find a way to divvy the gold up

Passive Voice

The final five all have “be” verbs. The first one is passive. The second one has an adjective.

was called
was very valuable
should have been called
wasn’t called
was called

The third one expresses a desirable situation in the past, which was not achieved:

That is how it should have been.

It should have been called “the gold of Nibelung AND Schilbung” .. but it was not. Nibelung took it all.

The final two are positive and negative forms of the passive:

was called
wasn’t called

Questions

Link to notes on the questions.

Look at this list of questions from the text.

Questions

Are you familiar with the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves?
Are you able to tell the story in English?
Did the women have beards as well?
Are there any gold mines in the country where you live?
Do you own any gold?
Is there a king in your country?
Do you have a brother?
Did they hoard it away in a cave?
Have you ever stolen anything?
How long did it take to move the gold from one cave to another cave?
Was he sad to learn that his brother was a thief?
Is that fair?
Do you have a quarrelsome brother?
Do you live with other people at the moment?
Are you greedy?
Did the brothers have accurate scales to weigh the gold?
How would you have divided it up?
Is gold more valuable than silver?
Have you heard of it?

You can find notes and answers at this page: Questions and Answers

Let’s look at some vocabulary:

Noun – Verb

They had a vast hoard of gold.
They hoarded it away in a cave.

Word Family – dwarf

a dwarf
some dwarves
a race of dwarves
to dwarf
the old church was dwarfed by the tall buildings in the city
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Field of Meaning – hair

hair – noun
hairy – adjective
beard – noun
bearded – adjective
a woman with a beard

Field of Meaning – mine

mining
a mine – a place
a conversation with a person who grew up in a mining town

a miner – a worker
the mining industry
a tunnel – a tunnel under the ground
a shaft – a shaft under the ground

Field of Meaning – gold

nugget – nuggets
a nugget of gold
a hoard of gold
a vast hoard of gold
under the earth
in the earth
they mined the gold
treasure
link to a conversation about economics which mentions gold

Field of Meaning – earth

mine
tunnel – tunnels
earth – the earth
dirt – some dirt
ground – the ground

Scale of Wealth

rich
very rich
incredibly rich

Link to an interview with an incredibly rich man.

Field of Meaning – stealing

steal – stolen
thief – thieves
theft

Nibelung stole the gold from Schilbung.

Describing a Process

Nibelung took all the gold out of one cave and put it into another cave.

went into one cave
picked up the gold
carried it to another cave
put it down
stored it there – left it there

Role Play

Divide a group of students into pairs. Each pair plays the roles of Nibelung and Schilbung. Schilbung accuses Nibelung of stealing the gold. Nibelung protests that he only moved it.

The two brothers quarreled.

Do you have a quarrelsome brother?

Separation

they decided to separate
they decided to go their separate ways

Measuring and Dividing

if you divide something up by weight, you have to weigh it first. Weigh it and then separate it into two equal parts.

a set of scales
a set of scales to weigh things

Have you ever used a set of scales?

Phrasal Verbs

to divvy something up

To divide something up among two or more people is “to divvy it up”.

Adjectives

valuable – valuable ring
metal – metal ring

Metal is actually a noun but it looks like an adjective. This pattern is a compound noun. Noun plus Noun.

difficult – a difficult task
large – a large nugget
small- a small nugget

Metals

gold
silver
iron – steel
platinum

Steel is purified iron
Steel is very pure iron.
Steel is refined iron.

Names

Look at these names from the text:

Nibelung
Schilbung
the Hoard of the Nibelungs
the Hoard of Nibelung
Nibelung’s Gold
the Nibelung’s Gold

Note that names have a capital letter. Don’t forget this! Some people find it rude!

Adverbs and Adverbial Phrases

by rights
properly said
properly speaking

fairly – in a fair way


The Story of Siegfried the Dragon Slayer and of his Beautiful Wife, Kriemhild and of his Tragic Murder and of her Terrible Revenge

Title Page
1. Nibelung’s Gold
2. Siegfried the Dragon Slayer
3. Kriemhild’s Dream
4. Siegfried’s Trip to Worms
5. The Plan to win the Hand of Bruenhild
6. Bruenhild’s Suspicion
7. Hagen’s Plan
8. Kriemhild’s Revenge
9. Epilogue : The Gold at the Bottom of the River and the Ring of Power

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks

4 Responses to “Nibelung’s Gold – Vocabulary and Grammar Notes”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. zafar ullah khan says:

    i am very thank ful my conversationto you to give the guidence to improve

  2. John Michael Kuol - South Sudan says:

    thanks for your commmittment by helping us to learn English through the histories with full explaination , I hope it will chang some common mistaks.

  3. amal hassan says:

    Thank you very much its realy deserve to read

  4. Luis says:

    Excelent!!

Leave A Comment...

*