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German help needed!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mirc, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. scherbchen

    scherbchen well that can´t be good

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    well it comes down to being able to read Sütterlin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sütterlin), really, which is a now antiquated form of writing by hand. my parents (63 and 71 respectively) can still read it. I never encountered it myself (other than in old texts).

    as far as grammar and vocabulary go I'd say you take a look at a Shakespearean text and substract 60-50% from the problems you have with it (as an average English speaker) and you have a Goethe text for a native German speaker with a decent vocabulary. pretty much par for the course, really. think of the declaration of independence and that is our 18th century German.
     
  2. Godwynn

    Godwynn March to the Sea

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    I thought the Present Perfect should be used for conversation, is there a dialect that doesn't?
     
  3. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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  4. scherbchen

    scherbchen well that can´t be good

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    well if you are going to ask me tricky questions about grammatical terms I will just have to shush, eventually. alas, I should know these by now.

    now what I can tell you is that, in Bavarian German, there is no (sorry for not being able to name the tense at the moment) "ich sagte" (I said/told somebody) but it is "ich habe (ihm) gesagt, dass" (I have told (him) ). there is no "ich bestellte" (I ordered) but "ich habe x bestellt" (I have ordered x). there is no "Ich fuhr nach Berlin" (I drove to Berlin) but "Ich bin nach Berlin gefahren" (I have driven to Berlin).

    Bavarian German just does not have that tense I mentioned but which am not able to put a name to.
     
  5. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    Sütterlin was only for handwriting and is way too young (that Wikipedia article says it was introduced in 1915) to be of any consideration here. For really old printed text you're looking at Schwabacher or Fraktur. But these are just font issues, that are independent of the language.

    As for since when German is perfectly readable: Actually if you go back to Luther's bible and ignore the by modern standards atrocius spelling it is surprisingly close to modern German:

    http://enominepatris.com/biblia/biblia2/B001K001.htm

    It sounds archaic and some words wouldn't be used that way today and all that, but the words are all understandable and the grammar isn't that different either.
     
  6. Godwynn

    Godwynn March to the Sea

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    das Imperfekt?

    Do they not have it for written words either?
     
  7. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Not using Gothic script anymore was a huge improvement, I should say. (Obsolete in 1946, officially.)

    :lol:
     
  8. scherbchen

    scherbchen well that can´t be good

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    Imperfekt would be the one, aye. Bavarians, to my knowledge, only do not use it for sein.

    as far as written language goes it very much depends on the medium. the Süddeutsche Zeitung does not adhere to this rule but in a letter to a friend you might I suppose...
     
  9. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    Bavarian is seldomly written anyway. Usually standard German is used for written text. When Bavarian is written, it usually tries to emulate the spoken language very closely, thus always using the Perfekt.

    Even if they're unable to speak it, Bavarians are usually able to write standard German and then will use the Imperfekt if it is necessary.
     
  10. oagersnap

    oagersnap Emperor

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    But past tense/Imperfekt is also rarer in German generally than in many other languages, English for example. In German, to talk about past events, I think you'd use past perfect in verbal conversations most of the time - but depending on what you want to say, of course.
     
  11. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    I know that Swiss German also only knows the Perfekt as the only tense for the Past. Maybe it is a High German thing (Southern dialects, as opposed to Low German, the Northern ones)?
     
  12. scherbchen

    scherbchen well that can´t be good

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    dunno, as a born and raised Westphalian it was always pressed upon me to use the "correct" past form. as a matter of fact I never learned that it was possible to use the Imperfekt to talk about a specific point in the past before I moved to Munich.

    might have been a curios coincidence of obnoxious parents and teachers, though, I could not tell.
     
  13. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Link to video.
     
  14. Mirc

    Mirc Not mIRC!!!

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    Okay, can anyone help me with this? I have been for 6 days in an intensive German course with 4.5 hours of German a day, every weekday, which I'm gonna take for another month or so, and I can never put my finger on those damn conditional forms. Nobody seems to be able to give me a straight answer. TENSES are my main problem.


    PRESENT - If I was rich, I would have a car - Wenn ich fündig (?) wäre, hätte ich ein Auto.
    PAST - If I had been rich 3 years ago, I would have had a car - Wenn ich vor 3 Jahren fündig (?) gewesen wäre, hätte ich ein Auto gehabt.

    PRESENT - If I had a B2 certificate from the Goethe Institute, I would not have to study German 4 hours a day - Wenn ich ein B2 Zertificat vom Goethe Institut hätte, müsste ich nicht 4 Stunden jeden Tag Deutsch studieren.

    PAST WITH MODAL VERB - If I could have already obtained the certificate, I would not have to study German 4 hours a day - Wenn ich das Zertifikat schon bekommen können hätte, müsste ich nicht 4 Stunden jeden Tag Deutsch studieren. (a not-very-trustworthy source told me the modal verb should be always last, is that true? In that case what I wrote here is wrong)

    PAST WITH PASSIVE - If the certificate had already been obtained by me, I would not have to study German 4 hours a day - Wenn das Zertifikat schon von mir besorgt worden wäre (??), müsste ich nicht 4 Stunden jeden Tag Deutsch studieren.


    ALL of these are guesswork. They are probably entirely wrong. What I'm more interested in - do "wäre", "hätte", etc, refer to a PRESENT action? If so, when would I ever need to use the other form? Only in indirect speech?

    I'm not exactly sure how to build one of those yet.. I mean I learned it by hard for some of the verbs ("wäre", "hätte", etc), but what about the others? Like... "essen"? What is its Konjunktiv II form? "Ich aße", or "ich äße" (which BTW, sounds just like the present), or how? According to my (native-speaking) German teacher in Romania (which, with all due respect to my current teachers, was better at teaching me German, although probably not as efficient because I never had to take 4.5 hours a day), starke (unregelmäßige?) Verben with a, o, u in the root change those to ä, ö, ü, but sometimes it sounds really weird TO ME, like in the example I provided above.

    Note: I'm specifically avoiding the "würde" form.


    I cannot believe that grammar is the part where I'm doing best. :lol: Okay, I can now somewhat entertain a conversation, and interact with people, but ask me to say something in a polite or more official manner, or, at the other end bring me to a table where native Germans drink a beer and talk to each other, and I'm dead, I can't say a word, and in the latter situation, I can't even understand a word.
     
  15. Ares de Borg

    Ares de Borg Norman Knight

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    Wenn ich reich wäre, hätte ich ein Auto. or: Wäre ich reich, hätte ich ein Auto.

    Wenn ich vor drei Jahren reich gewesen wäre, hätte ich ein Auto gehabt. or: Wäre ich vor drei Jahren reich gewesen, hätte ich ein Auto gehabt.

    The others are correct.

    No one would say "Ich äße", although it's correct. "Ich würde essen" is in common use.
     
  16. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    "Fündig" is wrong here. Use "reich" instead. I have never encountered a situation, were "rich" should be translated with "fündig", but the dictionary does list it as a translation :confused:

    But the tenses are right :goodjob:

    Yes, "können" needs to be after "hätte". I think we mentioned this construction in this thread already. IIRC Godwynn asked about it. Otherwise the tenses are correct.

    And you should use "lernen" instead of "studieren" here. Contrary to the English "study", "studieren" has only the narrow meaning of doing a full-blown university (or comparable) program in that subject.

    e.g. "Ich studiere Physik" would be the equivalent of "I am enrolled in a Physics program at a university"
    "Ich lerne gerade Physik" - "I am studying physics right now (because I have a test tomorrow)"

    Correct :goodjob:
    (Although the passive dows sound a bit artificial here. I doubt anybody would use it here.)

    The form used in all these sentences is called "Irrealis". This means, that the speaker knows that the condition cannot be true. You know, that you don't have the certificate, so you have to use the (second) conditional form here. These "PRESENT" forms do refer to the present, but those conditions cannot be met any more. To convey that to the hearer, the conditional form is used.

    If the speaker doesn't know whether the condition can be met, the normal present indicative (not the first conditional) is used.

    E.g. someone telling you that if you have a certificate you don't need to study would say this: "Wenn du ein Zertifikat hast, musst du nicht 4,5 Stunden am Tag Deutsch lernen." He doesn't know whether you have it or not, so he uses the indicative. If he thought that you didn't have one, he'd use "... hättest, müsstest ..."

    The first conditional is virtually only used for indirect speech. There are two other (seldom) uses:

    1. As some sort of wish:
    "Dein Wille geschehe" - "Your will be done" (like in the Lord's Prayer)
    "Lang lebe der König" - "Long live the king"

    2. As an impersonal polite request:
    "Man nehme zwei Eier" would be in a recipe for "Use two eggs". It's a polite suggestion. "Nimm zwei Eier" or "Nehmen Sie zwei Eier" would be stronger and not as polite.

    However Germans are often even too lazy to use the proper conditional form in indirect speech, so you will hardly hear any of these. I think there are a lot of Germans that never use he first conditional form anyway, so don't worry if you have problems with it, native speakers also have them.

    It's "äße", but I can't tell you why.

    Once you get the conditionals right, you can get lazy and use "würde" like everyone else ;)

    Probably made worse by the fact that for some people the use of dialect is proportional to the amount of beer consumed.
     
  17. scherbchen

    scherbchen well that can´t be good

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    "äße" does sound similar to "esse", that is true. yet the first vowel is longer and more open which in turn makes the following consonant a bit, erm.... softer? shorter? it's not the same is all I can tell you... the "esse" fricative is pronounced a bit more towards the front.

    as far as studying/learning goes, this is a huge problem for German speakers as well. this is called (and mentioned just about every day) false friends over here. the issue at hand is that German and English are related languages that underwent the same romance input (only less so in the case of german) yet some words have come to bear different meanings. others merely sound alike and are not related at all.

    a quick google search provided this http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/words/false_friends.htm

    not a very good list imho but you get the idea.

    correct-ish. people with a dirty mind would read something into it as besorgen is often used as giving *it* to to sb. you can defer the meaning of what you are trying to say but it sounds awkward to me. use either " wenn ich mir das Zertifikat schon besorgt gehabt hätte" (merely a different structure) or " wenn ich das Zertifikat schon bekommen/erlangt hätte" (avoiding the awkward besorgen). alas, you are missing the passive structure this way but it sounds very stilted anyhoo. if you really need to put it in I'd suggest.... "wenn (das zertifikat) die Prüfung schon vorher von mir bestanden worden wäre"? yikes, this looks bad as well.

    l
     
  18. Bill3000

    Bill3000 OOOH NOOOOOOO! Supporter

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    The decline of the Hansa helped a lot.
     
  19. Harvin87

    Harvin87 The Youth

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    Now is my turn to ask for help ;-).

    I prepared an oppinion about alien words incorporated into a different language. And I wish to know if its correct ;-).

    Spoiler :
    Meiner Meinung nach dem folgenden Thema:
    Als ich gesagt hatte, dass die Sprachen ein Werkzeug für die Völker sind, versteht man hierunter, daß es keinen Einwand gegen die Einschließung der Fremdwörter gibt.
    Die Aufnahme fremder Wörter in der Sprache und der Verlust der sprachlichen Identität haben nichts mit einander zu tun; In diesem Fall kämpfen wir gegen ein anderes Problem: nämlich die persönliche Identität des Individuums.
    Wenn sich jemand seiner Kulturellen Werzeln bewußt ist, dann hat er alles zu gewinnen und nichts zu verlieren; Der Verlust der Linguistikidentität ist nur die Spitze des Eisbergs.
    Ich bin der Meinung, daß die Sprache immer in Bewegung sein muß. Tatsächlich kann die Sprache nicht statisch bleiben, weil heutzutage der Fluss der Information unglaublisch groß ist.
    Die Sprachen müssen sich wie alle Spezies zur modernen Zeiten adaptieren oder sterben. Wie immer, man kann die Natur nicht verraten .
    Heute haben wir, wie in anderen Zeiten der Geschichte, eine Referenzsprache, die unser Leben einfach macht. Es kommt alles zu unserer Ausbildung und unserer Fähigkeit ,sich die guten Dinge herauszuholen.


    I think is the "best" German that I have come up with...

    P.S. Dont worry about the actual meaning of my oppinon on that particular text ... hehe, but feel free to give your oppinion about alien words incorporated into the language.
    :goodjob:
     
  20. Grisu

    Grisu Draghetto Retired Moderator

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    :goodjob: well done, just some minor corrections

    I put my corrections in the text :) (keep in mind that I usually drove my german teachers insane, so take all my corrections with a grain of salt ;)
     

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