Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Arguing in German

  Tags: Conlang | German
 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
17 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
CaitO'Ceallaigh
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
katiekelly.wordpress
Joined 5767 days ago

795 posts - 829 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Russian
Studies: Czech, German

 
 Message 1 of 17
01 February 2007 at 2:43pm | IP Logged 
So I'm learning German in a pretty unorthodox way, just for kicks, so you have to forgive me if this sounds like a silly question.

It's regarding German language word order, where the verb goes at the end of the sentence.

With English's subject verb object order, you can almost get always away with interrupting, although you shouldn't do that, because it's easy to predict the rest of the sentence. I am not defending interrupting as an arguing tool; I am merely stating that interrupting happens frequently because one can do it and get away with it.

But in German, you're not going to get to the meat of it 'til the very end of the sentence. You HAVE to wait.

I'm sick of your lying, cheatin', foolin' around!

You don't need to hear the last part to get the gist.

In German:

I am your lyin', cheatin', foolin' around ________

The ending could be "okay with". It could happen.
You have to wait 'til the end to know for sure.

It's my guess that this either increases the civility of German arguments or there are even more misunderstandings.

I know this sounds crazy but I do wonder about these things.





1 person has voted this message useful



Christine
Diglot
Groupie
Germany
Joined 5536 days ago

41 posts - 47 votes
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Japanese, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 2 of 17
01 February 2007 at 5:14pm | IP Logged 
With German being my mother tongue, I was at first a bit irritated... I have never thought of it as a language which puts the verb at the end of the sentence. So I just picked up a newspaper and checked several sentences... except for sentences in perfect tense and verbs consisting of two parts, the verb usually can be found in the first half of the sentence. But after having reread what you have written, I think I know what you are talking about.

Quote:
I'm sick of your lying, cheatin', foolin' around!

You don't need to hear the last part to get the gist.

In German:

I am your lyin', cheatin', foolin' around ________


"To be sick of something" roughly translates to "etwas leid sein". This is in fact one of the verbs that consists of two parts, and one of them has to be put at the end of the sentence.

"Ich bin deine... (enumeration) ...leid."

I hope I got what you are referring to.

However, even if the speaker is interrupted, other people would still be able to guess the rest of the sentence / the verb from intonation, choice of words, or context. So I don't think that there's a greater amount of mutual misunderstandings when people are arguing or discussing things in German.
1 person has voted this message useful



CaitO'Ceallaigh
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
katiekelly.wordpress
Joined 5767 days ago

795 posts - 829 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Russian
Studies: Czech, German

 
 Message 3 of 17
01 February 2007 at 5:50pm | IP Logged 
I actually didn't know the equivalent of "to be sick of something", but yes, that explains exactly what I mean. I was also thinking about how past participals work.

I love this aspect of German, by the way.

My error is that I thought my post would sound so stupid that it would be obviously tongue-in-cheek. It wasn't my intent to assert that Germans, or any nationality, argue better or worse than anybody esle.

I first wondered about this in a linguistics class, when the topic of word order came up.
1 person has voted this message useful



frenkeld
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5853 days ago

2042 posts - 2719 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: German

 
 Message 4 of 17
01 February 2007 at 5:52pm | IP Logged 
Kato Lomb, a known Hungarian polyglot, mentions in her book that she had run into occasional problems with the word order in German sentences in her work as an interpreter.

From what I remember, she says that an interpreter cannot wait until the whole sentence is spoken before translating, and with the German sentence structure she'd run into situations at conferences when she was not sure which way the statement would go until the sentence has been spoken in its entirety.

This does not, however, seem to pose problems for Germans in their daily lives. :)



Edited by frenkeld on 01 February 2007 at 5:53pm

1 person has voted this message useful



CaitO'Ceallaigh
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
katiekelly.wordpress
Joined 5767 days ago

795 posts - 829 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Russian
Studies: Czech, German

 
 Message 5 of 17
01 February 2007 at 5:57pm | IP Logged 
Random example from a Radio DW learning German page:

Diese Fläche könnte man für den Anbau nachwachsender Rohstoffe nutzen.

I am referring to könnte... nutzen.

You could stop after "can use" in English and get the gist. In the German sentence, you'd have to read the whole thing before you'd know that you can use the direct object.

I'm not talking about arguing; that was just bad humor. But I'm intrigued by word order.


1 person has voted this message useful



CaitO'Ceallaigh
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
katiekelly.wordpress
Joined 5767 days ago

795 posts - 829 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Russian
Studies: Czech, German

 
 Message 6 of 17
01 February 2007 at 6:04pm | IP Logged 
frenkeld wrote:
Kato Lomb, a known Hungarian polyglot, mentions in her book that she had run into occasional problems with the word order in German sentences in her work as an interpreter.

From what I remember, she says that an interpreter cannot wait until the whole sentence is spoken before translating, and with the German sentence structure she'd run into situations at conferences when she was not sure which way the statement would go until the sentence has been spoken in its entirety.

This does not, however, seem to pose problems for Germans in their daily lives. :)



Yes, yes, that's exactly what I mean. But that one word could change the entire meaning!

I think too much I think.
1 person has voted this message useful



frenkeld
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5853 days ago

2042 posts - 2719 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: German

 
 Message 7 of 17
01 February 2007 at 6:06pm | IP Logged 
CaitO'Ceallaigh wrote:
But I'm intrigued by word order.


I am on my baby steps in German, and I also find the word order fascinating. It gives me the feeling that German is somehow much closer to that mythical "Indo-European" than languages like French and English, which, in terms of grammar, seem to have all but lost their ancient roots.

1 person has voted this message useful



hagen
Triglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 5870 days ago

171 posts - 179 votes 
6 sounds
Speaks: German*, English, Mandarin
Studies: Korean

 
 Message 8 of 17
02 February 2007 at 12:44am | IP Logged 
I guess when you're arguing (or for some other reason being afraid that you might be interrupted) you might subconsciously change sentence structure so that essential constituents occur as early as possible in your sentence.

In the "I'm sick of..." --> "Ich bin ... leid" example, I could imagine changing that to an extraposition structure with "es": "Ich bin es leid, deine Lügen etc... hören zu müssen."

On the other hand you might consider the lies etc. to be more essential to the sentence than the "sick of". (You're hardly going to end with saying that you really like them anyway.) So the original German structure might be more "efficient" in this regard, after all.

Anyway, I think language usually has enough freedom to accommodate our needs.


1 person has voted this message useful



This discussion contains 17 messages over 3 pages: 2 3  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 1.2188 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2021 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.