talking 2

As I was saying...

This little piece of text brought up a question:

“I knew Ed wasn't our man,” said Bunny. “He already has something on his mirror.”
“What?” asked Jack.
“A little angel,” said Bunny.

That last sentence might be translated as: "Ein kleiner Engel", sagte Bunny. Except Bunny is answering a question. What does Ed have on his mirror? Ed has a little angel on his mirror. So I feel like that last sentence should be: "Einen kleinen Engel", sagte Bunny. The little angel seems like it should be considered the direct object of a subject that was previously stated, therefore accusative, even if it looks like a subject.

Is that how it works?
talking 2

He sang loud and flat!

How do I say that someone sings flat, or that a note is flat? Like a trumpet teacher who says "Push the slide in a little more, you're still flat"?

Everything I can find talks about anything except that. I can find flatted notes that are still in the scale. "um einen Halbton erniedrigt". That means an A-natural becomes an A-flat, not that what is supposed to be an A-natural is pitched a few percent low. I think. Einen Halbton seems quite precise-there are twelve half-tones in the Western musical scale; starting at 440 Hz, moving a half-tone any number of times in any direction will put you on a note that is still in tune. has "einen Halbton zu hoch singen" and "einen Halbton zu tief singen". Frankly, I have my doubts. Again, a half-tone seems awfully precise--you're still singing in tune, but in a different key! I'm not talking about flatting a B, I'm talking about a flat B-flat, if you were trying to sing a B-flat.

"falsch singen", "schief", "verstimmt" doesn't imply a direction. "Zu niedrig" maybe. Except Till Lindemann sings niedrig, but still in tune. I'm just not sure I can identify a standard expression for out-of-tune "flat".
talking 2

There are none of these!

Sentence from a children's book.

"And even though there are dragonflies the size of birds and plants that want to eat us, and you are a VERY grump polar bear, there is absolutely, definitely, one hundred percent, no.."

I still get confused with these compound sentences. I will try to translate it into German, but you can see how it seems clumsy.

"Und auch wenn (obwohl?) es Libellen so groß wie Vögel gibt, und Pflanzen, die uns fressen wollen, gibt, und du ein SEHR mürrisch Eisbär bist, gibt es absolut, bestimmt, einhundert Prozent, kein..."

(Of course, that's when the tiger shows up. At least in her imagination.)

How would you translate that one?
  • schnee

Dietz und DaF

I was passed a link to this site not too long ago — it has a number of handouts dealing with various aspects of German grammar. They're fairly condensed and don't offer many explanations, but perhaps the members of this community will still find them helpful.
talking 2


I'm working with conditionals again. I always struggle with them. I need about 5300 exercises that go through all possibilities exhaustively.

Anyway, this is based on an Axe ad. Are all these forms correct?
Wenn ich ein Vorspiel wollte, dann würde ich es sagen.
Wenn ich ein Vorspiel wollte, würde ich es sagen.
Wollte ich ein Vorspiel, sagte ich es.
Wenn ich ein Vorspiel gewollt hätte, dann hätte ich es gesagt.
Hätte ich ein Vorspiel gewollt, hätte ich es gesagt.

Or more generally, can we say that we could take any beginning,
Wenn ich ein Vorspiel wollte...
Wollte ich ein Vorspiel...
and combine it with any end?
...dann würde ich es sagen.
...würde ich es sagen. sagte ich es.
...sagte ich es.

And of all possibilities, are there some that are most-used and least-used?

I've never really come to terms with transformations between one form and another, and authors write in different ways. I think that's why I've struggled with them.
talking 2

Dieser Mann ist... niedlich?

I was watching Professor Gaßner talk about supernovas. His enthusiasm is obvious and contagious. He looks like he's sharing something wonderful with the world, and sometimes almost looks like he wants to jump up and down for joy.

I want to say that Professor Gaßner is adorable. But word selection! I can type "adorable" into the dictionary and get all kinds of words to choose from, but I have no idea what message would be communicated.
talking 2

Old "you"

I'm reading Der Luftpirat und sein Lenkbares Luftschiff, issue 1. It's dime-store German sci-fi from 1908 or so. Kapitän Mors has an amazing airship that can go against the wind! Spannend!

They seem to use informal-plural "you" for formal address. E.g.

„Sahib,“ sprach der junge Hindu sanft in der wohllautenden Sprache seiner Heimat. „Sahib, warum seid Ihr wieder hierhergekommen? O, Herr, Ihr wißt, daß es für Euch eine Qual ist, eine Marter, die Euch das Herz zerfleischt, und dennoch sucht Ihr von Zeit zu Zeit diese Stätte auf, um Euch zu peinigen.“

What's that about?
talking 2

What is ş?

I found a video on YouTube titled "Das Universum in der Nuşchale - Stephen Hawking". But what is this character, ş? It seems to be ş=sss. But is that a standard notation? I've never seen it before.