- Der Apfel fällt und schlägt auf Newtons Kopf. = The apple falls and hits on Newton's head.
- Der Apfel fällt und schlägt Newton auf den Kopf. = The apple falls and hits Newton on the head.
- Der Apfel fällt Newton auf den Kopf. = The apple falls Newton on the head.
- Der Apfel fällt auf Newtons Kopf. = The apple falls on Newton's head.
There is a marked, and quite easy to understand, difference.
The "ä" in fällt takes the "e" sound as in "fell", but a bit more acute. Think how Londoners would pronounce the word "fell", minus the stress, and you'll get it.
The "eh" in fehlt is more like "ea" in "pear".
For me, Google translate's voice support helps understand the way to pronounce words that aren't very straightforward, or when Duolingo's voice support is not clear enough. Hope that helps.
No, the umlaut is not "for plurals".
It's a change in a vowel, originally caused by a sound in the following syllable (that has often fallen away in the course of history, leaving the umlaut in place).
That following sound can have been there for a number of reasons.
Some plurals have umlauts. Some verb inflections have umlauts. Others don't. The umlaut by itself doesn't signal anything in particular.
- ich falle
- du fällst
- er, sie, es fällt
- wir fallen
- ihr fallt
- sie, Sie fallen
You have to pick the right verb form to go with the subject -- so fallt goes with ihr (you, plural, informal); fällt with er, sie, es (he / she / it), and fallen with wir, sie, Sie (we / they / you, formal).
German conjugates verb based on the subject-- whether the subject is "ich," "du," "ihr," etc. changes the ending on a verb.
The full conjugation is here, but basically it's Ich falle | Du fällst | Er,Sie,Es fällt | Wir fallen | Ihr fallt | Sie fallen.
Most verbs follow that same pattern (-e/-st/-t / -en/-t/-en), minus the added umlauts. You can check other verbs on that same site I linked to above.
German conjugates verbs based on the subject of the sentence. So just like English says "I fall" but "He falls," or "I am / You are / He is / etc.," German uses a different verb form for each subject.
The typical endings are "ich spiele, du spielst, er/sie/es spielt, wir spielen, ihr spielt, sie/Sie spielen."
"Fallen" is a little irregular, adding umlauts to a couple of forms, so we have "ich falle, du fällst, er/sie/es fällt, wir fallen, ihr fallt, sie/Sie fallen."
What did the correction show? Normally, if you give a wrong answer, a red banner/box appears along with an explanation of what was wrong.
Also, normally, die Eule is very forgiving (in my opinion, too much so) with failure to use either an umlaut or, at least, a following "e". Similarly, die Eule doesn't care enough about capitalization. So, I'm hesitant to believe you were marked wrong for either the unnecessary capitalization or the use of "a" instead of "ä".
I suppose it's possible that all you wrote was "Fallt", in which case, you were wrong because you didn't include "Der Apfel". It's very difficult to help when there is a lack of information. Next time, please include the full sentence that you wrote, along with more information about what correction was given.
Actually, die Eule requires "
The apple is falling" or "
The apple falls".
As for "The sky is falling
down": commentary for that sentence indicates that at least one moderator is of the opinion that requiring "down" is incorrect (and many agree), but that the sentence cannot be changed because it is part of the Pearson component of DuoLingo.
So, to clear up the confusion for you: "down" is not necessary (and probably wrong) to translate "[Etwas] fällt."
Why not "The appple is falling down"? I keep being confuaed by this because some excercises want falling down and some just want falling when they use the same words.
Example: If I remember right, "Die Himmel fällt." Expects you to answer with "The sky is falling down" and "The sky is falling" is marked incorrect.
In general, "falling down" could be thought of as "falling over". Certainly, one could specify that "down" is the direction that an apple is falling, but it's really unnecessary. And because the German translates so nicely, on a one-to-one basis from "Der Apfel fällt" to "The apple falls", there's no need to insert the additional word.
As for the exercise in which we are asked to translate "Der Himmel fällt", the answer preferred by der Eule is in fact "the sky is falling":
Thank you, Mizinamo. I really appreciate your input and support.
Stamm actually translates to Trunk... At least by Google, and in that specific sentence. Stand alone it comes up as tribe. Is that right? Any idea why it focuses specifically on the tree trunk instead of the tree as a whole as in English?
Stamm actually translates to Trunk... At least by Google, and in that specific sentence. Stand alone it comes up as tribe. Is that right?
That's right, a Stamm can be a tree trunk or a tribe. And in this proverb, it's a tree trunk.
Any idea why it focuses specifically on the tree trunk instead of the tree as a whole as in English?
I have no idea :)
I see my comment here was deleted, which is OK since I know I was harsh, but I was defending Duolingo. I thought this guy here was very rough in the way he claimed that Duolingo was wrong when it actually wasn't and I took it personally since I've invested so much time into it while learning. However, there is no reference left that I even posted it. There are sooo many areas where there are just seas of people listed with [Comment Deleted] instead of the entire reference to a comment ever being left in the first place being completely gone, like mine was here. I know there are a few mods on this forum, and I don't know who's taking it upon themselves to delete so many comments, but I don't appreciate it. I like reading what people have to say, even if it doesn't have anything to do with the topic at hand. I find it entertaining and it's more fun than just looking at grammar and spelling rules that people post all day. But if you're gonna delete comments, by God would you please remove the entire reference? If I open a section and I see hundreds of [Deleted Comment] s, I don't even bother to stop and look at the posts that are still left there because it's annoying to have to scroll through them all to find posts, and when you do, they are usually in reference to [Deleted Comment] s and no longer make as much sense. Now I'm no longer learning as much because someone is abusing their power. Please take care of it. I actually changed my Google review to 2 stars from 5 because of that mixed with some app issues I experienced.