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  5. "Ich sehe meinen Onkel."

"Ich sehe meinen Onkel."

Translation:I see my uncle.

October 11, 2015



Could this not translate to "I am seeing my uncle." ?


No. "See" in English is a stative verb, meaning that it usually does not form continuous tenses.

Some stative verbs can have dynamic forms with a different meaning.

This is one of them; "I am seeing my uncle" would be correct but would mean "I am dating my uncle; I regularly go out on dates with my uncle; I am carrying on a romantic relationship with my uncle".


Wait, wait! You wouldn't jump to a romantic relationship like that. This is very contextual, and "I'm seeing my uncle," just leads to "Oh, what are you doing with him?" "Lunch, and a museum." (A relative just implies a nice day visit with that relative.) Or, medical context: "Are you doing anything about those awful warts?" "Yes, I'm seeing my uncle next week, he's a dermatologist." But "Are you seeing someone special?" is definitely about romance.

(I hadn't realized that this was called a stative verb, by the way, I'll have to read up on them. Thank you!)


The German sentence does not imply that either. It's about visual perception only.


Without context in English. I am seeing my Uncle is definitely creepy.


I agree. "I am seeing" implies an appointment, whether medical or social. A social appointment without further context might be assumed to be a date, but the context of it being a close relative automatically puts it into the 'family socialising' category.


Fair enough, but even that would not be sehen in German but treffen "meet".


Could it not mean "I am seeing ..." in the sense of "I am going to visit ..." - or even "I am currently visiting". Eg a phone call - "What are you doing in Dortmund?" "I am seeing (visiting) my uncle". Or would you have to use "besuchen" here? You could certainly use "seeing" in English.

  • 2372

Agreed entirely. "What are you doing in London?" "I'm seeing my uncle. He's over for work for a couple of weeks." Doesn't remotely imply a romantic relationship!


Those meanings can not be translated from "sehe" though. The English expression would have to use other verbs in German.


Wikipedia has an excellent article on stative verb: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stative_verb

An example of a stative verb with which we do not use the progressive aspect in English is "love", although in certain other languages such as Korean, "I am loving you" is valid. There are also verbs that can act either way as stative or dynamic, with possibly varied meanings. For example, "he plays the piano" can be stative to mean he has the ability to play piano, or it can be dynamic to refer to the act of playing the piano, as in "he plays the piano tonight".

If we think about it, having a romantic relationship is actually a stative concept, even if in colloquial idiom it might be expressed in continuous aspect as in "am seeing". On the other hand, "to see", as referring to visual perception, can very much be dynamic and expressed in continuous aspect. We often use the continuous aspect when we focus on the mental involvement in the act of seeing, as in "I am seeing double", or the title of this web page "ARE YOU SEEING or is your brain deciding what you should see?" Moreover, we can suitably use the continuous aspect in talking about the physiology of seeing, as an ophthalmology patient might complain, "I was seeing perfectly just last week, but now everything is a blur". More generally, the continuous aspect might also be used to express an exclamation, an urgency, or to emphasize being in the moment, as in "Are you seeing this?".

So, unlike the earlier piano playing example, there isn't a clear delineation between stasis versus dynamic meanings in using the verb "see". Unfortunately, though, the colloquial idiom of using "seeing" to mean having a romantic relationship has usurped the continuous aspect usage of the word that we easily think of it first, when there is no context to direct us otherwise. In a specific context, "I am seeing my uncle" may be a good translation for "Ich sehe meinen Onkel". Without context, though, its various unintentional meanings renders it a bad choice of a translation.


Philip you are right. I am seeing my uncle today or today for lunch would be normal. The sentence alone is creepy.


why "meinen" cant we just use mein?


No - "Onkel" is masculine, and is here the object of "sehe", so the adjective has to get the -en ending for the masculine accusative.


I don't remember a lesson on this :'(.


Well, I'm glad my uncle got over his case of invisibility.


You mean we only use meinen with "sehe"verb


No, "meinen" is used when the noun that it is describing is the direct object of any verb.


No, we use it for any masculine verb in the accusative case, unless the verb acting on it is 'sein'.


Well now, a noun after "sein" would be in the nominative case and would not be a direct object. In English we would call that noun a predicate nominative which refers back to the subject. There is a song like that "I am my own uncle...."


Why is the female gender symbol even an option?


Just ignore it and never choose it, someone has to change the programming to not include those.


I'm sorry shouldn't it be meineM, as uncle is masculine?


meinem Onkel would be dative (for the indirect object: to whom? for whom?), meinen Onkel is accusative (whom?) and is correct here.


Isn't Accusative case = the Direct Object - and the Dative case = the INdirect Object ????


Yes, that's right. I've fixed my sentence now - thanks!

Have some lingots :)


Send champagne & chocolates instead, bitte. ;-)


What are those gender signs good for, into the puzzle exercise?


They're not "good for" anything; my best guess is that they were automatically taken from the hints where they are used to indicate that, for example, Ärztin is specifically a female doctor -- even though that part of the hint is exactly that: a hint to the learner, not something that will ever be typed.

But the generation of the puzzle tiles is automatic and doesn't know that.


Does anybody know what the ♀♂s are for?


Ignore them, they are misplaced and we will have to wait for further programming to eliminate them from the word bank. See directly above.


meinem is wrong; that would be dative.

meinen (masculine accusative) is appropriate here as the word Onkel is masculine and in this sentence is the direct object of the verb sehen "to see".


Should this not leave the possibility 'I can see' open?


That would be “Ich kann meinen Onkel sehen.”

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