It is a reference to the poem "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore. Donner and Blitzen were two of Santa's reindeer mentioned in the poem.
There were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. And I guess Rudolph was there somewhere.
Am i mistaken or are the German words for Thor and thunder the same? Pretty awesome if so. I realized it when i learned Donnerstag and knowing Thursday in English is named after Thor.
That's it. Old Norse Þórr, Old English ðunor, Old High German Donar, Old Saxon thunar, and Old Frisian thuner are cognates within the Germanic language branch, descending from the Proto-Germanic masculine noun *þunraz 'thunder'. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thor) Moon day Tiw's day Wotan's day Thor's day Frey's day Saturn's day Sun day
"Thunder" should be his name in English, from Old English Þunor, but we borrowed the Norse form after centuries of Christianity.
Interesting. But somehow "Thor: The Dark World" sounds better than "Thunder: The Dark World" ;)
Anyone checked to see if "thunder and lightning" is accepted? Just because that's the correct word order in English.
Well I just got an email from sarefo @ Duolingo saying they've decided to accept "thunder and lightning" as a translation as per my report so hopefully that's put the issue to rest. I was very impressed with their speed at getting to my report.
It isn't "correct" to say thunder and lightning; it's just the way we tend to say it. The translation of the above is "Lightning and thunder" and it should NOT be accepted the other way around. I'm sorry, because I know we all grow attached to the way we say things, but in this case, it's just a habit. If you want to learn the words, learn them; don't be so attached to your habits that it negatively affects your ability to learn another language. Besides, some people are learning German through English as a second language. We shouldn't make it harder to learn the word meanings, but rather easier. [I'm sorry if I sound callus here, but I feel strongly that the actual language learning is paramount, rather than preferences, and yes, in normal life I would also say "Ooh, thunder and lighting, I love it!".]
Hi Robin, we may have our wires crossed here because no one is saying that Duo shouldn't accept 'lightning and thunder' and people can hover over the words / use a dictionary / GT to check the meaning. No one's learning will be hindered. The point is that English natives should be able to type this the correct way because that's the correct native way of saying it.
All language is 'just a habit'!
Well, I know I sound like a stubborn such-and-so (:P) , and I absolutely understand where you are coming from, but I still don't agree. If I am learning these words and get my definitions switched in my mind, the acceptance of "thunder and lightning" would reinforce my incorrect understanding of the meanings of the words.
If this were a translation in the "Immersion" section, I think there would be a strong argument for what you're saying... it really is more natural (but not necessarily any more correct) to say T&L in English. I just think that in an introductory lesson where words and definitions are being presented for the first time, it would be best for the program to keep it as basic as possible to avoid potential confusion for some people.
I'll let it go now, because they've accepted your translation and while I may (cough) be stubborn, I'm willing to agree to disagree. I'm not as bad as all that, I swear! ;)
Actually, the goal of duoLingo is to translate the web: in that case, rendering "Blitz und Donner" into English as "lightning and thunder" would not be so appropriate/natural, assuming that "Blitz und Donner" is the natural rendering in German. Instead, the better way would be the way that sounds natural in English, which is "thunder and lightning."
Another example, one with more cultural/value issues underlying it, may help to illustrate this. In addressing a mixed gender group in a formal setting, Chinese uses "各位先生，女士": literally "each sir, lady" i.e. "gentlemen and ladies." But you would no more insist on translating these into English as "gentlemen and ladies" than you'd insist on the Chinese text having the order reversed as "各位女士，先生." A speech translated from Chinese to English would begin "Ladies and gentlemen," despite the fact that the Chinese is not in that order. The only time I would render it "Gentlemen and ladies" is if I were doing a metalinguistic study, for the purpose of showing how different languages collocate differently.
For the same reason, I think I'd translate "Blitz und Donner" as "lightning and thunder" only if I were commenting on language collocation, and was pointing out how German and English do so differently. If that was not the point of the translation, however--if it occurred in the course of setting a scene in a novel, for instance--I would translate it as "thunder and lightning," because there's no reason to draw attention to the difference in collocation there.
As a linguistics & East Asian studies major, I couldn’t possibly not upvote this and give you a Lingot. ;)
I quite agree with you. This is not a phrase translation. It is a word for word translation question. It should be lightning and thunder.
Actually, die Eule is not entirely consistent in whether the sentences presented for translation should be translated word-for-word or idiomatically. In this case, both are accepted. There is, of course, the danger that someone will never be presented with the words Donner and Blitz separately, and then might come away with the association bass-ackwards. I think this is mitigated by the fact that hovering over each word provides the specific meaning for the word.
A student who naturally/instinctively equates "Blitz und Donner" with "Thunder and lightning" actually demonstrates a sounder grasp of the common way of using those phrases in both languages.
I think this is an example of idiomatic translation? There are many german phrases that you don't translate 'word for word' into English (it costs an apple and an egg vs. it costs peanuts). Here, the best English interpretation is 'thunder and lightning', irrespective of the actual german word order.
Duolingo has ruled to the contrary and seeing how idiomatic they tend to be with their translations I'd say it was the right decision.
That's up to them, of course. But I stand by my comment. If anyone is trying to learn the words "lightning and thunder", by using the above lesson as "thunder and lightning", it is just going to be confusing and, in MY opinion it is not the best decision. In my opinion, this is not an idiom: "a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words".
But languages have collocations patterns, and certain groupings of words are used in a set order, to the extent that it becomes a kind of set expression:
In English, we pass the salt and pepper shakers (not the pepper and salt shakers). We call our mom and dad (not our dad and mom). We welcome ladies and gentlemen (not gentlemen and ladies). We listen to rock 'n roll (not roll 'n rock). We eat macaroni and cheese (and Kraft exploited this collocation with their ad campaign about theirs being "cheese and macaroni," to emphasize how much cheesier theirs is than others). And if you make a comment about how it's been raining dogs and cats lately, Bruce Willis discovers you for the foreign terrorist you are and blows your brains out (Die Hard III--modern-day rendering of the "shibboleth" episode in the Hebrew Bible).
The ordering can become set to an extent that rearranging the order does sound odd, if not technically ungrammatical. And ElleLingo's comment holds for "thunder and lightning; makes me wonder if Germans are equally OK with "Blitz und Donner" and "Donner und Blitz." If a language does have a strongly-preferred collocational ordering, I think that's something worth knowing.
Well explained davidgintaiwan. :)
I find it cool that the Germans say this phrase ultimately in the order of occurrence: lightning comes before thunder. So now I'm wondering why in English we say them in what's basically backward order? That's kind of funny. Thunder and lighting sounds better, but it's hard to tell if that's just what my ear's used to, or if it genuinely flows better... Hmmm... o .o
Leydom: adjective placement in the noun phrase is less collocational than it is grammatical. So, the example you give about "blue house" vs "casa azul" isn't what I would call collocational. After all, "a house blue" is ungrammatical in English, and "una azul casa" is (I presume) ungrammatical in Spanish (Romance languages do have classes of adjectives which can go either before or after the noun, but that results in a meaning difference e.g. "casa grande" vs "gran casa"). What I would call collocational is the sort of language use where it's not technically ungrammatical to violate the collocation, but where it sounds odd.
Pulverkuss: I agree that "thunder and lightning" sounds better than "lightning and thunder"--and I also agree that I'm not sure if the reason for this is just because of being used to it! The explanation of "it sounds better" has a technical name: euphony. It belongs to the field of sound symbolism, which is exploited by writers (e.g. Dickens, Tolkien, Rowling) in giving (so-called) nice-sounding names to good people, and especially useful in giving nasty-sounding names to bad people. But though that may work for names (I'd rather be Pip than Scrooge), I'm with you in not being sure how it would apply to why "thunder" could be said to intrinsically sound better before "lightning." In a quick Google search I did on this, I can't say I found anything too impressive about this particular case, though I did find an interesting comment about a different expression, "head over heels." It's worth a look (https://www.reddit.com/r/Showerthoughts/comments/274f0i/why_do_we_always_say_thunder_and_lightning/). I do know that in Chinese tradition, "thunder" was given primacy, insofar as it was believed to be the thunder which was deadly: lightning was considered to be necessary only as a way of making it easier for the Thunder God to hit his mark. Based on this, I guess the ancient Chinese were well aware that lightning precedes thunder in temporal sequence, but they miscontrued which of the two was truly lethal (they didn't have the theory of electromagnetism to guide them!).
Indeed, that's why German and English put the adjective before the noun, or German the verb at the end of sentences, whereas Latine languages (French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish) put the name first, une casa azúl, a blue house, la Maison Blanche, das Weisse Hause.
Well said Robin. The words Blitz und Donner are lightning and thunder, not thunder and lightning.
Yes, but light travels faster than sound. They start from the same place and so we see the lightning before we hear the thunder.For that reason, a forward artillery observer sees the flash of the gun before he hears the gun. This is the logical order.
So, to grasp this better, could I say: "Ich sehe einen Blitz an, und ich höre einen Donner"? That's the difference between the two, right? Excuse my ignorance.
"Sind Blitze, sind Donner in Wolken verschwunden" From the breathtaking Matthäus-Passion by Bach :)
Actually, most Germans would call it Gewitter and not Blitz und Donner or Donner und Blitz. I am German!
Lots of discussion already about the English convention of "thunder" first, "and lightning" second - but I'm curious if the opposite true in German.
Is it conventional to say "Blitz" first, "und Donner" second?
I was gonna make a joke about how this sounds like Germany ‘then and now’: Blitz and donner.
I don't think anyone has actually confirmed that the Germans say ' Blitz und Donner' have they and not the other way round as in English? Please someone tell us! Duolingo ought to include the individual words 'Donner' and 'Blitz' to check understanding but maybe it does occur elsewhere ( in 'practice'?). There is no doubt at all that we say ' Thunder and lightening' not ' lightening and thunder' so that should be the only accepted answer.
There's certainly a good case to be made that "Thunder and lightning" should be accepted as, like you said, that is what the overwhelming majority of English speakers say all the time.
However, I would strongly disagree that they should stop accepting "Lightning and thunder", as this is the literal translation of the German, and shows that the learner knows each of the words individually and would be able to identify them without context.