1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Wir gehen Richtung Norden."

"Wir gehen Richtung Norden."

Translation:We go north.

October 28, 2015

61 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelMet3

When I saw this I thought "we are going in a northerly Direction" otherwise the question would have read "Wir gehen Norden" to mean we are going north. Richtung means direction so why was it omitted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/quis_lib_duo

Wir gehen Norden is not correct in German.

It'd either be Wir gehen nach Norden or Wir gehen nordwärts.
(The version with the preposition is much, much more common.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stuart12930

So is "Wir gehen Richtung Norden." also commonly used by natives?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/arisplus

Wir gehen Richtung Norden. Can someone explain how "Richtung" fits in here? I see a rough approximation as "We are going north direction"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JooVitorPi1

I think (level 11, people, be forgiving) that you can think of it as the difference between saying "We are going north" or "We are going to the North" - i.e. the direction (Richtung Norden), not the place.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/petehallw

I think of it like 'We are going due North'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andy189567

Except that is marked incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WilliamSmi311052

It tells me that "We are going due North" is incorrect. I think this should be considered a possible correct answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

According to both oxforddictionaries.com and the online Merriam Webster in such expressions as "due north" due is an adverb meaning "exactly", this sense of precision is in no way expressed in the German sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoseLoretoRomero

I know Richtung as a noun means direction. My question is, isn't Richtung functioning as an adverb or a preposition and therefore shouldn't be capitalized?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

I think the expression is fundamentally a shortened version of ‘in Richtung Norden’ (cfr. the duden.com examples «in Richtung Berlin», «in nördliche/nördlicher Richtung»), as such ‘Richtung’ is still perceived as a noun as in the original expression.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JosepAbenz

This was exactly my thought, yes. The sentence should be 'in Richtung Norden', and the common use made it lose the "in". Don't really know if a native German can tell us if that's really the reason.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eloise23

March 21, 2016 - I tried "We go northbound", but Duo didn't like that one either. I think I shall report it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lulubeck

You can say, "We are northbound on such-and-such a highway." or "We are traveling north/northward."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pratanu

Why "we go in the direction of north" is not accepted


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Doctor-John

Because no one says that in English. It's verbose. We need to translate real German into real English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pGgYR

I say 'we go in a northern direction' - not verbose! If I was hiking and map reading to let companions know which way we were going next I would probably say "we're going in a northern direction .... before turning to the East'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kbsreddy

'We go northward' is accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RWang2017

Can we say "wir gehen der Norden"? Why "richtung" needs to be here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

We can't, because "der Norden" is a bare nominative, problematic for two reasons:

  1. North is neither the subject nor the predicate, so it has no business being in the nominative case;

  2. There is nothing indicating direction, and German is a stickler for spatial indications, so phrases indicating directions are always different from phrases only indicating position or location. It is reflected both with prepositional adverbials (where dual preposition take the dative to indicate position and the accusative to indicate direction, for example contrast: "wir sind im Kino" vs. "wir gehen ins Kino") and with adverbs (where generally a suffix is added to indicate direction: "wir sind draußen"—"wir gehen hinaus"; "wo bist du?"—"wohin gehst du?"; "ich bin hier"—"komm hierher").

That said, you can avoid using "Richtung", as long as you indicate direction in some way, by saying for example "wir gehen nach Norden" or (as pointed out in a previous comment) "wir gehen nordwärts".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

Gern geschehen!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vennamn

I typed "We go in a northward direction." This should be right. Also, the listed correct answer shown was "We go in a northerly direction." Northerly is a very confusing word in English, because it can mean both "from the north" (when describing a wind) or "to the north" (maybe originally a mistake that has gained acceptance). It's like the word "inflammable", where different people may think of opposite things.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Doctor-John

"We go in a northward direction" is a bit verbose, but not ambiguous. It means we're heading north. The usual and unambiguous description for wind is "north wind" = from the north. It unambiguously means from the north (in all weather reports) because knowing which direction the wind is coming from tells you what effect the wind is going to have on your weather. If it's colder to the north, then a north wind is going to make where you are colder. And heading north will be harder, because you'll have a headwind. Agreed, "inflammable" causes confusion. Since there's probably no need to warn people that something won't burn, "inflammable" usually means it's flammable. In which case, it's better to say "flammable."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SoulPoetic

Wir gehen nach Norden? At least according to PONS


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Copernicus-

Yes, that's correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/myclone_1978

Why "we are going to north" is wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eloise23

April 8, 2016 - In English you can say "we are going to THE north" , which indicates a particular place or area. Context will often indicate the area, but you will also find the area specified, as in "We are going to the north of Scotland"

OR, you can say "we are going north" (no TO), which indicates a particular direction. "We are going north on Interstate 5, or the M1". You can also add a destination, "We are going north to Alaska." Note where the TO has been placed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FreekVerkerk

We are going in northern direction ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lulubeck

You can say "in a northerly direction." "Northern" could be used in "a northern city," "a northern climate." On weather broadcasts you hear about "northerly winds."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lulubeck

I should add that northerly winds blow "from" the north, not "to" the north.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VincentOostelbos

Pretty strange that they accept the more typically British "towards" but not the more American "toward". Usually they err toward American English, I think. Anyway, reported it (twice).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stephensoldner

I wrote 'We are going in the northern direction' and it corrected me to 'We are going in a northern direction'. It changed 'the' to 'a'. Does 'the' need to be explicitly stated (while, conversely, 'a' can be implied)? Thanks in advance.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

Neither ‘a’ nor ‘the’ can be implied—not only in such a construction, but ever: a noun without an article means a different things from both a noun with ‘the’ and a noun with ‘a’.

‘In a/the northern direction’ is per se not a great way of expressing this concept in English. Having said that, both are grammatical and express two different things: in one case (‘the direction’) you are most certainly referring to the exact north, or at least to the only path you could take to go north (only this way the ‘northern direction’ can be only one and definite); in the other case (‘a direction’) you are taking any of a number of paths that generally lead north, it is more generic and I'd say a better translation for the German sentence.

Either way, English has much better ways to indicate that one is going north, so you shouldn't use either formulation. Furthermore, as discussed in other comments, when not referring to places in the north, ‘northerly’ is generally preferred to ‘northern’ (but this isn't as clear cut as one could hope).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stephensoldner

Apologies, but I wasn't asking for clarification on the English. Native speaker here. I was just trying different sentences for fun and tried that one.

I was asking why Duolingo changed the English from 'the' to 'a'; i.e., whether or not the German was implying 'a' and not 'the'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

Whoops, my bad.

About the German: I'd say in general ‘in a northern direction’ is more similar to what the German sentence is implying, but I think in some contexts one would use ‘the direction’ to translate it. The original sentence is really closer to ‘we are going north’, which could mean ‘we are going in the northern direction’, but only in certain contexts.

German itself isn't implying anything however: an expression akin to ‘in a northerly direction’ would be ‘in nördlicher Richtung’, without any article whatsoever. German simply doesn't use an article for this idiom (I understand the question was whether the German sentence would be best translated in English with a definite or indefinite article, still, I thought it was important to point out the German syntax here).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jim812843

I thought "northerly" direction took care of not going exactly compass North


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Doctor-John

Although you weren't asking a question about English, for the benefit of non-native English speakers it should be pointed out that "We are going in the northern direction" isn't normal English. One would say instead "We are going north." However, one could say "a northern direction" to indicate the direction is only approximately north. Duo's changing the "the" to "a" both improves the English and makes it closer to the German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikePearce11

I put (as a translation) "We are going northbound". This was considered incorrect and I was told it should be "We are going northward".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CapnDoug

"northbound" means going north so your sentence would be something like "We are going going north." I think "We are northbound." might work but that is not the usual way northbound is used.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertHJMa

'We are going towards north' Should be accepted, surely?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertHJMa

'We are going northwards'. Should also be accepted, surely?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jarrad6

That is wrong duo should correct this as richtung means route or direction


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

In isolation, yes. But in the context of this sentence ‘Richtung’ is used as a preposition of sorts, indicating the direction of movement (namely: north).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nonproblemo

Wir gehen nach Nordpole. Nein, wir gehen im nördliche Richtung, ja ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/requin230

No. First you can't use "nach" before "Nordpol", it must be either "zum" (if you really want to reach it) or "Richtung". For the second sentence it is "in" not "im". but it is still a very unusual construction.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Emil240380

would "Wir gehen nach Norden" work? is it a common way of wording?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/requin230

Yes, that is how I would say it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WLB357314

Why cannot "Wir gehen Richtung Norden" be translated as "We go northerly"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Copernicus-

I don't think I've ever heard "northerly" used without being before a noun. "We go in a northerly direction" would be okay, though a little verbose.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eshan943679

Can Richtung be used like this also for places or countries? For eg., Wir gehen Richtung Einkaufwagen or Ich gehe Richtung Deutschland or Ich gehe Richtung Park?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kbsreddy

We are going towards North


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Copernicus-

No, you can't go towards north because "north" is not a place. We simply say "We are going north."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrissyFen

It didn't appreciate northerly, either


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizzy0127

Never heard about that. Probably my problem.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/1lizsnxr

So is it wrong to say "Wir gehen Norden"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

As explained above by quis_lib_duo, it is indeed wrong, because there is nothing in the sentence indicating north is the direction and German always marks direction (as opposed to location) in place adverbials. For that matter, "Norden" is a noun, so it wouldn't work as a location adverbial anyway, you would have to say "(wir sind) im Norden".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slater450413

I had "we go directly north". Not accepted :-(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eloise23

There would have to be another adverb in the German sentence - like direkt, genau, gerade, or some word like that. April 9, 2016.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.