1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Schmetterlinge beißen keine …

"Schmetterlinge beißen keine Schafe!"

Translation:Butterflies do not bite sheep!

November 5, 2015

38 Comments


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

is this ana actual saying in german? i've never heard it before but it's kind of funny


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

I am often wondering if it's some idiomatic expression, or just a weird sentence to keep us alert.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nikolai_4

They do eat dead skin though. Like other insects...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Normaboy56

A better translation, which was rejected, is "Moths do not bite sheep". Moths eat wool. Sheep grow wool. Get it?


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

Hello, Normaboy.

Interesting thought - but do moths bite anything? Isn't it the larvae, rather than the moths, that eat your clothes?

A brave effort, but I think is just another wonderfully Doolally Duo sentence. {One of my favourites, actually. I think it would almost spoil it, if it turned out to mean something sensible.]

Have a great day. :)


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

i love Achtung Kamel


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

Having given this even more thought, I think I now have two new classifications for Duo sentences: Achtung Kamel! sentences are far-fetched but (surprisingly) meaningful. Schmetterlinge sentences are just delightfully daffy.

Have a fabulous day. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dunk999

It is U2s little known follow up to Achtung Baby.


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

Hi, Hipppo

What's Achtung Kamel?

[edit] Oh - you mean there's a sentence - beware of the camel? Really?

[Sorry. It's not 8 a.m. yet and the old brain isn't completely fired up yet. I thought perhaps it was a satirical TV program. Face-palm. ]

While I was still under the befuddled impression that it might be a German TV show, I googled it ... do you know there are road signs for Achtung Kamel? Red triangle with - yes, you guessed it - a picture of a camel! The whole site is in German [too tough for me at this stage] - but some of them seem to come from Dubai or Oman. Don't they do Camel racing there? SO that would be a perfectly sensible thing to say, in the right context.

I probably won't need it personally. Well, not today. :)


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

I've always enjoyed: "Der grüne Bär ist unsichtbar." If it is invisible, how does the speaker know it is green?


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

Common knowledge.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/James992671

Having spent part of the last year living in the emirates, this sign was the first thing I thought of when I saw that one. It didn't even strike me as unusual. Namibia is a German speaking desert country so I'm guessing that these signs exist there, or at least the phrase itself could be useful if one was over there.


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

I don't know what these guys are smoking, but could I please have some? Bitte? :)


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

Finally... A sentence I can use in real life...


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

This sentence is inspiration for a horror movie


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

Why wasn't "Schafe" (plural) translated as "sheeps"?


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

The plural of “sheep” in English is “sheep”, no s. Various animal names (like “deer”, “moose”, “fish”, etc.) also behave the same.


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

I've been pondering the why of how this word is treated, and my feeling is that it's because sheep are so seldom found alone.


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

"Sheeps" is non-standard English.

The plural form of "sheep" is "sheep". (Re: Merriam-Webster)

"Sheep" can also be used as an uncountable noun.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mickeybook16

I never noticed this to be honest, I always heard 'sheeps' being used because I guess it makes sense when following the grammar rule for every other animal.


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

Moose, deer, fish, buffalo, swine...


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

People have said that "kein" negates nouns, but it's the verb that is being negated here. So that explanation must be wrong.


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

Eh, not entirely. With this sentence you are negating that butterflies bite specifically sheep, but they might still bite something else, in this sense it "negates the noun". In any case, from my experience as a learner, it is not so much that kein negates nouns, as much as that it is used when you want to negate a sentence where a noun is the focus. For example, If I say that I don't have a dog, I'm not really focusing on what I do or don't have; rather I'm saying that speaking of dogs, I don't have any, so: "Ich habe keinen Hund". Same for the butterfly sentence. In fact, most of these kein sentences can be rephrased with nicht if you don't want the focus to be specifically on the noun. Ultimately, in most short sentences like these, it is almost irrelevant whether you negate the noun or the entire sentence.


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

so they should accept the translations with nicht too.


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

They should indeed.


[deactivated user]

    I translated it as "Butterflies bite no sheep", which does sound funny to English ears, but it is closer to the German sentence.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stevep40

    I ventured "Butterflys bite no sheep" which is not only a transliteration but also sensible in English. I suppose it's wrong because you would then EXPECT the butterfly to bite something OTHER THAN sheep.


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

    It might be because you've misspelled Butterflies.


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

    Except for the misspelling, there's nothing wrong with that:
    correct:butterflies bite no sheep

    (NB: That's not, however, really a "transliteration", which is the substitution of a letter in one alphabet for one in another. It's more accurately described as just a "literal" or "word-for-word" translation.)


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

    I did the exact same thing. Figured it would otherwise be something like "Schmetterlinge beißen Schafe nicht."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Simon814570

    typing the exact corrent answer and its not accepting it...?


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

    Maybe. But probably not. If you include a screen shot, that would be convincing. Certainly more convincing than a comment which includes "corrent" and misuse of "its".


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

    slow speech is not slow.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pmullen1954

    Horrible pronunciation of 'keine', sounded like kein.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sh4rkattack

    Then what DO they bite...

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