The translation is wrong. It is still night, isn't it - "Es ist immer noch Nacht, oder?" The shown German sentence contains nothing which could translate to "still", at most replace "still" with "right now". The correct trnaslation is: "It's night, isn't it?".
Edit: Glad the translation got fixed, just leaving this here as a reference.
Nope, 'doch..., oder?' expresses doubt here. 'Es ist Nacht' would be a regular statement, while 'Es ist doch Nacht?' either doubts a previous sentence in the context or the speaker's own statement (then, 'oder' helps). In the former case, the ? is rather formal, you might not pronounce it or pronounce it like a !.
People like to change the channel, one way or another. I can't speak for the general public, but often they want to call for ad-hoc answers and immediate conversation. But I wouldn't assume that's due to the lack of tone in the conversation. Tone of voice is important here, too. But I've never witnessed misunderstanding when it was missing. But your question is so universal, I can't tell you anything absolutely binding. In German, you might have the ability to add different tonings to your written language, even in a formal context. Maybe that helps and actually makes a difference. I don't know.
Thank you. I'm still trying to figure out whether there are words in English that will do a job like this. In German, I suspect the language itself carries meanings that in English depends on other things. Question: as e-mail and therefore written communication has become common, sometimes--especially in business communication, when a certain amount of back-and-forth to work out a problem has occurred--it can sometimes be smart to pick up a telephone and call the other person. Misunderstandings and tensions that build up during the e-mail conversation can dissipate or be avoided when one is talking, because one responds more to tone of voice and other vocal nuances that are not wholly in the words themselves. Is that also the case in German, or does that change of channel never seem necessary? (And does that question make any sense?)
That would be the first case, where you might pronounce a !, in my opinion. Here lies the element of doubt you asked about, yes. For the other case, that's more like 'What do you mean, getting ice cream? It's still night, isn't it?' – Both have a different kind of surprise, if you look closely. The first being pointed more towards the other speaker expressing doubt, the second being really puzzled inside.
It's funny because I have a German friend who will constantly say that in English, tacking on "or" at the end of sentences. Anyhow, I mentioned this in another comment, but "oder?" is kind of the short form of "oder nicht?" and we definitely say that in English, perhaps not in written language but at least colloquially. "It's still night? Or no?"
The translations I got from Duo when I failed were: "Is it night, yes?" and "It is still night, isn't it?". I am not a native English speaker but to me these sound ok. Although if I would have translated the sentence literally, using the definitions from Duolingo, it would have come out like you said: "Is it still night, or?", but it did not make sense at all. I think this was not the appropriate sentence to practice these words (“doch” and “oder”) because as other people commented above these words may have different meanings, other than the literal translation, depending on how they are used; in this case it seems the use of “doch” and “oder” expresses doubt. I still do not really get it but if you read above you might jajaja :D
For those saying the translation is wrong, bear in mind that "still" doesn't necessarily mean "even now": think of when we say something like, "Still, is it night?" One of the glossed translations for this is "all the same", which is how we use "still" sometimes. The meaning is something along the lines of, "Is it night after all or what?"
I do think it's misleading that it's posed here in a question having to do with time, because that is ambiguous, and the word order, while technically a possible translation, really sides with the wrong meaning of "still" in this case.
I think "or what" sounds way too aggressive for what "oder" in that position means. German language uses "Oder" the same way we use in English when we want to confirm something. For example: I have eaten, haven't I? (ich habe gegessen, oder?) or It's raining, isn't it? (es regnet, oder?). you use both sentences to try to confirm your findings. You could say "I have eaten, or what?", or even "It's raining, or what?", but there would be a slight difference between them and "I have.... haven't I?". Can you "feel" the difference? It's not wrong, I guess. But it's just not the role "oder" plays in those sentences. What do you think?
im confused - oder means is it? or isn't it... cuz earlier i came across a sentence on duolingo which went like oder nicht so i came to associate oder with is it? and oder nicht as isn't it but now its getting contradictory as duolingo says oder = isn't it... please someone clarify...
Well, "oder" just translates to "or," so it's just a question of, "is what I just said false?" I skimmed the discussion above about "doch," but I've always learned "doch" to be the equivalent of contradicting a negative statement, like "actually yes it is." So this sentence gave me the impression that the original assumption was that it wasn't nighttime anymore/yet, and the speaker is like, "wait, actually, it IS night, isn't it?"
Example to clarify what I mean: "Du hast eine Tochter?" "Nein, ich habe keine Tochter." vs "Du hast keine Tochter?" "Doch, ich habe eine Tochter."
"Oder" then would come to be "isn't it" or "is it" depending on whatever the sentence was that preceded it. In this case, the sentence was affirmative, so "oder" would be negative. Really, it's just a semantic nuance, since it just really means, "or."
I just asked a German friend of mine about "doch" used mid-sentence like this. This was the explanation he gave me:
"Doch" is more often used to counter somebody, and you imply with it that it wouldn't work out / matter right now. Like, "I need my sunglasses!" "Es ist doch Nacht, oder nicht?" Or, "Ich moechte Schokolade!" - "Aber es ist doch schon Mitternacht." - "Doch manchmal hab ich spaet in der Nacht Lust auf Schokolade."
I'm trying to process that still ;P
yes, Germans use "oder" at the end of their sentences as a short form of "oder nicht?" In the first sentence, "It is still night, or?" (implying, "It is is still night... or no?" or "It is still night, isn't it?") leans towards impression that you believe it is still night, but you leave some room for doubt. The "doch" further reinforces that you believe affirmatively that it is night.
In the second sentence, "Or is it still night?" leans toward the impression that you either believe it's already daytime or really have no idea. You would probably translate that to be something like, "Oder ist es noch nacht?" and I believe the use of "doch" would be inappropriate in this case.
Thank you for explaining. I had a bit of a rage quit moment but now that I've cooled down I feel silly. The uses of "doch" are still throwing me for a loop, but your response has brought me one step closer to getting the hang of it. There are a lot of different definitions for the word "still" in English; I just don't notice them because it's my mother tongue. "Doch" is just one of those words with a lot of applications and subtleties that will take time and practice to learn. Much appreciation :)
Not really, corredorX. Doch is an interjection that can mean different things according to its usage. In this case, it would be something like "Já" in portuguese. "Já é noite, né?". Doch can also express an opposite idea, when you don't agree with what someone says. For example. If I told you: "ach, ich kann kein Deutsch", and you disagreed, you'd say to me "doch", which would mean something like "Yes, you can".
So just to clarify, doch is used when you're contradicting somebody (ie. the example someone posted, "I need my sunglasses." "But it's night."), and oder on the end of the sentence means something similar to 'or what'
Is that even close to correct?
(fyi I wrote 'but it is night, or?' and that was accepted even though it makes no sense)
It's only used to contradict someone asking a negative question. For example, if someone asks 'Gehst du nicht nach Hause?' (Aren't you going home?), if you are going home, you answer 'Doch', and NOT 'Ja'. It's actually a pretty good system that a lot of languages have, English is very ambiguous in situations like this.
Other than that usage, 'doch' adds emphasis, it's what is called a modal particle (which we don't have in English, which is why it is so confusing to translate). That's all it is doing here: emphasising the doubt in the question.