Welches Pferd? = 1.) Which horse? / 2.) What horse?
Was für ein Pferd? = 1.) What horse? 2.)What kind of horse?
Was Pferd? = "What is the matter with you? Why are you talking about a horse?? (this is somewhat rude, better don't use it yourself.)
When you see the words "What horse?" without any context, the best translation is "Was für ein Pferd?"
Thank you for making these distinctions. Native English speakers know that the true meaning of this phrase is in the tone of voice one uses. Few English speakers would say "What horse?" to mean that one has a number to choose from. In fact to do so would be an indication of very low educational background. Duolingo needs to get rid of this sentence.
"What horse?" and "Which horse?" are by no means interchangeable. "What horse?" without any other context suggests you're saying "What are you talking about? I can't see a horse" whereas "Which horse?" suggests you're asking them to choose from more than one horse. You might say "What horse will you be riding today?" to mean similar to "Which horse?" in a specific context but not just "What horse?".
In my native dialect the what-question is not a low-class question. It's about context and availability.
Librarians have thousands of books to choose from, therefore "which": an option of many. To your point (I think?), a butcher isn't dealing in a wealth of books (IF AT WORK), so asking them about a book is confusing. What-questions are usually please-clarify/indefinite questions. Books don't fit a butcher context, so... What?
I'm a college graduate and a native English speaker, and I took it to mean "which horse?" As in, "What horse are you betting on at the racetrack?" Or, "What horse got out of the pasture this time?"
I mean, I won't argue with being called grammatically incorrect, lazy, or amateurish. But hey- I'm educated.
This has nothing to do with education level or snobbishness. It has everything to do with context, and nothing to do with education. For example, if you were approached by a woman who said: "My horse ran away - did you see a horse? If you did not see a horse you would correctly reply: "What horse?" If you saw many horses run by you would say: "Which horse?" If you saw no horse and replied: "Which horse?" you would be deceiving her. As is often the case in Duolingo, no context is given.
"What horse?" and "Which horse?" are two different things in English. "What" is implying you didn't even know there was a horse. "Which" is asking for clarification when there are many horses to choose from. I know some people might use "what" in place of "which", but it is wrong.
Could someone please clarify the usage of "Was" and "Welche"; since both of them mean what, it's confusing to know which one to use, where. I get it that there is some subtle difference in the usage that is not apparent in English (as some people seem to have mentioned above), but what is this difference?
Imagine that somebody said "did you see that horse?" In English, you could respond 'what horse?' or 'which horse?', but in German, only 'welches Pferd?' is correct.
That being said, in almost no other context would anybody say 'what horse' in English, and as such I think it's a bad question designed specifically to trick people.
In English, "which horse?" is asking someone to be specify a horse among multiple possible horses.
However, "what horse?" is either (a) a colloquial and incorrect way to say "which horse", or (b) doubting the existence of the horse.
For example, if you ask someone who has never owned a horse "Where is your horse?", they will most likely answer by saying "What horse?"
Therefore, if you want to translate "Welches Pferd?" into English, or translate something from English to that, the English sentence should, 100% OF THE TIME, be "Which horse?" and NEVER "What horse?"
For me it doesn't make sense since "what horse?" I saw it and thought " what??? what's wrong is the horse?? why horse?? horse is not horse? WTF horse??"
Maybe it is because English is not my 1st language but I do think "Which horse?" or "What kind of horse?" can fit better here
in the info on this section welches is not stated, yet during the course of "learning" you have welcher listed as meaning which. Is there saom epiece of magic i a missing that is never explained. Call this type of learning FUN?? I DO NOT!!!
"What horse?" is an unhelpful translation for "Welches Pferd?" In English, "which horse" and "what horse" are often used for quite different meanings - which (when there is a choice of more than one horse) and what (eg: when there is doubt that there is a horse). I suggest this question be removed from the tutorial - given the high number of comments, it is clearly not educational, but controversial .
The best answer I found from Google search:
"In English, you can often substitute what for which, i.e. instead of "which school are you attending?" you can say "what school are you attending?" In German, this is not possible.
So, whenever you would use "what" in the sense of "which" in English (e.g. "What horse?") you cannot translate it as "was" but you have to use "welche in German. (my note: you can use "was" but you have to use "Was für ein/e")
On the other hand, if you take the sentence "what would you like for breakfast?" Here it would be impossible to replace "what" by "which". Hence you use "was" in German not "welch"."
Other tips: Use "welche" when you have limited choices e.g. Welche Automarke magst du? - Which brand of car do you like?. Welche expresses a choise.
In cases where you are unsure if you should use Was or Welche, you can interchange "Welche" with "Was für ein/e".
This question was posed by me some years ago and I receive intermittent answers on the subject every 2 or 3 months. My opinion is , if you answer the question in 3 or 4 contexts over a period of say 6 to 12 months. Then drop the question as " answered", it would be an unreasonable student who should deprived of suitable attention, Thank you for a very thorough and competent presentation. Kind Regards, Bruce Gatgens
If we are to use 'Welches', then it should not say Which horse? and not What horse. The context of this sentence is, in English, What horse are you talking about? This could either be rude or polite depending on the tone and who you are talking to - a child or an adult for instance.
Those who argue the point on which is more polite forget the unheard tone or the unseen context, so we have to go along with what the original sentence says which is, 'What horse? (are you talking about).
Therefore, in my opinion (and what do I know), the sentence should be translated to Was Pferd?
Your difficulty here is that the English word "what" has a number of different meanings, and not all of them are rendered as was in German. In particular, in some dialects of English, "what" followed by a noun (e.g. "What whisky do you want?") can be used to mean "which". This crossover doesn't exist in German, so that welches is always used for the "which" meaning, not was.