Does German do the same thing as French or Spanish, where 'the' hand[s] is understood to mean my/your/his/her hand[s]?
Yes, all the time. But that wouldn't apply here. For instance, it's quite natural something like, "Ich habe das in der Hand gehabt." = "I had it in my hand."
Same as in English.
Depends on the context -- if it's a hand that's attached to someone's arm, that's more or less normal; if it's a disembodied hand, that would be a bit creepy.
The difference is that in English, we are much more inclined to use the possessive pronoun when the hand is attached to someone. If we say "the hand is on the table" (assuming it is a part of the body and not a hand of cards), it implies that we don't know who it belongs to and suggests strongly that it is disembodied, like something out of The Addams Family..
Sie sind unheimlich und exzentrisch,
Sie sind ganz und gar unglaublich,
Die Addams Familie
I am still looking for that missing leg from one of the other Duo examples.
It sound disembodied because the sentence did not suggest that the hand belongs to someone. His, her hand lies on the table. Sounds right.
I put 'the hand lays on the table' and it was marked wrong. In this sentence lays and lies would mean the same thing
Even many of my fellow native English speakers often use this word incorrectly.
e.g. The children are laying on the floor.
instead of the correct The children are lying on the floor.
To lay takes an object and shows an action, to lie is used to show placement or location. It's the same as the German verbs legen und liegen.
Yes, the two verbs lay and lie are often confused and used incorrectly. Most likely because because the simple past of lie, is lay, so people assume its the verb to lay being used. I remember my English teacher would always say that only chickens lay! Not completely true, but it made you think about it!
No, they do not. "Lays" is transitive and requires an object. E.g., the hand lays the book on the table.
I believe you are correct, so Duo just incorrectly allowed my "The hand lays on the table."
"Auf" is the preposition roughly equivalent to "on" or "onto", therefor "auf den Tisch" would be "on[to] the table"
Why is my answer wrong? The hand lies on the desk. I checked the word desk in my English-German dictionary.
why didn't it accept 'the hand is situated on the table'? I know it's a really weird sentence but still technically correct right?
At first I thought the hand was lying to the table, completely different perspective.
is this an idiom? like "all hands on the table" to mean that nothing is being withheld so everyone can understand, get the story, know the truth, no hurt feelings etc....
Someone must have been visiting The Addams Family
Does »Ihr Hand liegt auf dem Tisch. / Sein Hand liegt auf dem Tisch.« sound more 'natural' than »Die Hand liegt auf dem Tisch.«? Because atleast in the context of an English speaker the latter sentence implies it's a disembodied hand; Would it be interpreted similarly by most native German speakers, or just sound a little bit odd?
Yes, the German also sounds like a disembodied hand.
(By the way, it would be ihre Hand / seine Hand with -e, because Hand is feminine.)
Why "auf dem Tisch" in this sentence? In the last two questions...the bottle and the plates....it was " auf den Tisch" Thanks
auf, like a number of other prepositions, can take either the dative or the accusative case, depending on the meaning -- with the dative case, it indicates a location ("on"), while with the accusative case, it indicates the destination of motion ("onto").
Here, the hand is not moving; it is simply lying "on" the table.
I assume the former sentence was one about putting plates "onto" the table (they were moving from some other place and ended up on the table).