"Multe da X" vs "multaj X"?
I've just gotten the sentence "Many Germans drink beer", which I could translate either as "multe da germanoj trinkas bieron" or "multaj germanoj trinkas bieron", and both are taken as correct. I was wondering if there's any difference (however minor) between these two.
(And, small aside while I'm here, de/da is frustrating.)
I actually thought about this a while back, and I think it's because you use "multe da ...-o" for uncountable items and "multaj ...-oj" for countable items.
For example, take "multe da lakto". Can you count milk? Not really. So milk is "multe da lakto". On the other side, look at "multaj lingvoj". Can you count languages? You betcha, so use "multaj lingvoj".
For example, take "multe da lakto". Can you count milk? Not really. So milk is "multe da lakto".
Well... you can't say multaj laktoj (since milk is uncountable, as you say), but you can say multa lakto.
In the case of milk, you can say either:
- multa lakto
- multe da lakto
The nice thing about using the first form (multa lakto) is that it easily lends itself to being used in the accusative (that is: multan lakton), where the other does not. And, supposedly, you can take advantage of Esperanto's freer word order by swapping the words (lakto multa).
>The nice thing about using the first form is that it easily lends itself to being used in the accusative, where the other does not.
You can't say "multen da lakton" or something like that? Forgive me if that construction's absurd, ankoraux mi estas komencanto.
Multen seems weird, but the ending -en isn't. I don't think it can be the direct object, because an adverb isn't a noun, but you can use -en to denote motion, and possibly length. I'm not sure you can use it to denote time, though. For example:
Mi iras hejmen. -> I go home(-motion).
But isn't -e the adverb suffix? "Mi iras hejme" would mean something like "I go homeish", would it not?
In this case you use the -e adverb suffix in conjunction with the -n motion suffix, as the hejmo is relevant to your motion.
You will get used to de/da. It solves a lot of ambiguities.
As for your main question, how you would translate it is somewhat subjective. Multaj germanoj is closer to many Germans while multe da germanoj is probably closer to "a lot of Germans."
But the real confusion is that multe is an adverb that appears to be acting like a noun, right? So why not "mult-o da." Indeed, multo da is fine! My understanding is that the actual numerating word for da can be elided (omitted). So we might say something like "ĉu ankoraŭ da kafo?" "Is there still [some amount] of coffee?"
So in the original sentence we are implying "[some amount] of Germans," which means we could (very awkwardly) translate it something like this:
"Manifoldly, [some amount] of Germans drink beer."
But since we know they do it manifoldly (multe), the amount implied is "many."
Make sense? :-p
For some people, like me, this kind of explanation is helpful. But for everyday usage, these are effectively identical and you don't need to know the morphological details. If you are more pragmatic you can save yourself the confusion and just memorize.
De/da is quite easy, actually. Just think that da is used for quantities only (except for zero, because then you have none). For example: Unu da kio? translates to: One of what? Meanwhile, de is used for everything else. For example: Mi estas Dakoto de Usono. translates to: I am Dakota of the United States. You would also use de like so: Mi volas nenio de tio! That says: "I want none (as in zero; no quantity) of that!" Make sense?