Can this sentence be translated both to: "You MUST NOT testify" as well as "You DON'T HAVE to testify"?
No, it can't. Even though the words look similar, "du musst nicht" does not mean "you must not".
You must = Du musst
You must not = Du darfst nicht
You don't have to = Du musst nicht
PS: Unfortunately, a direct link doesn't work, but if you google "Don't get lulled into thinking that muss nicht is equivalent to must not", you'll find a slightly longer explanation.
Thank you for this reminder. I put in must not and was marked right but when I saw the other allowed answer was don't have to, I realised they had very different meanings. Now I remember your explanation from german grammar lessons. Thank you again for your great input.
You're welcome :). It's definitely a mistake by Duolingo. Incidentally, when I was writing my explanation I remembered that we also discussed this in our English lessons at school in Germany because it's a mistake that Germans make in English too.
You have to (must) = Du musst
You don't have to = You need not = Du musst nicht = Du brauchst nicht
You must = Du musst (as above)
You must not (prohibition) = Du darfst nicht
You may = Du darfst
You may not = You are not allowed to = Du darfst nicht (as above)
You mean, how do I say "You have to not testify"? Perhaps "Du musst kein Aussagen geben" or whatever the correct version of that is. But otherwise the negative applies to inflected verb.
ah ha thanks yep i read the part of the book above and understand now.... just need to remeber than mussen = to have to and not must
It's fine to translate 'to must' to 'müssen'. The problem arises only with the negation. In German the 'nicht' is interpreted as negating the 'müssen', in English the 'not' is interpreted as the thing your are obliged to (~ "you must refrain from..."). So: "You must not" = "Du darfst nicht", "You don't have to"="Du musst nicht"
There's nothing to gain in translating "mussen" with "must". "Have to" is the natural translation, and it avoids the mistakes.
I wrote "You must not testify" and it was marked correct...this has a co pletely different meaning from "You don't have to testify."
I also am curious - is aussagen always testify? Could it be used for "speak out"?
"You don't have to testify" is correct, but "you don't have to say" is wrong, although, if you peak, it also states "to say" for "aussagen"?
I understand we have to learn 'every' verb at some point. But is there really nothing more important to learn before "testify"?
Why is 'speak out' not accepted? To me 'to testify' is just a more formal version of 'to speak out'. 'Speak out' is also a more literal translation of 'aussagen'. Is this duolingo, or am i incorrect here?
I thought ß is always preferred over "ss", and that you should use "ss" only when your device cannot produce the ß. Yet I keep getting ß marked as an error. I typed "Du mußt night aussagen." DL says it is almost correct and my computer underlines it with red squiggly lines. What is the rule for when to use ß versus "ss"?
I found an answer to my question on the Internet here: http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa092898.htm It says ""For the sharp (voiceless) [s] after a long vowel or diphthong one writes ß, as long as no other consonant follows in the word stem." Do read the entire article - it is interesting.
No, the relatively recent German language reforms replaced "ß" in a lot of words with "ss" so now "ß" is only used in certain circumstances (I think when proceeded by long vowel sounds?) It's worth reading up on.
For example: "musst", "Fluss", BUT "Fuß", "Straße"
The logic behind this is straightforward: a vowel followed by a single consonant is long, while a vowel followed by two consonants is short. SS is two consonants, ß is just one.
Did it sound like there was a "die" thrown in to anyone (not in the slowmode part)? 'Cause it sounded like "Du musst die nicht aussagen" to me (which I was confused about)
I have a problem with the male voice always dropping at the end of the sentence. I can't make out the last word!
So musst is "have to" not 'must'. Du musst nicht is more like 'you do not must'
I find the male voice so difficult to understand at times, is it only me?