It's freely translated as "Let's see..." or "Let's have a look...". If it stands alone, for example as a reply to a question, it can also mean "We will see": Gehen wir morgen aus? - Mal sehen.
(Are we going out tomorrow? - We will see.)
Or I suppose you can translate it here more literally as "(It is) time to see..." :)
I translated it as "Time to see what is in there" and it told me that I was wrong, but I think that literal translation makes sense in English.
I'm not sure that is true. Mal means time in the sense of an occurance, not in the sense of 'it is time'. That would be Zeit. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure 'mal' doesn't mean what you think it means.
I feel like thinking of "mal" as "once" or "a single time" is helpful for me in understanding its meaning in this example. I takes my brain from something specific and intentional where it's used with a specific number, e.g. "drei mal / three times" to something more casual "mal / a time". As in, "yeah, I guess that's worth a single look at what's inside". It works for me in the other ways I've heard "mal" explained as a softener, or lending a bit more politeness to a command, because it feels like it's more an optional activity than an must-do. I don't actually know if that's correct, it's more just a mnemonic device than anything else.
"darin" is a higher level of speech, "drin" (or here: "da drin" = "in there") is a colloquial short form
I imaged a present and thought of "what will be inside?" (~Mal sehen, was drin ist?) I only noticed that the "da" is not translated.
I wish I could :(
I'll try to remmember the next time this sentence comes up.
Mal Sehen seems cognate to the English "Time to see"... as in, "Time to see what's in the box" etc.
Again, I think 'mal' means 'time' only in the sense of an occurance, as in "you can go down the slide 2 more times", NOT in the sense of 'then it's time to go home'. That would be Zeit. Just because we use the word 'time' to mean several different concepts in English, doesn't mean every other language does the same.
honestly, 'inside there' is kind of clumsy too, but probably a correct translation... unless it needs 'inside of there'. The best is probably the suggested one. Though, I would probably just say "Let's see what's inside" and leave the 'there' implied.
does mal work as a general suggestion word for things other than sehen. mal gehen? mal bestellen? mal versuchen's nochmal?
Out of curiosity, any idea why 'Check what is in there' is accepted but not 'See what is in there'?
The meanings are slightly different - "check" seems to imply previous knowledge (or at least a guess) of what is inside before you look, whereas "look" has no such connotations.
"Lass uns sehen, was da drin ist." is okay. I would prefere a "!" at the end.
"Lassen wir sehen, " does not work, "lassen" does not has the form of an order like "Let us see!" and you need "uns" instead of "wir".
((A sentence with "lassen wir sehen" could be: "Lassen wir die Kinder den Computer sehen?" ~ Do we offer the children the possibility to see the computer?))
"Mal sehen." (=Lass uns mal sehen) is not an order but it covers the meaning of "Let us see" very well.
I was tempted to write "See once" - which is probably fairly literal. I have a book written in a manner that gives the illusion that the people are speaking in Low German, although it is written in English, and that is an occasionally used expression.
Mal has another meaning distinct from time. It can be used as a modal particle to imply a more polite or softer tone to a sentence. Used this way, it has no direct translation into English, because English has no modal particles.
An easier to understand example of how mal can be used this way is, "Du musst mal deine Mutter anrufen." Here "mal" conveys the difference between telling someone to call their mother and urging them to call their mother.
"English has no modal particles". This may well be true, but English does use similar techniques to soften questions and orders. "Right, let's see what's in there, shall we?" "Well, what's in there, then? Should we take a look, do you think? Who's game?" Words like "right", "well" and "oh" serve as ameliorating particles in English, alongside turning orders into "inclusive" questions using we instead of you, and a liberal sprinkling of the conditional mood.
Strangely ,in text book I often see 'someone is there'I thought' someone is in there ' might be wrong
I'm still confused with dort and da. This has da, whereas another sentence said: Mein Baby ist dort drin!
I am not sure, but I have the feeling that when people say "dort", they are poiting to place they mean, and when they say "da", it's nearer them. But it is just a feeling after living some time in Germany. I didn't reasearch about this.
I looked it up as well as your information and I believe it was some sort of 'nearby' or 'far away' connotation carried with these words as you have said. Thank you.
Is there a good article that explains comma use in German because I feel like I might be missing something when translating.
I believe that would be correct, but people rarely word things that way, so Duo doesn't recognize it as correct.
Is it just me or are the answers for this whole lesson block a little bit too picky? : )
Some learners want Duolingo to be "picky," and some don't. Do you want to perfect your German, or is almost right good enough, as long as "almost right" will be understood correctly? That's the gray area.
Can't help but think that if the voice synthesis took the voice recognition test, it would fail badly
"Mal" sounds like the apparently meaningless, words that crop up in English as "softeners" in conversation. I'm sure there must be a technical term for them, but I don't know it. They are distinct from slang, however. I am thinking about words like well and oh, which appear at the beginning of questions or orders to make them more palatable. "Oh, Seán, would you mind picking up my dry cleaning while you're in town?" "Well, I'm not sure I can today. Is it urgent?"
Translates as "Seán pick up the damn cleaning already!" "Do it yourself, ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤. Am I your slave?"