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  5. "Sechs Milliarden Menschen?"

"Sechs Milliarden Menschen?"

Translation:Six billion people?

January 14, 2013

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Why is "Milliarden" with a capital M? It is not a noun, but rather modifies a noun, just like adjectives and other numbers, which do not come capitalized.


Thanks! So it behaves like 'bottles' does in 'Six bottles of water'.


You can't say "ein(e) zwei" ("a two"), but you can say "ein(e) Milliard" ("a billion")


Then how would you answer this question (or even ask it): "Is that number a two or a seven?"


Fair question but you are referring to a different concept of 2, than DaneTR meant. And in fact in german you would usually use a different noun for the two situations. You question refers to a written digit which is is a "Ziffer" in German.


I thought one could ask "Ist es ein Sechs oder ein Neun?"


Actually, according to my university textbook, all the numbers are feminine. Just a small correction: "Ist es eine Sechs oder eine Neun?" Otherwise awesome!


This German Milliarden means 1 000 000 000 ?
And not 1 000 000 000 000 ?

[added] As I was searching, it seems so, however, DL translates as billion according to the short scale. A complex trouble of scales. As I understood, in Germany the long scale is used. Somebody could confirm this.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales (Eng)
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lange_und_kurze_Leiter (Ger)


I think this translation of Milliarden is chosen because Duolingo uses American use English, where a billion is a thousand million (1x10^9). Non-US use a billion is a million million (1x10^12), tho' these days I think the trend is just to go with 'billion' for thousand million.


Although we still use the term "British/English Billion" it is really only used to indicate an outdated unit and in almost all cases a billion means 10^9. This is a bit like the Germans use the word Zoll for inch and Meile for mile but would never dream of using this unless literally translating from English.


SI units all have steps of 10^3, i.e. milli, micro, nano, Pico; or kilo, mega, giga, terra, peta, etc. It makes sense for counting numbers to also have this methodology.


This causes one of the more amusing/confusing translation issues!

One billion = Eine Milliarde One trillion = Eine Billion One quadrillion = Eine Billiarde One quintillion = Eine Trillion

But I think in any context where you use more than an English trillion (Eine Billion), most people would move to scientific notation, which thankfully is identical in English and German!


Though not really the same, this reminds me, too, that when visiting Germany, if something is on the 1st floor, an American has to think 2nd floor.


This is common in many other countries as well, I'm in Australia and we have Ground floors, as does Britain and most Commonwealth countries.


I learned that the hard way visiting a friend at their place the first time.


If you have problems think of 1. OG= erstes Obergeschoss = First floor OVER ground level


It's a bit like in French, where 1 billion is "un milliard"


Billion has no plural? And is it wrong to use "of" in this sentence (of people)? My translation was "Six billions of people". I got "wrong!"


Correct, and yes. When you are giving an exact number of something like here, 'Six billion people' is the only correct way. It's a little different if you are giving an estimate, 'Billions of people' is correct if you aren't sure how many billion there are.


Thank you! I am studying English here. Your explanation helps me very much.


Thanks for the answer! I was wondering just the same question!


I think "Six billions of people" would be allowed, technically, but not standard. It would sound odd or archaic, like you were from the Middle Ages.


Would "Menschen" here be in the genitive?

i.e. Sechs (adjective) Milliarden (nominative) Menschen (Genitive)

= "six billions of people" i.e. six billion people


What is million in German then?


Millionen. So in finance you often see it abbreviated to Mio, e.g. €1.5Mio


An inflection is the modification of a word according to the number, tense and gender etc of the word in the context in which it is being used. Inflection is reflected with in the morphological form used. Indeed, numbers are inflective as they reflect their usage, or part of speech, within a particular context. A number can be used either as a noun as in "I got a four on the exam" - "In Mathe bekam er eine Vier" (Here "4" is a nominalized cardinal noun as per the website german.about.com) or as an adjective, as in "There are four people" - "Es gibt vier Leute". Since adjectives are not capitalized in German, "milliarden" should not be capitalized in the interogative phrase above. The text "DaF kompakt" by Klett publishers verifies this. There may be some confusion as to the rules of capitalization after the German spelling reform which were not quite taken up as they should have been in all areas where German is spoken. If I am mistaken, please quote some resources where I can verify any information to the contrary.


Milliarden is the plural of Milliarde, or billion. The translation Milliarden Menschen can be translated as "billions of people", not "billions people". It's the same way with eine Tasse Wasser, or "a cup of water". I hope this makes you understand.


I agree with eulogos10 - milliarden modifies the noun, Menschen


It does, but in the same way 'Flasche' does in 'Sechs Flasche Wein' (Six bottles of wine). All number words above 'tausend' (thousand) are nouns in German, not modifiers, so must be capitalised.

[deactivated user]

    Sorry correction please! :-) in the above example it should be "Sechs Flaschen Wein" Thanks.


    why it is not sechs Milliard Menschen but it is 'milliarden? ? can sb explain to me pls


    I think it's because there is more that one "milliard" so it has to show as plural?


    six billions men ? why is it wrong ?


    we would never say "Six billions men" in english, We would say "Six billion men". Six billions men is not proper speak


    I was under the impression that "Millarde" (without the 'n') was billion. Is "Milliarden" plural for billion? I.e. multiple billions? If that's the case, it seems strange to ask, "Six billions people?"


    ive never heard anybody say "Six Billions", in English it's always "Six Billion". "Six billions" doesn't sound right at all


    That's why I said it seems strange to ask the question in that way.


    It wasn't so much directed just at you, but at everybody questioning "why it's not billions". I just hit reply on the wrong comment, it was supposed to be the comment below yours. but yes it's very strange you would never ask that in English

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