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  5. "Es spricht von allein."

"Es spricht von allein."

Translation:It speaks by itself.

December 20, 2013



The phrase "It speaks by itself" simply doesn't exist in English, except in the most obscure and bizarre circumstances. Perhaps if you had a toy that spoke, and you wished to clarify that it wasn't speaking with other toys. That's when "It speaks by itself" would be useful. The phrase, "It speaks for itself," however, is a common idiom in English.


Sounds like a horror movie plot.


Cough Toy Story Cough


I took "It speaks by itself" to mean that it speaks without having to be prompted by talking to it or pressing a button.


I wrote "for itself" and Duo gave it as wrong :(


I agree that 'the action speaks for itself' is more idiomatic, but there are examples of people writing 'the action speaks by itself' with the same meaning. It doesn't necessarily sound wrong to me, but it also may be a confusion with the expression 'it stands by itself'.


how would I say "it speaks for itself"?


"Das / Es spricht für sich."


maybe use selbst instead of allein? only guessing here


Does it mean doing the talking alone or speaking with its own intelligence (e.g. a robot)?


It speaks without needing to be told to do so. On its own would be a better translation I think.


What's the difference in the meaning between:

1- Es spricht (von allein)?

2- Es spricht (allein)?

3- Es spricht (von selbst)?

4- Es spricht (selbst)?

Danke Ihnen.


1: "It speaks of its own volition."

2: "It speaks by itself / alone."

3: similar to 1; "von allein" and "von selbst" are essentially synonymous.

4: "It speaks itself."

plus variants thereof. In particular, "is speaking" is also a possible translation for "spricht".


I am here to learn, but even not being a native speaker, it seems to me that the translation is not worth learning. Think "It speaks for itself" is correct against "It speaks BY itself" , which makes no sense.


"It speaks BY itself" actually does make sense, within certain contexts. "Es spricht von allein" means "it speaks of itself," and more approximately "it speaks BY itself" (or "it is speaking by itself.")

We might imagine a doll that turns its head toward you and says "I'm Krusty the Clown, and I don't like you." And you realize, in a cold sweat, that no one has pulled the doll's pull-string. So you say "it's speaking by itself!" (Es spricht von allein!)

Read what mick1203 said right above your comment for further explanation :)


That is a stretch. Even in that narrow context, "It speaks on its own." is the natural way of saying it.


"It speaks on its own" or "it is speaking on its own" is fine as well; and so is "it's talking by itself. I, personally, would say "it's talking by itself" (within the context of the doll). I see no stretch here, and I been talkin' English good since forever. (maybe it's a regional difference? I'm from the West Coast of 'Merica).


The question isn't whether or not "it speaks by itself" is OK under certain contexts—the question is whether or not the German sentence is such a context. If the German sentence is trying to express the idea that "it is self evident," then the preferable way to express that in English is "it speaks for itself."


I think we've figured out the context already.

"It speaks for itself" = "Es für sich sprechen."

"Nein, die Beweise sprechen für sich." ("No, the evidence speaks for itself.")

We, on the other hand, are talking about someone or something doing something without being prompted by something else. We are not talking about matters of self-evidence.


"Es" doesn't always mean "it", such as in the case of "das Mädchen". Could this "es" not be referring to a "Mädchen" mentioned a previous sentence?


Exactly so. That is what I was getting at. As I've assumed that DuoLingo produces many of the variations with some sort of Bot, I don't know that there always is an "intended context".


It is speaking by itself: it is speaking but there are no listeners. It is speaking for itself: either it is speaking in its own advocacy (unlikely today, future? Who knows...) or it is speaking from its own volition (maybe just apparently). It is speaking to itself: hmm can an it be its own listener?


Agree that it is grammatically fine; and one could find places to use it. It's just not something you'd here in typical conversation in my experience. Learned my 'Merican English in PA. USA USA USA ...


Mmm hmm, y'all say "pop" instead of "soda" over there, huh? I seen me an Amish once. Them's skiddish fellers. (But that was in Ohio.)

But I digress. Either way... 'Merica.


Confusing sentence.


So, just for giggles, how would you say "I cry by myself"? Would it be "ich weine von allein"?


"Ich weine allein" would be "I cry by myself" "Ich weine von allein" means something like I cry and nobody gave me a reason to cry or nobody told me to cry.


this sentence really does not make sense, unless you have a talking pet


So what does this mean in English?


It speaks of itself.


Why allein and not selbst?


"It speaks for itself" and "It speaks by itself" are translated with "Es spricht für sich selbst" (DeepL) and the meaning is, a process, a desicion, an expression must not be explained by additional words. I do not know, what the meaning of the given German sentence "Es spricht allein" shall be. Each person, who is speaking, speaks alone without external help. I have never heard that sentence in my entire life in Germany?! ))-:


I googled this expression and came up with just four hits and two were from Duolingo


All of the comments here are about speaking. I am amazed that none of the comments pick up on the point that actually this sentence is not about speaking at all. I think that is where a lot of confusion has arisen. So something, an inanimate object and not a person, does not 'speak' in any way at all either by itself or with any help.

Guys, this sentence is what is known as a synonym. Forget anything to do with speaking or talking, so trying to get the speaking right is totally irrelevant. To explain, If something speaks for itself, it is clear and needs no further explanation, for example, 'The school's excellent record speaks for itself.' Just an example hence the 'it' in the translation as there is no person or speaking involved. On that basis we can just go with the German translation and not get hung up about any speaking - which never takes place anyway. I hope this helps.


That's not correct. "Von allein" means "by oneself," not "for oneself." The sentence does refer to speaking. "Es" also doesn't have to be an inanimate object; it could be a (grammatically neuter) animal or even a person (e.g. a "Mädchen").


No matter what object or person is speaking "von allein" with "by oneself or for oneself", the sentence is meaningless in English and in German. The only meaningful sentence I can think of in this context is: "Es spricht für sich selbst = It speaks for itself" and that has the meaning, it does not need to be explained, the facts are self-explanatory.


Like I said, it is a synonym.


is that meaning "the truth speaks for itself"? or something like that?


I translated the sentence to "It's obvious" - isn't that what it means?


How to differ between sich(reflexive)/allein/selbst ?


Maybe an exampl in English would be, His behaviour tonight. ' it speaks for itself.'


In English we only say 'it speaks for itself', never 'by' itself.


Es spricht für sich.


Selbst and sich, what's the difference?


why is "it speaks by its own" wrong


It's not correct English. You can say either "It speaks by itself" or "It speaks on its own."


Wouldn't 'Es spricht von allein aus' be a better way to say 'It speaks for itself' in as much as something doesn't actually speak. Like when something 'looks good' we, add 'aus'


is such a weird sentence really necessary in learning German ? Why DL prefers such sentences so often ? Are normal or ordinary sentences lacking in German language ??


In addition to what CaveatEmptor said I want to point out that this sentence isn't weird at all; in fact it is a perfectly natural German sentence.


Then would you explain why "es" is chosen instead of "er" or "sie" which would make the sentence more sensible ? And isn't "er spricht für sich selbst" more meaningful an natural ? Why choosing a number of sentences which have a potential of dispute among even the natives ? Yes I accept the sentence is not wrong, and it may seem totally normal to you as a native; however, another native does not find it as usual as you think. Because this is a valuable learning platform, the contributors should do their best for refraining from confusing the learners. If you are closely looking at the criticisms in the discussions you should see a huge number of complaints just about this issue. If you are among the contributors of this session (thanks a lot for your efforts of course) please take these criticisms seriously especially when they come from a learner having considerable streaks !


"Es" is chosen because they're talking about an "it" rather than a "he" or a "she." One could be talking about a toy that usually needs to have a string pulled or a button pressed to make it talk, but it talks by itself because the button is jammed or the string is broken (which is not an unrealistic scenario). It could also be the case that a child who is beginning to speak on its own is being referred to derisively as "it," rather than as "he" or "she." "It's speaking by itself."

It doesn't matter if the sentence or the context is obscure. There is nothing grammatically or contextually wrong with it.

Furthermore, your streak is irrelevant. Some of us have jobs, and other responsibilities and other hobbies. It doesn't make us less diligent learners. However, if you want to go that route, consider this: some of us are several levels higher than you in German. Does that mean we take it more seriously than you? Not necessarily.


First, streak is not irrelevant, if it was DL would not emphasize it. Second, it definitely shows one's enthusiasm and interest in DL, although the opposite is may not be true as you mentioned. I love DL, I will continue learning through DL, however I would be happier if the criticisms were welcomed (especially those are widely shared by the learners in the forums) other than the concrete faults.


Alrighty then. I'm not sure why you think your streak makes your comments more worthy and valuable than others', but anyway... Here's some advice from someone 4 levels higher than you in German, and from a native speaker of English: Comments and criticisms are always welcome, except when one continues to beat dead horses after something has already been clarified (I'm not sure why you think there is still clarification needed. See other comments between me and others). There is a difference between constructive criticism and combative criticism, and I think you are beginning to stray into the latter territory.

If you still think, after all this discussion, that there is something wrong with the sentence "Es spricht von allein," and its translation, then by all means, report it to Duolingo. I don't think there is much else that can be done here.


Such sentences are necessary if you want to be fluent in German someday...

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