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"Haben wir Gläser?"

Translation:Do we have glasses?

January 19, 2013

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steven13579

Is it asking do we have glasses to drink wine (like preparing for a party), or do we have glasses because we are short-sighted ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zzzzz...

If you are short-sighted, you use die Brille.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mamatink7

Danke! that was my question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/backtoschool

It is about "Glaeser" to drink from. It has absolutely nothing to do with glasses (Brillen).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dyan5656

do you always use the verb first if you are asking a question?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JuicyThio

Ja. In statements, the verb is always the second element. In questions, always the first!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/matt.m.tong

Not sure, but I think this is related to the answer to spiffwalker's question, in that using the verb first makes the question have the tone of "Do we have glasses?" as opposed to "We have glasses?".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FisherLiz

Following on from SelphieB - In English we could also form a question by inverting the verb - Have we glasses? - but it's a bit stilted, so we tend to use the verb "to Get" as well - Have we got glasses? - which still doesn't sound quite right, so we then add "Any"- Have we got any glasses? - But could a German speaker tell me if that is actually the same as Haben wir Glaser? The green owl just told me I'm wrong!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SelphieB

I'm not german, but I think 'Have we got any glasses?' or 'Do we have any glasses?' are the most natural sounding english translations, and should be accepted. I'm quite sure the meaning is the same as the German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/backtoschool

Tricky without context, I put some extra German words in to signal the context.

Haben wir Glaeser? - Do we have glasses?

Haben {besitzen} wir Glaeser? - Do we have {possess} glasses?

Haben wir ueberhaupt Glaeser im Haus? - Have we got glasses at all?

Haben wir irgenwelche Glaeser im Haus? -- Have we got any glasses?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/spiffwalker

Couldn't this also be simply "We have glasses?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lothia_Lotte

No because it has a different meaning. Do we have glasses? indicates that you're unsure if yourself and the person you're speaking with actually have glasses or not. The second, "We have glasses?" Would indicate that you're surprised that you have glasses because you thought you didn't have any.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Monolith2

Can intonation affect that, or are there no exceptions? In English I can imagine a situation where someone asks "We have glasses?" with a tone that implies genuine curiosity, vs one that implies surprise.

I agree that it wouldn't be correct from a grammatical perspective, but the intonation allows the listener to "bridge the gap" and understand the intent.

Is this something we could encounter from a German speaker? Or, conversely, if we mess up and use "Wir haben Gläser?" when we are genuinely curious, would intonation be able to "bridge the gap" in understanding with a native speaker? Or would they just look at us funny?

I suppose this is also a general question of how much of a role intonation has in German, vs. relying on word order.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juanv

In english you use the auxiliar verb "do" to ask questions


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mikelucas

I am still unsure where the word 'do' comes from, yellokirby could be right, but an explanation along with the answer would help.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SelphieB

In English questions are constructured using the auxiliary verb 'do'.

We have glasses: statement

Do we have glasses: question

In German questions are constructed by changing the word order.

Wir haben Gläser: statement

Haben wir Gläser: question

In both languages a question could be indicated using tone We have glasses? Wir haben Gläser? But the meaning could be slightly different, as Lothia Lotte said, and this is not the standard or most common way to ask a question. The closest translation of 'Haben wir Gläser?" is "Do we have glasses?", not "We have glasses?".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melina.Arins

In fact, that use of "do" is explained by the history of the English language. If you research a little, you'll find out that the English language belongs to the Germanic branch of languages (what explains its similarities with German as well as what I am just about to expose) and that it has three main periods in its history: Old English (500-1100); Middle English (1100-1500); and Modern English (from 1500 on).

In Old English…

• nouns had genders (masculine, feminine, or neuter) and were declined;

• verbs were conjugated differently for each person;

• interrogative and negative sentences had no auxiliary verb (questions started with the verb itself, and negative sentences had the verb itself followed by "not"). Just like in German and other Germanic languages. Amazing, isn't it? =)

The specific use of the verb "to do" as an auxiliary word in interrogative and negative sentences arised and was settled during the 16th and 17th centuries (already in the Modern English period). I still didn't go for a more detailed research, but I think it's very likely that it was at first a deviated way of constructing such sentences, that with time was reproduced by an increasing number of speakers until it became natural and was finally admitted as a rule. It happens that way very often.

In short, with time and lots of different influences, English has passed through many changes until it got to its current form - which, of course, just like every living language, is always transforming and adapting itself to whatever is created or needed by the peoples who speak it. (Yeah, I love linguistics!)

More about the history of the English language:

http://www.open.edu/openlearn/languages/english-language/the-history-english-ten-minutes

http://www.bluerider.com/english/

Hope all this was "nützlich"! ;-)

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