Can someone explain why a correct translation is "They are among us!". I didn't know that "unter" could be translated as "among", or is it just in certain phrases? or idioms?
zwischen is between.
It's not a coincidence that zw shows up in both zwischen and zwei, or "tw" in both "between" and "two" -- it's used when something is between two things.
"between" and "among" are thus also rather different things.
For "among", use unter.
Context will let users understand whether unter means "under" or "among", much as native English speakers can tell the difference between the meanings of "on" in "He gave a lecture on a table" and "He gave a lecture on physics".
If we understood all these comments then WE would be the illuminati and would be among ourselves.
But the truth of the matter is that we are playing a game of "stacks on the mill" and you are under us.
Can this sentence mean 'they' are not worthy, as in 'it is beneath me!, or does it just refer to literal positioning?
To me, that is actually the first reading in English. "They are underneath us" would probably be my translation to capture the literal positioning reading (though that could also mean 'they are not worthy').
I would rather think "they" is a group of people/aliens/zombies that are among the population of a city/region/country. That sentence is often a subtitle of mystery series or movies.
Here I immediately visualized the Graboids from the Tremors movies when I interpreted the sentence as "They are under us."
You can't translate "out there" literally. "nebenan" is probably a better option.
I agree I can't translate literally, but this phrase was written in an episode where Mulder travels to the past: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_%28The_X-Files%29. Anyway, I just posted because "Sie sind unter uns" needed this joke :-)
They have already breached our defenses! You see what they have done to our colleagues. And worst, they could be any one of us...they could be you! They could be me! They could even be--
How in the world are the phrases "among us" and "beneath us" mutual concepts? If this isn't a mistake, then a LOT of German foreign policy throughout history just started making sense to me lol.
Stop treating German as if it's just English with all the words replaced. There are lots of things in English that have dual meanings which English-speakers just take for granted as "natural". Every language has them.
I translated the German as "They are beneath us" and it was marked correct. But obviously the sense in English is not the same as "They are among us." So, just how would you say "They are beneath us" (i.e. a phrase of contempt) in German?
Taking a stab at answering my own question re "They are beneath us." How about "Sie sind unter unserem Niveau."
The old German anthem's first verse used to say "Germany over all", meaning everyone else was to be under them. Frankly, it is unsettling to see this sentence in our exercises.
It seems that I was wrong to believe that "zwischen" could only mean "between" (two other elements), and not "among" (several other elements).
If it does mean both "between" and "among", I would really like to know when I should use "zwischen" or "unter", too.
"Zwischen" is much more literal and physical than "unter". They're generally not interchangeable. You use "unter" for among / between when it's referring to group membership rather than physical position.
"Sie sind zwischen uns" would mean rather that they are physically located between you and me, and "Let's keep this between us." is translated using "unter", like "Das bleibt unter uns."
I assume that "uns" is the dative here, not the accusative. Am I right?
In my opinion, yes. 'Unter', in this case is not expressing movement, therefore it is the dative case and 'uns' is the dative pronoun.
So, "unter" can be under, beneath AND between aswell? I don't get it, is inconsistent
And now it says 'sie sind unter uns' when earlier it wouldn't accept it!