1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Die Mitglieder sind Eltern, …

"Die Mitglieder sind Eltern, ehemalige Schüler und Lehrer."

Translation:The members are parents, alumni and teachers.

January 14, 2014

57 Comments


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

digression: is there a distinction between 'former students' and 'alumni'. (Duolingo marked both as correct). But i think that being an alumni requires graduation, whereas a former student may or may not have graduated.


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

I think you are right. All the definitions of "alumni" I know speak of "Absolventen (einer Hochschule)" (= graduates of a tertiary education institution).


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

My school also uses "alumni" to speak of former students though it is only primary+secondary education (it was a 12-year school).


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

Then that usage may have changed. I only became an alumnus by completing my university studies and obtaining my degrees; before that I was a "Ehemaliger" (= former student) of my grammar school.


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

It was an International School; I don't know whether that usage of "alumni" is British or American as the school has influences from both.


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

Almost all dictionaries define alumni as meaning graduate or former student -- someone who has graduated from or attended a school.

Schools and alumni organizations in my experience usually count students who attended as a member of a class for a period of time and then left.

They often don't count people who attended a course or even a number of courses as a special student -- someone who is taking a class as an outsider, not as a member of the student body. But that varies from school to school, and often depends on either the school's prestige -- higher prestige schools are much less likely to claim special students as alums -- or the prestige the school will get from claiming *you".


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

According to Webster's dictionary, alumna and alumnus are both defined as "{one} who has or attended or graduated from a particular school or college."


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

The issue here is of British vs American usage. In standard British English, the word "alumnus/alumna" (plural "alumni") is used almost solely in the sense quis_lib_duo refers to.

It would be extremely rare (if not completely weird) to hear a Brit describe him/herself as an "alumnus/alumna" anything below a university, unless he/she was either being pretetious, or had attended a fee-paying school.


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

In my experience I only ever hear 'alumni' when my former university is trying to ask for money from me!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sprosser87

Neither would an American. This isn't a British vs. American usage issue, it's a question of whether graduation or just matriculation is required to be worthy of the title "alumnus/a/i" (this was georgewreid's question). In fact, I think most Americans are more likely to use "graduate" or "grad" than "alumnus."


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

Strictly speaking, alumni are former students. You can be an alumnus of a school that you never graduated from, but they probably won't let you join the alumni association unless you graduated.

The word is used so frequently to refer to graduates that many people are not aware of the literal meaning.


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

Couldn't it be "former student and teacher"? Couldn't the plural ehemalige refer to "student and teacher"? And so the members could be parents, a former student, and a former teacher?.. Or parents that are at the same time former student and former teacher? I know it looks stretched when I write it like this, but it's really what I understood.


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

The ambiguity isn't a problem in German because when words are singular they take an article. If it was one teacher it would be 'einen Lehrer' or 'der Lehrer' ... because it's just 'Lehrer' it has to be plural.


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

So how about the ambiguity of plurals? If I said "There are red dogs and cats", do I mean there are red dogs and red cats, or red dogs and cats of unspecified colour? It's impossible to tell from that sentence in English. German too, I suppose?


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

Esperanto does it like this, but German doesn't -- the plural attributive adjective can't apply to two singular nouns.

"Ich sehe alten Wein und Most", for example, could mean "alten Wein" + "Most" or "alten Wein + alten Most" -- but you wouldn't say "alte Wein und Most".

And with countable nouns such as "Schüler" and "Lehrer", you'd need some kind of determiner as well -- "ein Schüler" or "der Schüler". But then you can't "share" the adjective any more -- "der ehemalige Schüler und Lehrer" or "ein ehemaliger Schüler und Lehrer" would, for me at least, mean "the/a person who was formerly both a student and a teacher" rather than "the/a former student and the/a former teacher".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cha5117

Your question is why we still need the Oxford comma. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_comma


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sprosser87

German comma usage conventions all but forbid the Oxford comma. In any case, why should English-language (let alone Oxonian) style conventions apply to German? (I say this as a fan of the Oxford comma.)

I had the same question as AlmogL, though, which is why I came here. I suppose that when the penultimate item in a list (right before the "und") has an adjective, and the last item (after the "und") doesn't, there will always be this sort of ambiguity; but it could easily be erased by placing the adjective-ized item after the "und," e.g., "Eltern, Lehrer und ehemalige Schüler."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dunk999

I still use it! :-)


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

Apparently now Duolingo is teaching English in my German course, never heard of the word alumni until this sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/De77le

Who uses "alumni?" I've genuinely never heard that word before.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

This is a very common word in university settings or even used for people who have graduated from high school


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

'Graduating' from High School? How can one graduate when one was never a graduand? Leave it out for goodness sake. Supposing the graduates were all female? then they would be 'alumnae'. The benefits of a classical education appear to have bypassed a lot of people.


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

Uh what? Mother tongue is English and i have never ever ever heard alumni..


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

Why does "old students" not work here?


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

That's ambiguous. Is an "old student" a 19-year-old high school graduate, or a 78-year-old doctoral candidate?


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

"The colleagues are parents, former schoolchildren and teachers" Alumni are those who underwent higher education. Schueler are children at school. I do wish Duo would learn English and stop trying to corrupt it. Soon alumni will be in nappies as they toddle out of kindergarten. Former pupils was also rejected. Lord preserve us from this butchery inflicted on my language.


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

This is where my General ignorance fails me, what are alumni?


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

Plural of alumnus - see above post for definition of alumnus


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

I've noticed that there is no oxford comma in this sentence. A quick google search reveals that the oxford comma is a big no-no in german, even though to me, it fits the english translation fairly well. Just a heads up.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mygn2.il

What's wrong with graduates?? It only accepts alumni


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

In South Africa we talk about old girls, old boys or old scolars. Alumni is reseved for university graduates (if you want to be grand, usually we say old students))


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

I have never heard of alumni being used to describe anything other than university graduates. Things are different in Britain. We don't say that pupils graduate from school.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Seka569238

Is there a difference in the singular and plural form of the word Der Lehrer


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

No. Only the article is different.

singular: der Lehrer; plural: die Lehrer

(This is common for many masculine nouns ending in -er.)


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

It randomly cut me off after I said "Eltern", counted me wrong, and then didn't give me a second chance to speak. Anyone else have this issue?


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

I was looking to see why ehemalige (alumni) is not capitalized like every other noun in German?


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

The German sentence is not Die Mitglieder sind Eltern, Ehemalige, Schüler und Lehrer. "The members are parents, alumni, students, and teachers" but Die Mitglieder sind Eltern, ehemalige Schüler und Lehrer. "The members are parents, former students (= alumni), and teachers." (Note the presence or absence of comma after (e/E)hemalige.)

ehemalig means "former", and is used as an adjective here to modify Schüler: "former student, former pupil" = alumnus.

If you use the adjective on its own, then it acts like a noun and is capitalised.

(The endings will still act like an adjective, e.g. indefinite Ehemalige but definite die Ehemaligen.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/William659110

Nobody from the state school system in Britain would use the word alumni.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/6lesley4

alumni cannot be pupils in English - they have to be studens


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nicky233

I've never heard of the word alumni and I don't know how to pronounce it, so I can't even ask Alexa


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

Former pupils are Alumni - algorithm should change


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alan761008

That is american style and not english


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

That is american style and not english

Duolingo uses American English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fiona529946

If former pupils is accepted, why is past pupils not? As in a past pupils association?


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

Perhaps " graduates" would be correct.


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

Thought I was translating into English, not Latin.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yvonne550472

I have learned a completely new - to me- English word (alumni). Thank you. C


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

Were they female they would be alumnae!


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

agree with you, just another american word forced on us by duo, maybe one day they will get an english data base


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

maybe one day they will get an english data base

I think it is highly unlikely that Duolingo will offer multiple regional versions of a single language (e.g. both US English and UK English, or both European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese).

So if you prefer a site that uses UK English to teach German, Duolingo is not the place to look.


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

you seem to think you know everything but dont need your input as we all know what we are doing,


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

Ehemalige Schüler , i feel should translate "former student " ehemalige schuler


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

[EDIT: Whoops, see below.]


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

No, Schüler is the plural of Schüler which is spelled identically. Schuler doesn't exist.

But "former student" would have to be "ehemaliger Schüler" with -er for masculine nominative singular -- and if you don't identify him (e.g. "ehemaliger Schüler Joachim"), you'd need some kind of determiner as well, e.g. the indefinite or definite article "ein ehemaliger Schüler / der ehemalige Schüler".


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

And for a female pupil, ehemalige Schülerin [Julia] / eine ehemalige Schülerin / die ehemalige Schülerin.

Just gotta remember that damn umlaut in Schüler(in) which isn't in Schule!


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

i put students on this one because i have not a clue what alumni is, i am english and that is american so should have been marked correct !!! not impressed


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

i put students on this one

Please always quote your entire answer when you have a question.

Even better: take a screenshot so that we can see what kind of exercise you had and exactly what you wrote in response -- then upload the image to a website somewhere such as imgur and put the URL of the image in your comment here.

Did you, perhaps, have a listening exercise? (Then you should have written in German, not English.)

Or did you, perhaps, write something like "The members are parents, students, and teachers"? (Then you did not translate the word ehemalige "former".)

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.