There is no passive construction or anything similar going on, and as a matter of fact there couldn't be, because "fehlen" in German is an intransitive verb, it simply cannot have a direct object. The confusion likely stems from the fact that in English "to miss" can be both transitive (with at least three meanings: "I miss you", "I missed the train" at "the sharpshooter missed the target", the last one can also be used intransitively) and intransitive ("some money is missing"). The German "fehlen", however, only translates the intransitive meaning of not being here (esp. when it should be). The fact that one of the transitive meanings of "missing" (namely the one about missing a person) can be translated with an expression that contains "fehlen" is just a happy coincidence, but the reasoning (and thus the grammar) behind the two expressions is entirely different, because in German you are saying that the "missed" person is "missing" and this affects you (the reason why "mir" is dative). In fact the dative construction with "fehlen" is the standard way of expressing who is "affected" by the absence, so for example "mir fehlt das Geld" means "I lack the money". So, very literally "das Tier fehlt mir" means "the animal is missing to/for/from me" or "I lack the animal", but idiomatically it extended to mean "I feel the lack of the animal" -- "I miss the animal".
In short, this is just how "fehlen" in the sense of missing someone (as opposed to being missing, being absent, lacking) works in German.
"Du fehlst mir" = "I miss you"
"Er fehlt mir" = "I miss him"
"Ich fehle dir" = "You miss me"
I definitely missed the target with my explanation. It's not about whether the verb is transitive or intransitive, it's about what the word means.
To better understand, take the words "to own" and "to belong" in English. Their relationship to each other is the same as between "to miss" and "fehlen " (again, when used in the sense of "feeling the absence"). If I want to "translate" "I own the bag" using "to belong" I have to change the grammatical roles of the nouns, the result will be "the bag belongs to me". That is because "to own" and "to belong" mean two different things, but their meanings are so related that you can use them (albeit differently) to express the same concept. The same happens to "miss" and "fehlen".
It also happens, however, that another meaning of "to miss" can also be expressed in German with "fehlen". The fact that two different concepts can be expressed using the same verb both in German and in English is just a happy coincidence.
I don't think that fehlt is passive (if i am wrong,s someone please correct me). Felth is third person singular, present. It's the way the verb is used in German. Something is missing from me would be a more literal translation. The animal is missing from me. Du felhst mir. You miss from me. It's similar to the way French people use the verb to miss...Tu me manques. You miss from me.
So I translated it as "I miss the pet", since Duolingo says 'Tier' means either 'animal' or 'pet'. However, my translation was considered wrong because the possible translations were "I miss the animal" or "I miss the beast", and there was even a warning saying "Be careful not to confuse beast and pet!". Would someone explain, please? o.O
Strange sentence. Not a good german one either.
You would not get that emotional over just "some animal". Very likely though over your pet. If you miss something that much (when you had a relationship with it), you would be way more specific about it. Like: Mein Hund fehlt mir.
Another example where this sentence could fit though, would be if you are a farmer and one of your cows is missing. But still, "das Tier" is to sketchy.
I could understand that sentence meaning a wild animal. we live in a rural area and have lots of wild animals that we see. there have been times when I have seen an animal regularly and then it no longer comes and I miss its presence even though I don't have a close personal relationship with it.
Very very technically, it is correct, but you would never actually hear it anywhere (at least when using "missing" with this meaning of "feeling the absence of"). In any case, why use a stilted passive construction to translate the standard way of expressing something? "I miss the animal" is a much closer translation also in style of "das Tier fehlt mir".
I don't think “the animal is missed to me” is more literal, specifically because it translates a completely active construction (“das Tier fehlt”, “the animal is missing”) to a passive one (“the animal is missed”, ~“das Tier ist/wird vermisst”).
It can help remember the meaning, but I think it runs the risk of clouding the grammar.
yes! so "fehlen" means to be physically missing something as opposed to "vermissen" which means to miss something emotionally, right?
could someone say in German for me something like "Tom broke his arm yesterday. We will all be missing him while he is missing from class this week." ?
fehlen as to miss somebody takes dative, so you could either have:
Mir fehlt das Tier (the word order is optional)
I miss the animal.
Ich fehle dem Tier
The animal misses me.
More literally, it's, "I am missing to the animal." You can imagine what you will to help you remember it.
I think the problem is with word miss. It has too many meanings in English itself. I am native English/French speaker. We try to impose the ambiguity of miss on the verb fehlen and all the other "synonymous verbs". which really are not synonyms. Quite frankly person 243 has it right. Stick to the script...you cannot re-write another person's language unless you want to coin a new expression...good luck on that...
"Fehlen" certainly means "to be missing", as in "not to be there"—to say, for example, "the proof is missing" you could say "der Beweis fehlt". It can also be used, however, to indicate the 'longing' kind of missing, albeit with a very different grammar from English, reminiscent of how "gefallen" ("to like") works: the "missed" thing/person is the subject while the person who "feels" the missing is the indirect object (dative), so: "I miss it" = "es fehlt mir"—the underlying thought is that something that was here before isn't anymore (it's "missing") and this "lack" affects the person who misses it, so "it is missing to (read: having an effect on) me".
"Vermissen" is the transitive "normal" way of saying "to miss something": "I miss you" = "ich vermisse dich". Its passive form is also used, however, to indicate that someone went missing—and consequently they "are missed"—, e.g.: "the girl has been missing for a month" = "das Mädchen wird seit einem Monat vermisst".
It's neither passive nor reflexive.
The structure is similar to "Das Tier gefällt mir". The literal translation is "The animal appeals to me", but in most contexts a more natural translation in English would be "I like the animal".
With "fehlen", it's a little more complicated as there isn't really a literal English equivalent. The literal translation of "Das Tier fehlt mir" would be something like "The animal is missing to me", but as you can't say that in English, the real translation is "I miss the animal".
"fehlen" = to be missing, to lack, to be not there
"vermissen" = to miss, to long for sb.
Das Tier fehlt = The animal is missing
The animal misses me = Das Tier vermisst mich. /Ich fehle dem Tier.
Das Tier fehlt mir. =lit.= The animal is missing in my personal space/view/ is missing for me/for my self.
I hope I could be of help.
After spending a fair amount of time researching fehlen on other sites, I understand that it essentially means "is missing to/from." In this context, I believe that this means more along the lines of physical loss rather than emotional attachment. So in theory, "Meine Schüssel fehlt mir" would mean "I am missing my keys."
No, it doesn't. "Mir" is dative case and "mich" is accusative case. You have to use the dative case in this sentence, not the accusative case, so "Das Tier fehlt mich" is just grammatically wrong.
I miss the animal. = Das Tier fehlt mir. ("Das Tier" = nominative case; "mir" = dative case)
The animal misses me. = Ich fehle dem Tier. ("Ich" = nominative case; "dem Tier" = dative case)
Yes, exactly :). "Fehlen" is a dative verb, i.e. it's used with the dative and not with the accusative.
The fact that the object and subject are "reversed" in the German sentence is just a quirk of this particular verb however.