https://www.duolingo.com/Link_Xue

"Nicht solange ich seine Mutter bin."

January 27, 2013

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/carly.bodkin

Can someone please explain why 'bin' is at the end, rather than, 'Nicht solange, ich bin seine Mutter'.

March 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

This is kind of dependent clause in a shortened sentence. The full sentence could be, for example: Er trinkt Wein nicht, solange ich seine Mutter bin (I hope I wrote this right). The main clause is "Er trinkt Wein nicht", the verb being the second as usual. In the dependent clause, however, the verb goes to the end of the sentence. Other examples: Ich weiß nicht, ob er ins Kino gehen kann (instead of "er kann ins Kino gehen"). Sie sagt, dass ihre Mutter schön ist (instead of "ihre Mutter ist schön").

Hope this helps.

March 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/carly.bodkin

Thanks very much, that was very helpful!

March 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/philster043

Helped me too, danke! Btw, "trinkt." ;)

April 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

Of course "trinkt"! Thanks, fixed that.

April 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Chitresh_Chahar

but in previous lessen there came a sentence "Wenn ich esse, laufe ich nicht" now isn't second sentence dependent one and the verb (walk) is coming first? What was that all about?

May 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

The first part (Wenn ich esse) is the dependent clause. It comes as the first "member" of the sentence. The verb of the main sentence has to come second, so it is right after the dependent clause (laufe).

Ich lese Zeitungen nicht, wenn ich Reis esse.

Wenn ich Reis esse, lese ich Zeitungen nicht.

May 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Chitresh_Chahar

wow, olimo.. i got that all backwards.. thanks for clearing that up...btw that M of your stands for Master :)

May 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/malloryketcheson

I don't fully understand this explanation could you give a second example. I see that the dependent clause doesn't change based on where it is in the sentence "Wenn ich esse" but I don't fully understand why the Ich lese Zeitungen nicht changes based on location of the sentence.

July 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

Here is a simpler example:

Ich gehe heute spazieren. (I go for a walk today.) Heute gehe ich spazieren. (Today I go for a walk.)

The verb must be always in second position, so when you put "heute" first, unlike English, the verb and subject order changes.

In the previous example, "Ich lese Zeitungen nicht" is the main clause. In the first example, everything is all right with the word order as is: the subject (ich), the verb (lese), everything else (Zeitungen, nicht, and the dependent clause).

In the second example, the dependent clause comes first and is like the first member of the sentence. When you consider the main clause, you can think of the dependent clause as of a single "member". So, it comes first, but the verb is always second! That is why we write "lese ich" instead of "ich lese" here.

July 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Link_Xue

What is the difference between "solange" and "sofern"? Tks

January 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

"Solange" is "as long as" meaning "while", "sofern" is "provided that" or "if". You would hardly say "provided that I am his mother".

February 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PatriciaJH

I find it helps to think of "sofern" as "so far as" -- "fern" does mean "far" -- though the real usage of "sofern" is a whole lot broader than that.

Similarly, as olimo says, you can think of "solange" as "so long as" -- and "lange" means "long".

July 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Frjmsl

Why not accepting "her mother" as well as his mother

May 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

"Her mother" would be "ihre Mutter".

May 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lyingmongoose

I translated it as "So long as I am not his mother," which seems silly now that I see the correct translation, but I was totally confused as to where the 'not' was supposed to go in the sentence. Why isn't "So long as I'm not his mom" acceptable? Other than it sounds funny. How do you know where the not is supposed to go?

July 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

I would place "nicht" in front of "bin" if I wanted to negate my being someone's mom.

July 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lyingmongoose

So, generally, if you want to negate the verb of a sentence, you put the "nicht" right before it, and if "nicht" is at the beginning of the sentence it serves another purpose? The flexibility of this language is at once liberating and confusing to me. In German, how would you show the difference between these two sentences;

"Not that I am his mother."

"I am not his mother."

Is it mostly reliant on context or are there distinctly different ways of saying things like this? Anyhow, thank you for the response. I love seeing that I've got messages :)

July 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

I can't explain it, but somehow I had no doubt as to the meaning of the original sentence in the task. I can't see much difference in flexibility of English and German in these cases:

  • Nicht solange ich seine Mutter bin = Not as long as I am his mother

  • Solange ich seine Mutter nicht bin = As long as I'm not his mother (I'm not 100% sure about the German translation)

English also uses the "not" position to tell which part of the sentence is negated.

Sorry, I'm not sure how to translate your first sentence into German. As for the second, it will be "Ich bin nicht seine Mutter". Maybe a native German speaker would clarify this. Anyway, it is not possible to cover all the subtleties in theory, some of them are only learnt with practice :)

July 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lyingmongoose

I am so glad there are people like you on this site; you make learning another language so much more enjoyable! I see the difference in the placement of "nicht" now, thank you. Hopefully all the German broadcasts I watch and listen to will help to cover some of the subtleties I'm confused about :)

August 2, 2013
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