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  5. "Sie spielt mit unseren Gefüh…

"Sie spielt mit unseren Gefühlen."

Translation:She is playing with our feelings.

June 19, 2016



Same meaning as in English?


It might be more idiomatic to say, "She toys with our feelings."


What's the difference between "Gefühlen" and "Gefühle"?


When Dativ, the plural for Gefühl receives the -n as a suffix in addition to the normal -e. See this declension table.

There's a name for the nouns that are treated that way, but I cannot remember what it is.


I've never been aware of a name for those nouns; I just know the ending as the "plural dative -n".

I would be somewhat surprised if there were a name for those nouns because I'm pretty sure it covers the majority of nouns. The only exceptions I can think of are nouns that already end in "n" in the plural, or that end in "s", as well as imported words that follow the rules of their original language.


Unfortunately not.

Weak nouns refer to a similar, but different phenomenon; namely, where a masculine* noun takes the "-(e)n" ending in all cases except for the nominative singular. A good example is "der Junge":

The point of interest with weak nouns is that their form changes within the singular i.e. without needing to transition from singular to plural. What's going on here with
"Gefühle" -> "Gefühlen" is the 'typical' "plural dative -n" and is—as I mentioned in my previous comment 9 months ago—extremely common. In contrast I would guess there are something like 100 or so weak nouns.

*The only non-masculine weak noun is "das Herz", but that reacts differently to the other weak nouns as well, so we can just ignore that.


Adjectival nouns. https://www.vistawide.com/german/grammar/german_nouns03.htm Adjective nouns are always capitalized and take the same endings that they would have as adjectives. Unfortunately, this does not fully agree with the declension table listed by zengator above.


Forgive me, but what do adjectival nouns have to do with the subject at hand?

That is another separate category of nouns, to which "das Gefühl" does not belong.


Not quite. Both "Gefühle" and "Gefühlen" are plural forms of the singular "Gefühl", but "Gefühlen" appears exclusively in the dative case.


This and 'Sie hat keine Gefühlen', whoever wrote this must have had just gone through a nasty breakup.


What is the difference, if any, between "playing with our feelings", "with our emotions", and "with our sentiments"?


I don't see any significant difference between the first two, although "with our feelings" is probably used more frequently.

"With our sentiments", however, seems a little formal and odd to me. Of course, I think "sentiments" is in generally much less frequently used than "feelings" or "emotions". The Ngram-viewer bears this out.


I'd go along with pretty much all of that.

"With our sentiments", however, seems a little formal and odd to me.

That's how I felt as well, so I just looked it up, and this is the main definition of "sentiment" in the OED:

A view or opinion that is held or expressed.

Now, to be fair, the second sub-definition is:

A feeling or emotion.

But the example sentences underneath really aren't comparable with this sentence.

I don't see any significant difference between the first two, although "with our feelings" is probably used more frequently.

All I'd say in addition to that is that German has "die Emotion" ("die Emotionen" in the plural), so I feel any nuances we English native speakers may detect between "feelings" and "emotions" are likely mirrored in German with "Gefühle" and "Emotionen". So, I don't see any need to stray from "feelings" when translating "Gefühle".


"She plays with our senses." Wrong?


Yep, you got it. That's wrong.

When we talk about our "senses" we are referring to our sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell (possibly amongst others, depending on your persuasion). According to the OED, a feeling is:

An emotional state or reaction.

So, if we stretch that under the umbrella of emotion (which I think is a reasonable jump), we're talking about things like happiness, sadness, love, joy, anger, disappointment, hope etc.

So hopefully you can see that "senses" and "feelings" are not synonymous.

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