In the majority of contexts, "Where does he swim?" refers to the location or body of water in which someone swims. "Where does he swim to" speaks of destination. However, if I was standing on the shore with a friend, watching a girl swim out into the middle of the lake, and my friend asked, "Where does she swim?" I would intuitively know he must be asking where is she swimming to, since it would be obvious she is in the lake and I would say, "To the other side" or "To a boat in the middle". Still, it would be better to ask, "Where is she swimming to?"
The question "where does he swim" only sound correct in English if you are asking about where someone swims on a regular basis. In English, you've got to use the word "to" somewhere in there "to where does he swim, drive, go" or "where does he swim/drive/go to" if you want to sound like a natural native speaker, for those of you perfecting your English.
That is an entirely arbitrary rule made up by some 18th century grammar elitists who felt that if something is impossible in such cultivated languages as Latin and French it must be universally wrong, including for English (the rule against splitting infinitives has the same origin by the way). In reality there is no objective basis for it whatsoever. People have been ending sentences in prepositions for hundreds and hundreds of years. There would be more justification in demanding people use “thou” for singular addressees again rather than “you” for example; that change is much, much more recent.
Another question of course is that of style. People are taught the nonsense rule about the prepositions, so they end up associating it with inferior style. And yes people, should be warned about that. But something being regarded as bad style is not the same as flat-out wrong.
In this case, Where is he swimming should be accepted as an answer when translating into English. The reason the preposition is in the basic solution is almost certainly because of the reverse task: The course wants to test people on wohin. But English “where is he swimming” is ambiguous: Is it asking about the location where “he” is swimming (e.g. “in the lake”) or about his destination (e.g. “towards the island”)? So the learner could use either wohin or wo and might not even know that these two concepts used different words in German.
"Where does he swim?" means, to me, "in which place does he (usually) swim?" - "where does he swim to?" is asking about the swimmer's destination. I don't think there's any way "where does he swim" can mean the same thing as "where does he swim to".
"Where is he swimming?" would be a clunky, ambiguous way of saying "where is he swimming to?", but that's about it.
“Doth.” “Dost” is the “thou” form ;)
Although I believe back then you wouldn’t actually have needed do-support. You probably could add it the same way you can say “he did swim” today – to stress the verb – but normally people would probably have said: Whither swimmeth he?
To me your translation would imply 'location' in English. "Where does he swim"? --> "He swims at the lake/pool/river/etc." I think I would use "wo" in this case.
I would interpret "wohin" as 'direction'. "Where is he swimming to?" --> "He is swimming to the dock/boat/the shore/etc."
The difference is subtle but I think it's there. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
Yes, in English it can, but that is because we allow it. Properly English requires a preposition before the question word to distinguish the request for destination (to where) vs. "at which location" (where). Someone could technically ask. "Where do you swim" and one is asking at which location, where as (as discussed) "To where do you swim" indicates one asks for a destination.
That rule -- never end a sentence a preposition -- is now considered an outdated and inappropriate attempt to force English to conform to Latin. (I first heard it was wrong at the same time I learned it ever existed... sometime in mid 1970s. So this is one of those lies with long legs.)
But here's the issue... So many people end sentences with prepositions (both correctly and incorrectly; we can't forget about the all important phrasal verbs) that using the "proper" translation as the be all and end all would be pointless. Furthermore, those using this German learning program are assumed to know English.
How often on a daily basis do you hear, "To where are you swimming?"
Olimo, don't you think Faisal is asking whether or not the English is correct? To answer your question Faisal, no, "where has he swimming" is not correct in English.
"Where does he swim?" would imply where he might go on a regular basis, as in "he swims at the club on Tuesdays." "Where is he swimming? would more likely refer to where is he swimming right now, at this time, as in "He's at the club swimming right now"
If my friend jumped in a lake and was swimming out to a dock, or someone wondered to where he was swimming, they might correctly say "To where is he swimming." This in correct, but the problem is that now it sounds a bit stiff and old fashioned. So most English speakers just say "where's he swimming to."
I’m pretty sure this is one of those weird rules that exist only for one reason: It isn’t allowed in Latin, so it shouldn’t be in our language either (not splitting infinitives is another of these). A preposition at the end is definitely permitted in English; it’s just not regarded as very elegant style because of that odd rule. Also, if it is left out the sentence becomes ambiguous: “Where is he swimming” can mean either the same as above, or it could mean “at what place is he swimming” (i.e. asking for a position rather than a direction, and this interpretation is not possible with German wohin). Nevertheless, “where is he swimming” should definitely be accepted as an answer.
Ihr should sound more like "ear" and Er should sound more like "air". www.forvo.com is a great website for hearing native speakers saying different words. I've posted links below where you can hear Ihr and Er.
Now, this might not be as distinguishable when said by a computerized voice, and as a result you're might still find yourself losing some hearts.
Splodgeit03 has the right of it. I scrolled down before echoing the answer, but the distinction would be made in English by the use of "is". "Where does she swim?" would mean what location does shw swim usually. "Where is she swimming?" would very clearly inquire her destination.
so, in the tips & notes it says that you can both pied-pipe the preposition: ‘Wohin schwimmt er?’ and leave it in-situ: ‘Wo schwimmt er hin?’ Is ‘Wohin schwimmt er?’ considered formal/prescriptive (like the English ‘To where is he swimming?’ while ‘Wo schwimmt er hin?’ would be more informal (like the English ‘Where is he swimming to?’ ? or are they both accepted in both formal/prescriptive and casual situations?
That is not an acceptable word order as a full sentence – at least not in any dialect of English that I know about. Even if it was, it would also be rather ambiguous: Are you asking about the destination which he is swimming to? Or about the place in which he is swimming around? The German sentence only has the former meaning because wohin means “to where” (think about it as the antiquated word “whither” if that helps you). If you were asking about a position you would use wo.
What I hear (from the male voice) is unambiguously er, not ihr. I know the distinction between long /e/ and long /i/ is a bit difficult for native speakers of English because it doesn’t have this distinction. However unless you got the female voice and it is a lot worse than the male one (which I doubt; at least I’ve never heard it pronounce long /e/ ambiguously), I’m afraid the issue probably lies with your ears needing more training rather than bad pronunciation.
“Where did he swim to” would need the verb “to swim” to be in past tense, just like you do in the normal positive clause in English: “He swam to the island” (in the question the past tense is transferred to the auxiliary “do” in English, but in German we don’t have that, so the past tense stays on the main verb): Wohin schwamm er? Or actually, because simple past tense is very rare in colloquial German, what you more likely get is perfect tense: Wohin ist er geschwommen? (literally “where to is he swum”)
As you can see, just like English “to swim”, German schwimmen is irregular and changes its stem vowel in the past and participle forms.
This will probably become more clear when we learn hin vs her. Wohin is a contraction of where and forth (basically). The hin relates to motion or direction away from the speaker. So for now, in our beginning stages of German, it might be easier to ask yourself if you want to know where something is (Wo) or where it's going (Wohin).