Translation:It is a horse whose name I don't know.
“‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.” How I wish I could have stayed on that horse with no name instead of trying to learn ‘deren’ and ‘dessen’ and look at the 59 other comments about two words. Long live America! (The band, I mean)
Does the 'dessen' here agree with the subject (Pferd) or the object (Name)?
Just with Pferd -- dessen, deren are invariable with respect to the noun that they stand in front of (such as Name here), and only change according to the gender and number of the possessor (dessen for m+n, deren for f+pl).
Thanks, danke, gracías, Philip Newton, Your comments are consistently the most helpful. With the best, and most eaisily understood explanations!!
"Who" and "whom" are only for people, and "which" and "that" are traditionally for non-human nouns, but "whose" can be used for either humans or non-human entities. For example: "I found a book whose pages were torn."
No; it's the relative pronoun for possession of both who and which (perhaps because *which's is hard to pronounce?).
- https://www.dictionary.com/browse/whose (see 2 and the usage note underneath the pronoun definition)
- https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/whose (see second example under 2)
for the opposite point of view.
It has never been the case that "whose" is for humans only. Notice that it’s not "who's". In any case, you could even use "who" for a horse. A horse is animate, with a name, usually "he" or "she" rather than "it", etc.
I am glad that German is my mother tongue and I do not have to learn that :-)
Btw, I've seen many native-german speakers here in the forums... I was wondering why? What's the point in doing german duolingo for someone who already knows the language?
Some people just visit the sentence forums to help learners, they don't take the course themselves :)
It's for improving English. There are a lot of sentences and phrases to translate, in both directions. Of course, I didn't start with the first lesson. I did the test in the beginning and could jump over more than the half. The most courses in Duolingo are from English to other languages. So I can do the Spanish and Italian course from English.
Thanks for both of your replies! I wonder why my question's got -2 points... does it sound aggressive? English is not my native language...
I think you might be onto something. Your phrase "What's the point ..." can have an aggressive interpretation especially with the contraction What's and the text short form btw. I might say "Is there a purpose ..." Hope this helps.
You simply can't expect much from DL when it comes to advanced grammar topics. It's really more for introductory vocabulary and basic sentence structure.
If you are referring to the relative pronoun, it is "dessen" because it is genitive case (whose). If the relative pronoun was "that" or "which" then it would be one of the definitie articles (unless it was plural dative in which case it would be denen)
No, no. I was asking why Es ist ein Pferd, dessen Namen ich nicht kenne and not Es ist das Pferd, dessen Namen ich nicht kenne.
Because those mean two different things.
Both sentences are possible and grammatical, but they're not interchangeable.
Es ist ein Pferd, dessen Namen ich nicht kenne. = "It is a horse whose name I do not know." The horse is new information. You bring it into the conversation and mention that you do not know its name.
Es ist das Pferd, dessen Namen ich nicht kenne. = "It is the horse whose name I do not know." The horse is old information. The listener knows about a horse whose name you do not know. You are pointing to the horse and saying essentially "this is the horse we had been talking about before -- the one whose name I do not know".
Even if it is a new information, the interlocutor knows exactly, about which horse I am talking about (the one whose name I don't know). Therefore it seemed logical to me that the only option would be Es ist das Pferd, dessen Namen ich nicht kenne/It is the horse whose name I do not know. However I don't insist since there are no articles in my language (Polish).
This may be splitting hairs, but in your window example, I would not say that the window is new information.
Both people know which window is meant, because there is only one window in the room.
So even though it has not been spoken about before, it is not new information.
The choice of "the/a" is not only determined by conversation but also by what is obvious to the speakers.
For example, "Tom left the house and closed the front door behind him." We haven't spoken about a house or a front door but it's obvious from context that it's Tom's house and we know culturally that most houses have one front door.
Articles are tricky.
If it is new information, the interlocutor does not know which horse you are talking about.
He doesn't know that you don't know its name, either.
He doesn't know the horse at all.
So you introduce it into the conversation.
"Hello! I am giving you new information. There are two pieces of information I want to give you: (1) the object I want to talk about is a horse, (2) I do not know the name of this horse I am telling you about."
--> It is a horse whose name I do not know / Es ist ein Pferd, dessen Namen ich nicht kenne.
It also has a possibly different sense, in that "a horse whose name I don't know" seems to leave open the idea that there are other such horses, and "the horse whose name I don't know" seems to imply that, of the set of possible horses under discussion, THIS ONE horse can be thus identified.
You really can't say if CHANGING the article has the same meaning without some context. But you CAN say that using the same article preserves the sense really well.
But really, all that aide:
Given the way both languages have definite and indefinite articles and use them similarly, why would you want to do anything except this simplest most direct translation here?
Let me give you an example of new information in the conversation when the definite article should be used:
- It is hot here.
- May I open the window?
There is only one window in the room. It is new information in the conversation. Both people know, which window they are talking about.
Why do we not end this sentence with "ich kenne nicht" instead of "ich nicht kenne"? (It just sounds like better German to me the other way).
It's a relative clause (starting with the relative pronoun dessen) -- and relative clauses are subordinate clauses, and those have the conjugated verb at the end.
So dessen Name ich nicht kenne sounds like better German to me than dessen Name ich kenne nicht :)
(It's a bit like English word order in direct versus indirect questions -- someone who learned "What does he want to know?" might think that "He told me what does he want to know" sounds like better English to him that way -- but we say "He told me what he wants to know" instead. Different structure means different word order; you can't always take a sentence and put it into a bigger sentence without changing anything.)
To elaborate on what SandyBridge notes: Namen is one of the masculine nouns (I think it is called a "weak" masculine noun) which takes -n as a suffix in all cases/declensions except for Nominativ. (For singular Genitiv it receives an -s as well: Namens. All plural uses are Namen.)
Kenne is akin to being familiar with something, whereas wisse is having knowledge about something. I hope that helps. :-)
Why not 'Namens' instead of 'Namen'? I would have thought that 'Name' here is in genitive case and Wiktionary says that genitive sg. of 'Name' is 'Namens' rather than 'Namen'. What did I get wrong?
Name is not in the genitive case -- it's the direct object of kennen and so it is in the accusative case.
Ich kenne den Namen des Pferdes nicht "I do not know the name of the horse" -- only the horse is in the genitive case, and in Duo's sentence, it's the relative pronoun dessen that is in the genitive case since it replaces/stands for the horse.
"It is a horse, that's name I don't know."
Is there something wrong with this sentence in English?
Right, of course.
But it's not the possessive form of "that".
I've edited my comment.
Is the sense of the German sentence here that the speaker does not know the horse's name, i.e. Fred or Barney, or that the speaker does not know the horse's breed, i.e. Palomino or Pinto? Or, if it were talking about breed, would the word Art (Kind) be substituted for Namen?
Is the sense of the German sentence here that the speaker does not know the horse's name, i.e. Fred or Barney
if it were talking about breed, would the word Art (Kind) be substituted for Namen?
More likely Rasse -- horse breeds are Pferderassen (compare https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_horse_breeds with https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_von_Pferderassen ).
Should not be showing "whose" for an animal -- people only. Proper is, "It is a horse, the name of which I don't know."
That's not the way it's said in any variety of English I'm familiar with.
Some languages do relative clauses like this (with a resumptive pronoun such as "its" or "him" as in "That is the man whom I saw him") but English just uses a relative pronoun.
No, that sentence is not grammatically correct, and it does not sound natural to me because you need to use of/for somewhere in addition to the relative pronoun if you are not going to use "whose". It is easiest just to use "whose" but if you are uncomfortable using "whose" with non-humans (as some people are) then you could say
- It is a horse for which I do not know the name
- It is a horse that I do not know the name of
- It is a horse, the name of which I do not know
However I do not know which, if any, of these Duolingo would accept in this exercise.
Similarly, I wrote "It's a horse I don't know the name of", which wasn't excepted. ... Pretty sure it should be too?
"It is a horse for which I do not know the name" at least is not accepted, and I think "It is a horse which name I don't know" would be more natural, but it is not accepted either. Makes me think that only "whose" is currently accepted by duolingo.
"It is a horse which name I don't know" is neither correct nor natural. You need a possessive relative pronoun.