Translation:This is my brother whose girlfriend is studying abroad.
Is there any way to see if a relative clause is defining or non-defining in German?
According to the Tips & Notes there is no such distinction in German, so it would have to be determined by the context when translating to English. They are referred to as "restrictive" and "non-restrictive" in the tips but I assume they mean the same thing.
The sentence intonation is different for restrictive and non-restrictive clauses but that's not reflected in the spelling or punctuation.
Hard to describe without drawing a picture, but roughly:
non-restrictive clause ("this is my brother -- whose girlfriend is studying abroad"): starts high, falls suddenly on "Bru", continues low to "der". In the second half, slowly starts to climb until a sharp fall in "Aus" and continuing on a low level.
restrictive clause ("this is my brother whose girlfriend is studying abroad"): starts medium level, brief dip on "Bru" before returning to mid level, then slow climb until a sharp fall in "Aus" and continuing on a low level.
So I suppose it's the high-to-low dip on "Bru" in the non-restrictive clause that shows that "Das ist mein Bruder" is an entire thought, and so the "dessen Freundin in Ausland studiert" is simply an ignorable addition -- while in the other case, the first part is not marked as a complete thought but the intonation suggests that the entire sentence is yet to be completed -- the high-to-low dip doesn't come until "Aus".
Clear explanation, thanks!
I wonder if you're speaking from experience, or there is some intonation research, that one could read? Don't mind if it's written in german either.
That’s just how I (as a native speaker) would say it myself.
I’m sure there are works on intonation in German sentences but I’m not personally aware of any, I’m afraid.
Thanks, I didn't even notice the Tips & Notes. So, did you put in a comma? I thought it possible but weird without.
The comma is required before the subordinate clause in German but is not normally put before the relative clause in English. However it can be used, for example, if it is introducing a non-defining clause e.g. My brother, whose girlfriend is studying abroad, is feeling lonely these days. However in this exercise I think it would look wrong with a comma before the "whose" - although I agree it does sound a bit strange, possibly because we are not clear on whether the "whose" is introducing a defining or non-defining clause and there is no context to help us.
So, how do we know if the speaker is saying "This is my brother whose girlfriend..." or "This is my brother, whose girlfriend..."? The first one means there may be many brothers while the second means there is only one.
In writing: context.
In speach: intonation.
Like how in English there's a difference between "This is my BROTHER (and not my sister)" versus "This is MY brother (and not yours)" versus "THIS is my brother (while THAT is somebody else)". They're all pronounced differently but (usually) spelled the same -- only context can tell what the emphasis is, if any.
"He is my brother whose girlfriend studies abroad": why is the expression "He is..." incorrect ?
It's not incorrect in English, but it's not a good translation for the German Das ist ... ("This is ...").
Why is 'This is my brother whose girlfriend studied abroad.' marked incorrectly?
You used past tense "studied", but the German sentence has present tense studiert and not past tense studierte.
They haven't disappeared; they're just hiding.
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