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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slamRN

"Die Elemente sind gegen uns. "

  • 1314

Can this also mean The weather is against us?

November 4, 2017

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThorusCrusius

Die Elemente sind gegen uns usually means that "the fate has turned against us".
You cannot transfer it easily to the weather or climate, except you're talking about a major catastrophy or apocalyptical scenario like a tsunami with many casualties and dead people.
Having a bad example: The many rain days in Britain and Münster are not the elements' cause.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slamRN
  • 1314

ThorusCrusius, are you saying that this sentence could be used as an idiom? Everything is going wrong as you are trying to get an important task done; and then you receive news which can cancel the entire project. One might exclaim "Die Elemente sind gegen uns!" Is this correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThorusCrusius

This could be a situation, yes. And it is not just related to weather, although the "elements" suggest this relation.

The idiom derived form the believe that the gods of the pre-christian era would influence or punish the mortals by changing fate, circumstances or the weather. Before having this idiom, one says that "the gods have turned against us" and in the course of time, "gods" have been replaced by "elements", due to christian religious reasons to cover or unbind the link between the ancient gods and their influence on human's fate.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hannibal-Barkas

It can, but it sounds a bit heroic. I wouldn't use it outside a lyrical environment or in extreme weather. Shakespeare would love it, but it is too big a phrase for John Doe


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slamRN
  • 1314

So Hannibal-Barkas, if I was talking to fellow mountain climbers on the Zugspitze (I've been there but I took the cable-car up to the peak) and the weather turned into a blowing, freezing snowstorm, then I could say to my companions Die Elemente sind gegen uns! The same type situation would have to occur in English; as you are right, it is too dramatic for ordinary circumstances.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hannibal-Barkas

Yes, that's right as far as I see it.

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