I use whom quite frequently but usually in sentences/phrases like 'For whom?' as a very specific identification pronoun. My current campaign is to stop the omission of 'that'. The French course uses que very frequently but 'that' rarely appears! And would/will, could/can (and should/shall?!). Could/can for would? Good grief. Grammar growl over!
You are, of course, a Moderator, I have only read a mention of 'the Course maintainers' on a Forum page. Are they a link to the programmers? If they are a link, are the Mods also within that link, feeding info back. If not, then it would be an incredible waste, surely. The Moderators are absolutely pivotal to our learning, as I'm sure Duo must recognise.
@Freya730163 . - Thank you for this comment. I assume the skill of good writing cannot be taught but a fine piece of advice is always helpful (and not only for beginners). -
Perhaps the question is: If "Whom do you thank?" is strictly correct English [and there isn't even a shadow of doubt!], should it not be accepted as model solution? (June 27, 2018)
It's not that question words are affected by cases, it's that nouns, pronouns and adjectives are all declined for case and number, irrespective of whether they are question words or not. Some stay the same for all cases (like ‘was’) and some change (like ‘alles’ or ‘wer’). The declension of ‘wer’ is as follows:
The English cognate ‘who’ does the same, albeit less strictly: subjective ‘who’, objective ‘whom’, genitive ‘whose’.
If Duolingo would teach the correct object "whom" in English, it would illustrate the need for the dative object "wem" in German. I suppose Duolingo will next be teaching "it ain't" for "it isn't." It's a slippery slope when you adopt incorrect English just because you hear it used.
It would have been more correct to have offered "whom" as a choice, because only "whom" would have been completely correct. "Who" is probably used more by more people, but that doesn't really make it correct, any more than "dove" being used instead of "dived" to express the past tense of "to dive." My argument will probably become obsolete over time, given how language evolves, but I'll still be correct...
"Wer dankt dir." The verb "danken" in German takes the dative case (dir = to you). Think of the verb as "giving thanks to" as in "Who give thanks TO YOU" (dative case). Who = Wer in your sentence because "Wer" is the subject of the sentence, doing the thanking. The proper English for the lesson's sentence should be "Whom do you thank?"
You do not "thank to" someone in English, so it is incorrect. You can "give thanks to" in English, which sounds old-fashioned or religious, but this is possibly why the German verb "danken" takes the Dative: you are giving thanks (direct object) to someone (indirect object).
Learning another language is not only a matter of translating word for word and then maybe shuffle those around, it's about understanding the grammar and semantics of the other language. For example, German doesn't need the “do” auxiliary for questions (or negations). A question word is enough to signal an open question and yes-no questions are instead built by inversion (i.e. putting the verb in first instead of second position).
The fact that you need to to add “do you” is signalled by the cases of the two pronouns: “du” is nominative, meaning it is the subject, so the action of thanking is being performed by you, while “wem” is dative, meaning it is an indirect object, which is how German expresses who is being thanked (in English it would be the direct object). The translation will have to be “who(m) do you thank?”.
Also please note that “whom thanks you?” is a rather ill-structured sentence in English: “whom” is the object form of “who”, used (at least formally) when not in a subject position. While I can agree that using “who” in all cases is common enough informally that it can be considered standard, using “whom” where it's prescriptively wrong is hard to justify.
Thank you, so when does the "Prepositions with the dative" kick in. Aus, außer, bei, mit, nach, seit, von, zu. In this whole section none of these words have popped up. Lets not forget the cross over words the can be used in the accusative case as well. these being an, auf, hinter, in, neben, über, unter, vor zwischen. I don't believe i have seen any of these words and I've had to memorize these suckers.
I did not participate in the creation of this course and it's been too long since the last time I did this section, so I don't remember how it's structured. If you haven't met any of the dative prepositions it is indeed strange, but you did well to memorise them, you'll meet them all over the rest of the tree anyway.