1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "England ist auf einer Insel."

"England ist auf einer Insel."

Translation:England is on an island.

November 30, 2017

86 Comments


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

Surely its "England is an island"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kit845299

As far as I know, England is part of an island and therefore on an island...


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

That is correct literally, but is is a strange way of saying it in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Axel591520

It is a strange way of saying it in German, too. It sounds as if England was something put on top of an island.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CharlesBur150606

Quite right. In English we would say "England is part of an island" but Duo marks this as wrong. It shouldn't.


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

It's incorrect because that is not what is written in German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyJames896988

The problem here is that sometimes you need to avoid the literal translation because it would be said differently in English, at other times you don't


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

England (the political entity) is part of an island (which it shares with Wales and Scotland), but that sense is not found in the German sentence here, so I don't think this can be a translation for it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NicholasBr919203

No I am English England is an island is ok in my opinion


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

England is an island is ok in my opinion

Hm. Given that you can walk from Cardiff to London to Edinburgh without getting your feet wet, does that mean that Edinburgh is also on "the island of England"? Is Cardiff in England?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anita107177

No! Cardiff is the capital of Wales I think.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Weylin366674

The Isle of Wight is part of England and other islands. The translation may be accurate, but factually the statement is incorrect.


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

England isn't an island. It's part of the British Isles. England, Scotland and Wales make up one island. However, England isn't "on" an island so it's a strange translation


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

I think that “on an island” is still the best way of (concisely) translating the German expression. “In an Island” sounds wrong and “part of an island” is correct but less close to the original. I don't think anybody would bat an eye if “on an island” were referring to a city, but I suppose a country is large enough that we think of it as being a rather important component of an island rather than merely being “on” it. Still, this is the only available expression to convey that a piece of land (big or small) is located within the confines of an island.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lorasaur1

A city is a physical thing. A country is a concept. That's why a city can be on an island, but a country is not.


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

A city is no more of a physical thing than a country. The land on which the city or the country operate is physical, and so are the people that inhabit it and the infrastructures that make it inhabitable, but the city or country themselves are both mere concepts made real only by conventions.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Weylin366674

Country maybe a mere concept, but it can define a very specific area in the physical world.


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

The city is a loosely defined cluster of buildings (a physical object). The country is an arbitrary separator of jurisdiction (a concept).


[deactivated user]

    I was about to agree with you until I realized I wouldn't think twice about saying "Haiti is on an island." I think the difference might be that Haiti and the Dominican Republic are two completely different countries. However much autonomy Wales and Scotland might have been granted, it was granted to them by England so we think of it as one country. That's what makes it awkward to hear "England is on an islsnd." Nevertheless, it is correcf.


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

    I think (almost certainly) the Scots and (possibly also) the Welsh might disagree with the statement that "we think of [every country on Great Britain] as one country." The British terms for England, Scotland, and Wales are "country", so I suspect even the English would not object to saying that "England is on an island."


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

    I would certainly disagree with the statement: "we think of [every country on Great Britain] as one country." Wales has its own history, language and culture. Wales is not England, and I am not English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Polly766351

    I am Anglo-Scottish and I object to saying “England is on an island”


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

    it was granted to them by England

    England (and Wales) were united with Scotland (Under a Scottish king). England has never been in a position to grant autonomy to Scotland. The British parliament (which of course has Scottish members) can grant autonomy in various areas.
    Wales had less say in the matter of joining England... that was decided by Edward the First in around 1283... and I think he was more French than anything... (depending on your definition)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woods415

    I came here for this argument. grabs popcorn


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schmanda42

    England is the individual country. Great Britain is the actual island it's part of.


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

    But England is not surrounded by water. It has Scotland to the north and Wales to the West. Great Britain is an island.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GustavoDen18

    Great Britain is an island

    England is a country inside that island

    England, Scottland and Wales are inside the Great Britain

    England, Scottland, Wales and Northern Ireland form the United Kingdom


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

    Nope. It's part of the British Isles, and is one of the countries in the United Kingdom (the others being Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland)


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

    I think the Scots and Welsh might have something to say about that.


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

    nope england is part of an island called great britain


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Debra974221

    No, because England is only part of the island. Wales and Scotland are also part of the same island, so "England is on an island" is correct.


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

    German is known for being very "literal". I think that's my fascination with the language.


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

    Great Britain is a geographic term referring to the island also known simply as Britain. It’s also a political term for the part of the United Kingdom made up of England, Scotland, and Wales (including the outlying islands that they administer, such as the Isle of Wight). United Kingdom, on the other hand, is purely a political term: it’s the independent country that encompasses all of Great Britain and the region now called Northern Ireland.


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

    England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland are ALL British isles. England is a constituent of Great Britain


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

    England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland are ALL British isles.

    No, they're not.

    An isle is an island. England, Scotland, and Wales are not islands.

    Great Britain is an island and Ireland is another island. The Isle of Man is another island in between the two and also belongs to the British Isles.

    Scotland is a country. Most of it lies on the island of Great Britain; the rest on numerous smaller islands such as the Shetland islands.

    The Republic of Ireland lies on the island of Ireland, together with Northern Ireland, which is a constituent country of the United Kingdom.

    Islands are not countries.


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

    why is dative used here?


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

    Because auf takes the dative case when describing a location.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mike904263

    As a native born englishman living in Scotland, England being on an island sounds right to me. Likewise Germany is on the continent.


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

    Adding my vote to those who consider the English sentence wrong or poor. "England (Haiti, Brunei, etc.) is PART of an island..." would be far better,.


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

    I agree that England is on an island in that Scotland and Wales are also on the same island, but in normal English speech we say "is an island" rather than "on an island"


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

    "Set in a silver sea?" I agree, that is what many English people would say, but it is inaccurate on two counts. First, "England is an island" ignores two rather large chunks of land (Scotland and Wales) that share the island. Between them, Scotland and Wales constitute 43% of the area of Great Britain, England 57%; so England is just over half an island. My second point is that England, technically, is on several islands, including not just the mainland but some fairly sizeable lumps like the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Sheppey. There are hundreds of them, but let's not get Scillies about it.


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

    Could I say that "England lies on an island"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alan477341

    No, because not all of England is on the island of Great Britain.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Math-Prof

    As so often before, the audio is terrible


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

    Yup. It sounds like it's saying "eine" and not "eineR".


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

    He says "England ist doch eine Insel".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregoryEva8

    This is a really poor sentence, you would never say the translation Duolingo gives in English.


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

    Yes, I very much would. The translation is exactly how I would say it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lapaix2

    Where's Churchill when we need him? "This is the sort of thing that up with I will not put."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Weylin366674

    Or even, up with which I will not put. ;)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ClareSheph4

    No Englishman would say England is on an island, just no.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kostas540932

    It is part of an island, certainly not on an island. Which island is it on top of?


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

    The island of Great Britain.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kostas540932

    England is a part of Great Britain, it is not on top of it. It's not a carpet.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alun612958

    lgm217 how wrong you are. Going West England stops at Offa's ❤❤❤❤. Going North it stops on a line between Carlisle and Berwick. Not an island but part of an island. If I said Wales or Scotland were islands I suspect you would disagree. Aber, paß auf, unsere Deutschen Freunde finden unsere Streiten um solchen Dinge ein bißchen lächerlich.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MahaT487908

    I would suggest people who are not confident in English should not use the App, because the translations may affect their language .The translations given are meant to bring the general meaning in the sense but not how you would say it in English, in other words, you would need to know what Duolingo is trying to say in English and put the focus on learning German, so in this example I say in my head " yeah I know they mean England is part of an Island" and I would not say in conversation to someone "England is on an Island" , although literally correct but not used in speech that way.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chooch639215

    England is an abstract concept. It, or any other abstracts, do not physically exist "on" anything. For this concept to work, you need another verb, like "locate" or "exist." If I wrote this, every editor/proofreader I have ever worked for would have gleefully if not scornfully circled this with a big red marker and pinned it on the bulletin board in the lunch room.


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

    Saying that England 'is on an island' indicates that England is seperate from the island. Surely the answer is 'England is part of an island' ?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alan477341

    'England is part of an island' is also incorrect as not all of England is on the island of Great Britain, there are many other islands that make up England.


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

    No, it doesn't indicate that England is separate.

    Saying "The roof is on the house." doesn't mean the roof is separate from the house, it is a part of the house.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMcKee209059

    Just learned something new.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ian967727

    The island of Great Britain comprises England, Scotland and Wales, duuu


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alan477341

    It comprises of SOME of England, Scotland and Wales.. There are parts of all three (especially true for Scotland) that are not part of Great Britain.


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

    There is a thing floating to the left of Britain I think it's called norther Ireland, they seem to forget of it's existence once in a while.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristineB376316

    I would never say "England is on an island", and object to having to say, "England is on an island", just to get the answer accepted. Technically, every country is part of the earth's crust, so we've all "on" something. English people (I'm one) do not say "on an island", as if it could be scraped off and moved somewhere else.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Una113439

    Again, why can't this man pronounce word endings


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raymo51

    What tosh! England is part of an island, namely Great Britain.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alan477341

    But not ALL of England is part of Great Britain so this statement does not work.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Polly766351

    The problem here is that the original German phrase is based on a lack of knowledge/understanding of the politico-historical basis of the British Isles. I have, from the start, assumed this programme to be created and managed predominantly by people from North America (American spellings, even for English words) so I am not surprised by this further example of lack of European knowledge.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chooch639215

    this North American says that's not the issue with this sentence.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chummy66

    It's never said like this in England. Technically it is correct but it is never said.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alan477341

    Technically it is incorrect as not all of England is part of Great Britain, there are other islands that make up England.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NickPink6

    Well that's a new one. Trust Duo to come up with another weird translation. 79 comments so far, now 80 with mine added.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/one_half_3544

    "England is on an isle"? I've reported it.


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

    May I ask why you chose that wording? Is that really the first word that came to your mind?

    In my experience, "island" is the normal word in English and "isle" is only poetic or in fixed expressions such as proper nouns. So it made me wonder whether you were "trying to expand Duolingo's vocabulary" on purpose.

    In which case, I would like to ask you not to play games like that. We've got enough work already without adding poetic synonyms that are not used as much. To show that you understand the German word Insel, use the English word "island". And in reverse, please translate "island" to Insel and not to a poetic synonym such as Eiland. We don't need Odem or Haupt etc. as suggestions in the database.

    Thank you.


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

    What an incredibly rude and obnoxious response for a MOD.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/one_half_3544

    Ok, ok. I beg my pardon. I won't report anything anymore...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Weylin366674

    Great Britain is invariably referred to as an island, but if you have an example I'd like to see it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lorasaur1

    "England is on an island" sounds unnatural.
    "England is an island" is the correct translation, but it was marked wrong :(


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Weylin366674

    Great Britain is an island. England is a part of Great Britain along with Scotland and Wales.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lgm217

    No Sir/Madam. England IS an island!


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

    No it's not. Most of England shares an island with most of Wales and most of Scotland.

    Other parts of England are on other islands, e.g. the Isle of Wight.

    Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.