Schenkt man sich Rosen in Tirol, weiß man, was das bedeuten soll
From Der Vogelhändler - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpuWXAvpp_U
I haven't seen the opera, but evidently one of the characters has been given a rose and is trying to figure out if it's a declaration of love or a cultural misunderstanding.
In any of the translations I've looked up (for example http://lyricstranslate.com/en/schenkt-man-sich-rosen-tirol-giving-roses-tyrol.html) the phrase is given as IF you give roses in Tyrol, you know what that means.
Without some sort of "if", it sounds like two successive statements to me, or as a question with a footnote - are people in the habit of giving roses in Tyrol (after all you know that that means). Can you construct if-clauses like that in German - Isst man Gemuese, wird man gesund ?
The other thing that confuses me is the "sich" - it sounds to me like does one give ONESELF roses. Why is the "sich" there?
Hi, native speaker here. In spoken German it is indeed much more common to use that "if" (most people would express it that way: "wenn man sich Rosen in Tirol schenkt..."). However, the sentence in the given word order expresses exactly the same. I just give you another example: "Wenn es viel regnet, muss man keine Blumen gießen" or "Regnet es viel, muss man keine Blumen gießen" - there is absolutely no difference in meaning. The first version would be more common in daily conversation, while the second one can probably more likely be found in a text. The second issue is the reflexive pronoun "sich". Well, it does not only mean "oneself", it can also stand for a reciprocal action ("each other"). Sie küssen sich. Sie lieben sich. Sie beobachten sich. And so on... a synonyme would be "einander". If you would like to emphasize that there are several persons loving themselves (and not each other) you would most commonly say "Sie lieben sich selbst".