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  5. "Ich heiße nicht Hans, sonder…

"Ich heiße nicht Hans, sondern Karl!"

Translation:My name is not Hans, but Karl!

February 25, 2018



I find these translations involving sondern rather awkward in English. Is it just me? I would generally say this as "My name is Karl, not Hans." Or as two sentences: "My name is not Hans. It is Karl."


I think the awkwardness is that English has a lot of German roots and thus German sounds like people at a Renaissance faire faking old-timey speech. "I am called not Hans, rather Karl." (Works especially well with du phrases if you translate them as thou: "Hast thou thirst?")


I agree with you markbooth. These exercises are good for learning how the Germans construct their way of saying it. In English, we would drop the sondern altogether. I would never say "My name isn't Hans, but Karl." I would say "My name isn't Hans. It's Karl." or it could be said the way you suggest, but what works in German with sondern is not only awkward in English, it's simply not used the same way by native English speakers.


Although it is not entirely wrong but it does sound awkward. Is that common in German or has another better phrase to say it? Hope someone can help.


It’s quite common in German.


To make it less awkward sounding, and to help with the difference between aber and sondern, I use 'but rather'.

My name is not Hans, but rather Karl. Ich heiße nicht Hans, sondern Karl.

That's how I entered my answer, and it was correct.


For me also same happened I reported but nothing happened


I was replying to markbooth


That's right commrade


My last name is ''Marques'', when I was a child, I used to write it as ''Marx'' lol.

Fabrício Marx


What's the difference between, "sondern," and, "aber"?


"Aber" = but/however and "sondern"= but/rather. .


and but/rather was marked as wrong


Why not, My name is not Hans, rather Karl, ?


Or: "I'm not named Hans, but Karl."


Would you not say "My name is not Hans, but rather Karl"?


This sounds like some lame superhero or villain revealing their true identity.


I answered "My name isn't Hans, it's Karl" and that was marked wrong.
That's a natural way to translate it and it should be considered correct.

[deactivated user]

    Leaving aside the whole "ich heisse" doesn't literally mean "my name is"--the purpose of this exercise is to teach us a contrasting conjunction, so you have to use a conjunction in the translation. In this case, the conjunction is "but" or "but rather." (You still couldn't use "but rather it's Karl" because that's not what the German says.) The object isn't to translate into the most colloquial form of speech, just as it isn't always to translate literally. The object is to use the best possible English that still keeps the intent of the German clear--even if it sounds a little clunky to us. Eventually, the goal is not to be translating at all, but to be thinking in German.


    In response to your last sentence...genau!


    I think the point is more that German loves and needs the conjunction and English finds it superfluous and clumsy and native English speakers would just omit it as unnecessary.


    I got a correction "My name isn't Hans, but 'rather' Karl'.


      Yeah, a good translation for sondern is "but rather".


      Why not "I am not called..."? Marked wrong.


      Fixed! Now accepted!


      Still not accepted if using "I'm".


      Please fix with "I'm".


      Please fix also "I'm called not Hans..." and "I am called not Hans...


      English isn't my native language, but I have found such examples in Internet: "I am called not to comfort or success but to obedience", "I am called, not to serve myself, but to serve others", "I am called not to be preoccupied with the world", "I am called not just as an individual but as a member of a community".

      May I say "I'm called not Hans, but Karl"? Or phrase "I'm called not..." is used only for religious texts?


      This is a matter of register. That structure would be considered literary, perhaps even archaic in some circles. Register is important. One shouldn't expect Duolingo to feature purely literary forms in my opinion, especially if they never appear in formal speech.


      Got it. Thanks a lot!


      Im confused by Heiße... though it was "am called"... so why is "Ich Heiße nicht" "My name is not".... and not "I am not called"?


      Okay, the literal translation, word-for-word, is Ich heiße nicht X... = “ I am not called X..”. However, a conversational equivalent expression in English (that is, what people in real life actually say) would be, “My name is not X...”. Literal translation sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t. Not every sentence or expression can be directly translated into another language.


      I thought kein denied the OBJECT and nicht denied the ACTION. Why does the sentence use nicht then...when Hans is clearly not an action?


      Please read through the comments in future, as this has already been asked answered:

      We use keine before nouns

      Yes, that is correct, however "kein" is essentially equivalent to "nicht ein" or "not a", which is why we use "nicht" here and not "kein". Essentially with "kein" you would be saying:

      "I am not called a Hans, but Karl!"


      I imagine this being said after a tiresome time dealing with a tourist who calls all german men 'Hans'


      Why is 'Ich' translated into 'My' ?


      When looking at a translation, it's almost always better to try and look at the big picture rather than translate word for word.

      The most literal translation of the German sentence (whilst remaining correct strictly from an English speaking perspective) is the following:

      I am not called Hans, but Karl!

      Here we can match up the German sentence to the English quite well, which would look something like the following:

      • Ich = I
      • heiße = am [...] called
      • nicht = not
      • Hans = Hans
      • sondern = but
      • Karl = Karl

      Now, once we have our literal translation, we can look at the English sentence and see if there is a more natural way of wording it. Typically "one's name is" is more common than "to be called", and as the two sentences:

      My name is not Hans, but Karl!


      I am not called Hans, but Karl!

      Are identical in meaning, it can then be accepted that the preferred translation of the German translation uses the "one's name is" construction, rather than the "to be called" construction; which doesn't allow for a literal, word-for-word translation.

      That's why I would always recommend having some flexibility and using your intuition when working on a translation, because remember; German doesn't and shouldn't cater to making sense from an English speaking perspective, nor vice versa.


      Thank you so much. I finding out that these discussions provide some wonderful gems of information & yours is one of them.


      Thank you, that's very kind of you to say.


      An even more literal translation, also perfectly acceptable in English (though not by Duo), is "I am called not Hans, but Karl."


      Apologies for the delayed response.

      Yes. I would put it several rungs below my two suggestions in terms of frequency (i.e. how often you would expect to hear a native/fluent speaker say the sentence), but it is perfectly acceptable English, and a great example of what a German sentence can sound like when "nicht" is placed directly in front of an object, rather than at the end. This isn't actually the best sentence for this from a German language perspective, but I think it can be extrapolated quite nicely.

      If we take the three different sentences from our comments, and remove "but Karl" from the ends, we get the following:

      • My name is not Hans.
      • I am not called Hans. &
      • I am called not Hans.

      The first two, sound fine or 'complete' as they are, and, as a listener, I don't feel the need for additional information, or have the expectation that the speaker is going to add anything further. The same cannot be said for the last sentence. At best, it sounds incomplete, at worst, it sounds as if the speaker is announcing that his name is "Not-Hans". As in "Hello, Not-Hans Knoblauch, but you can just call me Not-Hans".
      It's this 'incompleteness' that often gets unknowingly transported, when people misplace "nicht".

      If we take a sentence in English like "Don't eat the pudding.", a lot of learners might be tempted to translate that to:

      Iss nicht den Nachtisch.

      Which has the same feeling of incompleteness as the sentence "Eat not the pudding" (without the Shakespearian feel, however). Both sentences need an 'answer':

      Iss nicht den Nachtisch, sondern die Vorspeise.
      Eat not the pudding, but the starter.

      And this 'answer', this "but", will always be "sondern" in German. Always.

      To neutralise this incompleteness, we could also just move "nicht" to the end:

      Iss den Nachtisch nicht (weil da Gift drin ist).
      Don't eat the pudding.

      Apologies for the essay, Eric. This wasn't aimed at you, your sentence just made me realise that we also have sentences that sound incomplete if "not" is placed directly before the object it is negating. Thanks!


      To me, all of those translations sound awkward. It sounds much more natural to say, "My name is Karl, not Hans."


      Agreed, but the point of this exercise is to help us know when to translate "but" to "sondern" rather than "aber", and with your more natural sentence, we lose that opportunity altogether.

      Obviously the ideal solution would be to have used another sentence with "sondern" that does translate naturally to English; but unfortunately we can't always get what we want.


      what is the difference between, "ich heiße nicht Hans, aber Karl" and "ich heiße nicht hans, sondern Karl."


      Sondern is more like "rather". So if you say you don't like something, you can follow it up by sondern, and say something you DO like. However aber is more like "however" actually


      The question is about this particular sentence... It's a good question. Anyone?


      Okay, regarding this particular sentence I would say with "aber" it simply sounds incomplete. Whenever you want to say "not this BUT this", then "sondern" is always your choice. With "aber" this sentence would only work with something like this (in my mind):

      „Ich heiße nicht Hans, aber Karl, der wird immer Kevin genannt!“

      "I'm not called Hans, but Karl, he always gets called Kevin!"

      So, hopefully you can see that "aber" is used to kind of move away and make another point, whereas "sondern" tells you exactly what the "right answer" is, right after telling you the "wrong answer".

      Though it's pretty contrived (and I certainly wouldn't call it 100% natural) I hope it gives a better idea of the difference between "aber" and "sondern"; at least regarding this particular sentence.


      How come when I put, "I am not called by Hans, but Karl!" I get marked off? Isn't the literal translation of heißen "to be called by"?


      Nevermind, it was probably a word bank question I was doing via keyboard.


      I was terrified of getting the names mixed up myself!


      A new lady's voice - lovely!


      What's wrong with "I'm not Hans, I'm Karl"? Might not be literally translated, but same meaning and more normal phrasing.


      I think it's necessary to mention "sondern" in translation.


      "I am not called Hans, but rather Karl." accepted.



      Yours is a more exact translation into English. Sometimes they take too wide a latitude in their translations.


      @AdamKean thanks for your explanations! It is helpful!


      I put "I am not named Hans, but rather Karl" and they didn't take it.


      I just confused about nicht and kein , as i know we use kein !!!


      Here are a couple Canoo articles on negation that will hopefully help to clear the fog for you: :)

      The first is a more general article on negation and the second deals specifically with the difference between "kein" and "nicht ein".


      You only use kein with nouns, to mean “no X” (we have no bananas), or “not a/an”. Think of ObiWan saying, “that’s no moon,” or Bones McCoy saying, “I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer.”

      That’s the circumstances for using kein.


      We use keine before nouns


      Yes, that is correct, however "kein" is essentially equivalent to "nicht ein" or "not a", which is why we use "nicht" here and not "kein".
      Essentially with "kein" you would be saying:

      "I am not called a Hans, but Karl!"


      I'm imagining some really cheap day time soap opera type scenario. Where a character removes a pair of glasses to reveal that Hans was but a ruse being performed by Karl the whole time.

      Everybody is completely shocked at this reveal.


      I think just "..,rather Karl" is just as good as any answer. But duo expects "..,but rather Karl". Have very rarely heard any native English speaker use "but rather".


      i get it sondern = but, however i would never say "not Hans, but Karl" by itself. It would have some other padding around it, such as "My name is not Hans, but it is Karl" even though not a literal translation is much more pleasing to the English phrasing.


      I wrote "My name isn't Hans, rather I'm Karl." but it didn't like that. Why?


      It doesn't sound great in English, and would need an additional "ich bin" between "sondern" and "Karl" in the German translation; after which I'm relatively confident the German sentence would sound about as odd as the English sentence.


      I am not called Hans, rather Karl : marked wrong, please can someone explain why?


      It sounds a little odd to my ears, and I certainly wouldn't use it, but if a significant English-speaking populus would, then it should be reported and accepted accordingly.


      My name is not hans.BUT. karl it doesn't make sense it should be my name is not hans IT IS karl


      I think it's a bit strong to say it doesn't make sense, but I agree, that "...it is Karl." is better than "...but Karl." -- or more specifically -- it's what I'd be more likely to say (if my name were Karl and someone had just called me Hans), and what I'd expect to hear more often.

      However, it wasn't until I read your comment that I even thought about that wording, so from my perspective it really isn't a big deal.


      Yes, it makes perfectly good sense. Read some of the other comments.

      However, you still have to translate what sondern means: “but rather...” Adding extra subjects and verbs usually won’t work in Duo.


      I was marked off for "My name's not Hans but Karl" I'm a native English speaker and that is proper English. I have reported it several times and still not corrected


      They do get round to looking at the reports -- I've had numerous emails telling me that solutions I have reported are now accepted -- you just have to give them time.

      I shudder to think how many reports they have to work through.


      My name's not Hans but Karl. Wrong. It should be: My name is not Hans, but Karl.


      „My name's not Hans but Karl” is wrong because according to Duo, the correct one is „My name is not Hans, but Karl” yehs people no apostrophe s haha


      I wrote Ich heisse nicht Hans, sondern Karl! and was marked wrong.


      That is certainly not wrong, as the convention is to use "ss" where "ß" isn't available, and is in fact the way it would be written in Standard Swiss German, as they don't use "ß" at all.

      However, I wonder if they marked it wrong because they offer those buttons near the text box for the special characters. That would be a new precedent, as I always thought they allowed the conventions for avoiding the special characters, but who knows.


      I am not Hans, but Karl! This is marked wrong. I think it should be correct because it is clearly a translation of the idea of the sentence if not a literal translation of the German words.


      Should 'rather' instead of but also be accepted because it wasn't....


      To quote myself in response to a similar comment on this thread:

      I am not called Hans, rather Karl : marked wrong, please can someone explain why?

      It sounds a little odd to my ears, and I certainly wouldn't use it, but if a significant English-speaking populus would, then it should be reported and accepted accordingly.


      Can I also translate this as, I am not called Hans, but Carl. Duo marked it wrong. I do see there is a subtle difference.


      The name is "Karl", so that won't change in the translation.


      The third time I put in, I am not called Hans, but Carl, it was accepted by Duo.


      The third time in succession, or have you tried that answer over a longer span of time (like weeks or months)? I can only think that an answer that was marked wrong at the beginning of an exercise and right at the end would be due to a bug.

      On another note, do you know if there was a note mentioning there was a typo in your answer? As using a "C" instead of a "K" at the beginning of "Karl" is only one letter, they usually let those answers through when the rest of the answer is correct, with the mention that there was a typo in your answer.


      It wasn't in succession, but the same lesson.


      I might have put a k instead of c for Carl. There wasn't a note.


      That seems to make the most sense. Otherwise it sounds like a bug; which would be hard to investigate without "before and after" screenshots, which it doesn't seem like you took (I certainly wouldn't have thought of taking screenshots at the time).


      Ich heiße nicht Hans, sondern Karl! Why is this marked as incorrect?


      Karl equals charles


      This is classic Hans and Karl! Those identical twins are always having fun with DuoLingo students!


      Why is there no punctuation? It is quite irritating.


      So not how these sentences would be in English lol.


      Why not "Mein Heisse ist nicht Hans" ?


      Heisse is a verb. Not a noun. You could say "mein Name ist nicht Hans"

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