Translation:The farmer thanks his chicken for the eggs.
In English, "hen" is the female of the species. A "rooster" is the male. The general, non-gender-specific term is "chicken". Young chickens are "chicks".
(And an attractive female human--ordinarily between 15 and 30 y.o.--is sometimes referred to as a "chick". Groovy, huh?)
In English, "thank (v)" could be construed as both a transitive verb, e.g. "to give thanks (to someone or something)" or an intransitive, e.g "to express thankfulness."
Applied unambiguously to this sentence, "the farmer gives thanks to the chicken for the chicken's eggs" vs "the farmer gives thanks for the eggs that came from the chicken."
Duo's English translation here seems ambiguous to me, though the dative applied to Huhn disambiguates the German as aligning with the intransitive English use.
Is this a function of the German verb "danken" in general (i.e. There's always a recipient of thanks, but in the dative case), or just a contextual nuance of this German sentence? If the latter, how would one construct the transitive equivalent, indicating an explicit recipient of the thanks?
In English, "to thank" usually isn't; the intransitive sentiment of thanks would be expressed more accurately by "to give thanks."
- "We are gathered here today to give thanks."
- "I had a pretty good day, so before I went to bed I gave thanks."
I am confused by the use of dative case for "seinem Huhn" with "danken" - as dative usually indicates indirect object, right? "To thank" as the much more common form of the transitive thanking action would suggest a direct object - e.g. accusative - to be used. "Der Bauer dankt sein Huhn für die Eier."
I am trying to figure out if
- Duo's German sentence is wrong
- The German verb "danken" has a connotation more like the English intransitive version than the English transitive version
- The German verb "danken" is just a special case where the recipient of the thanks takes the dative case
(or something else)
Punching various other "The farmer (transitive verb) his Chicken for the Eggs" into translation services all come back accusative with "sein Huhn," except "danken" which comes back with "seinem" - so I'm leaning towards #3, but I'd like to understand why.
Ah! In searching around to ensure I constructed my problem statement correctly, I believe I found the answer: https://www.thoughtco.com/frequently-used-german-dative-verbs-4071410 & http://germanforenglishspeakers.com/verbs/dative-verbs/
"danken" is a special case - a so-called "dative verb" - that takes one single object, in the dative case, but it's not arbitrary: "danken" is "short" for "geben den Dank ..." where the transitive verb is giving, the object is "der Dank," and whatever you're giving the thanks to, is the indirect object in the dative case. This maps to the English "To give (v) thanks (d.o) to ... (i.o)" construction.
There's bedanken, a regular transitive verb, that maps to the English "To thank (v) ... (d.o)"
So, pedantically, I believe that
"Der Bauer dankt seinem Huhn für die Eier" = "The farmer gives thanks to his chicken for the eggs"
"Der Bauer bedankt sein Hun für die Eier" = "The farmer thanks his chicken for the eggs."
are the maximally-correct, minimally-ambiguous German/English translation pairings. Does that sound right?
[I do see that you've already figured this one out, but for others I'll address your first response.]
So your two examples are not of "to thank" as an intransitive verb, but rather of "thanks" as a noun, meaning "an expression of gratitude".
In your numbered list of options, I would encourage you to almost always disregard option #1. Yes, occasionally die Eule presents some wonky translations and odd usages, but I can't think of any where Duo was out and out wrong. If so, you can bet there will be a lot of comments already in the discussion area pointing that out. (NB: there are a lot of comments to a lot of challenges claiming that die Eule is wrong, but almost all of them are incorrect.)
Number 2 has you still thinking there is an intransitive form of the verb "to thank".
Number 3 is where you're almost at the answer: danken is not exactly "special"--because there are other dative verbs--but it is unusual.