"You don't know the bear."
Translation:Du kennst den Bären nicht.
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The reason is that the position of nicht affects the meaning. You can read more about it in the lesson tips.
When we have du kennst den Bär nicht, as in the correct example, nicht affects the verb kennst. The meaning is that "you don't know the bear".
However, if we incorrectly have 'du kennst nicht den Bär', nicht affects the noun den Bär. The meaning is that "you know not the bear". This doesn't really make sense without further detail: You know something, but it's not the bear. What is it?
I think that it is just as you pointed out, there are other cases in which the "nicht" has a different position in the sentence. I believe that "nicht" here has another position because the different components that a sentence can have (e.g. subject, verb, complement, etc.) can occupy different positions in the sentence and they also have some sort of "preference" above other components. So, in this case "den Bären" is filling the 3rd position so "nicht" cannot be there. I guess you should look into structure of the sentence or order of the parts/components/words of a sentence in German to know more about this.
It's a bit archaic, but the second example you gave used to be a more formal/educated way of saying 'you don't know the bear' in English. It's still a valid sentence, even if it would raise a few eyebrows. It's also fully standalone, and requires no further context. In light of that, I'm still not seeing why that wouldn't be acceptable German.
In az_p's explanation, he says in the second example that nicht affects or modifies den Bär. So 'not the bear'. In the archaic English sentence form you mention, 'you know not the bear', 'not' modifies 'you know', so 'you know not'. This means that even though the word order is identical to a literal translation of the second incorrect German sentence, the grammatical meaning corresponds to the first correct German sentence.
While I understand the difference I don't know how we are supposed to know which (you don't know the bear or you don't know the Bear but you may know the rabbit) without additional context. Having never been required to know a bear (or a rabbit for that matter), it seems nonsensical to assume either!
The bear here is the direct object so you use accusative form to indicate this by declining the article (der changes to den). I read that some nouns also change with the accusative adding an "n" or "en" at the end. But I'm not sure if this always happens for these nouns or if it is related to the different structures a sentence can have.
Maybe they're just glossing over this, but shouldn't den Bär be den Bären? Der Bär is one of a few nouns that retains an accusative ending like den Namen does. Or maybe this is falling out of use? I've tried to be careful not to forget this one, so it's odd to see it without its accusative noun ending.
But wouldn't "Bären" be the plural for "Bär" and be translated as "You don't know the bears" ?
Unless Germans notice the speaker has just said "den" making it compulsory to be followed by a masculine singular noun... unless Germans wonder whether the speaker is a foreigner struggling with articles and should have used "die" with the plural "Bären".
Though in case of "Bären" referring to "all bears" in general, like "any bear", then Germans would think this poor foreigner should have used "du kennst keine Bären".
I think I actually know the answer to this one! ("But wouldn't 'Bären' be the plural for 'Bär' and be translated as 'You don't know the bears' ?") "The bears" (plural) is "die Bären." Since the article in the sentence is "den" not "die," that's our clue that Bären is singular in this case.
Since the article in the sentence is "den" not "die," that's our clue that Bären is singular in this case.
You need an additional clue: the fact that kennen expects an object in the accusative case.
That way, you know that den has to be masculine accusative (i.e. singular).
den could also be dative plural -- it's only because you know you're expecting accusative that this possibility is excluded.
If you had a verb that required the dative case, e.g. Ich folge den Bären, it would mean "I am following the bears", plural, since den here has to be dative and thus plural, rather than accusative and thus singular.
Duden was a guy who was relevant for standardizing German spelling. Nowadays, the publisher with that name regularly oversteps its boundaries of describing what the common usage is by denigrating people that use other variants. They seem to wish for a static language that never changes, instead of embracing the reality: that language is alive and will forever change.
Love this explanation so hard. Language IS alive and always evolving (or devolving depending on one's views)...but I refuse accept "irregardless" no matter how many dictionaries and linguists bend to the masses (though it is often noted that it is improper, which provides a small degree of solace). Totally OT, but truly just wanted to give your explanation more love than just an upvote.
Some German masculine nouns just get an "n" or "en" added in every case except nominative. Look up "n declension" and you'll find lot of sites explaining it. Here's one: http://germanforenglishspeakers.com/nouns/weak-nouns-the-n-declension/
How the hell am I supposed to know the difference between "Du kennst nicht den Bar." (I can't type an umlaut on this keyboard) and "Du kennst den Bar nicht."? Is there some secret information somewhere that I'm supposed to find before answering questions like this? Is there a reason why it's a secret, and not part of the actual lessons? Why is it that some translations allow "nicht" to be after the verb and some don't? There's no consistency with this. ❤❤❤.
I suppose the Duolingo test question is the lesson. When you are marked wrong you read the discussion and learn more. And consult other sources. I find this site useful: https://yourdailygerman.com/position-nicht-german/
Sooo.... let me get this straight. In this lesson, which was not introduced in the introductory notes in the web interface, I'm supposed to "just know"that Bär magically turns into "Bären" unless its in nominative case, and that nicht -- and we're currently working on nicht vs nichts vs kein in all its manifestations -- goes at the end of the sentence. Or else it would be kennst "not a bear, which should keine Bären for those playing along at home. Thanks. That's clear as mud.
When nouns have definite articles, in this case der, you will never use kein, you will use nicht. For more information, this website (https://deutsch.lingolia.com/en/grammar/sentence-structure/negation) shows which to use in an easy way.
In the accusative case, masculine articles ("the" and "a") change to end with "-n." So "der Bär" becomes "den Bär" and "ein Bär" becomes "einen Bär" (but only masculine "ein" not neuter "ein" change).
If you happen to have access to a computer or web app instead of just the Duolingo app, there is a function called "Notes and Tips" on each Duolingo lesson that gives detailed information so learning all these rules isn't as hard (I don't know why it's not available on the mobile app).
I don't understand any of the comments backing up this translation. "Bären" is plural for "Bär", is it not?. Shouldn't the answer be "Du kennst den Bär nicht." Also wouldn't we use "die" with "Bären" anyways given the fact that it would be plural? Duolingo's translation is either incorrect on multiple levels or they need to explain why this is a unique exception.
If you click the skill you're interested in, before clicking "start" (or "practice") there will be a lightbulb icon to link you to tips and notes for that skill.
Most Duo courses have them for web-version only, but we are lucky in the German course because tips and notes are available on the app version now! :-)
I still do not get why is it "den Bären" instead of "den Bär" or "die Bären".
die Bären would be plural, which is not appropriate if you're talking about one particular bear.
As for den Bären, not den Bär -- Bär changes to Bären in the accusative case (and, in fact, all cases except the nominative). See e.g. https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Baer_Raubtier#grammatik or http://www.canoonet.eu/inflection/b%C3%A4r:N:M:Tier .
der Bär is nominative. den Bären is accusative. den Bär is simply wrong -- as is der Bären.
why is it Bären and not Bär? Why is it pluralized?
It's not plural. Bären is the form that word takes anywhere except in the nominative singular -- so not only in all cases in the plural but also in 3/4 of the cases in the singular, including the accusative case, which you need here.
We teach -- and expect -- standard German on this course.
Some Germans may say du kennst den Bär nicht or Ich sehe kein Bär or Ich singe gern weil das macht mir Spaß or du bist größer wie er -- but none of those are standard German and none of those are accepted.
Please use standard grammar here. We will not be adding non-standard forms.
In standard German, the accusative of der Bär is den Bären. Not den Bär.
I read through almost all of the comments, and I still don't understand why the answer is "den Bären" instead of "den Bär." I get that with context clues you still can understand that the bear is singular due to "kennst" and "den," but then why is bear written as plural? Why not write it as a singular noun instead of hoping someone gets the context clues?
why is bear written as plural?
It's not plural.
Bären is the form used in all forms except in the nominative singular.
So you have singular
- der Bär
- des Bären
- dem Bären
- den Bären
- die Bären
- der Bären
- den Bären
- die Bären
Since you need the accusative case here, you're not "nominative singular", so you need Bären.
It's not (just) a plural form.
Both are for masculine singular, but "der" is nominative (for the subject of the sentence), and "den" is accusative (for the direct object of the sentence-- the thing being known, seen, eaten, found, etc.).
If you mix up "den" and "der", you will still be understood, but it would sound a little funny to a native German-speaker. In English, we only distinguish nominative and accusative with certain pronouns (I/me, she/her, etc.). So the equivalent would be like saying: "Me know she." instead of "I know her." :-)
"you know no bears" same as you dont know the bear
No, those are not the same.
One is talking about a specific bear ("the bear") whom you do not know, while the other states that you do not know any bear at all.
Also, baren (cash) is not the same as Bären (bear) -- you can't just leave out the dots or it will turn into a different word. If you can't write an ä, use ae instead: Baeren.
Well, not a surprise for me. They don't say, "Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache… " for nothing ... Seems like there are a lot of rules and exceptions in German language.
Den Bar is singular accusative.
No. Den Bar is simply wrong.
die Bar is singular accusative for "the bar".
But here you need "the bear", which in the accusative is den Bären, with ä and with -en.
Nominative der Bär, accusative den Bären.
Die Baren is plural.
No; "bears" is Bären with ä. (Or ae if you can't type that letter, as in Baeren.)
How about 'du kennst kienen den baren'? What would be the meaning of it?
Nothing. kienen is not a German word.
den baren means "the cash one".
Are you thinking of den Bären with capital B and ä? (If you can't type ä, write ae instead, e.g. den Baeren.)
And presumably of keinen with ei?
Du kennst keinen den Bären. makes as little sense as "You do not know a the bear." -- you're using indefinite keinen (not ... a) and definite den (the) together.
Duolingo really loves their bear character, they use it every language.
Unfortunately, in German, it is an irregular noun. A particular one called an N-noun. It means that the noun has to "decline" also, just like its article. In the case of "der Baer", every time it is not as the subject, it immediately switches to Baeren. It looks plural, but sadly it is simply the form that occurs in every other case, including the plural. So, "Der Baer bla bla bla (insert verb here)", otherwise "bla bla (subject) bla bla (verb), (appropriate article) Baeren".
I really tried to make this clear but will be happy to explain further if it still seems weird. Wiki has an article, though! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_nouns
Scroll down to the table and look at the important word (for us) Student. Then look at all the forms after the nominative singular. All "Studenten", right? Our Baer, here, follows exactly that path.
Viel Glueck! (sorry, no umlauts on my computer)
Why "du kennst keinen bär" is incorrect. Dake
"the bear" is definite -- you're speaking about a particular bear.
kein is used before indefinite nouns.
Also, kennen -- like pretty much all verbs that take an object -- takes a direct object in the accusative case, so you need accusative Bären and not nominative Bär. (You know "him", not: you know "he".) And lowercase bär is completely wrong. (Unfortunately, Duolingo does not check this.)
Du kennst keinen Bären. would be "You do not know a bear."
Du kennst den Bären nicht. is correct for "You do not know the bear."
"a bear" versus "the bear" -- indefinite versus definite.
It should be bar
Eh? bar means "in cash", i.e. with money that you can touch. This sentence has nothing to do with money.
This sentence talks about a bear, which is Bär in the nominative (note capital B and ä) and Bären in the accusative.
(If you can't make an ä, write ae, as in der Baer, den Baeren.)