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  5. "Or so he says."

"Or so he says."

Translation:Sagt er zumindest.

April 3, 2018



why not Oder so sagt er.

[deactivated user]

    NiklasSalz, I also wrote "Oder so sagt er" and, according to Duolingo, it was wrong for some strange reason. And even my German girlfriend told me that, Duolingo's correction is wrong.


    It's not idiomatic.


    But this is adverbs, not idioms. A correct translation should not be rejected.


    Adverb usage can be idiomatic. If that's not how German's say it then it's not a correct translation.


    But Duolingo is not TEACHING anything by doing this. It confuses people


    I get fiach17's point (couldn't reply to that thread anymore) but I alo agree with nxQNtSXM - I also wish that DL would have something about the idioms e.g. in the Tips. This is one way of learning, yes, but it's not fun to fail at the first time just because there is no way knowing something is an idiom. English is not my first language and it's not the first language of many others who learn on this website either and sometimes I don't even know that the English phrase is actually an idiom which makes it even harder to guess anything. Especially when writing the literal translation can be wrong in both languages.

    DL now often gives the full idiom when hovering on the words but on this particular sentence I had no clue what it was asking for because all the clues are:

    • Or so: Etwa, etwas, oder
    • he: ihm, ihn, er
    • says: sagt, Sagt, meint.

    And I wrote "Oder er sagt so." and then the answer is "Sagt er zumindest." and "zumindest" was never even mentioned in the clues, and the clues alone made absolutely no sense for me as I didn't think "Er sagt etwas." would be the correct answer to this either. [Reported the missing hints now.]


    Excuse me? How is it not teaching anything? It's literally just taught people how to say ''Or so he says'' in a natural way. I speak fluent German, but I got this question wrong since I just didn't put two and two together and instead tried to translate it literally, now I know better and won't make that mistake again. I just don't understand why people complain about this kind of thing - they get too upset about getting an answer wrong to actually remember that XP and perfect lessons are irrelevant and the goal here is to actually learn/improve in a language.


    @MCRmadness Please search for my post further on in. Often idioms in German, with the right approach, can be seen for what they are in English, the same. Yes, sometimes it takes a new understanding of the German language, in how it works; but, if one perseveres, it's possible. It's my 4th comment here! ;-)

    If you read them all, you can see me searching for understanding.


    The idioms lesson has little to no relation to the ones actually used in Duo


    I don't know if "zumindest" has the sense of "so" and duolingo should in such occasions provide words for us in bottom so we realize it is a idiom! ! Otherwise apparently we cannot find out what is it.


    At least that's what he says


    Why is the verb the first word and not the second?


    The object pronoun has been omitted: (Das) sagt er zumindest.


    "At least that's what he says." Next time I'll try to remember to try to see if that works.

    Update: Read later posts, I have come to realize how the word that is implied, in English as well as in German. It has to do with the switch in tense, obvious in English, not so obvious in German to English speakers; but understood by German speakers without thinking.


    That is useful to know. I came here with the same question. Otherwise, this unfamiliar idiomatic phrase looked like a badly constructed question.


    Think of the English expression "Says he!"


    I looked up 'or so' before attempting to try to translate this, it came up 'etwa'. Then I tried to make a sentence, and it came up 'mindestens'. These little words -daher, darum, deshalb, etwa, soweit, allerdings, damit, somit - are very confusing, because they can be used to express different things in different ways. They are very hard to keep straight. There doesn't appear to be any easy way to learn them.


    It happened to me as well. The hint translated "Or so" as "Etwa", so I translated the sentence to "Etwa sagt er" and got it wrong.


    This is an idiomatic expression that you cannot piece together with translating individual words, that's why it sounds wrong to native speakers.

    • 2190

    But it should be in an "idioms" lesson then. And, more importantly, we should be taught the idioms rather than having to struggle trying to apply the rules we've been taught to what is actually a somewhat random set of words.


    Then we would have hundreds, if not, thousands of idioms to learn in one lesson. It makes sense to add some outliers and interesting additions into other lessons like adverbs - especially if these are example places we would use, learn or remember them.


    Yeah. It's not like we have to learn hundreds or thousands adverbs in one lesson, every with a slightly different meaning depending on context with no idea if this is an idiom or fixed sentence or not. Much better.

    • 2190

    What is wrong with "zumindest sagt er" ? Part of this lesson on ADVERBS -- not IDIOMS -- was that if the adverb takes position #1, then the verb goes in position #2. Now Duo is saying put the verb in position #1, which is something we've never been told to do except for questions and imperatives.

    [deactivated user]

      Sagt er zumindest. = At least he says. Oder so sagt er. = Or so he says. No big difference between these expressions, is there? But why "Oder so sagt er" is not accepted, I really don't understand...


      It is not accepted because the phrase, "oder so sagt er," does not exist. These four words simply do not occur in that order in the German language. Native speakers don't say that and it would sound weird to them if somebody else did.


      dominohey, I agree with you that the original sentence should be "At least he says (that)" based on another comment that mentioned Das as tacit at the beginning of the translation. Unfortunately I have never heard in any conversation the sentence: "Or so he says" but I have to confess that English is not my mother tongue.


      I'm a native English speaker, and "or so he says" is kind of idiomatic. You use it when you don't believe someone. E.g. "My mom would never eat the last brownie—or so she says" casts doubt on "my mom" by showing a divergence from her perspective with the "or". From other comments it looks like "oder so sagt er" doesn't have that connotation in the same way that "sagt er zumindest" does.


      I think of it more like, "at least he says" possibly said in German with an emphasis on er. "Sagt er zumindest" or in English "at least he says" as in, "My brother would never eat the last brownie—at least he says" or since German present tense, in English it would be "My brother would never eat the last brownie—at least he is saying".

      I often forget that in German, present tense, while seldom using ist like we do in English, it's always understood to be emphatically in the present. As you see, we use the word "says" which, for us, implies "is" but, when we leave the word out, and use "says" it emphsises "says", like "so he says!" or "so he is saying!"

      So, not so idiomatic; but yet an idiom. "at the very least, he is saying" what we just said previously.

      So I sometimes have to force myself for German, unlike English whether we add "is" or don't, missing "is" is for emphasis "That the verb alone, without "is" as it is in English, for our mind, it is "is" always present and understood thus in German, like in English, but only one form. In German, sagt can mean is saying or says.

      "ist" wird verstanden, auch wenn "ist" nicht gesagt wird.

      "is" is understood even if "is" is not said.

      The more I think about this, the more it makes sense. In English "My mother, or brother would not...is future tense, and so he says, is in present tense. We understand that the word "or" refers back to what was said, and "says" refers to at the minimum, or at the least, to the present tense, that what was said might not be true. If one is not careful to incorporate tense in concept, that verbs in German, especially when they are used in examples like this, are "present tense" and have the same feel to the German language as when we add the word "is"!

      Er isst because present is implied in German can be translated two ways in English, "He is eating." or "He eats"! While subtle in usage, one or the other, German expresses this difference, differently; but, the mental concept is the same. To my mind, this is what thinking in German is all about. Being able to make subtle but meaningful distinction in concept! Which, I believe, and hope, is the path to fluency!

      The end result? For me, this sentence is no longer an idiom! *Sage ich zumindest!" :-)

      So.... not how we would say it; but at the very least, what is meant.


      dictionary hints are nowhere close, they are misleading at best


      I don't think Duo should use idioms like this, which is meaningless in other languages if translated directly to teach beginners. Idioms are for advanced learners.


      Stupid things like this are making me want to quit. I"ve "FAILED" 3 times now and I'm getting pretty sick of typing about monitors and keyboards. (how should I know what you want here???????)


      I am sorry I don't want to be that guy but this is a stupid sentence, not just because in the real world almost nobody uses it, but also because the translations (both written and the meaning) are completely different from the original, and the contest is missing. Study such a sentence at this level of the course doesn't make any sense, in my opinion.


      What? Just...what?


      According to the dictionary "zumindest" is the adverb "at least". I'm sick of Duolingo's weird translations!


      There is a GREAT free online German/English dictionary (www.dict.cc)--it even gives some idioms (including this one!): https://www.dict.cc/?s=zumindest


      I understand that people are upset because they have no way of knowing or deducing the answer correctly on their first attempt, but that's just how people say it. Making up your own phrases and insisting they should be accepted is not going to get Germans to understand what you're saying. That's like insisting that Spanglish or Chinglish be accepted as correct English.


      I can also understand why Duolingo chooses to put in idioms, they're useful, and it makes you sound much more natural. However, mashing them in courses that are hard enough like this one (I'm still struggling to get my head around all the daran, darauf, dabei, damit) is just too much and frankly extremely demoralising for learning the language. I suggest Duolingo make lessons on idioms, having say idioms 1 and idioms 2, that would be a lot better. Or if that is for whatever reason too difficult, at least have the hints be... well hinty and not suggest literal translations of each word in the phrase


      "Zumindest sagt er." Does that word order also work? It was rejected.


      The word order fits, but you cannot leave out the "das" at the end. Correct: "Zumindest sagt er das " or "es" :"Zumindest sagt er es" - depending on the context. In opposite you can leave out the "das" in front of the sentence - like quis lib duo obove mentioned. ("(Das)Sagt er zumindest"). With "es" on the beginning does the word order change. "Er sagt es zumindest" and you cannot leave out the "es"here. Sorry I do not know a rule.


      I'm beginning to think this last module of section three is a trial by fire. Only those willing to make continual leaps of faith about idiomatic constructions will pass through the final portal. If I keep telling myself this, maybe I'll make it.


      'Oder so meint er', would express it, I think.


      "oder so", means "or something like that"


      Yes the german (oder so "ähnlich") means really "or something like that" . Mostly is "ähnlich" omitted in this word order. In German is the funktion mostly: (some statement), "oder so". One says that if the statement is not really clear. But is this not the same we have to translate "or so" from English. Here we need an English native to explain it.


      Is that part of the tree part of production from the same people that made the rest? It seems kind of just thrown in instead of carefully chosen like the rest of the tree

      • 2190

      Yes. It's not about adverbs. It's about idioms someone thought would be interesting, but without any lessons.


      Sagt zumindest er should be accepted, if the speaker wants to express that he especially is saying it whilst others are not.


      Another example of DL teaching idioms when it should be teaching adverbs. This has been the most worthless lesson DL has attempted to teach.
      As beginners, we should not be learning idioms at this level. It only distracts and confuses at this proficiency level.


      This is not an idiom section. DL please stop doing this!


      Again, another useless suggestions list. Zumindest isn't even included.


      Ein bescheuerte Satz!


      Why the suggestions are all wrong?


      I think the english sentence shoul be: At least he says so.


      I think the English sentence should read: At least he says so.


      'sagt er zumindest' or' zumindest sagt er das' are the answers given. 'Zumindest sagt er' is wrong. Idiomatic?


      Unlike in the sentence starting with das, you can't omit the object from 'Zumindest sagt er das'.
      'Das sagt er zumindest' works too – but that's not what you asked.


      Sagt er! Why is this wrong?


      Because that would be: "Says he!" - which due to its brevity sounds more frustrated and distrustful


      "Zumindest" heißt "at the least" doch nicht?


      So the translation is closer to "atleast that's what he says" or even closer "-he says, atleast"?


      why not, also sagt er ?


      Hearing: "Also sagt er", would promt any German to say: "Also sagt er WAS?" - It's an incomplete sentence because "sagen" needs an object or a phrase to refer to. Granted, the given translation leaves that out, but that's already addressed by quis_lib_duo. The word order makes it clear and it's a quite common expression. Besides, apart from being a filler occasionally used when people are trying to think what they're going to say next, the word "also" also means "therefore," which is not what you're supposed to translate.


      "At least, that what he says?"


      But what does "or so he says" mean tho..?


      You use it when telling someone what someone else has said but you want to make it clear that you're uncertain whether to trust what the other person said.

      [deactivated user]

        "Zumindest sagt er daran" - is this a possibility?


        No. »Sagt er zumindest dazu|darüber« would make sense, for “At least that's what he says to|about that.”


        why is sagt in front of er?


        Why not: "Zumindest sagt er" which sounds similar to the Italian expression: "O almeno lo dice lui".


        and why the hell is "zumindest sagt er." corrected wrong?


        Why can't I say, Zumindest sagt er?


        My German partner could not guess this. You need to write At least... Not or so, which is meaningless.


        Ist „Zumindest sagt er“ wirklich falsch?!


        "So sagt er zumindest" has been rejected. Why? It is grammatically correct AND it means the same.


        Nein, es ist nicht grammatikalisch richtig, weil das Verb "sagen" ein transitives Verb ist, d. h. es braucht ein Akkusativobjekt. "Er sagt so.", is not a correct German sentence unless you add an "das" → "Er sagt das so.", is acceptable, but still doesn't feel the same to a native speaker, at least not to me. The user quis_lib_duo already said above that the given translation leaves out the "das" which works with the word order to indicate the missing object, but it cannot be replaced with "so."

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