"Or so he says."
Translation:Sagt er zumindest.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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."