"Sie soll nicht schlafen."

Translation:She is not supposed to sleep.

June 6, 2018

21 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/theycallmepyro

One, two, Freddy's coming for you...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YuriZoria

Eins, zwei, Freddy kommt dabei...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pohakontash

I wonder how scared I would be watching Elm Street with German dub


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thegrouchoscar

Could "Sie sollen nicht schlafen" be accepted as "They are not supposed to sleep"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rosalie.vdb

Duo won't make it correct :(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ems747

I don't know if it's just me but the audio is sometimes weird. I have to replay it because it doesn't play fully or it's not very clear. For example this one sounded more like "sollen" than "soll".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Katja-z

@ Ems747

I thought it was saying "sollen" as well. And I did not play it on slow, so I got it wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JarlNydahl

"She is not to sleep" sounds right to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Seconded. Although it is somewhat higher register than "She is not supposed to sleep". Not that that would make it any less correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Helllonearth

Why is 'she ought not to sleep' wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

That would be a better translation of "Sie sollte nicht schlafen".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/turajo

Can you say more about this?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Sure.

„Sollen“ is a modal verb that expresses a kind of obligation or expectation. I believe it is etymologically linked to "shall", which is often the best translation, though it's frequently translated to "to be supposed to", and to be to is another oft-used translation.

„Sollte“ is the Konjunktiv II (and preterite) form of „sollen“, and—as per the function of the Konjunktiv II—adds a condition or a sense of uncertainty to the base verb:

Ich kann meine Hausaufgaben machen.
I can do my homework.

Ich könnte meine Hausaufgaben machen (wenn ich wollte).
I could do my homework (if I wanted to).

The rule of thumb for translating the KII form of a verb to English is to add "would" before the translation of the indicative form of the verb:

Ich muss meine Hausaufgaben machen.
I have to do my homework.

Ich müsste meine Hausaufgaben machen, wenn ich sie nicht schon gemacht hätte.
I would have to do my homework, if I hadn't done it already.

Unfortunately, that doesn't really work with any of our translations for "sollen" above, but hopefully we've developed a better sense for the difference between "sollen" and "sollte". The second isn't nearly as firm and definitive as the first.

So when we see a sentence like "Sie soll nicht schlafen.", we should be thinking along the lines of "She shall not sleep.", "She is not supposed to sleep." and "She is not to sleep."; and with a sentence like "Sie sollte nicht schlafen.", we'd do better translating it to something like "She shouldn't sleep." or "She ought not to sleep".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hmsong.10

"not supposed to" and "should not" are two very different meanings. which one is the correct or mostly used translation in german?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Very different?
I see "not supposed to" as a step up from "should not"; so I'd still say different, but not very.

Either way, it's impossible to give a 'correct' translation that works all the time; you can only look case-by-case, but generally:

1. "sollen" means "to be supposed to";
2. "sollte" (KII of "sollen") means "should"; [...]

But in actuality there is some crossover between the terms.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hmsong.10

AdamKean, I have to kindly and respectfully disagree with you here. To me, the two are very different in that "supposed to" implies obligation through an external authority, while "should" implies self-motivation.

For example, if your coworker is in the hospital, it is perfectly ok to say "i should pay them a visit." However, it doesn't sound genuine if you say "I am supposed to pay them a visit."

I just didn't want it to sound strange when I speak to German natives.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

I like the idea of external-obligation for "supposed to", and would extend that to internal-obligation for "should".

Using motivation gives me the impression there is some desire in visiting the coworker; whereas, what I pick up from the sentence "I should pay them a visit.", is "I don't want to, but I ought to—it's the right thing to do". And "I am supposed to pay them a visit." gives me the sort of feeling that visiting coworkers is in the contract, or something along those lines (as you implied with your description); which would essentially be an enforcement of 'doing the right thing' a.k.a. a 'step up'.

I just didn't want it to sound strange when I speak to German natives.

If I might add a word of advice: try and get a feeling for when German speakers use "sollen" and "sollte" in German, without the need to translate every instance back to English. Unless your goal is to translate En<->De (rather than simply understanding/being able to converse in German), you don't need to stop and translate everything back to English once you get a feeling for German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ken.G.Smith

This should be "She SHALL not sleep", according to the notes accompanying this lesson, "sollen roughly translates to SHALL". I guess the lesson here is that it could also be "supposed to" or "ought to" or "must" . . . .


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/enigmajf

So sollen means "should" or "shall" in English?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Well, if you want to stick to strict, single translations:

  1. "sollen" means "to be supposed to";
  2. "sollte" (KII of "sollen") means "should"; &
  3. "werden" means "shall".

But in actuality there is some crossover between the terms.

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