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  5. "Wir trinken sonst keinen Tee…


"Wir trinken sonst keinen Tee."

April 5, 2013



What about this translation? "We usually do not drink tea." What means the above translation "We do not drink tea otherwise"?


Both are fine :)


‘sonst’ = “otherwise” implies that on the occasion(s) in question we ARE drinking tea; “usually” has no such implication.


However, "Usually, we don't drink tea" is IMO more idiomatic, and does imply that on THIS occasion, we are drinking tea.


I cannot discern a substantial difference between my translation " We do not usually drink tea " and the options offered. Also Yaqo raises the point re " We do not drink tea otherwise, I think the word order for this in English would more usually be - We do not otherwise drink tea. In English we do not in common use put a negative I ( no ) in front of the noun in an instance such as this, " We drink usually no tea " seltsam nicht wahr !


"otherwise we don't drink tea" and "we don't usually drink tea" have two different meanings, is it true that in german there's no difference except maybe intonation and context, between the two?


Good point - don't know the answer, perhaps someone will enlighten us.


They're quite distinct in German too. German has plenty of words meaning “usually”: ‘gewöhnlich’, ‘üblicherweise’, ‘normalerweise’, ‘meistens’, …


I am getting mightily fed up with the appalling English that is being used by Duolingo. I don't know who is responsible, but some quality checks are very much needed before their English answers go online. This is yet another example of a translation not making sense. I cannot talk about the German phraseology, and how correct it is. I am trying to learn the German language and it's not being helped by the nonsensical use of the English language. I am not expecting word for word translations and there has to be flexabilty but the correct use of BOTH languages is an imperative.


Dealing with nonsensical sentences in both the source and target languages can certainly be frustrating, and I expect a fair number of users do get fed up and quit. However, please bear in mind that Duolingo is a free service.

Good language textbooks (which generally aren't free) are honed for many years on the authors' students, who serve both as guinea pigs and collaborators. Duolingo has been around for less than two years (less for some language combinations), and we early users are Duolingo's guinea pigs and collaborators. There's an enormous amount of material on this site compared to a textbook, because instead of a single translation for each sentence, Duolingo ambitiously seeks to accommodate all good translations.

If you find a supposedly correct sentence to be nonsensical, please report it, to lessen the frustration for other users! I find Duolingo's German+English team to be very responsive.

On the other hand, since this site is designed to teach language translation, rather than to teach languages as such, the nonsensical sentences actually give a realistic taste of the garbage out there that professional translators have to deal with on an everyday basis.

There's also a humorous outlet for frustration with Duolingo's zingers that you might enjoy:



Thank you for your very considered reply. I do support the philosophy that is at the heart of Duolingo, and its creators are to be applauded for their efforts. I have no doubt that a lot of hard work and a great deal of emotional stress has gone into its creation. In future I will use the the report button more often, I hope not to often, and any comments I may make are meant to be constructive not destructive. I will have a look at the link you have given, and look forward to having a wry smile.



Do I want Duoling now, or do I want Duolingo to be perfect, eventually?

I'll take it now, warts and all, thank you. Especially since the warts are sometimes hysterically funny. The "medical" segment made me cry...

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