"Schließlich helfen ihm seine Freunde."

Translation:Finally his friends help him.

April 20, 2013

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/McMustard

Why does the subject come at the end in this sentence?

July 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein

In ‘Schließlich helfen ihm seine Freunde.’=“Finally, his friends are helping him.”, the subject ‘seine Freunde’ comes after the indirect object ‘ihm’ mainly because it's heavier (that is, what linguists call its ‘lexical weight’ is greater): ‘seine Freunde’ is a full noun phrase with four syllables, while ‘ihm’ is just a pronoun with a single syllable. The subject comes before the indirect object If you balance the weights by pronominalizing ‘seine Freunde’: ‘Schließlich helfen sie ihm.’=“Finally, they're helping help him.”. The subject would ordinarily also come before the indirect object if you expand ‘ihm’ into a noun phrase at least as heavy: ‘Schließlich helfen seine Freunde ihrem Vater.’=“Finally, his friends are helping her father.”

A secondary consideration is the distinction between what linguists call topic versus focus, or old versus new information. For example, if after only being helped by strangers (the old information), his friends have finally stepped in (the new information), then you'd say ‘Schließlich helfen ihm seine Freunde.’ or ‘Schließlich helfen ihrem Vater seine Freunde.’ in German; but in English, where there's no case system to free up word order, you'd have to switch to the passive “Finally, he's being helped by his friends.” or “Finally, her father is being helped by his friends.” In contrast, if after helping everyone else, his friends finally turn to help HIM, you'd say ‘Schließlich helfen seine Freunde IHM.’, heavily stressing the last word to make it heavy enough to go after a noun phrase. But if both the subject and indirect object are pronouns, the order is fixed. Even with heavy stress on the last word, *‘Schließlich helfen ihm SIE.’ is unacceptable in German.

July 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/aucunLien

Wow. Thanks for this! I wholeheartedly declare it "insight of the month"

August 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Luchtmens

I've just read one of the most exquisite linguistic explanations on Duo. Thanks, man!

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Robatrain

I love you.

May 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lean04

really helpful

September 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

Because the verb has to come second. If you put something else ("finally") instead of the subject to the first place, the subject will have to come after the verb.

July 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/McMustard

Right, but why at the end, instead of immediately after the verb per the usual inverted word order rule?

July 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

Oh... I had to re-read the whole sentence to get what you mean. I would not even think of "Schließlich helfen seine Freunde ihm", it looks too odd even to my non-expert view. I don't know the rule, sorry.

July 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/McMustard

I'm going to assume it has to do with the dative pronoun being used. Man würde sagen: "Schließlich finde ich meine Schlüssel," nicht wahr? Edit: Although, "Eigentlich geht es mir gut," so I guess if there are two pronouns, then nominative beats dative. Off to check some references!

July 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

I don't think it has to do with cases, it is rather nouns and pronouns. "Shließlich finden ihn seine Freunde", huh? Accusative. "Shließlich findet er seine Freunde" - the pronoun subject goes before the direct object.

July 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/bf2010
  • 1791

"schließlich" could be also translated (with a different meaning) as "after all"

April 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein

Correct.

June 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/koyunlar

what is wrong with :

finally his friends are helping him

April 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

Seems fine to me. Did you report it?

April 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein

Nothing's wrong with it. Please report it.

June 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/idkhbtfm

it's accepted now.

November 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/tom.wald

"Schließlich" can also be translated as "lastly" in the "at the end of the day" sense of the English idiom.

September 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/averoes

I remember we used 'zuletzt' earlier for 'at last'. Could someone explain the difference between it and 'schliesslich'?

March 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/adikkkkj

What is the difference between schließlich and endlich?

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/tom.wald

See my comment.

Also - now that I think about it you could see it this way:

Schlieslich - at last Endlich - finally

But mostly, you'll have to go by the context of the story in which this sentence stands.

Wald

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MorenoAlejandro

Does ''Schließlich helfen seine Freunde ihm'' work??

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Laruthell

You wouldn't say that unless you heavily stressed the "ihm" at the end. See AndreasWitnstein's excellent explanation above.

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/IsaacRosdail

This may have already been partially answered, but why is 'ihm', the dative form, used here instead of 'ihn', the accusative, since 'he' is being acted upon?

September 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein

‘helfen’ is a dative verb. It doesn't act directly on its object, but does something for it.

September 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/IsaacRosdail

Oh I see, thank you!

September 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Magnus632953

Could it be: "Schließlich helfen seind Freunde ihm."?

November 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sir_Percival

Why is the subject last here?

November 5, 2018
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