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I'm utterly confused by this translation.

I'm on the Dative Pronouns lesson, and this sentence came up for translation:

"Es hat Computer seit einiger Zeit gegeben."

I was completely at a loss. The translation was given as:

"Computers have existed for some time."

This sentence seems so much more complicated than anything I've learned previously. It was out of left field, and I feel like I just have no clue how to translate something like that.
Any help would be appreciated.

July 26, 2012



"es hat gegeben" is "es gibt" in the perfect tense (past). Don't be thrown off by the fact that "es hat" and "gegeben" are separated. A more literal translation would be "There have been computers for some time."


So it's just a case of a new tense being introduced prematurely then? This happens a lot on duolingo, I've noticed. Words, phrases, concepts and the like showing up in the lesson with absolutely no prior instruction or lesson.


@Cubbance: The German tenses aren't actually that difficult. You might want to have a quick look at some conjugation tables just to get a rough idea of how the tenses work. http://goo.gl/xc62Q


~It might help to start by translating the German sentence word for word into English. If you get a meaningful sentence by doing that, then it may well be correct. But the sentence you get here,"it has given computers for some time" makes no sense. So then you have to take the next step, and try to figure out what the writer of the sentence was trying to say. "Es gibt" is literally "it gives", but is a very common way of saying "there are . . . ". ~ This is a lesson, so I guess it doesn't give you any context. You could look up a dictionary or phrase book to see if a word has more than one meaning. I use http://en.pons.eu and http://www.linguee.de.
~I heard a story about a German guy who wrote a letter to his English landlady that began thus: "Expensive Landlady, there is a train in my room . . . ". What he wanted to say was, "Dear Landlady, there is a draught in my room . . . ". "Dear" can mean "expensive" in English, and the word "Zug" in German means "train", and "draught".


Break it up: "Es hat Computer gegeben" or more simply "es gab Computer" and the part "seit einiger Zeit" "Es gibt" can be compared with French "il y a"

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