It's times like this when I get a bit sick and tired of the run-around German gives me. :( Just when I think I'm doing really well, ... I come across something like this, that totally throws me off.
I guess Twain never tried Chinese or Japanese. Coming from there German is much easier :'D
whenever a person says sie to me, I generally try to kill him, if a stranger.
aguspranandhita, he's quoting Mark Twain.
However, it is not well to dwell too much on the separable verbs. One is sure to lose his temper early; and if he sticks to the subject, and will not be warned, it will at last either soften his brain or petrify it. Personal pronouns and adjectives are a fruitful nuisance in this language, and should have been left out. For instance, the same sound, sie, means you, and it means she, and it means her, and it means it, and it means they, and it means them. Think of the ragged poverty of a language which has to make one word do the work of six -- and a poor little weak thing of only three letters at that. But mainly, think of the exasperation of never knowing which of these meanings the speaker is trying to convey. This explains why, whenever a person says sie to me, I generally try to kill him, if a stranger.
Twain is one to talk, seeing that you may mean du and dich and dir and ihr and euch and Sie and... well, Sie.
To add to Kapos's comment, here's a few sentences to consider in this: I have set the dining set, and have it securely set upon the production set, in hopes that will set things to rest and surely settle the matter. It is an unfortunate set of circumstances that has led me to this conclusion and wholesale abandonment of this argument I had no intention of doing so with, though at long last I hope this action will set things to rest.
Set has 80 definitions last I checked. To quote Twain, it is "[...] a poor little weak thing of only three letters at that."
this inspired me to learn German and you know what later I found "Mark Twain and the German Language"
"Mark Twain and the German Language" made me put off trying to learn German for five years. He made it sound so awful
Have a Lingot and thanks so much for that link. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard!
Brilliant, truly brilliant. If Mark Twain suffered and overcame then so can I lol
Pati (below), I don't normally follow links like this, but I'm almost wetting myself laughing at your youtube link. Thankyou for sharing it.
why do germans all the words have so long!? i saw the yb link hahhah rhabarbaraa how can she even say it :)
Thanks for the interesting reference. What a hilarious writing. It is soothing to know that I am not alone struggling to learn Deutsch.
Mark Twain, 1880. He had given 9 suggestions to make the language easy to foreigners. Only after 130 years, Deitschland replaced ß by ss. But even that has not been adapted by Duolingo!
Are we learning the classical Deutsch that does not exist even in Germany?
After spending 200 hours and passing through half of the lessons, I am still in present tense only.
I am a ardent supporter of German for developing good device numbering system for plants. The are very good in developing standards through DIN and VDE. Even better, enforcing them nationwide.
I therefore do not understand why they do not reform their language.
Atleast, I tried to understand by comparing it with Hindi and Tamil that have similar complexities. To English it must be a nightmare.
To conclude, I think Deutsch may be better learnt only living with that community.
Why should they reform thei language? Just so that foreigners who are frustrated and are used to speaking English, which is an easy language to learn, can have a better time learning it? Come on! A language is a country's treasure...nowadays every country in the world is being culturally colonized by an american mentality. Enough of that! German is a beautiful and rich language and it should be kept exactly as it is!
You're talking about Rechtschreibreform, the German spelling reform movement, which about a decade ago changed the rules of when to use 'ß' and when to use 'ss' but did not remove the 'ß' entirely. Note however that in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the 'ß' character has been entirely replaced by 'SS' and the like.
To conclude, I think Deutsch may be better learnt only living with that community.
i also think that the basics you can learn in school or course but for much more we should be livin in german speaking places.
As a foreigner, I find the "ß-feature" very cool. A trademark of sorts. Too bad some half-assed reformers always try to dumb things down. Whenever writing in German, I use ß on purpose in all exercises whenever possible.
It's no good moaning about peculiar things in German or any other language. That is the way it is. 'Es sind' got me puzzled too. But you have to accept it and move on.
Ferien has no singular form at all. You may find following link useful: https://www.korrekturen.de/flexion/deklination/Ferien/
i write "it is vacation" and it is accepted. so do you mean that "it are vacation" is also right translation?
i don't think you can apply german grammar to english and use it and are together ;)
No. (I can't explain why, I'm a native speaker, not a teacher) You could say it like that only if there's something more to come, like
"Ferien sind es, die die Schule erträglich machen"
christian, I realize this is a set expression in German.
However, you say: The verb agrees with the subject, not with "es".
But strictly grammatically, isn't "es" the subject? Why would one ever think that a 3-word sentence Pronoun - Verb - Noun is anything other than Subject - Verb - Object or Predicative?
Es is indeed the subject. If you follow Christian's link, you'll see it should be
The verb agrees with the predicative, not with es
Sorry, i couldn't understand. Vacation time is not plural. So, even the verb agrees with the subject it must be "ist" again. Am i understranding it totally wrong?
"Es sind viele Blumen im Garten."
I can understand this, for example.
I think, simply put, that this sentence is like "Holidays are it," but with a different word order.
Not as sure as an expert or native, but based on my research that's what I'm going with.
Two years later, but I'd like to contribute my two cents. In Spanish, we say "son vacaciones!!", which is the plural of "es vacación!!". The singular is "vacación" ("vacation" in English), and the plural is "vacaciones" ("vacations"). So, "Es sind Ferien" = "Son vacaciones" = "These are vacations", and I don't think I've ever heard that last one, but I think it's grammatically correct.
Even in English we say "It is the holidays" but we say "Holidays are the best". No language in the world accept Esperanto which is an artificial language made by linguists which is completely predictable and regular. Living languages change and evolve over time. That is what makes mastering them all the more interesting, challenging and fun. Come on people! Embrace the beauty.
Ferien sind es. It doesn't matter how the noun goes, just like English. Here to my understanding, sind is to describe Ferien, a plural.
I'd say this is supposed to be informal. Suppose your boss ask you back to work... It happens frequently in China.
In English I almost never see two exclamation points, even in extremely informal communication. It's usually three.
It is a show of extra excitement. It is informal and would be only be appropriate on social media if then.
On social media I would say it certainly is appropriate. Also, my favorite book makes use of such little stylistic flourishes sometimes and I think it works quite well in there. It is true, however, that in formal contexts this would definitely be something to avoid.
In french "vacation" is called "vacance" and this includes long vacation. But if it's a matter of just ONE day vacation we'd rather say: "Une journée fériée". Ex: On a calendar, you will read on the May 1st the mention: "FERIÉ" Since I'm french native speaker, the german word "Ferien" is too easy to remember. On genaral german is easier for those who speak already English & French ;)
Still not accepted? Holy cow. :-(
I hope you reported it. Have an ingot. ;-)
It's really frustrating when the first time you are presented with a word is in a "Listen and Type" exercise. I can often sound it out, but sometimes I just have no idea. Is there a way to make it introduce new words only via text?
If you are asking is there an option you can activate, there is no such thing. I can only suggest creating a discussion about this in general Duolingo section or in German section http://www.duolingo.com/topic/67 because your question is better suited to be there than here in a discussion of a specific sentence.
I believe idiomatic expressions should be introduced in writing first, since they otherwise make no sense to non German speakers.
My question is regarding the translation. Does it mean it is the holidays, and does that mean the Christmas season, or does it just mean it is vacation time?
In this case, Es is used as impersonal subject, hence the verb agrees with the noun Es refers to.
I used "holiday" instead of "vacation", which is correct in England. "Vacation" is very much more of an American expression.
It is a special case that one simply has to remember. The same can be found in english: "It's the summer holidays". Here "holidays" is also plural but still there is a "it's" at the beginning of the sentence.
Arkadasnv: I believe Angelika3640 provided a great example.
These are special phrases in German, gotta remember them and that's all. :)
But "it's" is a singular verb -- "it is" -- and "sind" is not. That's why it's baffling.
"It is the summer holidays." is incorrect. It would be: "They are the summer holy days." or "It is the summer holy day."
The copula, and both joined items, must all match in number.
Is that British English? or should I understand English is your second language because you don't capitalize the word English?
Not everyone uses perfekt Grammatik on the internet.
That would be "They are vacation time!!" which wouldn't make much sense in German, either.
only plural "holidays" accepted? that's an Americanism, in the uk we always say holiday singular and it means the same
It's not an Americanism. It's probably a result of the German term "Ferien" being plural. A literal translation would give you the plural word "Holidays"
I'm not so sure I agree with that one. If I were to translate into Dutch, for example, there wouldn't be a good way to translate it using a plural to begin with, and from Simon924148's comment, the same seems to be true for UK English. To an extent, it's good to translate literally where possible, but equally, to an extent it should be allowed to translate such that it works properly in the language you translate into.
es = formal subject with sein sein
When it is used as an impersonal subject (or predicative) with sein, the pronoun es can refer to singular and plural nouns of all three genders:
Jemand kam hinein. Es war mein Vater. Meine Mutter war es, die hereinkam. Ich holte die Gegenstände aus der Schachtel. Es waren zwei Bälle. Zwei Personen saßen am Tisch. Es schienen Gendarmen zu sein.
The verb does not agree with es, but with the noun es refers to:
Es war meine Mutter. Es waren meine Eltern.
This es cannot be omitted. It is often possible to replace it with the stronger demonstrative pronoun das which is used in a similar manner. Source: http://www.canoo.net/services/OnlineGrammar/InflectionRules/FRegeln-P/Pron-es.html?lang=en#Anchor-es-sein
i think vacations is a plural word you can say "vacation time" so the time is singular
You know, doesn't it seem like a nightmare Monopoly game, where they make up the rules as they go along? :P
Ferien is a plural word. There is no singular form. Literally it means "vacation days are it" though there is still the question of agreement since the verb sein or "to be" takes the nominative case and the antecedent must agree in number. Only in the this case, it does not. Why? Duo doesn't or won't explain it and I won't know until this coming semester.
Is the pronunciation on this correct? It wounded like f-ee-r--ee-en. I thought it should be f-eh-r-een.
This concept of 'es' being used as a predicative to complement a verb in a plural conjugation/inflection is very confusing to me.
Yes, it is incorrect. You must translate the English sentence at the top with "Es sind Ferien." or "Es ist Ferienzeit." or "Es ist Urlaubszeit." (My first language is German)
Is this a special case just for "vacation" or is there a rule for "Es sind [plural]"? For either case I know I still have to remember this sentence. (My country language has no singular/plural, tense or re-ordering rule. So learning English is so hard for me. And now German even has gender, dative/acc., Es sind rules. )
For a more technical explanation, check out the comment by christian at the top.
My interpretation of that (which could be mistaken) is like, "Holidays are what [time] it is", which you can then rearrange to "What [time] it is, are holidays" and then you can shorten it to "it, are holidays". I'm not sure that's exactly the meaning in German, but the idea being that I think you can replace a general idea for anything with "es", using it like a placeholder for whatever that anything might be.
Couldn't it also be "they are vacationing" since "they are" is included in the drop down?
Again, if Ferien is always plural "sind Ferien", and "they" is listed in the drop down for Es, it looks like "They are vacations" would be acceptable for a question such as "What are they?"
I wrote "These are holidays" and was marked wrong. Given that all the translations are to the sense of the occasion rather than literal, is there really anything wrong with this?
WE ARE ON HOLIDAYS is incorrect. The correct sentence is WE ARE ON HOLIDAY.
'We're on holiday!' is a perfectly English expression. 'How were your holidays?', naturally uses the plural form of 'holiday'. 'We're on holidays!' is NOT correct. Someone back me up on this. 'When is you holiday?' acceptable, 'When are your holidays?' correct, but not 'We're on holidays!'
In England we would not say Vacation, this is American English. Can we please, on our site, have British English.
Why isn't holiday accepted? As a Brit, I don't have vacations, I have holidays!
Why the translation is " We are on the vacation"? why " Es sind" not "Es ist"?
The best we can do is to change English's rules we may say it are vacationtimë
Am I the only one who noticed two exclamation points in the sentence? :/
We have holiday! does not sound correct to me. We are holidaying! would be more the way it would be said in english
"es" literally means "it". The hint says "they are" because it appears in the phrase "es sind".
Ferien seems to be a very strange and weird word which defies all common sense and logic. Why even teach it? Why not use other words or phrases which make more sense, which can be exchanged more precisely with English? Such as: Urlaub == leave, vacation heiliger Tag == holy day
Why teach it? Because you need to know this word. It is a very common word in Germany. For instance, if you travel here, you will see signs in villages for Ferienwohnung and Ferienzimmer. Right now in Bayern, we are in Ferienzeit.