I went with a literal translation here, but does "Ich kenne Großbritannien." convey the idea of having seen it/visited it? I think in conversation you would say something like "I've been to Great Britain." But to say "I know Great Britain" just sounds bizarre and as if Great Britain were something other than a country (almost as if it were a person). Any answers are much appreciated.
In the other foreign languages I speak, when you use the equivalent for "to know" like kennen, it does indeed mean "have you been there," aka "do you know it from experience". I'd love to hear from a native German speaker, but that is the case in Portuguese, Spanish, French, Haitian Creole, and Italian.
It sounds like here we're talking about personal familiarity (in Spanish, "conocer" rather than "saber"). In English, "I know this city" would mean that I've been here before and am familiar enough with it to act as a guide. However, I could also say "I know all the state capitals" to simply refer to knowledge that I've accumulated.
I think it is something idiomatic. I know in Spanish you use the word "conocer" which is equivalent to "kennen" when you refer to places you've visited. I can only assume it is the same for German. I think you would use "visited Great Britain" when you're referring to a specific trip you made whereas you would use "kennen" to imply that you've been there, no matter when or how many times. Hope it helps!
Someone linked this in a previous question and I found it useful. http://german.about.com/od/grammar/a/Gender-Of-Countries.htm
As well as learning "Großbritannien", we ought to learn "das Vereinigte Koenigreich" ("das VK") so as to include Northern Ireland, "Nordirland".
"Das Vereinigte Koenigreich" obeys the rules for declining nouns and adjectives, so that, for example, "to the United Kingdom" is "nach dem Vereinigten Koenigreich".
Somebody please correct me if there are any mistakes in what I've just said.
P.S. Since I wrote the above I've learned elsewhere on Duolingo that Germans use "das Vereinigte Koenigreich" only on legal documents, and in everyday speech use "Großbritannien".
Perhaps my question wasn't clear.
I was just asking if the word had the same kind of connotations (like great as in tremendous) - or if it doesn't carry a meaning in that sentence.
I'm not sure how to phrase the question better, but what I'm asking is something along the lines of if groß carries a reverential meaning here
Great Britain is a specific place, one that cannot be specified further, so you do not need the definitive article "the". Of course there are situations where it could be used ("This is nothing like the Great Britain that I've heard of.") but in those situations there are figuratively more Britains rather than realistically.
I put "I know the UK" and it was correct, although the UK and Great Britain are not synonymous. According to Google Translate, "The United Kingdom" translates as "Das Vereinigte Königreich". Do Germans use that term (or even VK) to refer to the UK, or just Großbritannien, even if it's not technically correct.
I'd been wondering the same thing. I've learned elsewhere on Duolingo that in everyday speech German-speakers use "Großbritannien" not "das Vereinigte Koenigreich", despite the fact the "Großbritannien" doesn't include "Nordirland".
I suppose it's the fault of us Brits because when Great Britain and Ireland were united in 1801, the better to withstand Napoleon, no term for the inhabitants of the new political entity was coined, nor adjective meaning "of the UK". We are obliged to fall back on "Briton" and "British" in English and in German on "der Brite/die Britin" and "britisch". It's hardly surprising therefore that the term used for the UK in everyday German is "Großbritannien".