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How should one translate 'die See'?

There seems to be some inconsistency in the way the DuoLingo lessons respond to the translation of 'die See'. When is a 'See' a 'lake' and when is it a 'sea', when there is practically no context?

October 25, 2012



die See is the ocean and usually used in poetry. And der See is a lake. The only way to tell the difference is the article. Gotta love german LOL.


Many thanks for that, roger.sliney1. That clarifies an issue that has long puzzled me. I now know what to look for; the DuoLingo computer won't catch me out again! Ned_Kelly


Translating "die See" into "ocean" is not quite right, although there may be situations where it is okay. The simplest way of keeping both meanings apart is to think of "die Nordsee, die Ostsee" (real seas), der Bodensee is a vast LAKE between Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Besides "die See" the Germans have the word "das Meer" which means sea also: "das Mittelmeer, das schwarze Meer".


"Die See" feels like an old and also poetic way to refer to the ocean.

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