https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GilDawson

Ja, wahrscheinlich nicht.

In American English (and likely British as well), we'd say "No,..." because the sentence says "No." Or some such rule as that.

I recall that, years ago in Russian class, our native Russian teacher said that Yes and No in English were sometimes backwards from да and нет. Maybe in German ja and nein also?

What is the name of this part of speech, the YesOrNo word in front of the sentence, so that I can look it up?

--Gil

Ooh! I found this juicy tidbit from user19341 on stackexchange.com:

a native Engligh speaker would reply to the polarity used in the question instead of the truth-value of the situation

Sounds good. I wonder how well it'll hold up upon close examination?

--Gil

I found something even better from Cool Elf on stackexchange:

The rule in English is: there is no special rule in answering Negative Questions. How you answer Negative Questions is exactly how you answer positive ones.

So,

Do you have a class? = YES, I do. Or, NO, I don't.

Don't you have a class? = YES, I do. Or, NO, I don't.

Non-native speakers may get confused by this if they revert to how they would answer in their native language.

February 17, 2015

16 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JokoLelono

Imgur

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sakasiru

The only real difference is that German has the word "doch". It's used to contradict a negated question:

Frierst du nicht? - Doch. (Don't you feel cold? - Yes; I do feel cold.)

Because there is such a useful word for that one case, you would confirm the question usually with a "no":

Frierst du nicht? - Nein. (Don't you feel cold? No, I don't feel cold.)

Of course, there are plenty of ways this can go wrong, so it's always helpful to add a small sentence, or to ask easier questions ;)

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatchesSkywalker

sorry you lost me there

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GilDawson

My apologies. But see my latest edit of the original question... I found another rule that's easier to understand. It's at the end, from Cool Elf.

--Gil

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EvaBeavaBanana

Gave u twenty lingots just 'cause i felt like it... ;D

February 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GilDawson

Wow! Thanks!

February 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yototas

Those are actually fascinating questions. Firstly, English language academics cannot agree on how to classify "Yes" and "No". So, good luck finding specific information on them using grammar terms.

Secondly, yes, English is odd in that in speech, even non-colloquial, and certainly post-WW2, natives will not necessarily respond to a negated question with the exact Yes-No response that agrees with the negation in the question.

Instead, they will either respond, almost always with an expanded response, to the main verb and ignore the negation in the operator (the fillers to the main verb question, "Have you not", "Are you not", "Do you not" etc.), OR they will reply to the tone of the question. The latter is particularly confusing and sometimes intentionally irritating if they do not expand it, e.g.

  • Were you not meant to do the dishes?
  • Yes.

So, now you could logically think they mean, "Yes, I am not meant to do the dishes." since that is the negated question, but almost certainly they mean, "No, I am meant to do the dishes, but stop bothering me about it!".

===

However, in German, as far as I am aware, it is quite different because, firstly most questions are much clearer since they need no filler words to ask a yes-no question. Secondly, they have access to a rich and heavily used set of emotion words called Modal Particles, like doch, schon, ja and the like.

So, they can always use a neutral precise response, yet fill it directly with emotions in the language.

Can a native German confirm or expand, please?

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Abendbrot

I agree to all I have understood so far. I have not understood:

  • "Modal Particles, like doch, schon, ja and the like." -- what does the 'like' say to me? What do you want to say with the help of these last words?

  • I can not agree, that it is always possible to answer a Yes-No-Question with a very short answer. But I agree we have very helpful words like 'doch' and similar ones. But one need to know the preference of the first speaker, if you don't know what he/she thinks -because he/she has too many emotions inside-, you will not be able to answer such easily.

Like HappyEvilSlosh explained it for the English, also we Germans like to douple check the answer of questions, which include a 'not', because here are people who answer like the English do, "Du warst noch nicht einkaufen?" -"Nein, ich war noch nicht einkaufen." this is bad, but there is no hard rule how to answer. I think the most would answer. "Du warst noch nicht einkaufen?" -"Richtig, ich war noch nicht einkaufen." or "Ja, ich war noch nicht einkaufen." You can also use 'correct' and 'wrong', you don't really need other helpful words.

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pont

"Modal Particles, like doch, schon, ja and the like." -- what does the 'like' say to me? What do you want to say with the help of these last words?

"And the like" is a a set phrase in English, meaning approximately "und dergleichen".

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Abendbrot

Danke

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yototas

Thank you. This would have been a difficult question to anwer without a native or if we could not explain it to a native! :)

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HappyEvilSlosh

I don't there this is really a "rule" as such. I know native English speakers who frequently answer "Don't you have a class?" with "No, I do", or "Yes, I don't.". So frequently that I always double check what is meant if I'm given a sole yes or no as an answer.

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tnel1

If I understand you correctly, I think you'd wanna try looking up the topic of "Negation in German", and also the special case of the word "doch." :)

Perhaps this: http://mindurgerman.com/german-lessons-table-content/negative-sentences-german-grammar/

And this: http://german.stackexchange.com/questions/17495/using-doch-to-emphasize-a-negative-reply

If ya really wanna go to town on this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_and_no

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EavanM

"our native Russian teacher said that Yes and No in English were sometimes backwards from да and нет" Bold words from someone whose native language contains the expression да нет.

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DogePamyuPamyu

I feel like we started apples and ended with wombats, you've lost me.

In German, "ja" means yes and "nein" means no. If that helps any... I think yes/no are unclassified but sometimes interjections.

February 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chaered

And let's not forget "jein" alternative.

February 17, 2015
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