Duolingo gives two possible translations: "He had named me the name." and "He had told me the name." I am not English native speaker, but I think these sentences don't have the same meaning. "He had told me the name." means that he had introduced himself to me and first sentence means that he had given me the name (my name).
No, "he had told me the name," means he tells you the name of someone else or something else: I asked him what the song was. He told me the name. I asked him who the singer was. He told me the name.
"He had named me the name" means the same thing, but it sounds archaic or poetic. Or just odd.
I'm not sure it's a good English "he had called me the name". I'd rather use verb "tell"
"mir" is used here because it's ME to whom he gave the name. If you used "mich" sentence would mean: "he had pronounced me (as if it is a word not a human being) and the name". As you see it doesn't make much sense.
what about "he had given me the name", would that translate the meaning of the sentence well?
I guess my uncertainty here is whether the name is something I was called by him, or if he was telling me someone else's name. Is that clear in the german sentence, or could it be either one?
The German sentence can only mean he had told you the name of either himself or a third person (or maybe the name of some product). If he gave you a name for yourself, that would be "er hatte mir den Namen gegeben" if it's your father who legally gave you a name, or "er hatte mich so/bei dem Namen genannt" if it's a pet name, a curse name or something like that.
nennen does not mean "tell" in English. In fact, I'm none the wiser what DL meant by this phrase in German. If it means when he went to the registry office and registered me by a name, I'd expect "er hatter mir den Namen Klaus gegeben". I think it's along the lines of "he had called me by name" as opposed to "oi, you!" :)
Ah, so that's the difference! Thank you so much, I think I understand now! I was so focusing on the "to call" and "to dub" meanings of the verb 'nennen', the 'telling me' translation sounded wrong. (My reference sentence has been this: "frech? ich nenne das verbal überlegen", which I have on a postcard.)
Since Duolingo provides no context for these exercises , it's reasonable to use the high frequency translations, as shown by a dictionary like https://www.dict.cc/?s=nennen . So in this case "he had mentioned the name" makes sense. Told doesn't event register on the frequency lists.
Unfortunately a high usage frequency does not mean something is translated correctly.
Er hat mir den Namen genannt - he has told me the name (telling the name was the purpose of the exchange)
Er hat den Namen erwähnt - he has mentioned the name (He told me something and the name was also mentioned)
thats where grammar and actual use comes into play.a lot of the things mentioned in duolingo tenses, while grammatically correct, are not used much in english, and therefore sound unnatural. not refering to this particular example, but sometimes theres a lot of ambiguity and flexibility in english tenses. tenses basically shud be learnt thru feeling and practice, bcos they don't always translate word by word.
I disagree totally. The german should not be translated literally, the meaning should be translated. 'He had told me the name' to me means that he told me the name and now he has 'untold' me. A better example of what I mean with a subordinate clause explaining the change of state: "He had suffered from gout, but the medicine seems to have cured him"
Exactly. It's likely something a lot of native English speakers take for granted, how the tenses are formed and their different meanings. We use past perfect (aka plusquamperfekt) all the time. It just states something which occurred before something else. Before he got out of bed, he had woken up - this sounds natural to a native English speaker, and it uses both past (präteritum) and past perfect in the same sentence. But past perfect can be used by itself too (as evidence in the sentence here).
"'He had told me the name' to me means that he told me the name and now he has 'untold' me" - that seems like an intentional misunderstanding of the sentence. "He had told me the name", even without a subordinate clause, absolutely implies a shared knowledge of some reference point in the past. E.g., "Had you known his name before the blind date" "Yes, my friend had told me the name [before the established time: the time of the blind date]".
Just because you aren't given all the information (the first sentence in my example and the bracketed portion of the second sentence) doesn't mean that you can change the meaning of the sentence in your translation. Plenty of sentences only make sense in context, which aren't always established by the nature of Duo's single-sentence method. You should realize "Oh, this sentence would only be used if some shared context of a past time point had been established prior to this sentence". This is especially true given that this is in the past perfect lesson (for me at least). You are not trying to establish a "full picture" of some story in your translation, but to accurately translate the sentence, which may be a small piece of a real conversation and not a "full picture".
'Intentional misunderstanding' might be a little harsh.
It would seem to me (but then I wrote it) that implicit in my previous comment was acknowledgement of a previous time and context. My comment related to the fact that the construction seemed to indicate to me that the state of 'being told' had changed since that time. As you correctly pointed out, the sentence does not do that. It merely states that at some unspecified time in the past the speaker was told. In general conversation nobody would say "He had told me" unless they were being cross-examined. Which is what is effectively happening in your example and which was not an scenario that I thought of when I was trying to imagine a realistic scenario when this sentence might be used. The normal thing to say would be "He did tell me".
This construction is mostly used to indicate that at some point in the past the speaker was aware of something, or something changed, but that the speaker does not know whether this is still the case, for example, "He had a car 12 months ago".