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  5. "Er hatte mir den Namen genan…

"Er hatte mir den Namen genannt."

Translation:He had told me the name.

August 21, 2013



one of the suggested translations by duolingo is: "He had named me the name." Are you serious?


Classic DL I must say! :D


Well, if you were a journalist and you were doing a story on a court case and the lawyer asked the witness, "Can you name the people there that day?", the journalist may write something like, "The witness named the names of the people at the scene of the crime that day."


Well to be fair nennen literally means to name...


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.


Would “He had called me the name.” also work?


You can't translate "name-calling" literally into German. You would say "er hat mich beschimpft".


Without implying an insult, would that still work, as one can say "He had called me that name." indicating a specific (probably incorrect) name?


That would translate to "er hat mich bei diesem Namen genannt" or "er hat mich bei diesem Namen gerufen". If you substitute "diesen Namen" by what he actually called you, you can leave out the "bei": "Er hat mich 'Hans' genannt".


No, you can't. I used it and lost one heart.


Can somebody tell me why "Namen" gets translated to "Name" and not to "Names"?


Because it's singular. Plural would be "er hat mir die Namen genannt."


Thanks! But my question was more related about the "N" at the end.. I didn't know about noun declinations. More about this here: http://www.lingq.com/forum/12/15693/


"Name" belongs to a group of "masculine weak nouns" that take (e)n for accusative and dative, and -(e)ns for genitive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_nouns


I had "He had mentioned the name to me", but this was marked incorrect.


If this sentence used "mich" instead of "mir", would it mean "he called me the name"? Does the accusative/dative case change the verb?


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.


he had called me names. Ok not literal translation, but isn´t the meaning right. As I know in English people say that (not my mother tongue, but anyhow...)


Yes, but that means he has been rude and cursed at you, and the German sentence doesn't mean that, so you can't use it as a translation.


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.


thanks for clarifying!


Isn't 'Name' sg. and 'Namen' pl. form?


Why not "He had said the name to me."?


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!" :)


Why "he had called me the name" is not accepted?


Because telling someone a name and calling someone a name are not the same.
"Du nennst mich X" = You call me X
"Du nennst mir X" = You tell me X


Is it this simple? Fantastic, if so. Otherwise I am lost.


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.)


How about "He had gave me the name"?


    Possibly "had given", but I would argue that even with that grammatical correction the meaning is different.


    Isn't this, "He had called the name to me." - as though he had called out a name across the room to me? Zum beispeil, "Er heißt 'Franz'."


    Er hatte mir den Namen genannt


    Er hatte mir den Namen


    "He had me, the name told". Er hatte mir den Namen gennant.


    'He had me the name told' ?


    You are using incorrect English word order.


    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)


    translation option said mentioned, but if you use it hten it is wrong, i dont get it


    Hm, in a previous set of tasks, to tell = erzaehlen, but here it is nennen. I cry foul! I would argue that "Er hatte mir den Namen gesagt" would be the most common way of expressing this in German.


    Why? Languages are different. In German, erzählen has the meaning of telling a story. If you just give some information, you have to use another verb. sagen is okay here, nennen is better.


    "He told me the name" should also be correct.


    "hatte... genannt" is pluperfect and should be translated as such.


    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"


    Past perfect does not necessarily mean that the action was undone. For example: "He had told me the name by that time so I went home earlier. That is why I am here now". To me that's a fully grammatically correct sentence with the use of the discussed phrase.


    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".

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