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

"Gegen den Wunsch seiner Frauen"

December 20, 2012

20 Comments


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

"Wünsche" is plural, "Wunsch" is singular. Or does the genitive form changes how the word must be used?

December 20, 2012

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

It does not! Someone apparently believes that "against the wishes" is the more normal way to say it in English. I tend to agree, but then the question becomes, are we teaching German here, or English? :7

January 3, 2013

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

Since they are having us translate this into English, I would vote they should translate it to CORRECT English, otherwise we will get it wrong again and again, even though we've understood the lesson! Pointless!

February 15, 2013

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

Hmmm... The "official answer" was "wishes", but now they've changed it to "wish" (again?), so now it's less natural English, (but potentially less confusing for non-native English speakers). My feeling is that they should find a less confusing sentence, but if they're going to use this one, they should accept both "wish" and "wishes" (because both show that the learner has successfully understood meaning), use "wishes" as the official translation (because it's more natural), and supply a note, upon answering, that the German "gegen den Wunsch"=tranlsates to "against the wishes" in English, so learners have a chance to capture this detail.

February 15, 2013

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

I don't agree, actually. 'der Wunsch' is singular and 'die Wünsche' is plural, and students should learn to differentiate between them, so I think saying 'wishes' here should be considered incorrect.

Also, 'against their wish' sounds like fine english to me.

February 24, 2013

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

There are people with many wives. This is reasonable. "Against the wishes of his wives" (or indeed "against the wishes of his wife") is much better English than "against the wish of his wives" and illustrates an important language difference in pluralisation.

February 24, 2013

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

I agree--I think it's a good exercise for here. The phrase is common in English; might be equally common as a concpet in German. And although it's possible for multiple wives, or subsequent wives, to have one wish, in English it's common to pluralize even for a single wish: "He went out to the bar, against his wife's wishes." She only had one wish--but the expression is what it is.

And such expressions--and their translations--are good to recognize, especially when they don't correspond, literally, word for word.

March 17, 2013

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

Yeah, I wouldn't say it's reasonable, since multiple wives aren't legal in any German-speaking countries.

It's clear that the correct translation is that the wish is singular and the wives are plural. I think the point people are making is that it's a nasty trick to play since it's so unexpected.

March 17, 2013

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

So, what, Germans never talk about people with multiple wives because there aren't any who got married in Germany?

It's tricksy, certainly. Sometimes a surprising phrase can lead you to go back to translating word-for-word instead of the whole phrase, which is useful in finnicky situations like this. I'm not an expert on teaching languages so perhaps this particular one is too confusing to be useful in that way. It could definitely be a real example, though.

March 17, 2013

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

The multiple marriages also wouldn't even be recognized in Germany, no matter where they took place, so you'd have to be talking about someone living in another country.

It could theoretically exist as a real sentence someone might use, yes, but I repeat, it's so unlikely that it's kind of unfair.

At this level of German, I think it's fair to request that they stick to phrases and examples that are more likely to actually be used.

March 17, 2013

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

I don't agree, I think the earlier the level, the more clunky and constructed sentences you need to get a real understanding of the building blocks. More natural phrases and sentences come later.

This sentence teaches about what to do when one thing belongs to several people. Yes, there are other examples, but this one really makes you think, because it's unusual, without being impossible.

March 17, 2013

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

I see your point, but don't agree. They've already started teaching expressions vs. just-translate-the-words, so that makes this example out of place and unnecessarily difficult to follow as an example, in my opinion, especially when you consider that in English we usually refer to "wishes" and not "wish", singular.

March 17, 2013

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

On the other hand, it could be some time before we master German, so it doesn't hurt to think ahead, to speak of a real situation or perhaps simply the latest controversial novel.

April 26, 2013

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

What did he do against his wives' wishes, commit bigamy?

March 23, 2013

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

Gegen have two meanings: against and towards. In the given sentence "Gegen den Wunsch seiner Frauen" the translations will have opposite meanings: "Against his wives' wish" and "Towards his wives' wish". Which one do you take?

March 27, 2013

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

"Gegen" means "toward(s)" in a phrase like "Gegen das Ende des Films..." (toward the end of the film) Prepositions are "multi-purpose" (they get used to express lots of different meanings, depending on context), and they don't typically "map" easily from one language to another.
"Toward" means "in the direction of" normally, but in "toward(s) the end" it shows a place in time. "Gegen" typically means "against", but maps with "toward" in the phrase "toward the end" (gegen das Ende). There's no way that "gegen" in this sentence could mean "toward."
This sentence is unnecessarily confusing, which is a distraction.

March 27, 2013

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

Correct solutions:

Against the wishes of his wives

Against his wives' wish

In one of the answers "wish" is plural in the other one it is singular. How is that possible?

April 26, 2013

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

See discussion above. I would nominate this sentence for the most-commented-on exercise here.

April 26, 2013

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

Also "most unnecessarily confusing/distracting." Imagine if the phrase was "Gegen den Wunsch seiner Kinder." That would reduce semantic confusion.

April 26, 2013

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

Because the idiomatic expression in German is "gegen den Wunsch" (singular), but in English it's "against (my/her/etc.) wishes", plural. There's a tension between a translation which conveys the more literal meaning ("against his wives' wish"), but sounds stilted & weird, or a less literal translation (Against the wishes of his wives), which is less literal, and requires more native-English knowledge to come up with.

April 26, 2013
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