Hello. Is "Wir haben" the most common way to refer to dates and times in German?
I think so. I remember when I was learning French, when it referred to days, it would say "Nous sommes", I remember a common one was "Nous sommes mardi" (It is Tuesday, lit: We are Tuesday)
Funny, in Italian "Abbiamo Gennaio" ("We have January") is not correct, but it is correct to ask "Quanto ne abbiamo oggi?" ("How much [time] do we have today")?, meaning "what day of the month is it?"
All of that sounds quite fine. But one of the translations cannot be "We are on January." English speakers say "We are in Janurary". We are on January makes no sense.
I'd say "we are on January" if we're going through a calendar/schedule and talking about which month we're currently looking at.
The point here is not that we cannot think of very strange improbable uses of English. I suppose virtually any set of words can have some meaning tortured out of them. The point is that we are here to learn German, and we have to trust and take on faith that the lessons which are in a language that is not familiar to us are reasonably idiomatic and intelligible. When we get strange usages such as this one, or many others, some of which include fragments and are not even sentences, and many of which are used in peculiar and unusual ways, this undermines the learning experience and confidence in the lessons, not to mention making it extremely and unnecessarily difficult. One could say of any set of words, presumably, e.g. "how do you pronounce the following set of words? :, etc, etc.", and say they are in a meaningful context.
My point was merely that the phrasing which you consider "strange" and "improbable" is one which I consider fairly plausible; it hasn't undermined my learning experience one bit. But of course we all use English in slightly different ways, and doubtless there are sentences which you'd consider fine and I'd consider incorrect. Unfortunately (or fortunately), English does not have a governing body to settle such disputes definitively :-).
Just hearing peoples views and explanations helps me remember the little differences in how words are used. Communication involves understanding and these discussions I feel help that.
Not to be annoying, but "What month are we on?" is a common question asked at my work place. As pont said, when discussing schedules and going over a calendar, it is quite common to use 'on'
Just my confused tuppenceworth, if anyone is still watching this thread. If this was meant to be a question should it not have said haben wir januar? Im totally ok with the literal translation not being anything like what it means. For me this is the richness/fun of another language.
Just like in English, Germans can ask a question by making a statement followed by a question mark. I translated "Wir haben Januar?" as "It is January?" (rather than "Is it January?") and DL accepted it.
I'm not sure how "Wir haben ..." can become "Is it ..." Is this some obscure colloquialism? And if so, I don't think that it's appropriate to teach this to language learners - German is confusing enough as it is!
Nope, it's perfectly normal. Wir haben Januar. Wir haben Montag. Wir haben 2012. Wir haben Freitag, den 21. Dezember 2012.
I noticed that Germans say that they have hunger as opposed to being in a state of hunger... i.e. Ich habe Hunger vs I am hungry. Perhaps this is related in some way...
Not necessarily. Spanish phrases hunger and thirst the same way, "Tener hambre/sed," to have hunger or thirst. But they don't phrase dates like that. I'd say it's more just a language quirk.
Italian has a similar expression as to age - I aim 13 is I have 13 years. Each language has own way of commanding words/expressions.
But we can say in Portuguese.. "He is with 13".. If someone asks for the age of your son, for example.
So did I, but then I was never taught that "wir haben [month]" was standard usage for "it is [month]" in middle/high school German...
We have got ourselves a case of the January, folks.
No medicine has been found yet, except sitting it out. And it will get worse (February) before it WILL get better.