"Wir haben eine Katze wegen unseren Eltern."

Translation:We have a cat because of our parents.

December 22, 2012

This discussion is locked.


My German wife says it should be unserer


From: http://german.about.com/od/grammar/a/DualPrepositions.htm

"The genitive prepositions are often used with the dative in spoken German, particularly in certain regions. If you want to "blend in" and not sound too stuffy, you can use them in the dative also, but purists will want to learn the genitive forms."


While it is true that it is used in everyday language I suggest not to learn it. I find it confusing that Duolingo teaches it as being correct, it simply isn't. When you master German and have frequent conversations with people you will start adapting appropriate ways of talking for each group of people anyway, just like everyone does when learning English. So best to learn the correct way to speak first. Just my two cents on the topic.


I totally agree with you. I'm actually surprised that at this stage we're taught colloquial language. It puzzles me to still struggle with basic grammar and instead of having sentences aimed at mastering those basics, I'm faced with some formally wrong sentences. The fact that most people speak this way doesn't make it correct.


I one hundred percent agree with you. The discussion should not be whether or not it is correct, but instead why are we learning this at this point of our instruction, especially when it is showing up on a test of previous knowledge. The things that are showing up on this quiz to test to the next level has been my biggest complaint so far of Duolingo.


"The fact that most people speak this way doesn't make it correct." I disagree with this. At least in decriptive linguistic, a language is defined by how the native speakers speak it.


At the same time, if the language is not properly safeguarded and subject to some basic rules, every native speaker will be creating more and more ways of expression and shortcuts to the point of losing it. Every language needs structure and while it will always naturally evolve, we can't let it lose its academic basics.


@Skydancer3, I know that very well but if there were no institutions establishing standards, there would be no way of learning one single language as it would be split into countless dialects that with time would no longer be easily understood by even neighbouring communities where the language evolved differently. We're living in a globalised society where communication is vital so as important as it is to keep local and regional varieties for the sake of culture and heritage (accents, dialects, slang etc.), we are in need of a unique code that sets the linguistic boundaries for official purposes.


@chartsman (Sorry, I can't reply to your post.): Languages have always been developing and will always be. People can try to squeeze them into rules, but they can't stop them from developing. The language was there, before anybody laid down the rules. Especially Standard German was artificially created out of dialects to create a common language.

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This will all be moot once we embrace our glorious future robot overlords and the chips in our heads read our thoughts and do all the translating for us anyway.


I, for one, welcome our future robot overlords.


On the one hand you are absolutely right, but on the other hand most Germans use the wrong case here. There is even a book about that and other uncertainties with the German language: http://www.amazon.de/Der-Dativ-ist-Genitiv-sein/dp/3462034480

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I have a feeling this is a problem endemic to all languages. I have a relatively high mastery of English and I can confirm for you most Americans don't have a proficient grasp of English either, especially on the internet. :p


Lol, that happens in every language, I'm a native spanish speaker...some people really like to sound like Tarzan.


Well, I never denied that Germans use it in the wrong way. But in official writings or mails you would avoid doing that because it makes you look as if you would not have mastered German. So usually Germans know how to correctly use it and just don't do it because they are lazy. That is clearly not a good excuse for someone learning the language.


Unfortunately a lot of Germans don't master the German language and I have the feeling it is getting worse. Many German texts on the Internet are written in horrible grammar and orthography. Even many people in the marketing seem not to master the German grammar. A lot of people can't differentiate between den/dem, seinen/seinem, ihren/ihrem, in/ihn, den/denn, etc.

Nevertheless (or because of that even more), Duolingo should teach correct German and no common mistakes.


I notice my German dialect does not even know a genitive.


What I worry about is the "most Germans" bit. We could say in English that most English speakers mix up pronouns when saying "Me and him went to the store." It may be true that it's said, or even that a lot of people say it that way, but it's still wrong, and sounds grating to some. I just wonder to what extent it's acceptable to sub in the dative for some of these genitive prepositions.


Regarding the extent it's acceptable to, I'd imagine there are different levels in German just like in English.

For example, I'd agree that your example is wrong but sometimes used colloquially. In this case, a significant amount of people will think it sounds weird. If the German example given here is like this, then yes, you would avoid it in proper writing and conversation, but it's fine around friends or informal settings like online.

An example that would be acceptable in more contexts would be "who" versus "whom". While there is a technical use of "whom" where replacing it with "who" is wrong, it's fallen so far out of general use and favour that, not only will very few people notice, most people don't even know how to use it themselves, and wouldn't pick it even if you told them flat out that there was a mistake in the sentence.

If the German example here is closer to your example, then yes it should be learnt and avoided, but if it's more like the who/whom example, then most people really won't care or even be able to tell, so if it's something you struggle with, it's not worth learning unless you're going into academia.


Language is not made by purist - it's made by people who use it. If everyone around says it's "unserer" then it is correct, because the language works like that. Rules of lnaguages are defined by uses, not the other way around.

that's also why there are so many exception to rules in languages.


"Everyone around" is vague enough to have a board that decides what is acceptable and what is not. If we allow all incorrect forms automatically just because they are common, languages will become a mess.


So what you are saying is that because street language seems to becoming the norm among the younger generation, then we should all adopt their street language. If that were the case I doubt if many Duolingo users including native English speaking ones would remain with Doulingo but rather, desert it. This is because, to be quite frank it would not, in a meaningful way, be understandable. For example 'cos' which is a slang word meaning because, BUT is mainly heard being used by younger people.


depending on which way of speaking is considered to be "superior" Sorry for typo; it won't let me edit the original.


In German classes at school I was prepared for exams in which my grammar had to be correct. I learned the grammatical rules but ended up hardly able to hold a conversation in German. To me, this modern trend of using the dative case instead of the genitive is great news. Less to learn! It lessens the burden if you are a learner, giving you more time to practise conversational German.

My advice is learn the genitive if you have exams on the horizon, otherwise ignore it, at least for the time being. Later, especially if you are going to use German professionally, you will probably want to learn more formally "correct" German", including the difficult-to-use genitive case, but if you just intend to go holidaying in German-speaking countries, you're all set with your colloquial German. It's really a matter of priorities: knowing grammatical rules or being able to talk and make yourself understood. Which matters more?

I do realise the dative being used for the genitive grates on some people. I sympathise, as some things in English grate on me. Maybe the genitive case will be lost in German, maybe it will remain as the more correct form. I still say, though, that what really matters is to be understood.


We truly hate the genitiv case :D


I don't get it. Can someone please help me. "unserer Eltern"? What case would that be? Thanks!


Richtig! Genitiv nach wegen!Dativ geht gar nicht!


Wird aber nicht akzeptiert.


My German waifu agrees.


Is "because of our parents" dative or genitive because I've seen both unserer and unseren with this sentence..


Hopefully a native German speaker chimes in on why, but according to this link, wegen can be genitive or dative.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_grammar#Prepositions_and_cases


According what I have learned so far, wegen should be followed by genitive so it should be unserer. Please correct me, if there is some other rule... Also according to the chart in the link you post, wegen is followed by genitive forms


In some cases DUO requires GEN - unserer, and in other DAT - unseren. It's not consequent!


ok what have we learned: 'wegen' is followed by genitive but in colloquial dative. So after a dozen or so tries I might catch on. WEGEN + genitive or dative oh and preps.

[deactivated user]

    according to the above wiki, " with dative colloquially AND* with pronouns.", and in this case we have a pronoun, hence dative


    Look what I've found on this link: http://german.about.com/library/blcase_dat2.htm "The genitive prepositions statt (instead of), trotz (in spite of), während (during) and wegen (because of) are often used with the dative in spoken German, particularly in certain regions. If you want to "blend in" and not sound too stuffy, you can use them in the dative also."


    There is also "immerhalb" (inside) and "außerhalb" (outside) which take the genitive.


    My German grammar book (German in Review) says "gegen" takes the genitive case but that in colloquial German the dative case in increasingly used.


    You have German in Review too!!!!! But that book is ancient! I used in at university in 1983!


    both "unseren" and "unserer" ought be correct answers


    Und ich habe einen Hund wegen meiner Tochter! And I have a dog because of my daughter . . . correct?

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    ☺☺☺, perfekt!


    ja, da sieht richtig


    *das sieht richtig aus


    "We have a cat for the sake of our parents" is not accepted. Any valid reasons?


    It's too much in my eyes. I understand this sentence (which doesn't make much sense anyway) in a neutral way, not like the cat would be some kind of benefit ... but I'm pretty sure that this sentence wouldn't be used by any German speaker. ;-)


    What case does "wegen" require?

    • 2495

    To be correct German: Genitive


    What do you mean by correct German? is there a "slangish" way of using "wegen"?

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    Depending on regions and age of the speaker also dative is used. Young people often prefer the dative in order to avoid the genitive, but it is not standart German. Not yet, maybe it will be in 100 years?!


    I have a German Grammar book which clearly says that after Wegen comes Genetiv. It should be unserer.


    As mentioned several times on this page, in colloquial speech the dative is completely fine here. Both genitive and dative should be accepted.


    They don't accept genetiv


    Then you should report it! I prefer the dative, too, I find it more fluent, BUT ... a lot of Germans (who consider themselves experts, like my teacher colleagues ;-) ) HATE it when people use the dative here. They wouldn't say that the dative is colloquial or "fine" but would say it's completely wrong and / or a sign of poor education. I would even suggest that the dative MUST be marked with (colloq.) or so ...


    If the German grammar books says that this word comes with Genetiv, so it's wrong to use Dativ.


    Actually a lot of Germans use the Dativ (me too, but never in front of my students :-/ ), especially in informal situations, so I would go for both ... but if it's not possible to add markers, I would prefer the Genitive because it's definitely the "standard". Couldn't this Genitive/Dative-thing be mentioned in "Tipps & Notes"?


    they would say it's completely wrong and/or a sign of poor education

    … and be completely wrong about that. I agree that it would be nice to have some usage markers (and context in general) but the system doesn't allow for them to be added.


    @BettinaKa: Sure, the genitive is correct and preferable in formal speech or writing. No question about that.

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    Hint says another translation for "wegen" is "for the sake of". So then why is that not accepted? When would "wegen" be used as "for the sake of"?


    Wir haben eine Katze nicht wegen unseren Eltern :(


    Wir haben keine Katze wegen unseren Eltern :(


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    Isn't that "We have no cat because of our parents"?

    What if he means to say "We have a cat, but not because of our parents"?

    Is it that he is missing an "aber"?


    It is unserer Eltern. Fix it please


    You are addressing your fellow learners here. We can't "fix" anything. Better to use the "Report" button.


    Wir haben eine Katze wegen unserer Eltern!!!!!


    I thought it should be "unserer" (genitive) but I see from the correspondence that using the dative "unseren" is colloquial.


    We "are having" a cat because of our parents is not accepted. Warum?


    In English "we are having a cat" implies that "we are eating a cat".


    Funny I read this sentence right after my colleague mentioned that he was "having a baby" :D


    Or giving birth to a cat! Like in the English idiom "Don't have a cow."


    That's definitely US English though, I doubt you'd hear it often in the UK.


    Is 'wegen' related to 'weg'?


    Hey actually what is the singular form of "Eltern"?


    While "das/der Elter" is a real word, noone ever uses it. What you would rather hear is "das Elternteil", meaning something like "part of the parents", awkward in english, normal in German. But you only ever use that if it is necessary to have a gender-neutral word, e.g. when refering to father or mother as in "As long as one parent is at home the child is not forced to go to day care." Otherwise you'd always use "Mutter" or "Vater".


    Can't it be translated as 'We have a cat due to our parents.' ?


    Why? To keep them away from the house?


    Is it like wegen is because of something? and weil is because in general? like 'weil ich kann' vs 'wegen ich kann' to me weil ich kann sounds right but Im not native so.


      weil + subordinate clause ("because"):

      Ich bin glücklich, weil ich einen Bruder habe = "I am happy because I have a brother"

      wegen + noun in genitive case ("because of"):

      Ich bin glücklich wegen meines Bruders = "I am happy because of my brother"


      Thanks az_p, finally a sensible comment that explains a lot!

      Glad to find out the subtle difference between 'weil' and 'wegen' and also understand why there's no comma before the latter.


      I think there is a bug in the android app. Once in a while, when entering the text for the answer the text field collapses to one line making it very difficult to to review the answer for correctness or edit it.


      Sorry. Just a question. Is "wegen" dative or accusative? I have an idea that it might be dative, but I am unsure.


      "We have a cat by way of our parents." This sentence's meaning implies that because of our parents, we have a cat. This is how I keep wanting to say it. The quoted sentence is pasted directly from my wrong answer. This is how I naturally want to say it. Is it a wrong translation? Am I really wrong? Please help me understand. Thank you.


      I put "for the sake of" and they said it is wrong


      Isn't "Ich habe eine Katze" slang for " I have a hangover"

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      "Ich habe einen Kater" would be "I have a hangover".


      Language has it' s own beauty, do not destroy it just to make it simple. Enjoy the genitiv!


      Agreed but "its" in this context should have no apostrophy.


      Never mind the German, why can "wegen" not be translated as "through"


      Is this a dative prepo???


      Nach wegen kommt Genitiv : wegen unserer Eltern


      my swiss husband says unseren is correct ..


      As already written and explained in this thread, it's common in spoken language but purely grammatically speaking, not really correct:

      From: http://german.about.com/od/grammar/a/DualPrepositions.htm

      "The genitive prepositions are often used with the dative in spoken German, particularly in certain regions. If you want to "blend in" and not sound too stuffy, you can use them in the dative also, but purists will want to learn the genitive forms."


      And we don't have any cat because of our parents :|


      Why "unseren" here? Can someone tell me?

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