Leo.org lists 4 translations for "Mittlerweile":-
1) meanwhile Adv
2) meantime Adv
3) by now
4) in the meantime
Many contributors have pointed out that it can't mean all of them. True.............unless you start to consider context. No.2) is a special case of No.4): a colloquial contraction: "meantime" is shorthand for "in the meantime".
No.3) is a special case for Nos. 1) and 4) where the context has defined or implied a time period between 'a point in the past' and 'now'.
So, when you peel away the context, you can simply say that 'Mittlerweile' = 'meanwhile' or 'in the meantime'.
Whether in German or English, to use these words, a time period has to be defined or implied. With the case in question this period is not obvious………….context is often missing in DL examples. You certainly would not translate the given English to the given German without knowing or guessing something else.
To use “Mittlerweile” without implying or defining a time period, would be nonsense, and if you look at the occasions that you would use “meanwhile” or “in the meantime” in an english sentence, that would also be true. If you look at all the translations offered in this discussion forum, a time period will have been assumed…….we have to, none is given!
Let’s, further, unravel a bit of german idiom:-
Let’s compare our example:- “Mittlerweile bin ich gesund” with the sentence "Ich wohne seit fünf Jahren in London" . This commonly translates to “I have been living in London for five years”. This illustrates a change of idiom: the German is in the present tense; the English in the past perfect. A time period (seit fünf Jahren) followed by a present tense statement (bin ich gesund) translates to a time period and a statement in the past tense (or past perfect). If we extrapolate this to our given German sentence, it translates to “In the meantime (a time period picked up from context or implied) I have been healthy (a statement in the past perfect).
Now we have:- “Mittlerweile bin ich gesund” = “In the meantime I’ve been healthy”
All we now have to do is decide that illusive “time period”; and I put it to you that in English you’d take that time period as being from “the time of whatever we’ve just been talking about “ to “now” , when nothing else is on offer. This is also true in German. Hence some of those very simple offerings like “I am now healthy” and “meanwhile I’m healthy” and “these days I’m healthy”.
I hope that has helped somebody!
That has certainly helped me. Thanks Attila.
"Ich bin seit fünf Jahren in London" = I have been in London for five years.
"Mittlerweile bin ich gesund" = In the meantime / meanwhile, I have become healthy.
Is that right? The tense had been bugging me because "now I am healthy" makes no sense unless there is a contrast with some past or future time and in English you wouldn't use the present tense to describe a change taking place during a past period ending now, much like we don't use the present to describe a state over a period ending now ("I have been... since").
I suppose you could say "but now I am healthy" but that is not the change, that is just the contrast and would presumably translate as "... aber jetzt bin ich gesund"
You seem, Simon, to have picked up on my point pretty well! Thanks for sticking with it! The argument takes a bit of application........ and you can tell from the "up votes" that not a lot of people stick it out.
But I would translate "Mittlerweile bin ich gesund" as "In the meantime / meanwhile, I have BEEN healthy...... that is, in the time between an implied point in the past and now.
Thanks Attila - good to meet you. quite a few of your posts have been helpful in my German journey over the past 18 months.
Yes I see now. I was ill but meanwhile I have been healthy is a contrast to how you were back then.
If you wanted to say I was ill but in the meantime I have become healthy, would you use mittlerweile and maybe "... ich habe gesund geworden"? Or would you use a different construction? Seitdem perhaps?
With "I was ill" you are defining a point in the past rather than "a period between then and now". If the illness is express in the perfect tense: "I have been ill"......... then yes, use meanwhile/mittlerweile.......... but otherwise "since then/seitdem" would be better. It's very much the same way we'd use "meanwhile" in English.
Thanks again Attila.
Here's a question. In this discussion, Mittlerweile has always been used in a past context. Can it be used in the future as well? For example "I am going to the shops; meanwhile / in the meantime can you do some tidying up?" (small insight into my home life there!). In other words, it's not a period between a past event and now; it's between now or a future event and some point further into the future. If the word is not Mittlerweile, then what would fit there in German?
Don't despair :) I don't think that there's an English expression that exactly matches the meaning of "mittlerweile". People use "mittlerweile" when they are talking about the present, but are including what has happened in the past implicitely. It is often used when something was bad in the past, but has improved by now.
Here are some more examples:
"Mittlerweile kann ich das ganz gut." = By now I can do it rather well; In the past I couldn't do it (well), but by now I can do it rather well.
"Mittlerweile verstehen wir uns gut." = Now we understand each other well; In the past we haven't understood each other well, but now we do.
The original sentence here, "Mittlerweile bin ich gesund." indicates that the speaker has probably been ill in the past. So if someone tells me "Mittlerweile bin ich gesund." and I don't know about any illness, my reaction would probably be "Oh, you were ill in the past?", or something like that.
People often use "mittlerweile" e.g. when they haven't seen each other in a while, and are talking about what has happened to them meanwhile. :)
Hi, Sommerlied. Thanks, that's very helpful. I think I am beginning to understand now what 'mittlerweile' means: the next step is to match it to an English phrase. I don't think 'by now' captures that feeling of 'true now, not true before'. Perhaps 'nowadays'? or 'these days'? If you tell someone 'Oh, I am quite well these days', you imply that you have been ill in the past.
In speech, you would use vocal emphasis - oh, I understand NOW (=> not before). That doesn't help you when you are writing, of course.
I like 'these days' for the 'I am well' example - but it wouldn't fit in the example I just used - I understand NOW (but not before). What could we use there? Let's invite comment. What do you think, guys?
I read here in the comments two different translation which mean different things. "By now" which implies a change from past to present (I was sick but by now I am healthy), and "meanwhile" which implies a possible change in the future (meanwhile I am healthy but who can predict what tomorrow will bring) . Maybe a native can determine which is the better translation here?
For these types of adverbs you find in this section, it is often very difficult to find an exact equivalent word or expression in another language. It also depends on context. I guess it's difficult to load all possible, more or less relevant, translations into the system. The explanations above are very useful though, and I think we have to live with the limitations a system like Duolingo has. Try to grasp the meaning in German and don't get nervous if you can't find the exact words in English. Google 'mittlerweile' and you might get wiser when you se the word used in different contexts.
For one: "gesund" in this context translates more naturally to "well" and two, mittlerweile implies that i was not well at one point in the past, but that i am well now ("by now"). "Mittlerweile solltest du Deutsch sprechen können" = "By now you should be able to speak German"
"Mittlerweile" means "in the meantime" or "meanwhile". The confusion here is twofold:- 1) The English and German idioms for the common usage of these words are very different. 2) In both languages, a time period needs to be defined, assumed or implied, to which the word refers. I explain this elsewhere on this page, but the argument is rather involved. The German sentence translates to "In the meantime, I have been healthy" using assumptions about the time period and changing from the German to the English idiom. You could expand this sentence to something like "from the period we have been talking about, to the present, I have been healthy". The upshot is that "I am healthy now". Anything that paraphrases this is a correct answer, but that doesn't mean it's in DL's database! So, I suggest you read my explanation about the idiom change, so you understand it, and then give DL's answer next time it comes up in DL, and move on.
"In the meantime I have been healthy", seems to me an odd way to describe how I am now. "In the meantime I have recovered my health, or become healthy," gives a better sense of the meaning but is very stilted. "I am better now," would be common usage, giving present state and implying change. ("Better" being used in the colloquial sense of "recovered from illness," rather than as a relative adjective.)
I am in total agreement with you, Madron, that DUO has not chosen a good teaching example here. Examples is your entries would have been far more helpful. Experience tells me though, that DUO normally gets it right with some of the colloquial, illogical expressions. I'm sure this is idiomatically correct and commonly used.
By the way, thanks for paying my argument such close attention!
Someday in the future this thread will be famous as "The Great Duolingo 'Mittlerweile' Controversy of 2014." Mittlerweile does indeed seem to be an expression with no obvious English equivalent. For now I'm going with "these days" (and steering clear of "by now"). Many thanks to all the smart people who have grappled with this puzzle of the Universe.
Hi John. You are not alone in this forum in being mystified by DL's choice of example to illustrate the use of of "mittlerweile". It is exceedingly misleading, although correct in a narrowly implied context. You will be doing your German a disservice to leave it at that. Consequently, I would urge you to get your head around my arguments above and below where I have sought to demystify this misleading example. I found it rather rewarding to "grapple with this puzzle", but don't consider myself "smart" at all: I just can't move on until something makes sense.
I have read all these comments, and I think I may be beginning to get the idea of mitterweile, which probably does not have an equivalent word or phrase in English. One problem is that I do not always recognise the meanings given for "in the meantime" and "meanwhile." (I am native English, Scottish, UK and have studied English past school level). Meanwhile always implies that at least two parallel times/happenings are involved: while A is/was/will be happening, B is/was/will be happening at the same time: Mary is at a meeting just now, meanwhile, Bob is cooking the dinner.
"In the meantime" always needs a period, (now can be implied as the beginning or end of this period) during which something else can happen : It is now 5pm. Mary will not arrive home until 6pm. In the meantime (between now and 6pm) Bob will cook the dinner. If you meet someone after a gap in time and want to describe a current state, eg health, which has changed, "meanwhile" is nonsense, and "in the meantime," can only be used as, "I last saw you two years ago when I was ill. In the meantime I have got well."
To use the present tense for this, "I am well now", gives a good sense of this, AS LONG AS the person being addressed knows the context. Without context, "now," is a useless way to teach the meaning of mitterweile, and bringing in meanwhile and meantime just causes confusion.
You're running into a problem that I frequently encounter with DuoLingo. They give a sentence without any context, but they expect a contextually-relevant (& limited) response. IMO, DuoLingo should be more tolerant of responses that might come up in other contexts.
For instance, "My entire family got sick last month. Nevertheless, I am healthy." <– This would be perfectly valid in English. But we don't know the context of the sentence in the exercise.
If the sentence in the exercise is standalone, then "I am healthy now" is most appropriate. "Nevertheless" implies a condition or event that is being negated or doesn't apply to the speaker. However, if it is a standalone sentence, then I don't understand the use of "mittlerweile" without context. So, we are kind of in the same boat.