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superkat
20th August 2011, 14:06
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX1cO2XhMrg

Wie geil ist das denn? Und natürlich auch ganz schön praktisch: man könnte z.B. einen zusammengepressten Klumpen Haferbrei da reintun und sich sein Frühstück drucken lassen!! Und während man wartet, bis die Maschine mit dem Drucken fertig ist, könnte man ja so nebenbei eine kleine Frühstücksschüssel aus den restlichen Lego-Bausteinen basteln!! Die Möglichkeiten sind... ähm, wahrscheinlich etwas begrenzt. Aber trotzdem sehr spannend. Genial.

Mike Lively Jr.
20th August 2011, 15:33
Erstaunlich, was man kann mit LEGOs macht! Ich liebe LEGOs. Wenn ich ein kind war, ich hatte viele LEGOs. Ich für Stunden baute Dinge mit ihnen.

superkat
21st August 2011, 03:59
Guten Morgen Mike! Hättest du Lust auf ein kleines Stückchen "KW"?


Erstaunlich, was man mit LEGOs machen kann! Ich liebe LEGOs. Als ich ein Kind (Substantive werden immer groß geschrieben!) war, hatte ich viele LEGOs. Ich habe stundenlang damit Dinge gebaut.

Ja, mir ging es damals genauso! Meccano fand ich auch toll. Ich war eben noch nie der Typ Mädchen, der gerne mit Barbie und ihren ebenso künstlichen Freundinnen spielt! :o

Mike Lively Jr.
21st August 2011, 18:25
Danke kat.

Shoot, and here I thought I had done quite well on that. :(

As I am trying to understand the grammar rules, Ich habe viele fragen. (pardon the mixed sentences - I have a somewhat limited German vocabulary :o ).

1. Why has the modal verb "kann" now moved to the end of the sentence? I thought modals moved the infinitive to the end?

2. Why is "Als ich ein Kind" preferable to "Wenn ich ein Kind war" - as near as I can tell both translate to "When I was a child"

3. I don't at all understand the changes to the final sentence. Is the past perfect preferable to the simple past for some reason ("baute" versus "habe gebaut")?

4. I had always thought Lego (singular) a single Lego brand building "brick", whereas Legos (plural) referred to more than one. It would have been rather hard to build things for hours with one Lego.

:confused:

superkat
22nd August 2011, 11:22
Danke kat.

Shoot, and here I thought I had done quite well on that. :(
Doch, das war wirklich gar nicht so schlecht, besonders wenn man bedenkt, dass du erst vor kurzem angefangen hast, Deutsch zu lernen! Ich habe schon viel Schlimmeres geschrieben gesehen ;)


As I am trying to understand the grammar rules, Ich habe viele Fragen (siehe oben: Substantive werden immer groß geschrieben!). (pardon the mixed sentences - I have a somewhat limited German vocabulary :o ).
OK, dann antworte ich von nun an besser auf Englisch!


1. Why has the modal verb "kann" now moved to the end of the sentence? I thought modals moved the infinitive to the end?
It does - unless there's another word lurking about in the sentence doing unspeakable things to the word order: remember when we talked about subordinating conjunctions like weil, obwohl, da, etc., earlier? Well, there's another lot of words that also send the verb to the end of the clause, and that's the relative pronouns when they're used to start a relative clause. That's words like der, die, das (and all their different flavours!), as well as maybe slightly less obvious ones like wo and wer. Here are some examples:

Der Mann, der sehr schön war, hat mir einen Apfel gegeben. (Sorry, I'm appalling at thinking up example sentences that aren't completely naff, I'm sure you couldn't tell ;))
Der Ort, wo ich zur Zeit wohne, ist sehr hässlich.
Alles, was ich gelernt habe, ist falsch.
Erstaunlich, was man alles mit Relativpronomen machen kann!

See what I mean? So, when a modal verb comes into play in a sentence where the verb has to be sent to the end, it counts as the "main" verb and goes right to the end, and the participle sits just before it.


2. Why is "Als ich ein Kind" preferable to "Wenn ich ein Kind war" - as near as I can tell both translate to "When I was a child"
It's not that "als" is preferable; it's that "wenn" is actually wrong! The problem here is that this is a distinction that just doesn't exist in English: we just say "when" willy-nilly and therefore find it a bit confusing when we start learning a language that has three (count 'em!) different words which all translate to "when": wann, als and wenn. And here we go:

1) Wann is the "questioning" when: "when?", if you will. Wann gehen wir nach Hause? Wann kommt der Bus? The mildly confusing bit is that sentences that need "wann" won't always have a question mark, because it can also come up in so-called "indirect questions". For example: Ich weiß nicht, wann das Konzert anfängt. Generally speaking, if you can rearrange the relative clause into a question ("Wann fängt das Konzert an?"), then it's an indirect question, and you need to use "wann".

2) Als is quite simply the past version of "when". If what you're talking about in the bit of the sentence that the "when" is describing happened in the past (and, no offence, but I am choosing to assume that your childhood belongs to this category! ;)), then use "als". Als ich jünger war, hatte ich zwei Katzen. Als er das zu mir gesagt hat, habe ich ihm eine Ohrfeige gegeben.

3) Wenn is... well, the other one, really! You can read more about the wenn/wann distinction here (http://german.about.com/library/blconfus_wann.htm).


3. I don't at all understand the changes to the final sentence. Is the past perfect preferable to the simple past for some reason ("baute" versus "habe gebaut")?
Yup. The simple past (imperfect) tense isn't actually used that often in German - you generally find it in formal print and stories. In a casual conversation (like this one hopefully is!), you'd use the perfect tense. Was that the only thing you didn't understand about the changes to that sentence?


4. I had always thought Lego (singular) a single Lego brand building "brick", whereas Legos (plural) referred to more than one. It would have been rather hard to build things for hours with one Lego.
Huh. No idea! I've never heard of "Lego" meaning one singular brick. Must be an American thing! :p "A lego brick" and "two lego bricks", sure, but "a lego" and "2 lego(e?!)s"? Noch nie gehört! Well, Google spits out 183,000 results for "mit Lego gespielt" and only 97 for "mit Legos gespielt", which leads me to the conclusion that a) "Lego" is also used as a collective term for all things legoey in German and b) there is, however, a small faction of Germans labouring under the same misapprehension as you ;) Only joking! I have genuinely never heard that before, though. You learn summat every day, eh?

WELL, there was another veritable avalanche of Germanity for you! I hope that some of it answered some of your questions at least a teensy bit.

Mike Lively Jr.
22nd August 2011, 12:42
It does - unless there's another word lurking about in the sentence doing unspeakable things to the word order: remember when we talked about subordinating conjunctions like weil, obwohl, da, etc., earlier? Well, there's another lot of words that also send the verb to the end of the clause, and that's the relative pronouns when they're used to start a relative clause. That's words like der, die, das (and all their different flavours!), as well as maybe slightly less obvious ones like wo and wer. Here are some examples:

Der Mann, der sehr schön war, hat mir einen Apfel gegeben. (Sorry, I'm appalling at thinking up example sentences that aren't completely naff, I'm sure you couldn't tell ;))
Der Ort, wo ich zur Zeit wohne, ist sehr hässlich.
Alles, was ich gelernt habe, ist falsch.
Erstaunlich, was man alles mit Relativpronomen machen kann!

See what I mean? So, when a modal verb comes into play in a sentence where the verb has to be sent to the end, it counts as the "main" verb and goes right to the end, and the participle sits just before it.

So these relative pronouns and the like somewhat overrule, as it were, the modals, forcing them to move as well. But, unlike the infinitive that is moved, the modal retains its form (i.e. kann does not become "können" just because it was moved).



It's not that "als" is preferable; it's that "wenn" is actually wrong! The problem here is that this is a distinction that just doesn't exist in English: we just say "when" willy-nilly and therefore find it a bit confusing when we start learning a language that has three (count 'em!) different words which all translate to "when": wann, als and wenn. And here we go:

1) Wann is the "questioning" when: "when?", if you will. Wann gehen wir nach Hause? Wann kommt der Bus? The mildly confusing bit is that sentences that need "wann" won't always have a question mark, because it can also come up in so-called "indirect questions". For example: Ich weiß nicht, wann das Konzert anfängt. Generally speaking, if you can rearrange the relative clause into a question ("Wann fängt das Konzert an?"), then it's an indirect question, and you need to use "wann".

2) Als is quite simply the past version of "when". If what you're talking about in the bit of the sentence that the "when" is describing happened in the past (and, no offence, but I am choosing to assume that your childhood belongs to this category! ;)), then use "als". Als ich jünger war, hatte ich zwei Katzen. Als er das zu mir gesagt hat, habe ich ihm eine Ohrfeige gegeben.

3) Wenn is... well, the other one, really! You can read more about the wenn/wann distinction here (http://german.about.com/library/blconfus_wann.htm).

Ah. The lazyness of English trips me up once again. Wann/Als is pretty straightforward but, wow, that whole wann/wenn thing seems rather complicated.



Yup. The simple past (imperfect) tense isn't actually used that often in German - you generally find it in formal print and stories. In a casual conversation (like this one hopefully is!), you'd use the perfect tense. Was that the only thing you didn't understand about the changes to that sentence?

Huh. Nearly the opposite of English (at least here in America), where, for instance, "I ate it" would be, at least in my experience, far more common than "I have eaten it."

Initially that was the only question. However after the Wann/Als explanation, I'm wondering if my usage of "für" was also completely incorrect. As for the replacement, "Stundenlang" seems to be a compound, conveying the idea of "hours long" and seeming to translate roughly to "for hours", so I sort of understand that.


Huh. No idea! I've never heard of "Lego" meaning one singular brick. Must be an American thing! :p "A lego brick" and "two lego bricks", sure, but "a lego" and "2 lego(e?!)s"? Noch nie gehört! Well, Google spits out 183,000 results for "mit Lego gespielt" and only 97 for "mit Legos gespielt", which leads me to the conclusion that a) "Lego" is also used as a collective term for all things legoey in German and b) there is, however, a small faction of Germans labouring under the same misapprehension as you ;) Only joking! I have genuinely never heard that before, though. You learn summat every day, eh?

Indeed. For instance, from this post, in addition to the German, I have learned the British English slang word "naff".


WELL, there was another veritable avalanche of Germanity for you! I hope that some of it answered some of your questions at least a teensy bit.

Quite helpful, as always. :)

Heide
22nd August 2011, 13:40
Huh. No idea! I've never heard of "Lego" meaning one singular brick. Must be an American thing! :p "A lego brick" and "two lego bricks", sure, but "a lego" and "2 lego(e?!)s"? Noch nie gehört! Well, Google spits out 183,000 results for "mit Lego gespielt" and only 97 for "mit Legos gespielt", which leads me to the conclusion that a) "Lego" is also used as a collective term for all things legoey in German and b) there is, however, a small faction of Germans labouring under the same misapprehension as you ;) Only joking! I have genuinely never heard that before, though. You learn summat every day, eh?
Ja, it must be an American thing. Try googling "play with lego" with and without the 's' in English. The singular is usually either totally capitalized 'LEGO' meaning "Lego brand" or words like 'bricks', 'sets', robots or other nouns follow "Lego". Our kids are told to "PICK UP YOUR LEGOS!!!!" (the caps are added after the 5th request) – always with the 's'. Of course, we also say 'in THE hospital' or 'attend THE university', so maybe we just like to add additional letters and words whether they are needed or not. :)
Opps, I just noticed your word 'labouring'. We do remove that 'u', so maybe it all evens out in the end. :D

superkat
22nd August 2011, 13:48
So these relative pronouns and the like somewhat overrule, as it were, the modals, forcing them to move as well. But, unlike the infinitive that is moved, the modal retains its form (i.e. kann does not become "können" just because it was moved).
Not quite. I think you may be getting a bit confused (which is hardly surprising: I am too, and I'm theoretically meant to understand all of this stuff! ;)) There are a few separate issues here:

1) Modal verbs have to be used in tandem with an infinitive (essen, haben, sein, machen, etc. etc.) - "Ich will nicht da sein", "Ich kann dich nicht hören".

2) In a "normal word order" sentence (that is, a sentence where there's no other sentence element affecting the word order), the main verb (i.e. the one that's being conjugated, the one that changes ending depending on the subject of the verb esse[/B], du isst VS. ich kann essen, du kannst essen]) has to be in the second position (this doesn't necessarily mean it's the second WORD, just that it's the second "unit" in the sentence). If there's an infinitive as part of a modal verb pair, it needs to be in the last position.

3) When a word comes into play that sends the verb to the end of the clause, it's this same main verb that now has to be in the last position of that clause, regardless of any infinitives that may be hanging about, which effectively get shunted one place along to the left: "Ich glaube, dass ich dich liebe" VS "Ich glaube, dass ich dich nicht [I]lieben kann").

If you removed the "Ich glaube, dass" and turned those last examples into sentences with normal word order, they would be like this: "Ich liebe dich" and "Ich kann dich nicht lieben". Do you see that the actual verb doesn't change at all, regardless of the word order? The various parts of the sentence get shifted around, but none of them actually change. So what you were asking about the infinitive "changing its form" because it was moved isn't true at all: it was an infinitive to start off with and it stays an infinitive, it just sits in a different part of the sentence.

Here's an (immensely improbable and thoroughly tautologic) example of what I mean: "Ich will nicht kommen, weil ich nicht kommen will." Exactly the same words, conjugated in exactly the same way... just in a different order.

Is that a bit clearer?


Ah. The lazyness of English trips me up once again. Wann/Als is pretty straightforward but, wow, that whole wann/wenn thing seems rather complicated.
It's actually not, I just explained it in a stupendously complex way! As a general Faustregel: if it's to do with a time, it's probably going to be "wann". Wann kommst du? = When/At what time are you coming? Ich weiß nicht, wann ich komme = I don't know when/at what time I'm coming.


Huh. Nearly the opposite of English (at least here in America), where, for instance, "I ate it" would be, at least in my experience, far more common than "I have eaten it."
STOP! (Hammer time!) You are on dangerous ground here, so I will explain something very important RIGHT NOW: just because the German perfect tense has "haben" er, or "sein" in it does not mean that it is comparable to the English present perfect "I have done something". The fact is, the German imperfect tense (Ich aß) and the German perfect tense (Ich habe gegessen) mean exactly the same thing. The only difference is when they're used. This is why a lot of German speakers have big problems with English tenses, because German doesn't make any distinction between "I ate something" and "I have eaten something", which do have a difference in meaning in English.


Initially that was the only question. However after the Wann/Als explanation, I'm wondering if my usage of "für" was also completely incorrect. As for the replacement, "Stundenlang" seems to be a compound, conveying the idea of "hours long" and seeming to translate roughly to "for hours", so I sort of understand that.
Actually, "für Stunden" isn't actually incorrect, but "stundenlang" is much more common. :)


Indeed. For instance, from this post, in addition to the German, I have learned the British English slang word "naff".
You've never heard the word "naff" before? You've not lived! Stick with me, mate, I'll introduce you to a whole new world :p

Mike Lively Jr.
22nd August 2011, 14:33
Not quite. I think you may be getting a bit confused (which is hardly surprising: I am too, and I'm theoretically meant to understand all of this stuff! ;)) There are a few separate issues here:

1) Modal verbs have to be used in tandem with an infinitive (essen, haben, sein, machen, etc. etc.) - "Ich will nicht da sein", "Ich kann dich nicht hören".

2) In a "normal word order" sentence (that is, a sentence where there's no other sentence element affecting the word order), the main verb (i.e. the one that's being conjugated, the one that changes ending depending on the subject of the verb esse[/B], du isst VS. ich kann essen, du kannst essen]) has to be in the second position (this doesn't necessarily mean it's the second WORD, just that it's the second "unit" in the sentence). If there's an infinitive as part of a modal verb pair, it needs to be in the last position.

3) When a word comes into play that sends the verb to the end of the clause, it's this same main verb that now has to be in the last position of that clause, regardless of any infinitives that may be hanging about, which effectively get shunted one place along to the left: "Ich glaube, dass ich dich liebe" VS "Ich glaube, dass ich dich nicht [I]lieben kann").

If you removed the "Ich glaube, dass" and turned those last examples into sentences with normal word order, they would be like this: "Ich liebe dich" and "Ich kann dich nicht lieben". Do you see that the actual verb doesn't change at all, regardless of the word order? The various parts of the sentence get shifted around, but none of them actually change. So what you were asking about the infinitive "changing its form" because it was moved isn't true at all: it was an infinitive to start off with and it stays an infinitive, it just sits in a different part of the sentence.

Here's an (immensely improbable and thoroughly tautologic) example of what I mean: "Ich will nicht kommen, weil ich nicht kommen will." Exactly the same words, conjugated in exactly the same way... just in a different order.

Is that a bit clearer?

Somewhat, I think. So, let me see...

Simple sentence - Ich liebe dich.
With non-modal-word-order-changer - Ich glaube dass ich dich liebe. ("liebe" moved to the end, but retains it's case ending).
With modal - Ich kann dich lieben. ("liebe" becomes the infinitive form "lieben" and moves to the end)
With both - Ich glaube dass ich dich lieben kann (the presence of "kann" has worked it's work on "liebe", but the presence of "dass" now moves "kann" to the end).

So modals turn the other (main?) verb to an infinitive and move it. Non-modal-word-order-changers simply move the (main?) verb, but don't change it. When both are present, the (main?) verb is changed and moved to the next-to-last position, with the (unchanged) modal being put at the end.


It's actually not, I just explained it in a stupendously complex way! As a general Faustregel: if it's to do with a time, it's probably going to be "wann". Wann kommst du? = When/At what time are you coming? Ich weiß nicht, wann ich komme = I don't know when/at what time I'm coming.

Yea, I sort of figured that for "wann", but "wenn" is still fuzzy. It's for hypotheticals or some such?



STOP! (Hammer time!) You are on dangerous ground here, so I will explain something very important RIGHT NOW: just because the German perfect tense has "haben" er, or "sein" in it does not mean that it is comparable to the English present perfect "I have done something". The fact is, the German imperfect tense (Ich aß) and the German perfect tense (Ich habe gegessen) mean exactly the same thing. The only difference is when they're used. This is why a lot of German speakers have big problems with English tenses, because German doesn't make any distinction between "I ate something" and "I have eaten something", which do have a difference in meaning in English.

Interessant.



Actually, "für Stunden" isn't actually incorrect, but "stundenlang" is much more common. :)


You've never heard the word "naff" before? You've not lived! Stick with me, mate, I'll introduce you to a whole new world :p

... a new fantastic point of view? :p

(Sorry. Now you'll have that stupid song stuck in your head all day.)

superkat
22nd August 2011, 15:02
Ja, it must be an American thing. Try googling "play with lego" with and without the 's' in English. The singular is usually either totally capitalized 'LEGO' meaning "Lego brand" or words like 'bricks', 'sets', robots or other nouns follow "Lego". Our kids are told to "PICK UP YOUR LEGOS!!!!" (the caps are added after the 5th request) – always with the 's'. Of course, we also say 'in THE hospital' or 'attend THE university', so maybe we just like to add additional letters and words whether they are needed or not. :)
Opps, I just noticed your word 'labouring'. We do remove that 'u', so maybe it all evens out in the end. :D
Ach so. Das finde ich ja wirklich sehr interessant! Hätte ich jetzt nicht gedacht! Andererseits kann ich mich nicht daran erinnern, jemals mit einem Amerikaner bzw. einer Amerikanerin über Lego[s] geredet zu haben, das könnte also schon mal erklären, was es mit meinen fehlenden Fachkenntnissen im (sehr wichtigen) Bereich Legolinguistik auf sich hat! Vielleicht sollten wir ja einen Kompromiss aushandeln, indem wir uns auf eine alternative Mehrzahlendung einigen... wie wäre es z.B. mit ein Lego, zwei Legonen (wie Euro - Euronen)? Zwei Legopodes (wie octopus - octopodes)? Zwei Legeese (wie moose - meese ;))? Zwei Legonationen? :p

superkat
22nd August 2011, 15:14
Somewhat, I think. So, let me see...

Simple sentence - Ich liebe dich.
With non-modal-word-order-changer - Ich glaube, dass ich dich liebe. ("liebe" moved to the end, but retains it's case ending).
With modal - Ich kann dich lieben. ("liebe" becomes the infinitive form "lieben" and moves to the end)
With both - Ich glaube, dass ich dich lieben kann (the presence of "kann" has worked it's work on "liebe", but the presence of "dass" now moves "kann" to the end).

So modals turn the other (main? Well, it WAS the main verb, but the presence of a modal verb demotes it to a mere infinitive) verb to an infinitive and move it. Non-modal-word-order-changers simply move the (main? Yep, remember that there's no other verb in play in this scenario, so it kind of has to be the "main" one!) verb, but don't change it. When both are present, the (main?) verb is changed and moved to the next-to-last position, with the (unchanged) modal being put at the end.

BY JOVE, I THINK HE'S GOT IT!!! Perfekt! :D You have got it down. Ooh, I feel all maternal and proud. Which is a bit weird, really, since you are actually older than me, but let's not dwell. Schweigen und genießen!


Yea, I sort of figured that for "wann", but "wenn" is still fuzzy. It's for hypotheticals or some such?
Yep, one (very common) usage of "wenn" doesn't actually translate as "when", but actually "if" - I wouldn't actually worry about that one for a bit if I were you, though, because this quite often involves a whole new mood of verb (the subjunctive) which may through you into new and hideous throes of confusion. Just sit back and enjoy your modal victory for a while ;)

Another use of "wenn" is for the sense of "whenever": "Wenn es heiß ist, spiele ich Tennis" ("When(ever) it's hot, I play tennis"). This is essentially equivalent to "Jedes mal, wenn" - every time it's hot. Basically, if it's not "als" or "wann", there's not really much left except "wenn" ;)


... a new fantastic point of view? :p

(Sorry. Now you'll have that stupid song stuck in your head all day.)
What cruel new torment!

Mike Lively Jr.
22nd August 2011, 15:37
Now I just have to learn and memorize the non-modal-word-order-changers.