Forum Rocket German Conversation in German Ob es im Krankenhaus Glühwein gibt.

Ob es im Krankenhaus Glühwein gibt.

DeanC7

DeanC7

I'm confused by some of the conversation and translations in the final lesson in Module 7 (7.4).  In particular, I'm having trouble with the discussion surrounding Nik's musings about mulled wine being served in the hospital.  It goes like this:
(Under  Listen to the full lesson:)
Nik: (time mark: 13:15) “I wonder out loud: Ob es im Krankenhaus Glühwein gibt. Will there be Glühwein in the hospital?” Nic goes on to say: “Ob, is best translated as “whether”.  
 
Now in the "Play it" section it says: 
Ob es im Krankenhaus Glühwein gibt.
“I wonder whether they“ll have mulled wine in the hospital.”
 
In the Reinforcement activities, when the above sentence is again presented, the required proper translation for the phrase is that presented under Play it. “I wonder whether they“ll have mulled wine in the hospital.”

At this point in my study, this translation appears to me to be incorrect.  Checking with Google Translate, what appears to be a more accurate translation for the sentence is: "Ich frage mich, ob es im Krankenhaus Glühwein haben werden."

Did I miss something in a prior lesson that would help me translate this sentence correctly, or is the translation asked for in the reinforcement activities  incorrect?  
sfpugh

sfpugh

Firstly don't rely on Google translate when you are learning a language, it can get things badly wrong sometimes.

There has been quite a lot of discussion in the forum about the quality of the translations in the course. I think that Rocket German tends to translate into natural sounding English even if it doesn't match the German very well, and this is why the introduced the literal button. I assume they didn't use the literal button for this phrase as you didn't mention it.

I like to have a go at answering questions on the forum as it is good practice for me so here goes.

"Ob" is a subordinating conjunction which mean it introduces a subordinate clause which means the verb is pushed to the end.

The English equivalent of "es gibt" is "there is" so a more literal translation of your phrase is "if there is mulled wine in the hospital". I assume there is a main clause before this for "I wonder". I don't have level one so I can't look myself. If not, the phrase is very confusing! At the very least "I wonder" should be in brackets.

Personally I would not have translated "Glühwein".



 
DeanC7

DeanC7

Thanks for the feedback.  I sometimes wonder if the Rocket Languages folks don't do this intentionally every so often just to make us think about our translations rather than just memorizing phrases.

I learned early on not to trust Google Translate, but I have found it helpful in checking my vocabulary and figuring out many of the phrases that don't seem to make sense.

In this case, it seemed so different that I couldn't reconcile the phrase and the translation.  Like you, I figured they must have intended to include an introductory phrase like: Ich frage mich, ob... but just neglected to complete the sentence.  However, there was no introductory phrase, just the sentence you see in the thread title.  I figured either I missed something or it was just a poor translation; at best.

I guess what make this so egregious is that the sentence is used over and over again in each of the reinforcement activities which means you have to potentially mistranslate the sentence in order to "get credit" for knowing it.   
PaulS108

PaulS108

Hi Dean - I was also confused when Rocket German "threw me a curve ball" on the same sentence in lesson 7.4.  Below is what I found online when I sought out a clarification.

As you are already aware, the German word 'ob' introduces a subordinate clause and forms an indirect yes-no question. For example: "Ich möchte wissen, ob du mit mir arbeiten willst." ("I'd like to know if you want to work with me.")

In the above example, the first part of the sentence ("Ich möchte wissen,") is the main clause, and the second part of the sentence ("ob du mit mir arbeiten willst.") is the indirect question introduced by the subordinating conjunction 'ob'.

There are situations in German in which the the main clause can be dropped, with the indirect question standing alone and remaining in the same grammatical structure, as if the main clause were still there. This situation applies to "Ich frage mich, ob..." ("I ask myself if..." or "I wonder if...") and "Ich bin gespannt, ob..." ("I'm curious whether..."). There are probably more phrases of this type in German that I'm not aware of (I'm still a beginner), but this situation pertains directly to your question. Consider the example: "Ich frage mich, ob er morgen kommt." This sentence can also be expressed as simply "Ob er morgen kommt." (I wonder if he'll come tomorrow.)

Based on the above, the exercise in Lesson 7.4: "Ob es im Krankenhaus Glühwein gibt." is the indirect question portion of the full sentence: "Ich frage mich, ob es im Krankenhaus Glühwein gibt.",  or alternatively, "Ich bin gespannt, ob es im Krankenhaus Glühwein gibt.". The "I wonder if" or "I'm curious whether" is understood in this situation and not a grammatical requirement.

I'm sure that Julia can expand on this, but I wanted to share with you my findings.
 

    
sfpugh

sfpugh

Thanks for pointing that out Paul, I eventually found it in my grammar book - a single throw away sentence:
"ob clauses are often used in isolation especially in  spoken German, to ask a question: Ob es in Schwerin noch Glocken gibt? Are there still bells in Schwerin?"

Using this concept the phrase could be translated as "Do they have mulled wine in the hospital? But then maybe the German should have a question mark.

This all seems very advanced for Level 1!
 
RobertR34

RobertR34

That Google translation is total nonsense.  "Es gibt" is a very useful phrase in German, with no literal English translation that makes any sense.  "What gives?" may find its antecedent from the German, though.  My advice would be to just believe that the German is common usage, with the translation often being figurative rather than literal.
DeanC7

DeanC7

Thanks Paul, that explanation makes sense.  Too bad that discussion wasn’t included in the lesson, but then again I’m much more likely to remember it now having given it so much thought over the past few days. I feel a bit better about the Rocket Languages Program knowing that the translation given  isn’t a result of someone’s failure to pay attention to detail.  I’ve encountered a number of cases like this one and I was beginning to think they (RL) were just sloppy.  That explanation inspires a bit more confidence in the program and the translations provided.
PaulS108

PaulS108

Hi Dean -

Glad my explanation shed some light on the confusion. You obviously pay close attention to detail in your language learning and don't easily pass over something that is unclear. I am very much the same, which is what motivated me to respond to your question.

Just a heads up that the RL course will continue to throw at you new language elements that you haven't previously encountered and with no explanation. I believe that it does this purely for the sake of exposure; however, in many cases, the course does eventually present those new elements in a more formal way. For the impatient among us who require an immediate explanation, we're lucky to have the Forum and the internet:))
  
That being said, it's important to give our recommendations and constructive criticism to the Forum when we think that we can further improve the quality of the course. I recently expressed my general frustration with the course's use of "free translation": a beginning language learner should, in my opinion, always be presented with the closest translation in the target language that sounds natural to a native speaker, but free translations, which change active sentences to passive or eliminate words altogether when there is no slang or expression involved, are not prudent and effective for language learning. For the record, Julia was very receptive to my constructive criticism. 

So don't get discouraged. We all know that language learning is fun and rewarding, but it IS frustrating. Stay motivated! Alles Gute!!     
DeanC7

DeanC7

Thanks Paul,
Ich mache gute Fortschritte. 

I find the Rocket Language program a bit more enjoyable and motivating than I did the Pimsleur German, but there is still lots of room for improvement.    I'm forcing myself to hang out in Level One though I finished all of the Interactive Audio Lessons quite a while back.  I feel like I need to finish all of the Level One Language and Culture and Survival kit lessons before moving on, though I find them a lot less engaging.  I wish those learning tools had more audio tracks so that I could listen to a lesson while driving or walking around.

I too have provided some feedback to RL, specifically regarding their alternating translations of sehenswürtigkeiten.  Again it was a situation where they introduced the term in the lesson giving one definition and then requiring a different definition in the reinforcement quiz.  In my case, they were more receptive to my comment, and changed the translation so that it was consistent.  I was impressed that they actually read my comment and even more when they addressed it.

Thanks again for the assist with my question.  I appreciate the feedback.
DeanC7

DeanC7

So, I just went back to review this lesson and couldn't believe my ears!  I thought my computer was running slow and the words were being slurred!  But no, the entire lesson has changed including the speakers.  I found it to be an improvement in many regards, though I missed my old friends Nik and Paul.  Anyway, this confusing sentence has now left the building.  It has been replace with "Vielleicht können sie auch etwas Glühwein mitbringen;" a perfectly understandable and fully explained sentence.  What an improvement!   Kind of makes me think the Rocket Languages folks actually pay attention to these forums!  How cool is that!  

Now I'm going back to re-visit all of the lessons in Level one.  I can't wait to see if they've killed off Nik and Paul!

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