Discussion:
Translating grammatically clever compositions
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Dingbat
2017-08-08 23:38:55 UTC
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What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim seems to
be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its translation to English
can't be made to look equally clever. Is this assessment right?

Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.

Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of "be,"
"I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here "bin") and
its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end, one would translate
"I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of the sentence rests on an
untranslatable bit of grammatical cleverness. Literally translated into
English, the quote would be "I am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent
English phrasing in meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".

https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
Stefan Ram
2017-08-08 23:57:47 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim seems to
be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its translation to English
can't be made to look equally clever. Is this assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
...
Post by Dingbat
"I am the king of Sweden - was."
That's not a bad translation! Akin to:

I am the king of Sweden - not!
Peter Moylan
2017-08-09 01:55:05 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim seems to
be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its translation to English
can't be made to look equally clever. Is this assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of "be,"
"I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here "bin") and
its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end, one would translate
"I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of the sentence rests on an
untranslatable bit of grammatical cleverness. Literally translated into
English, the quote would be "I am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent
English phrasing in meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
Perhaps it's just my poor understanding of German, but doesn't the
quoted sentence just mean "I have been the king of Sweden"?
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
musika
2017-08-09 02:21:10 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim seems to
be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its translation to English
can't be made to look equally clever. Is this assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of "be,"
"I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here "bin") and
its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end, one would translate
"I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of the sentence rests on an
untranslatable bit of grammatical cleverness. Literally translated into
English, the quote would be "I am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent
English phrasing in meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
Perhaps it's just my poor understanding of German, but doesn't the
quoted sentence just mean "I have been the king of Sweden"?
I think that would be "Ich habe der König von Schweden gewesen.
This humorous trick of negating the previous utterance at the end is
similar in construction to "I am the King of Sweden - NOT.
--
Ray
UK
Whiskers
2017-08-09 12:02:45 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim
seems to be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its
translation to English can't be made to look equally clever. Is this
assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of
"be," "I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here
"bin") and its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end,
one would translate "I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of
the sentence rests on an untranslatable bit of grammatical
cleverness. Literally translated into English, the quote would be "I
am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent English phrasing in
meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
Perhaps it's just my poor understanding of German, but doesn't the
quoted sentence just mean "I have been the king of Sweden"?
I think that would be "Ich habe der König von Schweden gewesen. This
humorous trick of negating the previous utterance at the end is
similar in construction to "I am the King of Sweden - NOT.
'I am the king of Sweden, as was' is good colloquial BrE. We could also
say 'I am the king as was of Sweden'. Some dialects of BrE have 'be'
instead of 'am', so 'I be the king of Sweden, as was' is also possible
(but sounds too rustic to have been said by a bona fide aristocrat).

We also have our Once and Future King. Just as soon as we can find
Avalon again.
--
-- ^^^^^^^^^^
-- Whiskers
-- ~~~~~~~~~~
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2017-08-09 12:17:28 UTC
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Post by Whiskers
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim
seems to be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its
translation to English can't be made to look equally clever. Is this
assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of
"be," "I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here
"bin") and its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end,
one would translate "I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of
the sentence rests on an untranslatable bit of grammatical
cleverness. Literally translated into English, the quote would be "I
am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent English phrasing in
meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
Perhaps it's just my poor understanding of German, but doesn't the
quoted sentence just mean "I have been the king of Sweden"?
I think that would be "Ich habe der König von Schweden gewesen. This
humorous trick of negating the previous utterance at the end is
similar in construction to "I am the King of Sweden - NOT.
'I am the king of Sweden, as was' is good colloquial BrE. We could also
say 'I am the king as was of Sweden'.
Which might be misunderstood as 'I am the king Aswos of Sweden'.
Post by Whiskers
Some dialects of BrE have 'be'
instead of 'am', so 'I be the king of Sweden, as was' is also possible
(but sounds too rustic to have been said by a bona fide aristocrat).
We also have our Once and Future King. Just as soon as we can find
Avalon again.
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Jerry Friedman
2017-08-09 13:10:34 UTC
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Post by musika
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim seems to
be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its translation to English
can't be made to look equally clever. Is this assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of "be,"
"I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here "bin") and
its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end, one would translate
"I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of the sentence rests on an
untranslatable bit of grammatical cleverness. Literally translated into
English, the quote would be "I am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent
English phrasing in meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
Perhaps it's just my poor understanding of German, but doesn't the
quoted sentence just mean "I have been the king of Sweden"?
I think that would be "Ich habe der König von Schweden gewesen.
The Internet seems to agree with Dingbat or his source that "I have been
the king of Sweden" would be "Ich *bin* der König von Schweden gewesen."
Post by musika
This humorous trick of negating the previous utterance at the end is
similar in construction to "I am the King of Sweden - NOT.
The point seems to be that adding one word at the end changes "I am the
king of Sweden" to "I have been the King of Sweden." It's more
grammatical than the usual NOT sentences.

I don't think you can do exactly that in English. Something similar
might be "I have a Rolls-Royce... to wash." (For someone who works at a
car wash.) Or "Joe has a collection of pigeon's-blood rubies. Do you?"
"I have some... doubts about Joe's truthfulness."
--
Jerry Friedman
musika
2017-08-09 13:28:03 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by musika
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim seems to
be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its translation to English
can't be made to look equally clever. Is this assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of "be,"
"I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here "bin") and
its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end, one would translate
"I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of the sentence rests on an
untranslatable bit of grammatical cleverness. Literally translated into
English, the quote would be "I am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent
English phrasing in meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
Perhaps it's just my poor understanding of German, but doesn't the
quoted sentence just mean "I have been the king of Sweden"?
I think that would be "Ich habe der König von Schweden gewesen.
The Internet seems to agree with Dingbat or his source that "I have been
the king of Sweden" would be "Ich *bin* der König von Schweden gewesen."
Oh dear, that's what I meant to write. Showing the difference between:
"Ich *bin* der König von Schweden gewesen" and
"Ich *bin* der König von Schweden - gewesen" i.e. the pause indicated by
the dash.
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by musika
This humorous trick of negating the previous utterance at the end is
similar in construction to "I am the King of Sweden - NOT.
The point seems to be that adding one word at the end changes "I am the
king of Sweden" to "I have been the King of Sweden."
Of course it does.
Post by Jerry Friedman
It's more
grammatical than the usual NOT sentences.
Indeed, but a similar construction.
Post by Jerry Friedman
I don't think you can do exactly that in English.
I agree.
--
Ray
UK
Tak To
2017-08-10 12:29:36 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by musika
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim seems to
be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its translation to English
can't be made to look equally clever. Is this assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of "be,"
"I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here "bin") and
its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end, one would translate
"I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of the sentence rests on an
untranslatable bit of grammatical cleverness. Literally translated into
English, the quote would be "I am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent
English phrasing in meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
Perhaps it's just my poor understanding of German, but doesn't the
quoted sentence just mean "I have been the king of Sweden"?
I think that would be "Ich habe der König von Schweden gewesen.
The Internet seems to agree with Dingbat or his source that "I have been
the king of Sweden" would be "Ich *bin* der König von Schweden gewesen."
Post by musika
This humorous trick of negating the previous utterance at the end is
similar in construction to "I am the King of Sweden - NOT.
The point seems to be that adding one word at the end changes "I am the
king of Sweden" to "I have been the King of Sweden." It's more
grammatical than the usual NOT sentences.
I don't think you can do exactly that in English. Something similar
might be "I have a Rolls-Royce... to wash." (For someone who works at a
car wash.) Or "Joe has a collection of pigeon's-blood rubies. Do you?"
"I have some... doubts about Joe's truthfulness."
I own a bank - statement.
--
Tak
----------------------------------------------------------------+-----
Tak To ***@alum.mit.eduxx
--------------------------------------------------------------------^^
[taode takto ~{LU5B~}] NB: trim the xx to get my real email addr
musika
2017-08-10 12:46:15 UTC
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Post by Tak To
Post by Jerry Friedman
The point seems to be that adding one word at the end changes "I am the
king of Sweden" to "I have been the King of Sweden." It's more
grammatical than the usual NOT sentences.
I don't think you can do exactly that in English. Something similar
might be "I have a Rolls-Royce... to wash." (For someone who works at a
car wash.) Or "Joe has a collection of pigeon's-blood rubies. Do you?"
"I have some... doubts about Joe's truthfulness."
I own a bank - statement.
I like the difference between:
I have seen your work and cannot praise you enough!
I have seen your work and cannot praise you - enough!
--
Ray
UK
b***@aol.com
2017-08-10 13:03:19 UTC
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Post by Tak To
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by musika
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim seems to
be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its translation to English
can't be made to look equally clever. Is this assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of "be,"
"I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here "bin") and
its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end, one would translate
"I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of the sentence rests on an
untranslatable bit of grammatical cleverness. Literally translated into
English, the quote would be "I am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent
English phrasing in meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
Perhaps it's just my poor understanding of German, but doesn't the
quoted sentence just mean "I have been the king of Sweden"?
I think that would be "Ich habe der König von Schweden gewesen.
The Internet seems to agree with Dingbat or his source that "I have been
the king of Sweden" would be "Ich *bin* der König von Schweden gewesen."
Post by musika
This humorous trick of negating the previous utterance at the end is
similar in construction to "I am the King of Sweden - NOT.
The point seems to be that adding one word at the end changes "I am the
king of Sweden" to "I have been the King of Sweden." It's more
grammatical than the usual NOT sentences.
I don't think you can do exactly that in English. Something similar
might be "I have a Rolls-Royce... to wash." (For someone who works at a
car wash.) Or "Joe has a collection of pigeon's-blood rubies. Do you?"
"I have some... doubts about Joe's truthfulness."
I own a bank - statement.
On the other hand... you have different fingers. ("paraprosdokian")
Post by Tak To
--
Tak
----------------------------------------------------------------+-----
--------------------------------------------------------------------^^
[taode takto ~{LU5B~}] NB: trim the xx to get my real email addr
Tak To
2017-08-11 14:04:35 UTC
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Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Tak To
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by musika
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim seems to
be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its translation to English
can't be made to look equally clever. Is this assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of "be,"
"I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here "bin") and
its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end, one would translate
"I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of the sentence rests on an
untranslatable bit of grammatical cleverness. Literally translated into
English, the quote would be "I am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent
English phrasing in meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
Perhaps it's just my poor understanding of German, but doesn't the
quoted sentence just mean "I have been the king of Sweden"?
I think that would be "Ich habe der König von Schweden gewesen.
The Internet seems to agree with Dingbat or his source that "I have been
the king of Sweden" would be "Ich *bin* der König von Schweden gewesen."
Post by musika
This humorous trick of negating the previous utterance at the end is
similar in construction to "I am the King of Sweden - NOT.
The point seems to be that adding one word at the end changes "I am the
king of Sweden" to "I have been the King of Sweden." It's more
grammatical than the usual NOT sentences.
I don't think you can do exactly that in English. Something similar
might be "I have a Rolls-Royce... to wash." (For someone who works at a
car wash.) Or "Joe has a collection of pigeon's-blood rubies. Do you?"
"I have some... doubts about Joe's truthfulness."
I own a bank - statement.
On the other hand... you have different fingers. ("paraprosdokian")
Off the top of my head... I bow to your wit.
--
Tak
----------------------------------------------------------------+-----
Tak To ***@alum.mit.eduxx
--------------------------------------------------------------------^^
[taode takto ~{LU5B~}] NB: trim the xx to get my real email addr
Hen Hanna
2017-08-09 19:45:58 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim seems to
be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its translation to English
can't be made to look equally clever. Is this assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of "be,"
"I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here "bin") and
its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end, one would translate
"I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of the sentence rests on an
untranslatable bit of grammatical cleverness. Literally translated into
English, the quote would be "I am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent
English phrasing in meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
Perhaps it's just my poor understanding of German, but doesn't the
quoted sentence just mean "I have been the king of Sweden"?
[composite past] in German (and French) is
closer to simple past
(than to present perfect). HH
Hen Hanna
2017-08-09 19:43:37 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
What makes this seem "grammatically clever" to a Swede? The claim seems to
be that its "cleverness" is untranslatable - that its translation to English
can't be made to look equally clever. Is this assessment right?
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
Translation: I was the king of Sweden." Note: The German perfect of "be,"
"I have been," is constructed with a finite form of "be" (here "bin") and
its participle ("gewesen"). Without "gewesen" at the end, one would translate
"I am the king of Sweden." Thus the weight of the sentence rests on an
untranslatable bit of grammatical cleverness. Literally translated into
English, the quote would be "I am the king of Sweden - was." An equivalent
English phrasing in meaning would be "I am the king of Sweden… no more".
https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
This was the speaker's [last words],
and it was a case of unintended humor.


Gustav Adolf sagte: „Ich bin der König von Schweden gewesen“ und verschied.


Mr. Dingbat, next time, pls put
Post by Dingbat
Ich bin der König von Schweden - gewesen.
in the subj. line.

Thanks. HH
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