2017-08-08 23:38:55 UTC
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".