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Let me know if not

Discussion in 'Nederlands (Dutch)' started by starsailing, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. starsailing New Member

    English
    Hallo,

    I'm very much a beginner learner, and trying to translate "I hope this is the right thing! Let me know if not." (I mean 'right' as in 'correct', not 'just').

    I translate it as:

    "Ik hoop dat dit de juiste ding is! Laat het me weten als het niet is."

    But I know there are many mistakes, so I'd be grateful if anyone could correct this.
    Dank u wel.
     
  2. triptonizer Senior Member

    Ghent - Belgium
    Nederlands - België
    Hi starsailing, for a beginner it's not bad at all! But there are issues. "Ding" is neuter, so in any case it should be "ik hoop dat dit het juiste ding is".

    But that doesn't sound very elegant. If the "thing" is a physical object, you could say "ik hoop dat dit het juiste voorwerp is" (there are several objects before you, and you have to pick the right one).

    I guess in most instances though you would refer back to an object in the previous sentence (also in English): Give me the file on child abuse! Here you are, I hope this is the right one [the right file] -> ik hoop dat dit het juiste [dossier] is.

    "Laat het me weten als het niet zo is" is grammatically correct, but sounds formal. Colloquially I'd say something like "anders moet je het maar laten weten", "als het niet zo is, dan hoor ik het wel".
     
  3. bibibiben

    bibibiben Senior Member

    Amsterdam
    Dutch - Netherlands
    Equally sounding quite natural, but a bit shorter than the ones mentioned by triptonizer: "Laat het me anders weten."
     
  4. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I beg to disagree, sorry, as concerns the last sentence: "Laat me weten of [if, whether] het niet zo is". Also possible: ".. of het klopt of niet".

    Other possibilitiy: 'Als niet [if there is enough context], ...",
     
  5. bibibiben

    bibibiben Senior Member

    Amsterdam
    Dutch - Netherlands
    Now I am the one begging to differ.

    1. Triptonizer did come up with correct translations. "If" in "Let me know if not" cannot be replaced by "whether". If that crucial test fails, "if" necessarily means "als" (or "indien"), not Dutch "of".

    2. The elliptical construction "if not" cannot be translated by "als niet". The Dutch elliptical equivalent is "zo niet". "Als" can only be used in fully-fledged clauses.

    3. The trouble with "zo niet" is that it's a tad formal. Constructions with "anders" sound more relaxed.
     
  6. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    1. Good point, but.. I am right ;-)). This is an indirect question...

    2. Aaarrrrhhh, you might be right. We do say so in Flanders, but you might know better. You can say 'als niet mogelijk', can't you?

    3. OK, but not wrong.
     
  7. Syzygy Senior Member

    German
    Would "zo nee" work? Or is it just as formal?
    I don't think "if not" is an indirect question here but a shortened condition clause.
     
  8. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I think "zo nee" might be a little formal, but "if not" in the given sentence is a direct object of a verb in "Llaat me weten of je...", so not a condition clause. it is a conditional clause in the other cases ... I feel fairly sure, but there is a distinction indeed... ;-)

    In some cases you will be using 'ob' here, in German, not 'wenn', don't you? I
     
  9. bibibiben

    bibibiben Senior Member

    Amsterdam
    Dutch - Netherlands
  10. Syzygy Senior Member

    German
    Yes, in German ob corresponds to if when it's used in the sense of whether and wenn is used to introduce condition clauses.
    I have to admit, though, I already had problems understanding triptonizer's sentence in #2 "Als het niet zo is, dan hoor ik het wel." That sounds to me like "If it is not, I'll hear about it anyway." (which wouldn't be anywhere close to the original English) but maybe I just hadn't come across the usage of horen here yet. I just realized that this is the sentence you were referring to in your post, so I probably just misunderstood before.
     
  11. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I think there might be some ambiguity, depending on whether you translate the als/of clause as 'in case' or not. Don't you think?

    - Let me know whether you come
    - Let me know in case you come


    Both mean about the same, but the same is less plausible, I think. Or is it ?
     
  12. bibibiben

    bibibiben Senior Member

    Amsterdam
    Dutch - Netherlands
    Syzygy and ThomasK,

    1. I think "zo nee" is also a bit formal, but maybe less so than "zo niet". I'm not sure. No matter what, "anders" is definitely less formal and would probably be a better solution. See:
    http://www.vrt.be/taal/zo-niet-dan-anders (sixth paragraph).

    2. Triptonizer understood "let me know if not" to be "if not, let me know", which I think is the only correct interpretation. Since "if not" is short for "if it's not the right thing", triptonizer's "als het niet zo is" is a perfect fit. "Whether" doesn't play a role here, as it cannot be used in this elliptical construction.

    On the other hand, "let me know if it's not true" could be more ambiguous. It could mean "let me know whether it's not true" or "let me know if (= conditional)* it's not true". I think, though, that it's more common to say "let me know whether it's true (or not)" than "let me know whether it's not true", so this sentence will most likely not be considered annoyingly ambiguous.

    3."Als het niet zo is, hoor ik het wel" (or "ik hoor het wel als het niet zo is") may be a rather colloquial translation, but covers "let me know if not" fairly well, all the more so as starsailer's utterance doesn't seem to be that formal either.

    ThomasK,

    "Als niet mogelijk" (meaning "als het niet mogelijk is") is not considered correct in the Netherlands. The curious thing is that Google hardly produces any hits either if I only include Belgian web sites.** Are you sure this elliptical construction is common in Belgium? It may be considered ungrammatical there as well.



    *I'm hesitant to replace "if" by "in case", as some may object that these conjunctions are not perfectly synonymous.
    **Search terms: "als niet mogelijk" -"zo goed als niet mogelijk" site:.be


     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  13. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I did not realize the ambiguity of the sentence. I think though Syzygy will probably agree that two translations seem possible in German, thus showing the ambiguity:
    - Gib mir Bescheid, ob/wenn unmöglich
    - Sag mir, ob es unmöglich ist (ellipsis possible, I suppose)
    - Laat mij weten of het mogelijk is (but no ellipsis seems possible, I agree)
    I think both are possible, but the if clause might be more plausible or more common.

    As for Google: try "indien onmogelijk". Lots of hits...
     
  14. Syzygy Senior Member

    German
    The second German sentence is grammatically correct, but since ob translates to whether this probably isn't what the OP means. The ellipses in the first example don't work. There is "wenn/falls möglich" (=indien mogelijk?) but here I probably would go for "wenn nicht, dann" which unlike "zo niet" is not formal.

    Seeing how "Als het niet zo is, hoor ik het wel." seems to be the closest translation, I'd like to ask if horen is used here in the sense of "dat hoort zo te zijn" or rather "een geluid horen". In the latter case I don't quite understand where the person that is asked to tell the speaker about it enters into the sentence.
     
  15. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    'Horen' is certainly 'hear'... I gathered in the meantime that (2) is not what the speaker meant, indeed.
     
  16. bibibiben

    bibibiben Senior Member

    Amsterdam
    Dutch - Netherlands

    Apart from the fact that "Gib mir Bescheid, ob möglich" is not correct, an elliptical "ob nicht" or "wenn nicht" in German doesn't make elliptical "if not" in English ambiguous. It will still be an elliptical conditional clause



    Yes, there are numerous elliptical constructions containing indien. Indien gewenst, indien nodig, indien van toepassing, indien niet mogelijk etc. Als, though, cannot be substituted in any of these elliptical constructions, making als niet mogelijk impossible. In the Netherlands, at least.



    Yes, horen simply means to hear. Translations with horen are very much okay, as laat het me (maar) weten comes down to ik hoor het wel (van jou). It is rather informal, though.


    Starsailing, back to you. From (too) formal to informal, these are the possibilities for let me know if not we have so far:
    — Indien niet, laat het me dan weten. [much too formal]
    — Zo niet, laat het me dan weten. [probably too formal]
    — Zo niet, laat het me dan maar weten. [probably too formal]
    — Zo nee, laat het me dan weten. [probably too formal]
    — Als het niet zo is, laat het me dan maar weten.
    — Laat het me maar weten als het niet zo is.
    — Als het niet zo is, hoor ik het wel.
    — Ik hoor het wel als het niet zo is.
    — Laat het me anders maar weten.
    — Laat het me anders maar horen.
    — Ik hoor het anders wel (van je).
    — Ik hoor het wel (van je).[potentially ambiguous]


    There's a lot to choose from, I guess!
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012

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