Hinsehen

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Marilynnnn

New Member
English
In her song "Ganz Oben" <...> Nena sings "Gelesen, gewünscht, verstehen ohne hinzusehen." My question is about "hin(zu)sehen." (I've already read the thread here about sehen/schauen/gucken.)

First, how does "hinsehen" fit in with the other ways to say look/see? Secondly, how is "hinsehen" different from "ansehen"?

I am an A2 German learner and I started a Reddit site www.reddit.com/r/NenaGabrieleKerner to document my progress learning German vocabulary and syntax by using her songs. With your permission, I would like to link any answers here to the Reddit sub.

Thank you very much!
 
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  • Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Hinsehen is weaker than ansehen when both mean basically the same.
    Hinsehen means to look into the direction where something happens or where you can see something special.
    Ansehen means the same, but in an intensive way. It is often more concentrated on details.

    Usage:
    Ich sehe zu jemandem hin. I am looking at someone. Ich sehe zu jemandem - Englisch Übersetzung - Deutsch Beispiele | Reverso Context
    Ich sehe jemanden an. I look at someone. Ich sehe jemanden an - Englisch Übersetzung - Deutsch Beispiele | Reverso Context

    I do not see the difference in the English aspect in German. But the dictionary "context.reverso.net" shows this.

    Is this difference really there?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Ich sehe zu jemandem hin.
    I understand the question to be about the verb hinsehen. I think the opposition to wegsehen sufficiently defines the meaning of that verb.

    The expression zu jmd/etwas hin sehen is something quite different.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    how is "hinsehen" different from "ansehen"?

    "Ansehen" requires an object.
    So I assume that "hinsehen" requires an object, too, but it might be hidden in context. "Ich sehe hin." - the context must provide the object before.

    I tried to give a pair of sentences where you can compare them.

    How would you describe the difference?
     
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    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    So I assume that "hinsehen" requires an object, too, but it might be hidden in context. "Ich sehe hin."
    For me, sehen vs. hinsehen has the same difference as gehen vs. hingehen.

    "hin"
    replaces the lacking "destination" of the gaze:
    ich sehe hin = I look at it (whatever "it" can be).
     

    Marilynnnn

    New Member
    English
    Thank you, everyone. So in the lyrics of the song "Gelesen, gewünscht, verstehen ohne hinzusehen" (she) read, wished for, and understood (something) without really physically seeing it. Is that the general idea? Is it just poetic license that gelesen and verstehen are verbs in infinitive form and gewünscht is past participle?

    Thank you again.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    (she) read, wished for, and understood (something) without really physically seeing it.
    Not quite, gelesen, gewünscht ist past participle and not past tense.

    The past participle can, at least under poetic license, be used as a past abstract (having read, having wished for). With a preposition this is not possible. There you can only use the oblique infinitive (zu-infinitive). To preserve the past tense meaning you could use the perfect infinitive, verstanden haben ohne hingesehen zu haben, but good grief is that bulky.

    But it could also be that the contrast between past and present is semantically intended. Hard to tell.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    "Gelesen, gewünscht, verstehen ohne hinzusehen"
    I understand it as three parts:

    1. Gelesen,
    2. gewünscht,
    3. verstehen ohne hinzusehen. to understand without (physically) looking (at it)/seeing (it)/watching

    I think that the difference between past and present - or general time (in sense "immer" - in case of "verstehen ohne hinzusehen") is intended.



    Note that this is poetic style in German, so there are different interpretations possible.
    In standard style it does not follow the standard grammar rules of sentence building, but only with poetic licence.
    It is open for multiple interpretations.

    It has similarity with magical style.

    After writing this, I looked into the whole text.

    There is:

    Wir treffen uns im Märchenland -- we meet in the land of fairy tales
    Zauberformeln vergraben im Sand -- written spells are buried in the sand
    (my raw translation, German text by Nena, source: Nena - Ganz oben Songtext

    So it is indeed a kind of magical and fairy tale style.

    PS: In the quoted source it is separated into two verses:

    Gelesen, gewünscht
    Verstehen ohne hinzusehen
     
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    Marilynnnn

    New Member
    English
    Not quite, gelesen, gewünscht ist past participle and not past tense.

    The past participle can, at least under poetic license, be used as a past abstract (having read, having wished for). With a preposition this is not possible. There you can only use the oblique infinitive (zu-infinitive). To preserve the past tense meaning you could use the perfect infinitive, verstanden haben ohne hingesehen zu haben, but good grief is that bulky.

    But it could also be that the contrast between past and present is semantically intended. Hard to tell.
    Thank you so much!
     
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