Ich habe es ja nicht einmal meinem Vater und meiner Mutter gesagt.

Ali Smith

Senior Member
Urdu - Pakistan
Guten Tag!

I know "nicht einmal" means "not even" or "not so much as", e.g.

Er hat mich nicht einmal angesehen.
He didn't even look at me.

But what does the addition of "ja" add to the sentence? E.g.

Ich habe es ja nicht einmal meinem Vater und meiner Mutter gesagt. Warum sollte ich es dir sagen?

Vielen Dank!
 
  • Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Er hat mich nicht einmal angesehen.
    He didn't even look at me.
    This depends on intonation.
    If "einmal" is unstressed: He didn't even look at me. (kind of default)
    If "einmal" is stressed: He didn't even look at me one single time.


    Ich habe es ja nicht einmal meinem Vater und meiner Mutter gesagt. Warum sollte ich es dir sagen?

    "Ja" makes it clear here: "einmal" is unstressed. "Ja" is a flavoring particle. It means something like "as we know" but it can be omitted. It blocks together with "Warum sollte ich es dir sagen?" the meaning "einmal"= "one time" . (Edit: I restructured the sentence for clarity)
    Duden: ja meaning 3a: drückt im Aussagesatz eine resümierende Feststellung aus, weist auf etwas Bekanntes hin oder dient der Begründung für ein nicht explizites Geschehen oder für etwas Allgemeingültiges; doch, bekanntlich

    I didn't even tell it mother or my father. Why should I tell you?
     
    Last edited:

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Thanks! I thought I could translate it in the following way:

    Ich habe es ja nicht einmal meinem Vater und meiner Mutter gesagt. Warum sollte ich es dir sagen?

    I mean, I didn't even tell my father or mother, after all. Why should I tell you?

    What do you think?
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    I didn't even tell my father or mother, after all. Why should I tell you?

    I think "after all" is enough.
    In my feeling "I mean" is not in the original, but this is tricky.
    At least I would only add "I mean" or "after all" because it would become too much to use both.
    "I mean" works, may be, but you should consider more context. In my feeling "After all" is better.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Thanks. The reason I added both "I mean" and "after all" is because my dictionary gives the following translation:

    Er ist ja mein Freund.
    I mean, he's a friend (after all).
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Er ist ja mein Freund.
    I mean, he's a friend (after all).
    This is with very low context. I think it is possible. But they also proposed to omit one of the parts.
    It is why I wrote it is tricky.

    What would you say in this situation?

    In my mind following works:

    1. I didn't even tell my father or mother, after all. Why should I tell you? (My preferred version)
    2. I mean, I didn't even tell my father or mother, after all. Why should I tell you? (But "ja" becomes much too much meaning - it is just a flavoring particle)
    3. I mean, I didn't even tell my father or mother. Why should I tell you? It works, but I would prefer 1, if there is no additional context. "I mean" has much more meaning than "ja".
    Note: "ja" is unstressed and short, not like "ja=yes" which is long and stressed.

    Edit: You will have to decide considering larger context.
    Maybe some other from the forum will give additional hints.
     

    Thersites

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Duden: ja meaning 3a: drückt im Aussagesatz eine resümierende Feststellung aus, weist auf etwas Bekanntes hin oder dient der Begründung für ein nicht explizites Geschehen oder für etwas Allgemeingültiges; doch, bekanntlich
    Hut ab, Hutschi. Ich hätte das nicht eindeutig erklären können und bin beruhigt, dass es dem Duden da nur unwesentlich besser geht. Bekanntlich gefällt mir noch am besten.

    Ein weiteres Mal zeigt sich, dass alle Grammatik nur Hilfsgerüst ist.
     

    anahiseri

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain) and German (Germany)
    Two more ideas about how to "flavour" your sentence
    You see, I didn't even tell my mother or father
    Do you realize, I didn't even tell my mother or father

    But well, you know you can't argue about taste, so it's difficult to argue about flavouring particles.
     
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