Meine Gefühle lassen sich mit Worten kaum beschreiben.

Jack.D

Senior Member
American English, Arabic
Hello everyone,

Can someone help me to understand this sentence please:

- Meine Gefühle lassen sich mit Worten kaum beschreiben.

What is the role of "sich" here? I mean it is not a part of a reflective verb and it doesn't seem to mean "themselves"?
 
  • Schimmelreiter

    Senior Member
    Deutsch
    This means können + passive voice:

    Meine Gefühle können mit Worten kaum beschrieben werden.


    Cf. Wie lässt sich das auf Englisch ausdrücken? - Wie kann das auf Englisch ausgedrückt werden?



    PS
    Re the role of sich: literally, "My feelings hardly let themselves be described with words"

    PPS
    The active infinitive with passive meaning exists in English, too: My feelings are almost impossible to describe with words.
     
    Last edited:

    ayuda?

    Senior Member
    =There are different ways to express the Passive Voice in German.
    The use of sich lassen, along with the use of man or sometimes the Reflexive, is an alternative, as you can see in the examples on this Web page:
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~german/Grammatik/Passive/Passiv.html [See sich lassen.] [near bottom of page]

    =In this case, I think it might best be translated like this:
    - Meine Gefühle lassen sich mit Worten kaum beschreiben.
    My feelings can hardly be described in words.
     

    Jack.D

    Senior Member
    American English, Arabic
    Oh, very nice answers :) thank you both Schimmelreiter and ayuda!

    This leads to another question, please read this sentence:

    Lassen Sie sich einladen in unsere Fachwelt. (The sentence is taken from a doctor's clinic webpage)

    How can you translate this sentence? it uses the same structure explained, but it can't be translated as "can...be" ?!
     

    Schimmelreiter

    Senior Member
    Deutsch
    Let us invite you ...

    Literally: Let yourself be invited ...


    Please see what I wrote above regarding the infinitive that's active in form but passive in meaning.


    PS
    Doing a weird grammar exercise, you might well force the sentence to fit the can be pattern: Be able to be invited (by us)!/Enable us to invite you!, which is quite close to Allow us to invite you!, which is what it does mean.
     
    Last edited:

    ayuda?

    Senior Member
    I think that, in addition to können, it can also be translated like the regular Passive by is [see previous example on the Web site].

    My suggestion: Lassen Sie sich einladen in unsere Fachwelt. (The sentence is taken from a doctor's clinic web page)
    They are/can be accepted [invited] into our profession.

    The complete context matters, but I think this expresses what that sentence means.
    I, personally, think “accepted” is better than “invited” here—sounds more natural.
     

    Schimmelreiter

    Senior Member
    Deutsch
    My suggestion: Lassen Sie sich einladen in unsere Fachwelt. (The sentence is taken from a doctor's clinic web page)
    They are/can be accepted [invited] into our profession.
    Have you seen the upper-cased Sie? It's an imperative, and I explained it above.
     

    Jack.D

    Senior Member
    American English, Arabic
    The sentence is taken from this webpage:
    http://www.dr-alexander-jung.de/

    But I think I got the idea, we can say that we are expressing the passive voice in a different way than the regular way (A structure which is completely different than English!)
    So the sentence "Lassen Sie sich einladen in unsere Fachwelt" has the meaning of:

    (Allow yourself to be invited into.. ) or (Let yourself be invited into..)

    Danke schön Schimmelreiter und ayuda, und lassen Sie mich erstaunen! (I hope I got it right and this means "Allow me to be amazed!" )
     

    ayuda?

    Senior Member
    Just my opinion:
    I prefer to use a passive form structure of the verb is+participle or [is+infinitive] orcan+be+participle, like in the general examples on the Dartmouth Web page because it covers most situations. And it seems to give the most natural English translation.
    Those suggestions you make with “allow yourself to be…” or “let yourself be…”could be used and definitely give the idea of it all, and could, I think, be used in some context. [good that you think out of the box]
    And sometimes it is just a matter of taste [Geschmachssache]??
    I tend to translate loosely, and in this example would say:
    You are invited into our circle of professionals.
    …might even go so far as to say:
    Welcome to our circle of professionals. [much looser, but conveys the meaning in familiar English]
     

    Jack.D

    Senior Member
    American English, Arabic
    Yes I prefer to use the "general" passive form structure too, but sometimes you come across those sentences (which I wrote in my posts here) and the interesting thing that the verb in those sentences is "infintiv" and there is no "werden" , which make it so confusing and hard to translate it or understand it, because the structure is just completely different than English!
    Thanks again for helping :)
     
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