Reported speech

popotla

Senior Member
British English
Please tell me

1) whether any of the following are incorrect/unacceptable, grammatically.

2) whether, in sets A and B, the change in grammatical form reflects any change in meaning.

A.” Meine Frau ist gelangweilt."

Er sagte, seine Frau sei gelangweilt.
Er sagte, dass seine Frau gelangweilt sei.
Er sagte, dass seine Frau gelangweilt ist.

B. "Der Hund hat Durst."

Sie hat mir gesagt, der Hund habe Durst.
Sie hat mir gesagt, dass der Hund Durst habe.
Sie hat mir gesagt, dass der Hund Durst hat.

C. Hattest du Hunger?

Er hat mir gefragt, ob ich Hunger gehabt habe.

Thank you.
 
  • Gernot Back

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    Please tell me

    1) whether any of the following are incorrect/unacceptable, grammatically.

    2) whether, in sets A and B, the change in grammatical form reflects any change in meaning.

    A.” Meine Frau ist gelangweilt."

    Er sagte, seine Frau sei gelangweilt.
    I am sceptical about whether she really is bored, or whether he only says so.
    Er sagte, dass seine Frau gelangweilt sei.
    I am sceptical about whether she really is bored, or whether he only says so.
    Er sagte, dass seine Frau gelangweilt ist.
    I have no doubt that she really is bored.
    You missed:
    Er sagte, dass seine Frau gelangweilt wäre.
    Ambiguous:
    Maybe: I am sceptical, about whether she really is bored, or whether he only says so.
    Maybe: I tend to think that she is not really bored and that he only says so.

    Maybe: You are probably not familiar with the proper use of Konjunktiv 1 and use Konjunktiv 2 instead.


    B. "Der Hund hat Durst."

    Sie hat mir gesagt, der Hund habe Durst.
    I am sceptical about whether this dog really is thirsty, or whether she only says so.
    Sie hat mir gesagt, dass der Hund Durst habe.
    I am sceptical about whether this dog really is thirsty, or whether she only says so.
    Sie hat mir gesagt, dass der Hund Durst hat.
    You missed:
    Sie hat mir gesagt, dass der Hund Durst hätte.
    Maybe: I am sceptical about whether this dog really is thirsty, or whether she only says so.
    Maybe: I tend to think this dog is not
    really thirsty and that she only says so.
    Maybe: You are probably not familiar with the proper use of Konjunktiv 1 and use Konjunktiv 2 instead.


    C. Hattest du Hunger?

    Er hat mir mich gefragt, ob ich Hunger gehabt habe.
    You missed:
    Er hat mich gefragt, ob ich Hunger gehabt hätte.
    You are familiar with the proper use of Konjunktiv 2 and use it instead of Konjunktiv 1 in order not to use a form identical with the indicative, which might otherwise raise doubt about your critical distance when quoting other people.
     
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    popotla

    Senior Member
    British English
    Many thanks.

    You missed:
    Er sagte, dass seine Frau gelangweilt wäre.
    Ambiguous:
    Maybe: I am sceptical, about whether she really is bored, or whether he only says so.
    Maybe: I tend to think that she is not really bored and that he only says so.
    Maybe: You are probably not familiar with the proper use of Konjunktiv 1 and use Konjunktiv 2 instead.


    Yes, I missed them, and on purpose. Given my stage of learning, the first three were enough for one day, I thought.

    I don’t quite fully understand the third “maybe”, above. There are two instances there (above) of Konjunktiv 1, I believe, so I’m not using Konjunktiv 2.

    In the third one, “Hattest du Hunger?”, I don’t know what I was using; it just seemed right.

    You are familiar with the proper use of Konjunktiv 2 and use it instead of Konjunktiv 1 in order not to use a form identical with the indicative, which might otherwise raise doubt about your critical distance when quoting other people.

    I’m vaguely familiar with Konjunktiv 2; I can use it in some conditional sentences. If I use Konjunktiv 2 instead of Konjunktiv 1 in reported speech,” in order not to use a form identical with the indicative, which might otherwise raise doubt about your critical distance when quoting other people”, that seems to imply that the meaning conveyed by the use of Konj 2 in a particular reported speech utterance is the same as the meaning implied by Konj 1 in a reported speech utterance that is the same (has the same form), other than the different Konjunktiv.

    E.g. Ich sagte, ich fahre heute. / Ich sagte, dass ich heute fahre. (both Konj. 1)

    and Ich sagte, ich führe heute. (Konj.2)

    would have the same meaning.
     

    Gernot Back

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    E.g. Ich sagte, ich fahre heute. / Ich sagte, dass ich heute fahre. (both Konj. 1)

    and Ich sagte, ich führe heute. (Konj.2)

    would have the same meaning.
    No these versions wouldn't have the same meaning:
    The two versions of the first line are both in the indicative mood. The Konjunktiv 1 mood wouldn't be understood as such, since it would sound the same as the indicative. That is exactly why you have to use Konjunktiv 2 instead (as in line 2) here in reported speech, to make it clear that it is reported speech, indeed.
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    and Ich sagte, ich führe heute. (Konj.2)

    Gernot, really?? You don't think that this sounds wrong??
    This is a very good example of how some expressions sound wrong in one part of the german-speaking world and quite normal in another!

    I actually had to look it up, and it's true: 'führe' is the proper Konjunktiv 2 of fahren.
    Nevertheless, in this specific case the construction of Konjunktiv 2 is wrong.

    popotla, if you were to say this in front of my chinese friend and me, "Ich sagte, ich führe heute.", then I'd translate it to her as:
    'He said, he's leading today.' (then she'd probably look at me with big wide eyes, and I'd have to utter a 'pu tse tao' = 'I don't know (what he wants..)' in Chinese!! ;)
    fahren = to drive
    führen = to lead (ich führe, du führst, er führt,...)

    In this case you MUST construct Konjunktiv 2 with 'würde + infinitive'.
    i.e. the correct Konjunktiv 2 is: Ich sagte, ich würde heute fahren.

    Textbooks say, almost all verbs can use the 'würde + infinitive'-method to create Konjunktiv 2. The notable exceptions are Modalverben (dürfen, können, mögen, müssen, sollen, wollen), Hilfsverben (sein, haben, werden) and a few other verbs. Sorry, I don't have the exact list handy.
    The (most common) rules are:
    * whenever Konjunktiv 2 and Präterit are identical, use 'würde-Form' (if not allowed, use a different construct altogether)
    * whenever the proper Konjunktiv 2 is identical with another verb (as above)
    * whenever the proper Konjunktiv 2 sounds outdated or odd (this is a particularly difficult rule for non-native speakers, because when you start learning a new language, EVERY word sounds odd! So, my personal recommendation: When people look at you funny, after having used proper Konjunktiv2, then better try the same sentence with 'würde + infinitive'. ;)

    'würde + infinitive' is much more common in speech than in writing and also, as a geographic oddity: it is much more common in southern Germany and Austria than central/northern Germany.
     

    popotla

    Senior Member
    British English
    Very useful.

    Question: Is there an essential difference in meaning between Konjunktiv 1 and Konjunktiv 2? In other words, if using Konjunktiv 2 instead of Konjunktiv 1 in an otherwise similar utterance, does the meaning of that utterance change?
     

    Gernot Back

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    Gernot, really?? You don't think that this sounds wrong??
    No, not at all, if you stress führe in this sentence, it is clearly identifiable as Konjunktiv 2 of the verb fahren.
    if you were to say this in front of my chinese friend and me, "Ich sagte, ich führe heute.", then I'd translate it to her as:
    'He said, he's leading today.'
    So would I, if you stressed the ich in this sentence. Then it would be clearly understood as 1st person present indicative of the verb führen.

    If you have problems distinguishing stresses in your speech, you are free to choose würde + infinitive as an Ersatz for Konjunktiv 2 of course:

    http://www.canoo.net/services/OnlineGrammar/Wort/Verb/Modi/Indirekte.html#Anchor-Tabelle-49575
     

    Syzygy

    Senior Member
    German
    I think, when talking in the first person, Konjunktiv is only used when you really want sagen to be understood as "uttered the statement" rather than "let it be known". I would have understood the Konjunktiv in "Ich sagte, ich würde heute fahren." as indicating posteriority rather than distance/neutrality.
    Cf. in English "(Yesterday) I said: 'I will drive tomorrow'" -> "I said I would drive today."
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    No, not at all, if you stress führe in this sentence, it is clearly identifiable ...
    Yes, that's true (in your area of "Sprachgebrauch", i.e. the way words and grammar are used to express whatever you want to say!)
    BUT
    written languange has no 'stressing'! (aside from the option of using additional declarative statements or sub-clauses)
    I guess this is the reason why the rules which I mentioned earlier were made. They are trying to avoid different interpretations of the same thing within the scope of different language usage in the german-speaking world!

    Before anybody gets the wrong idea, I am NOT doubting Gernot! What he says is correct, it's syntactically accurate and it is considered normal everyday use in his area (when the need calls for it, of course!)

    Gernot, I'm not criticizing you or trying to prove you wrong! I'm loving the discussion and its concepts behind it. If you feel offended, then DON'T! It is, and never was, my intention to do so!!

    I would have understood the Konjunktiv in "Ich sagte, ich würde heute fahren." as indicating posteriority rather than distance/neutrality.
    Cf. in English "(Yesterday) I said: 'I will drive tomorrow'" -> "I said I would drive today."
    Yes, I agree!
    But I think, the primary purpose of those rules were to avoid misinterpretation! The need to maintain original meaning was apparently assigned as 'second priority'.
    The example above is not the best one, in order to evaluate this situation. But what do you think of this:
    active: Er sagt: "Dieses Auto faehrt gar nicht" (This car doesn't work)
    indirect speech, Konj2: "Er sagte, dieses Auto würde gar nicht fahren" (He said, this car wouldn't work)
    In this case the Konjunktiv 2 does not imply posteriority, but it primarily indicates disagreement with (or at least serious doubts about) the statement of the original speaker, dont you think?
     
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    popotla

    Senior Member
    British English
    Sometimes the Subjunctive II is also used for indirect speech, usually when the Subjunctive I form is not obviously different from the indicative form. In reported speech the conjunctive I is not distinguished in its function from conjunctive II. The conjunctive II can only occur in the reported speech for two reasons:

    1. It substitutes the conjunctive I that is identical to the indicative present and for this reason ambiguous. In this case it is legitimate to use the conjunctive II.


    (Second reason omitted, as it’s not relevant here.)
    That is why I asked my question (above), as follows, one which received no answer.

    Question: Is there an essential difference in meaning between Konjunktiv 1 and Konjunktiv 2? In other words, if using Konjunktiv 2 instead of Konjunktiv 1 in an otherwise similar utterance, does the meaning of that utterance change?

    If Konj 2 can replace Konj 1 on the grounds that Konj 1 has the same form as the indicative, then Konj 2 and Konj 1 would, in that context, have the same meaning.
     

    popotla

    Senior Member
    British English
    Sometimes the Subjunctive II is also used for indirect speech, usually when the Subjunctive I form is not obviously different from the indicative form. In reported speech the conjunctive I is not distinguished in its function from conjunctive II. The conjunctive II can only occur in the reported speech for two reasons:

    1. It substitutes the conjunctive I that is identical to the indicative present and for this reason ambiguous. In this case it is legitimate to use the conjunctive II.


    (Second reason omitted, as it’s not relevant here.)

    That is why I asked my question, above and as follows, one which received no answer.

    Question: Is there an essential difference in meaning between Konjunktiv 1 and Konjunktiv 2? In other words, if using Konjunktiv 2 instead of Konjunktiv 1 in an otherwise similar utterance, does the meaning of that utterance change?

    If Konj 2 can replace Konj 1 on the grounds that Konj 1 has the same form as the indicative, then Konj 2 and Konj 1 would, logically, in that context, have the same meaning.
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    If Konj 2 can replace Konj 1 on the grounds that Konj 1 has the same form as the indicative, then Konj 2 and Konj 1 would, in that context, have the same meaning.
    I'd prefer to say that the meaning is similar, but surely not the same.

    Every language rule has several purposes. I think, the primary purpose, very often, is to avoid ambiguities and misinterpretations. Then there are other purposes like retaining the original meaning in case of conjugation, the attempt to avoid 'tongue twisters' (which happens easily in German with its 'Umlaut'), etc., etc.
    Since the same rule is covering such a large amount of words and cases, it is probably unavoidable to run into some compromises, now and then.

    To answer your original question: It depends a little bit on the context where Konjunktiv 1/2 is used. In some cases the listener might not perceive any real difference between Konjunktiv 1 and 2, whereas in other cases it's quite the contrary.
    Your previous sales pitch example is a good one, expressing big difference between the 3 common usage forms.
    Let's say, I'm trying to sell my friend's car on his behalf:
    * indirect speech, indicative: Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto ist im top-Zustand.
    This would be the normal sales pitch. The use of indicative implies that you agree with the owner's statement and the listener would perceive it that way.
    * indirect speech, Konjunktiv 1: Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto sei im top-Zustand.
    Any buyer who hears this would subconsciously start to get worried. It is perceived as "The owner claims that the car is in perfect condition but obviously the sales guy has his doubts."
    * indirect speech, Konjunktiv 2: Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto wäre im top-Zustand.
    Again, subconsciously this would raise a red flag in the buyer. It is perceived as "The owner claims that but obviously the sales guy thinks the opposite."

    It is important to understand that these rules apply when you use that sentence on its own and without any declarative statement.
    In the real world you almost always would use additional statements to put the buyer at ease and then the rules above could be 'out the window'.
    for example:
    * indirect speech, Konjunktiv 2: Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto wäre im top-Zustand und ich habe keinerlei Zweifel daran. Ich weiß ja, wie liebevoll daß er den Wagen immer gepflegt hat.
    In this case the buyer would not perceive any doubts about the sales guy's opinion, even though Konjunktiv 2 is used. Konjunktiv 2 here implies that the sales guy has not (yet) checked the car's condition by himself.
     

    popotla

    Senior Member
    British English
    * indirect speech, Konjunktiv 1: Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto sei im top-Zustand.

    Any buyer who hears this would subconsciously start to get worried. It is perceived as "The owner claims that the car is in perfect condition but obviously the sales guy has his doubts."


    * indirect speech, Konjunktiv 2: Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto wäre im top-Zustand.


    Again, subconsciously this would raise a red flag in the buyer. It is perceived as "The owner claims that but obviously the sales guy thinks the opposite."


    About the difference between ist im top-Zustand and sei in top-Zustand, this is perfectly clear to me. Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto wäre im top-Zustand is not, however, clear. According to your notes, above, the difference here between sei and wäre, here, is a matter of degree (the sales guy has his doubts/the sales guy thinks the opposite) but I'm not sure that this is the case.

    Who am I to question the matter (!!!) but Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto wäre im top-Zustand doesn’t sound to me quite right. I see it, rather, as a matter of sequence of tenses, that Der Eigentümer sagte, das Auto wäre im top-Zustand would be OK, and there’d be no difference in the degree of doubt felt by the seller between Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto sei im top-Zustand and Der Eigentümer sagte, das Auto wäre im top-Zustand. it is, rather, to repeat myself, a matter of sequence of tenses. Sei is present Konjunktiv; wäre is past Konjunktiv: the degree of doubt they express is not different (as I understand the matter). Because sagte has been used, wäre follows. Konj 1 would be rendered in English as The owner says it’s in excellent condition; Konj 2 would be The owner said it’s in excellent condition. (The owner said it was in excellent condition would also be possible, but is in excellent condition is better here.)

    This is an interesting, and for me, useful discussion.

    The following film sub-title just came up: Ich habe gelesen, die Saudis hätten eine Billion Dollar auf unseren Banken. This would seem to be an example of what I was trying to say above: a past tense followed by Konj 2. The speaker's just reporting what he read, without saying/knowing whether it's true.

    Another "past + Konj 2" subtitle just appeared:Rumsfeld sagte, als es um Bomben auf Afghanistan ging, es gäbe dort keine guten Ziele.
     
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    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Who am I to question the matter (!!!) but Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto wäre im top-Zustand doesn’t sound to me quite right. I see it, rather, as a matter of sequence of tenses, that Der Eigentümer sagte, das Auto wäre im top-Zustand would be OK, and there’d be no difference in the degree of doubt felt by the seller between Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto sei im top-Zustand and Der Eigentümer sagte, das Auto wäre im top-Zustand. it is, rather, to repeat myself, a matter of sequence of tenses. Sei is present Konjunktiv; wäre is past Konjunktiv: the degree of doubt they express is not different (as I understand the matter). Because sagte has been used, wäre follows. Konj 1 would be rendered in English as The owner says it’s in excellent condition; Konj 2 would be The owner said it’s in excellent condition. (The owner said it was in excellent condition would also be possible, but is in excellent condition is better here.)
    I think I know what you're getting at.

    The reason why you're getting a strong sense of past tense from the word 'wäre' is, because you primarily associate it with "wäre -> war = past tense". That is normal because you are obviously very familiar and comfortable with grammatical tenses. And you are right, 'wäre' is Konjunktiv 2, Präterit (Konjunktiv 2, Präsens does not exist).
    For a native German-speaker, however, it is the meaning of Konjunktiv 2 that jumps into your face and not the grammatical tense!
    I think there is no direct comparison of Konjunktiv1/2 to the english language, because you only have one subjunctive mood, right?
    I believe the most accurate translation of the Konjunktiv 2 meaning is:
    Der Eigentümer sagte, das Auto wäre im top-Zustand. -> The owner said that the car should be [or: would be] in excellent condition.
    reverse translation: should be = sollte sein, would be = würde sein
    Yes, that's not a literal translation and the english versions could have different meanings, but yet, it conveys the speaker's concerns that are implied in the german sentence.

    Because sagte has been used, wäre follows.
    Nope, this assumption is wrong.
    The grammatical tenses between first and second clause are independent!
    The first clause "Der Eigentümer sagt/sagte," is just a description of the original speaker and the way he expressed the statement in question (e.g. "Der Eigentümer sagte/dachte/glaubte/meinte/etc,"). This part is actually always some form of past tense when you use indirect speech, after all you are reporting somebody elses statement!
    When you do use present tense here (which is very normal usage, too), then it just indicates that the statement is considered to be a 'timeless fact'.

    In the actual indirect speech clause ", das Auto wäre im top-Zustand." the grammatical tense is supposed to follow the tense of the original statement.
    The example above used present tense in active speech, but let's look at this:
    Karl sagt: "Das Auto war in hervorragendem Zustand (bis meine Freundin ne Delle reingefahren hat)."
    then, my (not so good) sales pitch in Konjunktiv 1 is:
    Der Eigentümer sagte, das Auto sei in hervorragendem Zustand gewesen, bis seine Freundin ne Delle reingemacht hat. (..und sie durfte anschließend auch nie mehr fahren!)
    meaning: Te owner said the car has been (or: used to be) in excellent condition up until his girlfriend put a dent in it.

    For completeness and clarity, here's another very common example for future tense:
    direct speech: Er sagt: "Morgen wird es regnen."
    indirect, future, Konjunktiv 1: Er sagte, es werde morgen regnen.
    indirect, future, Konjunktiv 2: Er sagte, es würde morgen regnen.


    Konj 1 would be rendered in English as The owner says it’s in excellent condition; Konj 2 would be The owner said it’s in excellent condition. (The owner said it was in excellent condition would also be possible, but is in excellent condition is better here.)
    I don't quite agree, as per descriptions above. Better don't compare it too closely with english subjunctive! But for argument's sake, Konjunktive 2 seems more similar to Past Subjunctive: "The owner said it were in excellent condition."
    But I guess this form is very rarely used today and sounds archaic, isn't it??
     
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    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    The following film sub-title just came up: Ich habe gelesen, die Saudis hätten eine Billion Dollar auf unseren Banken. This would seem to be an example of what I was trying to say above: a past tense followed by Konj 2. The speaker's just reporting what he read, without saying/knowing whether it's true.
    Details were posted earlier.
    If I sat in front of you, reading a newspaper and finding this interesting article (while you are playing with your subtitles), I might say:
    "Ich lese gerade, die Saudis hätten eine Billion Dollar auf unseren Banken."
    it would translate into
    "I'm just reading that the Saudis are supposed to have 1 trillion dollars stashed away in our banks!"

    Personal note: I'ts a beautiful weekend. Maybe you should switch off your subtitles for a while...! ;)

    edit: detailled clarification:
    If the actual newspaper headline reads: "Die Saudis haben eine Billion Dollar auf unseren Banken." then I would exclaim:
    "Ich lese gerade, die Saudis hätten eine Billion Dollar auf unseren Banken." and my use of Konjunktiv 2 indicates surprise and/or disbelieve.

    But if the article reads: "Laut unbestätigen Annahmen aus der Bankenwelt hätten die Saudis bis zu einer Billion Dollar auf unseren Banken deponiert." then I would exclaim:
    "Ich lese gerade, die Saudis hätten eine Billion Dollar auf unseren Banken." and now my use of Konjunktiv 2 could indicate surprise and/or disbelieve, but it is much more likely that I just repeated the statement the way I read it. (I wouldn't waste time to form an opinion, when even specialists are not sure about it)

    So, in that very moment, as a listener it would not be clear to you what I meant, but as soon as you read the article yourself you would get a rough idea on my opinion about the statement in question!
     
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    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    My girlfriend bugged me a while last night about my last newspaper example, so I created this summary which seemed to help her.
    I hope it is also useful for some other people and helps to conclude this topic.

    Usage of indirect speech (reported speech) in German

    1. If your original source (e.g. newspaper) uses Konjunktiv, hence indicating unconfirmed nature of a statement, then you MUST use Konjunktiv also! Otherwise you are creating fiction.
    e.g.
    Zeitung: "...es sei so gewesen..."
    your statement: "Die Zeitung sagt, es ist so gewesen." -> This is simply a lie!
    correct usage: "Sie Zeitung sagt, es sei/wäre so gewesen."

    2. The grammatical tense of your indirect speech should follow the tense in the original statement.

    3. If your original source uses Indikativ, i.e. indicating a factual nature of the statement, then you should use
    a) Indikativ, when you tend to agree with the original statement
    b) Konjunktiv 1, when you want to distance yourself from any agreement and disagreement with the original statement
    c) Konjunktiv 2, when you have strong doubts or tend to disagree with original statement

    4. If it is important to you as a speaker that the listener/reader gets a clear picture about your opinion then DO NOT rely on rule 3 alone, but use it properly AND use an additional statement that makes your own stance perfectly clear.

    Actual current usage in the german-speaking world:

    - written language: all 3 forms in rule 3 are used, not only in books and official reports but also in casual communication (e.g. personal casual emails)

    - published media (TV/Radio/Newspaper): all 3 forms are used, but Konjunktiv 1 is most often seen/heard. This is primarily for legal reasons and in order to imply that the report is independent and uninfluenced.

    - spoken language:
    - colloquial: Konjunktiv 1 is rarely used. However, if you do use it, then that's perfectly ok. It does not sound 'off' and it does not come across as 'bloated language use', even within a group of less sophisticated native speakers.

    - professional: Konjunktiv 1 is little used and yet quite common in certain fields. Whenever the indirect speech and the implied speaker's opinion might have consequences (in whatsoever form), then Konjunktiv 1 is used to clearly distance yourself from agreement and disagreement, without actually making a binding statement about your own stance! (examples where this is needed: in politics, legal profession, during all sorts of negotiations, in the process of selling goods/services, when you discuss marriage with your girlfriend, etc)

    - public speech: all 3 forms are used, very same as written language



    Please note: these guidelines are not meant to be complete, they are merely a summary of concepts discussed in this thread!
    (c)2012,manfy
     

    popotla

    Senior Member
    British English
    Manfy, I’d like to make a couple of comments, answer a question you asked, and ask one or two of my own.

    Better don't compare it too closely with english subjunctive!

    I don’t really compare it with the English subjunctive. Englischmuttersprachler, I think I can say, don’t really think of “English subjunctives” as “subjunctives”. Instances of their use are very few and they’re just part of the language. You might well say that this is “the man in the street” resonse to grammar in general, and yes, I’d agree with that. I would still say, though, that even for someone who's consciously fairly well aware of language structure “the English Subjunctive” hardly figures in their consciousness.

    I sometimes do compare Spanish subjunctive with German subjunctive, and Spanish perhaps sometimes interferes with my German. In Spanish, two subjunctive forms such as viva and viviera relate to time, rather than degree of doubt.

    E.g. Busco a una mujer que allí viva. I’m looking for a woman (any woman)who lives there.

    Busco a una mujer que allí viviera. I’m looking for a woman (any woman)who used to live there.

    If subjunctive isn’t used (vive / vivía):

    Busco a una mujer que allí vive. I’m looking for a woman (a particular woman) who lives there.

    Busco a una mujer que allí vivía. I’m looking for a woman (a particular woman) who used to live there.

    In Spanish reported speech, subjunctive forms play no special role.

    You asked a question about archaic usage.

    Subjunctive: "The owner said it were in excellent condition."
    But I guess this form is very rarely used today and sounds archaic, isn't it??

    Yes, both of those, though in Yorkshire, England, or parts of Yorkshire (and possibly in other parts of Northern England) were used to be/still may be heard as a regional/class, non-standard, past-tense variation of was. E.g. “By gum, he were a good man”. (By gum is said to be derived from By God.) I don't see this as having anything to do with reported speech or the subjunctive.

    Examples of archaic usage are:

    "It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned."

    And Ezra said. “It were better if man were not born; it were well if he were not alive."

    "It were a great sin if you were not to know your lesson tomorrow morning.” (Hans Christian Andersen)

    "I wouldn't have said it were possible” is not archaic.

    Moving on from there ......


    Gernot Back noted that

    Er sagte, dass seine Frau gelangweilt sei contains the meaning

    I am sceptical about whether she really is bored, or whether he only says so.

    And that

    Sie hat mir gesagt, der Hund habe Durst contains the meaning

    I am sceptical about whether this dog really is thirsty, or whether she only says so.

    You wrote that

    * indirect speech, Konjunktiv 1: Der Eigentümer sagt, das Auto sei im top-Zustand.

    Any buyer who hears this would subconsciously start to get worried. It is perceived as "The owner claims that the car is in perfect condition but obviously the sales guy has his doubts."

    And

    (Use) Konjunktiv 1, when you want to distance yourself from any agreement and disagreement with the original statement.

    The part above, in italics, could also be expressed, I think (more concisely, clearly and without changing its meaning, if I may suggest this ) as “when you neither agree nor disagree with the original statement”. (Please correct me if that’s not what you meant.)

    Here’s my point, then. Regarding those two examples above, Gernot says that Konj 1 conveys an “I am sceptical” message. This is not the same, is it, as “distancing oneself from agreement and disagreement”. You and Gernot are not, therefore, saying the same thing about the meaning conveyed by the use, in this case, of Konj 1.

    Also, in your example, if the customer perceives that “obviously the sales guy has his doubts", then the sales guy, in using Konj 1, has not successfully distanced himself from agreeing or disagreeing. He’s conveyed to the customer a feeling that he disagrees.

    I would like to be able to form a provisional “rule” that is as follows:

    Indicative indicates agreement;

    Konj 1 implies neither agreement or disagreement (neutrality/no opinion);

    Konj 2 indicates strong doubt or disageement.

    However, the data so far are not quite confirming that all of this is the case.

    I hope you’ll have time to think about my comments.
     
    Last edited:

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    popotla, thanks for your details.
    My Spanish has badly faded over the last 10 years, since I have very little opportunity to use it now, so I do not dare to make comments on intrinsic similarities or differences.

    Your description of "English subjunctives" is very interesting, and I think I know what you mean. I would say the same concept applies to the difference between Konjunktiv1 and 2 in German (and here I mean only the difference between 1 and 2 but not the concept of Konjunktiv in general. Everybody knows that the difference exists, everybody knows how to use it if they have to, but few people really bother to actually use it consciously because it seems rare....even though they actually DO use it subconsciously whenever it 'sounds right')

    The part above, in italics, could also be expressed, I think (more concisely, clearly and without changing its meaning, if I may suggest this ) as “when you neither agree nor disagree with the original statement”. (Please correct me if that’s not what you meant.)

    Yes...except your statement sounds similar to 'having no opinion', which means you could agree/remain indifferent/disagree at any moment, and that would be wrong. The real message you are bringing across is that you explicitly do not agree or disagree at the moment when the statement was made (but in a vague way, which leaves all your options open for future denial/approval).
    True, in certain context the difference between 'no opinion' and 'explicitly do neither agree nor disagree' is inconsequential and virtually non-existent, but there are other cases where the difference can mean life or death!


    Here’s my point, then. Regarding those two examples above, Gernot says that Konj 1 conveys an “I am sceptical” message. This is not the same, is it, as “distancing oneself from agreement and disagreement”. You and Gernot are not, therefore, saying the same thing about the meaning conveyed by the use, in this case, of Konj 1.

    Yes, this is a bit of an oddity between textbook and real life. I fully agree with Gernot that Konjunktiv 1 always instills some scepticism into the listener in real life. But for the purpose of simplifying the rules and giving the learner a tangible guideline, I finally had to convince myself to use the textbook definition of Konjunktiv 1 as being indifferent/distancing yourself. This is simply to avoid confusion for the learner. Once you get more accustomed to Konjunktiv use it will become clear and normal to see e.g. +/-20% variations in those rules depending on context of use.


    Also, in your example, if the customer perceives that “obviously the sales guy has his doubts", then the sales guy, in using Konj 1, has not successfully distanced himself from agreeing or disagreeing. He’s conveyed to the customer a feeling that he disagrees.
    That is a very good example, how the context can change the meaning/perception of Konjunktiv.
    In this sales context it would be expected from the sales guy to be fully positive with whatever he is selling (whether that's truthful or not). Only the slightest indication of doubts would create concerns from the buyer's side. So, the use of Konjunktiv 1 (even though it's just a sign of unconfirmed fact) will/could be perceived as virtual disagreement with his own sales pitch.

    I would like to be able to form a provisional “rule” that is as follows:

    Indicative indicates agreement;

    Konj 1 implies neither agreement or disagreement (explicit neutrality/no opinion);

    Konj 2 indicates strong doubt or disageement.
    Yes, your rules are basically right (I only changed K1 to 'explicit neutrality').
    Considering that use of Konjunktiv1 in spoken language is getting less and less, you can simplify it for yourself that way:
    * when in doubt between K1 and K2, use K2! (most Germans do, these days); if your own opinion about the reported statement is crucial, use an additional statement to clarify it.
    * when the fact of (perceived) neutrality is important to you, then use Konjunktive 1 (and if necessary add a sub-clause that makes your position clear)
     

    popotla

    Senior Member
    British English
    If you're still reading this, manfy ..................

    My understanding is, having reached this point in our discussion, that in reported speech, after the word dass, ist, sei or wäre (for example) can be used -depending on the feeling of the person doing the reporting- to report what has been said, that (thus)

    Der Mann sagte, dass es gut ist

    Der Mann sagte, dass es gut sei

    and Der Mann sagte, dass es gut wäre would all be possible correct speech utterances.

    I wrote down a few example sentences and asked a German friend to have a look at them for me.

    He said that Er sagte mir, dass er ein Millionär sei is correct but that Er sagte mir, dass er ein millionär ist, is not a possible sentence.

    Also, that Der Mann sagte, es sei gut is OK but Der Mann sagte, es wäre gut is not OK.

    I am puzzled. Can you help clear my puzzlement?
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    I wrote down a few example sentences and asked a German friend to have a look at them for me.

    He said that Er sagte mir, dass er ein Millionär sei is correct but that Er sagte mir, dass er ein millionär ist, is not a possible sentence.
    Also, that Der Mann sagte, es sei gut is OK but Der Mann sagte, es wäre gut is not OK.

    I am puzzled. Can you help clear my puzzlement?

    I think, your friend was just trying to be 'very correct' by giving you the 'proper way' of constructing indirect speech with Konjunktiv 1.
    You should ask him for a detailed reason, why he thinks the latter versions are wrong.

    I can assure you that all of the versions above are common utterances in everyday German, and nobody would raise an eyebrow when they hear them.
    Additionally, many language web-sites do indicate that use of Indikativ or Konjunktiv2 instead of Konjunktiv 1 in indirect speech is perfectly acceptable.
    I did notice, however, that this statement is often only made when they explain the use of Konjunktiv.
    When the very same web-site is explaining 'indirect speech', they often only give the basic rule of '...indirect speech is normally constructed with Konjunktiv 1...', and then they leave it at that.
    This had me confused for a while, too! But eventually I figured, they are just trying to avoid complexity by explaining the basic rules as concise as possible, without going into all of the potential exceptions. They probably assume, whenever you need to go into more detail, you will automatically trip over the 'finer details' of Konjunktiv use.

    In fact, I tend to agree with that strategy. As a learner, native speaker or not, you cannot try to learn all of the language concepts at the same time, else you would be confused beyond believe...and probably deadlocked. You must start from the crucial most basic rules of language use, and from there you can move on to the finer details and more advanced uses.
     

    Gernot Back

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    He said that Er sagte mir, dass er ein Millionär sei is correct but that.
    Try to tanslate this nested indirect speech sentence with the German quote into a completely German sentence now, applying strict reported-speech rules:

    Er sagte (mir), dass "Er sagte mir, dass er (ein) Millionär sei" korrekt sei.​

    Even native speakers would have a hard time understanding it.

    This reminds me of a classical song by famous Willi Ostermann in Cologne dialect, where we avoid reported speech and render scepticism with modal auxiliaries instead of Konjunktiv 1.
    Willi Ostermann said:
    Hä säht un Sei säht, su säht Hä hät Sei jesaht,
    sull dat sin dat Hä dat säht, dat Sei dat sull jesaht han?
    http://www.kallendresser.de/ostermann/titel/080.html

    Translation:
    He says and she says: Well, says he, she said,
    should it (really) be that he says that (that) she should (really) have said that?
    :)
     

    popotla

    Senior Member
    British English
    So how does it work when reporting something like Sie sagte „Es war gut“?

    If that becomes Sie sagte, dass es gut wäre, does that introduce the idea of„that’s what she said but I don’t believe her“ ? Or can one/should one say Sie sagte, es wäre gut? (And again, would that mean „I don’t believe that was really the case„?

    AH, AN AFTERTHOUGHT: If we say, Sie sagte, dass es gut war, then we're just reporting what was said, and we're avoiding the introduction of any view of our own. Right?

    And can one say Sie sagte, dass es gut sein hätte.?

    What about this, for example?

    Wie war der Urlaub?“

    Gut, sehr gut, danke“.

    Reporting this:

    Er sagte mir, dass der Urlaub sehr gut sein hätte.

    Ist das möglich? Würde man das sagen?

    Or what about the person who’d been on holiday saying:

    Er fragte mich, wie der Urlaub sein hätte. ?
     
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    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    So how does it work when reporting something like Sie sagte „Es war gut“?

    If that becomes Sie sagte, dass es gut wäre, does that introduce the idea of„that’s what she said but I don’t believe her“ ? Or can one/should one say Sie sagte, es wäre gut? (And again, would that mean „I don’t believe that was really the case„?

    AH, AN AFTERTHOUGHT: If we say, Sie sagte, dass es gut war, then we're just reporting what was said, and we're avoiding the introduction of any view of our own. Right?
    First of all, the tenses should follow the original statement, so, correct reported speech should read:
    Sie sagte, dass es gut gewesen sei/wäre. or Sie sagte, es sei/wäre gut gewesen.

    Secondly, use of dass-form or not makes absolutely no difference in meaning of indirect speech:
    Sie sagte, dass es gut gewesen wäre. = literal translation "She said that it had been good."
    Sie sagte, es wäre gut gewesen. = "She said it had been good."
    So, dass-form is primarily a style element that helps to freshen up your speech/writing and in complex sentences it helps to increase clarity by clearly separating direct/indirect speech.

    Thirdly, there ARE different levels of 'attaching your opinion':
    * inconsequential reported speech
    Your sentence on its own is a very good example for that. "Sie sagte, dass es gut gewesen wäre." I, as a listener, do not know who 'she' is, I do not know what 'it' is, hence I do not care whether it was good or not. Therefore, for me there's nothing there, to which I could attach your or my opinion. Whether you use Indikativ, Konjunktiv 1 or Konjunktiv 2 would make no difference in reaction or opinion from me as listener.

    * the opposite extreme:reported speech with potential consequences

    If you say "Sie sagte, die Nazis waren das beste, was Europa jemals passiert ist." Then my brain would automatically attach the value/opinion "...aha, it seems we have a little neo-nazi on our hands...". And if you don't make any additional comments to clearly prove the opposite, then - in my brain - you would be classified as latent neo-nazi.
    Normally I would expect you to use Konjunktiv 1:
    "Sie sagte, die Nazis seien das beste gewesen, was Europa jemals passiert ist."
    or better Konjunktiv 2 (including additional stylistic indicators clarifying your disagreement):
    "Sie behauptete, die Nazis wären angeblich das beste gewesen, was Europa jemals passiert sei."
    If I hear this Konjunktiv 2 expression from you, I would have no doubt in my mind that you don't agree with the original statement and I would not give it another thought.

    So the fundamental consequence for your use of Indikativ versus Konjunktiv 2 here is, that my opinion about you changes 180 degrees! (Whether you care about that or not is irrelevant, MY opinion still has flipped and only because of your choice of words/style!)

    Aside from these 2 extremes there are 'many different shades of grey' inbetween. As a speaker, very often you do not know what a listener thinks or will think about your statement, therefore it's safest to follow these rough guidelines of Indikativ = tendency to agreement, Konjunktiv 1 = distancing yourself from statement, Konjunktiv 2 = tendency towards disagreement.
    And can one say Sie sagte, dass es gut sein hätte.?

    What about this, for example?

    Wie war der Urlaub?“

    Gut, sehr gut, danke“.

    Reporting this:

    Er sagte mir, dass der Urlaub sehr gut sein hätte.

    Ist das möglich? Würde man das sagen?

    Or what about the person who’d been on holiday saying:

    Er fragte mich, wie der Urlaub sein hätte. ?

    No, that's wrong. 'haben' is not an auxilary verb for 'sein'. I think, only 'sein' can be used as Hilfsverb, i.e. '...er ist...gewesen...'
    So, correct form is:
    Er sagte mir, dass der Urlaub sehr gut gewesen wäre.
    or
    Er sagte mir, dass der Urlaub sehr gut hätte sein sollen. Here, 'haben' is the auxilary of modal verb 'sollen'. 'hätte sein sollen' expresses even stronger doubts than 'gewesen wäre'. But in this context this version sounds strange and would be rarely used.

    Er fragte mich, wie der Urlaub war. -> This would be the normal way of reporting the question (assuming you really had been on vacation).
    Er fragte mich, wie der Urlaub gewesen wäre. -> This form hints to me that you just made him believe that you had been on vacation and now he had asked you how it was.

    I hope I didn't confuse you too much with these (sometimes subtle but yet significant) differences... ;)
     

    popotla

    Senior Member
    British English
    No, that didn’t confuse me; it was useful.

    After I’d posted my post I realised that sein hätte was a load of rubbish and that gewesen war and gewesen wäre are correct forms.

    You say that Therefore, for me there's nothing there, to which I could attach your or my opinion. Whether you use Indikativ, Konjunktiv 1 or Konjunktiv 2 would make no difference in reaction or opinion from me as listener.

    Yes, I understand. In reality, though, I wouldn’t just walk up to you and say, or suddenly say, out of context, Sie sagte (mir), dass es gut gewesen wäre. We would both already know, perhaps because we'd just been talking about it, what it was, so you would know what my opinion related to, and whether I used Indicative, K1 or K2 would therefore be relevant and perhaps of some importance.

    Also, as a speaker, I know what I’m referring to, and when I verbalise my meaning (speak) I need to choose one form or another. I’m not talking about conscious choice of language form but about real-life language use, when choice of form is intuitive, when our linguistic competence is such that we’re intuitively able to tack onto our meaning (which is in our head before we speak, to put it simply), the form that adequately and correctly conveys that meaning to the listener. So, again, the speaker needs to make a choice of Indicative, K1 or K2. What happens next happens in the mind of the listener, but that choice (by the speaker) needs to have been made.

    It seems to me, that if telling you what someone had told me about their holiday, from which they had already returned, I would most likely say Sie sagte mir, dass es gut gewesen sei. I’m merely telling you what she said. I wasn’t on the holiday. Unless she’d told me more about it (and let’s suppose she hadn’t), I have no way of knowing whether it was good or not. I’m distancing myself, in your words.

    If I say Sie sagte (mir), dass es gut gewesen wäre, it might be that she’d told me about several things that went wrong, but still she said it was a good holiday. Or from her general demeanour when she was talking to me, telling me it had been good, she seemed not to really believe that herself. Thus, I didn’t believe her claim that it had been good.

    Perhaps, on the other hand she’d been full of enthusiam when telling me about her holiday, had told me about many wonderful things that had happened, and that it was clear she’d had a wonderful time. Then I could say to you Sie sagte (mir), dass es gut gewesen war. (I tend to agree with what she said and wish to convey my agreement to you.)

    Or I might say, hoping that my grammar was correct, Sie sagte mir, dass es gut gewesen sein würde, wenn es nicht jeden Tag geregnet hätte.

    Thanks.
     
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    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Wow! I'm impressed! It seems you got the meaning of pretty much every point I was trying to make, exactly the same way i meant it to be understood!!
    To be honest, after posting and reading it back I was kind of afraid I might have opened Pandora's box!

    Yes, I understand. In reality, though, I wouldn’t just walk up to you and say, or suddenly say, out of context, Sie sagte (mir), dass es gut gewesen wäre. We would both already know, perhaps because we'd just been talking about it, what it was, so you would know what my opinion related to, and whether I used Indicative, K1 or K2 would therefore be relevant and perhaps of some importance.
    Yes, it was an extreme example to bring my point across! But in real life, even if you are my best friend, I don't hang on your lips and analize every word you say! If you say things that are important to me, I will attach value or opinion to it. For other stuff without importance to me, I might enjoy it for the entertainment value or for your effort of sharing, however my subconscious will not attach any opinion because it is not a tangible subject for me.

    Or I might say, hoping that my grammar was correct, Sie sagte mir, dass es gut gewesen sein würde, wenn es nicht jeden Tag geregnet hätte.
    Thanks.
    Yes. That's a perfect example!
    Only one usage note: Generally we do not like to string too many verbs together unless absolutely necessary. That's because there is a high chance of getting word positions or conjugations wrong, which might make the speaker look stupid.
    So the more common, simplified expression would be:
    Sie sagte mir, dass es gut gewesen wäre, wenn es nicht jeden Tag geregnet hätte.
    AND in this case the Konjunktiv 2 'wäre' does NOT instill any level of doubt because its usage is perfectly justified (or actually: necessitated) by the subclause "wenn es nicht jeden Tag geregnet hätte."
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    On second thought: Do NOT follow my recommendation of 'simplifying sentences' too closely while you are in the learning stages! (especially if you have the luxury of time and interest)
    As a German learner you should try to get familiar and comfortable with the more complicated and maybe less frequently used concepts, too, or else you will avoid them in future and that would limit your style of expressing yourself. Once you are fluent or near fluent, you will automatically simplify your expressions based on personal style and language use in your environment.

    Sie sagte mir, dass es gut gewesen sein würde, wenn es nicht jeden Tag geregnet hätte.
    This sentence has bugged me somewhat, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Somehow it sounds odd but on some other level it sounds correct and familiar.
    Now, I think, I know why: For me as a native speaker from Austria this sounds familiar because we actually do use (or better: over-use) the 'würde-Form' as substitute for Konjunktiv. Generally that is acceptable, however, you as a German learner should not (yet) fall into that habit.
    It's better to learn the proper use of Konjunktiv 1 and 2 and use 'würde + infinitive' as fall-back (and there, where it is grammatically necessary).

    There is one language rule that says: 'würde-Form' should not be used for haben, sein and modal verbs! (In Austria we use it nevertheless, but even there it is considered 'bad style' in this case!)
    example:
    correct: Er sagt, er wäre krank. Er hätte Fieber.
    commonly heard (especially in the South) but bad style: Er sagt, er würde krank sein. Er würde Fieber haben.

    Back to your original sentence: "Sie sagte mir, dass es gut gewesen sein würde, wenn..."
    From this I would infer that the original sentence was: "Es wäre gut gewesen, wenn..."
    If so, then the grammatically correct reported speech should be: "Sie sagte mir, dass es gut gewesen wäre, wenn..." (i.e. what I called a simplification yesterday, was wrong. Actually it is the correct conversion from direct to indirect speech here)

    If the original sentence had been: "Es wird gut gewesen sein, wenn..." then your sentence would have been grammatically correct, because you have to convert Future Tense from original speech to Konjunktiv Future in indirect speech. However, in this example that is impossible, because future tense in original statement makes no sense and is wrong.

    Ontop of all that there is still something bugging me...but I guess, I need to do some more thinking.
    At least you see, even for a native speaker this topic is not quite so clear-cut! As a learner you have every right to be puzzled from time to time. ;)
     

    popotla

    Senior Member
    British English
    This sentence has bugged me somewhat, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Somehow it sounds odd but on some other level it sounds correct and familiar.
    Now, I think, I know why: For me as a native speaker from Austria this sounds familiar because we actually do use (or better: over-use) the 'würde-Form' as substitute for Konjunktiv. Generally that is acceptable, however, you as a German learner should not (yet) fall into that habit.
    It's better to learn the proper use of Konjunktiv 1 and 2 and use 'würde + infinitive' as fall-back (and there, where it is grammatically necessary).


    This whole business of correct/incorrect is hugely misunderstood, I believe. Can I use the terms “descriptive” and “prescriptive” to describe two differing approaches to the grammar of a language? I’m using the first of these to mean “the way that people actually speak” and the second to mean the way that people “should” speak (but according to whom; according to what source?)

    As learners or teachers, we probably have to fall back, for information about "correctness" on something called “standard educated usage”. Let’s take as an example the way in which the 'würde-Form' as substitute for Konjunktiv is or isn’t used in Austria. Just who “we” is in what you wrote isn’t clear (I’m not suggesting it should have been written in any other way; it means “we, the Austrians”; but still, one doesn’t know which Austrians. Let’s suppose it means “Austrians in general” or “educated middle-class Austrians in general”.) One way of looking, then, at what you are saying, is that “Austrians” – whoever they are, and millions of them, perhaps –are wrong in their use of the 'würde-Form' as a substitute for Konjunktiv. Wrong according to whom? Wrong according to what? Perhaps there usage IS incorrect, according to concepts of educated native usage. Neither the question nor the answer is simple.

    There is, indeed, such a thing as wrong use of language (look at the online British Guardian, any day, and you’ll find a few or many examples). Where is the line, though, between poor style and incorrect language use? Consider something that I believe to be true: if we asked a hundred highly-educated, linguistically highly competent native users of X language to copy-edit a text in that language, we’d get a hundred different versions. Which version would be “better”/”the best”? Why?

    I’m going off the subject: speaking and writing are different; native speakers of a particular language know (in a Chomskyan etc. sense) the rules of that language, and it is them we must ask about whether something we want to say in that language is right.

    From our previous exchanges, I understand that

    Der Angeklagte sagte, dass er unschuldig ist

    Der Angeklagte sagte, dass er unschuldig sei

    Der Angeklagte sagte, dass er unschuldig wäre


    are all possible utterances, depending on my (or some other speaker’s) feelings about what the guy said/claimed.

    “No” said my German friend yesterday; “the third is impossible”.

    It’s not always easy to (satisfactorily) ask “why?” The (good) answer often is that it “just is”.

    Perhaps it is that I'm still failing to understand the ways in which speech can be reported.

    By the way, in my language learning I don't generally try to work backwards, from "a rule written in a book somewhere" ("rule" is another interesting and confused term), but try to find real examples of usage that I understand, find enough of them, and notice how they're formed. That's part of the story, anyway.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    From our previous exchanges, I understand that

    Der Angeklagte sagte, dass er unschuldig ist

    Der Angeklagte sagte, dass er unschuldig sei

    Der Angeklagte sagte, dass er unschuldig wäre


    are all possible utterances, depending on my (or some other speaker’s) feelings about what the guy said/claimed.

    “No” said my German friend yesterday; “the third is impossible”.
    If your friend manages to find a rule in a grammar book that excludes the third sentence then I would say the rule is wrong, not the sentence.:D

    The form is very common and the semantic difference between the second and the third is crystal clear: The second reports what has been said in a neutral way and the third implies that you doubt the accuracy of the claim.
     
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    Zwitter

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    I've gone through the entire topic and a question crossed my mind. I've heard this sentence once and it buggs me how can one say:
    Ich dachte, wir wären uns einig.

    With Subjunctive II you're actually saying you had doubts about the agreement in the first place, and at the same time you're convincing the person that you thought you two had an agreement. How is this possible? :D
     

    Peterlegrand

    Member
    Slovak - Slovakia
    Hallo alle!

    Nehmen wir an, dass jemand sagt: "Ich empfehle ihm dieses Buch."

    Wie würdet ihr diesen Satz in der gesprochenen Sprache weitergeben?

    Er hat gesagt, dass er ihm dieses Buch empfehle/empfiehlt/empfähle/empföhle/empfehlen würde?

    In der geschriebenen Sprache würde ich "Er sagte, er empfehle ihm dieses Buch." benutzen während in der gesprochenen Sprache würde ich zu "Er hat gesagt, dass er ihm dieses Buch empfiehlt." neigen - stimmt das überein mit was ihr sagen würdet?

    Eine andere Frage - in den Zeitungen habe ich gesehen, dass man anstatt des Konjunktiv I oft den Konjunktiv II benutzt - würdet ihr also "Er sagte, er empföhle/empfähle ihm dieses Buch." als richtig empfinden?

    Könnte es vorkommen, dass man in diesem Fall "empfehlen würde" benutzen würde?

    Was ich eigentlich fragen will, ist wie erfolgt die Weidergabe einer Rede/Aussage in der gesprochenen Sprache? Fernsehsendungen und andere formelle Situationen zieht bitte nicht in Betracht. Ich weiß, dass die Verbform des Konjunktiv II in der gesprochenen Sprache kaum benutzt wird (außer Modalverben und ein paar häufig benutzen Verben wie brauchen, etc.). Dann frage ich mich auch ob ihr überhaupt den Konjunktiv I in der gesprechonen Sprache benutzt. Theorie ist ja schön aber mich würde einfach interessieren, wie ihr die Wiedergabe der Aussagen macht, wenn ihr ganz normal sprecht.

    Danke.
     
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    Frieder

    Senior Member
    Wie würdet ihr diesen Satz in der gesprochenen Sprache weitergeben?
    Er hat gesagt, dass er ihm dieses Buch empfiehlt.

    Dann frage ich mich auch ob ihr überhaupt den Konjunktiv I in der gesprochenen Sprache benutzt. Theorie ist ja schön aber mich würde einfach interessieren, wie ihr die Wiedergabe der Aussagen macht, wenn ihr ganz normal sprecht.
    Nein, eigentlich nie. Konjunktiv I klingt immer irgendwie steif und formell. In schriftlicher Form wird er gerne benutzt, besonders in in steifen und formellen Kontexten. :D
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Nein, eigentlich nie.
    Kann ich eigentlich nicht bestätigen. Mündlich verwende ich den KI tatsächlich deutlich seltener als schriftlich, aber benutzen tue ich ihn schon. Insbesondere da, wo es wichtig ist klarzustellen, dass es um die bloße Wiedergabe einer Behauptung und nicht um deren Aneignung geht.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Kann ich eigentlich nicht bestätigen. Mündlich verwende ich den KI tatsächlich deutlich seltener als schriftlich, aber benutzen tue ich ihn schon. Insbesondere da, wo es wichtig ist klarzustellen, dass es um die bloße Wiedergabe einer Behauptung und nicht um deren Aneignung geht.
    In dem Fall würde ich wahrscheinlich sagen: "Er hat behauptet, dass ..."
    "Er sagte, er sei nach Leipzig gefahren." und "Er sagte, er wäre nach Leipzig gefahren" betrachte ich als synonym in diesem Kontext.
    Im Kontext: "Er sagte, er wäre gestern nach Leipzig gefahren, wenn das Wetter besser gewesen wäre." ist es natürlich nicht synonym.

    Der Unterschied zwischen neutral mit Konjunktiv 1 und Distanzierung mit Konjunktiv 2 ist eher im Norden gebräuchlich. Dazu gab es hier früher schon zahlreiche Diskussionen.

    Was ich beobachte: Aus Empfehlungen scheinen Regeln geworden zu sein.

    Sie sagte, sie führe morgen mit dem Zug nach Dresden:confused:. Konjunktiv 2 ist nicht nötig, denn Konjunktiv 1 ist eindeutig = Sie sagte, sie fahre morgen mit dem Zug nach Dresden. :tick:
    Ich sagte, ich führe morgen mit dem Zug nach Dresden.:tick: Konjunktiv ist nicht eindeutig: Ich sagte, ich fahre morgen mit dem Zug nach Dresden:confused:.
    Umgangssprachlich wäre das kein Problem.
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
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    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    Konjunktiv I in der indirekten Rede verwende ich nur im Schriftlichen.
    P.S. Mit Ausnahme von "sein".

    z.B. würde ich sagen "A hat gesagt, B sei krank, dabei habe ich ihn heute Morgen in der Stadt gesehen." (und eher nicht: "A hat gesagt, dass B krank ist, ...... .)
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Was sagst Du zu: "A hat gesagt, B wäre krank ..."
    Für mich wäre es dasselbe wie "A hat gesagt, B sei krank.

    Ich habe aber gelesen, dass einige es als Hinweis darauf verstehen, dass er gar nicht krank sei. Ist das wirklich so?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    P.S. Mit Ausnahme von "sein".

    z.B. würde ich sagen "A hat gesagt, B sei krank, dabei habe ich ihn heute Morgen in der Stadt gesehen." (und eher nicht: "A hat gesagt, dass B krank ist, ...... .)
    Ja, ist bei mir fast so auch. KI verwende ich mündlich hauptsächlich bei sein und haben. Bei anderen Verben deutlich seltener.
     
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    Frieder

    Senior Member
    z.B. würde ich sagen "A hat gesagt, B sei krank, dabei habe ich ihn heute Morgen in der Stadt gesehen."
    Ich nicht.

    Ich würde sagen: „A hat gesagt, B ist krank, dabei habe ich ihn heute Morgen in der Stadt gesehen". (Wohlgemerkt: sagen, nicht schreiben).

    Oder, genau hier: „Manni hat gesacht, Hörbi is krank, dabei habich ihn heute Morgen noch inne Stadt gesehn“. :D

    Konjunktiv I ist für mich Schriftdeutsch.
     

    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    [...] wie erfolgt die Weidergabe einer Rede/Aussage in der gesprochenen Sprache? [...] Dann frage ich mich auch ob ihr überhaupt den Konjunktiv I in der gesprechonen Sprache benutzt. Theorie ist ja schön aber mich würde einfach interessieren, wie ihr die Wiedergabe der Aussagen macht, wenn ihr ganz normal sprecht.
    Für mich ist der Konjunktiv I ziemlich alltäglich in der gesprochenen Sprache, um indirekte Rede darzustellen. Sowohl im Schweizer Dialekt als auch im Hochdeutschen. Es gibt aber die Tendenz, ihn zu vermeiden, bei gewissen Schwierigkeiten.

    In der geschriebenen Sprache würde ich "Er sagte, er empfehle ihm dieses Buch." benutzen während in der gesprochenen Sprache würde ich zu "Er hat gesagt, dass er ihm dieses Buch empfiehlt." neigen - stimmt das überein mit was ihr sagen würdet?
    Hier wäre die Aussprache im Dialekt ungünstig, weil zwei "i"-Laute aufeinandertreffen: "empfäli ihm". Da weicht man dann tendenziell auf eine andere Konjunktiv-I-Konstruktion aus, die es im Standarddeutschen nicht gibt, oder auf den Indikativ, wie im obigen Zitat gezeigt.
    Im Hochdeutschen / Standarddeutschen würde ich wohl in diesem Beispiel den Konjunktiv I genau so verwenden, wie er im obigen Zitat steht.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Für mich ist der Konjunktiv I ziemlich alltäglich in der gesprochenen Sprache, um indirekte Rede darzustellen.
    Ja, in der Deutschschweiz ist der KI noch deutlich üblicher als in Deutschland und Österreich. Wahrscheinlich, weil er auch im Dialekt noch verankert ist, was in DE und AT nirgends der Fall ist, außer vielleicht in Hochalemanisch sprechenden Grenzregionen zur Schweiz.
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    In der geschriebenen Sprache würde ich "Er sagte, er empfehle ihm dieses Buch." benutzen während in der gesprochenen Sprache würde ich zu "Er hat gesagt, dass er ihm dieses Buch empfiehlt." neigen - stimmt das überein mit was ihr sagen würdet?
    Ja, so sage auch ich das in der gesprochenen Sprache, wenn die indirekte Rede keine Rolle spielt, sondern es einfach nüchtern als Fakt präsentiert wird. Das ist normale Alltagssprache!

    Korrekter Konjunktiv I für indirekte Rede ist weit überwiegend ein schriftsprachliches Phänomen und in gesprochener Sprache begrenzt auf Situationen, in denen wirklich bewusst zitiert wird oder rhetorisch gehoben gesprochen wird.

    in den Zeitungen habe ich gesehen, dass man anstatt des Konjunktiv I oft den Konjunktiv II benutzt - würdet ihr also "Er sagte, er empföhle/empfähle ihm dieses Buch." als richtig empfinden?
    Nein, das ist eigentlich falsch und wird auch nur selten gemacht -- nämlich dann, wenn Konjunktiv I und Indikativ zusammenfallen. Bei "empfiehlt/empfehle" trifft dies nicht zu, daher solltest du Konjunktiv II in dieser Situation auch nie in Zeitungen finden.

    Moderatornotiz: Auf Bitte des Autors geändert, um eventuelle Unklarheiten zu beseitigen.
     
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    Schlabberlatz

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    Ich stimme meinen Vorrednern zu, vor allem Frieder und Kajjo. Es kommt vielleicht mal vor, dass ich ›habe‹ (K I) benutze, vielleicht auch ›sei‹, aber das dürfte doch ziemlich selten der Fall sein.
    nach meinem Empfinden ist Konjunktiv I in gesprochener Sprache tatsächlich recht selten. Vielleicht hängt es auch von der Region ab? Hier in Westfalen hört man sowas nur selten


    "Er sagte, er sei nach Leipzig gefahren." und "Er sagte, er wäre nach Leipzig gefahren" betrachte ich als synonym in diesem Kontext.
    Hier in Westfalen würde man im Einleitungssatz in gesprochener Sprache Perfekt nehmen:
    Er hat gesagt, …

    Er hat gesagt, dass er nach Leipzig gefahren ist.
    und
    Er hat gesagt, er wäre nach Leipzig gefahren.
    … können auch in Westfalen bedeutungsgleich sein. K II kann aber auch bedeuten, dass man die Aussage anzweifelt. Was gilt, geht aus Kontext und Tonfall hervor.
     
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