sollte Recht behalten

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by candel, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. candel Senior Member

    english Irish.
    Speaking of a male surfer who decided to help a Brazilian surfer (female) despite discouragement from other top male surfers who thought the type of waves she sought to ride were too dangerous I read: that

    Carlos sollte Recht behalten. He was right in the end. But why sollte here?

    Carlos sollte Recht behalten. Maya Gabeira ist heute die beste und erfolgreichste Surferin des Planeten, die den „XXL Big Wave Award“ für Frauen fünfmal in Serie gewinnen konnte.

  2. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    Well, I read it more as "It should be remembered that Carlos was right".
    But more poetic, like "should Right remain/be remembered".
    "Right" here is a noun (it's capitalized). I believe it's just a more poetic way to say "he was right".
  3. Demiurg

    Demiurg Senior Member

    It's explained in the last paragraph: Future in the past
  4. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    Here's a preceding thread on this sort of sollte. An English equivalent is was fated to be. So translate As fate had it, he was right.
  5. candel Senior Member

    english Irish.
    Using the same phrase "Recht behalten" to turn out would you say x ought to turn out to be right?
  6. ABBA Stanza Senior Member

    Hessen, DE
    English (UK)
    Good point :thumbsup:, because it's exactly the same construction as I see it, namely "... sollte recht behalten". So, it seems that this could cause confusion if the context is not clear. For example, let's take the example on referred to by demiurg above, but modify it a bit as follows:

    "Im Krieg nahm er auf niemand Rücksicht. Das sollte er noch bereuen".

    I think such a sentence is ambiguous, because "sollte" could either (i) indicate future in the past (i.e., he did indeed regret it later at some point in time between the end of the war and the time the statement was made), or (ii) indicate a perceived moral obligation (i.e., the speaker/author thinks that this person should regret it in the future).

    In such cases, maybe "würde" would be less ambiguous (??):

    "Im Krieg nahm er auf niemand Rücksicht. Das würde er noch bereuen".

    Or alternatively, I assume that the future in the past interpretation can be hinted at by adding more information:

    "Im Krieg nahm er auf niemand Rücksicht. Das sollte er später noch bereuen".

    We've discussed this topic on the forum several times in the past (e.g., here) and there seems (as far as I can remember) to be a difference of opinion among native speakers. Some seem to be happy with the use of "würde" and "sollte" in such contexts, whereas others are of the opinion that the use of the Konjunktiv II suggests a hypotheticality that doesn't exist (although that's just a matter of definition, isn't it? :confused: ). So it's all a bit confusing (to me anyway :)).

  7. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    In the original sentence, Carlos sollte Recht behalten, the context shows that Carlos had done nothing wrong, so there is no sense of ought or obligation. Sollte in this sort of sentence is just a prediction. Carlos sollte Recht behalten just means Carlos was going to be proved right.

    ABBA's sentence can be taken two ways, depending on how much blame you want to assign to "him". Das sollte er bereuen can mean he should regret that (obligation) or he was going to regret that(prediction). I would read it as the latter unless the context indicates that the writer is scolding him.
  8. ablativ Senior Member

    Carlos sollte Recht (or: recht) behalten: It turned out (sollte, idiom in German) that he was right.

    Carlos was to be proved right or Carlos was to end up being right. It's retrospective rather than a prediction.

    He was (retrospectively) right when he (in the past) thought something would (future in the past tense because of "consecutio temporum" referring to "thought" [past tense as well]). (He thinks he will be right - he thought he would be right)
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  9. exgerman Senior Member

    English but my first language was German
    That's what I meant by prediction.
    What Carlos thinks or thought is not stated. It's the reporter's thinking that triggers sollte.
  10. ablativ Senior Member

    OK, but Carlos must have had the right thoughts. Otherwise he could not have ended being right. "Think-will, thought-would" was meant as a grammatical example only for the sequence of tenses.

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