There are many common words in English and German

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Vibrato

Banned
Greek
Hello. Are these three sentences interchangeable?

1) There are many common words in English and German.
2) English and German have many common words.
3) There are many common words between English and German.
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    1) and 2) could be ambiguous, and 3) is a bit awkward. What you probably mean is "English and German have many words in common."
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    1) and 2) could be ambiguous, and 3) is a bit awkward. What you probably mean is "English and German have many words in common."
    Thanks for the answer. Yeah that's what I mean. But in my experience, those three structures are also used. Shouldn't I use them?
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Thanks for the answer. Yeah that's what I mean. But in my experience, those three structures are also used. Shouldn't I use them?
    If you do you'll probably be understood correctly, but it's always better to avoid ambiguity. I think 1) is the weakest of the three.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    If you do you'll probably be understood correctly, but it's always better to avoid ambiguity. I think 1) is the weakest of the three.
    You said that the third sentence was a bit awkward. Isn't that structure ever used by native speakers?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    You said that the third sentence was a bit awkward. Isn't that structure ever used by native speakers?
    There are many miles between England and Germany. :tick: Some of those miles are in France which is between England and Germany.
    There are many common words between English and Germany. Where are the words? What language is between English and German?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    There are many common words in English and German.
    Seriously
    , how many words do German and English have "in common"? That means the languages use many of the exact same words. They do not. "In common" is not how we express the relationship between the two languages.

    common things" can be used too, you know.
    I thought you were talking about words, not things.
    Yes, German and English have a lot in common, of course: they have many 'things' in common, but there are so many important differences between the modern languages, compared with about 1.500 years ago, that similarities in vocabulary, while absolutely fascinating, seem almost incidental.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    There are many miles between England and Germany. :tick: Some of those miles are in France which is between England and Germany.
    There are many common words between English and Germany. Where are the words? What language is between English and German?
    Are you serious? :eek:That word "between" can be used in this kind of cases too. For example you can say "There are a lot of similarities between German and English". You are misleading.
     

    Tyrion Lann

    Senior Member
    INDIA -Hindi
    There are many miles between England and Germany. :tick: Some of those miles are in France which is between England and Germany.
    There are many common words between English and Germany. Where are the words? What language is between English and German?
    I'm not agree with this explanation, too.

    Don't ever try to come between me and my wife. ( Between used to show a connection or relationship)

    There is a link between murders and the people who have gone missing.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    There are many miles between England and Germany. :tick: Some of those miles are in France which is between England and Germany.
    There are many common words between English and Germany. Where are the words? What language is between English and German?
    I found examples of sentences where "between" is used with "common" on Google Books too by the way.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Are you serious? :eek:That word "between" can be used in this kind of cases too. For example you can say "There are a lot of similarities between German and English". You are misleading.
    I am giving a reason why it is awkward. What "common words" means is not clear, so what "between" means is also not clear. The structure "There are many X between Y and Z." is inherently ambiguous if you don't understand X, Y, and Z and the type of relationship that "between" might have. Using an ambiguous structure doesn't make the sentence clearer.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    You said that the third sentence was a bit awkward. Isn't that structure ever used by native speakers?
    "Common words" has a fixed meaning: "words that everyone uses". It does not mean "words shared by two languages".

    If you want that meaning, you must create that meaning by the syntax and words you use. For example, "they have words in common" has that meaning. Also "words that are common to the two languages" has that meaning.

    If at all possible, don't use a wording that has this 2-word phrase in it: "common words".
     
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    Orble

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Seriously, how many words do German and English have "in common"? That means the languages use many of the exact same words. They do not. "In common" is not how we express the relationship between the two languages.
    I’m surprised by this response. I am just learning German and I am struck by how many words the two languages have in common, and that is precisely how I described it to my wife. The words in common either share a common linguistic origin or are loan words. The result is that, compared to French or Italian or Indonesian for example, English and German have many words in common.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I’m surprised by this response. I am just learning German and I am struck by how many words the two languages have in common, and that is precisely how I described it to my wife. The words in common either share a common linguistic origin or are loan words. The result is that, compared to French or Italian or Indonesian for example, English and German have many words in common.
    I speak rather good German (for the last 60 years)_ and cannot think of many words identical in each language.

    Similar, yes. Identical, no.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    I asked the same question on another site, and this is one of the answers I got:

    "I don't feel like the first two are interpreted that way. Of course, ipsis litteris, such understanding is possible considering the ambiguity going on in those; but dialogues don't elapse literally, rather lots of assumptions are made in order to make communication more dynamic and avoid needless questions. Everybody knows that languages have common words (used frequently), it is obvious that English uses the, is, at a lot; same for German with die, der, aus; therefore, the first two sentences will also be interpreted as the third."

    It seems logical to me.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    I am giving a reason why it is awkward. What "common words" means is not clear, so what "between" means is also not clear. The structure "There are many X between Y and Z." is inherently ambiguous if you don't understand X, Y, and Z and the type of relationship that "between" might have. Using an ambiguous structure doesn't make the sentence clearer.
    I think it is wrong to say that it is awkward. It is better to say that you find it awkward. You can find instances on Google where "between" was used by native speakers along with the word "common".
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I am just learning German and I am struck by how many words the two languages have in common...
    English is a Germanic language. The two languages share common ancestry and core vocabulary, as well as some grammar features. :)

    The result is that, compared to French or Italian...English and German have many words in common.
    I would not bet on that. It is estimated that some 60% of today's English vocabulary was imported from Latin through the early French/late Latin of William the Conqueror and subsequently over centuries.

    I suppose what Hermione means is that, even though many English words sound the same and look the same and mean more or less the same as their German counterparts, they are not identical in any respect. Life does not look or sound like Leben*.

    As regards Indonesian, I would be surprised if English and Indonesian shared any vocabulary at all. :)

    I agree with everyone who says that 'words between English and German' is nonsensical, at face value, although I would surely understand the intended meaning. I would understand it immediately, because it sounds like literal translation from my language. :)

    *It does, in fact, but they are not identical...
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Are these three sentences interchangeable?

    1) There are many common words in English and German.
    2) English and German have many common words.
    3) There are many common words between English and German
    the first two sentences will also be interpreted as the third."
    It seems logical to me.
    Not to me. The first two are perfectly clear. Both languages have common words. Both statements are bizarre - all languages have common words. The third sentence is also bizarre, but in this case because it makes no sense. It does, as already said, mean that somewhere, in a space between English and German, there are many common words.

    If you mean that German and English share many words then, as already said, you need "English and German have many words in common". That is grammatically and semantically correct. Whether or not it is true is beside the point.

    You may well have found "common" and "between" in the same sentence, but that does not make "There are many common words between English and German" a meaningful sentence in English.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    Not to me. The first two are perfectly clear. Both languages have common words. Both statements are bizarre - all languages have common words. The third sentence is also bizarre, but in this case because it makes no sense. It does, as already said, mean that somewhere, in a space between English and German, there are many common words.

    If you mean that German and English share many words then, as already said, you need "English and German have many words in common". That is grammatically and semantically correct. Whether or not it is true is beside the point.

    You may well have found "common" and "between" in the same sentence, but that does not make "There are many common words between English and German" a meaningful sentence in English.
    Again, it is bizarre to you. Because I saw native English speakers use these structures. Haven't you ever seen them used?
     
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    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    English is a Germanic language. The two languages share common ancestry and core vocabulary, as well as some grammar features. :)


    I would not bet on that. It is estimated that some 60% of today's English vocabulary was imported from Latin through the early French/late Latin of William the Conqueror and subsequently over centuries.

    I suppose what Hermione means is that, even though many English words sound the same and look the same and mean more or less the same as their German counterparts, they are not identical in any respect. Life does not look or sound like Leben*.

    As regards Indonesian, I would be surprised if English and Indonesian shared any vocabulary at all. :)

    I agree with everyone who says that 'words between English and German' is nonsensical, at face value, although I would surely understand the intended meaning. I would understand it immediately, because it sounds like literal translation from my language. :)

    *It does, in fact, but they are not identical...
    It is not like a translation from another language or nonsensical or anything. You can find many instances where it is used by native English speakers. For example here, this Canadian person says “We had people kind of get to know one another because we split people into four groups. So we had two groups going and planting right away. But before they got into planting bulbs we actually had them find three common things between each other,”

    Look at it please. It is before the last sentence. Don't be so assertive next time please.

    https://www.oldsalbertan.ca/article/tulip-planting-for-150th-birthday-went-well-20161011
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Can I just perhaps just point out here that the original question asked us how you would say it, and not whether or not it's true. ;)

    I tend to agree that both (1) and (2) are potentially ambiguous in that "common" could be taken to mean words which are frequently used, although the context might make that not the obvious interpretation..

    I wouldn't personally use "between" as in (3): I think it sounds awkward in that particular sentence. On the other hand "English and German have many words in common" sounds idiomatic and natural and, I would say, conveys the intended meaning. :)
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Look at it please. It is before the last sentence. Don't be so assertive next time please.
    I do not need to look at it. Native speakers, just like everyone, say things that are not always accurate or carefully thought out. We all do, whether in our own languages or in a foreign language. It is part of the spontaneous nature of oral communication. You do not have time to think and all you care about is to make yourself understood.

    Just because someone has said something and you have found it recorded, does not mean it is a standard to follow.

    Basically, the whole world has told you that your 3rd example is awkward, at best, and nonsensical at worst, so it is your choice whether you believe it or not. For my part, I can say that I understand it because it definitely sounds like a word-for-word translation from my language.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    I do not need to look at it. Native speakers, just like everyone, say things that are not always accurate or carefully thought out. We all do, whether in our own languages or in a foreign language. It is part of the spontaneous nature of oral communication. You do not have time to think and all you care about is to make yourself understood.

    Just because someone has said something and you have found it recorded, does not mean it is a standard to follow.

    Basically, the whole world has told you that your 3rd example is awkward, at best, and nonsensical at worst, so it is your choice whether you believe it or not. For my part, I can say that I understand it because it definitely sounds like a word-for-word translation from my language.
    The world world? No. I also didn't find only one example.
     
    Again, it is bizarre to you [Andy]. Because I saw native English speakers use these structures. Haven't you ever seen them used?

    Andy gave an opinion about usage, NOT meant to be purely personal. The first sentences are unclear at best, defective at worst. The third is weird wording. It's up to you to listen to what articulate native speakers say. Finding an example on the 'net is not worth much. I just got 6000 hits for "I seen 'em all."

    [mistaken attribution deleted.]
     
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    Tyrion Lann

    Senior Member
    INDIA -Hindi
    It seems this thread has considerably strayed from the main topic of discussion which was the use and meaning of the adjective "common", and become hair - splitting, at least for me.

    The main problem in English is when anything goes out off the box it sounds awkward to people that is the reason the word "idiomatic" is used. So, it's always advised to stick with idiomatic expressions, no matter how grammatically incorrect they are.

    1) common - happening often or existing in large numbers
    This meaning often comes with " in or among something"

    #1 There are many common words in English and German.

    There are many words exist in English and German. ( So, it might sound ambiguous)

    2)"shared by or belonging to" two or more people or things.

    This meaning often comes with
    " have something in common.
    hold something in common
    in common with"
    And "common to something/ someone".
    That is why everyone has said "in common".
     

    Orble

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    As regards Indonesian, I would be surprised if English and Indonesian shared any vocabulary at all. :)
    Then prepare to be surprised! :eek: The so-called “global hegemony” of English means that almost every advanced modern language, like Bahasa Indonesia, has plenty of English loan words. Most of its European influence is of course from its former Dutch colonial masters.

    (My favourite is, “mengswingtotherightkan = to swing to the political right.”
    It is actually a very uncommon word that even Indonesians find strange, but I think it’s structure amusing with the “meng-kan” verb structure wrapped around the English phrase.)
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Again, it is bizarre to you. Because I saw native English speakers use these structures. Haven't you ever seen them used?
    No, it is bizarre, because the meaning of "French and English have many common words" is not "French and English have many words in common". That somebody mistakenly wrote "French and English have many common words" is not evidence that his usage was correct. It is common for native speakers of English to make mistakes - you should be able to find many examples of mistaken usage across the internet. All languages have many common words. Not all languages have words in common.

    If you wish to claim that German and English share many words, and if you wish your meaning to be understood, you should write the correct from of words to convey your meaning. That is "English and German have many words in common". It would be pointless your writing "There are many common words in English and German" or "English and German have many common words" or "There are many common words between English and German" because none of those sentences carries the meaning you wish to express.

    You asked for advice:
    Hello. Are these three sentences interchangeable?

    1) There are many common words in English and German.
    2) English and German have many common words.
    3) There are many common words between English and German.
    The answer is "No". The additional advice, for which there is no charge, is contained in my paragraph beginning "If you wish to claim ..." and in posts by several other educated and fluent English speakers. You are, of course, free to ignore it
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    What about "English and German share many common words"? Is this sentence right?
    Sorry, but no. It is grammatical, but does not have the meaning you want. It is saying that there are common words that are the same in both languages - but there are not. We say "the", "is", "not" - those are common English words, but they are not used in German (which has its own common words with those meanings). We could correctly say "English and German share a few words" or "English and German share a few words in common" - schadenfreude, for example - but that loan word is not a common word in English.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    Sorry, but no. It is grammatical, but does not have the meaning you want. It is saying that there are common words that are the same in both languages - but there are not. We say "the", "is", "not" - those are common English words, but they are not used in German (which has its own common words with those meanings). We could correctly say "English and German share a few words" or "English and German share a few words in common" - schadenfreude, for example - but that loan word is not a common word in English.
    Thank you. Your interpretation is different again from what I see many native English speakers use.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thank you. Your interpretation is different again from what I see many native English speakers use.
    I am surprised. Why would many English speakers say "English and German have many common words", meaning "... have many words in common", when that statement is manifestly untrue?

    There are many contexts where the adjective "common" means "shared", but this isn't one of them.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    Doesn't it also cause ambiguity if I say "English and German share words."? It sounds like they give each other words at the moment too.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Doesn't it also cause ambiguity if I say "English and German share words."? It sounds like they give each other words at the moment too.
    That suggests to me that English occasionally imports words from German and vice versa, with the result that the same word is then used in both languages.

    Is that what you intended it to mean?
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I suppose it is a relative thing and a matter of opinion. It’s not like every second word is English!
    Anyway this website has an enormous list that is nonetheless small compared to the number of words in the vocabulary of a language:
    Same Words in English and German |
    Interesting site :) I was curious so I picked B at random and here's the list - and one thing is obvious:)
    Baby, Balance, Ball, Band, Bank, Bar, Basis, Basketball, Bass, Bastard, Bikini, Bluff, Boss, Boutique, Boxer, Broccoli, Browser, Budget, Bus, Butler, Butter
    The collocation of common and prepositions shows up in "things in common *" the most common ( :eek: ) word by far for the * is "with" (about 30x more common than between). ha os why the dictionary has the following entry

    1. Idioms in common, [uncountable] in joint possession or use; shared equally:We have much in common with people from other cultures.
    For me, the concept in the OP is only clear with the phrase "in common".
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    and one thing is obvious
    Do tell. Or were you thinking that a substantial proportion of these words (not just the Bs) are loan words from English and other languages? There's also the point that many of these words have only one meaning in common. "Band", for example, is fine for a musical group, but that's about it; I used to put tapes in my tape recorder, not Bänder.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Do tell. Or were you thinking that a substantial proportion of these words (not just the Bs) are loan words from English and other languages? There's also the point that many of these words have only one meaning in common. "Band", for example, is fine for a musical group, but that's about it; I used to put tapes in my tape recorder, not Bänder.
    I ony looked at the B, as a random sample, but your bold text was what I was referring to. To your other point, Bank in English has more meanings than in German and the majority are not translated as Bank (money and cloud bank, but not river, hill etc).
     
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