Do other languages have a word for „One“, German „man“?

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Schokokuchen
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Do other languages have a word for „One“, German „man“?

Postby Schokokuchen » 2017-11-22, 11:03

Hello,

I always struggle to translate the German word „man“; the closest English translation I can think of is „one“; but I think this rarely used is it?

A few example sentences:

German:„Man merkt, dass Sie sich mit Pferden auskennen“ -
English: „One can see you know a thing or two about horses“

German“ Man merkt die Absicht und ist verstimmt“ -
English: „One can notice your intention and is annoyed“

German: „So etwas macht man in unserer Familie nicht“ -
English: „Being a member of our family means one should not act like this“

How would I say this? Thanks a lot! Do other languages have a word for „man“?

IpseDixit

Re: Do other languages have a word for „One“, German „man“?

Postby IpseDixit » 2017-11-22, 11:54

Have a look here

Schokokuchen
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Re: Do other languages have a word for „One“, German „man“?

Postby Schokokuchen » 2017-11-22, 12:00

Thanks a lot! So it is really „One“.

Would you say that my English sample sentences are correct or do they sound odd to the English ear?

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linguoboy
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Re: Do other languages have a word for „One“, German „man“?

Postby linguoboy » 2017-11-22, 14:02

Schokokuchen wrote:Would you say that my English sample sentences are correct or do they sound odd to the English ear?

I would say they sound odd. They're rather colloquial, but "one" in colloquial English sounds extremely stilted. I remember once a German acquaintance said to me, "One should really check one's calendar before one makes an appointment, shouldn't one?" and I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.

Here's how I would translate these:

German: „Man merkt, dass Sie sich mit Pferden auskennen“ -
English: "It's obvious you know your way around horses.“

German: “Man merkt die Absicht und ist verstimmt“ -
English: "People notice your intention and get annoyed."

German: „So etwas macht man in unserer Familie nicht“ -
English: "That's not done in our family." (Here the formality works because it's a scolding.)
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

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Re: Do other languages have a word for „One“, German „man“?

Postby Mars80 » 2017-12-10, 22:24

What about this sentence:

"One should always do their best". I've heard people say this. Shouldn't it be "One should always do one's best"?

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Re: Do other languages have a word for „One“, German „man“?

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-12-10, 23:03

That might be a good example of how marked it is in (especially colloquial) English. "People should always do their best" would be a perfectly normal way of saying that; "one should" already sounds more formal and less common.

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Re: Do other languages have a word for „One“, German „man“?

Postby linguoboy » 2017-12-11, 3:56

The most natural way for me is "Always do your best", with "You should always do your best" a not very close second. "One should always do one's best" is almost laughably formal.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

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Re: Do other languages have a word for „One“, German „man“?

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-12-11, 4:49

I agree, although those can also all have somewhat different meanings.

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Re: Do other languages have a word for „One“, German „man“?

Postby Mars80 » 2017-12-12, 16:47

How about "a person should always do their best" or "someone should always do their best"? "You should always do your best" can be ambiguous. You generically or you specifically?

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Re: Do other languages have a word for „One“, German „man“?

Postby linguoboy » 2017-12-12, 17:11

Mars80 wrote:"You should always do your best" can be ambiguous. You generically or you specifically?

Sure, it can be ambiguous, but that doesn't mean it isn't very common. Generally it's clear whether something is a specific injunction or just a generic statement. For instance, take this quote from an instructional book:
When I spoke with Steadman at that youth leadership conference, I didn't prepare and do my best. Not really. I was too consumed with self-pity. But I have learned that you should always do your best. Thank goodness Stedman and others saw more in me and my abilities than I did.
Is there any doubt that the exhortation to "do your best" is meant to apply to everyone, including the speaker?
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons


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