What does 'her' mean in this context?

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xBlackHeartx
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What does 'her' mean in this context?

Postby xBlackHeartx » 2019-04-03, 5:55

Okay, I was trying to type this in German, but I couldn't figure out how to say what I wanted. I was once an upper-intermediate long ago, but I've since become really rusty. Also, my comprehension seems to be far better than my production. :(

Anyway, I've seen the band Faun use this word in an odd way twice now in two different songs. The first is from their song 'Gold and Seide':

sing ich die Sonne her.

I originally thought this line meant something like 'I sing forth the sun' or 'I sing the sun into existence', because I assumed that 'her' meant 'to here'. But the second line I've found, in their song 'Wilde Rose', doesn't seem to line up with that:

Gab im Frühling meinen Liebsten her.

The song is about losing a lover btw, so 'her' obviously makes no sense if translated as 'to here'.

I'm utterly confused by this 'her' word. What does it mean in these two sentences? Context doesn't really give me much hint honestly. I can't even figure out what the second line means, even though I know the meanings of all the words besides 'her', which is rather annoying.

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Re: What does 'her' mean in this context?

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-04-03, 6:54

I think the first her is an adverb (meaning 'to here') and the second her- is a separable prefix indicating movement, and in this context, hergeben means 'to give away'.

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Re: What does 'her' mean in this context?

Postby kevin » 2019-04-03, 7:44

Come to think of it, her- in the sense of away is kind of weird in this hergeben... I wonder how that came about. Probably just from the perspective of the one that receives whatever I'm giving away, and who would tell me "gib her" or who could say about me "er hat es hergegeben"? And then it was extended to cases where there isn't even anyone involved who receives anything?

But anyway, I agree that this is the meaning.

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Re: What does 'her' mean in this context?

Postby xBlackHeartx » 2019-04-03, 10:59

'Geben' is also supposed to be used to mean 'there is' or 'to exist'. In this instance, 'hergeben' could mean 'to go away', as in 'to not exist anymore', which would make perfect sense in the context of the song. Still, I'm baffled why I can't find that listed as a definition of 'hergeben' anywhere. The closest I can find to that is over on lyricstranslate.com, where someone translated the second phrase as 'In spring I parted with my beloved'. Sadly, the site doesn't have a translation for 'Gold und Seide'. How annoying.

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Re: What does 'her' mean in this context?

Postby kevin » 2019-04-03, 11:45

No, Vijay's interpretation is correct. Trust me, I'm a native speaker. ;)

"es gibt" is a different thing and doesn't exist with the compound "hergeben".

That the line starts with a verb tells you that something is implied here because otherwise the word order would be wrong. It's the subject "ich" (or possibly "mein Herz" from the line before, but I think "ich" makes more sense).


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