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402Re: If and when

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  • Hans Georg Lundahl
    Apr 7, 2003
      [This is drifting off topic for this list... CFH]

      At 12:32 PM +0200 4/2/03, David Kiltz wrote:

      >I have to contradict this statement. _Wenn_ is the most frequent word
      >used in cases where English has either _if_ or _when_. However, when
      >ambiguity arises, _falls_ can and is used instead of _wenn_. Indeed, it
      >is, I would say, imperative in this case.

      To my language sensitivity - I am RATHER native, being born in Vienna, though of Scandinavian stock - "wenn" means simply "if", "wann" (of future or uncertain events) or "als" (of certain past events) means "when"; and "falls", - it does mean "in case", though I am not certain why the genitive is used like an instrumental of circumstance - is a colloquial synonym for "wenn", Engl. "if". If there is any confusion between "wenn" (if) and "wann" (when), it does not occur in the German speaking circles I have frequented. Possibly that Hamburg/Hannover gets confused by speaking much to Englishmen who use "when" rather than Chaucer's "whan" for "when" rather than "if".

      Hans Georg Lundahl

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