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How would one translate "my father taught me to play football"? Being relatively new to the language I'm unsure about how to handle the structure. What verb would one use? Lernen? Any held would be appreciated.

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closed as off-topic by user unknown, Em1, c.p., Hubert Schölnast, Vogel612 May 17 '14 at 23:08

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Steht es nicht im Wörterbuch? – user unknown May 17 '14 at 12:47
up vote 11 down vote accepted

There are several options.

The literal translation would use the verb lehren.

Mein Vater hat mich gelehrt Fußball zu spielen.


Mein Vater hat mich das Fußballspielen gelehrt.

As a native Austrian German speaker I would prefer using beibringen in spoken language though:

Mein Vater hat mir das Fußballspielen beigebracht.

... which sounds less formal to my ears.

The verb lernen means to learn, it is what the student does, not the teacher.

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Thanks a lot, cleared up the issue for me – user6314 May 17 '14 at 11:53
+1 for Hulk, beibringen is the correct term, the others just sound weird. – user6317 May 17 '14 at 14:51
I don't think that anywhere in the German speaking world lehren would be preferred over beibringen in this context, at least in spoken language. If anybody disagrees, please add a comment. – Walter Tross May 17 '14 at 21:31
It looks like one possible translation (not the best one!) is missing: "Mein Vater hat mir beigebracht, Fußball zu spielen". But this sounds a bit like "my father taught me that I should play football (not how to play flootball)" – Walter Tross May 17 '14 at 21:36
@WalterTross In my opinion, there's no other connotation and it clearly indicates that your father taught you how to play football. If you're unsure, however, you could say "Mein Vater hat mir beigebracht, wie man Fußball spielt." – Em1 May 18 '14 at 19:47

"My father taught me to play football" is a weird sentence. It's simple past, so it needs a date/time which could have been mentioned in another phrase, like "My father taught me to play football when I was 6 years old."

The correct translation must be simple past too: Mein Vater brachte mir bei, Fußball zu spielen

I guess.....

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Germans use simple past quite rarely... – Em1 May 18 '14 at 19:43
Indeed. The simple past might be appropriate if you write your memoirs, but in any other context one would probably use perfect tense here. – Uwe May 19 '14 at 17:46

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