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I don't understand the meaning of this line:

Und dass sowas von sowas kommt

From the song "99 Luftballoons".

A translation and a grammatical explanation will be great.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This is the part of the lyrics that contains those words:

Denkst du vielleicht grad an mich?
Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich
von 99 Luftballons
und dass so was von sowas kommt.

Here comes my translation:

grad in the first line is short for gerade, so this line should be in correct german:

Denkst du vielleicht gerade an mich?

Its translation is:

Are you thinking of me right now?

The next 3 lines are one sentence:

Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich von 99 Luftballons, und dass so was von sowas kommt.

Again, there is something shortened, so the grammatically correct sentence would be:

Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich von 99 Luftballons, und dass so etwas von so etwas kommt.

Translation:

Then I'll sing a song for you about 99 aerostats, and that something like this comes from something like this.

The first something like this (so was; so etwas) reflects on the effect or conclusion of that story while the second something like this (sowas; so etwas) deals with the cause or trigger of the events described in this song.

complete german lyrics:

Hast du etwas Zeit für mich?
Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich,
von 99 Luftballons
auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont.

Denkst du vielleicht grad an mich?
Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich
von 99 Luftballons
und dass so was von sowas kommt.

99 Luftballons, auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont,
hielt man für Ufos aus dem All,
darum schickte ein General
'ne Fliegerstaffel hinterher
Alarm zu geben, wenn's so wär.
Dabei war'n dort am Horizont
nur 99 Luftballons.

99 Düsenflieger, jeder war ein großer Krieger,
hielten sich für Captain Kirk;
Es gab ein großes Feuerwerk!
Die Nachbarn haben nichts gerafft
und fühlten sich gleich angemacht,
dabei schoss man am Horizont
auf 99 Luftballons.

99 Kriegsminister streichelten Benzinkanister,
hielten sich für schlaue Leute,
witterten schon fette Beute,
riefen "Krieg" und wollten Macht.
Mann, wer hätte das gedacht,
dass es einmal soweit kommt
wegen 99 Luftballons?

wegen 99 Luftballons?

99 Luftballons!

99 Jahre Krieg
ließen keinen Platz für Sieger.
Kriegsminister gibt's nicht mehr
und auch keine Düsenflieger.
Heute zieh ich meine Runden,
seh die Welt in Trümmern liegen.
Hab 'n Luftballon gefunden.
denk an dich und lass ihn fliegen.

verbatim translation (NOT the lyrics of the english version of this song named "99 red ballons"!):

Du you have some time for me?
Then I'll sing a song for you,
about 99 aerostats
on their way to the horizon.

Are you thinking of me right now?
Then I'll sing a song for you,
about 99 aerostats
and that something like this comes from something like this.

99 aerostats, on their way to the horizon,
was believed to be UFOs from outer space,
so a general sent
a flying squadron after them
to rise the alarm if it was so.
But in truth there at the horizon
was only 99 aerostats.

99 jet fighters, each of them was a powerful warrior,
deemed themselfs Captain Kirk;
They launched a heavy wireworks!
The neighbours didn't get it
and thought they was under attack,
But in truth they shoot there at the horizon
on 99 aerostats.

99 ministers of war fondled jerry cans,
thought to be smart people,
got wind of fat prey,
shouted "war" and wanted power.
Lord, who would have thought,
that it might go so far some day
because of 99 aerostats?

because of 99 aerostats?

99 aerostats!

99 years of war
left no room for winners.
there are no more ministers of war
and no jet fighters.
Today I'm walking around,
see the world lying in ruins.
(I) found an aerostat.
(I) think of you and let it fly.

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I personally would have said 'baloons' instead of 'aerostats'. This is also used in the official translation (eightyeightynine.com/music/nena-99luftballoons.html)is –  dgw May 4 '12 at 14:00
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The song is written by Carlo Karges. The song text based on the cold war. In Germany there were placed atomic rockets. This leads to the fear of an atomic war.

In 1982 Carlo Karges visited a concert in Berlin where a lot of balloons were raised and he wonder what would happen if they go over the wall.

So, the text is about the paranoia of some people, that the other side could attack you. Consider, that some balloons can't be recognized when they far away. If you see some minor objects far away (in the song text also mentioned as 'unidentified flying object') you start some jet fighters and bomb them. Now, the other side would think they bombing you and will counteract. And so, we have a war just because of balloons. Such a thing came from such a thing. DE.WIKIPEDIA

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Additionally, in WWII Japan and the UK used balloon bombs. –  Landei May 4 '12 at 12:36
    
@Landei Didn't know that. Do you have any reference that this was also considered when writing the song? If so, I think this is a very interesting fact that should also been mentioned in my answer. –  Em1 May 4 '12 at 13:33
    
No, this was just a speculation. –  Landei May 9 '12 at 13:53
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