While listening to Rammstein, in particular the song named "Keine Lust", I heard the phrase "Mir ist kalt, so kalt.". I thought it would have been "Ich bin kalt". Did I hear it incorrectly, or is there a rule I don't remember? (It's been 20 years since German class.)
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"Ich bin kalt" und "Mir ist kalt" are two absolutely different things.
Regarding the latter sentence, "Mir ist kalt": I guess it's the most common way to express that you're feeling cold, for instance:
Alternatively, you can say "Ich friere" (I'm freezing).
However, the former sentence "Ich bin kalt" which is the literal translation for "I am cold" does mean something completely different.
You can say:
But there is a second meaning of "kalt sein". If someone is unsympathetic, indelicate, cool (calm; not excited), not friendly, etc. then you could say "Er ist kalt".
The following examples are all with "eiskalt", since I found them easier.
A possible translation of "jemand ist kalt" could be "someone is callous", e.g. a callous killer.
Said that, I try to interpret the Rammstein lyrics. First I will mention that's not easy, because Rammstein songs are often very ambiguous.
Before these lines they sing something about lying in the snow, so most likely "ich bin schon lange kalt" is referring to the temperature of his body. But there could also be a slight connotation regarding the second meaning of "kalt sein", because of "Ich hab keine Lust" which is not only the title of the song ("Keine Lust"), but is also repeated in almost every line. "Keine Lust haben", meaning that you don't bother, could lead into the direction of "kalt sein" in its figurative meaning. Though, reading the lyrics I wouldn't interpret it that way, just wanted to say that, since Rammstein songs are - as I already mentioned - very ambiguous.
Anyway, just to make it a bit more confusing. In some region instead of "Mir ist kalt", you may hear:
While writing this answer, I saw you already found the solution yourself, but maybe some of the links I've collected are still useful.
Nice question - you've hit the difficult problem of sentences without a subject. "
The other way - "
There are different descriptions for the grammatical structure in sentences like "
Check out the Keine Lust lyrics:
He sings "Und merke bald ich bin schon lange kalt \ So kalt, mir ist kalt ...". As stated on the website:
I should have googled first, I guess, but I did it after I read @efie 's answer. I found this and it explained that "mir ist kalt" is more like saying "it is cold to me" and that this and other phrases involving feeling and impressions often take this reflexive form.
When it comes to temperature, you would use "Mir ist..." normally. There are other connotations to using "Ich bin kalt / warm / heiß", which you would want to avoid.
I suppose that "Mir ist kalt" is a statement about an external condition that is affecting a person, as opposed to "I am cold" describing your own internal condition. I think constructions like this can vary because of slight differences in perceptions of things.
There may be nuances, regionally. But for me (Southern Germany), "mir ist kalt" sounds perfect as a translation for "I'm cold."
I would go so far as saying "ich bin kalt" is quite uncommon. At the very least, it's the stronger phrase (as in: "about to freeze"). As a second-person phrase, I think "er ist kalt" could even be a euphemism for "he's dead".
If you watch the video for Keine Lust you would see by his actions that his meaning is one of indifference and apathy. The very meaning of the title of the song is "I Don't Care"... So it is easy to assume that in saying 'mir ist kalt' he is saying "I am distant and uninterested".
protected by c.p. Apr 7 '15 at 21:29
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