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Ist mir zu warm?

Ich weiß alle der Wörter im Satz, aber ich verstehe die Bedeutung nicht.

The reason I ask is because I’m unsure exactly how/why the dative case mir shows up. What could be done to/for me to make it dative?

I guess it is asking “Am I too warm?”, but I’m just trying to understand grammatically how and why the dative shows up. If I were to translate “Am I too warm?”, I would probably arrive at “Bin ich zu warm?”, and not what is written above.

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The reflexive pronoun appearing here is indeed a typical feature of German. Let me start with a similar sentence, where I am more confident that I get the English right:

I am cold.

This means that I am feeling cold. However the direct German translation does not express the same thing.

Ich bin kalt.

This would either be a curious detached statement of the fact that my body temperature is low, without any hint of me actually feeling that, or the statement that I am a cold person. To express that I am feeling cold, I would say

Mir ist kalt.

Equivalently, but in a slightly roundabout way, I could say

Es ist mir kalt.

You recognised correctly that a direct translation would be “It is cold to me”, which is of course ungrammatical in English.

Now it is easy to understand

Ist mir zu warm?

which is however a somewhat strange question, because it means

Am I feeling too warm?

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  • Ah that makes so much sense after your comparison to "ich bin kalt". Thank you! I should have made that connection, because I know the same thing applies to moods (you wouldn't say ich bin schelcht for the same reason). Could warm in this context mean anything other than temperature? (ie, warm-hearted) – rob brown Dec 9 '15 at 0:15
  • Exactly, “ich bin schlecht” would be funny. And “mir ist warm” really means that I am feeling warm, by itself I can only imagine it being related to the temperature. You could say “mir ist warm ums Herz” to express that you are feeling a warmth in your (figurative) heart. On the other hand “ich bin warm” could maybe with the proper context mean that you are a warm-hearted or affectionate person. – Carsten S Dec 9 '15 at 0:35
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    "Mir ist heiß" youtube.com/watch?v=KzC52ohz3ts – Jan Doggen Dec 9 '15 at 8:24
  • @JanDoggen, „ich schwitze in der Ritze“. Nicht der Gipfel deutscher Dichtkunst, aber darauf kam es damals nicht an. Die ersten beiden Alben waren super. – Carsten S Dec 9 '15 at 10:41

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