5

This is a sentence from a book set in the Middle Ages, very stylized for the time period, so maybe there's an archaism involved, and also I think the subject is omitted, but what? The context is the following:

"Ja, Ihr müsst großes Misstrauen mir gegenüber hegen, Meister Hardo. Ich bedauere es, aber ich kann es wohl nicht ändern."

"Warum sollte Euch wohl daran liegen?"

"Weil ich trotz allem auf Vergebung hoffe."

Whatever definitions of "daran liegen" I've been able to find don't seem to fit the context. Neither am I sure what meaning "wohl" is supposed to have in that sentence.

  • The English translation of the middle sentence is Why should you bother? Does that help you? – guidot Feb 29 '16 at 13:32
  • The subject is not omitted because the verb requires no subject. Yes, we have that in German … ;) (Too tired to answer properly) – Jan Mar 3 '16 at 1:36
5

Warum sollte Euch wohl daran liegen?

is another way to say

Warum sollte Euch wohl daran gelegen sein?

which means nothing more than

Warum sollte Euch das wichtig sein?

If dir an etwas gelegen ist, then this thing is important to you.

Another examples:

Mir ist sehr daran gelegen, dass jeder meinen Vortrag versteht.
=> Mir ist sehr wichtig, dass jeder meinen Vortrag versteht.

This implies that a you really want people to understand, but you also try to make sure in advance that people do.

Another example (closer to your original and used often when it comes to relationships):

Mir liegt sehr viel an Dir.
=> Du bedeutest mir viel (bist mir wichtig).

Works with animals or things, too:

Mir liegt sehr viel an Hunden.
An meiner Plattensammlung liegt mir sehr viel.

The wohl in that sentence in this case means something like denn:

Warum sollte Euch denn daran liegen?

It has some sort of provoking, dismissive connotation in that the speaker doesn't see a point why it should be important to the other person.

In that context it is still in use today:

Was er wohl wieder will...
Das kann er ja wohl nicht ernst meinen!

  • 2
    Just for reference, it's meaning 10b in duden.de/rechtschreibung/liegen – Carsten S Feb 29 '16 at 11:11
  • Excellent explanation! (Also examples help very much.) But I don't quite get the example with dogs. It seems to me that the expression mostly works with concrete things that you care about, and dogs seems too general. Although maybe it's like you could say that you care about the humankind (or animals in general, for that matter). Or is it just about liking dogs? – khantazm Feb 29 '16 at 15:12
  • @khantazm No, its a general thing. For example in Germany there are many cats that are not sterilized, so they are breeding wildly, esp. in rural areas. Wildlife activists catch them and sterilize them to get in control of the situation. If you ask them why they do it, they might answer Weil mir viel an Katzen liegt. If you ask a Greenpeace person why they tie their boats to Japanese whaling vessels, they migh say Weil uns viel an Walen liegt. – Thorsten Dittmar Feb 29 '16 at 15:20
0

"Warum sollte Euch wohl daran liegen?"

in other words

"Was kümmert es dich?"

or further

"Wieso bedauerst du das?"

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