Da kommt eine neue Welle, Jungs.

This is a sentence I heard from a native speaker. He translated it as New wave incoming boys! What baffles me is that the speaker didn't offer a translation for da, which raises the question: Could da mean something else in this case and can, therefore, be omitted in the translation? From what I know da is a locative adverb meaning here/there, which would make Here he comes. the more logical translation.

Another thing that I want to know is how to choose between there and here when translating da. Der Teller ist da. comes to mind.

Also, could hier be used instead of da in this case without changing the meaning of the sentence?

  • 3
    The difference between hier and da is the same as between here (close to the speaker) and there (farther away from the speaker). Jun 22, 2020 at 8:14
  • 2
    @BjörnFriedrich, no. In German, we often use da where you would use here in English. “Morgen bin ich nicht da” can very well refer to the place where you currently are.
    – Carsten S
    Jun 22, 2020 at 14:32
  • @CarstenS, Moment, in dem Fall liegt ein anderes Problem vor, nämlich dass es um das Verb dasein im Sinne von anwesend sein geht, welches aus wenig verständlichen Gründen seit der Rechtschreibreform getrennt geschrieben wird, wodurch der Unterschied zum heute wie damals getrennt geschriebenen da sein im Sinne von dort sein verschwunden ist. Jun 22, 2020 at 15:24
  • @CarstenS, was ich damit sagen will: sicherlich wurde das alte dasein im Sinne von anwesend sein mit to be here übersetzt. Doch das schon immer getrennt geschriebene da sein im Sinne von dort sein ist nach wie vor to be there. Diese, zugegebenermaßen feinsinnige, Unterscheidung ist mit der Reform verkompliziert worden. Jun 22, 2020 at 15:29
  • 1
    @BjörnFriedrich, ich habe gerade in einen alten Duden geschaut, und da wird „dasein“ von „da sein“ unterschieden. Ein Beispiel ist „sag ihr, sie muss um sieben da sein“, mit dem Zusatz, es wäre besser „dort“. Das geht aber an der Sprachrealität vorbei, denn der Satz kann sowohl für den gegenwärtigen als auch einen anderen Ort verwendet werden. Und ich kann mir im Moment auch keinen Fall vorstellen, in dem „dasein“ wie „Dasein“ statt wie „da sein“ ausgesprochen wird.
    – Carsten S
    Jun 22, 2020 at 15:41

2 Answers 2


First of all, as the other answer already mentions, da can not be omitted and it is still a locative adverb.
Now let's look at the translation: New wave incoming boys!. Here, we do not have a location anymore. It is a very short translation of da kommt eine neue Welle, Jungs. You could also translate the sentence with there's a new wave coming, boys which includes a lovative adverb (there) with the same function as da. You could also say neue Welle kommt, Jungs or just neue Welle, Jungs in German, in order to inform your team/squad of the fact that a new wave is incoming. This would sound more 'militaristic', shorter and to the point, similar to new wave imcoming which gives the important info without any 'fluff', assuming that adding a location is not needed.
As you can see, using da and there can be done very similarly. This translation imho did not incorporate the original tone very well and it shows somewhat the difficulty of translating faithfully.

  • What else is “eine neue Welle kommt” if not omitting “da” and observing V2?
    – Carsten S
    Jun 22, 2020 at 14:35
  • Uh, yeah, now that you mentioned it, it is exactly that. Still, that's parallel to the english translation omitting there's a (new wave incoming)
    – Toto
    Jun 22, 2020 at 14:53

The answer to the first question is "no", in this case it could not be omitted as it points to an object/process taking place at a time and location. The shout could be reformulated as a general warning like (actual nautical expression):

"Wahrschau Welle !"

which means:

"Vorsicht Welle !"

when it's clear where the waves come from. Else people might look in the wrong direction.

For the given example

"Da kommt eine neue Welle"

would literally translated ofc mean

"There comes a new wave"

while one could well use

"Hier kommt sie !"

meaning it'll soon have made it from there to here.

The answer to the second question is "yes" in general, but the use depends on geography. Especially in the southern parts of the German speaking world "da" has the meaning of "hier", like in:

"Komm da her" = "Come here"

"Da ist es doch" = "But here it is"

while other parts have a more distinct separation between something that's "hier", more or less at arm's reach, a little bit(tm) away "da", or even "dort", out of sight or wherever. No exact distances can be given, depends on situation, and meanings blend with time and place.

For the example of passing the plate, someone from Hannover (the standard German speaker) would say "Hier ist er" (der Teller), holding it in their hand, while in the same situation someone from Stuttgart would say "Da ist er" (Hast du ihn ? Gut festhalten).

This language use may sound unusual at first for people from the northern parts. Duden has both meanings listed: https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/da_Adverb_dort_hier

  • It's good to know that the sense of da varies regionally, since I was already going to contradict Björn in the question comments that da is not in opposition with hier. I would have said that while hier and dort imply proximity or distance in location, da only refers to the "implied location", however close: in Frankreich, da/dort reden sie Französisch, da/hier bei uns redet man Deutsch. Appearently, that's only Austrian (or Bavarian) usage. Jun 22, 2020 at 11:56
  • Wrong, it's "komm hier her" or "komm da runter", not "komm da her"; "komm da hin" would be okay if you specified the place inb4; "da ist es doch" translates to THERE it is, not HERE it is, else it would be "HIER ist es doch"
    – user31220
    Jun 23, 2020 at 13:49
  • 2
    @clockw0rk: I assume you're not a "Muttersprachler". While in principle that's correct for (maybe a larger) part of German speaking world, Duden has the different meanings of "da", also one including "hier". Also, use of "da" is regionally different, as I have written, and believe me, I (and Millions of others) have grown up with "Da kommst du her !" and the finger points to the feet. Also, wenn I give you something I say "Da hast Du's !", not "Hier hast Du's". Regionality.
    – user41853
    Jun 23, 2020 at 16:25
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    The more grammatical it gets, the less you realize as a native speaker that you're not using something in a "standard way". I until yesterday would have considered it absurd to call " komm da her" wrong. Just like recently I learned in a linguistics seminar that "am Tisch" in Germany isn't equivalent to "auf dem Tisch" :) But that doesn't make it wrong. Jun 23, 2020 at 19:06
  • okay, beg me pardon. sounds like you come from the southern parts of DE, in which case i already gave up understanding some phrases u guys say a long time ago [f.e. wood is beeing zusammengesägt]^^ no hard feelings :P in northern hessen this would result in strange looks, but we have different issues here, f.e. using the dativ for everything.
    – user31220
    Jun 24, 2020 at 9:29

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