Aus einem Kinderlied: "Die Gans hat sieben Küken und jedes hat sie lieb." The second part of the sentence could be read in two ways:

  1. Die Gans hat jedes Küken lieb.
  2. Jedes Küken hat die Gans lieb.

How to identify what is the intended/correct meaning? Are both correct and possible?

1 Answer 1


There's no way to infer the intended meaning from the sentence alone. Both interpretations are possible. Since it is a song, there's no prevalent word order either for each meaning because it depends on the meter.

The only way to get clarity is the context. In this case, I would say that interpretation (1) fits best since the verses seem to be introducing the duck and her relation to her family. I see no clue that the perspective changes to the chicken.

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