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In the famous song "muss i denn", I see these two lines(I know it's old German). (ref : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muss_i_denn)

Denk du net, wenn i 'ne Andre seh',
No sei mein' Lieb' vorbei;

Is it

Denk du nicht, wenn ich eine Andre sehe,
noch sei mein Liebe vorbei

? is 'sei' the imperative form of sein? (I guess so). and vorbei sein is something like be finished. I can't exactly understand the 'No' part here. How is No here literally translated? Is it noch or nicht? I think this song is about the true love and commitment of a man to a woman and is very beautiful and touching.

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    Second line should be translated as: Dann sei meine Liebe vorbei. "No" is dialect and not an abbreviation of "noch". Jun 22, 2021 at 15:02
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    Ah, I didn't know that. Thanks. Still I don't know how to exactly embrace it.
    – Chan Kim
    Jun 22, 2021 at 15:21
  • ... and 'sei' is Konjunktiv I Präsenz. Even under the option of seeing another one they won't be gone. At least so they say :-)
    – user41853
    Jun 22, 2021 at 15:22

1 Answer 1

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This is a well known traditional swabian (schwäbischer) song that was also made world-famous by Elvis Presley at some point.

The swabian "no" (or "nåh" with a closed "a") means "dann" (then), and "sei" is a Konjunktiv of indirect speech. So a translation to high German would be:

Denk du nicht, wenn ich eine Andre sehe,
dann sei meine Liebe vorbei.

Don't think that, if I see someone else ["eine Andre" is female], then my love will be over.

The song is the farewell to his girl of a young man who has to leave town, maybe for a journeyman's waltz. He promises to be true and faithful and to return in the following autumn, when grapes are harvested, and marry her.

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    But Swabian dictionaries say the translation of no is noch.
    – mtwde
    Jun 22, 2021 at 19:11
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    @mtwde: what can I say, my father's family live near Aalen, I don't speak it, but "no" for "dann" is pretty basic. Edit : schwaebisches-woerterbuch.de/default.asp, search for "dann" and you get "nåh".
    – HalvarF
    Jun 22, 2021 at 19:25
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    @mtwde: also here: topster.de/deutsch-schwaebisch, they write "noh", but the swedish å is actually closer.
    – HalvarF
    Jun 22, 2021 at 19:36
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    Anyhow "Noch" does not make any sense in this context. Jun 22, 2021 at 20:11
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    @mtwde: In the Swabian spoken in the region where I grew up, "no" can mean both "dann" and "noch", but there is a difference in pronunciation. As HalvarF already said, the pronunciation of the "no" meaning "dann" sounds like "nåh". On the other hand, the pronunciation of the "no" meaning "noch" sounds like "noh" as in the German word "Floh".
    – B K
    Jun 22, 2021 at 20:16

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