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Electronic, German (Deutsch), Germany (Deutschland), Russian (русский)

“Die Roboter” (Kraftwerk)

Live performance of “Die Roboter” on German TV 1978 (YouTube)

Language: German (Deutsch), Russian (русский)
Country: Germany (Deutschland)

Die Roboter
Die Mensch-Maschine (1978)

Wir laden unsere Batterie
Jetzt sind wir voller Energie
Wir sind die Roboter

Wir funktionieren automatik
Jetzt wollen wir tanzen mechanik
Wir sind die Roboter

Я твой слуга
Я твой работник

Wir sind auf Alles programmiert
Und was du willst wird ausgeführt
Wir sind die Roboter

The Robots (English translation by ORS, 2011)

We charge our batteries
Now we are full of energy
We are the robots

We function automatic
Now we will dance mechanic
We are the robots

I am your servant
I am your worker

We are programmed for everything
And what you want will be carried out
We are the robots
laden (verb) – to load, charge; also, to invite; not to be confused with the noun der Laden (the store)
слуга (slugá) – servant, from verb служить (sluzhit’ “to serve”)
работник (rabótink) – worker, employee; from verb  работать (rabótat’ “to work”)
ausführen – to take out, carry out; from aus (out) + führen (to lead) as in Führer (“leader”, title used by Adolf Hitler in 1930s)

1.  German “Modal” Verbs


In German, along with the other Germanic languages (English, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, etc), certain auxiliary verbs attach to infinitives help to express modality, or to oversimplify, the idea of a theoretical proposition.  Below is a basic list of the modal auxiliaries in their infinitive forms.  You will notice certain that these words do indeed seem to draw from the same etymological source but with semantic shifts over time.

Eng. can – Ger. können – Dutch kunnen – Swed. kunna – Dan. kunne – Nor. kan
Eng. may/be allowed – Ger. dürfen* – Dutch mogen – Swed. få –
Eng. may/would like – Ger. mögen – Dutch mogen – Dan. måtte
Eng. must – Ger. müssen – Dutch moeten – Swed. måste – Nor. må
Eng. should – Ger. sollen – Dutch zullen – Dan. burde – Nor. bør
Eng. want – Ger. wollen – Dutch willen  Swed. vilja – Dan. ville – Nor. vil
Eng. will/shall – Ger. werden** – Dutch zullen – Swed. skola – Dan. skulle/ville – Nor. skal

*One commenter has pointed out that there is a possibly a relationship between German “dürfen” and Dutch “durven”, although the latter means “to dare”. 
Here some basic sentences formulas when using modal verbs:
**werden is not technically considered a modal verb in German

A.  Simple statement : S MV (O) V
ex:  Ich kann Deutsch sprechen
I can speak German.

B.  Question : MV S V?
ex:  Darf ich hier rauchen?
May I smoke here?

Wohin sollen wir jetzt gehen?
(To) where should we go now?

C.  Complex statement (perfected tense, future tense, double infinitives, etc) : S V (O) V MV
ex:  Ich hatte Deutsch sprechen wollen.
I had wanted to speak German.

D.  Inverted statement (dependent/subordinate clause)
ex:   Ich weiß nicht, was du damit sagen willst.
I do not know what you mean (want to say) by that.

ex:  Wäre ich du (Wenn ich du wäre), würde ich das nicht tun.
If I were you, I would not do that.
2.  Russian Pronouns: Personal and Possessive

Like most of the Slavic languages, Russian has a complex system of noun cases and pronoun declensions.  The following charts are taken from russianlessons.net.

In this song, the lines “Я твой слуга/работник” are both simple constructions:

Nominative/Subject pronoun Я (1st person personal “I”)
Accusative/Object pronoun твой (2nd person possessive “your”)
+ Object (both masculine)

Singular personal pronouns

1st person 2nd person 3rd person (masc.) 3rd person (fem.) 3rd person (neut.).
English I, Me You He, Him She, Her It
Nominative Case Я Ты Он Она Оно
Accusative Case Меня Тебя Его Её Его
Genitive Case Меня Тебя Его Её Его
Dative Case Мне Тебе Ему Ей Ему
Instrumental Case Мной Тобой Им Ей Им
Prepositional Case Мне Тебе Нём Ней Нём

Plural personal pronouns

1st person 2nd person 3rd person
English We, Us You They, Them
Nominative Case Мы Вы Они
Accusative Case Нас Вас Их
Genitive Case Нас Вас Их
Dative Case Нам Вам Им
Instrumental Case Нами Вами Ими
Prepositional Case Нас Вас Них

Singular possessive pronouns.

1st Person 2nd Person
Masc. Fem. Neut. Plural Masc. Fem. Neut. Plural
English My, Mine Your, Yours
Nominative Case Мой Моя Моё Мои Твой Твоя Твоё Твои
Accusative Case
Мою Моё Мои
Твою Твоё Твои
Genitive Case Моего Моей Моего Моих Твоего Твоей Твоего Твоих
Dative Case Моему Моей Моему Моим Твоему Твоей Твоему Твоим
Instrumental Case Моим Моей Моим Моими Твоим Твоей Твоим Твоими
Prepositional Case Моём Моей Моём Моих Твоём Твоей Твоём Твоих

3rd Person : Always use Его (m.n) (his, its) or Её (f) (her) regardless of the case of the noun modified.

Plural possessive pronouns.

1st Person 2nd Person
Masc. Fem. Neut. Plural Masc. Fem. Neut. Plural
English Our Your, Yours
Nominative Case Наш Наша Наше Наши Ваш Ваша Ваше Ваши
Accusative Case
Нашу Наше Наши
Вашу Ваше Ваши
Genitive Case Нашего Нашей Нашего Наших Вашего Вашей Вашего Ваших
Dative Case Нашему Нашей Нашему Нашим Вашему Вашей Вашему Вашим
Instrumental Case Нашим Нашей Нашим Нашими Вашим Вашей Вашим Вашими
Prepositional Case Нашем Нашей Нашем Наших Вашем Вашей Вашем Ваших

3rd Person : Always use Их regardless of the gender and case of the noun modified

Verse (part 1)
Wir laden unsere Batterie

Verse (part 2)
Bbm                                            Gm
Wir sind die Roboter (2x)  Wir sind die Roboter

Я твой слуга, Я твой работник

*melodic pattern (with Dm) : f  g c a (3 4 7 5)



2 thoughts on ““Die Roboter” (Kraftwerk)

  1. I really agree with you: learning is the song get stuck in your head. I am personally experiencing this while learning Russian…
    I like the idea of your blog since it provides a great variety of traditional / local music. In addition to that the grammar sections are usefull and well-structured.
    Please note that the Dutch auxiliary verb “mogen” rather means “to be allowed to”. Whereas “durven” is actually no auxiliary at all since it means “to dare”. Although one can not deny the close relation to German “dürfen” which means “to be allowed to”, indeed.
    Best whishes

    Posted by Morris | March 8, 2012, 9:12 pm
    • Thank you so much for your comments. I’m currently working on a Russian song, in fact, but if you have any recommendations of your own, I’d love to know! And thank you for pointing out the error with “durven”. Best of luck to you in your learning endeavors!

      Posted by orangeroomstudios | March 8, 2012, 10:51 pm

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