Another Wonderful Year, Josefina!

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time worrying about issues of fundamental social justice — such as whether gender-insecure Goldman Sachs bankers are being unjustly forced to spend their $600,000 year-end bonuses to pay for their own sex-change surgery. I can now report that the answer to that question is no, according to the New York Times Dealbook section:

Fortune.com reported Friday that Goldman added coverage of sex-reassignment surgery to its medical plan last year….  Goldman employees can undergo the procedure, which normally costs anywhere from $5,000 to $150,000, and have it paid for entirely by their medical insurance.

And Germany being the kind of open and tolerant place it is, how could Deutsche Bank not join up?

Goldman isn’t the first financial firm to cover sex-change surgery for its workers….  Bank of America, Wachovia and Deutsche Bank are among the firms who now cover such treatments to some extent, Fortune.com said.

On a related note, for you German grammar fans, here is the picture you see on the front page of the Deutsche Bank website right now:

Ackermann

Shouldn’t there be a "davor" in the sentence about Ackermann’s guest article in Die Welt?   

11 thoughts on “Another Wonderful Year, Josefina!

  1. “davor”: yes, it should.
    “sex-reassignment surgery”: This is paid anyway in Germany. You just need to undergo a psychological examination that confirms that you’re really a transsexual and follow a certain procedure (live for some time in your new sexual identity, etc.). I know two guys who are now girls, all paid by their insurance.

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  2. Shouldn’t there be a “davor” in the sentence about Ackermann’s guest article in Die Welt?

    Not necessarily, no. But it would be correct as well.

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  3. Originally, “warnen” seems to have been used without “(da)vor” rather more often than with it. The DWB features countless possible constructions, apparently you could once use it pretty much with every possible case. So, before the historical background, Ackermann’s sentence is perfectly good.

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  4. Both versions are correct. From my old Duden. Das Stilwörterbuch (7. Auflage, 1988, p. 805):

    warnen: a) (jmdn. vor etwas w.) auf eine Gefahr
    hinweisen, aufmerksam machen: jmdn. nach-
    drücklich, rechtzeitig, heimlich vor etwas w.;
    jmdn. vor einer Gefahr, vor einem Anschlag, vor
    einem Betrüger w.; er warnte sie [davor], zu nahe
    ans Ufer zu treten (nicht korrekt:…, nicht zu
    nahe ans Ufer zu treten); (auch ohne Akk.) die
    Polizei warnt vor Glatteis, vor Taschendieben; (
    auch ohne Präp.-Obj.) er hatte ihn zu spät ge-
    warnt; seine warnende Stimme erheben; fibertr.:
    sein Gefühl, Instinkt, eine innere Stimme warnte
    ihn, es zu tun. b) (jmdn. w.) nachdrücklich,
    dringend auffordern. etwas zu tun oder zu lassen:
    ich habe dich oft genug gewarnt; du bist gewarnt!
    ; ich warne dich, du machst einen Fehler; ad).
    Part.: er drohte warnend mit dem Finger; ein
    warnendes (abschreckendes) Beispiel (…)

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  5. From a grammatical point of view, I absolutely endorse Sebastian Koppehel, mawa and Steffi on this question. From a purely grammatical point of view — semantically, “warnen davor, falsche Schlüsse zu ziehen” or “warnen, keine falschen Schlüsse zu ziehen” would be preferable to “warnen, falsche Schlüsse zu ziehen”, which indeed is mere nonsense: ‘Take care to draw wrong conclusions’. Well, some people seem to like just that. But to me, old-fashioned as I may be, meaning does matter.

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  6. @Ralf:

    From a purely grammatical point of view — semantically, “warnen davor, falsche Schlüsse zu ziehen” or “warnen, keine falschen Schlüsse zu ziehen” would be preferable to “warnen, falsche Schlüsse zu ziehen”, which indeed is mere nonsense: ‘Take care to draw wrong conclusions’.

    I don’t really understand what you’re saying, but I don’t think “take care” is ever a sensible translation for “warnen.”

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  7. @Ralf,

    f*ing double negation… It’s different in English, that’s why the Duden says “(nicht korrekt:…, nicht zu nahe ans Ufer zu treten)”. Take the following sentence:

    “Bush warns Europe not to lift arms embargo against China”

    The correct German translation is:

    Bush warnt Europa [davor], das Waffenembargo gegenüber China aufzuheben.

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  8. Ouch! Steffi, you are right on the double negation, of course. Frankly, I made a major mistake. Nontheless, I still think Andrew is right on the “davor”-question, or I think so even more.

    In “vor etwas warnen”, “vor etwas” refers to the danger that you are warning about, whereas in “warnen, etwas zu tun” “etwas zu tun” usually refers to an action the addressee should refrain from in order not to evoke a danger. “Ich warne dich, hier so schnell zu fahren”, “ich warne Sie, an meine Papiere zu gehen” (“… ich warne Sie, daran auch nur zu denken”). Therefore, “warnen, falsche Schlüsse zu ziehen” sounds odd (in the same way as e. g. telling someone not to draw wrong conclusions sounds odd) – as if anybody would like to do so. The addressee does not want to draw wrong conclusions, but he (supposedly) is in danger of doing so, hence, I think, “vor” should be used here.

    Also, I wouldn’t say, “er warnte sie davor, zu nahe ans Ufer zu treten” or “Bush warnt Europa davor, das Waffenembargo gegen China aufzuheben”, since walking close to the waterside or lifting the embargo does not constitute the danger, but may bring it about.

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