Sunday, April 17, 2005

German Practice

A Very Short Wittgenstein Reader

Parts of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus are astonishingly complicated. But at its best, Wittgenstein's style is elegant in its clarity and directness. It is with little more than a handful of propositions that he lays the groundwork for his first all-encompassing philosophical system. Far from being esoteric mishmash, these statements are simple, precise and mindblowingly general. Indeed, one need have hardly any German at all in order to follow section one of the Tractatus. It's easier than "The House that Jack Built"!

Below is the original German, with literal and idiomatic translation and a short glossary. In ten minutes, you'll be able to casually remark upon having a go at Wittgenstein in the original. Won't your friends be impressed!

A note on the glossary: Parentheses () and slashes / indicate different forms of the same word that occur in the reading. Words only given in the first line in which they are used. Notice how much the vocabulary repeats.

1 Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist.

1 The World is all, what the Case is.
1 The world is all that is the case.

1 die, der the, of the ... Welt world ... ist/sind is/are ... alle(s) all ... was what ... Fall fall, case, what befalls or comes about

1.1 Die Welt ist die Gesamtheit der Tatsachen, nicht der Dinge.

1.1 The World is the Totality of the Facts, not of the Things.
1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not things.

1.1 Gesamtheit totality (gesamt = entire) ... Tatsache fact (Tat = deed, Sache = matter, fact) ... nicht not ... Dinge thing

1.1 1 Die Welt ist durch die Tatsachen bestimmt und dadurch dass es alle Tatsachen sind.

1.1 1 The World is through the Facts determined and therethrough that it all Facts are.
1.1 1 The world is determined by the facts and by it being all the facts.

1.1 1 durch through, by ... bestimmt determine(d) ... dadurch therethrough, thereby ... dass that (dadurch dass = by) ... es it

1.1 2 Denn, die Gesamtheit der Tatsachen bestimmt, was der Fall ist und auch, was alles nicht der Fall ist.

1.1 2 Then, the Totality of the Facts determines, what the Case is and also, what all not the Case is.
1.1 2 So the totality of the facts determines what is the case and also everything that is not the case.

1.1 2 denn then ... und and ... auch also

1.1 3 Die Tatsachen im logicshen Raum sind die Welt.

1.1 3 The Facts in logical Space are the World.
1.1 3 The facts in logical space are the world.

1.1 3 logisch(en) logical (Logik = logic) ... Raum room, space

1.2 Die Welt zerfällt in Tatsachen.

1.2 The World falls apart into Facts.
1.2 The world is divided into facts.>

1.2 zerfallen/zerfällt to fall apart, break down into (zer- = apart, fallen = fall, befall)

1.2 1 Eines kann der Fall sein oder nicht der Fall sein und alles übrige gleich bleiben.

1.2 1 A thing can the Case be or not the Case be and all left over alike remains.
1.2 1 A thing can be the case or not be the case and everything left remain the same.

1.2 1 ein(es) one, a (thing) ... kann can ... sein (to) be ... oder or ... übrige left over, overage ... glech alike, the same ... bleiben (to) stay or remain

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