"In the beginning was the word."

Translation:Am Anfang war das Wort.

October 13, 2017

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... und das Wort war bei Gott, und Gott war das Wort.


...Und Vogel ist das Wort.


Jeder hat vom Vogel gehört?


What does this sentence even mean?


In the very beginning, before the world existed, there was only the spoken word of god which brought everything into existence.


Is "Am Anfang gab es das Wort" wrong?


technically it is not wrong. But the sentence is a quotation from the bible that usually runs as given in the main solution.


I like these Bible quotations by Duo. Even if you are not a believer, they are part of Western culture. Btw. today is the day of the Bible.


ausserdem hast du recht


My dictionary says 'zu Beginn' means 'in the beginning' but that is marked wrong


You are right, "Zu Beginn war das Wort." should also be accepted .

But the bible quotation translates to "Am Anfang war das Wort." :-)


And that's the cultural allusion here I think


This is a quotation from the Bible, specifically in the New Testament, in the gospel of John chapter 1 verse 1 which reads "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (Recovery Version) In German it reads: "Im Anfang war das Wort, und das Wort war bei Gott, und das Wort war Gott" (Wiedererlangungs-Übersetzung). I really like the Recovery version because of the commentaries which say "The Word is the definition, explanation, and expression of God; hence, it is God defined, explained, and expressed (Footnote 2). "The Word is not separate from God. It is not that the Word is the Word and God is God, and that they are thus separate from each other. Rather, the two are one; hence, the next clause says that the Word was God".


Faust, Im Studierzimmer (aus Faust I ):

Geschrieben steht: Im Anfang war das Wort! Hier stock' ich schon! Wer hilft mir weiter fort? Ich kann das Wort so hoch unmöglich schätzen, Ich muss es anders übersetzen, Wenn ich vom Geiste recht erleuchtet bin. Geschrieben steht: Im Anfang war der Sinn. Bedenke wohl die erste Zeile, Dass deine Feder sich nicht übereile! Ist es der Sinn, der alles wirkt und schafft? Es sollte stehn: Im Anfang war die Kraft! Doch, auch indem ich dieses niederschreibe, Schon warnt mich was, dass ich dabei nicht bleibe. Mir hilft der Geist! Auf einmal seh' ich Rat Und schreibe getrost: Im Anfang war die Tat!

Faust, Faust Study

'Tis written: "In the beginning was the Word!" Here now I'm balked! Who'll put me in accord? It is impossible, the Word so high to prize, I must translate it otherwise If I am rightly by the Spirit taught. 'Tis written: In the beginning was the Thought! Consider well that line, the first you see, That your pen may not write too hastily! Is it then Thought that works, creative, hour by hour? Thus should it stand: In the beginning was the Power! Yet even while I write this word, I falter, For something warns me, this too I shall alter. The Spirit's helping me! I see now what I need And write assured: In the beginning was the Deed!


So Duo is religious?


No, Duo is a Pastafarian. And the word was: Arrrghhh!


Why not "zu Beginn..."?


Just because :-). You can say "zu Beginn" if you are talking about the start of an event. This expression usually needs a complement: "at the beginning of what" ("zu Beginn" + genitive).

But "am Anfang" is the traditional wording in many German bible editions.


no particular reason, should be accepted.


I got the reference! ❤️


Ignoring that it is a bible quote, could 'auf' or 'in' be used instead of 'an'?


No. "in the beginning" is "am Anfang" in colloquial everyday speech as well.


Thanks. Prepositions still confuse me.


Duden says "am Anfang; im Anfang (veraltend)." It looks like "am Anfang" has been more common than "im Anfang" and "zu Anfang" since about 1925 (Google Ngrams).


Doulingo accepted my, »Im Anfang, war das Wort«.


Well, I can't comment on the preposition, but there certainly shouldn't be a comma after "Anfang"—although I'm pretty sure Duo doesn't pick up on punctuation.


Indeed. The comma may be ok in English, but is definitely not in German.


Yeah, I'd actually say I'm more confident using commas in German, than I am in English, because the rules for using commas are so fest im Deutschen.

  • 1943

Im Anfang war das Wort, is how it is written in my Bibles (revisions from 1953, 1964 and 1984)


There exists an abundance of German bible translations. Many have "am", others "im". Looking at the years you gave I think you are referring to "Luther", one of the most well-known ones. I'm not sure about previous editions, but 1984 and 2017 definitely have "am".

  • 1943

tks, yes i am referring to the Lutherbibel, and the 1984 revision i have showed im


Anfangs war das Wort. 37,500 results on Google?


Well, most of the hits might be sentences that start with that prefix, such as "Anfangs war das Wort 'Butter' noch klein geschrieben worden, aber ...".
This is totally different from having it as a complete sentence of its own (which doesn't make any sense).


I'm trying to practice using present perfect, but would "Am Anfang ist das Wort gewesen" technically be correct?


Technically "Am Anfang ist das Wort gewesen" is correct Perfekt.
But you would not saý so (even if not talking about what is written in the bible). Normally Perfekt is preferred in spoken language, Präteritum in written texts. Butr for auxiliaries and modal verbs Präteritum is preferred in spoken language, too. So it is rather "war" than "ist gewesen".


The translation in Spanish is the same "Al principio era la palabra".


Shall we use Im Anfang


In traditional bible versions that prefer a literal translation from Hebrew you can indeed find "im Anfang". But modern German uses "am Anfang" for this.


Can someone explain 'Die Antwort' and 'Das Wort'?

  • 2729

Not a native speaker, but I am not aware of a prefix "ant-" in German (unlike e.g. "ent-"), so perhaps it's best to treat the "wort" part as a mere coincidence with no implications for the grammatic gender.
Grammatic genders are typically quite random: try e.g. understanding why it is "der Apfel" but "die Apfelsine" (= die Orange), with the latter clearly originating from "Chinese apple".


Tracing back Wiktionary's etymology for "Antwort" and "Wort" shows that "Antwort" effectively actually is just "Wort" with a prefix attached; but it was an old prefix that has either disappeared from the language or evolved into new ones. The "ant-" part means "against" or "opposing," with the idea that an answer goes back the "opposite" way-- from the person who heard the question to the person who asked it.

As for the gender, that same Wiktionary page indicates that "Antwort" is feminine just by association with "die Frage," despite "Wort" being neuter. Essentially people used "Frage" and "Antwort" together so often that they just started using the same gender for both of them.

  • 2729

it was an old prefix that has either disappeared from the language or evolved into new ones. The "ant-" part means "against" or "opposing,"

Curious... Latin "anti-" comes to mind.


I thought the same, but it seems not to be directly derived from it.

"ant" is a middle Germanic prefix and often has the meaning "directed towards someone who is opposite", as in "Antlitz" ("face"), so it can mean both "towards" and "opposite".
Its modern form is "ent", which is a prefix to many words.

The similarity to Greek (not originally Latin) "anti" might be either a coincidence, or perhaps both have a common root.

Interesting, however, that the Germanic word "Ant-Wort" is "flattened" to "answer" in English, so that it is not possible any more to break it up in its parts.


Interesting, however, that the Germanic word "Ant-Wort" is "flattened" to "answer" in English, so that it is not possible any more to break it up in its parts.

"Answer" seems to be related to "swear," rather than to "Wort" (though with the "an-" part being from that same prefix).



That makes sense. In nothern Germanic languages it is indeed "an-svar", and in today's Norwegian even "svare" (without any prefix!) means "to answer".


The latter is quite easy to explain. Although it originally stems from "Sine" = "China" in this case, "-sine" is a typical feminine ending in German.

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