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"Nichts ist selbstverständlich."

Translation:Nothing is self-evident.

March 16, 2013

78 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/warpeq1

Why cannot it be self-explanatory?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lexht

Leo.org says that selbstverständlich means self-evident.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdrianJosh

Selbst verstand? (Lich)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

"selbst" = "self" + "Verstand" -> "der Verstand" (="mind"/"intellect") -> "verstehen" = "to understand"/"to comprehend" + "-lich" (="-(a)ble"/"-(a)bly")

So, literally it is more like "self-understandable"/"self-understandably" or "self-comprehensible"/"self-comprehensibly"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaniloMladenovic

I just wrote "self-explanatory" and duo accepted it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nerdator

Duo accepted 'obvious'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yoicks

A pity German doesn't split its compound words up with hyphens, like English often does. This would be more comprehensible as selbst-verstandlich


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raucous_Nipples

But where would we be without words like Handschuhschneeballwerfer?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yoicks

Good one. I used to have trouble remembering the name of that castle Neuschwannstein until my wife, who is a fluent speaker, pointed out it is Neu-Schwann-Stein (new swan stone). Suddenly it was a cinch to remember.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aurfore

A lot of english placenames are compounded like that without hyphens too. You just have to read between the letters and get used to it ^^


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/esgerman12

Schwan has only one N letter.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ungewitig_Wiht

Or Rindfleischettiketierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/krista189497

to Ungewitig Try Donaudampfschiffartsgesellschaftskapitansmutze.....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/himamg

You are killing me here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tactical_Cat

And my...ring? You took my bow...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Osubin

But lingots are so valuable! You can bet them on streaks to earn more lingots! /s


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kmramna

Naaaaaa...I have more lingots and don't know what to do with it except for attending quiz and to give out for some good replies.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xAshton

gloves-snowball-thrower? what does it mean?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raucous_Nipples

It's a noun, roughly meaning "One who throws snowballs while wearing gloves"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/4of92000

You talk about specified to death, this is specified to death.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tactical_Cat

I heard about a German word that means "A face looking for a fist." It was too long to remember.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sninguistics

Backpfeiffengesicht, probably!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdrianJosh

Handshuh is glove? Ive encountered glove i think. But it has different translation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raucous_Nipples

http://dictionary.de/?s=handschuh There might be different words for different styles of gloves (this is German, after all), so you might've seen other words for it, but I'm only aware of this word.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kmramna

Handshuh may best suit for gorilas and chimps, because there hands looks like leg.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/millermj

No amount of practice will help me be able to pronounce "selbstverständlich."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AGreatUserName

Most people drop a few consonants when saying this quickly. You can definitely drop the "t".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mark244488

Sorry, Thomas Jefferson!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew770880

His truths clearly have not been spread here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/samkabam

I can't remember the last time I used this sentence in English and doubt I will say it in German for a very long time....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GauthierMcL

How about, "Nothing is taken for granted." I figured it had something to do with 'self' from selbst. (It's even spelled the same at the start.) verstehen = understand >>> self + understood got me close enough for government work. By the way, the constitution is old, granted, but try changing truths that are self-evident and you end up like every other civilization that is in ruins.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alekseimirov

What is self-evident to you is exactly that: self-evident to you. Remember, the guy who wrote about those self-evident truths centuries ago found it equally self-evident that black people were inferior and that slavery was an acceptable form of labour. Truths do change, depending on their context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shamiaz

it would be a lot easier to remember "Sylvester Stallone" is quiet obvious "Sylvester Standlich"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GauthierMcL

Whatever snaps your synapses:)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Svenga80

wow I am impressed, do you have other ti ps for remembering other words?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Sapphira-

Wir halten diese Wahrheiten, um selbstverständlich zu sein XDLOL


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gzeebzee

Ich denke, also bin ich?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hasanali19

Does the word "verständlich" be consist of two words like "ver" and "ständlich?!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/intcreator

I think, therefore I am.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/szekley

As a native English speaker, I can't tell you the last time I used the phrase "self-evident": is it really used that often in German?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xAshton

'Needless to say, ....' = 'Selbstverstaendlich,...'
'It is a given that' = 'Es ist selbstverstaendlich, dass'
'to take sth. for granted' = 'etw. als selbstverstaendlich sein'

Not super rare.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

Examples from everyday use:

You ask your mother if you may borrow her car for the next day. As a good german mom she'll reply: "Selbstverständlich kannst du mein Auto haben." (="of course, you can have my car.") --- A friend askes for your help with learning german vocabs. You'll say: "Selbstverständlich helfe ich dir!" (="Of course, I'll help you!")

The formal flare of "selbstverständlich": "Selbstverständlich können Sie die Reise auch vor Ort buchen!" (="Of course, you can book the trip on the spot.")

"Selbstverständlich" has a stronger meaning than "natürlich" and may expresses a certain generosity. Therefore it is often used if you want to fool around a bit. Saying "Aber selbstverständlich!!!" with a played "I-feel-offended,-how-can-you-doubt-even-for-a-second-my-willingness-to-help-you?!"- undertone sipping from your cup of tea can certainly bring that little something to a conversation. ;)

So to sum it up: "selbstverständlich" is not as common as "natürlich" but is used in the exact same contexts with the intention of making something sound more formal (with strangers) or to emphasize your generosity (in an entertaining way, with friends).

Disclaimer: That's just the use of these two words which I experienced (for nearly 30 years now). It is absolutely conceivable that they have different nuances of meaning in other corners of Germany. Maybe it's even family specific..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/krista189497

szekley yes it is a very common word in German selbstverstandlich... one uses it all the time . the best English translation I think would be "obvious"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xAshton

Is this really the easiest way to say 'obvious'? Because I'm thinkin' that I won't be using 'self-evident' for a while.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ali_RL

Why not 'Nothing is self sufficient'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PenguinRainbow

That's a very different word. Self-evident means obvious; something that is clear without explanation. Self-sufficient means "able to support oneself without assistance," roughly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ali_RL

Thanks, I knew the difference in English words but I think I got the German confused with selbststaendig


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/effciak

Why "understandable" is not correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AGreatUserName

Because that's just verständlich


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/martjahu

What about "straightforward"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doublelingot

das ist einfach oder unkompliziert


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vifibach

I think Nothing goes without saying is a better translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Sapphira-

Man, such a long word!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/picklemanii

Duolingo has another breakthrough.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SinTwi

Why cannot "Never take anything for granted"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JillVie

This is a good translation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/himamg

I would say that self-explanatory is better English here. Never heard any one use self-evident in my life (Except Duo of course).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hrafnunga

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

(The Declaration of Independence of the united States of America)

The usage is admittedly less common in the 21st century, but it is still used.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/himamg

Thank you for the update. You are correct. I came across this after I left this comment and wanted to update this myself. Since then I also found this usage in Dale Carnegie's classic self-help book 'How to make friends and influence people'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HughWarren

It's not that uncommon really.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/manno15

What is wrong with "Nothing can be taken for granted"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Duolessio

English grammar question: is the hyphen mandatory? Duo doesn't accept "self evident".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HughWarren

I've been speaking English (well, Australian anyway) for 63 years and was marked wrong for leaving it out too, so don't worry too much. Personally, I don't think it's necessary, but I don't have a degree in Linguistics.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tactical_Cat

If I'm correct, the hyphen would indicate 'self-evident' as one word instead of the two, 'self' and 'evident'. (As the hyphen's main purpose is to connect words. 'Twenty-one', 'absent-minded'...) However, that's the only purpose of it here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FrankEdger

Someone seems to be suffering from existential angst.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobynJacks7

nothing is self explanatory?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

You can follow this literal line of thought:

  • "selbst" (= "self")

  • "verständlich":

  • -> "der Verstand" (= "the mind"/"the intellect")
    • -> "das Verstehen" (="the understanding"/"the comprehension")
  • "-lich" (= [very often] "-able"/"-ably")

  • -> "verständlich" (= "understandable"/"comprehensible")

=> "selbstverständlich" = "self-comprehensible" [literally!]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Piotr246329

"nothing can be taken for granted" didnt work any ideas?

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