"discovery" = "Entdeckung" "invention" = "Erfindung"
Man kann ein Land, einen Zusammenhang, ein neues Element, einen vergrabenen Schatz entdecken (aber nicht erfinden)
Man kann eine Maschine erfinden, die Bananen schält und Erdnüsse knackt. Oder ein Luft-Fahrrad.
Man kann aber auch eine Ausrede erfinden, oder eine Geschichte erfinden, oder eine Person erfinden (z.B. hat C.Doyle den berühmten Detektiv Sherlock Holmes erfunden.)
one of the dictionary hints for "Erfindung" is "fabrication". Can this be synonymous with "lie" or is "Erfindung" more of a physical thing?
Hitting various sources -- dict.cc, Linguee.com, Wikipedia, Duden.de -- the primary meaning is a technical invention, such as the Patent Office ought to accept; the secondary meaning is an inventive fiction -- though that seems to lean more towards fantasy or fiction, rather than "lie."
Duden is considered the definitive dictionary -- see: http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Erfindung
If you search the web for words "keine Erfindung" you will find lots of matches. This phrase is even used in the headings of various articles.
It seems that "keine Erfindung" is an idiom in German, meaning something like "this is yesterday's news". Is this understanding correct or not?
Exactly. Keine actually already contains eine. It is the negated form of it. So basically said, you can always just add the "K" before ein/eine to turn it into the opposite meaning.
What would be the German equivalent of the English term "finding", which you see in contexts of science and research? It is not accepted here as a translation.
According to my dictionary, a scientific or research finding would be an "Erkenntnis"
If Erfindung also means 'fabrication' then is this how you also say, "That is not a lie"?
How do I know when das is "this" and when das is "the" or "that?" I used to think diese was for this /that but that doesn't seem right?
It's hard to distinguish between "this' and "that" without further context, but when "das" means "the", it will come before a noun. When it means "this" or "that", it will come before a verb.
Das ist ein Boot-- That is a boat
Das Boot ist alt-- The boat is old.
Diese/Dieser/Dieses also means "this" or "that" when used in front of a noun.
Dieses Mädchen ist klug-- This/That girl is smart.
Dieser Stuhl ist unbequem.-- This/That chair is uncomfortable.
Diese Maus ist klein-- This/That mouse is small.