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schriftlos

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by kynnjo, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. kynnjo Senior Member

    USA Spanish and English
    Moderator note: This thread is about the translation of the word "schriftlos" as "illiterate" only. The problem of parsing the entire German sentence is dealt with in a separate thread.

    When I come across passages like this one I despair of ever being able to parse German fluently:
    Die Übernahme der chinesischen Schrift ins autochthon schriftlose Japan, die, wenn wir sie mit den ersten Einwanderern vom asiatischen Kontinent und besonders den vielzitierten Gestalten des Achiki und des Wani, die ja als Stammväter der fubito, der Schriftgelehrten Altjapans, gelten, verbinden, in die letzten Dekaden des 4. Jahrhunderts fällt, hatte, wie man weiß, weitreichende Folgen: Das chinesische Element prägte die japanische Sprache, die geschriebene and die gesprochene, entscheidend.

    My best translation:
    The adoption of the Chinese script into the autochthonously illiterate Japan, < ... >.

    Please let me know if I got this right.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  2. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    < ... >

    The first thing that struck me, but this may be a non-issue, is your use of "illiterate" for "schriftlos". This may be OK, but to me "illiterate" suggests an inability to read or write in a written language which exists, but "schriftlos" in this context seems to suggest that no written language even existed. But I could be wrong. Even if "schriftlos" does mean that, "illiterate" may still be fine.
    < ... >
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  3. kynnjo Senior Member

    USA Spanish and English
    Perhaps a better alternative would be to translate "autochthon schriftlose" with simply "preliterate".
     
  4. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    Yes, I'd drink to that.
     
  5. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    autochthon schriftlos = without a home-grown system of writing
     

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