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Sklaverei-Gesetzmässigkeit

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by StockholmBoy, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. StockholmBoy Senior Member

    English
    I'm kind of stuck over this sentence. Hard (for me at least) to work out what the subject is.

    This part is kind of clear: "Auch hierzulande trug die Sklaverei, wie jede menschliche Einrichtung, ihre Gesetzmässigkeit", although i'm wondering whether gesetzm... should be rendered as "lawfulness"?

    But this is the trickier part:

    "Das zeigt schon die Erwägung, dass dem Plantagenbaron an der Haltung seiner Arbeitskräfte mehr gelegen sein musste als dem Arbeitgeber, der auf Kündigung engagiert."
    The question is: is the author saying what exactly? that something was more convenient to the Plantation overseer than to the actual owner, who was the one who hired on a daily basis? and what is the subject? the syntax seems to be a bit challenging or maybe it's my vocab...

    Many thanks
     
  2. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Saxony-Anhalt
    German
    "Gesetzmäßigkeiten" is "regularities"

    "Even in this country slavery had its regularities like any other human institution.

    "Das zeigt schon die Erwägung, dass dem Plantagenbaron an der Haltung seiner Arbeitskräfte mehr gelegen sein musste als dem Arbeitgeber, der auf Kündigung engagiert."

    This can be shown (i.e.proven) by the consideration that a plantation owner would have to care more for his workers than an employer who hires and fires.

    Just a rough translation. Actually the German says "keeping" (Haltung) which is usually only used for animals.
     
  3. StockholmBoy Senior Member

    English
    thank you! it's quite shocking that I missed much of what you picked up on. And disheartening too. Oh well. I guess my German has to improve! but I mean: none of the words you translated are rendered in the vocabulary the way you did. Does that depend on a more colloquial use of the language? Or an outdated vocab no longer in use? This book was written in 1936.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  4. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Saxony-Anhalt
    German
    Actually not. Which words do you have in mind? The register is higher, it's far from colloquial language, e.g. Erwägung, engagieren.
     
  5. StockholmBoy Senior Member

    English
    No perhaps it's just that i'm kind of struggling to understand the syntax of the sentence. In any case, for example, haltung is given in a variety of different ways including "attitude", "bearing", etc. but not in the sense (quite literal and therefore, like you say, in a higher register because it is closer to what might be its primordial Ur-meaning, i.e. in the sense of "holding" or "keeping"). Regarding Gesetzm... that word is actually also translated like you did, i was more swayed by the sense of "lawfulness" which however is implied in how you rendered it.
    But it's the syntax that i find confusing here. Where is the subject for example? is the "Erwaegung"?
     
  6. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    The sentence structure is that Erwägung is indeed the subject. The verb is zeigt, with adverb schon, and the object is das, referring to something mentioned previously.
    Everything after the first comma is a sub-clause modifying the subject: the consideration that ...

    The consideration that what?

    dass dem Plantagenbaron an der Haltung seiner Arbeitskräfte mehr gelegen sein musste als dem Arbeitgeber, der auf Kündigung engagiert.

    that something (die Haltung seiner Arbeitskräfte) had to be of greater concern to the plantation owner than it would be to an employer who engages staff on a casual basis.

    I think in this case 'Haltung seiner Arbeitskräfte' means 'work force retention'; he wants to keep them, but not in the sense of keeping livestock or pets, but in the sense of keeping as in not losing. Although he technically owns them, being slaves, he does not want them to feel like prisoners who would rather escape, he wants them not just to stay but to want to stay, and therefore he needs to treat them well; a happy slave is a productive slave.
     
  7. StockholmBoy Senior Member

    English
    How interesting. Thanks to both of you for your help. That's why i was confused: everything from "dass" onwards seemed (to me) to lack in a "secondary subject", i.e. the subject of the relative clause. But it makes much more sense now. I understand now that "an" introduces that secondary subject. I owe you guys a drink!
     

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