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Sprachgefühl

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Swir, May 7, 2013.

  1. Swir

    Swir Junior Member

    São Paulo
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Hello everyone!
    I have heard many times people from Germany saying "Sprachgefühl" and "nach meinen Sprachgefühl". I can understand the expression quite well, and I find it a very good one. I'm just not sure if I've lost some peculiarity. Would it be a fine equivalent in English if I said "language instinct", "according to my instinct for/feeling of the language"...?
    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Yes, that would be appropriate. But you usually leave the word untranslated in English. Webster defines the "English" word sprachgefühl as an intuitive sense of what is linguistically appropriate.
     
  3. Liam Lew's Senior Member

    And how is the word pronounced in English, then?
     
  4. Arukami Senior Member

    Ich habe hier eine Aussprache gefunden. Klingt mir danach, als versuche er, es möglichst deutsch auszusprechen.
     
  5. Swir

    Swir Junior Member

    São Paulo
    Brazilian Portuguese
    :thumbsup:

    intuitive sense!
     
  6. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    ("nach meinem Sprachgefühl", meinem Sprachgefühl nach. :))

    I wouldn't use "instinct", but "feeling for the language" is fine. I have a problem with "instinctive feel" or "innate feel" (both found on dict.cc) because these words suggest that the feeling for the correct use of a specific language is something one is born with (like a cat's instinctive urge to chase small moving objects). But of course we have no instinctive knowledge of any particular language, and typically the whole point of discussions of Sprachgefühl (at least in English) is that it is something that arises thru the intense exposure, in childhood, to the language of the environment; and without this exposure is something that comes only slowly and with difficulty. (An acceptable definition might be "the seemingly instinctive feel for a language".)

    As opposed to words like "kindergarten" and "sauerkraut" (which are English words borrowed from German), I would call "Sprachgefühl" (and, for ex., "Weltanschauung") German words that are sometimes used in English. (Of course, the line between the two isn't well-defined.) "Sprachgefühl" is not often used in spoken English. I would expect to hear it only from someone who has studied German or someone who has done a lot of reading about the nature of language. (If you used it at your local bar you'd be met with blank stares or worse.) As such, "Sprachgefühl" doesn't have a well-established English pronunciation.
     
  7. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    In colloquial language, both word orders are OK. The "m" is of course mandatory.

    Chomsky, whom a lot of people consider the ultimate authority in linguistics, claims exactly that. But fortunately we don't have to agree with him.:D

    Then using intuitive, as in Webster's definition, rather than instinctive solves the problem. Intuition can be acquired through training or experience as well; the word doesn't imply you are born with it.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  8. Liam Lew's Senior Member

    Thank you Dan2 and Arkunami. I will avoid to use the word "Sprachgefühl" in English as I did it before.
     
  9. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    And what particular language would that be? :)
    (I realize how much fun Chomsky-bashing is, but let's play fair now...)
    "intuitive" is good.
    That's their second definition in your link. Their first is "the character of a language". I don't think I've ever heard the word used that way.
     

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