ein wenig in die Jahre gekommen

Dupon

Senior Member
Chinese
From JVA Detmold - Lebensabend hinter Gittern

Besuch in der Lebensälterenabteilung der Justizvollzugsanstalt Detmold. Bereichsleiter Joachim Riedel führt die Besucher ohne Eile herum. So wie seine augenblicklich 22 Insassen ist auch der Zellentrakt ein wenig in die Jahre gekommen - doch alles hier strahlt Ruhe aus.

I could not understand the meaning "So wie seine augenblicklich 22 Insassen ist auch der Zellentrakt ein wenig in die Jahre gekommen".
Why "Zellentrakt" can come a little?

Thanks!
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Like the 22 inmates it housed at the time, the cell block was a little old -- yet the whole place exuded serenity.

    A much closer equivalent of "in die Jahre gekommen" is "advanced in years," but I'm not sure the wordplay would work in English. Calling a cell block "advanced in years" sounds odd to me; I would use something like "run down," but then that wouldn't be appropriate to describe the inmates. "Old" works to describe both, but it loses the expressiveness of the original. Maybe someone else will think of a suitable expression.
     

    Schlabberlatz

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    Why "Zellentrakt" can come a little?
    I think it roughly compares to "enter into" as in "to enter into manhood".
    Like the 22 inmates it housed at the time, the cell block was a little old -- yet the whole place exuded serenity.

    A much closer equivalent of "in die Jahre gekommen" is "advanced in years," but I'm not sure the wordplay would work in English. Calling a cell block "advanced in years" sounds odd to me; I would use something like "run down," but then that wouldn't be appropriate to describe the inmates. "Old" works to describe both, but it loses the expressiveness of the original. Maybe someone else will think of a suitable expression.
    Maybe:
    "Like the 22 inmates it’s housing, the cell block has entered into a state of oldness, so to say -- yet the whole place exudes serenity."
    :confused:
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "Verschleißerscheinungen
    Hm, maybe "signs of aging"? I'm still not totally sure this works for an inanimate entity, but it bothers me much less than "advanced in years."
    "Like the 22 inmates it’s housing, the cell block has entered into a state of oldness, so to say -- yet the whole place exudes serenity."
    Oops, why did I switch to the past tense? :confused: Unfortunately, "entered into a state of oldness" is not idiomatic. :(

    Adding "so to speak" (I think "so to say" might be British English?) is an interesting option! That might attenuate the potential unsuitability of "signs of aging" in reference to the cell block:

    Like the 22 inmates it currently houses, the cell block has started to show signs of aging(, so to speak) -- yet the whole place exudes serenity.

    I don't know - I feel like "so to speak" kind of interrupts the flow.

    Hopefully other native speakers of English will chime in! @Edinburgher @PaulQ @Dan2 @Minnesota Guy @exgerman
     
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    Schlabberlatz

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    (I think "so to say" might be British English?")
    It’s probably German English, so to speak:
    The point is that “so to say” is so uncommon that it would be perceived as an error by a large number of native speakers if used by a non-native speaker. My advice to non-native speakers therefore is: Avoid “so to say” altogether and only use “so to speak”.

    This may require consciously thinking about the phrase whenever you say it, as the corresponding phrase in your mother tongue is likely to employ a verb usually translated as “say”, as in German sozusagen or French pour ainsi dire, where sagen and dire are translated as “say” when used in isolation.
    ‘So to say’ vs. ‘so to speak’ in English
     

    Schlabberlatz

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    What about "the ravages of time"? Is it as worn-out a phrase as its German equivalent, "der Zahn der Zeit"? … or would it fit? Der Zahn der Zeit hat heftig am Zahn der Zeit genagt (scnr).
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    So wie seine augenblicklich 22 Insassen ist auch der Zellentrakt ein wenig in die Jahre gekommen
    If we keep to the dental metaphor:

    Like its present 22 inmates, the cell-block has also become a bit/little long in the tooth.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    "Verschleißerscheinungen haben" can be rendered as "showing signs of wear and tear".
    The original "in die Jahre gekommen" could perhaps become "is showing (or: beginning to show) its age". This works better than "showing signs of age/aging".
    I like Paul's "long in the tooth" too.

    All three of these can be applied both to animate and inanimate objects.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I don't think I would use "wear and tear" for a person or "long in the tooth" for an inanimate thing.
    There is no reason why you should not - I had a look at some references from Google Ngram Viewer, and found that "long in the tooth" seem to be growing in popularity and confirms that is often used for inanimate objects:

    It covers The Body Shop's values report; although now a little long in the tooth, it is still worth discussing because it was innovative in being one of the first to carry out such a widespread review of its activities using the new tools of social auditing. Google Books

    While one may argue (and many have) that FOAF is getting a bit long in the tooth, recent developments in social networking have brought concerns about privacy and ownership of social data to the fore; Google Books

    The Steelers team the Jets faced that day had once been a great championship team that had grown long in the tooth after winning four Super Bowls in six seasons during its prime. Google Books
     
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    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Well, I don't use "long in the tooth" actively at all, but I believe I've only come across it in reference to people. I believe your third example also refers to people because it's referring to a sports team. But your other two examples are certainly relevant and may justify using "long in the tooth" to refer to the cell block.

    "Wear and tear" definitely sounds inappropriate to me in reference to people, though. It sounds like you're objectifying the people and reducing them to objects that get worn out. Would you use it in reference to people?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Well, I don't use "long in the tooth" actively at all,
    I was surprised by the Google Ngram result: I expected it to be a phrase that was itself "long in the tooth" but it seems to have become more popular in writing only relatively recently.

    "Wear and tear" definitely sounds inappropriate to me in reference to people,...Would you use it in reference to people?
    No. It usually refers to moving parts (of any mechanism) and, by extension, body parts are informally referred to as "suffering from wear and tear". e.g. "Sports injuries come from wear and tear on the joints."
     
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