Fall seven times, stand up eight.

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j-Adore

Senior Member
English (BrE)
  • "Die Leute hier sind nicht kleinzukriegen. Da wird denen so übel mitgespielt und die machen einfach ein Geschäft draus! <Fall seven times, stand up eight>, wie es so schön heißt."

I was just adding German subtitles to a YouTube video, translating from Japanese, and there was a sentence where I wanted to express the idea "Fall seven times, stand up eight" -- a Japanese proverb meaning something like:

  • Das Leben/Schicksal kann ihnen noch so übel mitspielen, sie kommen eben jedes Mal wieder auf die Beine.

How is this idea idiomatically expressed in German?
 
  • Schlabberlatz

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    ... was natürlich so nicht ganz richtig ist: Man muss genau so oft aufstehen wie man hinfällt.
    Ja, natürlich. Ich muss allerdings zugeben, dass ich bis gestern nie darüber nachgedacht hatte. Aber dann fiel es mir wie Schuppen von den Augen :) Vielleicht liegt das an der japanischen Variante. 8 > 7!
    Aber dieser unlogische Spruch hat sich dennoch irgendwie eingebürgert. ;)
    Na ja, das ist doch absichtlich unlogisch, würde ich sagen. Übertreibung als Stilmittel.

    Edit:
    Mir fällt gerade noch auf, dass man auch „8 < 7!“ schreiben könnte, denn 7! = 5040 ;)
     
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    Schlabberlatz

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    Das finde ich nicht. Ich schätze eher, dass man den Beginn als "Aufstehen" sieht, auch wenn man davor nicht gefallen ist.
    Ja, so kann man es auch deuten. Vielleicht hatte ich es intuitiv (= auf Anhieb) auch so aufgefasst, bevor ich die japanische Variante gesehen habe. Es kann aber auch sein, dass ich es einfach als „man muss nach jedem Hinfallen wieder aufstehen“ aufgefasst habe, ohne irgendwie darüber nachzudenken oder auf Details zu achten. Das ist ja auch die beabsichtigte Bedeutung des Spruchs.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Bevor man hinfallen kann, muss man erst einmal aufstehen üben.
    Und man fällt nicht jedesmal, wenn man aufsteht.

    Aber wenn man hinfällt, muss man wieder aufstehen. Das geht sicher nicht immer, besonders, wenn man sich dabei verletzt hat.

    Das ganze Sprichwort unterliegt nicht formaler Logik, sondern eher paradoxer (unerwarteter) Logik.

    Das sollte man in Deutsch nicht unbedingt "verbessern".
     
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    j-Adore

    Senior Member
    English (BrE)
    Logically speaking, <Fall seven times, stand up eight> is perfectly logical. If it sounds illogical, perhaps the first part has slipped your mind?


    You're standing normally, (1st) -- <This is the starting point>
    then you fall (1st)

    then you stand up (2nd)
    then you fall again (2nd)

    then you stand up again (3rd)
    then you fall once again (3rd)

    then you stand up once again (4th)
    then you fall once again (4th)
    then you stand up once again (5th)
    then you fall once again (5th)
    then you stand up once again (6th)
    then you fall once again (6th)
    then you stand up once again (7th)
    then you fall once again (7th)

    then you finally stand up once again. (8th)
     

    j-Adore

    Senior Member
    English (BrE)
    It hasn't slipped Kajjo's mind :) :
    Ah yes, I see that Kajjo didn't miss that point. I was referring to messages at #6 and #8 about "one time too many".

    And that's why I also like your suggestion at #4.

    Maybe "stand up eight" is throwing one off course.
     
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    Schlabberlatz

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    I'm lying in bed,
    then I stand up (1),
    I have a doubt now. Can I really say "stand up" in that context? Does it have to be "get up" instead?

    In that case I should change it to "I'm lying under a tree, sleeping, then I stand up" or something like that. Or does "stand up" generally not collocate with "sleeping"?

    Edit:
    Tippfehler berichtigt.

    Hm, keine Antwort, also schreibe ich es einfach nochmal auf Deutsch, da kommt es ja hin ;)
    Ich liege im Bett,
    dann stehe ich auf (1),
    dann falle ich hin (1),
    dann stehe ich wieder auf (2)
    etc.

    Maybe "stand up eight" is throwing one off course.
    Vielleicht sollten wir die Japaner fragen, wie es gemeint ist.
     
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    j-Adore

    Senior Member
    English (BrE)
    Vielleicht sollten wir die Japaner fragen, wie es gemeint ist.
    Regarding "stand up" vs "get up" -- actually, "Fall seven times, stand up eight" is strictly a literally translated phrasing to explain the core concept of this Japanese proverb as simply as possible to those who don't speak Japanese. So you can just as well use "get up", if you like.

    If you're interested, this is the original expression in Japanese: 七転び八起き
     

    Schlabberlatz

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    Regarding "stand up" vs "get up" -- actually, "Fall seven times, stand up eight" is strictly a literally translated phrasing to explain the core concept of this Japanese proverb as simply as possible to those who don't speak Japanese. So you can just as well use "get up", if you like.
    Thanks! What I meant was that maybe we should ask them where they start to count…
    Falling down (1),
    standing up (1),
    falling down (2)
    etc. (--> exaggeration).
    Or:
    Standing (1),
    falling down (1),
    standing (up) (2),
    etc. (--> no exaggeration).
     

    j-Adore

    Senior Member
    English (BrE)
    Does Japanese use the same verb for "standing" and "standing up"?
    The 1st "standing" is expressed as 立っている with Present Progressive.

    From the 2nd through to the 8th "standing up" is 立つ, 起きる or 立ち上がる, 起き上がる.


    Usually, they are two diffent things. But in the proverb 七転び八起き, the 1st "standing" and the remaining "standing up"s are treated the same way without making a distinction.

    This 八起き denotes the seven "standing/getting up"s, as well as the state of the 1st "standing".
     

    Schlabberlatz

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    If I understand Flaminius correctly, the main aspect is the fact that you don't fall down again after your last comeback, so the last comeback is different and special… so it gets the distinction of being called the eighth comeback.

    Fifth, we can still argue that the perseverance sense reorganizes the meaning of the seven and eight in such a way that suits itself.
    […]
    [and I hear in India there was one called seven-fall-seven-come-back-magnate, who went bankrupt seven times, and for the eighth time, became even richer . . .]
    […]
    The author (or someone quoted by him, but I will just call this person the author) coined the name of the magnate in quite a logical way. If someone has survived seven bankruptcies, they made seven come-backs. Strangely, this expression didn't get popular. In fact, this is the first time I came across it.

    Sixth, what is more interesting is that the author unconsciously explained the thinking behind 七転び八起き. He said, 七度潰れて八度目に以前より立派な長者になつた, or "[this magnate] collapsed seven times and became even richer for the eighth time." The number of his bankruptcies was seven times. He couldn't have gone bankrupt eight times! The only possible referent of "the eighth time" (八度目) is his come-back after the seventh collapse. The mental procedure of reckoning must have been like this:
    1. Count the first collapse as once.
    2. Count the second collapse as twice.
    3. Retrospectively include the first come-back into the first collapse, lumping them together as the episode leading up to the second collapse.
    4. Hereafter, every collapse and come-back are counted as a single occurrence.
    5. Come the seventh collapse and the seventh comeback.
    6. They cannot be counted as one because, unlike other times, the magnate never went bankrupt again.

    The author termed the seventh come-back as "the eighth" in order to highlight the difference of this event from other occurrences.
    […]
    If seven and eight means anything, they may be related to the statement that a success after a failure brings great honour (greater honour than that brought by a simple success, perhaps?):
    一事業で失敗をしても…新事業に手を出して。まんまと其事を仕遂げた時にやア。唯に前辱を雪ぐばかりか大に名誉を博し得べしだ。

    So it means you try seven times and fall down seven times… and then you try for the eighth time!
     
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