lehnen vs. anlehnen

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by jcpjcp, Jun 14, 2014.

  1. jcpjcp Senior Member

    helllo everybody

    I am confused about these similar verbs lehnen and anlehnen. I have seen some examples in this dictionary.

    eine Leiter, ein Brett, ein Fahrrad an/gegen die Wand lehnen
    das Brett/die Leiter an die/der Wand anlehnen

    Can you tell me the difference between lehnen and anlehnen in these examples, please ?

    Ich habe die Leiter an die Wand gelehnt.
    Ich habe die Leiter an die Wand angelehnt.

    If they have the same meaning, does anlehnen etwas an etwas (Akkusativ) have a more emphatic meaning ?

    Thanks alot.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
  2. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    They have the same meaning.
    The second sentence has more redundancy.
    Some prefer to have short sentences with minimized redundancy.

    The second sounds indeed more emphatic.
    And it changes the rhythm. (This may be important in poetic usage.)

    The second might be more often used in spoken language than in written because redundancy helps to improve the information transfer.

    In case of, for example:
    "Ich habe das Fahrrad gegen die Wand gelehnt", "anlehnen" is not possible.
    The sentence has basically the same meaning but "anlehnen" is blocked here.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  3. Frieder

    Frieder Senior Member

    I see a small difference between the two:

    Die Leiter an die Wand lehnen - put the ladder against the wall in order to clear it away.
    Die Leiter an die Wand anlehnen - lean the ladder against the wall in a way that you can climb it.

    This is splitting hairs, of course. You may use both phrases interchangeably.
  4. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Not bad. It agrees that there is more importance to make it correct.

    How would you say to put it against a twig (Ast)?

    In case of "waagerecht" I prefer "lehnen", this agrees, too to hairsplitting.

    Ich lehne die Leiter waagerecht an die Wand.
    (Anlehnen is not wrong here, but I would not use it.)
  5. jcpjcp Senior Member

    Thanks to all of you.

    When the sentence doesn't contain a phrase of direction (without an die Wand), then which one is correct ?

    Ich habe die Leiter gelehnt.
    Ich habe die Leiter angelehnt.

    Thanks a lot.
  6. Schimmelreiter

    Schimmelreiter Senior Member

    Without an adverbial of place or direction, it's Ich habe die Leiter angelehnt.

    But isn't there a twofold expression of direction in etwas an die Wand anlehnen? Wouldn't an der Wand anlehnen be enough, i.e. an adverbial of place rather than direction?

    lehnen requires an adverbial of direction if used transitively (Ich lehne die Leiter an die Wand) and one of place if used intransitively (Die Leiter lehnt an der Wand).
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  7. jcpjcp Senior Member

    But this dictionary gives that example "das Brett/die Leiter an die/der Wand anlehnen"

    if this example is wrong, is this dictionary not a trustworthy dictionary ?
  8. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    It says "an die Wand anlehnen" - this is correct.
    *"Gegen die Wand anlehnen" - is wrong, as I wrote.

    To avoid further misunderstanding:

    etwas an die Wand anlehnen
    etwas an der Wand anlehnen
    etwas an die Wand lehnen

    an der Wand lehnen

    etwas gegen die Wand lehnen

    sich an der Wand anlehnen

    All these are correct (with slightly different meaning)

    But "gegen die Wand anlehnen" is wrong.
  9. jcpjcp Senior Member

    Thanks a lot to all of you for your help. :)
  10. Liam Lew's Senior Member

    For me one expression of direction would certainly be enough. "an die Wand anlehnen", though correct, doesn't sound good to me.
  11. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Hi Liam,
    I do not think that "Ich werde die Leiter an der Wand lehnen" works. But "Ich werde die Leiter an der Wand anlehnen" does. What do you think about this?
    Many greeitings
  12. Liam Lew's Senior Member

    No it doesn't work. If I understood Schimmelreiter correctly, in "an die Wand anlehnen" there are two expressions of direction, the first being the accusative "an die" and the second being part of the verb "anlehnen". This sounds bad to me. But in the phrase "an der Wand anlehnen" we have only one expression of direction and one expression of location. The dative in "an der" indicates location and the "an" in "anlehnen" indicates direction. This sounds better to me.
  13. Schimmelreiter

    Schimmelreiter Senior Member

    That's exactly what I meant to say. It's either an die Wand lehnen or an der Wand anlehnen. To me, as to Liam, an die Wand anlehnen doesn't sound good. I don't think it's flatly incorrect, though, nor does Liam, I gather.
  14. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Thank you. It is according to my remark in my first answers that many German speakers do not like redundancy.

    To me it sounds narturally in spoken language. I would even prefer it if I tell somebody to do it.

    But it seems to be a question of regional influence and / or language change.

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