mehr oder minder viele

raymondaliasapollyon

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

I know "mehr oder minder" means "more or less," but I don't know what it means when it combines with "viele."

mehr oder minder viele bedruckte Bögen Papier, die zusammengeheftet sind und von einem festen Umschlag aus Pappe schützend umgeben werden

I'd appreciate your help.
 
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  • διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Maybe raymondaliasapollyon aks himself, why it does not just read "mehr oder minder viel bedruckte Bögen Papier", without "viel". I think it would mean the same, because "mehr viel" seems to mean the same as "mehr", and "minder viel" seems to mean the same as "minder" (= "weniger"). At the moment, I can't give an answer.
     

    Thersites

    Senior Member
    German, Switzerland
    Maybe raymondaliasapollyon aks himself, why it does not just read "mehr oder minder viel bedruckte Bögen Papier", without "viel".
    Thinking about it, maybe my explanation was not so good after all. Maybe mehr oder minder just requires an Adjektiv which in the case of a certain amount/number of things is viele just as in the case of wellbeing it would be gut.

    Raymond... said:
    Maybe "mehr oder minder" means "generally" or "on the whole"?
    No, that expression has two meanings/nuances. One is just to say: A varying amount. The other is to say: "Very many! Okay, maybe not always that many."
     

    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Maybe mehr oder minder just requires an Adjektiv
    Almost. I think the whole expression ("mehr oder minder") cannot be used like an adjective itself, but only like an adverb. Which means that it cannot refer directly to a noun (like "Papier").

    P.S.:
    that expression has two meanings/nuances. One is just to say: A varying amount. The other is to say: "Very many! Okay, maybe not always that many."
    Yes, I think in most cases "mehr oder minder" (as well as "mehr oder weniger") can be replaced by "ungefähr" or "ziemlich" (which are adverbs).
     
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    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    "mehr oder minder viel bedruckte Bögen Papier"
    Note that it was "viele" (#1). This does explain that you mean how many pages there are.

    The little letter "e" in viele vs. viel changes the sense strongly.

    "mehr oder minder viel bedruckte Bögen Papier"
    Here you can omit "viel". It refers how to how much area is covered with text.

    Mehr oder minder viele bedruckte Bögen Papier = More or less many printed sheets of paper

    Mehr oder minder viel/stark bedruckte Bögen
    Papier = Mehr oder minder bedruckte Bögen Papier = More or less much/heavily printed sheets of paper. Note that "mehr oder minder viel bedruckt" is not very idiomatic. Better is "Mehr oder minder stark bedruckt". "Viel" is optional here. To delete it was correct - if it is meant.
     
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    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Mehr oder minder viel/stark bedruckte Bögen Papier = Mehr oder minder bedruckte Bögen Papier = More or less much/heavily printed sheets of paper.
    :thumbsup:
    Indeed, and the sense would be the same if "viel" (or "stark") was not there. It would look as if "mehr oder minder" was referring to "bedruckte". And this is not the meaning of the original sentence.
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    I think that it just designates an indefinite quantity:

    {mehr oder minder viele} Bögen Papier = {pretty much} sheets of paper
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    No, that expression has two meanings/nuances. One is just to say: A varying amount. The other is to say: "Very many! Okay, maybe not always that many."

    Is it an informal usage? It seems that in English, "more than many, or less than many + something" is quite informal, if grammatical at all.

    I think that it just designates an indefinite quantity:

    {mehr oder minder viele} Bögen Papier = {pretty much} sheets of paper

    But "many" already indicates an indefinite quantity. In addition, I'd expect "more or less" in English to modify a definite quantity, say, 20.
     
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    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    But "many" already indicates an indefinite quantity. In addition, I'd expect "more or less" in English to modify a definite quantity, say, 20.
    "Many" can represent a definite range of quantity, if you compare it to "few". "Mehr oder weniger viele" can mean a quantity of which I am not sure if it is appropriate to call it "viele" - either because I don't know the precise quantity, or because I don't know what quantity "viele" means to other people.

    Example:
    In my opinion, "viele Bögen Papier" means "mindestens 20 Bögen Papier".
    => "mehr oder minder viele Bögen Papier" can mean a quantity of "ungefähr 20 oder mehr Bögen Papier".
    => I would use this expression either if I am not sure if the number of "Bögen Papier" is really "mindestens 20", or if I am not sure if other people have a different opinion about what "viele Bögen Papier" means.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    I mean "mehr oder minder viele" are "ungefähr" :confused:
    I think I understand what you mean, but (if I take you literally)
    mehr oder minder viele Bücher = ungefähr Bücher ?:D
    ( sorry for my pedantry )

    Is the idiom ''mehr oder minder viele/mehr oder weniger viele'' widespread in German? To me, it doesn't really make much sense (viele? wenige? einige? ziemlich viele? ich weiß nicht wieviele?...)
     
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    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    I think I understand what you mean, but (if I take you literally)
    mehr oder minder viele Bücher = ungefähr Bücher ?:D
    I do not mean that the words are exchangeable. they have just approximately the same meaning.
    You could say, it is approximately the amount of books when you say "mehr oder minder viele Bücher" is "ungefähr die Menge, die man als 'viele Bücher' bezeichnet". But you are right. It was not clear and I was not aware of it.

    "Viele Bücher" sind ungefähr "mehr oder minder viele Bücher", wobei bei "mehr oder minder" das Intervall größer wird.
    Beispiel:

    Viele Bücher: mehr als 100 bis vielleicht 1000 (abhängig vom Kontext).
    Mehr oder minder viele Bücher: 30 bis vielleicht tausend.

    Das Regal ist mehr oder minder mit Büchern gefüllt. Es ist etwa zwischen 20% und 100% gefüllt, gefühlsmäßig eher im oberen Bereich. (... im großen Ganzen, mehr oder weniger. See #19.)
    Das Regal ist mit Büchern gefüllt. (Im engen Sinn wäre es vollkommen voll, aber normalerweise ist es fast voll.)

    Das Regal ist mehr oder minder leer. Es sind wenige Bücher drin. Es ist ungefähr leer. ("Ungefähr leer" dient zur Erläuterung. Es kann leer sein, zeitweilig leer sein, oder es kann etwas voller sein, aber nicht voll.)
     
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    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    It seems that in English, "more than many, or less than many + something" is quite informal, if grammatical at all.
    Well "mehr oder minder viele" is quite unusual/ strange, too.

    Buch
    <Buchs (Buches), Bücher> das Buch SUBST
    1. mehr oder minder viele bedruckte Bögen Papier, die zusammengeheftet sind und von einem festen Umschlag aus Pappe schützend umgeben werden. Das Buch hat 1200 Seiten., ein Buch lesen/aus dem Regal nehmen/wieder ins Regal stellen, das Impressum/der Klappentext/der Rücken/die Seitenzahl/der Umschlag eines Buches, in einem Buch blättern

    "eine gewisse Anzahl von Seiten" would have been much more common.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Is the idiom ''mehr oder minder viele/mehr oder weniger viele''
    "Mehr oder minder" ist eher selten.
    "Mehr oder minder" is seldom used in daily language.

    In many cases it may be replaced by "mehr oder weniger" - that is used rather frequently.

    Duden sagt, es sei bildungssprachlich.
    Duden explains it is educated language (elevated language of educated people)


    minder

    ...

    in geringerem Grade; nicht so sehr (meist in Verbindung mit „nicht“)

    BEISPIELE
    • nicht minder (nicht weniger; ebenso) freundlich
    • jemand, etwas ist minder angesehen
    WENDUNGEN, REDENSARTEN, SPRICHWÖRTER
    • mehr oder minder (mehr)
    mehr
    mehr oder minder/weniger (im großen Ganzen, in gewissem Maße: das Zusammentreffen war mehr oder minder zufällig)

    more or less/less (on the whole, to some extent: the encounter was more or less accidental) (DeepL-translation)

    Edit: I replaced some references (it) by the whole phrase to avoid misunderstandings.
     
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    διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Is "mehr oder minder" taken as a unit? Or should it be parsed as "mehr oder [minder viele]"?
    Yes, "mehr oder minder" is a syntactical unit. (It might be possible to understand it differently in special cases.)

    ungefähr viele wouldn't work. ;)
    No, it would not be idiomatic. But in this case, you can replace it with "ziemlich" (P.S.: "mehr oder minder viele" = "ziemlich viele"). In some other cases, "mehr oder weniger" can be replaced by "fast" / "beinahe" (I got this idea from more or less - Wiktionary).
     
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    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    mehr

    more or less/less (on the whole, to some extent: the encounter was more or less accidental) (DeepL-translation)

    Thank you for quoting the definitions and providing the English glosses.

    Which sense is the one used in "mehr oder minder viele"? It seems that neither "many ... on the whole" nor "many ... to some extent" makes sense as a translation of the OP.

    Maybe "mehr oder minder viele" should be listed in the dictionary as a fixed phrase (meaning "a varying quantity"), separately from "mehr oder minder."

    The meaning cannot be derived compositionally, i.e., by combining one element with the next successively.
     
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    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    The meaning cannot be derived compositionally, i.e., by combining one element with the next successively.
    But it can.

    "mehr oder minder" = more or less
    "viele" = many

    Of course it is a composite phrase built from two independent phrases and the meanings add up nicely.

    You can combine it mit almost any other property:

    mehr oder minder (viele | stark | schwer | linkslastig | betroffen...)
    more or less many | strong | heavy | leftist | concerned...
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    "Viele" relates to a countable amount. Viele Seiten Papier, many pages of paper.
    "Viel" relates in standard language to a noncountable amount. Viel Papier, much paper.

    In coll. language the last "e" in "viele" may be weak and even vanish when speaking. It is better to speak and write it.

    "Mehr oder minder" defines that it might be less than the amount "viele" or "viel", respectively.

    Edit: "mehr oder minder" can define as well countable as non-countable properties.
     
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    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    But it can.

    "mehr oder minder" = more or less
    "viele" = many

    Of course it is a composite phrase built from two independent phrases and the meanings add up nicely.

    It is natural for Germans. However, I've asked a few native speakers of English and they don't think it makes sense to say "more or less many."

    In post #16, bearded, an Italian speaker, doesn't find it comprehensible, either. I, a Chinese speaker, also have a hard time trying to interpret "more or less many" in a piece-by-piece fashion.

    Maybe speakers of other languages can share with us how they feel about "more or less many."
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "Viele" relates to a countable amount. Viele Seiten Papier, many pages of paper.
    "Viel" relates in standard language to a noncountable amount. Viel Papier, much paper.

    In coll. language the last "e" in "viele" may be weak and even vanish when speaking. It is better to speak and write it.

    "Mehr oder minder" defines that it might be less than the amount "viele" or "viel", respectively.

    Could "mehr oder minder" also mean more than the amount denoted by "viel(e)"?
    In other words, could it mean "more than many, or less than many"?
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Could "mehr oder minder" also mean more than the amount denoted by "viel(e)"?
    "Viele" is not defined as a strict value.
    So this is possible.

    For example:

    100 pages might be "viele Seiten". In another context it might be "wenige Seiten".

    "Mehr oder minder viele=mehr oder weniger viele" can be more than viele, but this depends on context.
    Mehr oder weniger/mehr oder minder just means that the estimation is very vague. It is similar to large vs. large or a little bit smaller (than large).

    In other words, could it mean "more than many, or less than many"?
    It depends on the logical system. "Many" is not a number. This way this is possible if you allow "more then many".

    Less than many can be more than many depending on context if you allow "more than many".

    But is you define "many" reaches into infinity, this is not possible.
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    and they don't think it makes sense to say "more or less many."
    Yes, that might very well be strange in English and it is not so common in German either. I won't contradict natives who feel it even to be weird with "viele".

    But (!) my comment was directed at your wrong statement that the whole phrase is not combined of "mehr oder minder"+property. To the contrary, it is a simple composition of two separate units. It does not create a meaning of its own. That was my point -- I was not part of the other discussion.

    I agree that "mehr oder minder (+Adjektiv)" with Adjektiv=stark, schwach, groß, klein, begeistert or similar is a lot more common than combinations with viele, wenige, but nonetheless it is possible and straightforward to understand.

    In other words, could it mean "more than many, or less than many"?
    I recommend to interpret it as "mehr = really a lot" and "minder = not so many".
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    even a native speaker finds it odd.
    What I find odd ist "mehr oder minder viele".

    "mehr oder weniger viele" wouldn't bother me.

    Screenshot 2022-10-14 at 13-44-49 DWDS – Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache.png
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Is "mehr oder minder" taken as a unit? :tick: Or should it be parsed as "mehr oder [minder viele]:cross:"?

    "Mehr oder minder viele=mehr oder weniger viele" can be more than viele, but this depends on context.
    I want to give an example:

    Mehr oder minder viele bedruckte Bögen Papier, die zusammengeheftet sind und von einem festen Umschlag aus Pappe schützend umgeben werden.
    Viele dieser bedruckten Bögen sind leider beschädigt.

    Here "Mehr oder minder viele bedruckte Bögen" is a larger amount than "viele der Bögen sind beschädigt".


    ---

    (I needed some time to find a good example. I think this is one.)
     
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    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I agree that "mehr oder minder (+Adjektiv)" with Adjektiv=stark, schwach, groß, klein, begeistert or similar is a lot more common than combinations with viele, wenige, but nonetheless it is possible and straightforward to understand.


    I recommend to interpret it as "mehr = really a lot" and "minder = not so many".

    When "mehr oder minder" combines with "groß," what does the resulting expression mean? Of varying heights?
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Hi raymondaliasapollyon,
    basically it means large. This can mean height, but also area or assets. But the size/amount is not defined exactly. If you compare it with a large thing of the same kind it may be larger or smaller in volume or height or value etc.
    If the thing has varying heights depends on context and tis is not included.

    I think "mehr oder minder groß" is seldom used and it can also be ironical in some context.

    Do you have context for your question?

    Viele Grüße aus Dresden
    Bernd
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "Mehr oder minder groß" covers the range from "not very big" to "really big".

    Sie haben immer mit einem mehr oder minder großen Vorsprung gewonnen.
    = Manchmal war der Vorsprung groß, manchmal nicht so groß.

    Thank you.

    Does "mehr oder minder viele" similarly cover the range from "not many" to "very many"?
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    I think, it covers this range. However it depends on context.
    Auf dem Platz sind mehr oder minder viele Menschen, je nach Tageszeit.
    Here it covers the full range and could even be Zero.

    Ein Sandhaufen hat mehr oder minder viele Sandkörner.
    Here we have a paradoxon.
    "Haufen" includes that there are a lot of grains of sand. But it does not say how many are the minimum. This is also typical for "mehr oder minder/mehr oder weniger". It does not have strict borders.

    See also:
    Sorites paradox - Wikipedia
    A typical formulation involves a heap of sand, from which grains are removed individually. With the assumption that removing a single grain does not cause a heap to become a non-heap, the paradox is to consider what happens when the process is repeated enough times that only one grain remains: is it still a heap? If not, when did it change from a heap to a non-heap?[3]
     
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