Spieglein, Spiegelein an der Wand, wer ist die Schönste im ganzen Land?

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by gaer, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    From here

    "Spieglein, Spiegelein an der Wand, wer ist die Schönste im ganzen Land?"

    The most common translations is this one:

    Mirror, mirror on the wall,
    Who is the fairest one of all?

    The reason is probably because it is close to the version used in the famous Disney film, and most people would swear it is what is in the film.

    It also has roughly the same rhythem as the German.

    However, the original one (from the Disney film, not the orginal translation) seems to be this:

    Magic Mirror on the wall,
    Who is the fairest one of all?

  2. FloVi

    FloVi Senior Member

    Deutsch / Deutschland
    Geht doch:

    Zauberspiegel an der Wand,
    wer ist die Blondeste im Land?

  3. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale

    I won't say more unless someone opens a biligual thread about "blond jokes"!

  4. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    fair in has other meanings beside blond.
    It means beautiful, pleasing in appearance, attractive.

    Try Shakepeare's sonnet XVIII "every fair from fair sometime declines"

    In der Urfassung kommt das Wort "Zauber" nicht vor.

    Sie (die Königin) hatte einen Spiegel, vor den trat sie alle Morgen und fragte:
    Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand:
    wer ist die schönste Frau im ganzen Land?
    da sprach das Spieglein allzeit:
    Ihr, Frau Konigin, seyd die schönste Frau im Land.

    Note, it doesn't have the rhythm of either English translation!
  5. FloVi

    FloVi Senior Member

    Deutsch / Deutschland
    I know, that's why I signed with a ";-)"
  6. ValhallaWarriorPrincess New Member

    From what I can tell, with my own limited German, the direct translation actually is "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the most beautiful in all the country/land"

    However, translations must also have a stylistic approach to capture the original underlying meaning/tone, so that is why the English translation is slightly off.

    Also, other English translations say, "Mirror, mirror, here I stand, who is the fairest in the land?"
  7. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Hi Gaer, it is an interesting subject. I never saw this in this form. Where does it come from with both "Spieglein (as in the fairy tale) as "Spiegelein"? Do you remember it this way or do you have a source?

    Nur aus Neugier.

    Viele Grüße von Bernd

    PS: How would you translate "Spieglein, Spiegelein"?
    "Mirror, mirror" is just a translation of the meaning and does not consider the difference between the words.
    It also does not translate the diminutive.
  8. ValhallaWarriorPrincess New Member

    I think he just made a typo. I have the original German text, and it is "Spieglein, Spieglein"
    Also, I think the diminutive "-ein", just as using "-chen", can be added pretty much to any noun, even though that diminutive may not be in the dictionary.

    Well, I just noticed you speak German, so I guess I'm lecturing to an expert. haha.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2013
  9. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    No problem.
    It may be a typo.

    But in English you would not translate the diminutive but replace it by "magic mirror", wouldn't you?
  10. ValhallaWarriorPrincess New Member

    Is "Magic mirror" what is meant in context in the original German? So far, I know of no English translations that use "Magic mirror on the wall". What I was thinking--the translation, "-ein" is the diminutive ending, is translated more to mean a smaller mirror mounted on a wall (where the Queen can see only her face and neck), as opposed to a floor-length mirror.

    But, please tell me if I am in error--my aim is to be somewhat fluent in German :)
  11. ablativ Senior Member

    Even though the original German text is "Spieglein, Spieglein ...", there are quite a number of sources where you can find "Spieglein, Spiegelein ...

    This is one of them.
  12. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    It is already known or implicitely stated or a surprise that it is magic in German, depending on the version of the fairy tale.
    A speaking mirror in a fairy tale is magic of course.

    But we have following situation for the translator.
    "Spieglein" is a diminutive, used as a kind of term of endearment "Kosewort" here.
    So "Spiegel, Spiegel an der Wand" has the same meaning but indicates another relation. "Spiegel" is just a tool, even a magic one. "Spieglein" is something, I love, I endear, I like.

    If in English it is not possible to modify "Spiegel" I must replace something else.
    So the translator decided to use "magic mirror". The "magic" part includes some of the atmosphere, of the intonation, of the fairy tale feeling.
    If it is only "Mirror, mirror" it is like "Spiegel, Spiegel".

    The translator decided (I think, after considering the possibility of "Spiegel, Spiegel"), to modify it to "magic mirror".
    I would add "my" "my magic mirror".
    But it is even more different in the meaning.


    The diminutive may have different functions
    - 1. little/small
    - 2. endearment/relation of love

    Best regards
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  13. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Danke sehr.

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