wie und wo / woher die Geschichte begann

azhong

Senior Member
Traditional Chinese
I don't know very well how and where the story began.
->
(My translation practice)
? Ich weiß ganz gut nicht, wie und woher die Geschichte begann.
(Google Translate:)
Ich weiß nicht genau, wie und wo die Geschichte begann.

Q:
So "woher" is incorrect here? (So far I've roughly know "wo", "wohin" and "woher".)

Thank you.
 
  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Google is right. It is interpreted as the place where the action ("beginnen") took place and not here it came from.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Hi, it may depend on context.
    The original says "story".
    (Google Translate:)
    Ich weiß nicht genau, wie und wo die Geschichte begann.

    This is a good general translation.

    "Wo" asks for the first place the story refers to.


    ---
    Without context it might be fuzzy. "Geschichte" has multiple meanings in German.

    With context, also "woher" may work in following way:

    Context: wo die Geschichte=history (Geschichte der Menschheit) begann ...
    Beispiel: Ich weiß nicht genau, woher wir kommen. Wahrscheinlich lag der Ursprung der Menschheit in Afrika.

    ---
    This does not work with story = Geschichte = Erzählung.

    ---
    Can story include history? I found it can include "Geschehen".

    ---

    Moved second Part of my answer to: Ich weiß nicht genau, ... (word order)
    I was not aware that the sentence was spilt for different questions.
     
    Last edited:

    azhong

    Senior Member
    Traditional Chinese
    Can story include history? I found it can include "Geschehen".
    Are you asking a question about English, sir? If so, the answer should be NO as far as I know. I.e., in English "story" can't include "history", and "history" can't include "story", either.

    But I'm also not a native speaker in English. I'm a Chinese.

    Thank you for your language help, sir. Now I've known that my German sentence will be clearer if I had used "Erzählung".

    Edit: I mean, "story" and "history" are two words with different meanings to me and are not interchangeable. There is a more precise term "historical story" to name those history-related events.
     
    Last edited:

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Are you asking a question about English, sir? If so, the answer should be NO as far as I know. I.e., in English "story" can't include "history", and "history" can't include "story", either.
    Indeed I meant English here.

    "Geschichte" is a kind of homonym in German. It means 1. story, 2. history. - and it can have more meanings.


    "Geschichte" works well if there is context that makes it clear.
    The English "story" makes it clear if it cannot mean "history" in any context.
    But the German reader will (I suppos) usually not have the Englich version.
    If you use "Erzählung" it is clear without context.
     
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