Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

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Today, when I heard someone on the bus say, „noch nicht einmal entstanden“, I thought about the German verb entstehen.

I couldn't think of a good English translation for it—but then I realised that Klingon chen is probably a pretty good fit! Yay for multiple languages :)

The Klingon Dictionary entry for chen reads build up, take form, equals (mathematically), by the way. I might also translate entstehen as “arise” or “come into being”.

An example of its use is in chemistry: „Bei dieser Reaktion entsteht Wasserstoff“ is “This reaction produces hydrogen” or, a bit more literally, “During this reaction, hydrogen comes into being/arises/takes form”.

In my experience, Klingon chen is used more often in the causative form chenmoH, which is glossed form, make, create and could probably be used for “produce” in the above sentence.

And that made me think about the German causative.

Since stehen “stand” has the causative stellen “place, put, set”, entstehen should have the causative entstellen, ĉu ne? But that means “disfigure, deface” :)

That made me think of other compounds of stehen, and erstehen came to mind. I thought at first that this was a fairly rare word, but that’s only in the intransitive sense “to rise again (as by resurrection)”—the transitive sense “to obtain through purchase”, while a bit formal IMO, is not really rare. (I wonder how those two senses got to be related.)

When I looked it entstehen in the dictionary, I found it interesting that one of the translations given was the passive of a causative; perhaps this inchoative meaning is comparatively unusual so there aren’t really good synonyms which one could use to define the word. (It said, zu bestehen, zu sein beginnen; geschaffen, hervorgerufen werden “begin to be; be created or called forth”.)

Bestehen is also an interesting word, with several senses that one would probably translate by rather different words in English: 1) exist, be present; 2) consist of, be made of (a certain material); 3) succeed (in an examination); 4) insist.

Tags: language
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