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  • Betreff

    lebensunwertes Leben

    Kontext/ Beispiele
    unworthy to live?
    VerfasserClaudia04 Sep. 04, 15:18
    Kommentar
    life that is not worth living?
    #1VerfasserNancy04 Sep. 04, 16:13
    Vorschlaga Life not worth living it
    #2VerfasserKHR04 Sep. 04, 20:37
    Vorschlaga life not worth living
    Kommentar
    Ohne das "it"
    #3VerfasserDavid04 Sep. 04, 21:07
    Vorschlagunworthy of life
    Kommentar
    Ich möchte zur Sicherheit darauf hinweisen, daß dies ein Terminus aus dem "Sprachschatz des Unmenschen" ist, d.h. eine Prägung der NS-Zeit, mit der versucht wurde, die sog. Euthanasie(-Morde) zu rechtfertigen. Vor diesem Hintergrund erscheinen mir die bisherigen Vorschläge - gegenüber Claudias - als fast zu harmlos bzw. verharmlosend.
    Mein obiger Vorschlag funktioniert allerdings für den vollständigen Ausdruck ohne Verdopplung von 'life' nur, wenn man etwas umformuliert:
    "life unworthy of existence"
    #4VerfasserPeter <de>04 Sep. 04, 22:06
    Kommentar
    Peter, Du hast schon recht, ich meine die Bezeichnung aus der NS-Zeit.
    Mir wurde jetzt noch "unfit to live" vorgeschlagen.
    #5VerfasserClaudia05 Sep. 04, 01:51
    Kommentar
    Claudia: In dem Vorschlag 'unfit to live' steckt mir persönlich noch zu wenig das Absprechende/Abwertende des Originals, sondern eine eher etwas nüchterne Zustandsbeschreibung (eines Patienten), aber dazu sollten sich doch lieber unsere natives vernehmen lassen ...
    #6VerfasserPeter <de>05 Sep. 04, 02:10
    Kommentar
    Peter, ich weiß es ja auch nicht, aber irgendwie habe ich auch den Eindruck, daß "unfit" zu "harmlos" kling.
    #7VerfasserClaudia05 Sep. 04, 03:05
    Kommentar
    Goldhagen, in "Hitler's Willing Executioners" uses "life unworthy of living":

    The best-known case of protest that took place in Nazi Germany was an outgrowth of the widespread outrage at the government's so-called Euthanasia program (referred to as T4, after its Berlin headquarters at Tiergarten Strasse 4), which saw German physicians take the lives of more than seventy thousand people whom they deemed to have a "life unworthy of living" because of mental infirmity and congenital physical effects.
    #8VerfasserNorbert Juffa05 Sep. 04, 05:44
    Kommentar
    I have to agree with Goldhagen here. Peter's suggestions "unworthy of life" and "life unworthy of existence" are unidiomatic.
    #9Verfasserwilliam safire05 Sep. 04, 09:15
    Kommentar
    Nobert Juffa, vielen lieben Dank für die Recherche, dann war ich ja gar nicht so auf dem Holzweg, wußte nur den genauen engl. Ausdruck nicht.
    #10VerfasserClaudia05 Sep. 04, 09:33
    Kommentar
    Claudia: Es ist klar, warum "unfit" zu harmlos klingt. Es fehlt der Aspekt der Bewertung. Als "lebensunfähig" können Säuglinge bezeichnet werden, die mit Missbildungen zur Welt kommen, die es wahrscheinlich machen, dass sie nur eine sehr kurze Zeit leben werden.

    "Lebensunwert" enthält eine direkte Rechtfertigung der Tötung solcher Menschen, die wegen einer Behinderung während ihres ganzen Lebens keinen Beitrag zur Wohlfahrt der Gesellschaft erbringen können, kurz gesagt: "Wer nicht arbeitet, soll auch nicht essen." So kam es dazu, dass Zehntausende von Menschen, die durchaus lebensfähig waren, ermordet wurden, weil man sie für "lebensunwürdig" hielt.
    #11VerfasserAndreasS05 Sep. 04, 09:39
    Vorschlaglife unworthy of life
    Kontext/ Beispiele
    "Life Unworthy of Life" and other Medical Killing Programmes. ...
    www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/mord.htm

    Life Unworthy of Life: Racial Phobia and Mass Murder in Hitler's Germany,
    page iv. Copyright © 1997 by James M. Glass. Published ...
    www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o& se=ggl&docId=27187045
    Kommentar
    william safire re unidiomatic: Your Honour, I beg to point your attention just to some organizations/publications (at it may seem: English native speakers) which are using exactly the proposed phrase (4.230 google hits, btw).

    I plead guilty inasmuch as I did not do a google-search beforehand, otherwise I would not have suggested avoiding doubling the word 'life' by the coinage "life unworthy of existence" (which itself still gets 17 google hits, pertaining to the case in question, whereas "unworthy of existence" is having 425 hits).

    Of course, I'm not the one to judge on the (linguistic) preponderance of Goldhagen's phrase to the one I suggested, now found to be corroborated.
    #12VerfasserPeter <de>05 Sep. 04, 12:24
    Vorschlaglife unworthy of living
    Kommentar
    Peter – I don’t believe you can use the hits you get on Google as proof that the phrases you suggest are idiomatic. The examples on the Internet merely reflect attempts to translate the German phrase discussed in this thread.

    While James M. Glass did entitle his book “Life Unworthy of Life” (which accounts for over 500 hits), I would argue he used this translation for the very reason that it sounds a bit unusual. His intent, it would seem, was to make readers curious about his book.

    In any case, one would never say in English: “to exist a life.” This is why your second proposal, “a life unworthy of existence,” is particularly jarring.
    #13Verfasserwilliam safire05 Sep. 04, 17:58
    Quellen
    Kontext/ Beispiele
    A:
    "This was the question behind Binding's and Hoche's famous treatise "Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Existence."

    B:
    These are two types of court actions which, though different, are alike in that they are based on the concept that there are lives "unworthy of life," a concept enunciated by two German professors in 1920. (Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life: Karl Binding, professor of law, Leipzig; Alfred Hoche, professor of psychiatry, Freiburg).
    Kommentar
    william safire:
    As I've said before, I'm not trying to deliberate Goldhagen's "attempt(s) to translate the German phrase discussed in this thread" to that of Glass and others. All I wanted to point out is that this coinage indeed is used by (apparently) native speakers.

    What, if you call "unworthy of life" unidiomatic, do you call the analogously built 'unworthy of credit', then?

    And, honestly, I don't grasp what you mean with 'to exist a life'. This construction is by no means covered by 'life unworthy of xyz', at least as far as my surely limited capacities are telling me ;-)
    #14VerfasserPeter <de>05 Sep. 04, 18:29
    Vorschlaglebensunwertes leben
    Kommentar
    I agree that a google search cannot be seen as the ultimate authority--especially not with regard to a term that has been the subject of volumes upon volumes of scholarly research; from my now twenty-year engagement with Nazi "culture" and the Holocaust, I can say that the two most commonly accepted translations in serious scholarship on the subject are "life unworthy of living" and "life unworthy of life"--so either of these would be acceptable. A standard practice with regard to these nazi-specific terminologies seems to be to place the German original in parentheses and italics alongside the translation:
    "life unworthy of living (Lebensunwertes Leben)." Most likely, the translation "Life unworthy of life" is an attempt to replicate the redundancy that is characteristic of Nazi language. But I think a solid argument can be made for contending that the two "leben"s in "Lebensunwertes Leben" have different grammatical functions (lebensunwert--unworthy of LIVING) and (Leben--LIFE). With "life unworthy of living" you still retain the sense of redundancy in the repitition of Leben in the original, but you also reflect the different grammatical functions of the same term; "life unworthy of life" does not reflect the difference in grammatical function inherent in this expression.
    Dr.D.
    #15VerfasserDr Deutsch05 Sep. 04, 18:43
    Kommentar
    Dr Deutsch: Thank you very much for your enlightening contribution. I now see much clearer to the point.
    Interestingly enough, there seems to be a slight shift of aspect in 'lebensunwert' in English (life unworthy of living <-> ein Leben, das unwert ist [, es] zu leben) compared to the German, at least as I sense it (das Leben eines Lebens unwert <-> unworthy of life). But I'm a bit relieved to hear that even in scientific literature the latter term is not considered totally unidiomatic. ;-)

    BTW, as to the question of google hits as proof for/against a linguistic case, I am totally with you. I've expressed that point in many a former discussion that one is not entitled to decide those questions on a merely quantitative base.
    #16VerfasserPeter &lt;de&gt;05 Sep. 04, 19:09
    Kommentar
    Dr Deutsch: Thank you for your elucidating comments.

    Peter <de>: Ich habe mich auch ueber die leicht unterschiedliche Semantik gewundert und frage mich, welche der beiden Deutungen historisch korrekt ist. Aus meinem Verstaendnis der Nazi-Ideologie heraus wuerde ich auf "ein Leben, das es nicht wert ist, erhalten zu werden" ("life unworthy of life") tippen, und nicht "ein Leben, das es nicht wert ist, gelebt zu werden" ("life unworthy of living"), aber ich will keine voreiligen Schluesse ziehen.
    #17VerfasserNorbert Juffa05 Sep. 04, 19:27
    Kommentar
    Peter -


    - What, if you call "unworthy of life" unidiomatic, do you call the analogously built 'unworthy of credit', then?


    I was discussing the phrase "life unworthy of life," not "unworthy of life."


    - And, honestly, I don't grasp what you mean with 'to exist a life'. This construction is by no means covered by 'life unworthy of xyz', at least as far as my surely limited capacities are telling me ;-)


    to live one's life (ok) - a life unworthy of living (ok) - a life unworthy of life (worthy of consideration?)

    to exist one's life (impossible) - a life unworthy of existing (impossible) - a life unworthy of existence (odd)

    This is my attempt to explain to you why "a life unworthy of existence" sounds odd to a native speaker. The example you've found on the Internet is merely a bad translation.

    Otherwise, I find Dr. Deutsch's explanations persuasive.
    #18Verfasserwilliam safire05 Sep. 04, 20:21
    Kontext/ Beispiele
    The discussion has been focussing on whether "... of life" or "... of living" is the better choice, as both are used by English-speaking scholars. However, I'm puzzled about the fact that they use "unworthy of" for "-unwert". In other contexts "worthy" and "unworthy" correspond to "würdig" and "unwürdig", respectively. In German, "würdig" and "unwürdig" terms are related to the concept of "Würde" (dignity) rather than "Wert" (value).

    - In German, the adjective "wert" is used in contexts like "es ist der Mühe wert" (it is worth the trouble), "es ist seinen Preis nicht wert" (it is not worth its price). I think this was the reason why David suggested "life not worth living".

    - On the other hand, I suppose an English native speaker would interprete "life not worth living" from the point of view of the person concerned. Obviously, "lebensunwert" is a value judgement from the ideological point of view denying handicapped persons their right to live. Thus "life not worth living" would miss the point.
    Kommentar
    - I am also aware of the fact that "Wert/wert" and "Würde/würdig" are cognate, which is even more obvious in the case of "worth" and "worthy".

    So my question is: Does "unworthy of life" or "unworthy of living" unambiguously express the notion that "Dieses Leben ist lebensunwert" is a judgement saying "Their lives are worth nothing/have no value" - rather than "Their life [note the singular] is unworthy, dishonourable, has no dignity" (which would be "Ihr Leben ist unwürdig" in German)?
    #19VerfasserFrank FMH05 Sep. 04, 23:43
    Vorschlaglebensunwertes Leben
    Kommentar
    Oyvay. Da habe ich schon wieder a can of worms geöffnet.

    Für mich als Englisch-Mutterprachler, klingt "life unworthy of living" am richtigsten. Wenn ich meinetwegen Redakteur wäre, der überhaupt keine Deutschkenntnisse hätte, so würde ich Ausdruck "life unworthy of life" ROT unterstreichen. Nun, wie gesagt kursieren beide dieser Möglichkeiten in der englisch-sprachigen "Fachliteratur" zu diesen Themen. Wenn ich selber Gelegenheit habe, von diesem abscheulichen Ausdruck Gebrauch zu machen, bevorzüge ich "life unworthy of living"--wenn ich aber "life unworthy of life" in der Fachliteratur finde, finde ich es schon akzeptabel und als Redakteur streiche ich es eben *nicht an. Besser finde ich es immer, den deutschen Text mitanzugeben, damit jede/r, die/der auch Deutsch spricht, sich selber darüber Gedanken machen kann. [Derjenige der eben kein Deutsch kann, muß sich ja auf den Übersetzer verlassen, der bekanntlicherweise möglicherweise auch Verräter ist ;).] "Life not worth living" setzt jedoch mE schon ein Eigenwille oder eine Eigenentscheidung gegen das Leben voraus , insofern trifft dieser Ausdruck hier nicht zu, weil er schon etwas von "Freitod" oder "Selbstmord"gedanken in sich trägt --in der Fachliteratur zur Nazisprache bzw zum Nazi(un)denken bzw zum Holocaust ist es mir auch bisher noch nie in dieser Form begegnet. Leider habe ich nicht die Zeit, die ganze Fach-Literatur durchzusehen, um Euch sagen zu können, welcher Wissenschaftler es so oder so übersetzt (hauptsächlich weil es nicht immer im Verzeichnis eingetragen ist). Bei dem Robert Jay Lifton (the Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide) steht zB "Life unworthy of life" --und Lifton ist schon "legitim". Ich meine trotzdem, "life unworthy of living" ist die gebräuchlichere Übersetzung. Jedenfalls ist mit beiden dieser Ausdrücke der Bezug auf Nazipolitik und (un)Denken schon klar. Das ist bei "life not worth living" keineswegs der Fall.

    Dr. D.
    #20Verfasserdr. D. 06 Sep. 04, 04:04
    Kommentar
    Frank: I think "unworthy" fits well here. Have a look at the dictionary definition:
    "Insufficient in worth; undeserving: a bad plan unworthy of our consideration.
    Lacking value or merit; worthless.
    Not suiting or befitting: “The acquaintances she had already formed were unworthy of her” (Jane Austen).
    Vile; despicable."

    I wouldn't just understand it as "lacking dignity". It means it has no value.

    I prefer "...of living" too; "...of life" reminds me of "a desert devoid of life" etc, where "life" means "living beings".
    #21VerfasserArchfarchnad -gb-06 Sep. 04, 08:20
    Kommentar
    "..unworthy of living" may be common but it sounds very odd to me. I understand "unworthy of life" to mean "undeserving of life" and do not see any grammatical differences between the two expressions. "unworthy of living" sounds to me as odd as "undeserving of living" - my brain refuses to process this combination of words and no meaning can be attached to them. Whether the subject is "life" or anything else is irrelevant.
    #22VerfasserGraeme06 Sep. 04, 09:41
    Vorschlaglife (people) unworthy to be let alive
    Kommentar
    I wonder if the above phase would be understood more clearly, since life unworthy of living might suggest suicidal thinking rather than murder
    #23Verfasserudo06 Sep. 04, 09:47
    Kommentar
    ... of life vs. living
    Just curious: Is this possibly an AE/BE thing? Could it help if the native speakers/contributors state their origin?
    #24VerfasserPeter &lt;de&gt;06 Sep. 04, 09:49
    Kommentar
    Obviously there's no single 'right' answer to this question. I would underline Dr. D.'s advice about keeping the original German in parentheses, but otherwise I'm not inclined to rule anything out except obvious grammatical errors.

    So, to eliminate a few, KHT's proposal is incorrect because of 'it.'

    Claudia's (second-hand) 'unfit to live' is both a little too mild and grammatically a little off because 'unfit' usually refers to a person.

    And udo's is incorrect because of 'let alive.' The verbs to choose from are

    to leave (so./sth.) [adj.] --> leave someone happy; left the door open
    to let (so.) [infinitive] --> let him go
    to allow (so.) to [infinitive] --> allowed her to die

    So if the subject were a person, you could say 'left alive' or 'let live = allowed to live.' However, none of those really works with 'life' as the grammatical subject.
    #25Verfasserhm -- us07 Sep. 04, 06:14
    Kommentar
    Now things get trickier, though.

    Peter <de>'s 'life unworthy of existence' (or, for that matter, 'unworthy to exist'/'unworthy of existing') also might seem more natural if the grammatical subject were a person rather than the noun '(a) life,' so I suppose I see william safire's point. But taking 'life' as the subject (not object) of the verb 'exist' doesn't actually bother me all that much: Life exists in many forms; The life of a fruit fly exists only for a short time; Does (a) human life exist from the moment of conception? etc.

    In fact, the two forms

    life unworthy of existence
    life unworthy of life

    seem grammatically parallel. To my ears both may be a little unusual, but surely not wrong. In both cases, 'life' is understood as more or less equal to an individual person, as in 'How many lives were lost in the fire?' (That's probably some figure of speech whose Greek name I've forgotten.)

    In their underlying logic or grammar, the other two viable choices

    life unworthy of living
    life not worth living

    may resemble each other more than they resemble the first two. Here 'life' seems to be understood more in the sense of lifespan, the course of a human life, and 'living' perhaps in the sense of 'living out,' 'completing.' I agree that this implies the POV of the person doing the living.
    #26Verfasserhm -- us07 Sep. 04, 06:16
    Kommentar
    Coming back to subject vs. object, strictly speaking I suppose you'd have to say that 'living' in the above two examples actually means 'being lived'; so maybe this is where william safire's point that a life doesn't live itself belongs. But somehow in practice that doesn't bother me very much.

    As for 'unworthy' vs. 'not worth,' off the top of my head I tend to agree with Graeme that most native speakers wouldn't notice a difference in meaning (though the one Frank FMH cites may apply) so much as a difference in level of diction. For me, 'worth [gerund]' is less formal than 'worthy of [noun],' just as 'living' is less formal than 'life.' It doesn't seem to be just AE/BE, since I assume Archfarchnad and Graeme are both BE and they disagree about 'living.'

    Nancy's and David's suggestions with 'not worth living' were made before the Nazi context had been clearly established (for those of us who, like me, didn't recognize the source). They sound more natural in modern English because they're less formal, less pompous. But in this case, diction that is consciously elevated, even to the point of awkwardness, may better reflect the original.

    Dr. D.: In any case, I'd like to join everyone else in welcoming you and thanking you for taking the time to contribute. Obviously it didn't take you long to get comfortable posting, so hey, don't be a stranger. Next thing you know, you'll be one of the lucky ones who gets a red 'Panic' or 'Input over 2K' error message -- then you'll feel right at home. (-;
    #27Verfasserhm -- us07 Sep. 04, 06:19
    Kommentar
    hm -- us: As always, your analysis is in-depth and your observations most clarifying, thanks a lot.
    Two remarks of yours (see below * and **) especially rang a bell with me and made me think over the implications of the German (non)phrase, that is, the 'Leben' part.
    Indeed, the German word (here) seems to encompass a broad range of meanings, from "being alive [Leben]", "life [das Leben]" to "(human) being [Lebewesen]" and, taken pars pro toto (that's the one you were looking for?): "individual [Individuum]". But with the last notion, the Unmensch is speaking, as the use of the coinage as a whole aims at abolishing exactly the connotation 'Person -> Persönlichkeit' (persona), together with its bearer.
    At any rate, its translation by "life" is not / should not be restricted to the meaning of "(that) life (which one lives/leads)" as it may be the case to (standard?) English native ears.

    A last remark be allowed: You seem to be in favour of rather formulating a bit unusual (=unidiomatic/akward/odd/jarring to "modern standards") in order to get the reader investigate the implicit understandings of a certain term. Am I right?

    * "So if the subject were a person, you could say 'left alive' or 'let live = allowed to live.' However, none of those really works with 'life' as the grammatical subject."
    ** "'life' is understood as more or less equal to an individual person."
    #28VerfasserPeter &lt;de&gt;07 Sep. 04, 08:32
    VorschlagLife undeserving of living?
    Kontext/ Beispiele
    Proposed translation:
    Life undeserving of living?

    Comment:
    This way the arbitrariness of those who make this qualification gets a little more emphasis...

    Karl karl_audenaerdeeupen.be Tue Sep 7 10:09:28 2004

    Kommentar
    found erroneously posted in another thread, copied here, to further add to the confusion <BG>
    #29VerfasserPeter &lt;de&gt;07 Sep. 04, 09:18
     
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