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spin


What a wonderful English word! So short. So many meanings! And many of them so difficult to translate into other languages! Let's see some of them:
The primary meaning as a verb: to rotate around an axis. Like the earth. ES: girar sobre su eje. DE: sich um die eigene Achse drehen. Both languages need an additional explanation, just saying to turn or to rotate is not enough to dispel ambiguity - it is not clear that we refer to the rotation of the earth around its own axis (one day) or to the rotation of the earth around the sun (one year). German even requires a reflexive grammatical construction: to turn oneself around one's own axis. German is a meticulous language, one must admit. But English is elegant. Sometimes, at least.
The meaning as a substantive: The ball has a spin and acquires an effect. ES: La pelota tiene efecto. DE: Der Ball hat einen Drall und bekommt Effekt. In this case we can translate spin into German, but the word disappears completely in Spanish and only the effect remains. Other solutions are simply too clumsy. At least both the Germans and the Spaniards still score goals though, that's something.
The phisical meaning: The spin of the electron. Here it becomes evident that English has found the right word and that the other languages must follow. And follow they do, taking the English word as a loanword. ES and DE call the spin of a subatomic particle just that: spin. And rightly so. And thus nobody is forced to admit that they don't know what the spin of an electron actually is. Once again a most elegant solution!
The derived meaning: to spin a story, -> spin-doctor. It's easy to spin stories in other languages as well, every culture does: ES: hilvanar una historia, DE: Eine Geschichte spinnen. Well, more or less. But when the subject becomes political we must admit that the English language rules supreme on the Ocean of Euphemisms of Political Correctness. Who else could call a liar a liar in the face with such nonchalance?

What we can translate: When spin refers to textiles or cobwebs: tejer or spinnen. When spin refers to laundry: centrifugar or schleudern.


Kommentare

 
Am 12.03.2014 um 11:19 von Christian
"spin" = "Drehimpuls", auch "Drall".
Beim Fußball (und anderen Bällen) heißt es "Effet".
Bsp.: Die Erde dreht sich um ihre eigene Achse. Zusammen mit dem Mond dreht sie sich um eine andere Achse durch den gemeinsamen Schwerpunkt. Beide Systeme haben jeweils einen eigenen Drehimpuls.
Frage: Passt das mit der Definition von "Spin"?
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Am 13.03.2014 um 09:44 von Jordi
Nochmals hallo, Christian! Gute Frage, vielleicht liest ein Physikstudent mit und kann uns aufklären.
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Am 25.09.2015 um 07:51 von Bill
I think the spin in question is rather like this: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/22/david-cameron-advisers-piggate-spin-doctor?CMP=share_btn_tw Very funny, you can make it into a job. Now do not try to spin a pig's head when your willie is inside :-) Why is there no entry on Schadenfreude in this blog? I thought that was untranslatable?
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Am 25.09.2015 um 08:19 von Jordi
Thank you, Bill, that is indeed the spin I meant, nice article.

And sorry for not having written an entry on Schadenfreude yet, I thought it was too obvious and easy, but I see now that it could be useful indeed. I will try soon
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Am 08.06.2016 um 08:48 von Javier
But Schadenfreude can be translated into Spanish, we say regodear.
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Am 08.06.2016 um 09:17 von Jordi
¡Correcto! It cannot be translated into English, say the English themselves, so they leave it in italics, but it can very well be translated acurately into Spanish. Isn't it nice?
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Am 15.03.2014 um 09:44 von John
"Diesen Dreh hatt er er noch nicht raus" could be used to say that someone hasn't yet understood this particular spin/twist on/of something.
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