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I was trying to write a sentence in German about simplicity and want the word that will best describe gratitude with simple pleasures.

So I have come across the following words

Anspruchslosigkeit Einfachheit Schmucklosigkeit Ursprünglichkeit

But "Simplizität" seems like it might be the literal translation. Which word would fit best in my context and would I choose a different word based on other factors?

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The translation of "simplicity" may vary considerably depending on context. Please give us some idea in what field you will be talking. –  Takkat Feb 23 at 20:57
    
@Takkat I wrote, "gratitude with simple pleasures." So simplicity in the way of life. –  JGallardo Feb 24 at 2:41
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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

los implies the absence of something (hoffnungslos, wertlos, etc). That being said

Anspruchslosigkeit

says without demands / requirements (Ansprüche)

Einfachheit

from einfach, without something needless or distracting

Schmucklosigkeit

says without jewelry Edit (literally). It is rather used in the figurative sense (see comment)

Ursprünglichkeit

from Ursprung, indicates that something was/is preserved

All those substantives (but Einfachheit) are rather seldom used. I also recommend Einfachheit and Schlichtheit or do without and express it differently, as proposed already. Simplizität is rather unusual.

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I wouldn't translate "Schmucklosigkeit" as "without jewelry". Literally, it means "without adornments", figuratively, it says something has been made without any regard to making it pretty and can apply to pretty much any man-made object. Other than that, I agree with you. –  Jens Neubauer Feb 24 at 7:47
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"Simplizität" is not a word a german would use while speaking, except maybe a university professor trying to impress his audience.

In the sense you want to use it, "Einfachheit" would probably be the best translation. For example, "He prefers the simplicity of living on a remote farm to town life" could be translated as "Er bevorzugt die Einfachheit des Landlebens ...". However, not using a substantive at all might be the better translation: "Er bevorzugt das einfache Landleben...".

If you want to use a substantive, "Schlichtheit" might be a good choice as well.

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I'd like to add Genügsamkeit. I think it fits pretty well with what you're looking for. Genügsamkeit means not needing much.

I think it fits better than "Anspruchslosigkeit" as that might carry a negative connotation ("Anspruch" is often used in context with intellectual activities).

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Anspruchslosigkeit:

"-igkeit" is the standard substantivated adjective ending, the origin is the adjective: "anspruchslos", which in itself is a derivation of the substantive "Anspruch" with the suffix "-los" to express a non-existantness (that was by far my worst adjective ever..)

"Anspruch" means something like "entitlement"

Einfachheit:

"-heit" also is one of the standard substantivated adjective endings.
The other word component here is: "einfach" which means "simple", "easy".

Best translation for this word would probably be "simpleness."
This is probably the word you are looking for in a general context

Schmucklosigkeit:

Here again we see the the standard ending "-igkeit". The original adjective is also a combination of a Substantive and the suffix "-los" (as explained above).

"Schmuck" is "ornaments" here and thus "schmucklos" means "plain", "non-ornamental" or "functional".

Ursprünglichkeit:

Very similar to "-heit" (and probably ethymologically related), the suffix "-keit" again denotes the substantivation of an adjective, in this case "ursprünglich".

this word again comes from "Ursprung" which means "origin" or somtimes "cause". The in my opinion most fitting translation would be: "naturality" or "originality".

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