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I intend to translate the German term perspektivismische Kritik. It is intended to mean criticism from people with an attitude characterised by its emphasis on perspective.

Wikipedia tells me that in German, to designate the attitude of a group, you use the Greek suffix -ismus (e.g. Funktion → Funktionalismus, Pluralität → Pluralismus).

By making an adjective from the noun, Perspektivismus becomes perspektivismisch. This means something different than perspektivistisch or even perspektivisch. Perspektivisch is from a perspective. With perspektivistisch I am not sure, either it is with regard for a perspective or it is just plain wrong.

Now my question is: Do these derivatives translate one-to-one into English, i.e.:

perspektivismisch → perspectivismic
perspektivistisch → perspectivistic
perspektivisch → ?

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Sounds more like it should be posted in – Toscho Mar 24 '14 at 13:11
Perspektivisch? – Robert Mar 24 '14 at 13:59
I figured the intersection of English and German speakers is greater here. @Toscho: Why do you think so? At first sight it seems like both platforms are equally relevant... – wehnsdaefflae Mar 24 '14 at 13:59
@Robert: What do you mean by that? – wehnsdaefflae Mar 24 '14 at 14:02
perspektivisch bedeutet „aus einer besonderen Perspektive heraus“. perspektivistisch bedeutet „unter Berücksichtigung der oder mit besonderem Augenmerk auf der Tatsache, dass mehrere Perspektiven existieren.“. perspektivismisch bedeutet „Perspektiven oder perspektivistische Betrachtungen toll finden“;;; Zum Vergleich dazu relativ, relativistisch und Relativismus. – Toscho Mar 24 '14 at 14:25
up vote 3 down vote accepted

No, these suffixes cannot always be translated 1:1 between German and English.

The English translation of "perspektivismisch" ought to be "perspectivic", according to Merriam-Webster "of, relating to, or concerned with perspectivism". The English translation of "perspektivisch" is "perspectively" ("of, relating to, employing, or seen in perspective").

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This is a question of word formation, of which natural language processing using programming could prove useful. You could cross-reference all words with the desired suffixes and get useful statistics on the number of matches. You would have to look at the semantics in each case to determine the number of times that the meaning overlaps (time-consuming process that would be difficult to program). Even if there were a one-to-one relationship between affixes, it would most likely have a margin of error.

One such language to program this would be Python using the Natural Language Took Kit (NLTK).

Note that a similar procedure is used to determine which words should be included in a printed dictionary.

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No, there is no 1-1 correspondence.

Counterexamples for the ending -istisch:

  • antimonopolistisch → it can also be translated as anti-monopoly
  • biologistisch → it is also an adverb, so it can be translated as biologistically.
  • deistisch → same case, it might be deistic but it's an adverb as well (deistically), whence there's no 1:1 translation.
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Thanks for your answer! I think though that seismisch may not be a good counterexample as it derives from Seismik. Therefore the suffix -ismisch is not motivated by semantics but rather an artefact from the original word stem. – wehnsdaefflae Mar 25 '14 at 12:28
@wehnsdaefflae I erased that. But, unfortunately, I couldn't find any *-ismisch ending. – c.p. Mar 26 '14 at 10:51

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