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German is not my native language but I have a lot of experience with it. To translate "because of what he said", I feel like I should say "wegen dem, was er gesagt hat" instead of "wegen dessen, was er gesagt hat". However, I'm unsure because "wegen" usually takes genitive. Both forms have a pretty large number of Google hits. What is right in this case?

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Beide Konstruktionen haben etwas Umgangssprachliches an sich. Schriftlich würde ich den Satz umformulieren: "Augfrund seiner Aussage", oder meinetwegen "wegen des von ihm Gesagten". –  Ingmar May 28 '14 at 5:36
"Because of what he said" ist ebenfalls umgangssprachlich. Beim Übersetzen soll man übersetzen, und nicht neu dichten. "Aufgrund seiner Aussage" steht nicht im Original, also darf es auch nicht in der Übersetzung stehen. "Wegen des von ihm Gesagten" ist schon näher dran, hebt es aber eben in ein zu hohes Register und scheidet damit ebenfalls aus. –  RegDwight May 31 '14 at 23:06

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

In spoken language, I would definitively use the first approach

Wegen dem, was er gesagt hat.

It sounds less formal. Using genetive constructions in spoken language may cause you to be perceived as overly correct in some regions (and depending a lot on your audience, of course).

For written texts, I would take the hint from Ingmar's comment to choose a less literal translation.

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Actually, this is just wrong. But yes, more common. –  Max Ried May 28 '14 at 19:55
@MaxRied that is not how language works. By that metric, every single word in your comment is wrong and you should be writing Old English instead, or better still PIE. Languages constantly evolve, and this is but one minor instance of the constant evolution. Wrong would be "wegen deren, dass er gesagt hat", for example. But "wegen dem, was er gesagt hat" is not wrong, precisely because millions of native speakers all over the world produce it all the time. Even "wegen dem, wo er gesagt hat" is perfectly grammatical in various dialects, and might well become grammatical in Standard German. –  RegDwight May 31 '14 at 23:15
Foam Irwin walk etc. Flaked jamming arm shin but. Quakerish aves Fibel wobei checks sudden Bush genau. Got it? –  Max Ried Jun 1 '14 at 8:36

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