Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

So I more or less understand that it means "self", however I still don't get how to translate it. For example in the sentence:

Ganz ehrlich, ich wusste zu Beginn selbst nicht, ob ich die Beantwortung der Frage für wichtig halte.

I guess "self not" is not a proper translation of "selbst nicht".

So are there other usage of "selbst"?

share|improve this question
2  
For the stats: 6 Views, 1 Edit and 2 Answers within 10 minutes... damn we are fast! –  Vogel612 Dec 24 '13 at 1:08
    
Vogel, you were right, the word order confused me. So does "selbst" usually stay near the end of a sentence? –  Lex Dec 24 '13 at 1:56
    
Not really. The fun thing about the placement of selbst is, that it shifts the meaning of the whole sentence.. I think this is worth a new question. –  Vogel612 Dec 24 '13 at 2:04
    
Aaaaaand there it is: german.stackexchange.com/questions/9122/… –  Vogel612 Dec 24 '13 at 2:11
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You are making a small erroneous assumption here. "selbst" here is primarily connected to "ich" in this sentence.

"nicht" is connected to the verb ("wissen") here.

One could reformulate:

Ich selbst wusste nicht [...]

Then the translation gets clear:

ich selbst --> I self --> I myself

And then translating the whole sentence gives us:

Honestly in the beginning I myself didn't know, whether I believed the question's answering to be relevant.

share|improve this answer
add comment

It translates roughly to either "even" or "my-, your-, his-, one-, herself"/"our-, theirselves".

In all honesty, I myself didn't initially know whether I regarded the answer to the question as important.

In all honesty, I didn't even initially know whether I regarded the answer to the question as important.

You can also use "selbst" to emphasize that something was done by you

Das habe ich selbst gemacht! == I did that by myself!

Die Königin selbst könnte das nicht machen == The queen herself couldn't do that

share|improve this answer
1  
While "even" here fits the meaning behind the usage of "selbst" wonderfully, I wouldn't call it an actual translation, ---not even roughly--- nicht selbst ungefähr 😫 –  Vogel612 Dec 24 '13 at 1:10
    
@Vogel612 selbst nicht ungefähr –  Emanuel Dec 24 '13 at 12:37
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.