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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"?

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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:… – Vogel612 Dec 24 '13 at 2:11
up vote 2 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.

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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

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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

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