1

Der unerfahrene Tourist neigt dazu, sich von der Vielschichtigkeit der Stadt verwirren zu lassen.

Compared to:

Der unerfahrene Tourist neigt dazu, sich von der Vielschichtigkeit der Stadt zu verirren.

I wonder if the first sentence with lassen has the meaning of getting lost unwittingly or at the mercy of something, whereas for the second sentence, you venture out into such a maze of streets of your own accord, half expecting to lose your bearings?

My focus here is on finding out about the connotation perceived with the auxiliary verb lassen in an instance like this.

  • Maybe you confuse matters? There is a possibility to "sich verirren" – Beta Mar 30 '17 at 18:05
  • @Beta Good point! Thanks. In any case, my focus is on finding out about the connotation perceived with the verb "lassen" in an instance like this. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Mar 31 '17 at 6:57
3

The second sentence is just wrong, or ill-formed.

(Exception: you are a playwright or poet and you misuse or re-frame words on purpose.)

sich von etwas verwirren lassen = get confused by something

As for your question whether the first sentence (which is well-formed) carries a nuance of 'unwittingly' or 'at the mercy of': I would say getting confused is per se unwitting, isn't it? Perhaps you wanted to point at possible differences in meaning of

(1) sich von jemandem verwirren lassen

vs.

(2) von jemandem verwirrt werden

Here, I would agree that, yes, you could argue that (2) is more like a neutral constatation whereas (1) has some ironic undertone.

But on the other hand "von jemandem verwirrt werden" is just a little bit awkward as a construction, perhaps due to the odd repetition of sounds:

Der Tourist wird vom Straßennetz verwirrt.

You somehow would avoid such homophony, at least in contexts where some attention to language is desired, e.g. in publishing. Unless you are a poet and use it for a purpose (for example in order to wittingly confuse your audience).

It is more common to say

Der Tourist wird vom Straßennetz verwirrt.

or, best solution in neutral contexts:

Der Tourist findet das Straßennetz verwirrend.

Note, however, that 'die Vielschichtigkeit der Stadt' is something quite different from 'the maze of streets'.

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2

Though visually similar both words have a different meaning, usage, and etymology:

verirren to get lost, to lose orientation
This verb is etymologically related to irre in the meaning of erroneous, lost in mind or lost in way.

jmd. verwirren to confuse s.o.
The etymology is related to wirr in the meaning of confused, puzzled, entangled.

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