In conversation with my friend, I said jokingly:

Ach, keine Sorge! Auf ihn kannst du bauen. Obwohl er wohl nicht gerade für Sinn für Humor bekannt ist...

In French, both "bien que" and "encore que" serve to introduce a restrictive subordinate clause, but they carry a nuance: the former denotes a stronger contrast, while the latter is used to put it mildly... so that you won't offend anyone, for instance.

Here, I wanted to take the edge off the severity of the criticism levelled at him, since his lack of sense of humour per se should not take away from his otherwise great personality.

I'd have expressed the same idea in French with "encore que", as my second comment was just an afterthought. I wonder if "obwohl" is closer in meaning to "bien que" or "encore que"? Or can I use it for both situations, depending on context?

  • 1
    Note German "takes the edge off" much more with the use of a particle ("wohl nicht gerade" in your example) than with the choice of conjunction.
    – tofro
    Jan 14 '18 at 9:34

There are five similar words to introduce a restrictive subordinate clause in German, obwohl, wenngleich, obgleich, obschon, and obzwar.

Nobody uses obzwar and obschon. Only snobs use wenngleich and obgleich, which is a mild contrast alternative.

That should answer your question if there is a strong/mild contrast – no. Obwohl covers both.

  • 1
    what about "auch wenn"?
    – Uwe
    Jan 14 '18 at 9:01
  • A sentence lead by auch wenn is not explaining a restriction but a reason why something would not work. The two cases may fall together occasionally.
    – Janka
    Jan 14 '18 at 9:06

You write in English for a question in French, which you seem to know very well and want to know synonyms in German :-) Maybe in your case "wobei" would fit also instead of "obwohl". "Wobei" is rather introducing a remark than a strict objection.

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