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I am trying to figure out how to express "discomfort" in German. It seems to me that there is no general noun, and every dictionary tells me something else. Here is a simple sentence:

The discomfort of the chair is causing me physical discomfort.

I have come up with many, seemingly wrong, attempts to this translation:

  • "Der Diskomfort des Stuhles bereitet mir Unbehagen."

  • "Die Unbequemlichkeit des Stuhles bereitet mir körperliche Beschwerden."

  • "Die Unbehaglichkeit des Stuhles bereitet mir Unwohlsein."

Can somebody help me from going crazy and lend some help?

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Chairs are indeed either bequem or unbequem. The most simple way to say what you intend to say is:

Dieser unbequeme Stuhl tut mir im Rücken weh.

In contrary anything with Beschwerden sounds terribly stilted.

Dieser unbequeme Stuhl bereitet mir Beschwerden. (stilted)

Die Unbequemlichkeit is an euphemism for small but annoying shortcomings:

Die Sitze im Flieger waren in Ordnung, die Unbequemlichkeit war es, aus der Sitzreihe hinaus zur Toilette zu kommen.

Behaglich in contrary means cozy, unbehaglich either not cozy or even frightening.

Unwohlsein is sickness. Either of your guts or your head, ot both. Not your skin, bones, muscles etc.

  • A bit less stilted than bereitet would be verursacht: – RHa Apr 13 '18 at 7:08
  • The sentence "The discomfort of the chair is causing me physical discomfort" sounds peculiar in English! I would rewrite it as: "This chair is causing me physical discomfort." (This way, he's not identifying the cause of his discomfort as discomfort but rather as the chair.) Would it sound stilted to you to write the following? "Dieser Stuhl bereitet mir Beschwerden." Or: "Dieser Stuhl bereitet mir körperliche Beschwerden." – Greg Marks Apr 18 '18 at 3:13
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    The stilted part in German is the Beschwerden. Körperliche Beschwerden is even more stilted, it's something your PR agent would say if they ask him why you left the stage in mid-play. (truth: had eaten too many tacos.) – Janka Apr 18 '18 at 3:35
  • Thank you for the clarification! But now I'm confused about the proper use of Beschwerden. I get the impression that it's often used to refer to complaints (e.g. „das Taco-Restaurant hatte zahlreiche Beschwerden über sanitäre Bedingungen“). But it seems that Beschwerden can also refer to discomfort. For example, an article in Die Welt states: „Die Furcht vor Gesundheitsrisiken durch elektromagnetische Wellen kann ohne objektiven Anlass bei bestimmten Menschen echte Beschwerden hervorrufen.“ Their fear causes them real discomfort. Is that different from what the chair causes? – Greg Marks Jul 2 '18 at 6:24
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    Beschwerden is a load put on you. Beschweren means putting weights onto something. All other meanings are derived from that. – Janka Jul 2 '18 at 10:18
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The discomfort of the chair is causing me physical discomfort.

If you try to translate this sentence literally it may unavoidably sound a bit unnatural, but your second attempt is basically OK.

A sentence sounding more natural would be:

Der Stuhl ist so unbequem, dass er mir körperliche Beschwerden verursacht.

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