I know this is a bit contrived, but with literature about clones and time travel and parallel universes, this is bound to come up.

I traveled to 1995, and the I that I saw was not the I I remember being.

Feel free to be imaginive, and please let me know which definite articles sound right with "der ich".

  • Correct punctuation would help a lot, to make that English sentence more comprehensible. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jun 9 '18 at 11:39
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    @πάνταῥεῖ, I assume you want to say that it would make the text easier to read for you if English used German punctuation. – Carsten S Jun 9 '18 at 11:46
  • @Carsten No, correct English punctuation would be completely sufficient. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jun 9 '18 at 11:55
  • @CarstenS Not my A-level force, but I believe it should be "I traveled to 1995, and the I that I saw, was not the I I remember being." – πάντα ῥεῖ Jun 9 '18 at 11:56
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    Common grammar does not cover time travel well, but I believe it should say ...was not the I I remember having been. – tofro Jun 9 '18 at 12:11

The correct definite article for 1st person singular as noun is das:

Ich reiste (zurück) nach 1995 und das Ich, das ich sah, war nicht das Ich, das ich mich erinnerte zu sein.

According to dict.cc (emphasis mine):

NOUN das Ich | die Ichs/Ich

Thus the English term the I clearly translates to the das Ich in German.

| improve this answer | |
  • It is erinnern an, so an das ich mich erinnerte zu sein. or an das zu sein ich mich erinnerte. – rexkogitans Jun 9 '18 at 16:35
  • @rexkogitans Danke! – πάντα ῥεῖ Jun 9 '18 at 16:37
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    "Das Ich" referes to the psychologigal "Ich" in the model of Sigmund Freud, who also coined the concept. Are you sure this "Ich" is the same as the one in teh example? – Beta Jun 9 '18 at 17:08
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    @Beta. Freud did not coin "das ich". It was used by Fichte in the 18th century, and by others since. – fdb Jun 9 '18 at 17:29
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    @πάνταῥεῖ's translation is correct. – fdb Jun 9 '18 at 17:30

Very probably, you wouldn't use "Ich" in that subclause at all, but rather refer to yourself in third person:

Ich reiste zurück nach 1995 und erkannte, dass ich, der ich mich dort antraf, nicht der war, der ich glaubte, gewesen zu sein.

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    For the sake of clarity you might want to add that in your translation der is not the definite article of ich. – Arsak Jun 9 '18 at 13:00
  • Could you use "die" in case you were female? – Beta Jun 9 '18 at 17:10
  • @Beta Yes, you can. – tavkomann Jun 9 '18 at 18:12

For the sake of simplification I wouldn't try to translate it verbatim too.

I traveled to 1995 and the I that I saw was not the I I remember being.

  • Ich reiste ins Jahr 1995, fand mich jedoch nicht so, wie ich mich aus dieser Zeit in Erinnerung habe.

  • Ich reiste ins Jahr 1995, erkannte mich aber nicht als den, den ich von damals in Erinnerung habe.

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  • For sake of literal connotation trust, I'd avoid such wide interpretation, Also I don't really see a "sine qua non" with that construct. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jun 9 '18 at 16:13

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