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I've been playing with the words "eigen" and "eigenartig", as well as "Eigenheit" and "Eigenart" and was trying to figure out what differentiates them, and where some overlap may be. I will start with some examples:

  1. Sie ist sehr eigen, was Musik betrifft.

  2. Dieses Verhalten ist ihm eigen.

  3. Er ist etwas eigen.

  4. Er ist eigenartig.

As far as I understand, these sentences can be translated as

  1. She is very particular as far as music goes.

  2. This behavior is very particular to/characteristic of him.

  3. He is a bit peculiar.

  4. He is peculiar.

You see in my translations that there is an overlap in translations 3 and 4, unless I am wrong in one of them. Is it really the case that "eigen" and "eigenartig" mean the same thing when talking about something strange, or odd?

Second, the reason I didn't simply translate "eigenartig" as strange/odd, was because of the noun "die Eigenart", which does not seem to carry the meaning of being strange or odd, unless I am mistaken. For example, "Das ist eine typische britsche Eigenart" is translated as "That is a typical british characteristic". Is it possible that "Eigenart" can still be used to describe something odd?

Lastly, I am totally lost when trying to get an understanding of "Eigenheit", and where this fits into this big picture.

  • Eigenheit == characteristic. Eigenart is the same, but with a stinky eye. – Janka Jun 18 '18 at 13:39
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I try to state the differences in your example.

Sie ist sehr eigen, was Musik betrifft. ≠ Sie ist eigenartig, was Musik betrifft.

The word "eigen" is more positive, meaning that the person is peculiar but you are affirmative of that and you accept it. Like an eccentric rock star is accepted.

Being "eigenartig" has a bad taste to it. You say that if you are not fond of the person's behaviour and you find it weird in a way and you delimit yourself from the person.

  • 1
    +1, eigen == eccentric; eigenartig == weird – Janka Jun 18 '18 at 13:36
  • Weird covers more then eigenartig does. – alk Jun 18 '18 at 18:14
  • But does "die Eigenart" mean something weird? – Mark Jun 19 '18 at 4:50
  • @Mark No. "Eigenart" is more a character trait and is mostly meant neutrally or affirmative. – min hundje Jun 19 '18 at 6:16

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