I had a quick question about "aufeinander prallen". I know we can say things like,

  1. Diese Ideen prallen aufeinander.

  2. Die zwei Kulturen prallten aufeinander.

In both instances, this reflects things "colliding", or some discord/disunity. Can I also say things like,

  1. Idee X prallt auf Idee Y.

  2. Kultur X prallte auf Kultur Y?

Or, must we always describe the two things as one object and use "aufeinander"? Thanks!

  • einander is simply each other. It's a cognate. – Janka Nov 5 '18 at 20:30

There might be a slight difference in the meaning. If you say

Die zwei Kulturen prallten aufeinander.

then you don't make any more statements than that there is a clash of cultures, whereas

Kultur X prallte auf Kultur Y

might have two additional connotations

  1. Y is the predominant culture and a smaller group X might collide with it

  2. that X is somehow responsible for the clash of cultures, for example by deliberately provoking it.

These additional connotations are not necessarily always present, it may depend on the context of the sentence.

Other situation where you could use "aufeinanderprallen" is "Meinungen" or "Ansichten", but I would not use for "Ideen" or "Vorschläge".

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To be honest, I would not use "aufeinanderprallen" for "Vorschläge", but "kollidieren"

Mein Vorschlag kollidiert mit der traditionelle Vorgehensweise.

(please be aware that this is a pretty strong statement, that suggests that your suggestions is not possible because of the traditional way of doing.)

Another possibility would be "treffen:

Mein Vorschlag trifft auf die traditionelle Vorgehensweise

This would also work for "Ideen":

Meine Idee trifft auf die traditionelle Vorgehensweise

  • Thank you. I think I understand, but let us talk about my example with ideas. For example, suppose I make a suggestion, but it is inconsistent with the how things are traditionally done. Could I say: "Mein Vorschlag prallt auf die traditionalle Vorgehensweise."? – Mark Nov 5 '18 at 20:51
  • You could say that, but it's a very confusing picture. (Uh, and it's traditionell.) Aufprallen is a violent act, you are saying the traditionelle Vorgehensweise is like concrete ground and mein Vorschlag is smashed into pieces. Or bouncing back like an inflated ball, but then people would prefer abprallen von. – Janka Nov 5 '18 at 21:28
  • 1
    @Mark I added replies to your comment to my answer – daniel Nov 5 '18 at 21:44

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