I am reading Euler's German translation of his work on differential calculus entitled Vollständige Anleitung zur Differentialrechnung (Complete instruction on Differential Calculus). I am struggling to go through the Fraktur and the archaic words of 18th century German.

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My knowledge of German language is very limited so I wish to ask whether I get the underlined words correctly. In the order from left to right:

  1. benden
  2. letsten
  3. indess
  4. setzen
  5. Aendert

Did I write it correctly? The whole sentence is:

Diese benden letsten Dinge wollen wir indess den Seite setzen, um den Fall nicht zu sehr zu verwickeln. Aendert...

Is this sentence correct? What is its meaning?


1 Answer 1


The sentence is:

Diese beyden letzten Dinge wollen wir indeß bey Seite setzen, um den Fall nicht zu sehr zu verwickeln. Aendert...

Some of the words had a different spelling in that time.
What you considered an "n" is a "y", there are several words that were spelled with "ey" where nowadays it is "ei". This is the case in your word 1) beyden - modern spelling beiden = both and in the word bey (modern spelling bei) that you didn't mark.
Perhaps you just made a typo in 2) when you wrote letsten, because you correctly identified the same letters as "tz" in 4) setzen
3) is indeß, the modern spelling is indes
You are right with 5) - "Ae" is an alternative for "Ä" in case you can't use Umlaute.

Instead of bey Seite the modern spelling would be beiseite.

A translation of that sentence would be

However, we want to put aside these last two things (depending on context, objects or items might be a better English equivalent) in order to not make the case too complicated. If one changes...

  • Thank you so much for your answer. This book is definitely old. Jan 10, 2020 at 3:46
  • 2
    @JamesWarthington As the answer illustrates, no archaic words are involved, just dated spelling.
    – guidot
    Jan 10, 2020 at 9:22
  • 2
    Modern spelling would be Diese beiden letzten Dinge wollen wir indes beiseitesetzen, um den Fall nicht zu sehr zu verwickeln. Ändert... You could argue that beiseitesetzen is archaic wording. Today people would more likely say beiseitelegen. Jan 10, 2020 at 12:16
  • Following more modern concepts I would probably turn the whole sentence around in modern German, "Um den Fall nicht unnötig aufzublähen, wollen wir die letzten beiden Fakten auslassen / hier nicht betrachten" or some similar wording
    – eagle275
    Jan 10, 2020 at 14:21
  • I just read that Ae actually predates Ä: It was Ae with a superscripted e, then the e got abbreviated to just two dots, then the dots moves over the A. (No reliable source for that, unfortunately.) My speculation is that typesetting then had a tendency to move back to Ae because that's one letter less you have to keep in your typecase.
    – toolforger
    Jan 10, 2020 at 21:26

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