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Which of the two following German translations for reverse chronological (as in: reverse chronological order)

achronologisch

and

antichronologisch

is the correct form, or are both correct? Do they mean the same? Or is there a subtle distinction between anti- and a-?

5
  • 8
    I would actually say nicht chronologisch or in umgekehrter chronologischer Reihenfolge. Jun 1, 2011 at 12:02
  • Another way would be to say chronologisch ungeordnetor in verkehrter zeitlicher Reihenfolge. Though I would not use in verkehrter chronologischer Reihenfolge.
    – bernd_k
    Jun 1, 2011 at 20:14
  • @Deve und Tim: Sieht "...isch" wie eine englsiche Endung aus? Dec 21, 2015 at 17:27
  • @userunknown Zu dem Zeitpunkt als wir unsere Kommentare gepostet haben, lautete die Frage noch anders, sh. Editierverlauf.
    – Deve
    Dec 21, 2015 at 17:31
  • @Deve: Okay, habe sie als obsolet markiert. Kannst Deinen aber auch selbst löschen. Dec 21, 2015 at 18:48

6 Answers 6

10

They are both correct, but have different meanings.

The a-word construction indicates a lack of word, whereas the anti-word construction indicates something against word.

In your example, something which is "achronological" is something without a time-based order. For example, I could say my notebook is achronological, as I write on random pages on random days.

Something is "antichronological" (this is a odd word however) if it is in reverse chronological order. For example, if I wrote on my notebook from the last page to the first page, I could say it is antichronological.

1
  • Anti can mean "opposite to some direction", so here it could mean "opposite to the direction of time". It could also mean "opposite to some meaning/perspective/attitude". So one could also use this adjective for anything, that disturbs the chronological order.
    – Toscho
    Mar 2, 2013 at 13:08
8

I don't think those words really exist in German. At least I couldn’t find them on duden.de.

The only context I found them (both) via Google was with CVs. So I guess it’s an anglicism that came to Germany with the American style CVs recently.

OregonGhost posted the correct translations in his comment. However, antichronologisch sounds wronger to my ears than achronologisch.

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    Yes, as I noted even in English "antichronological" is very weird. It is much more normal to see "reverse chronological" instead, which is a synonym. Jun 1, 2011 at 13:44
  • 1
    These are technical terms that are not listed in a dictionary like the Duden which aims at everyday users. Since many technical terms are created within an international society of scientists and technologists, and since many of these kinds of terms are created ad hoc and forgotten again, it would take extensive research to find out where they originated.
    – user1914
    Mar 8, 2013 at 13:23
  • I agree with @Toscho that putting "anti" in front of chronologisch is ambiguous. It could either mean "in reverse (chronological) order" or it could mean "not chronological" (the same as achronistisch). Therefore using this word composition just seems plain wrong to me. One should rather explain the intention more clearly, for example "in umgekehrt chronologischer Reihenfolge". Jun 15, 2015 at 9:20
4

The prefixes "a-" and "anti-" have different meanings. "achronological" means "not proceeding through time in an ordered fashion", while "antichronological" means "proceeding backwards through time".

Example: Most movies rewinded are antichronological, while e.g. Memento is achronological,

1

The best translation for reverse chronological is, remarkably, the literal translation:

Umgekehrt chronologisch

A Google search confirms that this is used in German.

1

Antichronologisch and Unchronologisch don't really exist in German.

It's more common to say

Nicht chronologisch

eng. non-chronological

Anachronistisch

eng. anachronistic

Duden.de

0

I see some people have problems with their own language. Unchronologisch would be proper to us; the prefix un- is used to show the opposite of something, like unlogisch, unglaublich etc.

1
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    There's a difference between "unchronolgisch" (not chronological, i.e., in random order) and "antichronologisch" (in reverse order). Mar 1, 2013 at 20:50

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