Question on translation: "eren"

Liechtenauer lineage and related sources (eg. Sigmund Ringeck, Peter von Danzig, Paulus Kal, Hans Talhoffer), interpretation and practice. Open to public view.

Question on translation: "eren"

Postby Monzambano » 23 Jan 2014 09:50

Often in the German literature on fencing masters, the term "Ehre" (modern spelling) is used, and the English translation is commonly "honour" ("honor" for you benighted denizens across the pond). E.g. in one of the Nürnberger Meistersinger poem, the verse runs:

Wer brauchen wil die löblich kunst, von einem meister sol ers leren,
Nicht von einem winckel fechter; sunst hatt er die kunst nicht mit eren.

Translated as:

He who want so learn the praiseworthy art, should he learn it from a master;
Not from a Winkelfechter, for otherwise he has the art, without honor.

I've seen this "without honour" translation many times. What if it really means that he does not have a recognised degree?

In the verse above, "eren" in very likely plural, and even in early German, "ere" in the sense of "honour" was typically (but not rigorously) used in the singular - much like it is in English. "HonourS" has a different connotation from "honour".

Maybe the plural is applied simply to make the rhyme work. Still, the phrasing is not "you are without honour", but "you have the art without honour(s)".

I can't immediately put my finger on other text examples, so I wanted to throw this out and ask anyone who has other text examples to please post them here, or if you have an example from e.g. a guild statute where "eren" (or "ehren") is used in terms of "recognised status" or "recognised degree". Many thanks!
The best revenge is living well
User avatar
Monzambano
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 478
Joined: 19 Mar 2011 20:45
Location: Bühler - formerly territory of the prince-abbot of St Gallen

Re: Question on translation: "eren"

Postby Andreas Engström » 23 Jan 2014 11:48

Monzambano wrote:In the verse above, "eren" in very likely plural, and even in early German, "ere" in the sense of "honour" was typically (but not rigorously) used in the singular - much like it is in English.

Hm. The very first thing the BMZ (Mittelhochdeutsches Wörterbuch von Benecke, Müller, Zarncke) says about the word is "steht gern im plural." That is "often/preferably used in plural form".

http://woerterbuchnetz.de/cgi-bin/WBNet ... id=BE00335

Thus I don't think any more complicated interpretation is necessary.

Also, AFAIK I've never seen "eren/ehren" being used in the meaning "recognised degree". As far as I can see neither BMZ nor DWB list it even as a secondary meaning.

-Andreas
User avatar
Andreas Engström
Brigadier
 
Posts: 1560
Joined: 22 Mar 2006 13:40
Location: Göteborg, Sweden

Re: Question on translation: "eren"

Postby Monzambano » 23 Jan 2014 14:39

I agree that the use of "Ehren" in plural is very common, but absolutely not when used in the sense "personal honour". In German as well as in English, "honour" in the sense of "personal honour" is innumerate and, in modern grammar at any rate, used in the singular only.

Clearly, "eren" in the referenced quote cannot mean "personal honour"; to do so does violence to the syntax and grammar of the quote. It has to be in plural, and does not refer to personal honour, but refers to the art. So what does it mean?

While "[personal] honour" is intrinsic to a person, "honours" ("Ehren") are conferred by a third party. So for me, the thrust of the verse is: "An unlicensed teacher cannot confer any honours on you, a licensed one can". In that sense, a licensed teacher confers a recognised degree, something you can adorn your name with.

I am quite satisfied on the meaning of the verse, I am asking whether there are any sources that tie into this.
The best revenge is living well
User avatar
Monzambano
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 478
Joined: 19 Mar 2011 20:45
Location: Bühler - formerly territory of the prince-abbot of St Gallen

Re: Question on translation: "eren"

Postby Andreas Engström » 23 Jan 2014 21:17

Monzambano wrote:in modern grammar at any rate, used in the singular only.

Yes, in modern grammar. Which is not the same as ancient German grammar. Modern English usage is too irrelevant to even bring up.

If you look at the link I posted to the BMZ you will find plenty of examples of the plural usage.

If you want something closer to home, try the very start of the Zedel, where the word is used both in plural and singular and in both cases clearly refers to personal honour/glory.

"Vber ritterschafft vnd lere
kunst dye dich cziret
vnd in krigenn czu eren hoffiret"

Unless you mean that this refers to a formal degree in warcraft.

There is also still not a single mention as far as I can see of the word at all being used to refer to a formal degree at the time.

-Andreas
User avatar
Andreas Engström
Brigadier
 
Posts: 1560
Joined: 22 Mar 2006 13:40
Location: Göteborg, Sweden

Re: Question on translation: "eren"

Postby Andreas Engström » 23 Jan 2014 21:24

Peter Falkner even uses "er", "ere" and "eren" in the same verse, none of which refers to a formal degree.

"Jungk Ritter Lern gott lieb haben / und frawen
In eren / Vnnd red den leytten wol
Biß manlich wã man sol So wechst dein er
vber ritterschaft Vnd lern kunst die dich
ziert In krieg zu eren hoffiert"

-Andreas
User avatar
Andreas Engström
Brigadier
 
Posts: 1560
Joined: 22 Mar 2006 13:40
Location: Göteborg, Sweden

Re: Question on translation: "eren"

Postby Monzambano » 25 Jan 2014 10:25

Andreas,

You're getting wrapped up in an isolated translation of a word, and not looking at the meaning of the passage.

Worrying about "honour" (in the innumerate, abstract sense) was a preoccupation of the nobility, and loss of honour brought loss of nobility and vice versa. But that was hardly a concern for commoners, and I cannot see that threatening some counting-house clerk he'd learn to fight but not have honour would have been a particularly strong marketing tool.

The loss of "bürgerliche Ehrenrechte" used to be one of the ancillary punishments that could be meted out for (or were the direct consequence of) conviction of certain crimes; Switzerland abolished this, Germany still has it in very attenuated form. Meyers Conversationslexikon lists a whole slew of rights and privileges an individual would lose if he lost his "bürgerliche Ehrenrechte". Chief among them was the right to vote, and he ceased to be electable or appointable to public office.

I particularly noted that he'd lose his right to supervise apprentices. For me, this closes the loop on the Marxbrüder and Federfechter - their Imperial privileges gave them the "honours" (probably best translated as "status") to supervise apprentices, whereas a Winkelfechter doesn't. So if a Winkelfechter does not have status, he can't confer status, whereas a licensed Marxbruder or Federfechter can.

Status - estate - is a legally defined and very tangible commodity in the feudal order, eligibility for certain offices required a certain status, so bettering one's status has legal, economic, political and social advantages.
The best revenge is living well
User avatar
Monzambano
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 478
Joined: 19 Mar 2011 20:45
Location: Bühler - formerly territory of the prince-abbot of St Gallen

Re: Question on translation: "eren"

Postby Monzambano » 25 Jan 2014 17:52

In legal language, there is a close connection between "honour", "estate/status" and "office":

http://www.rzuser.uni-heidelberg.de/~cd2/drw/e/eh/ehre.htm
The best revenge is living well
User avatar
Monzambano
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 478
Joined: 19 Mar 2011 20:45
Location: Bühler - formerly territory of the prince-abbot of St Gallen

Re: Question on translation: "eren"

Postby SteelCat » 13 Nov 2014 22:56

"In Ehren halten" (modern German, with Ehren plural compared to die Ehre singular, which indeed means personal honour) has nothing to do with personal honour. Just as "ehren" as a verb has nothing to do with personal honour.

It means to cherish. To hold something in high esteem.


I hope the native speaker was able to help :mrgreen:

Don't rely on a dictionary if a word has several rather different meanings. :wink:
SteelCat
Private
 
Posts: 27
Joined: 08 Nov 2014 21:56


Return to Johannes Liechtenauer

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron