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    den Teufel an die Wand malen

    Kontext/ Beispiele
    mal nicht den Teufel an die Wand!
    VerfasserWolfgang Weidner13 Jun. 02, 15:03
    Vorschlagdon't tempt fate
    #1Verfasser13 Jun. 02, 16:51
    Kommentar
    to imagine the worst, exaggerate the negative, paint a pessimistic picture
    #2Verfasser13 Jun. 02, 19:37
    Vorschlagdon't be the devil's advocat
    Kommentar
    ist eine gute Uebersetzung
    #3Verfasseranfg17 Sep. 08, 23:31
    Kommentar
    "don't be the devil's advocatE" ist keine gute Übersetzung. Ein "devil's advocate" ist einfach jemand, der in einer Diskussion immer eine entgegengesetzte Meinung vertritt.

    "don't tempt fate" ist genauso falsch- das heisst "lehn dich nicht zu weit aus dem Fenster raus"

    #2 war richtig
    #4Verfasser Todd (275243) 17 Sep. 08, 23:36
    Kommentar
    Todd, Glad I'm not the only one who fell for the "age-old thread syndrom," today - but mine was "only" 3.5 years old, not 6 :-))
    #5Verfasser Carly-AE (237428) 17 Sep. 08, 23:37
    Kommentar
    oh my God. Didn't even look. Nevertheless, I didn't dig it up so at least anfg was still truly interested unless he's a troll, which is a definite possibility based on his translation:)
    #6Verfasser Todd (275243) 17 Sep. 08, 23:43
    Kommentar
    Ganz abgesehen davon, dass es nicht passt heißt es doch "playing devil's advocate", oder nicht?
    #7Verfasser Lady Grey (235863) 17 Sep. 08, 23:45
    Kommentar
    #1 support -

    it expresses a superstition...
    #8Verfassernoli17 Sep. 08, 23:45
    Quellen
    Kommentar
    IMHO, 'devil's advocate' ist ein guter Geist, der seine Verbündeten nur vor deren Gegnern schützen will. Deshalb malt der den Teufel an die Wand (und macht das als solches auch deutlich.
    Mit #3 wäre ich noch nicht ganz einverstanden -- auch als devil's advocate. Wenn noch weitere Bestätigungen kommen, kannst Du - Wolfgang - meinen Kommentar vergessen.
    #9Verfasser Claus (243211) 17 Sep. 08, 23:52
    Kommentar
    Don't meet trouble halfway - habe ich gerade auf dict.cc gefunden. Dort wird auch "Speak of the devil and the devil shows up" vorgeschlagen, aber das ist ja nun wirklich falsch, denn das ist die Übertragung von "Wenn man vom Teufel spricht.."..
    #10Verfasser Lady Grey (235863) 17 Sep. 08, 23:53
    Kommentar
    noli- some of the most unsuperstitious people I know use the phrase "don't tempt fate"- it simply means "don't go out on a limb so that nothing bad happens" and has nothing to do with the translation of "den Teufel auf die Wand zu malen"

    and I must also disagree with Claus, who is usually right in these matters. "To play the devil's advocate" means to always present a contrary opinion, just for the sake of argument. Now admittedly, this can sometimes include painting a dark picture to be sure people are aware of what MIGHT happen, but that is not a prerequisite....
    #11Verfasser Todd (275243) 17 Sep. 08, 23:59
    Kommentar
    Todd

    den Teufel an die Wand malen - do paint a scenario which you hope will not occur...

    so - don't tempt fate - i think u misread the German
    #12Verfassernoli18 Sep. 08, 00:03
    Kommentar
    Todd

    den Teufel an die Wand malen - do paint a scenario which you hope will not occur...

    so - don't tempt fate - i think u misread the German
    #13Verfassernoli18 Sep. 08, 00:03
    Kommentar
    Devil's Advocate is wrong - and yes, it's "play the devil's advocate". The Advocatus Diaboli was appointed to find any and all faults in a person being considered for sainthood (and also the papacy?). There was even a thread about it:
    Siehe auch: to play (the) devil's advocate - den Anwalt d...

    Dan Brown mentions the devil's advocate in his book "Angels and Demons"; there is a crucial revelation made through the cardinal who was the devil's advocate.
    #14Verfasser Robert -- US (328606) 18 Sep. 08, 00:04
    Kommentar
    sorry, Noli, "don't tempt fate" is simply not the same as "den Teufel an die Wand zu Malen"

    "leave good enough alone" is a fitting simplification for "don't tempt fate". Now, having said that, someone who says to you "don't tempt fate" might actually BE "maling den Teufel an die Wand" as an argument, but they are conceptually directionally different. "Don't tempt fate" is said TO someone to change their behavior. "Mal den Teufel nicht an die Wand" is said BY someone considering their behavior TO someone who is trying to discourage them.
    #15Verfasser Todd (275243) 18 Sep. 08, 00:15
    Kommentar
    todd - i don't envy your perfect tunnel vision...
    #16Verfassernoli18 Sep. 08, 00:22
    Kommentar
    @Todd #11: So my #9 reflects but a very seletive (and limited) understanding of the concept? If so, I should not use that phrase in order to be labeled a negative person?
    #17Verfasser Claus (243211) 18 Sep. 08, 00:22
    Kommentar
    Todd - I have to basically agree with you, but find your definition too confusing and narrow. "Mal den Teufel nicht an die Wand" is said BY someone considering their behavior TO someone who is trying to discourage them."

    The expression is just used by somebody to express disagreement with a pessimistic statment about anything, "them" or anybody else, anything else, such as the economic situation, climate change, the War in Iraq, or anybody's potentially problematic family matters. It is not necessary that the speaker himself also feels or should feel discouraged.

    So in plain words, it's something like "Don't be too pessimistic! Do not always expect the worst!"
    But I wonder if there is a more metaphoric expression that really fits here, as I also don't think that "to play the devil's advocate" really fits here, becuase that involves reasoning, maybe luring somebody into making sb believe sth, but not necessarily into being hopeless.
    #18Verfasser maxxpf (361343) 18 Sep. 08, 00:29
    Kommentar
    @maxxpf: Gut, dass jemand zum Thema zurückführt. (Der advocate war in diesem Detail wohl eine Verirrung.) Gründsätzlich entspricht das, was Du schreibst, auch meinem Verständnis des Gebrauchs im Deutschen. Übringens meine ich, dass Todd Dir auch folgen kann, wenn Du auf Deutsch schreibst.
    #19Verfasser Claus (243211) 18 Sep. 08, 00:40
    Kommentar
    funny, Noli, I thought the tone I have been using was perfectly respectful. I don't feel like I am arguing, but discussing. These discussions are what LEO is all about, for me. Sorry if you took offense- that was not my intent.

    Now one way I can understand your point would be if it were common in German for people to say to someone who they were trying to discourage from something "Mal den Teufel an die Wand", but I really have only ever heard this phrase in the negative "mal den Teufel nicht an die Wand"- maybe that is a shortcoming on my part.

    Claus: your usage of "devil's advocate" is correct, just not the only correct one- thus nobody would even flinch- and I don't know if you are even being serious with this "being labeled a negative person"- I know from your postings that your command of both languages makes that question superfluous. And from this potential sarcasm I sense you think I am full of it.

    Check out the very first sentence of the Wikipedia definition: "In common parlance, a devil's advocate is someone who takes a position, sometimes one he or she disagrees with, for the sake of argument."

    Having said that, maybe "common parlance" can still be wrong. If so I am a victim of my upbringing and apologize:)

    Not trying to be bitchy or rechthaberisch here, just defending my position....

    #20Verfasser Todd (275243) 18 Sep. 08, 00:42
    Quellen
    Pons-Collins:
    tempt ...
    to tempt fate /or/ providence - (fig) sein Schicksal herausfordern; (in words) den Teufel an den Wand malen
    devil's advocate - des Teufels Advokat, Advokatus Diaboli
    to play devil's advocate - den Advokatus Diaboli spielen

    Cf.
    Siehe auch: to borrow trouble / don't borrow trouble
    Siehe auch: Speak of the devil and the devil shows up! - ...

    Kommentar

    This discussion only seems to have confused the picture.

    'Don't tempt fate,' on the other hand, may not be exactly the same as 'Mal nicht den Teufel an die Wand,' but I think it's similar, and Pons-Collins thinks so too.

    And there are several other roughly similar sayings. 'Don't meet trouble halfway' may be BE; I've never heard it used. I would suggest instead 'Don't borrow trouble,' or 'Don't go looking for trouble,' at least for AE. Another similar phrase in German is 'Das Schicksal nicht herausfordern / berufen.' Todd's suggestion I know as 'Leave well enough alone,' which is also somewhat similar.

    I don't think 'Don't tempt fate' is really much like 'Nicht zu weit aus dem Fenster rauslehnen'; that's more like 'Don't go out on a limb,' 'Don't take chances,' isn't it? So I disagree with Todd #4b.

    Nor does 'Play devil's advocate' have anything to do with 'den Teufel an die Wand malen,' except that they both contain the word 'devil.' If you play devil's advocate, you deliberately defend the opposite side in an argument. It's not really about luring anyone anywhere; it's just an effort to represent both sides and spur a vigorous, balanced debate. So I agree with Todd #4a and disagree with #3 and Claus #9.

    #21Verfasser hm -- us (236141) 18 Sep. 08, 02:18
    Quellen
    http://www.redensarten-index.de/suche.php?suc...
    das Schlimmste befürchten; eine ungünstige Situation voraussehen; übermäßig pessimistisch sein
    Kommentar
    I disagree with both Pons-Collins and hm here. "Den Teufel an die Wand malen" has little to do with "tempting fate." The way the above link explains the phrase is also how I've always understood it, and to my mind, that has little to do with tempting fate, which is soemthing someone might do by trying to surf during a hurricane, for instance.

    Now, if I know this person and I tell him he's surely going to die if he's going to try to surf during a hurricane, he may say I'm just "painting the devil on the wall" for him. Maybe I am, but I'm certainly not the one tempting fate, he is.
    #22Verfasserdude18 Sep. 08, 02:48
    Kommentar
    Well, I agree that it doesn't always overlap, but I thought it sometimes might -- as Pons-Collins suggests, not with regard to actions, but with regard to words. Couldn't someone say something like 'But what if he took the motorcycle out and drove recklessly and had another accident?' and another person could respond 'Don't tempt fate (by mentioning the possibility)?'

    I don't know, you may be right, maybe not so much.

    Anyway, how do you feel about the other choices for 'den Teufel an die Wand malen'? Have you ever heard anyone say 'Don't meet trouble halfway'?
    #23Verfasser hm -- us (236141) 18 Sep. 08, 03:10
    Kommentar
    Or in addition to the other ones I've tried to collect (any of you can feel free to help, you know *g*), there are probably a couple similar to the description you just quoted: Don't be pessimistic, Don't assume the worst ...
    #24Verfasser hm -- us (236141) 18 Sep. 08, 03:12
    Kommentar
    I don't think any of the above phrases really fit, except for maybe #2's suggestions, but they're not really comparable in the sense of painting a picture. I suppose if someone said "Ich will ja nicht den Teufel an die Wand malen, aber ...," it could, in certain contexts, be translated as "I don't want to play devil's advocate here, but ..." Of course, it doesn't fit all contexts.

    I'm not really sure English (AE at least) has an equivalent for this devil phrase, and I've also never heard of the BE version, "Don't meet trouble halfway."
    #25Verfasserdude18 Sep. 08, 03:31
    Kommentar
    How about "don't paint such a bleak picture" - if we take the definition in dude's link to mean what we're looking for, this retains the "malen" aspect of the German and makes clear that it's a pessimistic viewpoint.
    #26Verfassersjm (380044) 18 Sep. 08, 03:47
    Kommentar
    sjm- that fits perfectly for "den Teufel an die Wand malen" IMHO, and has nothing whatsoever to do with "tempting fate" or "playing the devil's advocate"
    #27Verfasser Todd (275243) 18 Sep. 08, 08:26
    Kommentar
    a last illustration on the subject...

    if s.o. just wanted to say: stop your negative thinking he would probably have said something like sei/denk nicht so negativ or don't think of the worst scenario - denk nicht gleich and die schlechteste Möglichkeit

    mal den Teufel nicht an die Wand - don't contemplate a worst case scenario (subtext: there is - perhaps even a good - chance that this will happen - your approach might just tip the scales negatively - touch wood (another superstition) it will not occur - whether this is by way of self-fulfilling prophecy or external circumstances does not matter. This subtext is missing in the first formulations.

    hm's #21 points correctly to das Schicksal herausfordern - devil, kismet etc. are often associated with superstitions... after all it is a pretty mediaeval phrase...

    #28Verfassernoli18 Sep. 08, 10:09
    Kommentar
    a last illustration on the subject...

    if s.o. just wanted to say: stop your negative thinking he would probably have said something like sei/denk nicht so negativ or don't think of the worst scenario - denk nicht gleich and die schlechteste Möglichkeit

    mal den Teufel nicht an die Wand - don't contemplate a worst case scenario (subtext: there is - perhaps even a good - chance that this will happen - your approach might just tip the scales negatively - touch wood (another superstition) it will not occur - whether this is by way of self-fulfilling prophecy or external circumstances does not matter. This subtext is missing in the first formulations.

    hm's #21 points correctly to das Schicksal herausfordern - devil, kismet etc. are often associated with superstitions... after all it is a pretty mediaeval phrase...

    #29Verfassernoli18 Sep. 08, 10:09
    Vorschlagdon't be a scaremonger?
    #30VerfasserBacon [de] (264333) 18 Sep. 08, 10:13
    Kommentar
    #30 eher beschwöre nichts Übles herauf - sonst kommt's tatsächlich
    #31Verfassernoli18 Sep. 08, 12:28
    Kommentar
    Noli, das ist aber im Deutschen kein feststehender Ausdruck. Stattdessen könnte man sagen:
    Mal nicht den Teufel an die Wand.
    Ich finde "Don't be a scaremonger!" passt bisher von allen Vorschlägen am besten. Vielleicht fehlt das "teuflische" oder schicksalshafte, aber das bekommt man ja vielleicht anders wieder rein...
    #32Verfasser Lady Grey (235863) 18 Sep. 08, 12:57
    Kommentar
    Och, danke *erröt* :-)
    #33VerfasserBacon [de] (264333) 18 Sep. 08, 12:59
    Kommentar
    Obwohl "Don't paint such a bleak picture!" auch schön ist, da ist wenigstens das malen noch enthalten. Letztlich haben wir immer noch keinen idiomatischen Ausdruck gefunden.
    OT: Wie würde man eigentlich den Ausdruck "flirting with disaster" übersetzen? Sein Unglück herausfordern?
    #34Verfasser Lady Grey (235863) 18 Sep. 08, 13:03
    Kommentar
    I think SJM´s and Sir Francis’s suggestions both fit (there´s more than one way to skin a cat!) and I agree with Todd about tempting fate !
    I’ve also heard the saying “ Don’t be a Jove’s comforter” it is a very old saying that my Mother uses & I haven’t heard it in years, however what Jove has to do with it I don’t know ! But it means the same as don’t be so pessimistic or den Teufel an die Wand malen ! Maybe someone can help out with the meaning (I suspect it could well be biblical, perhaps something to do with the Jehovah’s witnesses ?).
    #35VerfasserVileness fats (241697) 18 Sep. 08, 13:22
    Kommentar
    Danke vileness fats - das ist ja mal ein geheimnisvoller Ausdruck. Auch Google weiß nicht viel darüber! Werde dem nachgehen...
    #36Verfasser Lady Grey (235863) 18 Sep. 08, 13:27
    Kommentar
    @ Ladygrey, I´ll phone my Mum this evening and ask her ! It´could also be an old Cockney saying as my parents come from that neck of the woods !
    #37VerfasserVileness fats (241697) 18 Sep. 08, 13:34
    Kommentar
    Vileness, what your mother said was probably 'Don't be a Job's comforter.' It's an allusion to the Book of Job in the Bible.

    The problem with 'Don't be a scaremonger' is just that it's not something people really say very often, not an existing phrase.

    'Don't paint such a bleak picture' is good, and I would support it as one among several choices. But as noli pointed out, it lacks the superstitious element of conjuring up the bad thing you're afraid of simply by naming it. That's the similarity between 'den Teufel an die Wand malen' and 'das Schicksal herausfordern,' isn't it? And I think also 'Don't borrow trouble'; I keep wishing other English speakers would help confirm that.
    #38Verfasser hm -- us (236141) 18 Sep. 08, 16:12
     
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