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I am looking for the English version of a common phrase from intellectual German, where sentences sometimes begin with trotzdem und gerade weil which could be directly translated to despite and because of (or though and because of). This seemingly paradox phrase is used to express two different justifications (despite and because of) with a hidden critical objection on the first one.

Example: Despite and actually because of its unresolved questions, the work should be published.

Explanation: In this example, the speaker criticizes the usual practice that work which contains unresolved questions is less valuable for publication. The phrase first mimics somebody who shares this standpoint (despite), directly followed by it's critique (because of) generating a moment of surprise.

  • Is the literal translation of trotzdem und gerade weil: anyway, just because. ? – user66974 Feb 10 '15 at 10:24
  • @Josh61 as I said, I would translate it as despite and because of, or, following RaghuramanR's suggestion below, though and because of. Simply translating it with anyway would lack the essential paradox character. – flonk Feb 10 '15 at 12:50
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    If we ignore the "translation" element of this question, I think it would be more natural for native speakers to render OP's example as "Precisely because of its unresolved questions, the work should be published". Adding precisely as well as placing stress on because conveys the clear implication that the speaker/writer is refuting an (unstated) perspective whereby the "justification" for doing something would ordinarily be seen as a reason not to do it. – FumbleFingers Feb 10 '15 at 13:16
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    @FumbleFingers Precisely because there is no direct translation, you should post it as an answer. – Mari-Lou A Feb 10 '15 at 15:01
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    @Mari-Lou: Counter-intuitively, it's [precisely] because there is no direct translation that I posted the point as a comment rather than an answer! :) – FumbleFingers Feb 10 '15 at 15:15
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I don't think we can do it without repeating X:

*Notwithstanding, and indeed because of, X....

The above would be very stilted.

Notwithstanding X, and indeed because of X, ...

The second X could be a pronoun (it, them) or some periphrasis for X.

Notwithstanding those crude brushstrokes, and indeed because of them, we must move these paintings front and center in the exhibit, for they mark a departure for the artist, who is about to enter her primitivist phase.

OR

Those crude brushstrokes notwithstanding—indeed, because of them—we must move these paintings...

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I am not sure if there is a confusion between 'though' and 'despite'. For example, one can say 'Though English language has just 26 letters, it has more words than X.' where X can be another language. It can also be stated as 'Despite having just 26 letters, it has more words than X'. The first sentence can be viewed as a line on 'limitation' of English language, while the second sentence can be viewed as a 'positive'.

  • Thanks, I did not know about this difference between despite and though. Both would serve as translations of trotzdem which is neutral in German. – flonk Feb 10 '15 at 12:47
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I don't think so. Logically one precludes the other, so expressing it is verbosity.Your concept relates to the belief rather than the actuality that is its subject. Misconception is the word for that.

Notwithstanding does express the "inspite of" part. Contrary and counter-intuitively might also be of use.

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