What's the best translation for "Zettel"?
In German the ordinary word for note taking is "Notizen machen". Apps like Evernote or Bear Writer thus are usually called "Notizenapps". "Notizen" to me capture all sorts of stuff, e.g. meeting minutes, recipes, ideas, to-do lists, travel plans, wish lists etc.
But what this forum is about, what Luhmann's "Zettelkasten" was about is different from these kinds of notes/"Notizen". Still, though, the content of the "Zettelkasten" is called notes here, which to translates back to "Notizen".
"Zettel" are different from notes. "Zettel" are maybe very, very specific notes so they belong to the category "note". But to me at least "Zettel" are so specific they deserve their own term. In German I very much like "verzetteln" (pun intended to describe the activity while archiving stuff in this special form.
When speaking German there are "Zettelkasten", "Zettel", "verzetteln". As soon as we're using these terms we know exactly what we're talking about. It's almost a domain language to "Zettelkasten" afficionados
But what about English? Should we really be just talking about notes, note taking, and a notes archive? I find that sad and hindering. A rich and specific language is reduced possibly leading to misunderstandings.
Maybe the German words should be kept? If English speaking people understand rucksack, kindergarten, fahrvergnügen, angst, then why not zettelkasten, zettel, and verzetteln? Luhmann (and also Arno Schmidt) where titans of the zettelkasten and German, why not honor that?
Or maybe "note" should be replaced by "slip" (since it's a translation for "Zettel"). This would lead to terms like "slip archive", and "slip taking" (or "slipping"? ) Also "it slipped my mind" would be close to "verzetteln", because "verzetteln" also has a negative connotation.
What do you think?
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