Inhalt vs. Gehalt
February 16, 2011 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Germanfilter: could a fluent German speaker please help me, a non-German speaker, understand the difference between the word inhalt and the word gehalt? Both are translated as "content" in online dictionaries. Is there an easy way to grasp the distinction?
posted by Morpeth to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My German isn't great, but here's a tidbit of information from wikipedia.
posted by johnstein at 11:39 AM on February 16, 2011

I, a non-German speaker, found this description enlightening.
posted by mikeh at 11:41 AM on February 16, 2011

I'm German. Don't ask me what Hegel meant by it, but Gehalt is closer to "essence", while Inhalt is a more prosaic "what's in in", like the contents of a jar.
posted by dhoe at 11:52 AM on February 16, 2011

"what's in it"
posted by dhoe at 11:52 AM on February 16, 2011

mikeh's link seems to get it. Inhalt is generally used for the physical contents of something, e.g. the contents of a can of beans (beans, sauce, water), while Gehalt is more equivalent to amount, e.g. the Gehalt (amount/content) of fat in the can of beans.
posted by TheRaven at 11:57 AM on February 16, 2011

What dhoe says, plus: Gehalt can mean a certain proportion of the Inhalt, as in wine. The alcohol content (Alkoholgehalt) is part of the entire content (Inhalt) of the bottle.
posted by Namlit at 12:00 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

It should be noted, too, that Hegel's definitions of Inhalt and Gehalt not necessarily match modern everyday usage of these terms. Just sayin'.
posted by Namlit at 12:03 PM on February 16, 2011

Gehalt can also mean wages, fyi.
posted by [vagabond] at 1:56 PM on February 16, 2011

Paraphrase: "Hegel claimed that the best language for science was 'German', but he actually wrote in his own language which some scholars described as 'Hegelese', and which was not always perfectly clear to everyone." -Mark Kingwell.
posted by ovvl at 4:26 PM on February 16, 2011

Thanks everyone, this is very helpful. I think I grasp it now.
posted by Morpeth at 6:06 AM on February 17, 2011

Wow. I've been here for 10 years and now I finally get it. Thank you.
posted by chillmost at 1:23 AM on February 19, 2011

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