Craig Dworkin

... translating Gottlob Frege

On the introduction of a name for something simple, a definition is not possible; there is nothing for it but to lead the reader or hearer, by means of hints, to understand the words as is intended (Gottlob Frege).

By which I mean: originally (in imperial Japan), a sense of deep gratitude and obligation was felt towards one's parents, teachers, and superiors, now (in present-day Japan), a sense of moral obligation on the recipient to reciprocate a favour, that is to say: a debt of gratitude, that is to say: a tea party, by way of explanation, the action of introducing, in plain English: a leading or bringing in, especially: a bringing into use or practice, bringing in in speech or writing, insertion of a proper noun, in other words: a word or phrase constituting the individual designation by which a particular person or thing is known, referred to, or addressed for some unspecified or indeterminate thing (material or immaterial) with nothing added, that is: considered or taken by itself, namely: mere, pure, bare, especially: single, a precise statement of the essential nature of a thing is not in a person's powers; there is not any (material or immaterial) thing for it but to accompany and show the way to, by way of explanation: to direct or guide by going on in advance, in other words: to cause to follow in one's path an expounder or interpreter of dreams, occult signs, etc., or auditor, by an instrument, agency, method, or course of action employed to attain some object or bring about some result of slight indications intended to be caught by the intelligent, scilicet, suggestions or implications conveyed in an indirect or covert manner, to comprehend, id est: to apprehend the meaning or import of, in plain English: to grasp the idea of any of the sequences of one or more sounds or morphemes (intuitively recognized by native speakers as) constituting the basic units of meaningful speech used in forming a sentence or utterance in a language (and in most writing systems normally separated by spaces), specifically: lexical units other than phrases or affixes, in other words: items of vocabulary, vocables, as is purposed to be done or accomplished, especially: designed, meant, that is: designed to be what is denoted by the noun, particularly: done on purpose, intentional, in other words: stretched out or forth, outstretched, expressly: extended, that is to say: increased in force or intensity, strained.


Homotranslation. The sentence offered here is the third iteration of a serial translation of a translation of a sentence from Gottlob Frege's essay "Über Begriff und Gegenstand [On Concept and Object]" [Vierteljahresschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie 16 (1892): 192-205. The result of what the OuLiPo termed "Definitional Literature," the sentence was derived from substituting each word in Frege's sentence with its dictionary definition, then substituting each word in that new sentence with its dictionary definition, and so on. 

Craig Dworkin

Craig Dworkin is the author of several books of poetry, including, most recently: Chapter XXIV (Red Butte Press, 2013); An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Williamstown (Publication Studio, 2015); and 12 Erroneous Displacements and a Fact (Information As Material, 2016). He teaches literature and theory at the University of Utah and serves as Founding Senior Editor to Eclipse <>.