Occasional musings, Geistesblitze, photos, drawings etc. by a "resident alien", who has landed on American soil from a far-away planet called "Germany".

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Word of the month: Schnulze

So far, all Words of the Month have been compounds that hitch together two seemingly unrelated nouns. This month, I’m introducing a word of a different kind, a neologism that could join the well-established kitsch and schmalz ("shmaltz" in its Yiddish form) to indicate excessive sentimentality in art. Schnulze, in particular, refers to an overly sentimental pop song. I love the word because of its onomatopoetic expressiveness: It mimics the sobbing it’s intended to induce.

Note on pronunciation: The word consists of two syllables—Shnool-tsah—where the "oo" is short as in "foot".


Marlene said...

Hi Ulrich, I spent some time in Germany and have forgotten most of the language because it's been a while. Schnulze though has stayed with me because, like you, I loved the sound of the word. Once again the Germans seem to have coined a word for something that in English we can only refer to by piecing together less evocative words that don't have the snap of schnulze, as in the phrase you mention "excessive sentimentality."

mac said...

@Ulrich: I actually haven't heard the word Schnulze much when in Holland or Germany, but Schmalz sounds more familiar. In musical terms, Schlager is another word I would hear quite a bit. Good to hear another word in that family!

Ulrich said...

@marlene: Welcome back--haven't heard from you for a while.

@mac: One should note that Schlager has no negative connotations--it simply means pop song--and is somewhat oldfashioned by now: Hitparades are called "hit parades" in Germany these days!