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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wild Things in the German Language

I've made my second eBook in a Kindle version.

The book collects my Word-of-the-Month drawings, including several that haven't been published yet. It's intended for readers interested in German or students learning German who want to have some fun learning new words in that language.

If you do not have a Kindle, Kindle Readers simulating it are available for common platforms:
Mac ReaderPC ReaderiPad Reader.

I'd love to hear in the comments section below from readers who got the book.


Tita said...

Ausgezeichnet! Thanks, Ulrich - your book is fabulous!

Can't decide which drawing, or word, is my favorite.

My favorite new language fact is actually a tangential one...
Pantoffel - slipper...One of my favorite Portuguese words is
"Pantufa". In French it's "Pantoufle". I was delighted to learn that it is the same word in German!

The words you've chosen also bring back fun memories...such as the most excellent "Night Watchman" of Rothenburg, who taught us about Pech, and why "Ich habe Peche gehabt." is rather an understatement for "I've had a bad day." All while painting a very lively picture of medieval life.

Thanks for publishing this.
Now I'm off to research the etymology of Pantoffel!

Ulrich said...

@Tita: As the first commenter, you deserve a special reply--thank you!

And let us know what you find out about Pantoffel--I wouldn't be surprised if it derives from some Arab word.

Tita said...

Well, trying to answer the question re: derivation of Pantoffel, but alas, no one seems to want to take credit.
The Germans blame the Italians, the Portuguese blame the French, and the French dictionaires simply say "Etymol. obsc"...

It is ubiquitous, existing in almost all European languages!

I'll try one more source before calling it quits.

BTW - today's Monday puzzle might give you some fodder for a new post or new book!

Ulrich said...

The closest to a real derivation that I could find is from a Dutch source, which is intriguing if only because it mentions the "fantasy saint" St. Pantouffle I have never heard of:

Ontleend, mogelijk via Middelnederduits pantoffelen ‘pantoffels’, aan Frans pantoufle ‘pantoffel’ [1465; TLF], eerder al de naam van een fantasie-heilige S. Pantouffle [1400-50]. De herkomst van het woord is onzeker. Het meest waarschijnlijk (TLF) is dat het woord samenhangt met de stam *patt- ‘poot, klauw’, met invoeging van een n, zoals dat met name in het Occitaans veel voorkomt. De verkorting toffel, die ook nu nog wel gevonden wordt, is te vergelijken met die van japon tot pon.

Here's the central sentence in my translation (iffy!): It's most likely that the word is related to the stem patt (paw, claw), with the insertion of an "n", as happens often in the Occitans (have to ask our friend Marion what this is).

I think we have beaten this horse long enough--I'm just surprised that a word that can be found in so many languages has no well-understood etymology.

Ellen S said...

Can't help beating this horse a little more, seeing @Tita's comment re derivation of Pantoffel, "...but alas, no one seems to want to take credit. The Germans blame the Italians, the Portuguese blame the French, ....." I know that song! The Merry Minuet, by Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof), which I associate with Tom Lehrer and everybody else with the Kingston Trio.

Ulrich said...

@Ellen S: Ah yes! Thx! Since we're thread-drifting anyway, let me mention that I once took a course with Tom Lehrer (Applied Mathematics, of all topics!) at MIT, and he did not sing once in class!