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The Language Column

Koch, Dr. Guenter. "The Language Column." Mitteilungsblatt, April 2009, 17-18.

This translation from the original German-language text to American English  is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado


In Bessarabia we commonly said laufa for "to walk." Other  familiar expressions for "to walk" were [are] auf Schusters Rappa  laufa (in Alt-Arzis) or auf Schusters Rappa reita (in  Katzbach) [auf Schusters Rappa literally means "on shoemaker's  pony"]; for "to run" we said renna and sprenga (in Kisil, even  for the normal "to walk" one said, e.g., Ich spreng in d'Lafka und hol  mir oi Stueck Halva [I'm gonna run to the store and get myself a piece of  halvah]). "To limp" was called lahma or  kromm geha (Alt-Arzis), and "to walk slowly" was  schlendra (Romankovka) ["to saunter, "so to speak - Tr.].

A carriage was called a Britschke (Kisil), or Britschka {Sarata); a horse-drawn wagon in Romanovka was a Povoska, the  driver was an Itzvoshtnik. In Alt_Arzis an extended term for  "motorcycle" was Matzeklett. A locomotive was called Parovotz, the  railroad station was Statio (Station in Kisil), "waiting room"  was Waksal, and in other locales the term for "depot" [sic - the  author may actually mean "waiting room" - Tr.] was called Wogsal  (Katzbach), Wokshol (Teplitz), Wagsal (Kolatshkovka). The word for "suitcase" is still known as Chamadan (e.g., in  Alt-Arzis), while Mrs. Baumueller of Kolatschkova called it  Shamadan. There a "whistle" was called Fluierle.

In reply to our very first Sprachecke I was told the term for  "pond" in Gnadenheim was Grottenwasser.

For all the mailings I once again express my thanks and wish you all a  Happy Easter! The theme for this particular  Sprachecke is Easter.

1, Are you still familiar with specific Easter customs? (e.g.,  Eierlespiel [egg hunt?], Osterbrezel [Easter pretzel] given  to the animal herders, or Osterteller [Easter plate]?  What were Fastenzeit ["Lent"] and Fastenessen ["Lenten  food"] called? What was eaten on Good Friday? What were terms for "Easter  egg" (or its plural)? Were there names for the holidays that were abberations  from High German?

2. What terms were used for (a) Huhn/Henne ["chicken,"  "hen"], (b) (Haus-)Hahn ["(house-)rooster"],  (c) Haehnchen ["cockerel"], (d)  Brut-/Gluckhenne ["brooding hen"], (e) Kueken  ["chicks"] (and what children's might have called them, too)? 

3. What terms did you use for when a chicken (a) gackert ["clucked"], (b) sratches the ground for food, (c) the rooster "crows?"  What was your name for a (Regen-)Wurm  ["(earth)-worm"]? 

4. What term was used for Osterhase [Easter bunny], for  Stallhase [domestic rabbit] in contrast with Feldhase [wild  rabbit] and. most importantly, for Ziesel (Erdhas) [ground squirrel]?

5. What terms were used for (a) Biene ["bee"], (b) Wespe  ["wasp"], (c) Hummel "bumble-bee"], (d) Hornisse  ["hornet"]? How was the word Honig ["honey"] pronounced? What was  said for Stechen [singing] with a Stachel ["stinger"]?

6. What were terms for Fruehling ["spring"], and for  Fruehjarsputz ["spring cleaning," more or less]?

If you can think of other words, including terms or themes mentioned in  earlier columns, they are always welcome! Please indicate the locale for which  you're gathering this [word usage] information, plus your year of birth.

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