Tag: language

“S had’se scho’ ei’gschuggeld.”

It was a pretty fast week, Frayday already. My co-driver and me slowly get warm and used to each other. She does this job for some years and one of the passengers is her own son. I have no qualms about asking her how things are done, what is best practice – one or two predecessors had the idea that they had invented the wheel anew, made the daily travel seemingly a bit tense. And I learned some byways and runs I did not know, despite I’m living & driving here for thirty years. I think the crew of tour 107 accepted me now, it’s a bit difficult to say when two passengers can not articulate in the usual way ; but as far as I rate my co-driver, she would have absolutely no scruples to have me kicked out of the bus if she wouldn’t like what she sees on a daily basis.
The only thing I still have problems with is my sleep pattern. I can get up early astoundingly well, but I sleep badly through the night and need to sleep through the day (still) too much, but practice will do it.
Blogger LX wanted to know what “schuggeln” means. It is the gentle form of “rütteln” I think – it is already in the sound, onomapoeticly : The pointed “rr” runs via a short and disharmonic “ü” to a hard double-t – “rrütt ! rrütt !”, while the soft longish “sch” gently moves over a warm “u” to a friendly and soft double-g -“schugg’l, schugg’l”.
As I mentioned in a previous comment, it is not found in the Deutsches Wörterbuch of Jacob and Wilhelm GRIMM, what I find astounding. It is an expression used in Southern dialects, like Hessisch, Pälzisch, Fränkisch, the diverse Suebian tongues, I doubt in Bavarian. I think “schütteln”, “rütteln” und “schuggeln” basically describe the same action, that is to shake something or someone, but with different intentions and intensities of the action. One would never say in German “rüttel’ das Kind” / “shake the kid”, but “schuggel’ den Glenna” is well understood everywhere South of the river Main, in the Palatinate, Hesse – civilised regions where wine grows -, while those inhabitants of the flat lands up North and the wild mountain people this site of the Alps may not understand it.
“Einschuggeln” describes when things slowly find their place, when a routine is formed. The image behind it is imho the “gerüttelte Maasz” – not “eine Maß Bier” as Foam suggested, because a liquid can only be poured into a jar until the container is full : It is of no use to shake the beer mug, it does not get “fuller”.
But if you have to pour something ground into a container, like coffee, flour, or something that consists of small grains, like wheat or rice, it is useful to shake and rattle the container now and then, so that the stuff you pour in has a chance to settle, to distribute itself into the corners of the thing you use, be it a jar or a sack ; and air that is between the small particles has a chance to leave. That is what you can see in the supermarket of your choice, where a coffee grinding machine is installed for customers ; or you can watch this when concrete is poured into a form : This sits on a “Rüttelplatte”, a vibrating compactor (as my dictionary calls it) that shakes the whole construction / form and thus prevents holes from air bubbles to form in the wet stuff.
As for persons, they may become “aufgerüttelt” – either in the direct sense that they are shaken to wake them up, or they are shaken in another, figurative sense, but they are not “aufgeschuggelt” : Schuggeln is too friendly for this.


I’m sure there are tons of „how to“-instructions available on the net about genealogy in Germany – there is surely no need for another one. I would like to speak about genealogy in Germany from the practising researcher’s point of view.
Let us assume that your forefathers emigrated from Germany sometimes in the 19th century. They went overseas by ship – and that means that there are good chances to find them in the passenger lists of the Auswandererhaus. You should know a year – or at least narrow down the year of their passage, it helps with the search. (Strangely enough the Rechercheauftrag is only reachable from the German page (under “Migration/Recherche”), it is not linked on the English page.)
But the most important thing is the name. The 19th century did not have something like a Duden (Ger., Eng.), there were no fixed, holy, rules of orthography. The way names were spelled can vary a lot; and names in these lists were often wrote down as they were heard. For example: “Schäfer” (shepherd) can be spelled “Schäffer”, “Sche(f)fer”, “Scho(f)fer”, even “Schif(f)er”.
A Franconian speciality is the difference between consonants pronounced “hard” and “soft”: For reasons unknown to me a written “B” is mostly pronounced “P”, the same goes for “G” and “K”, “D” and “T” – and of course vice versa, the written “hard” consonant is pronounced “soft”. And speaking about dialects: The emigrants from the South of Germany surely had difficulties to understand Northern Platt (correctly Niederdeutsch (Ger., Eng.)), and the variation rich Franconian dialects surely were of limited beauty to the Hamburgian officials, who had to write down these names.

Another very important name is the one of the place of origin. Normally in the passenger lists the name of the location the emigrants come from is recorded, but sometimes only a vague description or just the name of a province is given (“Ostpreussen”). Family lore and tradition may have preserved and passed down of the place of origin’s name over the generations – but from my experience I have to say, that this is not always a reliable source of information. You may be lucky and letters of the emigrants’ family in the old Heimat survived and there may be a written name of a place.
If you are in doubt about it, let someone who knows the old handwritings have a look on it: A single letter can make a huge difference! It is a difference whether a place is for example called “Unterregenbach” or “Unterengenbach” – they belong to different administrative bodies, different church parishes – and hence the records are kept in different places.
A further complication arises from the fact, that some names are not unique: A place called “Haslach” can be found at least more than eight times in different parts of Franconia. It is very important to find the right place of origin, this saves a lot of fruitless, frustrating and expensive research. Since the middle of the 19th century a lot changed in the public administration and in the administration of the two large churches here too. From the kingdom of Bavaria – with some Franconian specialties – via the Deutsche Reich from 1871, through the whole brutal 20th century up to now, places changed names, were incorporated into larger administrative entities or even stopped existing. The Gebietsreform of the 1970s brought the last major change in this respect. Parishes and Dekanate were changed, reformed, united and separated again. But the 19th century knew these reforms too: Between the newly formed kingdoms of Bavaria and Baden the frontier was corrected in the 1850s. This let to the fact that church records of places originally belonging to Bavarian/Franconian parishes today are kept in Karlsruhe in the Landeskirchliche Archiv.

All I want to say is, that the time used to identify the place or origin of the family – which is the starting place for a genealogical research and important for finding the records – is well used time.
If one has the correct family name and knows the right place of origin a research can be started – let’s look for the records.

Mops, ewig

I am very sure that I have already mentioned in the course of writing here Ottos Mops. It’s a silly poem (Ger.) by Ernst JANDL (Ger., Eng.) (Here text and JANDL reading, here a nice animated video for illustration). The late great Robert GERNHARDT (Ger., Eng.) (Nachruf dt.) was inspired by Ottos Mops and gave us Annas Gans, Enzenbergers Exeget,  Gittis Hirsch and Gudruns Luchs, read them here.
But can it be translated?
Yes, it can.
signandsight wanted to know and held a competition some years ago. The winner is “Fritz’s Bitch” by Brian MURDOCH (Eng.), runners up were “Prue’s Poodle” by Katy DERBYSHIRE,  “Mao’s Chow” by Walter BARKAN (not sure whether it’s one of his works) and “Doug’s Pug” by Alexander SAGER.

When Marketing Man strikes again

“DIe Sprachen lassen sich in vielen Stucken mit den Metallen vergleichen. Die selbigen in ihren Gründen verborgen / werden mit grosser Mühe an das Tages-Liecht gebracht / gereiniget / geläutert / und durch die Kunstmässige Feuer-Arbeit / zu Nutz gebracht: Gleicher Weiß ist der Schatz mancher Sprache in seinem Grunde verborgen / wird mit vielfältiger Bemühung untersuchet / die Wörter unterschieden / das dienliche von dem undienlichen abgesondert / und nach langer Zeit und vieler Verständigen gesamt Hülffe mit vollständiger Zier / zu nutzlichem Gebrauch befördert.”

“Languages can be compared to metalls in many respects. These are hidden in depths / are brought to light with strong efforts / cleaned / purified / and by artificial fire-work / are made useful: In the same way the treasure of language is hidden in its depth / is inspected with manifold studies / the words differentiated / the appropriate separated from the un-appropriate / and after a long time and the collaboration of many understanding people saied treasure is brought to useful practice in full decorum.”

So speaks Georg Philipp Harsdörffer (eng., ger.) to us in the chapter “Von den Fremden Wörtern in der Teutschen Sprache” in his 1653 book “Prob und Lob der Teutschen Wolredenheit”. He deals with the problem of foreign words coming into a language, thinking mainly of Hebrew, Greek and Latin words.
If you are proof-reading a modern German article, maybe in the field of economics, you can come to the conclusion that you are reading an English text. That in itself is not bad or to be condemned. But many authors are unable to stick to the language they are supposed to write in, German that is. And so they start to use English grammar, but not entirely and completely. The result is an ambiguous babble that hurts any language-feeling. Add the unability to use English written phrases according to German rules of orthography, and an idea of man – at least in the marketing department – that originates directly from the late marketing guru Heinrich Himmler (“Never kill a customer, but anybody else”), then you may understand the growing cynicism these elaborate essays are confronted with, at least in this household.
Shiver – marketing man reaches for his pencil!