I know this will appear to be a repeat of a question I posted yesterday, but it is really a completely different question. I am wondering if there is a nuance to the word "Verschlechterung" which is not captured by any of the English translations given on Google translate:
In my earlier post, I referenced a quotation from Grimm in which he describes the migration in meaning of the word Jauche as a "verschlechterung": it originally meant broth, and now it means sewage. I love this description because to my non-native ear, it seems to perfectly capture a phenomenon which I cannot describe accurately with any of the English terms listed above: it is not a deterioration of the meaning, it is not a worsening, it is not a decline or a depreciation or a failure. It is perhaps almost a debasement of the meaning, but not quite; for that word carries an implied moral judgement. There is nothing wrong with the fact that a word which once meant "broth" is now used to mean "sewage"; it's just something that happened. A word that once meant something innocuous is now used to refer to something unpleasant; I feel "debasement" is a bit too judgemental for this transformation. The soup, after all, was not turned into sewage.
I am wondering if the German "verschlechterung" manages to avoid all these pitfalls. Is it the perfect word to describe the phenomenon? Or was Grimm merely doing what an English speaker would have done, and chosen the nearest approximation of a word to make his point?
A related question: is this phenomenon of "verschlechterung" a recognized phenomenon of philology or linguistic theory, which deserves a word of its own? And if so, is it something to which the German language is especially prone? Or is this business with the Jauche just a random bit of trivia that doesn't relate to a bigger concept? I would of course be interested in any other linguistic examples of what I understand to be the phenomenon of "verschlechterung". (I have a good Yiddish example in mind but it is from our Semitic component and I don't want to change the subject.)