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seen Oct 5 '13 at 12:07

Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one.

Henry David Thoreau

Note: I am on a long break from GL&U. I may drop in to fix up some old answer of mine or to respond to a request for clarification.


Jul
22
comment On the meaning of “weh sein” in a Heine poem
For a delightful discussion of "woe is me" that backs me up on it being an equivalent to weh ist mir, see Language Log. I had actually forgotten how much fun LL can be; too much Stack Exchange (outside of its natural Stackoverflow habitat) tends to make one stupider. And as this thread provides yet another example of the consistent undervoting of my answers (the other answer has two upvotes to my one, despite it being later and less informative), this is as good a time as any to announce that I'm taking a long break from GLU. I won't miss you.
Jul
22
comment Etymology of “stillen” and relation to other languages
Always interesting to hear about the connotations that people associate with individual words. It gives one a chance to compare these to one's own mind-map. Nonetheless, connotations are not etymology; just thought I'd mention it.
Jul
19
comment “Ich miete eine Wohnung” bedeutet “ich bezahle für eine Wohnung” oder “ich bekomme Geld dafür”? Oder beides?
Darf ich "Autoantiverb" vorschlagen? Wikipedia: "Sind sämtliche additiven Quantenzahlen eines Teilchens Null, so ist das Teilchen sein eigenes Antiteilchen. Dies ist z.B. der Fall beim Photon, beim Z0 und beim neutralen Pion π0."
Jul
19
comment On verbal parentheses
Anstelle seines ersten Satzes hätte Th. Mann auch schreiben können "Dieses Buch ist nur für Bildungsbürger!" ;) Als Gegenbeispiel führe ich den (noch längeren) ersten Satz von Thomas Bernhards Roman "Der Keller" an, den auch ein Mensch mit Volksschulbildung genießen kann.
Jul
19
comment Meaning of the word “entrichten”
"Geld entrichten" war mir bisher nicht bekannt, es gibt zwar ghits aber ich würde es nicht gutes Deutsch nennen.
Jul
19
comment What new meaning does “letztendlich” contribute?
@Takkat Was für SE gut ist, muss ja nicht für die Ratsucher gut sein, oder? Wenn Google eine SE-Frage, in der nur mit einem kurzem Zitat auf eine das Thema erschöpfend behandelnde .edu-artige Seite verwiesen wird, zuerst aufführen sollte, wäre das dann gut oder schlecht für die Ratsucher? Derzeit stehen die Chancen, dass GLU aus dem Beta-Stadium hinauswächst, bei weniger als 50/50. Soweit es überhaupt in meiner Macht steht, die Chancen von GLU auf Fortdauer zu erhöhen, tue ich das jedenfalls, indem ich informative Antworten und Kommentare schreibe, ohne auf Suchmaschinen-Optimierung zu achten.
Jul
19
comment On verbal parentheses
-1 to the question, for (1) ignoring my requests for clarification (2) asking an unclear question -- "to the un[c]onjugated form of the verb"?? (3) being unspecific to the German language -- Faulkner wrote sentences just as long and convoluted as Mann's (4) apparently asking for nothing more than common sense (longer and more complex sentences are harder to understand than shorter and simpler ones). Well D'Oh!!
Jul
18
comment On verbal parentheses
@Emanuel LOL Kant is a model of clarity compared to Hegel.
Jul
18
comment How do you ask “who is this?” when someone knocks at your door in German?
Dear Martina, if you click on the woxikon link I gave, you will find that the typical query is Wer da? A more polite way of asking would be Ja bitte?
Jul
18
comment On verbal parentheses
[cont'd] One could then ask, has anyone researched whether comprehension of a text (to be measured by having subjects retell a text passage and the retelling evaluated by third parties) degrades linearly as the Mittelfeld grows longer and more complex (naive assumption) or does it drop off exponentially or, conversely, decline asymptotically. If this is not what you're asking then please give more detail.
Jul
18
comment How do you ask “who is this?” when someone knocks at your door in German?
German Wikipedia gives the explanation I am familiar with: "Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts sahen deutsche Besucher in Frankreich das erste Mal Kämpferfenster und stellten dem Hausherrn diese Frage." More etymology here.
Jul
18
comment How do you ask “who is this?” when someone knocks at your door in German?
The story I've heard about le vasistas is different: The French, who are accustomed to large windows that let as much light into the interior as is possible (hence the term "French windows" in the English language), were puzzled at the smallness of the windows in German houses, especially the tiny tilt-hinge window in the bathroom. Being polite, they asked the natives in the local language, "Was ist das?" The term stuck and when they returned to France, they experimented with tiny windows themselves. Instead of inventing a new French word for these portholes, they re-used ... vasistas.
Jul
18
comment On verbal parentheses
So anyway, as far as I can tell the "verbal parenthesis" you are asking about is what German linguists call the "Mittelfeld" between the two ends of the "Satzklammer", see, e.g., canoo.net/services/OnlineGrammar/Satz/Wortstellung/… . [continued]
Jul
18
comment How do you ask “who is this?” when someone knocks at your door in German?
Oh, knock-knock jokes on GLU! :D witze.woxikon.de/klopf-klopf-witze
Jul
18
comment On verbal parentheses
O.K., so perhaps empirical studies of how comprehension of "verbal parentheses" is affected by their length would answer?
Jul
18
comment On verbal parentheses
That is like asking whether there is a limit to large numbers that presents any sum from going to infinity :) Nor is there such a "legal limit" in language when it comes to sentence length. Or perhaps you are asking this because you encountered a German sentence or subclause that you felt was "too long"?
Jul
18
comment Non-natives using strong verbs as they were weak: would this compromise understanding?
something that in English happens all the time You sure? "Mom! Mom! Joey hurted me!" Okay, a pre-schooler can get away with it. Everybody else, though...
Jul
17
comment What is the accurate translation of “stands to reason” within a “logical” context?
Mostly agree with Mac, my default translation for "stands to reason that" is es liegt auf der Hand, dass, to be adapted as circumstances dictate.
Jul
17
comment Does “Tschüssie” sound a little …weiblich?
That is purely a matter of personal perception. First one I ever heard say Tschüssi is a 6 ft. 2 broadshouldered womanizing team handball player, so...
Jul
16
comment Is there a grammatically accurate chart for reported speech in German?
What do you find lacking in de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indirekte_Rede ?