I saw this in an official poster:

...in den Nächten vor Samstagen, Sonn- und Feiertagen.

Is there any reason behind this not have been written as follows?

... in den Nächten vor Sams-, Sonn- und Feiertagen.

Does the s of Samstag mess this second variant up?

By the way, Vienna is were I saw it:

enter image description here

  • 4
    Just an idea: Samstag is elsewhere called Sonnabend, the phrase might have been "localized" after copying. – guidot Jun 6 '16 at 6:24

It actually feels equally weird to think of

Mon- bis Freitag

I can’t remember ever seeing that construction, it is usually

Montag bis Freitag

Although that has more characters. This leads me to suspect that the weekdays are hardly thought of as compound words and thus cannot be used as such by separating away the -tag part.

On the other hand, Sonn- und Feiertage is a very fixed expression, because — as Stephie noted — they are treated equally by German law and historically by the churches (save certain solemnities that are even more important). Whatever commandments the church placed onto believers to be followed on holy days, it would always be an Sonn- und Feiertagen. That would provide a valid reason for a fixed expression entering the language where separating away the -tag is not as accepted for all other combinations.

  • 2
    I can only speak for Austria, but constructions like Sam-, Sonn- und Feiertag are not unheard of (or unseen, for that matter). Personally I wouldn't use it, but a quick Google search shows that many people do. google.at/… – Ingmar Jun 6 '16 at 4:52
  • @Ingmar That may be a good basis for an answer saying it’s possible in Austria ;) – Jan Jun 6 '16 at 8:31
  • @Ingmar Wiener Linien (wie ich nachträglich die Frage vervollständigt habe) stimmt dir zu... – c.p. Jun 6 '16 at 10:56

Good observation - I can not remember any counter-example. But the separation between (Saturday) and (Sundays and holidays) has probably legal reasons, not grammatical reasons.

By German law, a Saturday is a "Werktag"1 as opposed to Sundays and legal holidays that have a special "protected" legal status.

So from that perspective it makes sense to separate Saturdays from Sundays and holidays - and hyphenate accordingly. And yes, "Sams-" sounds weird. More like the character in a childrens book by Paul Maar.

1 Not to be confused with "Arbeitstag", which for most professions is Mo.-Fr., but may be different. My hairdresser works Tu.-Sa., for a nurse a Sunday may be an Arbeitstag.


Ich meine Jan kommt der Erklärung nahe, um dann bei Sonn- und Feiertagen den Punkt zu verpassen und eine unsprachliche Erklärung in Rechtsfragen zu suchen.

Dass Mon- bis Freitag nicht geht hat m.E. den Grund darin, dass Mon kein erkennbarer Wortstamm von irgendwas ist, so wie Sams, und deshalb nicht alleinstehen kann.

Fuß- und Handball, Hard- und Software, Kopf- und Gliederschmerzen, Luft- und Raumfahrt - soweit ich weiß gibt es überall einen erkennbaren Wortstamm, wenn Kompositionen getrennt werden. Im Sonn des Sonn- und Feiertags ist die Sonne aber leicht zu erkennen, deswegen geht es da.

  • Diese gefällt mir. Trotzem kann ich nicht aufhören, den Mond an Montag zu erkennen. – c.p. Jun 6 '16 at 21:14
  • Donner- und Freitag? – Jan Jun 6 '16 at 21:30
  • Hol-/Holl-/Holt-/Holz- und Deutschland? Erd-, Him-, Brom- und Blaubeeren? – Crissov Jun 6 '16 at 22:04
  • @Crissov: Was willst Du damit sagen? – user unknown Jun 7 '16 at 9:09
  • @Jan: Heißt der Tag nicht Donnerstag? – user unknown Jun 7 '16 at 9:12

"Sonn- und Feiertage" is an idiomatic phrase for non-working days. As with most idiomatic phrases, it sounds strange and unfamilar when expanded.

  • While that's true, I think the point was the contraction of Samstag, not the expansion of Sonntag. Btw. there is a downvote, and it's not from me. – c.p. Jun 6 '16 at 21:03
  • With "expansion" I meant the inclusion of Samstag into the phrase. – ammoQ Jun 15 '16 at 9:17

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