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In South Brazil's Hunsrückischer dialect, there is a very known expression (even used by some portuguese speakers) which sounds approximately Das s mu schlimm (There is hardly any examples of written Hunsrückisch and I've never seen the sentence written, I am doing my best to write it as it sounds)

The expression is used when one is faced with a bad/difficult/sad situation.

Now, I can recognise that the Das s is probably a contraction from Das ist and schlimm is just like the Hochdeutsch word for bad. But I cannot find any reason for the mu to be there. A gut feeling tells me it is an intensity adverb, but I didn't find any word that would possibly be an explenation (maybe mehr but a shift from e to u seems odd) The documentation on this dialect is quite hard to find.

Where possibly could this sound come from?

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  • If it's any help, there is a Hunsrik-Portuguese dictionary here, no mention of "mu" though. Perhaps Das ist mir schlimm.
    – RDBury
    Oct 26 '20 at 0:06
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    Vielleicht hilft das rheinische Wörterbuch weiter: woerterbuchnetz.de/cgi-bin/WBNetz/… . Statt "Das ist mir schlimm" tendiere ich eher zu "Das ist mal schlimm", (mal, einmal), hochdeutsch eher: "Das ist aber schlimm". Oct 26 '20 at 1:45
  • At first glance it looks like a disfigured »Das muss schlimm sein« to me (»That must be bad«).
    – Pollitzer
    Oct 26 '20 at 12:47
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    In my (German) mind the first was "Das ist mal schlimm" the long variation of this sentence. I could not help with sources, maybe someone could. The meaning of "mal" in this case is the same as in "Das sind mal gute Nachrichten". It means, the bad/good is not common, it occurs only once in a time. I assume "mal" is here a short form of "einmal" meaning once. Oct 26 '20 at 17:16
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    @userunknown Die Deutung "mal" ist mit ziemlicher Sicherheit richtig. Vermutlich hört es sich auf Hunsrückisch eher wie "mo" an, was aber beim schnellen Sprechen leicht mit "mu" zu verwechseln ist. Wäre also eine offizielle Antwort wert ...
    – Paul Frost
    Oct 30 '20 at 0:18
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Vielleicht hilft das rheinische Wörterbuch weiter. Ich tendiere zu "Das ist mal schlimm", (mal, einmal), hochdeutsch eher: "Das ist aber schlimm", ähnlich wie in "Das sind mal gute Nachrichten!".

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  • I would like to add that I've recently found a Portuguese-Hunsrückisch dictionary, and the word "mal" is High German appears in this dialect as "mol". Indeed, "mal" or "mol" is used in this dialect more or less as an adverb, for instance in "Setz dich mol!" which is somewhat stronger than "Setz dich". This basically confirms this answer. Aug 6 at 19:06

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