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27 votes
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Are there any German nonsense poems (Jabberwocky)?

I am starting a community Wiki here for collecting examples / authors of Unsinnspoesie or poetry using at least sometimes nonsensical words and expressions. Caveat: one might argue that speaking of "...
23 votes
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Why "alle Tale" and not "alle Täler"?

The German language has a variety of nouns that carry two plural forms. There is Land, Länder, Lande, Tuch, Tücher, Tuche, and Wort, Wörter, Worte. The first plural form collects several independent ...
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18 votes

Are there any German nonsense poems (Jabberwocky)?

A very literal answer: there's a German translation of Jabberwocky called Der Jammerwoch! Es brillig war.  Die schlichte Toven Wirrten und wimmelten in Waben; Und aller-mümsige Burggoven Die ...
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18 votes

What does "mildre" mean?

Leaving out an "e" from adjectives is a common way of keeping rhythm in German poetry, as the following proverbial wisdoms demonstrate: Auch wenn er keine Früchte kriegt - der grünre Baum ...
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13 votes
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Grammatik von „zu meiner Reisen“?

Bei Reisen handelt es sich in diesem Fall um eine alte Dativform von Reise. In moderner Sprache würde es also zu meiner Reise heißen. In älterer Literatur sind derartige Formen nicht besonders selten,...
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13 votes
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Why is there no article in "Auf grüner Linde"?

One of the most obvious reasons (to me) why Heine left out the article there is verse meter. The poem follows a 4-3-4-3 pattern of emphasised syllables per line. Thus, auf grüner Linde sitzt und singt ...
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13 votes
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What does "mildre" mean?

Is it a poetic way to write "milder"? Yes, it means mildere and is poetically shortcutted.
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11 votes
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Reimt ein Wort sich auf sich selbst?

Es gibt angeblich rund 90 reimfreie deutsche Wörter, wie z.B. Kiosk, Mensch, Pfirsich usw. Das sind Wörter, zu denen es kein anderes, nicht-zusammengesetztes Wort gibt, das mit diesem Wort einen ...
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11 votes

Are there any German nonsense poems (Jabberwocky)?

German mixed with nonsense words This is what the OP has asked about: texts where normal meaningful German words are mixed with meaningless nonsense words. There seem to be very few German texts of ...
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11 votes

Why "alle Tale" and not "alle Täler"?

I'll try to answer a bit more generally. In a language that has declension classes, or different ways to form the plural, it is to be expected that nouns occasionally show variation in how they form ...
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10 votes

Why "alle Tale" and not "alle Täler"?

Adelung, in his dictionary from 1801, already states the plural als Thäler (Tal was spelled Thal then) but also mentions, that the German bible translation frequently uses Thale instead. I guess that ...
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9 votes
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What form of schnell is used in “Und schnell und unbegreiflich schnelle / dreht sich umher der Erde Pracht”?

It’s safe to say that the extra e has no grammatical purpose but is there only for rhyming and metric reasons. The word schnelle is an adverb to drehen here, much like the first schnell in the line. ...
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9 votes
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Can “manche” induce singular? (“Winterreise” example)

The indefinite pronoun manch can be used in singular as well as in plural. This is reflected in the English translation with many: singular: Many a tear from my eyes has fallen into the snow. plural:...
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9 votes

“Besagen” and “sagen” in a poetic context

The usage of the word "besagen" is wrong in this context. "Besagen" more or less means something like "to testify"."to bear witness". "... wie die Quellen besagen..."
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  • 91
9 votes

what is the meaning of "gier und gar" in poetry?

I guess (also from the "bissig und bös" question) the poem you're translating is Yvan Goll's "Der Panama-Kanal". "gier und gar" actually is not an idiom in German, and a ...
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  • 57.3k
9 votes

Usage of "nimmer" merely poetic?

It is quite an everyday word in Southern Germany and Austria. https://www.dwds.de/wb/nimmer
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  • 3,188
9 votes

Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm - doch was ist mit dem späten Wurm?

Wie wäre es mit Wer zu früh kommt, der muss länger warten. in Anlehnung and das inzwischen ja schon reichlich abgenudelte Wer zu spät kommt, den bestraft das Leben (wieso eigentlich das Leben?). ...
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8 votes

Hilfe bei der Analyse von „Der Musikant“ (Eichendorff)

Manche Schöne bedeutet manch eine aus der Menge der Schönen. Oder, als Reaktion of den Comment, eine jede aus einer Untermenge der Menge der Schönen. Manche Schöne ist Einzahl und betrachtet jede ...
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8 votes

Word order in “Der Mann, der nicht Musik hat in ihm selbst”

The original Shakespeare text is The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit ...
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8 votes

Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm - doch was ist mit dem späten Wurm?

Eine mir sehr bekannte Antwort auf den "frühen Wurm" lautet: Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm... ...aber erst die zweite Maus bekommt den Käse! (in Bezug auf Mausefallen mit Käse als Köder)
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  • 167
8 votes

Are there any German nonsense poems (Jabberwocky)?

Christian Morgenstern - Galgendichtung z. B. Das große Lalula' Kroklokwafzi? Semememi! Seiokrontro - prafriplo: Bifzi, bafzi; hulalemi: quasti basti bo... Lalu lalu lalu lalu la! Hontraruru ...
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7 votes
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Goethe - Prometheus - wie soll man eine Zeile verstehen?

Bedecke deinen Himmel, Zeus, Mit Wolkendunst! Und übe, Knaben gleich, Der Disteln köpft, An Eichen dich und Bergeshöh’n! The first line of the poem is addressing Zeus and tells him to cover ...
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  • 186
7 votes

Need grammatical help on a German phrase (romantic literature) involving "ward" (old form of "wurde")?

"ward" is an old form of "wurde". This construction Der Familie ward der sonderbare Schrecken, den Grafen F. anmelden zu hören. means Die Familie hatte den sonderbaren Schrecken, den Grafen F. ...
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  • 438
7 votes

Meaning of "Glutqualm"

Glutqualm is a composite of Glut (ember, or something that glows) and Qualm (thick smoke, maybe smoulder). Without context, there would be (at least) three possible ways of reading this composite: ...
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7 votes

What is "dein nicht achten" in Goethe's Prometheus?

Your analysis is correct. In modern German you would say "und dich nicht zu achten". I do not think there is any loss of information, though there is possibly a loss of poetic gravitas.
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  • 3,188
7 votes

Usage of "nimmer" merely poetic?

There is this saying "nie und nimmer" to express that there is not the slightest possibility of something happening. As in Sie wird nie und nimmer so viel essen können. She will never ever be able ...
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  • 328
7 votes

Are there any German nonsense poems (Jabberwocky)?

There is quite a lot by the dada-ism movement. At the forefront there is Kurt Schwitters (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Schwitters), two of his nonsense poems are 'Anna Blume' which is in legible ...
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6 votes

Is it appropriate to say “Dächersee”?

Both "Dächersee" and "Dächermeer" would be comprehensible and acceptable words in the context of a poem. Outside of poetic language, a similar word, "Häusermeer", is actually even somewhat usual. ...
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6 votes
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Übersetzung von »Vom Zehnten das Gebot, bezeugt dadurch einst Gott.«

Versuch einer Interpretation. Wenn man den Satz schreibt als [durch] das Gebot vom Zehnten wurde Gott einst bezeugt. Dann heisst das in heutiger Sprache, dass man durch die Ablieferung des Zehnten ...
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  • 3,185
6 votes

Word order in “Der Mann, der nicht Musik hat in ihm selbst”

You have to take the meter into account. Der M'ann, der n'icht Mus'ik hat 'in ihm s'elbst preserves the original meter, the blank verse, which means alternating stressed and unstressed syllables, ...
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