Neujahrswünsche.

In an ideal world, I’d post this on New Year’s Eve, but in the world we live in, there’s no way I’d remember it that long, so here is the Atlas zur deutschen Alltagssprache’s Neujahrswünsche page. There’s one map for what you say on the eve, and another for what you say on New Year’s Day itself. Thanks, Nick!

Comments

  1. Bathrobe says:

    So what is that one little standout, a single yellow dot over near the Dutch border where they say Glück im neuen Jahr? (Looks like Emlichheim.)

    (Incidentally, I dislike maps and graphs that rely completely on colour to convey differences. I often have trouble identifying colours.)

  2. David Marjanović says:

    Are you red-green-blind? Lots of people are and don’t know it.

    (But yes, that dot is bright yellow. And I’m too lazy to look up what it is.)

  3. AJP Crown says:

    Two names I love in German are Silvester for New Year’s Eve and Pfingsten for Whitsun, which is tomorrow, the day before a traditional bank holiday in Britain (= US Memorial Day).

    (I agree with Bathrobe about colours. Very small areas don’t convey enough info to separate green from blue or to find the explanation for each dot in the Key, all you can distinguish is dark vs light.)

  4. I am red-green colorblind, and some of those dots were basically indistinguishable,* although the troublesome ones did not seem to occur near to each other on the map.

    * I could actually tell them apart with careful inspection, but by their differences in color intensity not by the hue.

  5. David Marjanović says:

    Whitsun, which is tomorrow

    And the day after (Pfingstmontag) in Germany, Austria and France (after Sarko kind of abolished it for a few years and most people didn’t play along), but not in Italy anymore; and Sweden replaced it by its national holiday, June 6th, in 2005, says Wikipedia.

  6. AJP Crown says:

    Sweden replaced it by its national holiday, June 6th

    How silly. That would never happen in Norway. As well as Pinsen we have 17 mai (national day), Kristi himmelfartsdag, 1 May and VE Day. Every day’s a holiday in Norway – at least it is in May, something about the long dark winter being over.

  7. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    Sarko kind of abolished it for a few years and most people didn’t play along)

    My recollection that Raffarin was the guilty person, not Sarko. Mind you, it’s hardly possible to exaggerate Sarko’s nastiness, whereas Raffarin is someone who’s gone up in our estimation since he has had no power.

    Every day’s a holiday in Norway – at least it is in May, something about the long dark winter being over.

    You’d like it in France, where May is a succession of holidays.

  8. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    Incidentally, I dislike maps and graphs that rely completely on colour to convey differences. I often have trouble identifying colours.

    I also dislike this, for the reasons that have been given, but I like different sorts of shading in black and white even less. For a map of this kind you could convey the information more clearly with different shapes of point — circles, squares, triangles and diamonds give you four, but you can bring it up to eight by having both open and filled symbols. If that’s not enough you can get to ten with down-pointing triangles.

  9. Yes, that would be much better.

  10. So what is that one little standout, a single yellow dot over near the Dutch border where they say Glück im neuen Jahr? (Looks like Emlichheim.)
    Yes, that’s the area.
    I have a book about this topic (which may or may not be linked to the ADA), which doesn’t show that spot, but shows a small area for Glück im Neuen Jahr near Luxembourg. So maybe it’s due to whatever they say across the border.

  11. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    This sort of reminded me about a conversation we had at New Year, about how people in England will go up to each other ON HOGMANAY and say ‘Happy New Year’, even though it’s still the old year – a thing I had just witnessed, having been away in England between Christmas and New Year.

    I can’t do that – I have to say something like ‘have a good new year when it comes’ until it has come, and that seemed to be the consensus of our Scottish gathering.

    (I also have conscientious scruples about saying ‘Happy Easter’ on Good Friday, which just feels wrong, but that’s different, and most people do.)

  12. David Marjanović says:

    Most people say “happy Easter” on Good Friday?

    Most people say anything on Good Friday?

    *culture shock*

  13. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Is it a day of silence in your parts? 😉

    We don’t get it as a holiday anymore, so people tend to be giving good wishes for the weekend, I suppose.

  14. Huh, I don’t recall anyone saying “happy Easter” on Good Friday (and it does seem odd, religiously speaking), but it makes sense as a pre-weekend greeting.

  15. David Eddyshaw says:

    The English simply lack the Scots capacity for

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_gratification

    My Aberdonian wife is quite clear that she is “no mean, but careful.”

  16. I don’t know whether that’s the case in all German-speaking lands, but there’s frequently a differentiation between pre-holiday wishes and holiday greetings; on the days before you say e.g. “Frohe / Schöne Osterfeiertage” and on the holidays you say “Frohe Ostern”.
    For most Germans who are not deep into religion, Whitsun is just two days off; there are no customs linked to the holiday that are adhered to by secular or only nominally religious people, unlike for Christmas or Easter. So people don’t wish one another “Frohe Pfingsten” a lot, but you’ll hear “Frohe / Schöne Pfingstfeiertage”, basically just meaning “Have a nice long weekend”.

  17. Bathrobe says:

    In Chinese you say 拜个早年 bài ge zǎo-nián (‘wish an early year’) if you are wishing someone a happy new year (i.e. lunar new year) before the actual day. There is plenty of occasion for this, for example with colleagues at work.

    In Japanese you say 良いお年を Yoi o-toshi o (‘(May you greet) a good year’) for the same purpose.

    Yes, I’m green-red colour blind, which probably affects my ability to read such maps. But I don’t think it affects the gamut of colours. The problem is identifying multiple colours in little dots. I can see the differences on the map, but when I had to actually look for a particular greeting on the map from the colour legend it became frustrating. Given the widespread occurrence of colour blindness, people who make these things should come up with additional ways of distinguishing them. (Same goes for trend graphs with those ultra-thin red / green / yellow / blue / purple lines.)

  18. David Eddyshaw says:

    The UK changed its standard electrical wiring colours partly because of colour blindness:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_wiring

    According to my father, who actually was an electrician in an unimaginably early stage of his metamorphosis, and to this day retains the mystic gift of Mending Electrical Appliances, electricians are statistically more likely to be colour blind than the general population. (I’ve no doubt but that this is true, but strongly suspect that it is entirely due to the fact that electricians are more likely to be male than the general population.)

  19. Lars Mathiesen says:

    I think the old pattern in Danish/Swedish was god påske/glad påsk on the earlier days of Easter and Kristus er opstanden/Krist är upstånden = ‘Christ has risen’ on Easter Sunday. The latter was barely alive in Sweden when I moved there 2006, I think I heard it once from an older colleague or neighbor, in Denmark you have to go back a century or so.

    Good Friday itself is langfredag/långfredagen.

  20. AJP Crown says:

    Rasberry crazy ants [Rasberry’s would avoid confusion] have been known to consume the insides of electrical wiring installations, preferring DC over AC currents. This behaviour is not well understood by scientists.[15]

    How about artists? No one asks artists.

    Colour blindness is a red herring with the dots. I’m not colour blind, but when the dots are very small it’s hard to distinguish the colours. What you see the most is how light or dark they are (tone in English, value in American).

  21. January First-of-May says:

    The usual Russian phrase for the days before the New Year is С наступающим! “With the approaching!” (occasionally followed by the clarifying Новым Годом “New Year”).

    Weirdly, the literal meaning of наступающий is “stepping on”. I’m not sure how it ended up meaning “approaching” for time periods.

    Colour blindness is a red herring with the dots. I’m not colour blind, but when the dots are very small it’s hard to distinguish the colours.

    In my experience, it’s not as hard to distinguish the colours as to associate them with the legend; the differing backgrounds (and/or dot sizes) make the colors look slightly different on the map and on the legend.

  22. наступающий is “stepping on”

    advancing (troops)?

  23. AJP Crown says:

    That too, J1M. I’m guessing the maps are much smaller when they’re published online than the large screen where the graphic designer made them. That doesn’t help. But there should be standards for this by now.

  24. PlasticPaddy says:

    @jfom
    Germans say Guten Rutsch, where the folk etymology takes Rutsch from rutschen “to slide”. The folk etymology is thought to be incorrect, but could it have inspired the Russian phrase?

  25. No. There’s no need to look for borrowings or any special explanations; the transition from “stepping on” to “approaching (=nipping right at your heels)” is as natural as that from “in the courtyard” to “approaching (=right around the corner)” in the case of the Russian phrase на дворе (весна на дворе ‘spring is almost here’).

  26. David Marjanović says:

    Germans say Guten Rutsch, where the folk etymology takes Rutsch from rutschen “to slide”. The folk etymology is thought to be incorrect

    It is now thought to be correct after all, and the similarity to rosh [ha-shana] to be accidental. That’s because Rutsch for a short trip was apparently common in the 18th century or so, IIRC.

  27. весна на дворе ‘spring is almost here’

    I will play a Mair here and say that I never noticed that sense. весна на дворе was always for me “spring is outside”. Outside because obviously inside seasons are not felt as much. Are you sure you are not mixing it up with весна на носу [spring is on the nose]?

  28. Well, Sophia Lubensky’s Russian-English Dictionary of Idioms, which I’ve always found to be accurate, has for на дворе:

    1. [adv.] outside of a building, in the open: outside; outdoors; out-of-doors.
    2. coll [subj-compl with быть (subj: usu. a noun denoting a season, month, part of a day etc)] sth. is soon to come, very near: X на дворе ≈ X is close (near) at hand; it’s almost X; X is coming up; X is just (right) around the corner.

    (That ∅ in быть∅ is supposed to be a small subscript, but I can’t seem to produce that.)

  29. AJP Crown: That use of value is a term of art, used in the visual arts, graphic design, and adjacent fields. The more commonly used terms are (the ironically more technical sounding) saturation or intensity. (“Intensity” is potentially ambiguous though, in any situation in which the characteristics of both a pigment and how it is lit are important.)

  30. Ok, is there a single example here that says that the spring is only coming, not already arrived?

    The most famous literary use is Koltsov’s “Что ты спишь, мужичок?//Ведь весна на дворе;//Ведь соседи твои//Работа́ют давно.” which obviously has “spring outside” for some time already.

    Addendum: and the remark for sense 2. coll is misplaced. The only register in which this expression is somewhat awkward is High Bureaucratic.

  31. AJP Crown says:

    Brett, right. On value, and it’s ages since I even used the word, I’m only talking about shades of gray. There’s a good discussion of the more arty side of it here it seemed to me, but I don’t know whether as a physicist you’d agree.

  32. Ok, is there a single example here that says that the spring is only coming, not already arrived?

    With most of them you can’t tell one way or the other, e.g. “И не видно, матушка, что весна на дворе!”

    Addendum: and the remark for sense 2. coll is misplaced. The only register in which this expression is somewhat awkward is High Bureaucratic.

    How can you say that when you also say you’re not familiar with sense 2?

  33. I am very much familiar with expression “[season] на дворе” only it doesn’t mean for me “it’s coming”.

    Yes, some of the quotes are not unambiguous. But you can view them in the context (click the arrows on the right). Here’s for the one you’ve mentioned
    ― Какая стужа!.. Какой ветер!.. И не видно, матушка, что весна на дворе! Белокурая головка загорелого, голубоглазого мальчика, произнесшего эти слова, прильнула к запотевшему окну, и светлые глазенки его впились в полумрак ненастного апрельского вечера.

  34. I am very much familiar with expression “[season] на дворе” only it doesn’t mean for me “it’s coming”.

    Right, but it’s that sense that Lubensky says is colloquial. It may not be part of your dialect, or she may be wrong. I’ve never known her to be wrong.

  35. January First-of-May says:

    I will play a Mair here and say that I never noticed that sense. весна на дворе was always for me “spring is outside”. Outside because obviously inside seasons are not felt as much. Are you sure you are not mixing it up with весна на носу [spring is on the nose]?

    Seconding this: can’t recall на дворе ever being used to mean “approaching”. На носу, on the other hand, is regularly used in that sense (and I’m not sure why the nose either).

  36. OK, here’s a quote from Григорий Горин. Иронические мемуары (1990-1998): “Гриша, дорогой, здравствуй! Вот и двухтысячный год на дворе.” It clearly wasn’t 2000 yet.

  37. I am sorry to say, but you’ve misunderstood this quote. Arcadiy Hait wrote a humorous birthday letter to Grigoriy Gorin (both are very famous – and extremely good – writers) in 1990. At that time Gorin was 50, but Hait was writing as if from the year 2000 for Gorin’s 60th birthday.

  38. Oh! Thanks, I’ve learned something today.

  39. And I’ll have to check out those writers — any recommendations about where to start?

  40. PlasticPaddy says:

    @hat
    I wanted to say I had no reason to think there was any connection, and stepping in to is clearly different from sliding in to (the German word is also used for sliding downhill on cardboard or a toboggan, or for slipping and usually falling).

  41. Gorin was mostly a playwright, but also an author of sketches. A good deal of his plays are made into movies. “The very same Munchhausen” is off the charts, I like “The house that Swift built” and apparently many others as well, they kept rerunning it on TV, “A plague on both your houses” is a “Romeo and Juliet” sequel. I didn’t like the last one as much, but maybe I was in a wrong mood at the time. Never read any of his plays. As for the sketches, I’ve read a lot of them over the years, but never in collections, don’t know which one is good.

    Hait was mainly author of sketches, but also animation script writer. Again, famous writer who mainly is not read.

  42. Lars Mathiesen says:

    Do people really use saturation to mean value? What happened to the HSV color space?

    Krune’s link is excellent, in particular it is very explicit about the difference between monitors and paint and how things are measured — in terms of perception, not really physics.

  43. AJP Crown says:

    No,

    The word “saturation” is widely used today as a generic term for chromatic intensity in contexts where chroma, colourfulness, saturation and other aspects of chromatic intensity are not distinguished, including a diverse array of measures in digital colour spaces and applications. The concepts of saturation and chroma in particular were long confused even in scientific literature, and interestingly it was the art and design teacher Arthur Pope (1929, pp. 53-58) and the sculptor Morton C. Bradley Jr (1938) who showed that scientists had been repeatedly confusing these concepts. The role of artists in establishing the modern terminology of colour is not surprising, because as Bradley pointed out, artists are vitally interested in colour relationships, while scientists were content with colour specification.

  44. Lars Mathiesen says:

    Yes, but do people say that a light grey is more saturated than a dark grey? (Or vice versa).

  45. AJP Crown says:

    I haven’t heard it, but then I’m locked down in Norway.

  46. The concepts of saturation and chroma in particular were long confused even in scientific literature, and interestingly it was the art and design teacher Arthur Pope (1929, pp. 53-58) and the sculptor Morton C. Bradley Jr (1938) who showed that scientists had been repeatedly confusing these concepts. The role of artists in establishing the modern terminology of colour is not surprising, because as Bradley pointed out, artists are vitally interested in colour relationships, while scientists were content with colour specification.

    Interesting indeed! Bloody scientists, thinking they have all the answers…

  47. John Cowan says:

    I spend New Year’s Eve with my intimates (not a party animal, me), so for me “Happy New Year” is mostly something to say just after midnight. But I might say it at any time before or after to comparative strangers.

    having been away in England

    By the way, is it (still?) true that in Scotland you can say of your neighbors “They’re away” even if it’s only for the day, rather than for an extended period as elsewhere?

  48. for me “Happy New Year” is mostly something to say just after midnight.

    You still stay up till after midnight? Respect! I can’t remember the last time I did that.

  49. @AJP Crown: I do agree that that site has a very good description of the many issues associated with the quantification of color intensity.

  50. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    John Cowan: Five Red Herrings?

    I don’t think I would say it, unadorned, of something I knew to be a day trip, but you can certainly be away for a night. I’d been away for three nights, I think.

    I don’t have a problem with ‘away to Glasgow’ for a day trip. Or, actually, ‘away to the shop’ for a half hour trip!

  51. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Here’s the Sayers quote, for anyone (possibly including John C) I have baffled:

    “Pardon me, my lord. I understand that the ladies have gone away.”

    “Gone away?” said Wimsey, rather taken aback.

    “Yes, my lord. I was informed by the young person who attends upon them that they had gone away to Glasgow.”

    “Oh!” said Wimsey, “they’re away to Glasgow. But that probably only means that they are out for the day. It does not necessarily imply, as it does down South, that they have packed up bag and baggage and departed on a long visit.”

  52. I asked Alexander Anichkin (who comments here as Sashura), and he says the second sense is familiar to him — “на дворе зима” can mean “winter is right around the corner” for him.

  53. Strange, especially with the reverse word order. But, ok, that’s a data point.

  54. Trond Engen says:

    Våren står for døra “spring is standing at the door” is unremarkable in Norwegian. Also, something can be på trappene “on the stairs” meaning “in preparation, about to be rolled out”.

  55. Similarly in Russian на пороге lit. “on the doorstep” means “on the brink of”. But we are discussing a different expression.

  56. Trond Engen says:

    I understand that. But expressions like these are reinvented and calqued and move around the European map quite easily. I don’t mean to suggest any direct influence between Scand. and Russian, but German had significant influence on both for a long time.

  57. David Marjanović says:

    Ah, but this is двор “court(yard)”, not дверь “door”. That makes a calque of Hannibal ad portas look unlikely.

  58. Trond Engen says:

    I understand the difference, but “standing in the courtyard” and “standing in front of the door” aren’t that different as images. It’s where a visitor shows up and calls the attention of the housefolk. One expression may have translated the other and have been a natural calque for the poetic image of the new season coming in.

  59. David Marjanović says:

    Depends on how accessible the courtyard is. In this type of farm you need to pass through a gate to get there.

  60. AJP Crown says:

    Der Vierkanthof, auch Vierkanter (Österr.) genannt

    Thanks for this David! I love them and note the Jugendstil-like sunburst gates and the decoration above them that very slightly breaks into the brick archway lintel. I’ve never seen anything like these; so urban-looking, neat & tidy and unrustic in a way, thanks to the long, unbroken 2-storey window rhythm. There’s definitely a book here for someone. Well, two: one in English for the Vierkanter and another on farm building types with courtyard site-plans. The wiki article could do with one or two earlier examples.

    I found a Dutch-Limburg example of a courtyard building with some similarities, Ieëtselder (Nederlands: Etzenrade) in the Valkebergs dialect & spelling (Veldekesjpelling). In the English translation, a surprise sentence pops up,

    Also, the ginger snake hates her headless bow from hell.

    (Ouch ‘t ingengersjpeurtsje haet ‘ne haufrónne baog van helsjtein – possibly it’s something like ‘Also the entry (Inngangsparti) has a (something, “headphones” in Friesian) arch (baog=bow) of stone’. )

  61. PlasticPaddy says:

    @ajp:
    haufronne is almost certainly “semi-circular” and i think the feature is the barely visible porch slab ( at the bottom of the smaller arch ) made of helsjtein (=blue-gray slate?). I don’t think you would use this stone (but maybe granite) to form the arch, and to me the arch looks like faded brick or concrete with eroded brick facing.

  62. helsjtein
    There is a link in the article to a page for that type of stone in a different variety of Limburgs where it is called Blowwe sjtèè (“blue stone”, obviously). When checking the equivalent articles in other languages, you’ll get Belgisk granit (Swedish) and Pierre bleue (calcaire) (French), but no articles in English or German.

  63. John Cowan says:

    Five Red Herrings?

    Bingo. (Not meaning the code-breaker.)

    As a Scot, what’s your take on the book, especially linguistically? Of course it’s a century ago, but at least Sayers does grasp (and even more clearly in “The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach”) that there is Scots and there is Scottish Standard English, and that these aren’t remotely the same thing. She does suffer from the normal English delusion that Scots doesn’t have its own syntax; I don’t know how annoying that might be.

  64. PlasticPaddy says:

    @hans
    When I saw kalkstein I thought “chalk” so no arch. But granite or some kind of non-porous limestone would work, I suppose. The term bluestone is very imprecise in English and could also overlap with stone to use for an arch.

  65. AJP Crown says:

    Of course! It’s hauf ronne, not hau fronne. Silly me. I found an article about Limburg’s enclosed farms here. I’m not sure where you’re seeing slate. Brick arches are a thing, have been since the Romans. I’d guess slate as something more like ‘schiefer’ (skifer in Norwegian; I know a Dutch-American called Schieferdecker.)

  66. AJP Crown says:

    There is something called bluestone in the US. It looks a bit like greenish slate from a distance.

  67. Der Vierkanthof, auch Vierkanter (Österr.) genannt

    Or, in Boarisch, “A Viakanthof, aa Vierkanthof oder Viakanta is a bsundare Form vo an Bauanhof.”

  68. AJP Crown says:

    The Boarischeans have snuck in an Unreglmaßiga Viaseithof that’s totally unrelated to the other examples except that ok, it’s a farm.

  69. David Marjanović says:

    Kalk(stein) = limestone.

    Chalk is Kreide, which has an interesting “and then a miracle happens” step in its Wiktionary etymology from (terra) creta that makes me suspect Celtic involvement…

    ingengersjpeurtsje

    I’d parse peurtsje as the diminutive of porte… with umlaut, because it’s only western Dutch that lacks that.

  70. Kate Bunting says:

    The British late May bank holiday is no longer tied to the date of Pentecost (Whit Sunday). This year, as Pentecost was the last day of May, the holiday was the previous Monday. I was surprised to find from https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/uk/spring-bank-holiday that the change was made as long ago as 1971. The reason was the perceived inconvenience, e.g. for school half-term breaks, of having the date vary with the date of Easter.

  71. AJP Crown says:

    the change was made as long ago as 1971
    That’s not quite right. The Whitsun (“Pentecost” doesn’t really enter into it) Bank Holiday is Monday. Sunday is a a day off every week, even for banks. The bank holiday was moved from Whitsun earlier, according to your link.

    The Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971, moved this [Whitsun] bank holiday to the last Monday in May, following a trial period of this arrangement from 1965 to 1970. Whit Monday was a bank holiday until 1967 when it was replaced by the Spring Bank Holiday on the last Monday in May.

  72. They went full decimal in 1971 too. Thus was Yeats’ prophecy fulfilled: “The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned.”

  73. David Eddyshaw says:

    There are intermittent calls to do the same to Easter. Given that for the great majority of my fellow-countrymen the day is simply the annual Bunny and Chocolate Festival, I can see no specifically religious objection to this. It’s more that every proper human being should object furiously to the idea that everything should be arranged Rationally, for Efficiency and Managerial Tidiness.

  74. David Eddyshaw says:

    (And I’m going to damn well carry on cutting the ends off my sausages too, thankyou very much.)

  75. AJP Crown says:

    Is there a biblical reason why Christmas is on a fixed date but Easter isn’t? Is ‘birthday’ a clue?

  76. PlasticPaddy says:

    @ajp
    I would say “political”, not “religious”. Passover was a movable (I. e. lunar calendar) feast. So the timing of the Last Supper and hence the crucifixion) was tied to a moveable date. Whereas the Saturnalia was on a fixed (I. e. solar) date, so Christmas was fixed.

  77. AJP Crown says:

    Aha. I’d never thought of fixed as solar, so solar or lunar. In my family, we celebrate Kronia with vegetarian souvlaki and ouzo.

  78. David L says:

    the annual Bunny and Chocolate Festival

    I would love to see the Pope and all his cardinals dressed up in rabbit costumes for the blessing of the Sacred Chocolate Fountain in the middle of St Peter’s Square.

  79. David L: Urbi, orbi, et Cadbury.

    On the dating of Easter, the reason for its apparent peculiarity is that it is the oldest Christian holiday, dating back to the first century. Most Christian holidays, including Christmas, were created by gentiles using the Roman solar calendar. However, the Jewish Christians who initially controlled the sect had long been celebrating their holiest day, honoring Yeshua’s resurrection, on the Sunday after Passover. (In fact, the celebrating may even be older than the doctrine of the Resurrection. It may originally have celebrated the finding of the empty tomb itself, before that was interpreted as a demonstration of rising from the dead.) The method of calculating the precise date of Easter was later simplified somewhat, but it retains the original luno-solar character.

  80. David Eddyshaw says:

    There’s no Biblical evidence for Jesus’ birthday date at all. It looks pretty much like the date of Christmas was set simply to spoil (or absorb) the celebrations for the birthday of Sol Invictus (Constantine’s family cult.)

    Easter is tied to Passover by the Gospel accounts. The Church adopted its own system of calculating the date, with the result that the actual dates often differ (a Messianic Jewish friend of mine was firmly convinced that this was done through deliberate antisemitism, but I favour cock-up over conspiracy.)

  81. Messianic Jewish friend of mine was firmly convinced that this was done through deliberate antisemitism

    It’s too hot to do a proper research, but I’ve heard that Constantinople Orthodox (as opposed to Roman Catholic) Easter calculations has a specific rule how to move the Holy week out of Passover week when they occasionally coincide. Also, it always rains on Passover and always good weather on Easter. People keep tabs.

  82. David Eddyshaw says:

    If so, that might be what my friend was thinking of. They may coincide in the Western tradition (and just did, of course.)

    The Wikipedia article suggests that there was a deliberate decision at the first Council of Nicaea to calculate the date independently rather than follow local Jewish communities (which seems to have been common practice); the impetus seems to have been resolving intra-Christian disputes rather than antisemitism as such.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartodecimanism

    EDIT: There was antisemitism involved. The letter from that slippery fellow Constantine shows it …

  83. Stu Clayton says:

    Slippery ? Sort of a drain-the-swamp kind of guy, apparently:

    # Es kam zu zahlreichen Strafverschärfungen: Die Anwendung der Todesstrafe wurde ausgeweitet (auch in Form der Tötung durch wilde Tiere), andere teils sehr brutale Strafen kamen hinzu, darunter das Abhacken von Gliedmaßen bei Korruption oder die Wiedereinführung der alten Strafe des „Säckens“ [poena cullei] bei Verwandtschaftsmorden.[95] #

    poena cullei:
    # (from Latin ‘penalty of the sack’)[1] under Roman law was a type of death penalty imposed on a subject who had been found guilty of parricide. The punishment consisted of being sewn up in a leather sack, with an assortment of live animals including a dog, snake, monkey, and a chicken or rooster, and then being thrown into water. #

    That’s a neat conceit. It’s good to be reminded occasionally that people haven’t changed much.

  84. David Eddyshaw says:

    Yeah. He was not a nice guy. Not a nice family, in fact: no wonder his nephew Julian reacted by rejecting the whole Christianity thing.

    (Julian was sound on beards. This had become a religious issue.)

  85. Stu Clayton says:

    Where I live in Cologne, in recent years more and more gentle-looking giants appeared on the streets, equipped with rather alarming in-your-face giant beards. (Where else would they be, you may well ask). First these guys were clearly “from a migration background” (Ger.loc.), then young German men starting imitating them.

    When the wearing of masks was imposed about two months ago, all these bearded men disappeared. I suppose they would have had to wrap tote bags around their heads, or else stay at home. I was a bit surprised that so little could have such a great effect, but then I remembered War of the Worlds.

  86. John Cowan says:

    I seem to remember that there are things called beard bags that are used to contain a full beard so that you don’t scatter loose hairs about, but Dr. Google is not helpful.

  87. You mean a beard snood?

  88. Am I wrong in thinking that “beard snood” is just an intrinsically funny phrase?

  89. You are not wrong.

  90. AJP Crown says:

    Snood snoods are often worn by married Orthodox Jewish women… (see Tzniut).

    Tichel (Yiddish טיכל tikhl) headscarf worn by many married Orthodox Jewish women in compliance with the code of modesty known as tzniut […]
    In Berakhot 24a), the rabbis define hair as sexually erotic (ervah). The rabbis base this estimation on a biblical verse: “Your hair is like a flock of goats” (Song of Songs 4:1), suggesting that this praise reflects the sensual nature of hair.

    Your hair is like a flock of goats
    descending from the hills of Gilead.
    2 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
    coming up from the washing.
    Each has its twin;
    not one of them is alone.

    – Your teeth are like a flock of sheep, and not one of them is alone.
    – Yeah, I bet you say that to all the girls.

  91. @AJP Crown: Back in the early Iron Age, you could evidently pay your lover a romantic compliment but pointing out that they had all their teeth.

    Some people find the teeth to be very expressive. (Actually, for any given feature of the human face, you can probably find somebody who finds that feature particularly expressive.) Mervyn Peake seemed to be such a person. In the Gormenghast novels, he tends to focus a lot of attention on one or two features of each of his characters—and in several instances, that means focusing on their teeth. Doctor Prunesquallor’s perfect teeth get a surprising amount of description. Here is the description of them that I remembered best, from the second book:

    He grinned again. This time there was nothing of the yawn left in the process. His jaws opened out like a crocodile’s. How could any human head contain such terrible and dazzling teeth? It was a brand-new graveyard. But oh! how anonymous it was. Not a headstone chiselled with the owner’s name. Had they died in battle, these nameless, dateless, dental dead, whose memorials, when the jaws opened, gleamed in the sunlight, and when the jaws met again rubbed shoulders in the night, scraping an ever closer acquaintance as the years rolled by?

    It is not quite so obvious from this quote, but earlier mentions of the castle physician’s teeth specifically mention the rounded tops, like the shaped upper corners of grave markers. I think Peake’s expectation was that a normal person’s mouth would have somewhat crooked teeth, with the cutting surfaces of the incisors worn down flat.* However, Peake also focused on other characters with particularly bad teeth. Bellgrove, the headmaster at the Gormenghast’s school (solely be virtue of being the oldest teacher there, after the previous head’s wheelchair fell out a window) gets attention paid to his teeth as well:

    His teeth were both carious and uneven and were his worst feature,

    although his dull little eyes get equal billing.

    * As I used to grind my own teeth a lot, my incisors were worn flat like this, practically all the way through the enamel. A few years back, my dentist offered to re-cap them for 60% off, since we’re friends and he didn’t have anything scheduled on the afternoon that I came in for my cleaning.

  92. David L says:

    Your teeth are like a flock of sheep

    I am reminded of the famous Swedish entry in the 1973 Eurovision song contest, You’re Summer, which contained the immortal line “Your breasts are like swallows in nesting.” This caused great hilarity at the time, especially among teenage boys, one of which I was back then.

    On checking Wikipedia to refresh my memory, I discover that the line was written by Lars Forssell, a member of the Swedish Academy. It sounds funny because it’s real poetry, I guess.

    ETA: Now that I think about, since the song was written in Swedish, I wonder if the English version was supposed to be “Your breasts are like swallows a-nesting,” which would be way more poetical IMO.

  93. AJP Crown says:

    Before photography, you rarely see open mouths in portraits.

    I’ve only read Titus Groan & Gormenghast and that was a very long time ago. I recently came across Letters From A Lost Uncle which wasn’t as good. He illustrated the world’s longest (or something) limerick, written by Quentin Crisp, in the 1940s, about a kangaroo. I haven’t read that, mostly because it costs about $500 from Abe Books.

    60% off is very friendly.

  94. AJP Crown says:

    Swedish Wiki says Forssell had written the text in an hour the same day that the contest entries were submitted to Swedish TV. It’s hard to know what he was getting at.

  95. AJP Crown: Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun supposedly scandalized the 1787 Salon by displaying a self-portrait of herself holding her daughter, in which she was smiling and her mouth was very slightly open. Perhaps more amazingly, people were still sore about it more than a sesquicentury later—such as Simone de Beauvoir, who criticized the pose as practically narcissistic. You can judge for yourself whether her artwork was so profoundly tasteless.

  96. Owlmirror says:

    “Your breasts are like swallows in nesting.”

    Maybe it’s just me, but when I think of swallows nesting, I think of big blobs of mud. Is there an aesthetic point I’m missing, I wonder?

  97. Lars Mathiesen says:

    Häcka in Swedish can cover the whole process from courtship over nest building to brooding and feeding the nestlings. But it can also be used of just the brood period.

    Lent from German hecken, cognate to E hatch. Related to hack with the original sense probably like English: the chick hacks its way from the shell.

  98. SFReader says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_Nights has a line

    Why do you, darling, look at me from the side,
    Bending your head so low?

    You should ask your girlfriend to reenact this pose and take a silly picture.

    Great for Instagram post.

  99. January First-of-May says:

    Forssell had written the text in an hour the same day that the contest entries were submitted to Swedish TV.

    Sounds like that one time I unexpectedly discovered an essay contest at twenty minutes to midnight on deadline day. I typed out a short essay in fifteen minutes and sent it at 23:59. Ended up getting second place (with a $350 prize).

  100. Lent from German hecken, cognate to E hatch.
    As far as I am aware, in contemporary Standard German only the prefixed verb aushecken is still in use; it means “to plan”, used mostly for mischief or activities the speaker doesn’t approve of (for the development compare English “to hatch a plan”). The usual verb for hatching is (aus)brüten.

  101. David Marjanović says:

    As far as I am aware, in contemporary Standard German only the prefixed verb aushecken is still in use

    I didn’t even know hecken on its own, and didn’t connect aushecken to hatch either.

    The usual verb for hatching is (aus)brüten.

    That’s the transitive one (“brood, incubate”). The intransitive one (what the hatchling does) is (aus)schlüpfen, which otherwise means “slip (out of something, not on a surface)”.

  102. AJP Crown says:

    https://www.artsy.net/artwork/jan-steen-the-merry-family

    This fiddler still had his front teeth. The woman singing appears to have none at all. He looks about eighty, though in those days that happened when you were twenty-something. The baby has a full set.

    Btw, looking up toothlessness I came across one Joseph Hall, later a bishop, and his 1597 distinction in a compilation of ‘biting’ & ‘toothless’ satires. It’s alluded to in criticism even now without my having noticed (Northrop Frye is somehow involved but I haven’t delved). And not to mention Milton, who had a logical go at it in April 1642 (Apology for Smectymnuus): You love toothless satires; let me inform you, a toothless satire is as improper as a toothed sleek-stone, and as bullish.

    Section VI[…] For if it bite neither the persons nor the vices, how is it a Satyr, and if it bite either, how is it toothlesse, so that toothlesse Satyrs are as much as if he had said toothlesse teeth.

    Milton’s full rant is here (just press Find: toothless):
    https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/milton-the-prose-works-of-john-milton-vol-1/simple

  103. Lars Mathiesen says:

    Apparently hække was a thing in Danish as well, but all forgotten now. (If I hadn’t looked it up, I would probably have constructed a nice little folk etymology for it, connecting it to hæk = ‘hedge’ because hens would nest in hedges or something).

    G brüten would be a cognate of E brood — looks like it’s restricted to WGer, though.

  104. David Marjanović says:

    Also breed

  105. @AJP Crown: I thought the most interesting feature of the painting was the Dutch bagpipes player. That’s not something I have seen before.

    @David Marjanović: Originally (in English, that is), brood was a noun and breed a verb, following a regular paradigm that is still represented with food and feed, or blood and bleed (although the pronunciation of blood has obviously evolved away from the pattern of the others).

  106. Lars Mathiesen says:

    Also for once the WGer-only word wasn’t smuggled into Scandinavian by the Hansa.

  107. @Lars Mathiesen: I first read that as, “smuggled into Scandinavian by the Hausa.”

  108. Leave that suggestion to David Eddyshaw; it’s his bailiwick.

  109. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    I’ve come across (Flemish) Belgian pipers, so Dutch is plausible.

    (The dog doesn’t seem to be standing on the same floor as the girl with the yellow skirt, which is distracting now I’ve noticed it.)

  110. AJP Crown says:

    Brett,
    The pipes look good quality. Jen knows about the Scotland – Low Countries connection. I thought that maybe bagpipes arrived in Scotland via Ireland. I’ve no idea how they would have got to Ireland.

    Jen,
    The perspective is awful and all the foreground objects and figures a bit dodgy, including the heights of the two in yellow & dark green, but as you say, the dog has no space to stand. The dog in the Arnolfini portrait is supposed to be one of the symbols of wealth, and perhaps it was added here (234 years later) near the end for a similar reason. Jan van Eyck’s perspective is so much more professionally constructed than the Jan Steen. It just shows how painters perfect something and move on to something else – baroque composition, or whatever – losing all interest in the first thing.

  111. Owlmirror says:

    the girl with the yellow skirt

    The high resolution image of Het vrolijke huisgezin on Wikimedia shows that the person with the yellow skirt has a face that lacks the roundness of youth, to my eyes, at least. I think she’s a short adult woman.

    (One can also see that she has at some of her teeth).

    (I infer that “vrolijke” is cognate with “frolic”.)

  112. a regular paradigm that is still represented with food and feed, or blood and bleed

    Was there ever a flood and fleed doublet, like the Swedish flod and flöda one?

  113. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    The OED says, for the verb flood: Etymology: < flood n. Compare earlier flede v.

    Quite a lot earlier – the last flede quotation is 1275.

    (I wondered if the Fleet river was connected, but it seems instead to be the same word as fleets of ships, and go back to things which float.)

  114. PlasticPaddy says:

    Re bagpipe origin, I have some thoughts
    1. Wikipedia has the name “uillean pipes” as attested first in C20, however Shakespeare has “woolen pipes”, which sounds silly in English (wollen meaning swollen is a clever emendation).
    2. The instrument is called gaida in S. E. Europe and gaita in N.W. Europe (Galicia). So looks like either Semitic borrowing or Celtic cultural artefact. FWIW there is a Semitic root g-d-l “twist”

  115. David Marjanović says:

    Bagpipes used to be all over Europe. G Dudelsack.

    (I infer that “vrolijke” is cognate with “frolic”.)

    Probably. G froh “happy”, fröhlich “in a good mood”.

    brood was a noun and breed a verb

    So it is in German: Brut, brüten. Similarly Futter “fodder”, füttern “feed” (transitive only). Blut – bluten lacks umlaut in the standard, but has it in my dialect: /blʊɐ̯d/ – /blɪɐ̯tːn̩/ (with /tː/ probably copied in from the 3sg in -tet). Fluten is a very technical term (“to let water into a canal”), probably too recent a coinage to have umlaut; überfluten (“to flood”) is less technical but not so common either.

    The people who bundled timber into a raft (Floß < *flaut-) and transported it that way were called Flötzer; umlaut and West Germanic consonant lengthening (*flaut-j- > *flauttj-…)

  116. AJP Crown says:

    G Dudelsack

    More Sackpfeifen: das Hümmelchen and its rather nice varient, der Dudey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHUFfpMNRQo

  117. Stu Clayton says:

    were called Flötzer

    Where did you get that “t” ? There’s only Flözer and (primarily) Flößer in the books out where I live.

    People should be told that there’s another Flöz meaning “seam [of ore, in mining]”.

  118. David Marjanović says:

    From lots of streets and paths named Flötzersteig. But it doesn’t matter, really, because the vowel must have been long at some point anyway, so the t is wrong by the rules of modern spelling – thanks actually for pointing that out.

  119. Stu Clayton says:

    Possibly an orthographic mutation due to diachronic Spelling Reform ? I caught myself this morning writing platzieren – it’s not a word I use often, is all I can say in my defense. Never will I write “aufwändig”!! As others do as they may, I too will do.

  120. The OED says, for the verb flood: Etymology: < flood n. Compare earlier flede v.

    Quite a lot earlier – the last flede quotation is 1275.

    @Jen: Thanks!

  121. John Cowan says:

    It finally dawned on me today that the American name Flantzer must reflect an underlying Pflanzer ‘planter’ (there are Americans of that name too, of course).

    I have heard the sit-down pipes referred to as William pipes, evidently due to ignorance of Irish spelling. The term is a 20C one; before that, they were called union pipes, but many in Ireland heard that as Union(ist) pipes, so the term fell into disrepute. The mixed-language term was coined by the writer T(homas) H(enry) Grattan Flood.

    Evidently Grattan Flood was named after the unrelated 18C Irish statesmen Henry Flood (anti-independence) and Henry Grattan (pro-independence but not a republican), though both were strongly for the independence of the Irish Parliament, which was hardly a parliament at all. (For one thing, the Irish executive was responsible solely to the English government; for another, the representation of the people was even less than in the British parliament, since Catholics were both barred from sitting and disenfranchised.)

  122. AJP Crown says:

    Never will I write “aufwändig”!!
    What is it, Stu? Auf­wen­dig? Have they altered the spelling or what’s the story here?

  123. PlasticPaddy says:

    @stu
    DWDS has aufwendig as Nebenform (= weniger häufige Variante ) of aufwändig. So it is a matter of frequency, not correctness, and you might be able to swing things back by targeting the youth.

  124. Stu Clayton says:

    DWDS is peddling fake news. Until Spelling Reforms were put in place by deep state radicals, behind the backs of the people, the form aufwändig was at best condoned as merely illiterate, in a spirit of tolerance.

    aufwendig is Tradition. The other form is an abomination of Etymological Correctness.

    # Das liegt an der lieben neuen Rechtschreibung.

    Früher schrieb man sowohl das Eine als auch das Andere mit “e”, aber da es, wie du ja schon erwähnt hattest, eigentlich von Aufwand kommt, hat man entschieden,
    zumindest “aufwändig” mit “ä” zu schreiben – “aufwenden” allerdings blieb, wie es war,
    denn “aufwänden” klänge dann ja doch zu bescheuert. #

    https://m.korrekturen.de/forum.pl/md/read/id/83871/sbj/aufwenden-vs-aufwaendig/

    “bescheuert” is the right word here.

  125. David Marjanović says:

    In short: ever since 1901, the adjective was derived from the verb aufwenden, but the reform (implemented in 1998 through 2005) says it’s derived from the noun Aufwand (“effort”) and accordingly changed the e to ä. This has no influence on the pronunciation, contrary to the claim that it “would sound too daft after all” at the end of the quote.

    It is true that the reform was completely undemocratic; it was hatched and implemented by the ministries of education in consultation with completely anonymous experts, and some of its proposals proved unpopular enough that the old forms were allowed again very late in the process (like in 2006 or 2007).

  126. Stu Clayton says:

    completely anonymous experts

    Right. “Expert” in what ? How to assess the claim to knowledge implicit in that title when its bearers are anonymous ? “Trust me” ? “Follow the Science” ?

    There are tough issues here that can’t be blamed on “post-modernism”. I think the reform-minded folks simply got out of control. Contentious know-it-alls. Less would have been more helpful.

  127. Stu Clayton says:

    This has no influence on the pronunciation, contrary to the claim that it “would sound too daft after all” at the end of the quote.

    But nobody knows that. The use of ä quite naturally suggests a different pronunciation. Is there a waiver somewhere in the fine print ?

  128. David Marjanović says:

    The use of ä quite naturally suggests a different pronunciation.

    The use of ä vs. e, when short, is purely morphological, and has been for centuries in anything vaguely resembling a Standard accent.

    (Morphological, not etymological. Words that have undergone an umlaut process but whose form without umlaut does not survive are uniformly spelled with e. Example: eng, OHG adjective engi vs. adverb ango. The reform tried to reinterpret how certain words are derived in synchronic morphology today.)

    You happen to live in the area where long ä is not pronounced the same as long e; but for the short one you have to dive deep into dialects – and if you do that, you find distinctions that often have nothing to do with the spelling.

  129. Stu Clayton says:

    Nobody knows any of that either, apart from experts. Why was this foisted on the public ?

    The reform tried to reinterpret how certain words are derived in synchronic morphology today.

    So it’s just eyetymological eye candy. Who needed that ? This is how professionals sell their wares, like tradesmen – they think up ways to advertise their presence. Dogs pee on trees.

  130. And they wonder why I despise Language Academies.

  131. AJP Crown says:

    I see Kölsch has its own ISO 639-3 (has DIN been phased out?) What if it changes, branches in two directions? Where does the buck stop for linguistic decisions, with the mayor of Köln? I can’t imagine for example Trump making a decision about American dialects. Can you go to prison for misusing Kölsch?

  132. Stu Clayton says:

    There have been cases of misprision when using Kölsch.

  133. David Marjanović says:

    This is how professionals sell their wares, like tradesmen – they think up ways to advertise their presence.

    Not even: in this case, nobody knows their names apart from 2 or 3 bureaucrats in the ministries of education. They did not do this for fame everlasting. They did it to implement their pet peeves as an end in itself.

    …Well, the idea behind it has been published: to make spelling more intuitive by recognizing widespread folk etymologies. (One example that may have worked is that the former greulich “gruesome”, a rare word, is now spelled like its homophone gräulich “grayish” < grau “gray”, along with Greuel > Gräuel “abomination” and Greueltat > Gräueltat “atrocity”, a less rare word. An example that probably didn’t work is Stengel > Stängel “stalk of a plant”, supposedly from Stange “pole”, which I, for one, had never considered.) The trick is that nobody polled people to see if any of them were widespread.

  134. “It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a Gruä.”

  135. PlasticPaddy says:

    @dm
    The change for Gräuel seems arbitrary, as there are a lot of these doublets. I suppose the words with treu are too widespread and well-established to change e.g. , Treue to Träue. ..

  136. David Marjanović says:

    I don’t think the connection between trauen and Treue has ever occurred to me… trauen “wed” is much less common these days than sich trauen “dare”, to the point that every occurrence of sich trauen for “marry” is a pun.

    Again, etymology is not the concern of that part of the reform, synchronic morphology is – but that was mostly guessed at, as opposed to anyone polling people about their grammars.

  137. Rodger C says:

    I can’t imagine for example Trump making a decision about American dialects.

    Don’t give him any ideas.

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