THE IGNATZ PARTY.

A fascinating factoid:

Nazi is obviously a short form of National socialist, or Nationalsozialist to be precise, just as Sozi is a short form of Sozialist. But the word has a much more interesting story than that.
Long before the rise of the NSDAP in the 1920s, people in at least southern Germany could be called Nazi if they were named Ignatz, or came from Austria or Bohemia (where they apparently had lots of Ignatzes); it was supposedly also used as a generic name for soldiers of Austria-Hungary, like the German Fritz or Russian Ivan. It had to be used with caution between friends, though, since it could also mean “idiot” or “clumsy oaf”. That’s how it found it’s way into politics; the fact that Adolf came from Austria (not Bohemia, though) could have made the pun even better. [...]
An example of pre-hitlerian use of Nazi in southern Germany can be found in a “Bayerische Komödie in 4 Akten”: Der Schusternazi, “the shoemaker nazi”, by Ludwig Thoma in 1905.

Via bayard at Wordorigins.org, where Oecolampadius points out that the OED agrees: “The term was originally used by opponents of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and may have been influenced by Bavarian Nazi, a familiar form of the proper name Ignatius and used to refer to or characterize an awkward or clumsy person.” (Odd that they use the Latin form of the name.)

Comments

  1. This means, then, that “Nazi” is a cognate of “Nacho.” Odd.

  2. Heh. That’s an even better factoid.

  3. Can we link this to Ignatz in Krazy Kat?
    I suppose Ignaz is the more common form as a first name, but then there were all those German names turned into Latin and Greek – I used to share a flat with a girl called Noltenius (Nolte) – and is the the Melanchthon year (Schwarzerdt)?

  4. David Marjanović says:

    It is of course Ignaz, not Ignatz; the latter spelling would mark the a as short, when it’s etymologically long. I guess the source wanted to prevent English-speakers from saying [z].
    As you can imagine, the name is as extinct as Adolf; it hasn’t been given to anyone since 1945.
    I didn’t know of any uses other than as an abbreviation of Ignaz or Nationalsozialist.

  5. Odd that they use the Latin form of the name.
    Don’t you think they thought of it as the English form of the name, like the Saint (or Minnesota’s Donnelly)?

  6. marie-lucie says:

    Nice to see you again, David.

  7. Grüß dich, David, mal wieder auf’m Plan ?
    The name Hitler was almost saddled with – Adolf Schicklgruber – might be rendered Lupus Magnus Stercator, if my souces are correct. Sounds grand but rather ominous.
    I find here a claim that Schickl is a Bavarian dialect word for “liquid manure”, and that it is related to Schlick [alluvial mud]. So Schicklgruber would mean “shit digger”. It’s too good to be true !?
    Adolf is a shortened form of the Germanic Adalwolf ["noble wolf"].

  8. I couldn’t find any corroboration for this Schickl in Grimm or elsewhere. Now that David is back I should add: “but of course Grimm is out-of-date and completely useless”. :-)

  9. Was the spelling Ignatz, like, say, Bubis, then, Yiddish? Was Dr. Nascher Jewish?

  10. David Marjanović says:

    mal wieder auf’m Plan ?

    <uncontrolled convulsion>
    I’ve encountered that expression once or twice before, but, AFAIK, it’s limited to some small part of Germany or something. And putting spaces in front of question marks is French only.
    I’m here only to look up something for the only really time-consuming blog I still read while finishing my thesis.

    I find here a claim that Schickl is a Bavarian dialect word for “liquid manure”, and that it is related to Schlick [alluvial mud]. So Schicklgruber would mean “shit digger”. It’s too good to be true !?

    No idea.
    Except that “digger” doesn’t fit. Gruber (which exists on its own as a surname) must mean someone who lives next to a Grube, a pit. So, someone who lives next to the manure pit???

  11. David! Nice to see you back, even if only for a flying visit; we’ve been missing you. Good luck with the thesis!

  12. the name is as extinct as Adolf; it hasn’t been given to anyone since 1945

    Not quite true. There’s the film director Adolf Winkelmann, born in 1946.
    I just noticed that Semmelweis rejoiced in the name of Ignaz.

    Except that “digger” doesn’t fit.

    “Shit digger” was the twist given to the name at that link. I thought it was nice if inaccurate, because someone who digs shit (Scheiße mag) will surely live as close to a Jauchegrube as possible.

    AFAIK, it’s limited to some small part of Germany or something.

    It’s common everywhere in Germany I’ve been: think of auf den Plan rufen, auf dem Plan erscheinen etc. In the Rheinland, wieder auf’m Plan ? means “back in business/town again ?”

    And putting spaces in front of question marks is French only.

    It’s now also German and English, because I do it. Every day I receive thousands of emails from new followers.

  13. I could swear that I never heard the word “Nazi” in Germany. It was always “Nationalsozialisten”. At least when they were speaking in German.

  14. David Marjanović says:

    someone who digs shit

    Oooooh. I see.
    ==================================================
    Because this is the latest post, I hereby hijack it to comment on this closed thread.

    It would be much worse in Bavaria or Switzerland. When I was in Munich a few times in later years, I got a kick out of hearing Turkish workers speaking Bavarian. Nowadays I don’t get a kick: it just makes me pensive.

    Over here in Austria, such people tend to end up with a weird mixture of standard and dialect, minus a lot of grammar. In general, no foreigner at all is expected to ever learn to speak (as opposed to understand!) a dialect; the only one I know who did so had arrived in Austria at the age of 6.

    Suppose an American sociology student is fascinated by Bavarian customs, and wants to become a ludwigologist. [ X-D ] He decides to attend “German” classes at a university. Why doesn’t he attend “Bavarian” classes ? Because they’re not on offer. I bet you a million dollars that there is not one degree-track study program for “Bavarian” in any university in the USA. Probably there’s not even a single course in “Bavarian”. And yet, to be practical, the student should be learning it – or learning it in addition to learning “German”.

    One reason they’re not on offer is that German dialects are not written. Teaching a completely unwritten language is… challenging.
    OK, for most or all German dialects there are or were “local poets” (Heimatdichter) who have tried, but most of them haven’t bothered to develop any semblance of a consistent spelling system, and very few people read any such stuff anyway. Off the top of my head at half past 1 a.m., I can’t name a single author or work for any dialect.
    Yeah, OK. Several groups of dialects now have Wikipedias, and some (!) of those have tried (with limited success) to come up with some kind of spelling system. But… nobody reads those either. :-)

    As far as I know these same synchronized movies and series are shown all over the “German” world, that is Austria or Switzerland don’t make their own versions.

    Correct.
    I’ll need to read this paper later. Judging from the first page, it makes bizarre assertions. Probably it means that children’s Standard German is changing. The abstract mentions “the particle mal” – in this form it couldn’t be inserted into the dialect, which already has the unshortened einmal [ãˈmɒ̈ɪ̯ ~ ɐˈmɒ̈ɪ̯] for the same function, but it wouldn’t stand out in the standard; and the claim that northern German is more prestigious in Austria is just laughable, it’s instead considered ugly and ridiculous/embarrassing.
    The third page claims to give former differences that are disappearing. One is a shift from angreifen (A) to anfassen (D) “in certain phrases” – BTW, anfassen is “touch” only, only the former is ambiguous between “touch” and “attack”. I have a very hard time imagining that that happens in a dialect. Probably anfassen doesn’t replace angreifen, but the Standard-only word berühren… A shift from der Akt to die Akte is credible, but this is damn obviously a Standard-only word. It’s credible because the word is so rare it is almost never encountered. I knew both forms, but had no idea there ever was a geographical difference; I had thought there must be one of context. Das Service, pronounced as if from French, and der Service, pronounced as if from English (which it is), are not synonyms: the latter basically has its English meaning plus “repair service”, the former refers to a set of coffee cups + pot + tablet!!! WTF!!!
    Scrolling through the rest of the paper confirms that it’s almost all about changes to Austrian Standard German and not about how people actually speak in normal situations. The one exception that caught my eye is tschüss; it’s true that the Viennese of my generation and later say it a lot, that it must have come from Germany, and that the only plausible way it can have arrived is via the mass media. But… AFAIK that’s Viennese only, just like the Servus that it replaces. The rest of Austria used to say something completely different, and AFAIK still does.
    (How people write on the Internet still counts as Standard German, even if the grammar drifts toward the writer’s dialect. Again, the dialects are not written.)

  15. David Marjanović says:

    Footnote 11 of the paper claims that Pflanzerei, “act of pulling someone’s leg in a dishonoring fashion”, “was used until recently throughout Austria”. What rot. The Viennese always believe whatever they say is used throughout Austria. </grumble> I had never encountered it in Linz; it, and the verb pflanzen, were (in those meanings) completely new to me when I arrived in Vienna at age 11. If the claim had been that they’re dying out in Vienna, fine, but that isn’t the claim.

    I could swear that I never heard the word “Nazi” in Germany. It was always “Nationalsozialisten”. At least when they were speaking in German.

    Wouldn’t surprise me at all if it was limited to Austria or perhaps Austria and Bavaria. Sozi was, AFAIK, limited to Austria (1920s and 30s, extremely rare since then).

  16. David Marjanović pointed out that the names Adolf and Ignaz completely disappeared in 1945 back in a comment to an earlier post.
    Of course, nothing is so absolute. And now-a-days, one can search Facebook and Netlog and find people in Austria with those names, a few of whom look from their photos to be younger than 65.
    The musician Ignaz Lackmaier goes by the name der naz. He does not give his age, but mentions knowing the actor Fritz Lehmann as a kid, so he probably isn’t an exception.

  17. bruessel says:

    The mayor of Duisburg, where the Love Parade went so disastrously wrong, is called Adolf Sauerland (born in 1955).

  18. marie-lucie says:

    Perhaps the younger Adolfs are called that after their grandfathers or uncles or other relatives, and for them the connotations associated with the name are largely family memories. This could well happen among families with limited interests and horizons.

  19. bruessel, I can’t believe Adolf Sauerland slipped my mind. He’s been in the news so much recently !
    I agree with marie-lucie, partially. The practice of giving children the first names of relatives or forebears – just as common here as in the US – possibly accounts for the younger Adolfs. But I see no justification for an assumption that the families in question must have “limited interests and horizons”. To believe that the name Adolf is somehow intrinsically tainted for all time is not at all wordly-wise, but rather superstitious and silly. It is a kind of provincialism-at-a-distance.
    Sorry to be a little caustic here, marie-lucie, but this is Germany and these are Germans, not actors on the set of Schindler’s List, or proxies of gasping, weeping movie audiences in America. Sure, Adolf was not a popular name for some years after the war, and the name is even today not common. But there are few people today who think it worthwhile to conjure connotations when the name Adolf turns up – I’ve never encountered one. That is so whether the name is attached to a person, or to a prestigious award for television productions such as the Adolf-Grimme-Preis. Of course a kid named Adolf would probably get the hell taunted out of him in school, but schoolchildren are notorious for childishness.
    When I came to Germany, it was to do math grad work, and to learn German so’s I could read Kant, Hegel etc. Not for a second did I have the Third Reich on my radar, in fact I knew very little about it. That may sound incredible, but it’s true. I was just getting on with my life and interests, just as most young people do, even in countries such as Vietnam, Japan, Russia – no matter what the horrors of a not-do-distant past.

  20. Of course the “Adolf” number turns up occasionaly in television comedy shows, but it’s a very tired and tiresome number. One is also occasionally treated to faggot parodies in such shows, but so what ? Guido Westerwelle, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Klaus Wowereit, the executive mayor of Berlin, are gay – to name but two politicians. This is a country very different from America.

  21. If Ignaz is rarer now, I don’t think it has anything to do with the war – it’s just a change of fashion. I should think it was always more common in Bavaria proper, the Catholic part. I just encountered an Ignaz in a cathedral guide I was translating yesterday, btw, but that was an 18th-c. one.
    Didn’t actually realize Sauerland’s name was Adolf. Still following the news on that one.
    The word Nazi definitely is used in German. I have to consider when to use Nazi and when National Socialist, in translations. And the term Neo-Nazi is standard.

  22. Here you go: on the basis of the German telephone directory of 1998, enter a name, e.g. Ignaz, and it will show the geographical distribution on a map. Thus Ignazes in the phone book in 1998, with no information as to where they were born.
    http://www.gen-evolu.de/index.php?id=80
    I see very few Adolfs in the east and wonder if it was not allowed to be registered in the GDR, or if it’s just a matter of tastes differing.

  23. I meant, of course, we don’t know *when* they were born.

  24. What a useful reference, MM, thanks !
    I see that the high occurences of “Ignaz” (overall total of 2258) are in Bavarian cities. There are fewer “Ignatz” (overall total of 726), with a focal point in western Niedersachsen, seemingly out in the sticks near Cloppenburg !?

  25. Good grief, I didn’t even think of looking for Ignatz with a T! That is weird.
    I think at that site you can search for last names in both 1998 and (Reich phone book) 1942, but via a link for Austrian names Schicklgruber appears only of interest in Austria (unsurprisingly).

  26. Trond Engen says:

    Yes, nice reference (and I’ve already used it somewhere else), but the symbols annoy me. When simply counting occurences like this, at least the number should be proportional to the area of the circle, not the diameter. But either way, this map says more about total population than about the distribution of names. (But admittedly, correcting for this would take more data and data processing and may be out of the scope of the service.) Staying with the circles, one might let the area represent the total population and the shade stand for the popularity of the name. Or a share rather than a shade.
    Better would be to draw directly on the map. Shades proportional to relative popularity would be great to show regional distribution, but it would grossly underrepresent the urban communities. One answer to that might be a 3D map with the height representing population density.

  27. Trond Engen says:

    Crown, is that you?

  28. Off the top of my head at half past 1 a.m., I can’t name a single author or work for any dialect.
    The definitely non-obscure Ludwig Thoma, whose Jozef Filsers Briefwexel is rusting in my bookcase even as I write. I found it a few months ago on the steps of a small neighborhood multi-culti art theater a few houses down, where people deposit unwanted books. That was also my pick-up point for Elizabeth Plessen’s Mitteilung an den Adel (Note 1+), the not-so-bad thriller Der Sündenbock by the leftist-Catholic Luise Rinser, and many another goody.
    There are bits and pieces of dialect in Bernhard and Jelinek.

  29. Crown, is that you?
    Probably not, the J and P are missing.

  30. Shades proportional to relative popularity would be great to show regional distribution, but it would grossly underrepresent the urban communities.
    The maps are based on telephone directories as pre-fab population samples – quite reasonably, I think, given current living standards in Germany. Does anyone really need or want to know the absolute name frequencies and distributions by square kilometer ? Even if we did find out the hidden numbers of unlisted Igna(t)zes, to what conceivable use could that information be put ?

  31. @ Trond Egen: thanks for the information on the graphic representation. I am not a linguistics buff, so am easily fooled by this kind of thing. (It seems more useful than pure speculation, however!)

  32. Sorry, Engen.

  33. No, I’m not selling goat soap yet. Maybe at Christmas.

  34. Gruber (which exists on its own as a surname)

    As the famous lieutenant, of course.
    I, too, assumed this was gonna be about Krazy Kat.
    And now I guess I should go to Pharyngula to see what David was researching. (He doesn’t look like Harry Potter or Mackauly Culkin, by the way.)

  35. The English WiPe on pharyngula says it is a stage in embryonic development. “At the pharyngula stage, all vertebrate embryos show remarkable similarities”, one of which is a “post-anal tail”. Does anybody know what “post-anal” means here ? That’s where tails are by definition, I would have thought. Or is that “pre-anal” ? It all depends on the prenatal viewpoint, or not ?

  36. So is there an anti-Jesuit angle? I’ve been dealing with a German Jesuit named Ignatius Stuetzle (late 19c.) so the name did exist in this form, at least within the SJ.

  37. Well, there seem to be 39 Ignatiuses in that phone book. Then again, you get churches called St. Stephanus, but people are called Stephan or Stefan or Steffen.

  38. You couldn’t really call yourself Ignaz if you were a Jesuit, could you? St Ignaz Loyola?

  39. This means, then, that “Nazi” is a cognate of “Nacho.”
    By 1945, they’d had their chips.

  40. David Marjanović says:

    bruessel, I can’t believe Adolf Sauerland slipped my mind. He’s been in the news so much recently !

    I simply assumed he must be 65 or older. :-] Circular logic! You should try it sometime. ;-)

    To believe that the name Adolf is somehow intrinsically tainted for all time is not at all wordly-wise, but rather superstitious and silly. It is a kind of provincialism-at-a-distance.

    Yeah, but, that’s what happened. :-| The name was reasonably common before WWII and became extremely rare afterwards. Yes, fashions have changed, and this has almost certainly contributed, but for most other first names that change happened in the 1960s and 1970s.

    The definitely non-obscure Ludwig Thoma

    I don’t think anyone who isn’t Bavarian and/or heavily into literature knows about him. I had encountered his name before, but that’s it.

    Jozef Filsers Briefwexel

    Jozef? With Z? WTF? … There’s indeed a Z in the original, but don’t ask me where the vertical gene transfer Thoma got that idea from.
    But… anyway. That book isn’t written in dialect. It’s in bad 19th-century Standard German with as many spelling … peculiarities as humanly possible. The mistakes in the language are all from Bavarian dialect*, as far as I can see at a glance, but the whole thing is still Standard German. Did you really not notice? :-)
    (And z is consistently used for [ts] and for nothing else. Is that Filser guy a stealth Slovak?)
    * Except… wo as the universal relative pronoun? I thought that was Alemannic-only? Must be a very western Bavarian; such a Swabian connection could explain the common use of b, d, g instead of p, t, k too.

    Probably not, the J and P are missing.

    But then, Jurassic Park is sooooo 1993 anyway.

    Gruber (which exists on its own as a surname)

    As the famous lieutenant, of course.

    ?
    …I do hope you don’t mean Leutnant Gustl? :-S

    post-anal tail

    As distinguished from the so-called “tails” of some non-vertebrates. “Post-anal” is just there to drive the point home.

    St Ignaz Loyola?

    No, he always stays Ignatius; not Ignaz, not Ignacio, not Iñaki. Similarly, St Peter is always Petrus, never Peter.
    It’s a bit like Jacob and James in English… vaguely. BTW, James the Just is Jakobus, der Bruder des Herrn.

    And now I guess I should go to Pharyngula to see what David was researching.

    The very URL of this blog. :-) It was for the ongoing thread about the stereotype that women are bad at math and the strange corrolary that they’re good at languages. Ever since Cleopatra, all the people I can think of that were reputed to speak 10 or 20 languages were men; I linked to the examples of our esteemed host and Bulbul. … How many has Claire Bowern got under her belt? I know she speaks a couple of very different languages, but I don’t know how many.

  41. David Marjanović says:

    And actually, wasn’t Cleopatra said to have spoken only six languages?

  42. “Ignatz” reflects both the standard YIVO transliteration of Yiddish and common practice in the Latin-script Jewish community before that, so it’s exactly what you’d expect in Krazy Kat, a strip drawn by a Yat-speaking Creole living in Arizona and passing for white most (or possibly all) of his life.

  43. bruessel says:

    “No, I’m not selling goat soap yet. Maybe at Christmas.”
    Oh, yes, please. And scarves, I’m still waiting for the scarves.

  44. I’d offer you a scarf, but the goats haven’t knitted anything for ages.

  45. That’s too bad. Maybe they’ll get round to it after they’ve finished their summer job. Surely they’ll need something to do when winter is closing in.

  46. First they’ll have to do the spinning. It all takes quite a long time. However, the second half of August is considered autumn in Norway, so who knows?

  47. …I do hope you don’t mean Leutnant Gustl? :-S

    Nope.

  48. David Marjanović says:

    Ah. That’s certainly better.

  49. Jongseong says:

    John Cowan: “Ignatz” reflects both the standard YIVO transliteration of Yiddish and common practice in the Latin-script Jewish community before that
    The Wikipedia article on Yiddish orthography suggests that the YIVO romanization would use ‘ts’, whereas Harkavy’s 1898 dictionary used ‘tz’.

  50. Jeongseong: Right you are: I posted in haste and may now repent at leisure.

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