Mallender.

I’m reading the Strugatskys’ Хромая судьба (recently translated by Maya Vinokour as Lame Fate), which involves rereading their earlier novel Гадкие лебеди (The Ugly Swans; see this 2012 post) and enjoying it all over again — it forms alternating chapters, now repurposed as the hidden writings of the protagonist of the outer story, Feliks Sorokin. It takes place in a city wilting under unending rain and suspicious of a group of strange creatures who need to stay wet to survive; they are called in Russian мокрецы [mokretsy], a straightforward derivative of мокрый [mokry] ‘wet’ (related to Old Irish móin ‘bog, peat-moss’) — they’re called “clammies” in the Vinokour translation. Even though this was clearly a specialized usage, I looked up мокрец and discovered it had three existing meanings, given in my three-volume New Great Russian-English Dictionary as “1 veter malanders; 2 pl zool biting midges (Ceratopogonidae); 3 bot = мокрица [‘common chickweed’].” The last two seemed simple enough, but what was “malanders”? Turns out it’s an unusual spelling of what the OED (entry updated June 2000) has s.v. mallender, defining it as “Veterinary Medicine. Now rare. Originally: †a sore located behind a horse’s knee (obsolete). Later (in plural and †singular): a kind of chronic dermatitis of horses, characterized by the presence of such sores.” The etymology is a bog:

< Middle French malandre a sore behind a horse’s knee (c1393: compare the cognate Anglo-Norman and Old French malan, malant septic wound, ulcer, sore, especially on a horse’s neck), ultimately < classical Latin malandria a kind of pustule or rash (used in post-classical Latin of eruptive skin diseases of both horses and humans; sometimes used as neuter plural rather than as feminine singular), perhaps a popular borrowing of Hellenistic Greek μελάνδρυον heart of the oak, use as noun of neuter of ancient Greek μελάνδρυος, adjective < μελαν-, μέλας dark (see melano- comb. form) + δρυός, genitive of δρῦς oak, tree (see dryad n.). Compare sallender n., malandryn n.
N.E.D. (1904) labels this word ‘Now only pl.’ Cognates vary between plural (e.g. Italian malandre, Portuguese malandres) and singular (e.g. Sardinian malandra, Italian regional (Vicenza) malandro, Italian regional (Piedmont) malandra).

I have several questions. Why would the New Great Russian-English Dictionary (and wherever they got the definition from) render the Russian word with an obsolete English word, and why in that spelling? If the word is obsolete, what do vets call the condition now? Surely not “a kind of chronic dermatitis of horses” — but if there’s a modern term, why wouldn’t the OED use it? And perhaps most annoyingly, how do you get a name for eruptive skin diseases from a word meaning ‘heart of the oak’? How I suffer!

Another interesting etymology I learned as a result of reading the Strugatsky book: the interjection амба [amba], defined in my Oxford Russian-English Dictionary as “kaput!, it’s all up!,” is apparently from Italian ambo ‘both’ (itself straight from Latin), the context being late-18th-century underground gambling houses, where, as a designation of a simultaneous bet on two numbers of a numerical lottery (with a very low probability of winning), it became synonymous with loss, failure, and sometimes death; by the 1870s it appeared in thieves’ jargon, and from there became part of Russian slang.

Comments

  1. David Eddyshaw says

    Old Irish móin is presumably the same etymon as Welsh mawn “peat.” It doesn’t look easy to connect with мокрый, but I can’t find anything in Thurneysen about the outcome of *-kn-; and the Welsh verb dygaf “I take” (from *duk-) has the verbal noun dwyn, presumably from *dukn-, and oen “lamb” goes with Latin agnus. But that would suggest that the Welsh for “peat” ought to have been something like *moen or *mwyn if the word were from *mokn-. I think …

    (To make things even more difficult, GPC says dogn “portion” is from *dokn- … I give up.)

  2. David Eddyshaw says

    Come to think of it, the Russian /k/ would presumably go back to a labialised velar, and Thurneysen does treat the “lamb” word, though he attributes it to *-gʷn-, with a voiced stop, and of course the Irish is úan.
    (He also suggests that the unexpected Celtic /o/ for /a/ is by contamination from *owis “sheep”, which looks plausible.)

    EDIT: Not looking hard enough in Thurneysen: p78 does indeed say that Irish ch disappears before /n/, though he says the evidence for /kn/, as opposed to /kl/ kr/ is weak. Moreover, the parallel cases with /kr/ /kl/ do not lose the stop in Welsh, e.g. dagrau “tears”, beside Old irish dér “tear.” This matches the general trend in the two languages: compare the cognates Dáil and Welsh dadl “argument.”

  3. A little googling reveals that mallenders and sallenders are still current names for equine hyperkeratosis, in front of the hock on the hind legs and in the crease of the knee on the front leg respectively.

  4. David Eddyshaw says

    Presumably medial *-kʷn- would have gone through the stage of *-pn- at some point in Brythonic, and then *-bn-; I suppose /n/ or /wn/ could be a possible outcome for that in Welsh. I can’t think of any actual counterexamples, anyway …

  5. Well, I wouldn’t have guessed tonight’s bedtime reading would consist of looking at pictures of various types of horse rashes and suchlike, but there we go… I suppose ‘oak heartwood’ (μελάνδρυον) could refer to any number of features of the eruption: a dark discolouration in the afflicted area, a harder texture, relative dryness, a pattern resembling medullary rays…
    A couple of preliminary musings: 1) Is mallenders necessarily the same condition as that described in the classical texts? The TLL and Lewis and Short stress its occurence on the neck, whereas the OLD doesn’t mention this, and modern sources define it as a condition of the legs; 2) It seems pretty random that ‘sallenders’ was invented to describe the same condition but on the hind legs. A quick look didn’t turn up any etymologies, except in the Trésor de la Langue Francaise, where the first part of ‘solandres’ was derived from ‘sole’, which doesn’t make sense (unless the name for some similar condition of the hooves somehow came to be applied to the hind legs); 3) It may simply be an accident of history, but μελάνδρυον isn’t attested as a medical term in Greek (according to LSJ), so it is potentially suspicious in Latin for that reason, and the etymology is not completely convincing at first blush — but if one accepts μελάνδρυον, then one could also accept μελάνδρυα, cuts of some sort of tuna fish ( μελάνδρυς ). Why use the word for oak heartwood as opposed to heartwood in general (ἐγκάρδιον)?

  6. PlasticPaddy says

    @de
    re móin / mawn, Matasovic has PC *mani, but says: “OIr. moin and W mown might be derivable from *makni- < *mh 2 kni- ‘swamp’ (cf. OIr. ton < *tukna). The root would be the same as in Alb. make ‘mud’, OCS mokrb ‘wet’, Lith. maknoti ‘walk through the mud’ ".
    Re *dokn, I am unable to find this (unless it is some noun formation from *da "to give"). Is it possible that dogn is derived from OW daul + suffix (compare Ir. dalcán "(Small) lump; hunk, chunk; portion, quantity.").

  7. Malandria: the more I read about it, the more unanswered questions I have. The first word I thought about was malandro, the charming rogue of Brazilian urban mythology. There is a non-mainstream etymology linking malandro to malandria (in the sense of “leprosy”) in a roundabout way.

    There seems to be a consensus that malandro is a descendant of Italian malandrino. The mainstream Italian approach, I think, is to view it as a combination of mal- and an unattested Italian word linked to a medieval German verb meaning “to loiter, wander” (hence dial. landra “loose woman, streetwalker”). However, the Catalan Gran Diccionari claims that “malandrĭa ‘mena de lepra’” is the ultimate source.

  8. David Marjanović says

    Why use the word for oak heartwood as opposed to heartwood in general (ἐγκάρδιον)?

    I’d guess that’s about the colors, except I have no idea of the colors involved.

    OCS mokrb ‘wet’

    That b must be an OCR error for ъ.

  9. I think the connection of ‘malandro/-ino’ with ‘malandria’ is unproblematic, the evolution being something like ‘itinerant leper’ > an undesirable person to meet on the road > ‘highwayman’, and that (Italian) development being reflected in the other Romance languages.

    I wonder if one can connect German ‘Mauke’ to the root which gives ‘мокрый’?

  10. Old Irish móin is presumably the same etymon as Welsh mawn “peat.”

    Here is a link to Schrijver, Studies in British Celtic Historical Phonology (1995), p. 212, on mawn. Also, more recently Weiss, “Interesting i-stems in Irish”, p. 344, footnote 39, who suggests a loanword from British into Irish.

  11. David Eddyshaw says

    @PP:

    For Welsh dogn, GPC says

    < Clt. *dok-n- o’r gwr. *dek’ ‘cymryd, cipio’, cf. Gr. δέκομαι

    (< Clt. *dok-n- from the root *dek’ ‘take, seize’, cf. Gr. δέκομαι)

    I don’t think Welsh mawn can possibly be derived from *makni- , and moreover the form *mown seems to be unattested.

    Schrijver’s link to Latin manare is incompatible with the word being connected to мокрый.

  12. David Eddyshaw says

    I see that Michael Weiss, in the second paper Xerîb linked to, agrees with me that *makni- is impossible. (Fn 39)

    Borrowing from Brythonic would explain the unexpected vowel of the Old Irish móin, though I must say that Ireland seems to me to be possibly the last place on earth where people would be driven to borrow a foreign word for “peat” …

  13. David Marjanović says

    I wonder if one can connect German ‘Mauke’ to the root which gives ‘мокрый’?

    Only if the unexpected au can be explained. The k should work: *kn > *kk > *k following long syllable nuclei, later than Grimm’s law, so it would actually be preserved in Low German. I’m presuming the word is Low German because I’ve never heard of it and there’s more bog terminology in Low than in High German for obvious reasons.

  14. David Eddyshaw says

    Judging by Wiktionary (an unsafe practice, OK) мокрый itself has no secure cognates outside Baltic and Slavonic, which would further undermine the plausibility of forcibly connecting the word with Welsh mawn, especially given the unsatisfactory nature of the proposed correspondence phonologically (Irish móin is much less of a problem because of the outright disappearance of stops in Irish in this context.)

    I do wonder what makʷn-, with the labialised velar, would have become in Brythonic though. I’m trying to think of possible Welsh forms definitely derived from PIE *-kʷn- but without any success.

    I wonder if the *makn-/mokn- etymology could instead be rescued by supposing that the Welsh word was in fact borrowed from Irish (the very language of peat)?

    There certainly are Irish loans in Welsh. Whether that’s a possibility would depend on how early the loss of ch in *chn was in Irish, compared with the change of /a:/ to /aw/ in Welsh, I suppose.

    EDIT: difficult in view of the Breton man “moss.”

  15. David Eddyshaw says

    It’s just occurred to me that “peat” is itself a foreign word for “peat”:

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/peat

  16. Pete and Repeat went out to the peat bog…

  17. @DM: Yeah, Duden says it is MLG ‘muke’ (presumably long ‘u’?); so the ‘au’ could be some sort of later dialectal adaptation to modern German?? I also found Dutch ‘mok’ and Icelandic ‘múkk’, with the same meaning.

  18. January First-of-May says

    and the etymology is not completely convincing at first blush

    To a modern eye, of course, a word like malandria immediately folk-etymologizes as mal-andr-ia “bad human thing”, which does sound like something one would call a disease. (If maybe not a horse disease.)

    I’m not sure whether this would have jumped out anywhere near as clearly back in ancient times, considering that (IIRC) mal- is Latin and andr- is Greek. If it would, however, that might at least somewhat explain the weird changes in both form and meaning.

  19. Mauke: according to Kluge/Seebold (25th ed., 2011), it’s a loanword from Middle Dutch muke. The MHG form is muche (with long u), and there is also a Bavarian form Mauche. “Vielleicht zu schwz. mauch ‘morsch, matt, weich’ (vgl. gt. mukamodei ‘Sanftmut’). Sonst unklar.”

  20. @Alex K.: The leper as the canonical wandering beggar is a frequent motif in medieval and early modern western European culture. It also shows up in many more modern works set in medieval (or medieval-like) settings, although often with a twist—with the anonymity of itinerant lepers playing key a role. The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson features a major character disguised as a leper, escaping from a battle in the Wars of the Roses. In The Leper of St. Giles by Ellis Peters, Cadfael encounters an actual leper who is using the disease to hide his identity. The White Mountains by John Christopher, set a couple hundred years in the future but in a world partially depopulated and reduced to medieval circumstances, there are no actual lepers, but the vagrants (those whose minds have been ruined by the alien villains’ mind-controlling “caps”) take on the same cultural role—wandering from place to place, supported by charity from the community but strictly avoided by the respectable population.

  21. @Brett: I shouldn’t have called the etymological link between malandro and malandria “non-mainstream.” I have now seen the Italian word maladrino derived from malandria in Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan etymological dictionaries. However, not yet in Italian ones: the Italian approach, it seems, is to have two completely different derivations for malandra and malandrino.

  22. “peat” is itself a foreign word for “peat”

    Indeed. Of course in Hiberno-English peat is called turf, which makes one wonder what sort of racetracks they have in Ireland that they should be frequented by Turf Accountants. (I myself have attended only one horse race in Ireland, which is one more than I have attended anywhere else, and I don’t recall the track being visible from where I stood.) Mudders are one thing, but peaters? Ouch (on several levels).

    In any case, as you have pointed out, children were not unknown to the Welsh before they borrowed the Roman word for them (which I think is an excellent piece of evidence for the Latin-substrate theory).

  23. On one hand, “children” is a basic concept; OTOH, they’re also an object of affections (positive and negative), which encourages coining of affectionate words and colloquialisms. There are lots of different words for “children” e.g. in German dialects, and also in the history of the IE languages one can observe frequent replacements of terms for “children”. So that also leaves the door wide open for loaning, especially when bilingualism is common.

  24. PlasticPaddy says

    @de
    Were Welsh families different enough from Roman families at the start of Romanisation, so that a Welsh child had a different status in law from a Roman child? I have a feeling that freeborn Irish children had some additional rights (and responsibilities) as part of the sept or clan, whereas in Rome the father had a very far-reaching authority.

  25. David Eddyshaw says

    The whole Bantu subgroup has famously lost the Volta-Congo “child” word *bi (Kusaal bii-g, Gonja é-bí, Ewe , Lelemi u-pi, Gbeya bé-m, maybe even Fulfulde ɓiɗɗo); the root is preserved in Proto-Bantu *bíada “give birth”, however.

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/180851

    (dealing with the thoroughly defunct controversy about the relationship of Bantu to “Niger-Congo”, where Greenberg was totally correct and Guthrie just plain wrong.)

  26. David Eddyshaw says

    @PP:

    Dunno.
    However, plant seems more agricultural than legalistic …

    It’s interesting, now I think of it, that Insular Celtic doesn’t even actually continue the PIE “son” and “daughter” words (but then, neither does Latin.)

  27. David Eddyshaw says

    I’ve just discovered in Nurse and Hinnebusch’s wonderful Swahili and Sabaki, a Linguistic History that the Swahili mzee “elder” (as in Jomo Kenyatta’s preferred designation) is from this very same Proto-Bantu *bíada “bear/beget”, via Proto-Sabaki *muvyele “senior person”; for the semantics cf Kusaal du’ad “elder relation”, formally the agent noun of du’a “bear/beget.”

    So Swahili zaa “give birth” and mzee “old man” are both related to Kusaal biig “child.” This gives me great pleasure.

  28. That is nice! But how do you get from *muvyele to mzee? The loss of /l/ is no problem, but /vy/ > /z/ isn’t very intuitive.

  29. David Eddyshaw says

    This is a language in which ku becomes fu
    (Swahili -fa “die” = Kusaal kpi; m-fupa “bone” = Kusaal kɔb-ir.)

    All this becomes less bizarre when you know that in Bantu, stops very often become fricatives before the tense vowels /i u/, and then very often get rounded or palatalised on top of that. Anyhow, changes like these are well evidenced in Bantu, counterintuitive or not.

  30. It’s interesting, now I think of it, that Insular Celtic doesn’t even actually continue the PIE “son” and “daughter” words

    For the PIE “daughter” word, there is probably early Irish der. The original publication of this remarkable etymology (M.A. O’Brien, “Etymologies and notes”, Celtica 3 (Gs. Zeuss) (1956): 168–184) is not readily available online, as far as I can tell, but you can read Schrijver’s summary here. Schrijver says this (quick text capture):

    As an independent word, der occurs only in glossaries and as an element of the berla na filed, the obscure style used by poets. In the glossaries, it is either a head word, requiring explanation by a gloss, or it figures in etymological glosses such as those on ainder, in which case der is always followed by a gloss of its own, usually der .i. ingender, that is, girl/daughter’. There can be no doubt that the noun der was not an element of the normal spoken or written language…

    No doubt M.A. O’Brien was correct in assuming that the lexicologists’ der had been extracted from names of the type Der-draigen, Dar-inill, Dar-tinne, Tar-tinne, Der-Erca, lit. ‘Daughter of Blackthorn’, etc. (O’Brien 1956: 178), where Der-, Dar- is proclitic and the regular reflex of Early Old Irish Ter- (cf. the Early Old Irish pretonic preverb tu- > Old Irish du-, do-). The allomorph Derb- only occurred before forms beginning with f- < *w- (Derb-Forgaill, Derb-Froich), which, as O’Brien explained, points to pre-syncope contact of the final -r of Der and the initial *w- of the second name element (*rw > Old Irish rb /rβ/). This in turn means that Der/Ter originally ended in an -r, which implies an r-stem, the most likely candidate being *duchtir or its vocative *duchter ‘daughter’ (cf. Gaul. duxtir, Larzac). As to the strong reduction of this proclitic word, which lost the entire first syllable, O’Brien compared the reduction of Old Irish ingen aui, lit. ‘daughter of the descendant (grandson) of’ to Modern Irish .

  31. Swahili mzee “elder” (as in Jomo Kenyatta’s preferred designation) is from this very same Proto-Bantu *bíada “bear/beget”, via Proto-Sabaki *muvyele “senior person”

    This is indeed beautiful! It got me wondering if the current pronunciation and orthography of forebear, originally forebeer “the one who be’s before”, was due to influence from the verb bear, and sure enough, the Scottish National Dictionary says just that in the etymological section of its entry for forebear.

    but /vy/ > /z/ isn’t very intuitive.

    The phonological development is no stranger than cavea > cage, salvia > sauge, servientem > sergent, *abbreviāre > abréger. (Cf. sapiam > (je) sache, rubeum > rouge, *cambiāre > changer, for the other labials.)

  32. Anyhow, changes like these are well evidenced in Bantu, counterintuitive or not.

    Oh, I was sure of that — I was just curious about the mechanism, which you explained to my satisfaction.

  33. D. Eddyshaw, thanks for turning us on to Nurse and Hinnebusch’s Swahili and Sabaki, a Linguistic History. My mouth is watering already!

  34. January First-of-May says

    Kusaal du’ad “elder relation”, formally the agent noun of du’a “bear/beget.”

    In (modern) Russian the corresponding agent noun would be родитель, meaning, naturally enough, “parent”. The development “parent” > “elder relation” > “senior person” looks plausible at least at first glance, though offhand I can’t think of any examples in SAE languages.

  35. David Eddyshaw says

    French parent is not too dissimilar.

  36. I do not know (or remember) the word мокрец in any other meaning than that of Strugatskie, so I interpreted it as a straightforward derivation: an unpleasant sounding word for wet-nik, same suffix as наглец, подлец etc., and similar to мокрица. I would also have guessed that there is a plenty of things already called with this name.

    Мокрица (woodlouse) is a word I do hear, but usually in explanations “a creepy feeling, like what you feel when you see a мокрица”. I would hear it more often, but they simply do not live where I live, so this explanation has always perplexed me. And I do not find them too creepy.

    It is entirely possible that Strugatskie did come across мокрец or a word for it (in any of its meanings).

  37. Were Welsh families different enough from Roman families at the start of Romanisation, so that a Welsh child had a different status in law from a Roman child?

    The general rule when Roman and barbarian law mixed was that the personal law of an individual (by which they had a right to be treated) was whatever their father’s law was. After Caracalla made every free person in the Roman Empire a citizen, Roman law was universal, but in various post-Roman states the old rule revived. The big fat exception, of course, was slavery: the Roman rule was partus sequitur ventrem ‘the born-thing follows [the status of] the womb’, which enslaved the children of male slave-owners (or any other free males) by female slaves.

    In common-law England, the exception did not apply, at least after chattel slavery rotted away some time before 1200: the child of a servus > Anglo-Normand serf ‘id. (m)’ was a serf, but the child of a nativa > AN nieve ‘serf (f)’ by a free man was free. (There were attempts to say that such a man was degraded to serfdom, at least if he was living with her, but if this was ever the law, it was ineffectual.) Note that this use of nativa, like the OE wealh ‘Romanized Celt; slave’, implied that the slaves of early times were Welsh, a favor which the Welsh were quick to return when they could.

    The distinction between slaves and serfs is that slaves were rightless, whereas serfs had the rights of free Englishmen except against their masters. A serf could earn money and buy property on his account: the master had the right to seize it, but until that happened, it was the serf’s, and he (not his master) could sue if a third party stole or converted it. By the same token, nativa could maintain an action for paternity against such a third party, requiring him to support her (free) child. Even the master’s rights were not unlimited: he could be indicted for slaying or maiming a serf, as those interfered with the serf’s ability to carry out public duties.

    The common law applied in the colonies too, but quickly enough the local legislatures adopted the Roman rule, which made personal slave-breeding a profitable enterprise. (In 1860, Virginia’s single most profitable crop was slaves for sale to other states.) Thus slaves and masters returned to England, but by a series of cases beginning with Somersett’s Case (1772), in which Lord Mansfield held that slavery did not exist either at common law or by statute in England and could not exist otherwise, it became impossible first for masters to bring their slaves back to the colonies or to fetch them back if they escaped control. Quickly enough slavery in England was dead again, and for good. (Human trafficking is very evil, but it is not slavery.)

  38. David Marjanović says

    in Hiberno-English peat is called turf

    (Low) German Torf, conspicuously similar to Latin turba “mud”.

    it is not slavery

    Depends.

  39. The trafficking itself is not slavery, but it frequently leads to genuine slavery conditions at the far end.

  40. That’s certainly true from the viewpoints of the slavers, the enslaved, and the employers. But it’s not true from the standpoint of society as a whole. 19C American slavery and its relatives else{where,when} was entirely legal and even considered good for society (including the slaves themselves) from political, religious, economic, moral, and ethical standpoints.

  41. “Trafficking” is confusing, because it stands for

    1) nominally, moving people (in accordance with their will or not!), but againt the will of some state.

    2) practically, sometimes (like here) slavery (whether it involves trafficking as such or not).

    I would rather call slavery “slavery”.

  42. Trond Engen says

    Hans: So that also leaves the door wide open for loaning [a word for child], especially when bilingualism is common.

    Young people around me now say kid from English where I would use unge (rather than the formal barn). Jeg var bare en dum kid. Petter og Silje har fått kid.

  43. I mean, I agree that there is a serious difference between the situation when slavery is institutionalized at the country level and when it is only institutionalized at the community level.

    But it is… “model-specific”:)

  44. Young people around me now say kid from English where I would use unge (rather than the formal barn). Jeg var bare en dum kid. Petter og Silje har fått kid.
    In German, you’ll nowadays also will find people talking about die Kids. I don’t think I have encountered the kind of singular use in German that you describe for Danish.

  45. Trond Engen says

    Norwegian. I have no idea what the Danish do.

    Plural kids was common (mostly half-ironical as definite kidsa “the young people”) for at least a decade before I started noticing singular (and straight-faced) kid.

  46. January First-of-May says

    (Low) German Torf

    Whence (presumably) Russian торф, as famously in the торфяные пожары (peat fires) of 2010.

  47. David Eddyshaw says

    I think Hans has pretty much nailed it with regard to “child” and affectiveness.

    It’s the same with other family members, often enough: there are no reconstructable Proto-Oti-Volta forms for “father” or “mother”, despite there being reconstructable words for “husband”, “wife”, “grandparent”, “parent-in-law” (and “child”, as it happens.) Kusaal ma “mother” and ba’ “father” are of pretty obvious provenance, but not even the more formal word for “father”, saam, has cognates outside Western Oti-Volta.

    [There are no reconstructable words for siblings either, but the issue is complicated there by the fact that even quite closely related languages like Kusaal and Mampruli actually classify sibling relationships differently.]

    Brythonic hasn’t kept PIE “father” or “mother” either. And the Albanians mixed up mothers with sisters …

  48. Lars Mathiesen says

    I don’t think even kidsene here use E kid about actual children yet, that would be shuddersome. The former is a vaguely deprecating term for older teens / young adults, I think the implication is that they aren’t adulting yet, but it may also be an in-group term for those who enjoy that pupal stage — I have none in my circles so I don’t know — and that might block it from being applied to little ones.

    English kid is borrowed from ON, of course, and the inherited Danish word has a proper soft D. It’s used of the offspring of deer and goats, and I can imagine a woman saying of herself as a joke that she’s had a kid (not a calf or a piglet), but it’s not even close to starting a development to an unmarked term. (Piglet (gris), though, can be an affectionate term for a baby, but it’s the sort of thing that it would be the mother’s prerogative to approve).

  49. Norwegian
    My apologies. No insult was intended. 🙂

  50. David Marjanović says

    In German, you’ll nowadays also will find people talking about die Kids.

    That’s one of those innovations I’ve only encountered in advertisements and snark. Have you heard it used with a straight face?

    Haven’t encountered the singular either.

  51. That’s one of those innovations I’ve only encountered in advertisements and snark.

    Surely Somebody’s Law says that any expression that turns up in advertisements and snark will eventually be used with a straight face.

  52. Yes, I think we’re beyond the stage where it’s mostly snarky or ad-speak. Googling it isn’t easy because there are a lot of books and movies with “die Kids” in the name, but I found this local news article as an example where the use doesn’t seem to be snarky or ironic; maybe there’s a residual element of trying to sound cool / hip.

  53. I have heard “die Kids” in Vienna from other parents on a regular basis ever since my youngest was in pre-school 10 years ago. It seems to be very common among left-leaning educated parents. I have never heard the singular either though.

  54. David Marjanović says

    Surely Somebody’s Law says that any expression that turns up in advertisements and snark will eventually be used with a straight face.

    Looks like it; I heard Kids used by a teacher on the radio today – definitely cool & hip (man, that guy used so many buzzwords… even Skills, which I hadn’t encountered in German before at all…), but not advertizing or snarky.

  55. David Marjanović says

    …but then, advertisements are just a subset of “trying to sound cool & hip”.

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