Saturday, March 3, 2012

Leckerbissen for Language Lovers

Though I normally don’t tackle language issues per se on this site (those interested in my wide-ranging book on Arabic in the light of the familiar European languages can satisfy your craving  here), the obiter dicta do accumulate, and eventually the selection is worth mentioning.  So:


A delightful Franco-Moroccan site, medi1, has regular radio-essays on interesting words, in French and in Arabic.

The Arabic one is spoken in very clear MSA, but treats of arcane dialect items, and is quite challenging.

We offer a similar feature for English, in this series of essays.

Oh, and that word Leckerbissen?  It is a near-synonym of German Delikatessen (the source of our English word delicatessen) ‘tasty delicacies’.   And both these German compounds gain extra semantic resonance from false etymologies.  Delikatessen looks as though it contains the word essen ‘eat’; but actually it is a German plural of the French word délicatesse ‘delicacy’.   And Leckerbissen looks as though it were compounded of ‘lick-bite’, with truly voratious imagery;  but in fact the lecker part is from a Middle High German word meaning ‘scrumptious’.

For an example of the American vernacular,
played like a viola,
check this out:

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