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#171278 - 11/11/07 03:42 PM Schmuck or schmuck
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
Dropped the weekend nitpick in favor of a Sunday picknick. But in the end I still end up at loanwords from Germany.

Mel Brooks parade for schmuck:

Mel Brooks
(compendium 280)

When you look up the origin of the word it is not less pejorative than the words in use today. Only 'schmuck' did not travel as far as do the F-A words today.
Those are in daily use over most parts of the world now.
A parade to save and revive the word schmuck? Donations? What the....why?

#171283 - 11/11/07 07:20 PM Re: Schmuck or schmuck [Re: BranShea]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3286
Loc: R'lyeh
English schmuck is from Yiddish שמאָק (shmok) 'prick, dick; jerk, unpleasant person'. It has an unsure etymology. Many have noticed that German Schmuck 'jewel' looks similar to the English spelling, and has an interesting meaning (cf. English family jewels), but it is problematic. A u in German corresponds to a u (or an i) and not an o in Yiddish: cf. German Fuß 'foot' with Yiddish fus ~ fis, or German gut 'good' with Yiddish gut ~ git. (The English word is pronounced with a schwa, but the Yiddish one is pronounced definitely with an o.) Pther etymologies connect Yiddish shmok with an Old Polish word smok 'grass snake, dragon' or a Czech word meaning 'fool'. he latter doesn't explain how a generic word for 'fool' came to be a specialized word for a body part. The other taboo words for the penis in Yiddish are (daytshmerish, or high register) shvants (cf German Schwantz 'tail; penis' and Latin penis 'tail; penis') and vulgar pots. (Yiddish pots can be used for the body part or a term of abuse. It is usually associated with German Putz 'clean' (cf. Putzfrau 'charlady, cleaning lady'), but has the same phonological problem as shmok. Because shmok and pots tend to be associated with their term of abuse meanings, the body parts are usually refered to with endearing diminutives: shmekl and petsl. (The u ~ i varience is for the two major dialect groups of Eastern Yiddish (spoken in the Pale), the Lithuanian (roughly NE Yiddish) and the Polish (roughly SE and divided into other dialect groups). It is well-known by non-linguists, and I have heard a song that is made up entirely using words that show the varience sung by a polaks and a litvaks. Here's an article that discusses this in passing.)

[Edited for correction and minor style issue.]
Ceci n'est pas un seing.

#171284 - 11/12/07 06:41 AM Re: Schmuck or schmuck [Re: zmjezhd]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
By now I have learned through a PM that the article from the compendium is from a satirical source.
The nature of a good satire is that it looks credible.
Quoting Helen's winged words : In a world where they have Turkey Tangled Frog Weed everything is possible.

So I took it for real, not knowing what magazine or paper it came from. Still... I see no clear reason why , although coming from satire this could not be argued about.(and in an inoffense way)Unless you are a genuine hypocrit.

Another PM friend wrote she sees this forum as a cafe, where you can spend some time on and off. Well, in a cafe you can talk about anything and have arguments going. Words , also street words get used out and are continously replaced by new ones that wear out in their turn.

EDIT : And you zmjezhd, I cannot but see that you etymologized this subject with glee.

OK, fair enough.

Edited by BranShea (11/12/07 12:21 PM)


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