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#71437 - 05/26/02 10:55 PM Meidung
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
In another thread, WO'N used this word. I instantly recognized it as German, but had to search for the definition: shunning and social avoidance. I think it's a delightful word, but I'd never heard it before.

This got me to thinking that there were probably plenty of foreign words that have become part of the the English language but are still very rarely used. What other obscure foreign words do you know of?


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#71438 - 05/27/02 12:27 AM
KeivaCarpal Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/29/02
Posts: 0

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#71439 - 05/27/02 07:50 AM Meidung; Vermeidung; meiden; vermeiden
belligerentyouth Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Berlin
> I instantly recognized it as German

Meidung is a little more general in German, though it's also used in conjunction with Volksglaube. Usually it simply takes on the meaning of 'avoidance', but it's by no means in everyday usage. The verb on the other hand (meiden), in all it's forms is far more common as is vermeiden.
Vermeidung, used in reference to an object (physical or abstract), rather than a person is several times more common too.


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#71440 - 05/27/02 09:25 AM Re: Meidung
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
Jazzo, here's the explanation of the Amish ritual of Meidung from another thread in case you missed it:

http://wordsmith.org/board/showthreaded.pl?Cat=&Board=announcements&Number=71305

Some of the sites said the word is actually a hybrid of German-American (Amish, Pennsylvania Dutch) dialect, but BY indicates it is in use in German proper, though infrequently. Was it originally pure German, BY, or coined by the German-American community here, then making its way back into the native tongue?


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#71441 - 05/27/02 04:17 PM Re: Meidung
belligerentyouth Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Berlin
> Was it originally pure German?

Seems likely. The verb, as I wrote, is very common; I can't imagine that the noun would not have been used in German, what with the German's love for Nomen - I have no proof, but. The uses I found are mostly "misuses" where 'Vermeidung' would have fit better. S'all the same root though, anyway. A traditional usage of Meidung is definitely the same specific one to that of the Amish as you describe.
Pretty queer that Pen Dutch, and the U.S.-German. Due to the extreme isolation of the settlers, the language did not develop - much. For European speakers it's like taking a step back in time. I guess this is true of the French spoken in Canada to some extent too (anyone?).

BTW, how many Amish live over there?


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#71442 - 05/27/02 04:48 PM Re: Meidung
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
the Amish are holding there own. they tend to have large families, and age 16 or so, they give their children some freedom, to live in town, use electricty, drive cars.. basicaly your normal american teen age lifestyle. after a time (flexible) they are expected to make a choice.. stay amish, or join the outside world.. not excommunicated, because they have never joined as adults. they still can come back and visit family, but they are not members..

about 85% elect to stay.

Lancaster County, PA was the biggest consentrations.. (and some of the best farm land in the world--naturally, but 150 years of tender care by the Amish has only made it better)

but many now have moved to Indiana, Iowa and Ohio... they just ran out of space. and since they have become a tourist draw to the county, the county has lost more and more farm land to hotels, 7-11's, paved roads, gift shops, etc.

there was a good special on PBS not long ago, (and if they mentions the actual numbers.. well that i forgot!) but it was good to hear the sect is thriving. i don't aspire to their life, but its nice to know they can sustain it.

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#71443 - 05/27/02 05:01 PM .
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

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#71444 - 05/27/02 05:04 PM Re: Meidung
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
BTW, how many Amish live over there?

Well, BY, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, alone, home of the Pennsylvania "Dutch" (Dutch being a misnomer, a corruption of Deutsch), the population of "the plain folk" has doubled over the past two decades to 18,000. Of course the whole state far surpasses that. Other states with large Amish/Mennonite populations are, in order, Ohio (over 35,000), Indiana, and Wisconsin, probably more in other Midwestern states. But I'm having trouble finding a Census 2000 figure for the total population. One of the most famous, feared, and courageous US Civil War fighting outfits was Wisconsin's German-American "Iron Brigade" or "The Black Hats", so-named because of the trademark wide-rimmed hats they wore into battle. Unfortunately, the brigade came to its end when it was practically annihilated at Gettysburg. Comprised mostly of German immigrant farmers they were noted for holding fast and advancing their positions in battle, until their valiant efforts at Gettysburg nearly wiped them out, but saved the day (and perhaps the war), by keeping the first day of that battle from becoming a complete Union rout.

Another Civil War tidbit: General O.O. Howard, who commanded the Union 11th Corps, spoke only German and had to use an interpreter to communicate in English. The 11th Corps were mostly German troops and officers, so this was actually a benefit rather than a detriment.

General O. O. Howard commanded the corps at Chancellorsville, May 1 - 3, 1863, at which time it numbered 12,169 effectives, and was composed of the divisions of Generals Devens, Von 'Steinwehr, and Schurz. It contained 27 regiments of infantry, of which 13 were German regiments.

There was also a General Shimmelpfennig.

[EDIT: ] BTW, the German Civil War troops were mostly Lutheran and Methodist.

(And in Deference to those who may have missed the old Civil War nomenclature thread: The Civil War, The War Between the States, The War of Northern Agression, The Great Rebellion)


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#71445 - 05/27/02 05:06 PM
KeivaCarpal Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/29/02
Posts: 0

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#71446 - 05/27/02 09:01 PM Re: Amish
Bobyoungbalt Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/22/00
Posts: 1289
The Amish are, as you say, Helen, doing surprisingly well. They have, however, special problems which come from the fact that they have been intermarrying among the same limited number of families too long. Frequently children are born with markings like a large butterfly on their face, and there are other health problems. No hemophilia yet. Johns Hopkins Hospital has been doing a study for many years and offers free or very low cost health care to the Amish in return for being part of the study. (You don't see the horse-drawn buggies at Hopkins Hospital; they arrange for an English neighbor to drive them down.) [English is one of the Amish words for non-Amish; the other is gay].

In the last 20 years or so, Amish elders in Pennsylvania have been sending their sons out west to find brides, to Amish communities in Indiana and further west, to get out of the limited gene pool at home. It now appears that it isn't working well. Not sure whether it's because not enough of the boys want to go there for a wife, or because the gene pool is not sufficiently different.

A couple weeks ago, my wife was telling me that she heard from a co-worker who is Mennonite that the Amish in western Maryland have asked the Dept. of Social Services to send them troubled teenage boys, whom they propose to adopt and hopefully make Amishmen out of, with the idea they can marry Amish girls, thus getting an instant infusion of fresh genetic material. Of course, it is highly likely that many of these troubled boys will be inner city blacks. We can't wait to see some of them become Amishmen and follow that rural 17th century lifestyle, but stranger things have happened.


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