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#87329 11/19/02 04:40 PM
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wwh Offline OP
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Sent me in e-mail by former AWADtalk member Reminded me of running through the
South Station in Boston trying to make the last train to Cape, only to have
heartless functionary slam gate shut and locked when I was ten yards away.


#87330 11/19/02 08:03 PM
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could you explicate? the only onelook hit for this word (Grandiloquent dict.) defines it as "The fear of young women that they will not be married until they are to old to have children."



#87331 11/19/02 08:13 PM
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"Tor" = gate. "Verscluss" = closure "panik" = panic. German cities used to have entrance
only through gates that were shut and barred after dark. Imagine the anxiety of a traveller
having to spend night outside with fear of robbers. The application to "unclaimed blessing"
females is a metaphor.


#87332 11/20/02 12:45 AM
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So, is the metaphor more widely understood where it's used now than the original meaning of the closed gate?


#87333 11/20/02 02:17 AM
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Dear WW: I doubt very much that German cities now have gates that shut at dark.
So no use the word in the sense in which I think it originated. I have no way of
testing my theory.


#87334 11/20/02 09:46 AM
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Well, I like your word Torschlusspanik and have witnessed conversations with women experiencing it. I would say that it is applicable, too, to those women who are married and are experiencing difficulty in conceiving.

I myself experienced such panic when married before conceiving Lof'. I could be around mothers with babies and would just have to go off and weep because I was childless and in my near-mid-thirties. I felt terribly hopeless at times. But finally the tables turned. The experience was helpful, however, when I met another young woman who guiltily admitted to me how very jealous she was of women with children. And I was able to let her know I understood exactly how she felt and that I was sure that mental state was common among women who wanted children, but from whom the blessing had been withheld. She, too, became pregnant about a year later, and she quit teaching to raise her child. Very good move when possible. It wasn't, however, for me.

And the word seems applicable to many other situations in which conception or realization of other goals are ones in which one is running against other kinds of biological clocks.

This is the second German word I've learned in which there isn't an English equivalent. Schadenfreude is the other one. Certainly there are others.

There are at least twice as many words in the English lexicon over any other language on earth, yet we remain incomplete.


#87335 11/20/02 10:44 AM
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There are at least twice as many words in the English lexicon over any other language on earth

Prove that, please.


#87336 11/20/02 11:40 AM
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the metaphor more widely understood where it's used now than the original meaning

This is a stereotypical cliché.


#87337 11/20/02 12:37 PM
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sjm:

In reply to:

Prove that, please.


I'll have a little time on my hands tonight, so I'll go proof-hunting on google. However, my information comes from several linguistics courses plus an article I read outside of those courses about the general topic of vocabulary. Now my linguistics courses go way back almost thirty years. But the article I read indicated that the English language grows in vocabulary more, too, than any other language. I have never read anything about the word-loss rate v. the word-growth relationship.

But back to way back then: I believe the language that was second in vocabulary--and I find this fact to be surprising--was French.

Also, tsuwm has commented here that there is no way of really knowing how large the English vocabulary is.

Still, it's an interesting topic to consider. I will google tonight, unless someone else already has the proof (or disproof) in hand.


#87338 11/20/02 02:43 PM
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a bit surprised I was to find this in OED2, evidently popularized a bit by Peg Bracken:

[Ger., lit. ‘shut door (or gate) panic’.]
A sense of alarm or anxiety (said to be experienced particularly in middle age) caused by the suspicion that life's opportunities are passing (or have passed) one by; spec. that manifested in an ageing woman who longs to (re)discover the (sexual) excitement of youth, and who fears being left ‘on the shelf’.

1963 P. Bracken I Hate to Housekeep Bk. ix. 92 The random housewife is often prone to Torschlusspanik, or fear of being locked in the park at night, after the gates are closed. 1977 Time 8 Aug. 21/3 She was haunted by Torschluss-panik (mid-life crisis). 1980 Times Lit. Suppl. 14 Mar. 287/2 She [sc. Mme de Staël] is perhaps history's most outstanding case of Torschlusspanik: the panic at the shutting of the door.



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