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Feb 21, 2022
This week’s theme
Words borrowed from German & Hawaiian

This week’s words
Sehnsucht
lei
verstehen
kapu
wissenschaft

sehnsucht
Mir fehlt das Meer (I miss the sea)

Previous week’s theme
Mythological characters who have resulted in multiple eponyms
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

The musician Leo Kottke once said, “The Germans have done for the consonants what the Hawaiians have done for the vowels.”

What does that mean?

You may have seen German words such as krummholz or kitsch. Then there’s Hawaiian with words such aa and, well, just look at the spelling of the word Hawaii.

The Hawaiian language has five vowels in an alphabet of 13 letters. German? The same as English (more or less).

We could feature a whole week of words borrowed from German, we could feature a week of words borrowed from Hawaiian, but we don’t want to do anything imprudent. Better to keep the world’s consonant/vowel store in balance, so instead this week we’ll alternate German words with Hawaiian.

Sehnsucht

PRONUNCIATION:
(ZEN-zookht)

MEANING:
noun: Yearning or longing.

ETYMOLOGY:
From German Sehnsucht (longing or yearning), from sehnen (to long or yearn) + Sucht (craving or addiction). Earliest documented use: 1847.

USAGE:
“On Christmas morning 1868, it came to me, my new Sehnsucht. I suspect it was the aroma of baked bread.”
Jane Kirkpatrick; A Mending at the Edge; WaterBrook; 2008.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The secret of joy is the mastery of pain. -Anais Nin, writer (21 Feb 1903-1977)

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