Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


19.6.05
  Monster Words

Well, some of you might know that the German language can create pretty long words by combining several nouns

Part of this is due to the structure of the language that can fe. turn a verb into a noun by adding a pre- or suffix. So, tun (to do) becomes Tätigkeit (the doing). You'll find this in a word like Wohltätigkeit (charity - the doing good/beneficial). If you combine this with Veranstaltung (event), you'll get a typical German word: Wohltätigkeitsveranstaltung. And I can't blame people who prefer to use the English Charity Event instead, it's easier to type. *grin*

But it can also be fun, like yesterday in FM chat, where another German girl and I tried to create a real monster word, much to the amused awe of the English participants. Such words are not really used. Here's what we came up with:

Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsuniformknopflochstanzmaschinen-
einstellungsschraubenspezialschraubenzieherwandhalterung

To translate the word, you'll have to start at the end, and the word order is sometimes not the one of the German word:

Wall-holder for the special screwdriver for adjusting the screws on a machine that punches the buttonholes into the uniform of a captain of the Danube Steamship Voyages Society.
 


12.6.05
  I love opera deaths scenes

They defy any natural laws and medical knowldege, but they are so beautiful. People still sing for ten and more minutes after having been cruelly tortured (Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda), with stab wounds in the chest, bullets in the head (Massenet's Werther holds the record here, 23 minutes after he's shot himself in the head) or after they have been suffocated with a cushion (Desdemona in Verdi's Othello), mad people sing coloratura instead of screaming and kicking. And yes, this goes even for male roles (Murena in Donizetti's L'esule di Roma).

My father once made up the typical opera finale: The tenor lying on the ground, a dagger hilt sticking out of his chest, singing, "I'm dying, he killed me, I'm dying". The soprano, kneeling beside him, "he is dying, he is dying, woe me", the baritone in one corner, "and I did kill him, and I did kill him," the alto in the other corner, "the remorse will ever haunt me, oh fatal jealousy", and chorus in a half circle behind the group, "oh look, he dies, what fatal day." Repeat for at least ten minutes.
 


Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.

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