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Your Favourite Word Of The Moment? I Nominate WIDDERSHINS!

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Apr 6 in Other - Entertainment by Virginia (7,380 points)

It's an adverb, meaning "in a direction contrary to the sun's course, considered as unlucky; counterclockwise." And (of course)  there is a cognate in the German language, widersinnig, which is a combined word with the meaning of absurd or nonsensical.

I was reminded of this marvelous word by Didge in Australia who loves words also, and I used the wonderful word widdendream (which is my own favourite way of being in the world...)

So, it has been a whole month or so since I asked this question, so now (again) would you like to offer up your own current favourite?

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2 Answers

Rooster Apr 6

How about "Winterschlacht" ? I ran across this word as the name of a scenario in a beta game the other day. Funny thing is, it's an Afrika Korps campaign and doesn't belong there. The Devs are still arguing about it. It's a scenario in November 1942 but it's incorrect as a scenario name. Maybe one of you can find a different definition.

Virginia Rooster Apr 6

Rooster, :D no matter where winterschlacht might or might not belong, it is a WONDERFUL word!!! I looked it up, and (as you no doubt already knew) it means "winter battle"...and I think the devs should hang onto it...:P  <3

Rooster, I assume that the scenario has something to do with what the Allies called the "Run for Tunis", but the Devs seem to prefer German terms, so how about "Schlacht um Tunesien"?  Or if it's about the German air squadron involved, how about "Schlachtgeschwader 1"?

Rooster Rooster Apr 7

@Tink and Virginia : Run for Tunis is another scenario name in this DLC. I haven't said much to them about the wording of the scenarios as I test that game functions themselves but it's just hard to comprehend a "Winter Battle" in North Africa. I suppose they'll figure out what they want to do in the next version. Only scenario in the campaign with German wording. But they are all Europeans, so maybe it has a special meaning to them. I would have called it by it's historical name: The Second Battle for El Alamein.

Rooster, there's a remarkable German war memorial site at El-Alamein.  It looks like a crusader stronghold with an obelisk in the center of the courtyard, with four stern-looking eagles surrounding the obelisk, with an inscription on each of the four sides.  One of the inscriptions reads (in translation): "Here rest 4200 German soldiers of the Second World War. May their death be for us a legacy and a memorial/admonition."

The last word, "Mahnung," can be taken in a double sense... it can mean memorial, but it can also mean admonition.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g660770-d4404638-Reviews-Deutsche_Kriegsgraeberstatte-El_Alamein_Matrouh_Governorate.html#photos;geo=660770&detail=4404638&ff=69674023&albumViewMode=hero&aggregationId=101&albumid=101&baseMediaId=69674023&thumbnailMinWidth=50&cnt=30&offset=-1&filter=7&autoplay=

Virginia Rooster Apr 7

Hmmm...I also like "El Alamein," it certainly has a beautiful resonance and keeps the historicity...

I think Poe liked words with "L"s in them, e.g., like Annabel Lee, Lenore, for their beautiful resonance.

And I've always liked the sound of Galilee too.

Virginia Rooster Apr 7

Gallilee is beautiful sound, yes! And speaking of "L's," I remember as a teenager, I met someone for only an hour, a fascinating person, and he mentioned that "cellar door" was one of the most beautiful phrases in English language, contrasting the aural resonance with its mundane utility...

I heard that too, Virginia, and that observation is often attributed to Tolkien, but according to this Wiki article, it goes back at least to 1903.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellar_door

When I heard it, it was attributed to Poe, and that seems quite credible.

Virginia Rooster Apr 7

omg, I thought 'cellar door' was unique from my one-hour friend so long ago...makes sense, however for others to have noticed and especially Poe! I had not considered his love of alliteration via the "ells"...and it is delightful. ("Silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain" ...now I am even hearing the ambience of "ells" there)

I watched one or two of his biographies on YouTube, very touching poignant. 

The love of his life was his cousin Virginia, who died very young from TB...and Poe himself never got his life back on track. (You prolly know all this O'Tink.)

Yes, Virginia, Poe never got over his loss.  I remember reading The Raven as a teenager and being moved to tears when I realized that at the very end of the poem, he is saying "oh, oh, oh..." over and over again.

"And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!"
Virginia Rooster Apr 8

O'Tink, on Wikipedia I came upon this Gustav Doré rendering, 1884...also I re-read the whole poem; like you, I recall being moved to tears pre-teens I think, although I did not note the "o's" until you mentioned it just now...

And btw, that Wikipedia article on Cellar Door is lovely certainly one of their finer efforts!

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Yes, Virginia, Doré's Raven illustrations are famous.  It turns out that Manet also did illustrations for a French translation of The Raven, but it was not a commercial success.

http://www.openculture.com/2015/05/edouard-manet-illustrates-edgar-allan-poes-the-raven.html

Virginia Rooster Apr 8

O'Tink, tx for interesting link (I could open it yay) and I checked on the publication date of Manet's illustrations, apparently 1875? ...wondering if the controversy around early Impressionism might have affected the commercial reception of these Manet illustrations...it appears the brouhaha was still on at that time, but late enough it would be difficult to know for certain...and I recall Mary Cassatt left for France as soon as she could safely do so after the Civil War, 1865 prolly...this from Wikip...

"Artists' petitions requesting a new Salon des Refusés in 1867, and again in 1872, were denied. In December 1873, MonetRenoirPissarroSisleyCézanneBerthe MorisotEdgar Degas and several other artists founded the Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs ... to exhibit their artworks independently."

...Monet's famous Impression: SUNRISE being 1872, for instance...

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Maybe it was the illustrations, Virginia, but the translation itself seems to me not to have preserved the rhythm of the original. I only have a reading knowledge of French, but on listening to French and German readings, it seems to me the German translation is much better in that regard.  Marianne could tell us, if only she were here!  :'(


Virginia Rooster Apr 8

O'Tink, not knowing German just listening for the impact of the sound, I find it amazing that the translator was able to carry over so much of Poe's resonance into another language...Poe as you know studied the effect of sound and purposely incorporated that into his writing...

And yes, especially with this discussion I also was wishing for Marianne's input!

I think you're right, Virginia.

I looked at the French text, and the translator added lots of extra syllables, even extra beats!

For example, "Nameless here for evermore." (four beats, seven syllables) is translated as "de nom pour elle ici, non, jamais plus!" (FIVE beats, TEN syllables)  :O


TheOtherTink Apr 6

And naturally, the Brits stole the word from the Germans.  :D

Oh absolutely I am CERTAIN, O'Tink! :D Didn't the Angles and/or the Saxons come in from that neck of the woods anyway?

Yes, Virginia, but the Angles and the Saxons forgot a lot of their German after William the Conqueror and the Normans came along and spoiled the language.  :D :D :D

Tink, with your remarkable knowledge of history, YOU have reminded me of the tremendous history-changing impact of the Battle of Hastings. Now I am finding on YouTube some remarkable chronicles of that British history you talked about...I did not realize the importance of the Bayeux tapestries, for example...

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Yes, Virginia, Hastings is remarkable in that just one relatively small battle fought in just one day so changed the course of history.  :O

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