Tedesco nell’inglese

Dell’inglese mi piace questo sprezzo dell’impurità: raccatta su tutto, persino il tedesco, come mostrano le varie parole del giorno del Merriam-Webster.

GESUNDHEIT \guh-ZOONT-hyte\ interjection
: used to wish good health especially to one who has just sneezed
e.g. “Gesundheit!” said the man on the bicycle as he passed a lady on the sidewalk who had sneezed.

When English speakers hear “achoo,” they usually respond with either “gesundheit” or “God bless you.” “Gesundheit” was borrowed from German, where it literally means “health”; it was formed by a combination of “gesund” (“healthy”) and “-heit” (“-hood”). Wishing a person good health when they sneezed was believed to forestall the illness that a sneeze often portends. “God bless you” had a similar purpose, albeit with more divine weight to the well-wishing. It was once believed the soul could exit the body during a sneeze, causing ill health, so folks said “God bless you” to ward off this danger.

[La parola del giorno del 22 luglio 2005]

VERBOTEN \ver-BOH-tun\ adjective
: forbidden; especially : prohibited by dictate
e.g. During the era of prohibition in the United States, when the sale of alcohol was verboten, speakeasies were routinely raided by the authorities and shut down.

Despite its spelling, the adjective “verboten” has nothing to do with “verb,” or any of the other words in our language related to the Latin “verbum.” Rather, “verboten” comes from German, which got it from Old High German “farboten,” the past participle of the verb “farbioten,” meaning “to forbid.” (“Forbid” itself derives from Old English “forbēodan,” a relative of “farbioten.”) “Verboten,” which first appeared in English in 1916, is used to describe things that are forbidden according to a law or a highly regarded authority.

[La parola del giorno del 19 luglio 2005]

BILDUNGSROMAN \BIL-doonks-roh-MAHN (“oo” as in “good”)\ noun
: a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character
e.g. The critic described Max’s first novel as “a typical bildungsroman about an angst-ridden youth struggling to find his place in the world.”

“Bildungsroman” is the combination of two German words: “Bildung,” meaning “education,” and “Roman,” meaning “novel.” Fittingly, a “bildungsroman” is a novel that deals with the formative years of the main character — in particular, his or her psychological development and moral education. Though the term is primarily applied to novels, in recent years, some English speakers have begun to apply the term to films that deal with a youthful character’s coming-of-age.

[Parola del giorno del 17 luglio 2004]