13 Comments

  1. In German, the word “Schmalz” is spelled without the “T” (it’s not needed, because the German “Z” sounds like “ts“.) Given the name it is supposed to represent here, it would have been appropriate to put it in plural, but since it is a “substance”, the plural form isn’t normally used (except for rare situations when discussing various types of it).

  2. “Given the name it is supposed to represent here, it would have been appropriate to put it in plural, but since it is a ‘substance’, the plural form isn’t normally used”

    Same in English, though, so it’d be analogous to say “Schmalzen”.

  3. Are overweight people given the nickname “Schmalz” in German? Or “Schmaltz” in Yiddish? Or would it be based on “fett” as discussed elsewhere (not sure what the equivalent Yiddish word would be).

  4. If you know a bit of Yiddish you get the “Minnesota Schmaltz” pun, but I think hardly anyone would pick up on “Minnesota Dicker”.

  5. MiB – Minnesota Dick is a different character: he’s the one who is about to raid the place for illegal gambling.
    P.S. Both “dick” and “fett” can be applied to overweight people (or animals) in German, but “dick” is sometimes used as an almost friendly nickname, whereas “fett” definitely unfriendly.

  6. And just to beat this digression to a pulp, probably the reason why in German it’s “Dicker” and not “Fetter” is because the latter is a homophone for “Vetter”, which is the word for a male cousin.

  7. @ larK – Actually, I think it may be exactly the opposite. I know (and use) the word “Vetter” only because I’ve seen it in books. I’ve never heard anyone (other than me) use it when talking about a “cousin” near here.(*) Perhaps it has fallen out of favor because Germans are uncomfortable with the association to “fat”.
    P.S. (*) In and around Berlin, there is a horribly fractured pseudo-French term (pronounced roughly “Kousengk” – I’ve never seen this word in printed form), which is supposed to be the masculine form for “Cousine”. It may be an East German idiosyncracy, similar to the way they call Saturday “Sonnabend“, instead of the standard “Samstag“. I dislike both words, primarily because they are easy to misunderstand.

  8. “Sonnabend” is fairly standard across northern Germany, though may be falling out of favor over the decades because it is not orderly for two reason, one it breaks the X-tag pattern, and two, it’s not universally understood (or at least used) across the German speaking realm. I was unaware of “Samstag” until I moved to the States, because it seems very few Germans from my parts of Germany were part of the masses that migrated to the United States, so there’s a lot of initial familiarity, only to be replaced by alienation when it turns out your traditions/vocabulary/beliefs are often more different than from the random American masses… Most German-American traditional things are quite foreign to me…

    I grew up saying “Vetter”, it was the standard West Berlin/ North German word. Don’t know what happened with the influx of East German speak, or the passage of time in general…

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