A vivid commentary on Jewish survival and Jewish speech communities that will be enjoyed by the general reader, and is essential reading for students and researchers interested in the study of Middle Eastern languages, Jewish studies, and sociolinguistics.
Processes in which linguistic entities are "weakened" formally and in their
meaning (e.g. "Kien-Föhre" > "Kiefer") have been well researched, but
"strengthening processes" (e.g. Caribbean "hamaca" > folk-etymological
explanation "Hänge-matte") in which linguistic entities are first created have
hardly been researched at all. The intention of this volume is to fill this gap by
exploring both normal folk-etymologies and more subtle ones. The examples
presented include: the interpretation in children's language of heiser as the
comparative form of "heis" - i.e. "heis-er", the literal interpretation of
expressions (e.g. "Gastarbeiter" [guest workers] is considered wrong, because
guests and work are mutually exclusive) and the attribution of meanings derived
from world knowledge to words, which are not contained in the words' literal
meaning (see the choices of Germany's annual "Unwort" competition for the "un-
word" or "No-No Word of the Year"). Pleonasms (such as "Hai-Fisch" instead of
just Hai) round off the thematic spectrum.