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Some random thoughts about PA-Dutch expressions

I don't remember a particular meaning for "Schnickelfritz". It is a name we used to call someone in fun, that is, affectionately.

Mostly, it was addressed to small children; much in the manner we called them "nixnutzes". The latter word never really had a meaning either; although in German, the word "nichtsnutz" means "good-for-nothing", from "nichts" meaning "nothing", and "nutzen" meaning "to use". For reasons unknown to me, PA-Germans didn't use "nutzen"; they used the English word "use". In onnera wotta, meer h'en dah Deitsch wott "nutz" net geused; meer h'en dah Anglish wott "use" genutzt. We would say "Ich hab 's geused" (I used it).

As for chatterbox, we used "Bloppermowl", "Plappermaul" in proper German. We used to say, "shtupp dei geblopper"(stop your chattering); and "du bisht en Bloppermowl"(you are a chatterbox).

Another common expression was "orremer Drupp". This was generally used to indicate sympathy for someone. We would say, "air is en orremer Drupp". The actual words and meaning in German were "Armer Tropf"(poor dunce or simpleton). Of course, that was never the intended meaning when we PA-Dutch used the expression. I think the intended meaning was probably something like "He's a poor soul"; even though the German and PA-German word for soul is "Seele".

I remember seeing a book in which the author confused the word "Drupp" with the PA-Dutch word "Druppa" which means "drop"; and translated the expression as "Poor drop". I don't know if, subsequently, someone enlightened her.

The expression, "Sag du mir net" translates as "Don't you tell me". I guess the du (you) was used for emphasis. "Don't tell me" would have sufficed.

And then there was the most amusing of all. "Nau husht du Zeit". "Now you have time". This was used when someone was thought to have exceeded the bounds of propriety. I suppose you could have been deemed to have reached the limits of tolerance. Suffice it to say that it was an expression of extreme reproach.

More reflection would probably produce more expressions; however, fear of inducing boredom prompts me to terminate my little essay. I thank you for your kind attention.

Contributed by Richard Emlin Reed.


Last Modified Sunday, 08-Feb-2009 06:46:38 MST

© copyright 2007-2009 Richard Berkheiser.