Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

Weltschmerz

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

Weltschmerz

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue May 07, 2013 10:32 pm

• weltschmerz •


Pronunciation: velt-shmerts • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Sadness or pessimism over the suffering in the world.

Notes: Today's Good Word shares an initial constituent with a previous Good Word, weltanschauung "world outlook". Because German capitalizes all nouns, we may capitalize weltschmerz if we wish; however, since it is now a firmly established English word and English does not capitalize common nouns, we are not obliged to do so. Don't forget, though, (1) the C between the S-H at the beginning of the word or that (2) W is still pronounced [v] as in German.

In Play: Most of us who have succeeded in the industrialized world have a sense of regret for the suffering elsewhere in the world: "Because of her sense of weltschmerz, Mildred gives to every world charity that rings her up or drops her a line." World charities depend on it. Of course, not all of us who help in other countries around the world do so out of anything so vague as weltschmerz: "I don't build schools in Africa out of weltschmerz but because I love the people there."

Word History: Today's Good Word may have been coined by the German writer Jean Paul Richter, from Welt "world" + Schmerz "pain", but it certainly was popularized in German literature by Heinrich Heine. Welt was originally a Germanic compound *wer-ald- "life or age of man" from wer- "man" + ald "old, age". The stem wer- made it to Old English as were "man", where it combined with wolf to give us the word for the wolf-man, werewolf, before dying out. Wer-ald itself, of course, became world in English. A relative of were in Latin is vir "man", the root of the English borrowing, virile "manly". (Today we thank Mark Bailey, someone who helps the world's suffering by suggesting excellent words like today's for our series.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3477
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue May 07, 2013 10:38 pm

Note also SIX consonants ganged up in a row: ltschm!
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2302
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue May 07, 2013 10:54 pm

One gets things like "ltschm" when two German words collide. If we insist that all psychological phenomena have German names, we will just have to live with it.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1707
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby MTC » Wed May 08, 2013 9:20 am

"Weltschmerz" just compounds our sorrows.

Germans have dubbed these "mammutwörter" (mammoth words,) itself a compound. Whenever I see a mammutwörter I imagine linked railroad cars: "Ya, Hans, the words couple like this--'welt' (clank) 'schmertz.'"

Some of the mammutwörter are very amusing:

der Unterhosenbügler = a man who irons his underpants
der Festnetztelefonierer = a man who telephones using a land-line
der Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän" (the Danube Steamship Navigation Company Captain) (Not recommended for asthmatics.)

I understand there is a movement in Germany to decouple mammutwörter with hyphens for the sake of readability. Still, I enjoy a number of these "linked German railroad cars," "gekoppeltdeutschwaggons."

Auf Wiedersehen.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1068
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed May 08, 2013 2:28 pm

I agree with MTC. In fact, I have for years called them box car words, probably on other posts in this forum.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2302
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby call_copse » Thu May 09, 2013 7:12 am

Any metaphor emphasizing the clunkiness of these words is probably in accordance with my own weltanschauung. Pronouncing Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän would induce some weltschmerz in the most angst free lumpenproletariat.
Iain
User avatar
call_copse
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 285
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:42 am
Location: Southampton

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu May 09, 2013 12:48 pm

At least so far I've been able to control my passion for pronouncing Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2302
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu May 09, 2013 9:30 pm

I was laboring through Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän and was doing pretty well. Then I decided to cheat and use Google translation. It worked like a charm. It means "Danube steamship company captain". Now I feel guilty not working it out myself. I do pretty well at the pronunciation, at least it sounds good to me.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1707
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby Audiendus » Thu May 09, 2013 9:52 pm

Perry Lassiter wrote:Note also SIX consonants ganged up in a row: ltschm!

There are some instances of six consecutive consonants in English, e.g:

catchphrase
sightscreen (in cricket)
Knightsbridge (in London)

Compound words in English are quite tame compared with German ones. The best I can come up with are:

backwoodsman
longbowman
quartermaster
stationmaster
Audiendus
Senior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 588
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:08 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu May 09, 2013 10:23 pm

Aren't catchphrase, sightscreen, and Knightsbridge also compound words?
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1707
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri May 10, 2013 12:09 am

The English words seem quite normal to me. I wonder if native or fluent German-speakers consider their runon words equally normal?
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2302
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat May 11, 2013 7:26 pm

English compound words are obviously not as long as some German compound words. Compound words in English usually take the path of being 1) two separate words used together, 2) the two words separated by a hyphen, and 3) the full compound words. Sometimes prefixes are not sure of themselves and suffer a hyphen as in co-operate. My father was an agriculturalist and was president of some co-operative farm service companies.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1707
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat May 11, 2013 9:01 pm

I frequently question whether or not to hyphenate a "co-" word.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2302
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby gailr » Sun May 12, 2013 2:28 pm

I tend to hyphenate "co-worker", because it looks like "cow orker" to me otherwise. :?
User avatar
gailr
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1945
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:40 am

Re: Weltschmerz

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun May 12, 2013 4:55 pm

Yeah, you gotta watch those orkers.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2302
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Next

Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests