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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:22 pm

• doppelganger •

Pronunciation: dah-pêl-geng-gêr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A double, someone's ostensible unrelated twin, someone who bears a very close resemblance to you though they are unrelated and possibly even unknown to you; an alter ego.

Notes: If you know where the diacritics are located on your keyboard, you may also spell this word with the original German umlaut: Doppelgänger. Preserving the capital letter (all nouns are capitalized in German) would be pushing poetic license too far though, I think.

In Play: This word won a short ride in the press toward the end of 2010 when George Stephanopoulos called actress Julia Roberts the doppelganger of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love on the TV show "Good Morning, America". Roberts plays Gilbert in the movie based on Gilbert's book. The word is used to refer to someone who looks almost exactly like you: "Well, I saw either you or your doppelganger at a bar last night well after 11:00 PM."

Word History: The German compound noun Doppelgänger is made up of doppel "double" + Gänger "goer". Gänger comes from gehen "go", ging "went", gegangen "gone". It shares the same source as Old English "gan", which ultimately became go in Modern English. Gang itself is preserved in a few English words like gangway, gangplank, originally a board for walking on and off a boat. The Old Germanic noun, gatwon "going," led to Norwegian and Swedish gata "street," and Modern English gate and gait. (Thanks to Susan Lister—or was it her doppelganger?—for suggesting today's very Good if borrowed Word.)
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Postby Slava » Fri Apr 02, 2021 6:58 am

Is there such a thing as a dictionary, or even list, of foreign words that have been accepted into English? That is to say, the words that are still recognizably foreign.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:19 am

Words such as DOPPELGANGER and Schadenfreude are imported full blown from other languages - in this case German. The etymology of those words differ in degree if not in kind from PIE rooted words. We could well do without some of them. This also goes for many Yiddish words. But prejudice could play a part and we need to be careful there. Old Dr. Hertzog [fictitious name for a real person], who first whetted my interest in etymology, hated the French language. When he found he must say a French word, he would immediately spit on the floor and, as a sort of aside, mutter, "Bastard Latin!" "Karaoke" has a very interesting etymology. [Look it up.] My son Paul, who is now with the Lord, was a professional karaoke singer for several years - that after extensive expensive formal musical education.
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Postby David Myer » Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:43 am

I was once mistaken for Hugh Heffner - even though he is 20 years older than me and actually dead. But the mistaker was probably judging from an out of date picture.

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