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Re: CHAT: German help

From:Julia "Schnecki" Simon <helicula@...>
Date:Friday, June 30, 2006, 4:45

On 6/30/06, Ph.D. <phil@...> wrote:
> I'm looking at a German used books website. > > Can somebody (preferably a German-speaker) tell > me what "aussen gebrauchsspurig" means? > Babelfish doesn't know the second word.
I wouldn't have recognized the word either if you hadn't given the context (used books). ;-) _Außen_, of course, means "outside", but you probably already knew that. The word _gebrauchsspurig_ is an adjective derived from _Gebrauchsspur_ "trace (or evidence) of use". So, the book in question doesn't look new but... well... used, but apparently only on the outside (außen). And I'm not surprised that Babelfish doesn't know the word... I am surprised, though, that Babelfish didn't attempt to translate its components (or, knowing Babelfish, any substrings it could find in its lexicon) to come up with something that doesn't make any sense in *any* language. ;-) To my delight, GERTWOL ( does recognize the word. It doesn't seem to be in the GERTWOL lexicon, because in that case the clearly wrong analysis with _geb-_ as first element shouldn't appear, but at least it also gives the correct analysis. :-) This type of adjective formation (N+ig meaning "having N", e.g. _löchrig_ "holey" or _rothaarig_ "red-haired") isn't uncommon, but it's not productive anymore, so an unknown word ending in -ig is much more likely to confuse you than an unknown word ending in, say, -ung. (When I was 14 or so, we had a lot of fun "reviving" some obsolescent and obsolete forms for our own "group language". One of the things we liked to do was attach -ig to just about anything; we would say things like "er ist zuspätkommig" for "he is (running) late". Needless to say that in "proper" German, this suffix only attaches to very few verb stems, and certainly not productively...) Regards, Julia 8-) -- Julia Simon (Schnecki) -- Sprachen-Freak vom Dienst _@" schnecki AT iki DOT fi / helicula AT gmail DOT com "@_ si hortum in bybliotheca habes, deerit nihil (M. Tullius Cicero)


Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Ph.D. <phil@...>
Sally Caves <scaves@...>Having fun with Babelfish