Archive for the ‘German’ Category

Der Migros-Sprecher Gabriel Zwicky

October 9, 2019

In the Swiss German-language daily Blick, a 10/6 story by Marc Iseli, “Neues Gastro-Konzept kommt nach Zürich: Migros bringt den Metzger zum Anfassen” (‘A new gastronomic concept comes to Zürich: Migros makes the butcher accessible’), about a new program — some combination of Retail, Gastronomie und Event — that is somehow supposed to bring the consumer closer to the producers of food (the butcher, the baker, the fisherman, the farmer), at least in the giant supermarket by the main railway station in Zürich:


(#1) From the butcher’s hands to yours, in the new “Meet Food” (yes, with a name borrowed from English) program (note: I didn’t choose this photo; Blick did; I will, however, inventory it in my files under “Phallicity: The Wurst”, where it deserves some sort of vividness trophy)

The story is about this still not fully defined program, but its primary interest for me is that it comes from der Migros-Sprecher (‘the Migros spokesperson’) Gabriel Zwicky, who gets his name in the news quite a lot, Migros being a very big thing in Switzerland. Zwickys, we are everywhere.

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Conventional and creative metaphors

July 24, 2019

In a recent comics feed, the 6/27 One Big Happy, with an exchange between Grandma Rose and the grotesquely smiling Avis

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In panel 2, the baggage of emotional baggage is a conventional metaphor, one no longer requiring the hearer to work out the effect of the figure and so now listed in dictionaries. But then Rose immediately brings it back from dormancy to life in a long riff of creative metaphor (in panels 2-4), composed on the spot and calling up a complex and vivid scene for the hearer.

We use the same term, metaphor, for both phenomena, and the mechanism is the same in both — but one is a historical phenomenon (whose figural character is usually out of the consciousness of speaker and hearer), while the other is a phenomenon of discourse production and comprehension in real time.

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The hand that cradles the tree

May 3, 2019

… and the monster that guides the elderly. Both pieces of outdoor art in Switzerland, the first in the town of Glarus (in my ancestral canton of Glarus), the second in the city of Zürich.


(#1) The Caring Hand in Glarus

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Swiss spin-off: Züricher Geschnetzeltes

June 27, 2018

While searching on Züricher (and its variant Zürcher), as part of a look at men named Peter Zwicky in the Zürich area, I came across Züricher Geschnetzeltes, a characteristic Swiss dish that I did not experience as a child, but in fact first encountered at a little restaurant on Limmatstraße in Zürich — in September 1972, almost 46 years ago. A very simple veal dish, served on freshly made noodles, but absolutely perfect: melt-in-the-mouth strips of veal in a sauce that was both brown and creamy, elegant yet intense. Julienned carrots sauteed in butter. A crispy white wine. A plain green salad.

Something along these lines, but with noodles:

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(A style of food that is, unfortunately, not particularly photogenic.)

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Swiss spin-off: Wallisellen

June 27, 2018

The town of Wallisellen in Canton Zürich, Switzerland, has just come up again on this blog (in the posting “Three Züricher Peter Zwickys”), as the site of the Zwicky silk-thread company and now the Zwicky construction and real estate company. Two notable things about the place (from its Wikipedia page): the etymology of its name, which looks like a compound (and is), but without easily identifiable parts; and a Swiss German nonsense rhyme that incorporates the town’s name.

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Lexical adventures in the Sacred Harp

February 23, 2018

Two explorations in the vocabulary of The Sacred Harp, 1991 Denson revision, provoked by songs called at shapenote singings in Palo Alto: most recently, the occurrence of dragon(s), serpent(s), and hurricane(s) in Florence #121 (all of them unique in the book, according to Chris Thorman’s 1992 Concordance to the songbook); and a while back, the striking use of vice in Mission #204’s “luring scenes of vice” (one of two occurrences in the book, the other being in Columbus #67).  Elsewhere, there’s Cambridge #287, a hymn of resistance to temptation; and O Come Away #334, a rousing temperance hymn (with a history in German student drinking songs).

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Adventures in alcohol

February 21, 2018

A recent Pinterest e-mail with boards on food and drink offered a number of remarkably named drinks, including two that were new to me: the Purple Fuck (powerfully alcoholic and powerfully sweet) and the German drink Gockelsperma ‘cock’s cum’, lit. ‘rooster sperm’ (made with Waldmeister syrup, from the sweet woodruff plant).

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Herons in the garden

October 30, 2017

Came by on Pinterest some considerable time ago, a photo billed as “Gartenkeramik Reiervogel – ein Designerstück von Brigitte Peglow”, showing a ceramic bird posing in a luxuriant garden, much like this:

(#1) Ceramic bird among variegated vinca, hostas, ferns, and more

Certainly looked like a heron, but I was puzzled by the German noun Reier.

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Cat on a silken thread

September 12, 2017

My Swiss friend Guido Seiler (now professing linguistics in the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) just sent me the latest news from the Zwicky thread company, a firm I’ve posted about several times on this blog, partly because it’s a Zwicky company and partly because of this famous 1950 ad poster by Donald Brun:

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Annals of spiciness

June 30, 2017

On my posting on the 27th, “Scalarity on the menu”, about a Korean restaurant in Berlin offering food with sauces that were: not spicy, medium spicy, German spicy, Korean spicy — this comment on Facebook from Antonia Clicquot:

Reminds me of the menu of an Indian restaurant in Erlangen [in Bavaria, not far from Nuremberg] – they do all their meals germanisch, indogermanisch and indisch scharf.

The adjective indogermanisch leaps out to a linguist’s eye, because for us it picks out not a kind of food but a kind of language, namely Indo-European.

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