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maxmordon
06-02-2010, 08:30 AM
How one would properly say in German "God's grin"? Also, I need said word to be formed by a single composed word, so common in German, such as Totentanz or Bundesrepublik.

Danke shon in advance!

Lhun
06-02-2010, 08:48 AM
Fairly literal, "Gottes Grinsen". (Or "Gotts Grinsen" if you use "Gott" like a name) You can contract it, but it's not commonly done for the possessive case, and not at all with names. I.e. it will come across as a new word, not as a term someone might use on the fly. (Still not done with names though)

maxmordon
06-02-2010, 08:55 AM
I see, but it is intended to be used as a new word, or at least is a word in the setting of my WIP. I understand what you mean, I guess one only can contract adjetives with nouns, then?

Lhun
06-02-2010, 09:16 AM
I see, but it is intended to be used as a new word, or at least is a word in the setting of my WIP. I understand what you mean, I guess one only can contract adjetives with nouns, then?Ah, nothing nearly that simple. It would depend on the relation between the two words that are used for a composite word, and there a dozen or so different classifications for that. Mostly however, two (or more) nouns are used for a composite word, anything else rarely. (But the one thing to remember about german grammar is that there's no bloody rule without exceptions) And while german does contain a lot of composite words, they're rarely made up on the fly. Composite words are less something that's used in everyday conversation, and more a way for new words to enter the language. So, as a word that's commonly used, "Gottesgrinsen" is perfectly possible, although whoever came up with it would have been asked the first few times if he just made that word up, until it makes it's way into the common vocabulary.

Dawnstorm
06-02-2010, 10:39 AM
So, as a word that's commonly used, "Gottesgrinsen" is perfectly possible, although whoever came up with it would have been asked the first few times if he just made that word up, until it makes it's way into the common vocabulary.

Native speaker of German (Austria, though, not Germany), here. I agree with your assessment; it's true that German isn't as productive as English with compound nouns. Although if I heard "Gottesgrinsen" from someone, I wouldn't ask the guy/girl who said it, whether he/she made the word up. Rather, I'd ask what it means (unless it's obvious from context), because I'd assume it's some technical term (say from theology) that I'm not familiar with. New compounds are (relatively) rare in day to day speech, but they're pretty common in philosophy, literature, poetry, user manuals and newspaper headlines. Thus "Gottesgrinsen", if common, would either be associated with a particular philosophy (it might be a word that Catholics use, but Protestants don't; something like that), or it could be related to a specific event (popularised through a headline), or it could be a folk-word derived from a cult-book or cult-poem or cult-tv-show. Or something I can't think of now.

Btw, you'd pronounce it with a primary stress on GOTT-, and - maybe - with a secondary stress on -grins-.

Google does actually find a single instance of "Gottesgrinsen", but the link is down. It appeas to have occured in a forum post, "Re: Hamas", and the excerpt reads "...Kampf für Freiheit und Gerechtigkeit und Selbstbestimmung und anderthalb Handvoll Salz; und irgendein Gottesgrinsen..." ("...Fight/Struggle for freedom and justice and autonomy and one and a half handful of salt; and some [god's grin]...")

The neologism is "in style", but the poster seems to use a more formal style for humourous/derisive effect (I'd need more context to tell which). Also, I might be thrown by the "anderthalb" which sounds very formal for my Austrian ears, but I suspect that the word might be more common in Germany.

Note that the German does not have the ambiguity of "some god's grin" ("[some god]'s grin" vs. "some [god's grin]"; and that English would get rid of the ambiguity in speech, too).

Since my intuition was that "grinsen" is not a word you'd associate with (the Christian) God, I googled "Teufelsgrinsen" (devil's grin), and sure enough the word exists. It's an illness: risus sardonicus, some sort of stiffness of the jaw. (I get about 1000 hits.) I also get 14 hits for "Dämonengrinsen" (demon's grin). So, when it comes to myth, it's the bad guys that grin. So if I hear "Gottesgrinsen", I'd imagine, at best, a mischievous god.

For the Christian God, I've heard both "Gottesgelächter" and "Gotteslachen" (both mean God's laughter, the second putting more emphasis on the process/duration of laughing, but both mean essentially the same thing).

I do sense the same sort of stigma for English "grin", but I feel it's more severe in German. This is purely my intuition, though; a single data-point.

Lhun
06-02-2010, 12:51 PM
Native speaker of German (Austria, though, not Germany), here. <snip> Thus "Gottesgrinsen", if common, would either be associated with a particular philosophy (it might be a word that Catholics use, but Protestants don't; something like that)Native speaker as well, and as a philosopher i absolutely HAVE to object to the implication that theologians engage in philosophy. What they're doing is analysing literature., very different thing. :p

Also, I might be thrown by the "anderthalb" which sounds very formal for my Austrian ears, but I suspect that the word might be more common in Germany.It is pretty much the common word to say "one and a half". Well, except in bavaria, but they only think they're speaking german.
The snippet from google doesn't really make sense to me either though.
I do sense the same sort of stigma for English "grin", but I feel it's more severe in German. This is purely my intuition, though; a single data-point.I'd say that's mostly a question of cultural/religious background, less so of language.

Dawnstorm
06-02-2010, 02:47 PM
Native speaker as well, and as a philosopher i absolutely HAVE to object to the implication that theologians engage in philosophy. What they're doing is analysing literature., very different thing. :p

Tee hee hee. Maybe I should have said "with a particular ideology" rather than philosophy then? I'm not too knowledgeable about what theologicians do, but surely there's more to it than hermeneutics?


It is pretty much the common word to say "one and a half". Well, except in bavaria, but they only think they're speaking german.

Heh, that explains it. The part of Austria I'm living in is, to an extent, a Bavarian outpost.


The snippet from google doesn't really make sense to me either though.

Yeah, I really wanted context, but the link is defunct.


I'd say that's mostly a question of cultural/religious background, less so of language.

Very true, that. (That, and I forgot to google "Engelsgrinsen"; pretty interesting - and manifold - results. ;) )

pilot27407
06-02-2010, 08:37 PM
Depends. Take “Gotterdemmerung” (Gods’ Twilight or more commonly known as Twilight of the Gods) for example, a inaccurate compounded word which made it into the vocabulary… thanks Herr Wagner. Naturally if you sub Gods for Gog you’d end up with Gottesdemmerung. By the same rules you could say it as Gottesgrinsen… but only as the title of operas. LOL

Lhun
06-02-2010, 09:00 PM
Depends. Take “Gotterdemmerung” (Gods’ Twilight or more commonly known as Twilight of the Gods) for example, a inaccurate compounded word which made it into the vocabulary… thanks Herr Wagner. Naturally if you sub Gods for Gog you’d end up with Gottesdemmerung. By the same rules you could say it as Gottesgrinsen… but only as the title of operas. LOLNot really sure what you are trying to say here. It is "Götterdämmerung" instead of "Gottesdämmerung" since it refers to gods not one god, which is linguistically correct. The term is the result of a mistranslation of Ragnarök from icelandic to german, but the term itself is a perfectly fine example of a composite word.

maxmordon
06-03-2010, 10:36 PM
I see, this is quite fascinating.

Essentially, this term is used in the story to what people miscall Irony: a funny yet unlikely and with the implication of a cruel coincidence. For example, the heir of Heiniken brewery is allergic to beer, a photographer who spends a week to take a picture of beautiful clear sunsets for an assigment only to get cloudy days and the day he's told he's fired since he couldn't take the picture there's finally a clear sunset and other things like that. In short, a cosmic joke.