Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by shimobaatar »

Hmm… what else can I say without simply saying what it is? It refers to a time/period of time/time of day, not really a holiday or type of event.

I'm going to point back to some of the things I've said previously that I think, hopefully, could be particularly helpful:
shimobaatar wrote: 27 Dec 2019 07:46
VaptuantaDoi wrote: 27 Dec 2019 05:31 Maybe "witch"? Some other supernatural being?
[tick] I think "witch" will be the most helpful translation here.
shimobaatar wrote: 27 Dec 2019 22:32
spanick wrote: 27 Dec 2019 16:16 Does it mean something like a black mass?
[cross] You're not too far off, though.
shimobaatar wrote: 28 Dec 2019 03:43 The meaning of *unhtwǭ hasn't really shifted all that much here, if that helps.
I'm sorry this has been difficult. I didn't expect it to be.
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

This is proving surprisingly difficult... is it just a specific time during the night?
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

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VaptuantaDoi wrote: 13 Jan 2020 04:40 This is proving surprisingly difficult... is it just a specific time during the night?
[tick] It does refer to a time of night.
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by spanick »

shimobaatar wrote: 13 Jan 2020 04:05 Hmm… what else can I say without simply saying what it is? It refers to a time/period of time/time of day, not really a holiday or type of event.
Hmm, yeah...all these things are things I figured.
I'm sorry this has been difficult. I didn't expect it to be.
No need to be sorry! It's an interesting word, to be sure!

I'm kinda stuck on something like "witch's dawn" or some such, but I have no idea what that might actually mean. It's apparently the name of a pornographic romance novel involving a witch and three demons, but I doubt that's what you're referring to.
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by spanick »

...is it just "midnight"?
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by shimobaatar »

spanick wrote: 13 Jan 2020 04:55 I'm kinda stuck on something like "witch's dawn" or some such, but I have no idea what that might actually mean. It's apparently the name of a pornographic romance novel involving a witch and three demons, but I doubt that's what you're referring to.
Ah yeah, definitely not!

I'm wondering if this phrase/concept is actually a lot more obscure than I thought. I didn't pick something I thought was obscure, at least, but… well, we'll see once it's finally "revealed".
spanick wrote: 13 Jan 2020 04:57 ...is it just "midnight"?
[cross]

To restate a few more of my previous comments, adding some new information:
  • It's a concept from the folklore of Christian Europe
  • The English translation is two words, one of which is derived from "witch"
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by spanick »

Oh, witching hour.
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

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spanick wrote: 13 Jan 2020 14:37 Oh, witching hour.
[tick] [tick] [tick]
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by spanick »

shimobaatar wrote: 13 Jan 2020 16:13
spanick wrote: 13 Jan 2020 14:37 Oh, witching hour.
[tick] [tick] [tick]
You're right. That shouldn't have been so hard. I was actually conceptually right there a while back, but I couldn't think of the word. Even my digging on wikipedia proved unsuccessful. Really great word! It was a fun and a tough nut to crack!
Spoiler:
In Weddisch, the second word exists in uuchten, a word I used for Lexember. However, I think this would be best translated as óesstunn literally demon-hour with óes coming from OE ōs 'god' which then moves to refer only to pagan deities and then finally to demons.
I'll have something ready by tomorrow.
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by Salmoneus »

shimobaatar wrote: 13 Jan 2020 14:07 I'm wondering if this phrase/concept is actually a lot more obscure than I thought.
It's a 19th century misquotation from Hamlet (Shakespeare's actual line was 'the very witching time of night'). There seems to have been a general belief, or at least dramatic conceit, at that time in England that there was a particular time of night when supernatural things tended to happen (in Shakespeare, it's midnight, though occultists in the last few decades have decided it should be 3AM instead). But so far as I know, the association with witches specifically, and the idea of it being specifically an hour, are from Hamlet (Shakespeare uses the same conceit in A Midsummer Night's Dream, but without the terminology). And I think the modern occultism is all a Shakespeare homage (unknowingly or knowingly) rather than a genuine folkoric tradition. So whether a language has a native translation for it may depend on how Shakespeare-obsessed they are...

[Wiktionary gives a few translations, but I don't know how modern or how widespread they are, and they don't seem to be literal. Swedish has "spook time", German has "ghost hour" (or "spirit hour"), French just has "hour of crime", apparently, but that might be from modern urban legends (and/or statistics) about crime that happens to coincide with the Shakespearian time, rather than anything occult in origin.]


Also worth pointing out that even in Hamlet, although he uses the term 'witching', there's no overt mention of actual witches. "Tis now the very witching time of night, / When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out / Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood / And do such bitter business as the bitter day / Would quake to look on". Midsummer Night's Dream calls it "fairy time", and mostly talks about the natural world (wolves, owls) and psychology (tiredness, thoughts of death), but does also say that in fairy time "the graves all gaping wide / Every one lets forth his sprite / In the churchway paths to glide".
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by shimobaatar »

Spoiler:
Oh, well, alright.

Around the time it became my "turn", I realized I had a general word for some malevolent feminine supernatural entity and a word for a particular time of night, so I thought "witching hour" might be a fitting challenge for this thread. I was mostly familiar with the more recent occult usage of the term, but a quick search online suggested the concept - if not the particular word/phrase - had some foundation in the Christian folklore of Western Europe, not just England. I can't say I'm shocked that information from Wikipedia apparently wasn't entirely accurate, but honestly, given the context (a guessing game on a fairly informal conlang forum), I can't say I'm too broken up about it, either. Regardless of how much sense it would make for this to be a real word in this particular constructed language, its meaning was able to be guessed eventually, so I feel like it served its purpose. I do apologize, though, if you or either of this round's "guessers" feel that my imperfect understanding of the term and its history made this round in any way unfair, so to speak.

For whatever it may be worth, the components of the word aren't meant to be 1:1 equivalents of "witch" and "hour", although I may have given that impression while trying to guide those guessing towards "witching hour", which I figured was more concise and would be easier to guess than something like "a time of night sometimes believed to be associated with heightened supernatural activity and/or nightmares". Maybe it's referring to some older tradition, roughly equivalent to the English belief/dramatic conceit Shakespeare was referencing, or maybe it's a more recent coinage based on an urban legend or influenced by English-speaking occultists… or maybe it's just something I threw together without much thought so the game could continue. I want to make it clear I'm not trying to defend myself - I don't really feel the need to do so here - or make it seem like I knew what I was doing. I'm just… musing, I suppose, although that sounds a bit pretentious.
Anyway, everything you've said about the term and its history is very interesting to know, Salmoneus, so thank you for telling us!


spanick wrote: 14 Jan 2020 06:17 Really great word! It was a fun and a tough nut to crack!
Thank you!
spanick wrote: 14 Jan 2020 06:17 In Weddisch, the second word exists in uuchten, a word I used for Lexember. However, I think this would be best translated as óesstunn literally demon-hour with óes coming from OE ōs 'god' which then moves to refer only to pagan deities and then finally to demons.
Interesting! ydes here is actually probably closer to "demoness, succubus" than "witch, human woman with supernatural power", having shifted semantically in a similar way to óes in Weddisch, apparently!
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by spanick »

shimobaatar wrote: 14 Jan 2020 20:07 Interesting! ydes here is actually probably closer to "demoness, succubus" than "witch, human woman with supernatural power", having shifted semantically in a similar way to óes in Weddisch, apparently!
Nice!

As a very coincidental anecdote: the day after I guess "witching hour" one of the high school students that I teach just happened to naturally and correctly use the term while we were talking. What are the odds?!

***

I don't anticipate this being too difficult, but you never know.

Weddisch
wúrd drúge
/vʏɾd dɾyːgə/
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

spanick wrote: 16 Jan 2020 06:44 Weddisch
wúrd drúge
/vʏɾd dɾyːgə/
Does drúge derive from *drūgiz?
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by spanick »

VaptuantaDoi wrote: 16 Jan 2020 06:47
spanick wrote: 16 Jan 2020 06:44 Weddisch
wúrd drúge
/vʏɾd dɾyːgə/
Does drúge derive from *drūgiz?
Nope.
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by spanick »

Is this too difficult or are people just not particularly interested at the moment?
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

spanick wrote: 24 Jan 2020 03:12 Is this too difficult or are people just not particularly interested at the moment?
I don't have much experience with Germanic langs so I concentrate more on romlangs. Also I forgot about this a bit.


spanick wrote: 16 Jan 2020 06:44 Weddisch
wúrd drúge
Is it a noun phrase?
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by Salmoneus »

Is the second word related to *dreugana?
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by spanick »

VaptuantaDoi wrote: 24 Jan 2020 03:45 Is it a noun phrase?
No
Salmoneus wrote: 24 Jan 2020 18:49 Is the second word related to *dreugana?
Yes
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by Salmoneus »

Is it something like "scribe" or "clerk"? [i.e. a word drudge]
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Re: Guess the Word in Germanic Conlangs

Post by spanick »

Salmoneus wrote: 24 Jan 2020 22:19 Is it something like "scribe" or "clerk"? [i.e. a word drudge]
No.
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