As we all know, dear readers, there is nothing puritans, moralists, prudes and bigots like better than to tamper with the national language, to prescribe and proscribe, to prohibit and command what words may be used, which of the many possible arbitrary spellings is the only correct one, and how long our sentences may be. It compares a little bit with the charming doings of the Spanish Inquisition in the matter of religious dogma, with this difference that most people balk at the burning of books, while a goodly little Auto-da-Fé was always highly popular with the pepperbelly plebs of yesteryear (these days the poor things have to make do with bull fights).
Am I suggesting that such crude fooling around with what ought to be left alone is a typical Latin transgression, one of the habitual sins that turn perfectly viable lands and cultures into the enslaved food stamp countries of today? No, dear reader, not at all! On the contrary! The ‘tampering disease’ is equally at home in Germanic lands, on Northern shores, in the linguistic areas where they write nouns with needless capital letters, toss dots onto and slashes through and funny little circles (º) on top of innocent vowels, and generally make grating gurgling sounds as they recite the best poetry their national pride has brought forth.
Which brings me (AT LAST I hear you sigh…) to the burning topic of today. So prick up your ears, listen well and pay attention. If you are versed in High German and were thinking of using any time soon the equally elegant as useful word
then you really gotta be fast! Grab your chance today, and write it, as often as you like or need, as soon as possible. You absolutely have to hurry, because the provincial parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has just yesterday decided to abolish this marvellous term. Why the provincial parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern possesses the authority to decide so, I do not know and cannot imagine. But I do know why they have decided to whitewash it out of the German Dictionary: because – amazingly – it is not used often enough.
I must say I do not find this argument quite convincing. After all: the Great Pyramid of Giza is also rarely used for its true purpose. What am I saying? As far as we know it was only used ONCE (!!!) in the last 4,600 years… Yet is that a reason to demolish the thing and sell the debris down the river? QED, I dare say!
But I guess it cannot be helped. Therefore, dear reader, be smart and be fast about it. For very soon, you will not be allowed no more to use this veritable pearl among the lexicographer’s art, and you will have to make do with the poor, pithy, short and succinct next-best-thing, to wit:
Of a mere 38 characters.
The world will be a poorer, poorer place…
PS For some more thoughts upon the subject, and amusing stories concerning the words Défaitisme, Camping, and neologisms in general, see my older post of May 4th last year by clicking here.