The Germanic Mosaic: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Society

By Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay | Go to book overview

Chirpǎr, if interpreted on Romanian ground) comes from TS Burprich ( 1248 Burgberg), and that the Hungarian interpretation of it, Borberek (as if meaning "wine grove") is folk etymological (cf. Illyés, 1987: 332).

Much remains to be done concerning Transylvanian place names and on the language contact of Transylvania in general. Future research may open new paths, profitable for all, at least from a scholarly point of view. As for the Transylvanian Saxons, since their emigration to the recently reunified Germany has assumes mass proportions, we should hurry to study what they still have in store for us. Let us hope that, though in ever shrinking numbers, some of them will cling longer to the church fortresses raised by their forefathers in Siebenbiirgen.


NOTES
1
A nineteenth century local poet evoked the fundamental event of the early Transylvanian Saxon (TS) history: "Als de' Sachsen Andreas/ (Romlichst doses Kön'gs ze dinken)/ Liund vun Varos bas keen Draas/ Gneedig sich entschluss ze schinken" ( Schuller 1840: 72) [literally, "As to the Saxons Andreas/ (Most glorious it is of this king to think)/ Land from Varos up to Daraus/ Magnanimously decided to grant"]. With all its poetically distorted syntax, the fragment is an illustrative sample of literary written TS dialect (with much HG influence).
2
I once had the opportunity to listen to a dialogue between my wife and a student from Luxembourg. They spoke their mother tongues, and there was a high degree of mutual intelligibility between them. Nevertheless, when, on another occasion, a linguist from Germany ( University of Freiburg) listened to a conversation in TS, he could not even "accept" it as a German idiom. True, there are many rather un-German phonetic features in Transylvanian Saxon, especially as regards diphthongs (which raise many problems of transcription, as pointed out as early as Schuller, 1840).
3
In transcribing TS words (in the forms I learned from native speakers of Vǎrd and Agnita, district of Sibiu/Hermannstadt) I did not resort to a phonetic alphabet proper. I tried, like others before me, to apply HG orthography whenever possible; when not, I tried to use a transparent spelling. The special marking of ë is necessary especially since the TS central vowel it transcribes can occur not only in unstressed positions (like the general Germanic schwa), but also under stress, as in the peculiar TS diphthongs written ëj and ëu (as different from HG ei and eu, respectively).
4
It may be added that, etymologically, Rom. flutur/fluture remains as obscure as its Germanic correlatives. Either an onomatopoeic origin for all, or a common (Alpine-Carpathian?) substrate origin might be proposed in the future.

-102-

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