Word of the Day : March 19, 2015

sprachgefühl

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noun SHPRAHKH-guh-fuel

Definition

1 : the character of a language

2 : an intuitive sense of what is linguistically appropriate

Did You Know?

Sprachgefühl was borrowed into English from German at the end of the 19th century and combines two German nouns, Sprache, meaning "language, speech," and Gefühl, meaning "feeling." (Nouns are capitalized in German, and you'll occasionally see sprachgefühl capitalized in English too, as in our second example.) We're quite certain that the quality of sprachgefühl is common among our readers, but the word itself is rare, making only occasional appearances in our language.


Examples

One review of the book praised the author's sprachgefühl and her graceful, literary style.

"Robert Dankoff patiently taught me Ottoman Turkish, attempting to instill in me Sprachgefühl, and carefully corrected every inaccurate transliteration and translation that I insisted he read." - Marc David Baer, Honored by the Glory of Islam, 2008



Test Your Vocabulary

What is the meaning of English's German borrowing weltschmerz? The answer is …


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