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A Word List of the German Dialect of Caramurat

By Dr. Hans Ternes

Dr. Hans Ternes is a Professor of German, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin since 1968. He received his B.A. and M.A degrees from the University of Illinois, and his PhD. Degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed post-doctoral studies at the University of Munich, University of Freiburg, and the University of Bucharest. His primary research interest is 20th century German Literature, Romance Linguistics and the European fairy tale. Dr. Ternes was born in 1937 in Romania. He emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1955.


My ancestors –who in all likelihood came from various regions of Germany - left Germany around 1800. They spent some time in Poland and then continued  to Besserabia where they settled in a place called Krasna; they soon founded neighboring villages, such as Emmental.

Around 1870 a group of settlers from Krasna bought land in the Dobrudscha and founded a village that was named Caramurat (the name is Turkish and thus indicates that there was already a previous Turkish community in the area). The name was later changed to Ferdinand I. Today its name is Mihail Kogolniceanu. My great grandfather, my grandfather, my father, and I were born there. It was one of the most beautiful German villages in the Dobrudscha. The king of Romania visited Caramurat on one of his tours. The outstanding landmark of the village is a Gothic church which still stands there in all of its glory.

I have always been curious about the dialect we spoke in our village. It is very similar to the dialect that was spoken in Krasna and the surrounding German villages, and yet it is different.
When I sent my wordlist to Josef Gross, who was born in Emmental, he was surprised by the number of words he did not know. Since languages are similar to organisms, they grow and expand. Thus the German dialect of Caramurat –while basically similar to the dialect spoken in Krasna – has its own character. It is in some ways very unique, and thus when people from our village meet and hear some of these peculiar words, it connects them and gives them a very nostalgic feeling and at the same time a sensation of  great loss.

In order to find out what sort of German dialect we spoke in our village, I submitted my story entitled “Heimat”, written in the Caramurat dialect, to Prof. Nils Kammenhuber, an expert in the field of German dialects. Here is his conclusion: “Also, der Dialekt ist entweder Saarländisch aus einer mir dialektal unbekannten Gegend . . . oder aber ein sehr nahe verwandter Dialekt aus einer unmittelbar ans Saarland angrenzenden Region; vielleicht unmittelbar angrenzendes Rheinland-Pfalz . . . oder aber Lothringisch.“ (Nils Kammerhuber: hirvi@net.in.tum.de) (The dialect is either from a dialect region of the Saarland which I don’t know . . . or a closely related dialect from a region bordering the Saarland . . . or a dialect from Lothringen [German for Lorraine].”)

My word list is ultimately an homage to the linguistic creativity of my ancestors who lived in a multiethnic environment and took from various German dialects and from the foreign tongues that surrounded them to create a distinctive dialect that bound them together as a closely-knit community.

The list is obviously incomplete! I invite “Landsleute” (fellow countymen) from the general region of my birthplace to contribute words to my list!

Caramurater Deutsch

Baschtan                                        [türk. bostan], Garten / engl. garden
Caise                                             [türk. kayisi], Aprikosen / engl. apricot
Kopitze                                          [russ.’kopit’  (an)sammeln], Heuhaufen / haycock
Fliejer                                             Flugzeug / engl. airplane
Flitsche                                           Flügel / engl. wing
Flitscheboe                                     (Pfeil) Bogen / archery bow
griddlich                                          in schlechter, irritierter Stimmung / engl. irritable
Haihoppert                                      Eisenstange mit Widerhaken
Harbuse                                          [türk. Karpuz(s)], Wassermelone / engl. watermelon
Huppup                                           Wiedehopf / engl. hoopoe
Ikri                                                  [russ. ikra], Kaviar / engl. caviar
iwerzwerich                                     quer / engl. oblique, cross, diagonal
Kantschuk                                       Knute, Lederpeitsche /  whip, lash
Kerscheltjer                                    knusprige Seite bei Mehlspeisen / crispy side of dumplings
Klauntsch                                        Schaukel / engl. swing
Kiapott                                           Getue /engl. affectation
Knutsje                                           Schwalbenart / engl. a species of swallows
Kormaus                                         Hamster / engl. Hamster
Kraddl / Graddel                             Raum zwischen den Beinen, Hosenboden / engl. crotch
in de Kraddl trede                            in den Hintern treten / to kick s.b. in the behind
Krawasch                                        französische Pfeife / engl. French pipe
kreilich/greilich                                 ausgesprochen häßlich / very ugly
Kruschki/Gruschki                           [russ. Gruscha], Birne
Krusele/Grusele                                Locken / engl.  locks
Kumeme/Gumeme                           Gurken / cucumber
Kwaddl                                            rief herunterhängender Hosenboden  (Türkenhose)
Läppsch                                           nicht gewürzt, fade / engl. tasteless
Leuschtjan                                        [rum. leustean], Maggikraut, Liebstöckel / engl. lovage
Nachtkrapsch/Nachtgrapsch             Nachtschreck / engl. bogeyman
Néts/Nétz                                         Zwirn / engl. Thread, twine
Ockl                                                 [türk. okul, Schule; wahrscheinlicher rum. ocól, Koppel]
                                                         Pferch für Schafe / engl. pen for sheep
Paddltschanne                                   [türk. patliçan - Aubergine; rum. patlageá rosie - Tomate;
                                                         rum. patlageá vînata], Aubergine
Pantofflstoppert                                 Flaschenkork /engl. kork
Papusche                                          [rum. papuci], Pantoffel / engl. slippers
Pastram                                            [türk. pastîrma, rum. pastrama], gewürztes, geräuchertes,   
                                                        getrocknetes Fleisch / engl. pastrami
Pedruschki                                        [russ. Petruschka], Petersilie / engl. parsley
Pepche                                             Käferchen / engl. little bug
Pfeffere/Peffere                                 Paprikaschote / engl. peppers
Plitt                                                   russ., Herdplatte / engl. Top of kitchen stove
Plindermaus                                      Schmetterling / engl. butterfly
Plospalke/Blosbalke                         diatonische (zweitönige) Ziehharmonika / engl. accordion
Popschoi                                          [rum. papusoi] (nur in der Moldova), Mais/ engl. corn
Porscht/Borscht                                russische  Gemüsesuppe
Poias                                                russ., Gürtel
Primelseier                                        Auberginen / eggplant
Primert                                             Stechahle
Primus                                              Spirituskocher / engl. (methylated) spirit  stove
Priml                                                Bulle / engl. bull
puddlich                                           zerzaust  (Haare) / engl. tousled
Pumeranse                                       süddt./österr. Pomeranze, Apfelsine / engl. orange
prudle/brudle                                    brodeln / engl. bubble, simmer, seethe
Sawod                                              russ. Werk, schlechte Gesellschaft
Schair                                               [türk. tschair], Grünland, Heuwiese / engl. meadow
Schardak                                          [türk. tschardak], Vorbau, Terrasse
Schelke                                             Hosenträger / engl. suspenders
Schlopp                                            Krawatte / engl tie
Schweweltjer                                    Streichhölzer / engl. matches
Schweinsgeziewer                             unsaubere Gesellschaft,
Schlose                                             Hagel / engl. hail
schmolle                                            rauchen, qualmen / engl. to puff (smoke)
Schnepperkapp                                 Schirmmütze / engl. peaked cap
Schlutzer                                           Schnuller / engl. pacifier
schorrwich                                         rauh, spröde / engl. rough
selle(s)                                               Fr. celle, das da, jenes / engl. This or that
Spautz                                               Spucke / engl. Spit, saliva
Stambuß                                            Kartoffelpüree / engl. mashed potatoes
Stupperte                                          gebratener Stambuß / engl. mashed potaoes fried
Spingeltjer                                         Stecknadeln / engl. pin
Speckmaus                                        Fledermaus / engl. bat
Strehl                                                 Kamm / engl. comb
Stremble                                            abgeerntete Maisstauden / engl. corn shrubs
tortich                                                eingebildet, eiel / engl. vain
Torsche                                             [türk. tursu], eingelegtes Gemüse (Saures), engl. pickled
                                                         vegetables
Tschuschki                                        scharfe Peperoni / hot peppers
tschut                                                russ. ein wenig, kaum / engl. a bit, hardly anything
Tschudertje                                       Bachstelze / engl. wagtail
termelich/dermlich                             schwindlig / engl. dizzy
thorwe                                              türk. Torba, Futterbeutel für Pferde
Tuddl/Duddl                                     Trompete / engl. trumpet
Tule/Dule                                          zweideutiges Zeichen mit dem Daumen
Tudderwentje/Dudderwentje             Motorrad / engl. motorcycle
Reitwentjε                                         Fahrrad / engl. bicycle
Truscheltjer                                       Stachelbeeren / engl. gooseberries
Tutzε/Dutzε                                       Beule

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