Schnackerl is a perfect word

Occasionally you notice a perfect word. “Lumber” isn’t a bad word. I drove to work behind a lumber truck this morning. I like the smell of lumber, the way it looks, the sound of the word and the way it describes a heavy way of moving. There is a word in Austrian German for what is called the hiccough or hiccup in English, not a bad word itself; unbeatable in onomatopoetic terms. When you drive a little girl to her daycare place in the morning, who has just lost both front teeth to the tooth fairy, and she’s hiccupping in the back seat, and says she has a “Schnackerl”, that’s a perfect word. It is an Austrian dialect diminutive form, that “-erl” at the end, but as far as I know “Schnack” itself means nothing in German. But Schnackerl, perfect.

4 responses to “Schnackerl is a perfect word

  1. Nicholson Baker wrote a whole series of essays on lumber that are compiled in his book, _The Size of Thoughts_. I’m partial to “Books as Furniture”, but that essay might not be in that section of the book. Either way, I recommend it.

  2. It’s probably not related, but in the far north of Germany they have a verb “schnacken”, meaning “sprechen” or “reden”; it’s borrowed from the Danish “at snakke” (which also means “to talk”).

    Erm, it probably isn’t at all connected, but I thought I’d suggest it, just in case.

  3. mig

    i’m sure that must be the connection.

  4. ben

    Fornicate is a great word. Funny how only older people get to do it. Youngsters, inexperienced, seem only capable of fumbling, although there is much to be said for youthful fondling.