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Knaidel? Not kneydel? or kneidel?…
Posted: 04 June 2013 05:29 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The shemozzle over the Scripps National Spelling Bee has reached the shores of Rightpondia.

My question is, how can a reputable dictionary like the Merriam-Webster state without qualification that knaidel is the correct and, by implication, only spelling of the word in English? The online M-W’s entry for the word acknowledges that it originates from ‘Yiddish kneydel’, but implies that even so ‘kneydel’ (never mind any of the half-dozen or so other logical transliterations from Hebrew script) is incorrect in American English.  I’m bemused.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 06:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The shemozzle

Which shemozzle is this?

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Posted: 04 June 2013 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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OP Tipping - 04 June 2013 06:16 AM

Which shemozzle is this?

Spelling Bee Controversy

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Posted: 04 June 2013 07:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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If there is a problem it should be with MW, not with the spelling bee.  It does seem seem a little too unyielding for the dictionary to forbid all but one spelling for a transliterated word.  Dealing with Greek liturgical resources all the time, as I do, I find all kinds of variations.  For instance, last Sunday was the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, which Church tradition names Φωτεινή.  I have seen her name transliterated as Photini, Photine, Fotini, and even Photina.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Another reason to hate the whole idea. Anyway OED

Forms:  Also knaydl. Usu. in pl. knaidlach /ˈkneɪdlaç/ , kneidlach.
Etymology:  < Yiddish kneydel, < Middle High German (and modern German) knödel n.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Makes me wonder if knödel and nudel are related in Deutsch.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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donkeyhotay - 04 June 2013 10:23 AM

Makes me wonder if knödel and nudel are related in Deutsch.

I think that they are. The first is a dumpling and the second is a noodle, but etymologically seems to be related through Knote (Knot). There are hints of this in that Grimm’s Etymological dictionary says “see Knote” for both entries.The Nudel entry, def 3 says that Nudel is sometimes used figuratively for knödel (also for penis!) The opening sentence of Nudel suggests that in the 16th c. it emerged from the Silesian “Knudel” which it may have come from knot and then became the derivative “dumpling” knödel.

I’m guessing that there might have been a whole lot easier way of doing this. Like maybe asking a native speaker. :-)

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Posted: 04 June 2013 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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From that article:

The word “Knaidel” was spelt to win the competition, however, since the result was confirmed some Yiddish speakers and experts have said that the winning word was not spelled corrected[sic].

Given that the topic is the spelling of an English word, Yiddish speakers and experts would not be the people to ask. Certainly, they are straight up wrong to say that the winning word was not spelt correctly: there may be several ways that this word appears in English, but knaidel is clearly one of them.

e.g. plenty of knaidel (spelt so) recipes on the web dating from years ago.

[ Edited: 04 June 2013 02:21 PM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 04 June 2013 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I agree.  If some other competitor had spelled it differently, with a traditional Yiddish-in-Roman-alphabet spelling, and been eliminated on that basis, I could see making a fuss about it, but AFAIK that didn’t happen.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Dr. Techie - 04 June 2013 02:19 PM

I agree.  If some other competitor had spelled it differently, with a traditional Yiddish-in-Roman-alphabet spelling, and been eliminated on that basis, I could see making a fuss about it, but AFAIK that didn’t happen.

This.

Oeco:

Another reason to hate the whole idea

Oh I dunno ... I tend to heartened by any contest for kids that rewards scholarship.
Must seem like an amusing idea to speakers of, say, Spanish or Bahasa Indonesia.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The opening sentence of Nudel suggests that in the 16th c. it emerged from the Silesian “Knudel” which it may have come from knot and then became the derivative “dumpling” knödel.

I found my copy of the Duden Vol 7 (the etymological word book in the series published in 2001). While it does make the connection to “knot” in knödel it is less firm about Nudel. “Die Herkunft des erst seit dem 16 Jh bezeugten Wortes ist dunkel.” (The origins of the word which appears in the 16th c is obscure).

But I would still suggest that the idea of tying the dough into knots by kneading (kneten) could be held in common by these two words.

N.B. this is a WAG.

There is a tantalizing connection to the American slang word “canoodle.” But you didn’t hear me say that!

[ Edited: 04 June 2013 03:07 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 04 June 2013 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Anyway, I like very much lh’s take on this (I just knew that he would comment on this)

LanguageHat

My favorite response

The real scandal is that ‘knaidel’ is singular. Who ever made soup with one matzoh ball? It’s like ordering ‘Spaghettum and meat ball’ at an Italian restaurant.

[ Edited: 04 June 2013 02:57 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 04 June 2013 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Oh I dunno ... I tend to [be] heartened by any contest for kids that rewards scholarship.

I say this in this place every year and I get the responses. But I just find the process arbitrary.

[ Edited: 04 June 2013 03:10 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 04 June 2013 10:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Most of the argument seems to be about different ways of spelling “Knaidel”, which is all very well, but as far as I can see, has nothing to do with that spelling bee. If the people who set up that show decide in advance that a particular dictionary’s the reference standard, then that’s it, surely?  If you decide to play “Scrabble” using the “Official Scrabble Dictionary” as your reference standard, then you’ll have to accept quite a few bizarre spellings.  Rules are rules; and he who pays the piper, calls the tune. As for the contest itself, I’m with Oecolampadius:

Another reason to hate the whole idea

Bravo, Oeco. 

I don’t think scholarship is easily defined, but I doubt if that spelling bee’s it. The movie I saw about it a couple of years ago was a lot like a horror movie. I wouldn’t want any kid of mine exposed to that.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 11:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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If spelling bees are there to highlight the importance of spelling correctly and therefore improve children’s spelling, why don’t they also have a grammar competition?  Can you imagine the rows when Emily’s dad says the preposition can be used at the end of the sentence after her arch-rival, Luke, has won the competition for rephrasing to avoid just that construction? The national press would have a field day!

I wonder who would want to be a judge, anyway?

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Posted: 05 June 2013 02:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I don’t think scholarship is easily defined, but I doubt if that spelling bee’s it.
----

Well maybe I am just happy to see young people rewarded for anything that involves the brain

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